Fred Meyer Fracas

On Monday, April 19, management at the Broadway Avenue Fred Meyer gave five employees a choice: Take off small red pins advocating workers' support of union demands, or punch out and go home for violating the company's dress-code policy. Citing their right to wear union-authorized badges on the job, the employees left rather than remove the buttons. For the Broadway Fred Meyer, which typically operates with 10 to 20 employees per shift, the loss of five workers left the store woefully understaffed. A Freddy's higher-up told acting store director Chuck Householder that workers could wear their pins if they came back. NANCY DREW

Monorail Shakeup

The loss of two potential monorail contractors--Kiewit and Granite Construction--has left the Bombardier-headed Team Monorail, one of two teams vying for the monorail contract, scrambling to come up with replacement contractors just two months before final bids are due. Team Monorail spokesperson Tom Stone says his group "is going ahead" with its plans to bid, although it was unclear whether it could meet the June 15 deadline. Meanwhile, both Bombardier and Granite could face penalties in Las Vegas, where they are helping to build a four-mile monorail, because of electronic and mechanical problems that have repeatedly delayed the Vegas monorail's opening date. ERICA C. BARNETT

Budget Blackout

On Monday, Seattle Department of Finance Director Dwight Dively announced that the city's 2005 budget shortfall will be as high as $25 million--$5 million to $10 million more than previously projected. But despite the city's increasingly dire budgetary straits, it appears that no one at the city, including Dively himself, has any idea how the millions of dollars budgeted for vacant positions is being spent. Some at the city council, including Peter Steinbrueck and budget chair Richard McIver, want to shine a light into this informational black hole. "There is no accountability," Steinbrueck says. ERICA C. BARNETT

Nagle Wrangle

Capitol Hill wants light rail in the neighborhood, but stakeholders can't agree on where to put the station. Businesses want the station on Nagle Place, one block off Broadway, while the Capitol Hill Community Council prefers a Broadway option.

During a recent city council debate over the light rail alignment, City Council Member Richard McIver claimed the Nagle option was "well received by the community."

Not so, says community council head Ann Donovan. "There was never such a preference stated," she wrote in an e-mail to Capitol Hill residents. The council passed an amended resolution that sidestepped the station placement issue. AMY JENNIGES

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