Rumors and Gossip Made of Mashed Potatoes
• Chris McManus, the Tacoma vegan who filed Washington State's Initiative 522, requiring the labeling of genetically engineered foods, has stepped aside from the campaign to focus on his family and his business, he says. PCC Natural Markets, your source for hummus and quinoa since 1953, has stepped up to spearhead the campaign.
• Alison Holcomb, who wrote the initiative legalizing marijuana in Washington State, became the subject of rumors last weekend that she would run for city council when pollsters began asking voters if they would vote for her. Holcomb says she didn't pay for the poll, but when asked if she would run, she said, "I would consider it." If Holcomb does file, hopefully she will challenge one of the two council conservatives on the ballot this year, Richard Dreyfuss and Sally Bagshaw.
• Sam Bellomio, a familiar local gadfly, is running against incumbent Mike O'Brien for Seattle City Council, according to paperwork newly filed with election officials. Bellomio is vice president of StandUP America, a group that routinely seizes time during public testimony at council meetings to make vague, angry charges of government malfeasance that have little or nothing to do with the meeting agenda.
• Bar owners and music lovers who have been protesting a controversial 9.5 percent extra tax on tickets and cover charges at venues with dance floors will finally get their day in Olympia: A senate bill, which would clarify that sales tax should not be applied, has a hearing scheduled for this Thursday, February 21, at 3 p.m.
• Meanwhile, Seattle's own Century Ballroom is hosting a fundraiser this Saturday, February 23, to help pay the $92,000 the Department of Revenue says they owe in back taxes thanks to the aforementioned obscure tax. If you love Century Ballroom, slap on your dancing shoes, grab $8, and swing, tango, and salsa the night away. The fun starts at 8 p.m.
• The Seattle Weekly has laid off at least four staffers since it was purchased last month by Sound Publishing, creating uncertainty around the newsroom. "I don't know what is down the line for us editorially," says the paper's editorial coordinator, Gwen Elliott.