BAKKEN OIL OFF THE RAILS On July 21, all nine members of the Seattle City Council signed a letter to the Department of Transportation asking the Feds to immediately ban the use of aging tanker cars for transporting highly explosive crude oil from the Bakken oil fields in North Dakota. Seattle has seen a rise in the number of Bakken oil trains passing directly through its downtown core in recent years, and just four days after the council sent their letter, on July 25, one such Bakken train derailed under Magnolia Bridge in Interbay, leaving the tanker cars tipped precariously to one side of the tracks. The train was pulling modern tanker cars and there was no spillage, according to railway spokesperson Gus Melonas, and hence, no catastrophe—phew! But, said city council member Mike O'Brien, "Just imagine the impacts if this train were to leak with Puget Sound so close. Or, worse, if it exploded a stone's throw from thousands of commuters headed to work." ANSEL HERZ

PAUL SCHELL PASSES AWAY Former Seattle mayor Paul Schell, a gracious man and a forward-thinking mayor, died on July 27 at the age of 76. His one term, which lasted from 1998 to 2002, saw many of his accomplishments upstaged by controversies like the city's handling of the WTO riots. But in the long view, there's no doubt that Schell improved this city. He was behind financing the gorgeous downtown library, rebuilt City Hall, added six new community centers, invested $200 million into parks, and otherwise contributed to the development of critical infrastructure that made Seattle what it's become. DOMINIC HOLDEN

MONORAIL ON THE FALL BALLOT Thanks to activist Elizabeth Campbell, Seattle will be taking its fifth vote on monorail-related business this fall. As the Seattle Times reported on July 25, after two years of sleeper campaigning, Campbell finally managed to collect the 4,582 signatures needed to get a measure on the November ballot that could result in funding to study—funding to study! Not build!—a new monorail project that would link Ballard, the waterfront, and West Seattle. This funding would come, in part, from a citywide car tab fee of $5 on vehicles one year old or more, and there's also something in there about promoting a new gondola line from downtown to a future waterfront monorail stop. Wheee! ANNA MINARD

CITY ATTORNEY'S LAW DISPROPORTIONATELY IMPACTS BLACKS Last year, City Attorney Pete Holmes pushed hard to create a ticket for smoking marijuana in public. The city council did this, at Holmes's request, by passing an ordinance. First, however, the council inserted clauses into the law that say cops should give suspects a "first warning" before issuing marijuana tickets, and that semiannual reports on the tickets' impacts are required. The first semiannual report was released July 23, and it found marijuana tickets are being issued disproportionately to racial minorities. Although black people make up 7.9 percent of the city's population, police issued 32.9 percent of their pot tickets to them. The study, by the Seattle Police Department's Loren T. Atherley and Mark Baird, adds, "Early observations suggest a correlation between this low level civil infraction and people of disadvantaged socioeconomic means." The SPD did not respond to questions about the tickets by press time. DOMINIC HOLDEN

BLOCKING BOEING'S ARMS-DEALING In an act of civil disobedience meant to highlight Boeing's arms sales to Israel, nine people locked themselves together with PVC piping and halted traffic into a complex of Boeing facilities in Tukwila on July 28. According to the group Jewish Voice for Peace, the aerospace giant sells weaponry, including missile systems, to the Israeli military, and some of those instruments of war are developed at Boeing's Defense, Space & Security section. "War profiteering has always gone on," said a Boeing employee who looked on while the protesters, including several Jews, lay in a human chain across hot asphalt. Tukwila police arrived on the scene but didn't intervene, and after three hours, the protesters took off. As of the day of their protest, the latest outbreak of violence had killed 51 Israelis, mostly soldiers, and 1,023 Palestinians, mostly civilians. ANSEL HERZ

REPUBLICAN LEGISLATOR TAKES ABS AND GOES ELSEWHERE Republican state representative Mike Hope, previously best known for a photo of his oiled-up abs that appeared in connection with his role in Vampire Soul: Hidden in Plain Sight (seriously, check out the IMDb page), is resigning from the legislature. Why? Well, it turns out he was registered to vote in two different states. As the Everett Herald reports, Hope says he doesn't recall double-registering—and that he doesn't have a permanent address in Washington State, and that he was planning to move back to his native Ohio soon anyway. According to the Herald, Hope could be forced to repay his state salary for the time he was double-registered. ANNA MINARD

NO FUCKS GIVEN The good people pushing for passage of Seattle's Proposition 1—which would create a new funding mechanism for local parks—sent out a campaign mailer recently that quotes the Stranger Election Control Board's endorsement of their measure. Hooray! But, um, something looks a little bit different about the way this one SECB sentence appears in their mailer: "We elect leaders who set taxes and build budgets and fund infrastructure, and when they [mess] it up, we vote them out." Not exactly what we said! Maybe the pro-Prop-1 folks didn't want to print a cuss word on the front of their adorable-children-playing-in-the-park mailer, but what we actually said rhymes with fuck. Sorry, kids. ANNA MINARD recommended