Under current rules, members of boards and commissions—like the city's planning commission—must recuse themselves from any issue where there's a potential conflict of interest. Evidently, this made it impossible, according to members of certain commissions, for commissions to do their jobs. I guess there could be some conflicted people out there—like Bill Block perhaps, a member of the Seattle Center Advisory Commission and a part owner of the Seattle Supersonics.
Mayor Nickels is trying to change the ethical standard so that members are only required to disclose potential conflicts, rather than recuse themselves. His proposed legislation—currently in Seattle City Council Member Sally Clark's committee—says that the status quo "may unnecessarily deter qualified individuals" from serving. And since simply "fully disclos[ing] all circumstances [of] a possible appearance of conflict... meets the goal of transparency," that should be enough. NANCY DREW
As the second quarter of political fundraising ended on June 30, Eastside Democrat Darcy Burner announced that she had hit the $1 million mark in her congressional race against freshman Republican Dave Reichert. It's certainly an impressive number, but is it enough to maintain her momentum? Back in the first quarter, which ended in March, Burner was able to outpace Reichert in fundraising—a feat that captured the attention of local and national media, and made Burner something of a Democratic darling. Though Reichert will not release his second-quarter fundraising totals until mid-July, political observers are almost certain that he outpaced Burner this time around, helped by a high-dollar fundraiser that President Bush hosted for him in Medina in June. It's likely Reichert has now raised a total of around $2 million, double Burner's $1 million. However, the more important number will be the "cash on hand" figures for both campaigns. Burner currently has $680,000 on hand. Reichert's on-hand figure, when it comes, may say a lot about Burner's momentum and how far it can realistically take her. ELI SANDERS
The current investigation of SPD Officer Zsolt Dornay is not the first time he's come under scrutiny. Dornay is the police officer at the center of the June 24 incident in Post Alley that the SPD has now turned over to the Kent Police Department to investigate (to ensure objectivity). Dornay, who was off duty at the time, shot a 52-year-old criminal-defense attorney in a confusing after-hours altercation involving a woman and Dornay's motorcycle.
It turns out a federal lawsuit accuses Dornay of beating an elderly man in 2003 so badly that his spleen was ruptured, and the police department's Office of Professional Accountability is investigating. NANCY DREW