All-Ages Two Step

Skeptical about finding the six votes necessary for a veto override, Council Members Richard Conlin and Nick Licata introduced amendments this week to save the All-Ages Dance Ordinance (AADO). Critics say the amendments would bring the AADO two steps closer to the original and overbearing Teen Dance Ordinance. To appease Mayor Schell, who vetoed the AADO three weeks ago while proposing an alternative ordinance, the new council amendments would require kids 14 years old or younger to be accompanied by an adult. It would also force promoters to get insurance if they don't already have it. A public hearing on the AADO is scheduled for September 14 at 6 p.m. in the council chambers. AMY JENNIGES

Sims Plan Rejected

The latest gambit for extra Sound Transit cash went down this week when King County Exec Ron Sims, lacking support on the county council, had to drop his bid to use a sales tax increase (three-tenths of a cent) to generate funds. Sims wanted the council to pass the proposal and put it to the voters. His colleagues didn't have a problem with the first part of Sims' plan, which would have bumped the sales tax from 8.6 to 8.9 percent to restore I-695-afflicted bus service. It was Sims' other idea--using $320 million of that money to fund light-rail construction to Northgate--that didn't fly. Instead, the council recommended bumping the sales tax to 8.8 percent for bus service only. Sound Transit advocates say they'll have to turn back to the state for more funds. Good luck. Last year they went hunting for hundreds of millions of dollars from the state and got just $15 million. JOSH FEIT

Use It or Lose It

In July, Bill and Melinda Gates thrilled homeless advocates when they donated $40 million for transitional housing in King, Snohomish, and Pierce Counties. Now, Seattle's homeless advocates are grumbling because they're afraid the city isn't cashing in on the free money. The grant stipulates that the Gates money can only fund up to 20 percent of a project. The city has to cover the other 80 percent. City officials are uncertain about where they'll get the remainder. "The demand for our money is three or four times what we have," says Bill Rumpf, of the city's Office of Housing. Hopefully Mayor Schell (whose loyalties lie with parks, potholes, and aquariums) will take advantage of the Gates' philanthropy when he proposes his new budget to the city council at the end of this month. ALLIE HOLLY-GOTTLIEB

On the Skids

Monorail backers are crying foul, but the county elections office is sticking to its numbers: There still aren't enough petition signatures to place Initiative 53 on the November ballot.

According to elections superintendent Julie Anne Kempf, I-53 advocates were roughly 2,100 signatures shy of the required 18,800 signatures. Even if all of the signatures collected from this past weekend's big push are deemed legitimate, I-53 is still about 500 signatures shy.

The news did not please monorail activist Peter Sherwin, who accuses Kempf of misleading him on how the count was really going. Kempf denies this charge.

Monorail advocates are running low on time. The county has to be officially notified of I-53 by September 22 in order to place it on the November ballot. PHIL CAMPBELL

Riding Heidi

We know when to admit we're wrong. And boy was The Stranger wrong about City Council Member Heidi Wills. While we've spent the last nine months trashing Wills for turning into a Margaret Pageler clone (Heidi "Whitey" Wills voted against amending the evil impound ordinance and wrote the legislation that killed the monorail), she's actually the most progressive American politician since William Jennings Bryan. Heck, while we've been pestering Wills to cover up her voting record by purchasing Council Member Nick Licata's excellent record (street value $10,000) or snatching up Judy Nicastro's renters' rights position paper ($15,000), Wills had a better idea. She bought a new, environmentally friendly Toyota Prius (sticker price $20,450)--the hybrid electric and gasoline car. The Prius gets 66 miles per gallon and emits up to 90 percent less fumes than your normal car.

In the name of journalistic objectivity, we'd like to quote Wills' press release verbatim: "I am personally committed to reducing pollution," Council Member Heidi Wills said. Not only is her Prius purchase good news for the environment, but it's also good news for Wills. She'll never have to depend on light rail to get around Seattle.

Thumbs up, Heidi. And P.S., you didn't have to give us a spin in the new wheels or that ride back to Capitol Hill to score this write-up. (Honk and wave if you see Heidi Wills!) JOSH FEIT

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