Rent Hike

On Tuesday night, October 26, residents of a 12-unit Columbia City apartment building on South Pearl Street joined up with community groups like the Tenants Union and the NAACP to protest a major rent hike from their brand-new landlord. The apartment's new owner, Carl Haglund, purchased the building at the end of July for $698,800 according to King County records. On August 31, the building's property manager sent tenants a letter raising rents to $595 by October 1. Rent increases of 10 percent or more--this one pencils in at 40 percent, the Tenants Union claims--require a 60-day notice in Seattle. Haglund did not return our call. AMY JENNIGES

Broadway Bounce

Is Capitol Hill's infamously ailing retail strip finally making a comeback? Last weekend, a new and improved QFC opened in the Broadway Market. Plus, retail spaces in the new Keystone building at the north end of Broadway Avenue are filling up--albeit with a Kinko's and a tanning salon--and there's a new farmers' market near Seattle Central Community College.

But the biggest boost came on Tuesday, October 26, when Mayor Nickels finally sent legislation to the city council that would raise allowable building heights on Broadway from the current Mayberry-esque 40 feet to a reasonable 65 feet on some blocks. If the council passes the upzoning (along with other Broadway zoning tweaks) developers might be prompted to revamp the district's biggest eyesores: A just-closed Safeway, a vacant QFC and Bartell Drugs complex, the still-empty (for at least four years) Godfather's Pizza, and an abandoned Kinko's and Chang's Mongolian Grill. AMY JENNIGES

False Advertising

A brochure sent to voters by the Mainstream Republicans of Washington falsely claims that incumbent Republican Lands Commissioner Doug Sutherland had been endorsed by Washington Conservation Voters and the Nature Conservancy. Actually, the Conservancy doesn't make endorsements. And WCV endorsed Sutherland's Democratic opponent, Mike Cooper, with good reason. Sutherland has increased logging in Washington's public forests by 30 percent.

After complaints by the environmental groups, the Mainstream Republicans posted a correction on their website which stated Sutherland has been "endorsed by board members" of both groups, not by the groups themselves. SANDEEP KAUSHIK

Gay Politics

Nascent gay rights group Equal Rights Washington launched their first TV political ad this week, targeting a Republican state senator who voted against a housing and employment nondiscrimination bill. The bill lost by one vote last spring.

"That vote was State Senator Jim Horn," the ad says. "And he was wrong." Horn, who represents the Mercer Island and Eastside's 41st district, is currently facing a tough challenge from Democrat Brian Weinstein. ERW's $12,000 ad buy will run on cable until Election Day. AMY JENNIGES

The Horror

From the October 10 New York Times travel section, written by Tim Egan, (metrosexually inclined?) husband of cranky Seattle Times editorial columnist Joni Balter: "At Lizard Creek Lodge, where we stayed, my wife, Joni, and I bought an hour each of something called aromatic hydrotherapy--a soak in a deep, jetted tub, with candles of lavender and other scents, and the added pleasure of a Norah Jones compact disc. Afterward, we watched a mountain sunset from the deck, sipping a British Columbia pinot noir." The thought of Egan and Balter sharing "aromatic hydrotherapy" together makes us... er, let's not go there. NANCY DREW

Homeland Security

Seattleites pride themselves on celebrating diversity, but one West Seattle man isn't feeling very welcome these days. In fact, he's set up razor wire and caution signs along his property in response to a slew of targeted vandalism. Why is he drawing the enmity of his fellow Seattleites? Perhaps because he's the one stripe we don't dig around here: Republican.

Two enormous signs in the man's cordoned-off yard sport his unbridled support of Bush and U.S. Republican Senate candidate George Nethercutt. The signs had been repeatedly stolen or damaged in the last few months.

Meanwhile, at the top of Queen Anne's Democrat-heavy hill, the Stewart family is also netting their share of Bush-bashing. In the past few months, their patriotic "United We Stand" sign was stolen (in 2000, they lost 11 Republican yard signs). The vandal then planted a Kerry-Edwards sign in their yard, and then replaced that with a torched Bush-Cheney sign, and a rant against "Bush's regime of terror." Beleaguered Republican Don Stewart, who's lived in the neighborhood for 10 years, hung the anti-Bush agitprop over his front porch with his own sign asking, "Whatever happened to free speech?"

However, the West Seattle Republican has a different method of warding off future vandalism: "If I have to hide in the bushes with a shotgun, I will." JENN GREEN and AMY JENNIGES