One potential venue for the currently homeless Summer Nights concert series is off the table.
An agreement between the city and the private Seattle Parks Foundation to fund and develop South Lake Union Park contains an obscure provision that will effectively bar OneReel's Summer Nights concert series from the park, where it was held in 2005. The 2006 series was canceled earlier this year because of a neighborhood lawsuit over OneReel's plans to move it from South Lake Union Park to Gas Works Park.
According to foundation spokeswoman Hilary Mohr, the foundation's agreement with the city prohibits "series of events over an extended period of time," such as Summer Nights. Mohr says that since Summer Nights was there, much of the park has been paved over. "The design of the park is not going to be conducive to such a large event," Mohr says. A OneReel spokeswoman says the organization plans to put the series back in Gas Works next year, but Council Member Nick Licata says Summer Nights' fate will remain uncertain until the lawsuit is settled. ERICA C. BARNETT
In another blow to the Washington State Republican Party's efforts to moderate its image, Republican State Representative Rodney Tom R-48, Bellevue, announced Tuesday that he's quitting the party and becoming a Democrat.
"The Republican Party has moved so far to the right that they no longer represent the common voter," Representative Tom said Tuesday.
As a newly minted Democrat, Tom will challenge Republican State Senator Luke Esser for his seat in the state's 48th Legislative District, part of the rapidly changing Eastside. Voters in that district, Tom said, are increasingly siding with Democrats on culture-war issues like abortion and gay rights, and want their legislators to make progress on transportation and education problems even if it means more taxes. Esser, Tom noted, has opposed gay rights and voted against the road-funding gas tax last year. "I believe that the party and Luke are on the extreme now," Tom said.
A real estate agent who originally gravitated toward the Republicans because of their fiscal conservatism, Representative Tom said he decided to quit the party because he got tired of being part of what he now calls "the party of no."
Esser did not return a call requesting comment by press time. ELI SANDERS
Neighbors and police have made remarkable progress scuttling crime and reclaiming South Park's County Line Tavern for the neighbors. But March 3 brought a blast from the past: gunfire outside the tavern in what the King County Sheriff's Department claims was a dispute between Asian and Hispanic gang members. One man was shot, but not killed. Deputies are still investigating the incident, but say the skirmish had less to do with County Line than with a pay phone across the street that deputies say is popular among drug dealers. THOMAS FRANCIS