Ed Murray Backpedals

Despite passing the state senate in a 40-9 vote last week--and despite an earlier commitment by the House transportation chair, Ed Murray (D-43), to champion the bill--Sound Transit governance reform (changing the Sound Transit board from an appointed to an elected one) looks DOA in Murray's committee.

Murray, who earlier made grandiose claims about the need for Sound Transit accountability, told folks in Olympia early this week that he wasn't even going to give the bill a hearing.

Murray told The Stranger that organized labor (which has taken up Sound Transit's cause in Olympia) rounded up the votes against the accountability bill, and he doesn't want to buck labor.

Here's a different theory: Either Murray no longer sees the need for accountability now that the project is likely to directly serve his district (Capitol Hill), or else he plain chickened out of challenging Sound Transit. In either case, Murray was obviously putting folks on with all his prior tough talk about making Sound Transit accountable. JOSH FEIT


Rise Above Seattle Center

Just in time for the Seattle City Council's March 25 public hearing on the monorail, opposition to the idea of routing the Green Line through Seattle Center (as opposed to around it) appears to be mounting among members of the local music community. Promoter Dave Meinert contends that major festivals like Bumbershoot and Northwest Folklife, or events like Bite of Seattle, would be seriously affected by the through-Seattle Center routing plan. "It seems like a horrible idea," he says, citing the columns that would be plopped down in the center's open space. A Bumbershoot representative was not immediately available for comment.

Meanwhile, City Council President Peter Steinbrueck wants to put the possibility of a southern route around Seattle Center back in the mix of options. SANDEEP KAUSHIK


Rise Above the Suburbs

Citizens for King County Monorail, a grassroots group of monorail advocates that hopes to win countywide approval for an extensive network of monorail lines linking Seattle and its eastern suburbs, filed papers with King County Elections on March 24 to put its proposed initiative on the ballot. The initiative, if approved by voters next November, would create a citizens' commission charged with drafting and evaluating a detailed monorail plan, which would then be put before voters in 2005 ["23 Minutes to Redmond," Josh Feit, Jan 16].

County monorail advocates say they have formed a 10-member steering committee, and have 100 volunteers lined up to collect the 45,000 signatures needed to put the initiative on the ballot. SANDEEP KAUSHIK

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