• Republican activist Craig Keller—one of an estimated six Republicans living in Seattle—filed a referendum last week that attempts to overturn the city's recently passed ban on single-use plastic bags while accusing the city council of "absolute tyranny." Keller says he's raised $10,000 "from my credit cards" to insert petitions into local newspapers, but plastic-bag lobbyists, reached by e-mail, say they don't intend to donate. Supporters would need to gather 16,503 signatures of registered Seattle voters by January 17.

• Hey, Seattleites, if you live south of Madison Street and east of I-5, you probably have a new congressman: Representative Adam Smith. The new boundaries result from a congressional redistricting completed on January 1. According to ProgressivePunch, Smith is the 166th most progressive member of the US House. That's considerably less progressive than your last congressman, Jim McDermott, who is rated the 23rd most progressive and now has a district that reaches north to Edmonds.

• The US Department of Justice has asked community stakeholders what reforms it should demand from the Seattle Police Department. Following up on a December report that found Seattle cops regularly use excessive force, federal officials sent out a letter that says "We welcome any recommendations... Our ultimate goal is to enter into a written, court-enforceable agreement."

Christina Kim Choi, the wonderful wild-and-foraged-food chef behind Nettletown, died of complications from a brain aneurysm on December 28 at the age of 34. RIP, Christina.

• The state department of transportation reported a 30 percent decline in rush-hour traffic across the 520 bridge on January 3, the first full workday that $3.50 tolls were in place. Interestingly enough, officials found that the tolls caused only a 2 percent traffic increase on the parallel I-90 bridge, defying predictions that drivers would simply shift their commute four miles south to save a few bucks. So where have thousands of drivers disappeared to? Some are carpooling or conserving trips, while King County Metro estimates a 15 percent jump in bus ridership across the bridge, proving once a-fucking-gain that people aren't superglued to the seats of their single-occupancy vehicles—they adapt.

• "We can construct the most beautiful creature with the bones of a monster if only we can bring the beast to its death," wrote a local Gage art student on his Facebook page before being arrested by Seattle police—on New Year's Day—for allegedly breaking into a construction site on 15th Avenue and Pine Street and vandalizing construction equipment found there.