Saturday, January 10, 2009

PI for sale, might close

For the past 146 years, the reporters, editors and production staff of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer have served the people of Seattle. Their contribution has been immense and immeasurable. Whatever happens 60 days from now, all who worked there should be proud of their role in this fine Seattle institution.

As a avid reader of the Seattle PI, I pledge to continue my financial support (.75 a day) until your last edition. If your last edition is just two months from now, I will cherish that final newspaper as an important keepsake and family heirloom. I will remember the Seattle PI and feel honored to have been the subject of several stories or having contributed to a couple more.

You have reflected the diversity of this city, writing more than most about the diverse minority communities and the issues and concerns that they faced. They were articles that were artfully crafted and showed a deep understanding of their subjects.

As a life-long local resident, I have found that the Seattle PI seems to be the more forward thinking newspaper in this town. This from a former Seattle Times newspaper boy and teen representative on the advisory board of the Seattle Times owned Mirror paper.

The staff of the Seattle PI have used technology to great affect. They host blogs from local Seattle voices and encourage feedback in the form of comment to their articles. The have broken the mold on numerous occasions with their design and outstanding editorial cartoons.

The Seattle Times, while full of top-notch journalists and excellent reporting, looks and feels like a dinosaur. Slowly, things are changing as they adapt to an Internet centric world. However, they are still playing catch-up.

Of course, as I opine about the Seattle PI, it is the Seattle Times who may be the last local newspaper giant standing. Clearly, it helps to be in control of the circulation, advertising and publishing aspects of the Joint Operating Agreement. Without the Seattle Times, the PI could not stand on its own.

So, while I would prefer a two newspaper town, the sad reality may be that this city cannot support it, especially with the current economic climate. What I am hoping for, should the Seattle PI close for good, is that the Seattle Times will look a little more like the PI and the alternative local weeklies will pick up the slack.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

ZZzzz... Mayor to Propose Car Free Days in Seattle

Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels will announce today, during a press conference, his plans for car-free days throughout the city. The move is meant to help combat global warming. While it's a cool idea, I think it's full of hot air.

Imagine if all the streets around Alki Beach were shut down. What a fun pedestrian friendly place it would be. Well... that's part of the plan exactly.

On Sunday, September 7, from 12 to 6 p.m. cars will be banned from a section of Alki for one afternoon. Bicyclists will be allowed -- of course. Hopefully, bus traffic to the area will be increased.

The details about other car-free days and locations, to be held in August and September, have yet to be announced.

While I like the conscious-raising aspects of the events, I doubt random car free days around the city is going to make a dent in Seattle's carbon emissions. It sounds more like a publicity stunt to bolster the Mayor's image as a leader in the fight against global warming -- which I think is a real thing (you go Al Gore).

Whatever the true reason, car free days can't hurt but big talk and small actions don't solve big problems. We need a bold vision for our region and we need someone who can convince even the most glutinous among us to join the fight.


Parks Dept. responsible for Green Lake spikes

The news was shocking: 50 metal spikes had been discovered in the shallows of Green Lake, a popular park in Seattle. The Seattle Parks Department suggested it was a malicious act. Now...

The Parks Department now says... oops... we are to blame for the fear and hysteria the spikes have caused local residents. The newspapers and TV stations ran interview after interview of people saying they would be reluctant to swim or boat in the lake ever again.

Parks spokeswoman Dewey Potter had said they suspected sabotage. I have had many dealings with her while working as a reporter for a local Seattle weekly and know here to be a true professional -- friendly, helpful, and reliable. So, you wonder where things went so horribly wrong.

However, unlike the long forgotten time capsule that occasionally creep up in the news, spikes in the shallow areas of the lake seem like something you may want to keep track of. Call me crazy... but a spike in the foot seems like a serious matter -- which is how these spikes were discovered in the first place.

The Parks Department says the spikes were placed in the lake more than 20 years ago in an effort to hold down plastic sheeting in an attempt to control water plants. Apparently, the spikes originally had curved tops that rusted off, leaving sharp points. Metal + water = rust. What a shock!

The Seattle Police spent man hours (ie. tax dollars) on their investigation. The Parks Department invested a lot of their own time and money as well. According to a July 25, 2008, press release, the Parks Department planned to hire professional divers to augment the volunteers already combing the depths of Green Lake. Let's hope the Parks Department puts a little more planning in their future improvements to our treasured local parks.

Source: The Seattle Times

Friday, July 25, 2008

No 'Reason' to Seattle's Mag Ranking

The libertarian magazine Reason ranked Seattle second only to Chicago on its list of American cities that limit personal behavior.

The magazine pointed to the city's ban on high-alcohol beers and fortified wines as one example of the city's ninny-nagging, finger-wagging ways.

The magazine says we have particularly restrictive laws in effect here in Seattle. It's hard to believe that the city -- the birth place of grunge rock -- would ever find itself on any such list.

While I've observed a shift in the 'tude of Seattlites, I think we are still fairly laid back folks. The flannel shirts and dirty jeans that once graced our closets are still a part of our collective culture.

I think the so called "restrictive laws" are just a part of the growing pains associated with an ever-expanding population in the region, a maturing of sorts. It's part of the reason why so many of those flannel shirts and jeans ended up in the bins at Goodwill.

Note to Fellow IKEA-philes

Hot off the PR News wire:
San Francisco, CA (PRWEB) July 25, 2008 -- bCODE, a leading global provider of one-to-one mobile marketing solutions has teamed up with Valassis Interactive, the interactive arm of Valassis, one of the nation's leading media and marketing services companies (NYSE: VCI), to deliver a mobile-based loyalty program for the IKEA Seattle store.
Customers of the IKEA Seattle store can join the "IKEA Mobile" mobile loyalty program by simply sending a pre-selected keyword via text message to a shortcode (e.g. 12345). Members of the IKEA Mobile program receive personalized offers via SMS text messages to their mobile devices. These offers are then redeemed at the store using bCODE's innovate self-service mobile scanners.
Delivering offers via regular SMS text messages means that more than 98% of the population with a mobile device can instantly benefit from these personalized offers. Unlike other mobile marketing programs that require special software downloads, carrier subscription services, or special phones, bCODES simply work on virtually any device. The secure nature of scanned bCODE's means that high-value offers can be sent to program members increasing the overall attractiveness and value of the program.
Source links retracted as no longer working.

Time for Comprehensive Public Transportation

From the Seattle Times:
Sound Transit is putting a $17.9 billion rail and bus plan on the November ballot, in hopes that voters overlook this year's economic slowdown and think long-term.
More than two-thirds of the money would be spent to build 34 miles of light-rail extensions, reaching the Overlake Transit Center near Microsoft in 2021, and Lynnwood and north Federal Way by 2023.
Late next year, light-rail service begins from downtown Seattle to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport; a north line to Capitol Hill and Husky Stadium is already scheduled for completion in 2016.
Dear Fellow Seattleites,

With the cost of gasoline on the rise and with some analysts projecting that $5.00 per gallon gas may just be over the horizon, it is time for the citizens of the Puget Sound to take public transit seriously. Yes... It's expensive. Yes... Roadway and infrastructure construction can take a long time and put your blood in a boil due to congestion. However, the sad truth is that our current roads cannot support the population growth in the region.

We have two options... Pave over the last remaining green spaces in our cities and build a new bridge across Lake Washington... or... invest in public transportation. I can tell you which option I prefer: As a life long resident of the Puget Sound region, I choose comprehensive public transportation.

An investment today will help us to preserve the natural beauty of the Puget Sound -- which is what makes living here so enjoyable -- and -- just as important -- help us to retain our sanity.

Educate yourself about the proposal by clicking here!

Yours Truly,


Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Tim Burgess: No friend of mine!

Published with permission from Seattle Gay Blog:

As the saying goes: A friend of the right-wing is no friend of mine.

That's the message that NARAL Pro-Choice Washington relayed to reporters during a morning press conference at a Seattle hotel. The organization released a slew of fundraising letters Seattle City Council candidate Tim Burgess supposedly wrote during a decade of consulting work he did for the right-wing group Concerned Women for America (CWA).

The letters, uncovered in the files of the People for the American Way, a liberal watchdog group, use derogitory language toward Gays and outline CWA's opposition to pro-choice advocates.

Karen Cooper, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Washington, said Burgess told her organization during an endorsement meeting that he wrote the fundraising letters during his comapany's years of consulting work for CWA between 1995 and 2005. Seattle Gay News Publisher George Bakan, who also participated in the press conference, reminded reporters that Burgess told The Stranger during an interview that he was a "copywriter" on CWA projects, a well understood trade term meaning that he wrote, edited and approved much of the language used in the letters.

Among CWA's accusations in the letters:
  • Radical homosexual activists and their allies plan to turn America's public school system into full-fledged gay propaganda and recruitment camps
  • Homosexuality and pedophilia are both sexual orientations
  • Emergency contraception is the same as an abortion
  • The National Education Association seeks to promote the "homosexual lifestyle" in America's public schools

One letter dated January 1997, which had been blown-up to poster size and circled in red by press conference organizers, talks about the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, a piece of legislation still under consideration in Congress.

The letter reads: "...ENDA was a blatant attempt to destroy our society's moral foundations. This bill would have forced Christian businessmen and women and other decent Americans to hire homosexuals and those with a variety of 'sexual orientations,' including transvestites and pedophiles."

Bakan said as a newspaper publisher he's turned away advertising from groups professing beliefs he disagreed with, such as "ex-Gay" groups. He said that--in Seattle--few companies would take work from groups such as CWA.

Althought NARAL Pro-Choice Washington and the Seattle Gay News have endorsed Councilman David Della, Burgess' opponent, in the Seattle City Council Position Seven race, Cooper and Bakan said they are releasing the letters Wednesday only in hopes of providing voters with more information from which to cast their ballot.