I Can't Go for That—No Can Do
• "We can't do rent control at the Seattle City Council," incumbent council member Richard Conlin told the audience at a debate last week with his challenger Kshama Sawant, calling Sawant's campaign platform to regulate certain rents "a cruel illusion." Likewise, of Sawant's proposed tax on millionaires, Conlin insisted: "We don't have the authority. We can't do that in this city."
• Cyclists, rejoice: On October 21, a vibrant green bicycle lane opened on Broadway, running from Union Street to Denny Way (and soon all the way to Yesler Way). The lanes are physically separated from traffic by concrete curbs for much of the route, which helps safeguard against car-bike collisions. This should be just the beginning of Seattle's new biking landscape, but mayoral challenger Ed Murray—who's leading in the polls—is campaigning against cycle tracks. Seattle Bike Blog reported that Murray opposes North Seattle bike lanes because, he says, they "got rid of all street parking," which the bike blog points out is a "factual error," but Murray sure makes 'em sound threatening! Murray also denounced finishing the Burke-Gilman Trail's missing link with a cycle track as "potentially dangerous." What's worse, he's raising money on this anti-bike platform. The driving force of a "Paid for by Ed Murray for Mayor" fundraiser earlier this month were people who sought to "oppose Mayor McGinn's cycle track" on Westlake Avenue. Murray hasn't replied to comment on his factual errors or anti-bicycle activities.
• But Murray looks like he'll be the next mayor anyway. Strategies 360 released the results of a survey on October 21 that, like other recent polls, shows state senator Murray with a robust lead and a majority of voters backing him, placing incumbent mayor Mike McGinn outside of conventional striking distance. In the survey of 400 likely voters, Murray held a 17-point advantage with backing from 51 percent of the general electorate. McGinn has 34 percent (the remaining respondents didn't answer or were undecided).
• Gun nuts vandalized the window of a Capitol Hill storefront sporting a Gun Free Zone sticker, tagging it with a swastika and the words "Nazi Zone"—because one gun-free Brenthaven electronics store is apparently the moral equivalent of fatally gassing millions of people.
• The anti-estate-tax-obsessed Seattle Times has urged a "repeal" vote on the pointless, nonbinding advisory vote on Washington's estate tax, calling the tax "economically wrong." Huh. We're not sure why Seattle Times publisher Frank Blethen is so obsessed with the estate tax—it's not like his estate is going to be worth anything.
• While the national media shits bricks over the many technical woes at the federal government's HealthCare.gov, the website for Washington State's health insurance exchange, WAHealthPlanFinder.org, is chugging along just fine. More than 35,000 applicants have enrolled in Obamacare health coverage in the site's first three weeks. In dramatic contrast, news outlets in Alaska report that between a mere two and seven people have signed up for the health care exchange there. "It's clear that residents here in Washington are very interested in this new opportunity and the health insurance options that are available," said Washington Health Benefit Exchange CEO Richard Onizuka.
• Mayor Mike McGinn popped up on Reddit on October 21 for an Ask Me Anything, the highlight of which was a question about McGinn's fiber optic broadband program called Gigabit Seattle, set to roll out in 2014. Redditor jdsamford asked: "What will happen with Gigabit should you not win?" To which McGinn replied, "I don't know, but I do know Comcast gave Murray a big pile of money." Comcast has given $700 to Murray directly and contributed more to Murray-supportive PACs. A second poster, SeattleandStuff, advised the mayor: "This should become a bigger part of your campaign. If Ed Murray is the Comcast candidate, the entire internet will vote for you."
• In a less impressive Reddit moment, McGinn sent those questioning his record to the website wtfmcginnhasdone.com, which just has a list of spammy links to payday loans and cat pictures. He eventually corrected it to wtfhasmcginndone.com, a list of his accomplishments as mayor.