JOA Appeal

The Seattle Times Company announced Tuesday, October 7, that it would appeal the Seattle Post-Intelligencer's recent court victory, which had the effect of halting the Times, at least temporarily, from ending the joint operating agreement with its editorial rival. "We have no choice but to appeal because the ruling threatens the economic health of our newspaper," Times publisher Frank Blethen said in a Times press release. Though the release claimed that the Times' objective was not the shuttering of the P-I, a Times victory in the legal battle would almost certainly result in the P-I's demise. SANDEEP KAUSHIK

Dangerous Message

Back in July, The Stranger got fed up with the mealy-mouthed gay men's health campaigns being put out by Seattle's gay leadership.

So we bet that given a bit of cash as an incentive, some of our readers could come up with better gay men's health campaigns. We were right. A slew of readers submitted ideas, three of which we selected as finalists in our contest. They each received $200 to get their message out.

By far the best campaign was Jeff Markwardt's "AIDS DANGER" stickers, which he plastered all over Capitol Hill with his $200 budget. Congrats to Jeff, our ultimate winner (he gets $500 now), who managed to put out the type of hard-hitting message that local AIDS prevention agencies--with much larger budgets--have failed to do.

About a month after Jeff's "AIDS DANGER" campaign, Gay City Health Project announced a community forum on rising HIV and STD rates. The title? "DANGER!" ELI SANDERS

Leak at City Hall

A main theme of the new civic center is water--rushing, flowing, cascading water. There are even plans for a creek to run through the new City Hall lobby next year. For the time being, though, the water motif is on display at an adjacent building in the three-block $260 million civic-center complex.

Witness the mess on Fifth Avenue in front of the new Justice Center. For weeks now, bewildered plumbers, city engineers, and bureaucrats (as well as amused City Hall workers in the offices across the street) have been gawking at the yellow-tinted fountain on Fifth Avenue as the unruly water incessantly rushes over the edge, cascades onto the street, and puddles on the sidewalk.

Short of turning off the fountain, there's been no way to stop the spill. "Obviously, the design of the fountain isn't working out as expected," says Katherine Schubert-Knapp, spokesperson for the city's Department of Fleets and Facilities. Fixing the problem will come at "no extra expense" to the city, Schubert-Knapp promises. There's been no calculation on how much time has already been lost by city engineers scratching their heads over the $960,000 fountain. NANCY DREW

Traffic Deluge

Seattle's streets could soon be swarming with suburban commuters, if a roads-heavy version of the Regional Transportation Improvement District (RTID) plan, encompassing the three Puget Sound-area counties, is adopted as proposed. According to Transportation Choices Coalition director Peter Hurley, the three suburb-to-city road projects that would be funded as part of RTID's proposal--a four-lane SR-520 bridge expansion, two new HOV lanes on I-90, and a six-lane expansion of SR-509--would bring an additional 108,000 new "trips" into Seattle every day in the next 25 years. "Trips," according to the coalition, is transportation jargon for car trips into or out of the city on the three routes that would be expanded in the proposed RTID plan. Washington Department of Transportation spokesperson Linda Mullen says there are "still several options on the table" for each of the three suburban routes. ERICA C. BARNETT

Neighbors Say F.U. to S.U.

Residents of the Squire Park neighborhood, along 12th Avenue near Seattle University (SU), aren't thrilled with an October 6 city council decision allowing the university to expand nearly 5,000 square feet to build new student housing and a bookstore. The council directed SU to compensate neighbors with $150,000 for a "neighborhood cultural center"--but that's 33 percent less money than originally proposed by council member Richard Conlin.

The payment represents only half a percent of the $28 million SU bookstore project, and won't go far in any neighborhood bid to buy property, neighbors complain. More importantly, available 12th Avenue property is quickly vanishing. AMY JENNIGES

Quote of the Week

"There were numerous occasions where we said to them, 'Just adopt I-18,' but they said it was all or nothing. They took nothing. Now the floodgates are open. What they've done is given the ability to change the county's constitution through the initiative process.... The world has changed in terms of the people's ability to alter the structure of King County government."

--Tim Eyman on the county's foolhardy opposition to simply placing Initiative 18 on the ballot earlier this year. (I-18, now on the 2004 ballot, would shrink the King County Council.) The council, thanks to its initial intransigence, landed in state supreme court. Rejecting the county council's attempt to block I-18 last week, the court not only gave citizens a chance to vote on slashing the council, but also handed the rabble new powers to amend the county's constitution. ERICA C. BARNETT

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