The precious bonsai have been returned! Two valuable decades-old bonsai trees were reportedly stolen from the Pacific Bonsai Museum in Federal Way last weekend. But, miraculously, they were "mysteriously returned" to the museum on Tuesday night. Nicole Brodeur at the Seattle Times reports that "people wept with relief." The trees did, sadly, experience some damage. “Minor damage, but overall, they are doing well.”
Centrist Dems are panicked over Bernie's frontrunner status: So panicked, they're rushing to Bloomberg "as a potential savior." Bloomberg, a man worth an estimated $61.8 billion, is apparently the person party heads favor if Biden keeps flunking. I anticipate they'll all rush off to the Cayman Islands if Bernie gets the nomination.
[***Puts finger to ear***]: Oh! Hold on! My phone's ringing! It's Nathalie Graham from Slog AM. She's here with a dispatch:
City Council today was… a lot: Councilmember Dan Strauss hosted his first-ever committee meeting. Strauss chairs the Land Use & Neighborhoods committee. He and Alex Pedersen and Andrew Lewis all wore the same navy suit and it was difficult to tell them apart. The bulk of the meeting was devoted to a resolution to expand tree protections in the city. Here is a taste of what that meeting was like:
It was a tree-hugging NIMBY fest in City Hall: The public comments were all about how critical it is to preserve Seattle’s tree canopy. People lamented about their oaks and cedars that were ripped out without their consent and how new buildings were put in their place. One woman called for a 24-hour tree crime hotline. While protecting trees sounds great, the tree argument is a way to stall new development. Obviously we want trees! One woman emphasized how protecting trees was the biggest way to combat climate change. Ma’am, the biggest way to combat climate change is a dense, walkable city.
The tree protections update won’t be finished until December: Probably. The work is just getting underway, according to an update from the Department of Constructions & Inspections. What do people want? More protections for trees to make it harder to remove them. Strauss didn’t offer much helpful commentary in the discussion and mostly chimed in to thank people for their work. Lewis actually asked good questions and emphasized that he did not want tree protections to get in the way of more housing.
And thanks for turning out in New Hampshire, New Hampshire! After a disappointing turnout in Iowa, New Hampshire voters came out in record numbers. New Hampshire voter "turnout has officially surpassed not just the state’s 2016 primary, but also the record-setting 2008 primary," writes Ezra Marcus for Mic.
The legal battle over Tim Eyman's I-976 continues: The voter-approved initiative, which would cut car-tab taxes but decimate transit budgets, has been upheld by a King County judge, reports Heidi Groover for the Seattle Times. But the judge didn't "dispose of all” of the claims against the initiative, so the initiative remains on hold. More here.
Today's crazy Amazon patent: Amazon Prime Air VP's recent patent "lays out a plan for a launch system that could theoretically send payloads into space on the end of a miles-long whip, guided by a phalanx of drones attached to the lash," writes Alan Boyle for Geekwire. The patent has many other uses, apparently, such as: "Packages could be flung up on drones for processing on aerial fulfillment centers (an airship concept that’s the subject of an earlier Amazon patent)." AN AERIAL FULFILLMENT CENTER.
RompHim, the "male romper," is dead: It was a 2017 "summer style icon," and it was just a romper, but designed for men. The RompHim. The company surged in popularity, but it appears men are now either over rompers or just buying, you know, regular rompers. I won't miss the RompHim.
"Eat Like You’re on Capitol Hill," even when you're at Sea-Tac. The airport just debuted a "Capitol Hill Food Hall" inside Concourse A, which features a vendor list that is... suspicious. It's mostly chains, like Caffe Ladro and Salt & Straw. We'd like to see the QFC hot bar! THAT would be representation! You have to look at a photo of this thing. It's ridiculous.
Oh, what's that? Another dispatch? This one's coming from The Stranger's Rich Smith:
Kshama Sawant drops a plan to tax big business: Today Council Member Sawant proposed a 1.7% payroll tax on Seattle’s biggest businesses, with “biggest businesses” defined as “those with at least $7 million in annual payroll,” exempting grocery stores, according to the Seattle Times. Analysis from city staff shows the bill would raise $300 million per year. Three-quarters of the money would be used to build 8,000 units of affordable housing per year in Seattle, and a quarter of the money would be used to transform gas systems into electric systems across town. Unlike a plan hashed out between Mayor Durkan, King County Exec Dow Constantine, and a bunch of big businesses in some
smoke-filled backroomextremely well-lit corner office, Sawant’s plan would raise 75% of the funds necessary to adequately address the homelessness crisis in King County.
Speaking of that plan: Before King County can even consider the Mayor’s plan, which would only—and I cannot stress this enough—raise enough money to address 10% of the homelessness crisis in the county, lawmakers in Olympia need to give King County permission to raise a payroll tax in the first place. Big businesses have implied they will only support such a tax if lawmakers agree to include language in this bill that prevents Seattle from ever taxing them again. Seriously. Though moderate Democrats have yet to slip in that poison pill, they have yet to take that option off the table. So today, Sawant and the rest of the Tax Amazon movement took a field trip to Olympia to raise alarm about this potential poison pill and to pressure progressive lawmakers not to swallow it.
Sawant and others urged Seattle Rep. Nicole Macri, who is sponsoring the bill, to oppose the poison pill. After a lot of back and forth, Rep. Macri implied that her bill offers a countywide solution to a countywide problem, but ultimately said she wouldn’t take preemption off the table. The Tax Amazon crew boo-hissed. Macri was good enough to stick around and took a couple of questions before leaving to work on another bill.
Okay, I think we're basically done here for today: The only thing I have left is a new trailer from Saturday Night Live's biggest dick.