Hedreen Veto Sustained
The city council needs six votes to override a mayoral veto. That's good news, because only five council members (Jim Compton, Jan Drago, Richard McIver, Judy Nicastro, and Heidi Wills) believed strongly enough in corporate welfare that they were willing to cast votes against Mayor Greg Nickels' recent righteous veto of a $6 million developer handout.
(On June 27, Nickels heroically shot down a council-approved waiver that allowed downtown developer Richard C. Hedreen to expand hotel development without building the corresponding low-income housing that the city's square-footage bonus program requires ["The Six Million Dollar Scam," Josh Feit, June 20].)
However, while the veto may have been sustained by sensible council members like Nick Licata and Peter Steinbrueck at the July 22 vote, Hedreen's lawyers and lobbyists are threatening lawsuits and working behind the scenes to pass another version of the special-interest waiver. (See this week's Five to Four.) JOSH FEIT
Monorail Board Compromises on Governance Model
After months of controversy about its future governance structure ["Elected? Appointed?," Pat Kearney, May 16], on July 22, the current monorail board voted for a "blended" mix of appointed and elected members. The 7-2 blend favors appointed membership, with the current (unelected) board appointing three to five members, the council appointing two, the mayor appointing two, and the public electing two in 2003.
Thankfully, smart I-53 frontman Peter Sherwin secured a provision that mandates the board put a new governance model up for a public vote sometime between 2005 and 2009, one that features a board where a majority of the members will be elected. JOSH FEIT
Pageler Shows up for Districts Debate
On July 16, Democrats of the 43rd District (Capitol Hill's statehouse district) hosted a debate about districting city council elections. Speaking in favor: Seattle Districts Now co-chairs Jeanne Legault and Jay Sauceda. Legault argued that breaking the city into districts will make the city council more accountable and bring down the costs of running for office.
Two former city council members, Jeannette Williams and Jim Street, argued against districting. They believe districting will weaken the council, making individual council members unable to think beyond neighborhood borders.
Legault is confident her group will be able to gather the necessary 30,000 signatures for the 2003 ballot. In fact, Legault may be already worrying some council members. Margaret Pageler, who lives south in Seward Park, surreptitiously attended the 43rd's debate. RACHEL JOY LARRIS