Friday, October 16, 2009

Rainy day reading list

Want some fun legislative reading to pass the time on this drizzly Friday?

Rep. Reuven Carlyle reflects on the need for transformational systems change in our state's higher education system and wonders where all the organizers for change are hiding.

Rep. Ross Hunter has the 520 bridge project on his mind and wants to know whether you think we should toll I-90 to help pay for it.

A consultant's recommendations is making headlines with their suggestion to get rid of more than 1,600 beds at the Washington State Penitentiary in Walla Walla, or close a prison for the old and infirm, and more.

You've probably read lots about the legal fight to disclose the signatures of those who signed petitions for R-71 or I-1033. The Secretary of State's office is providing some interesting background on why initiative and referendum petitions should be considered public records.

The Attorney General's office is hosting lots of free shred events. Check their calendar for locations near you and read their tips for preventing identity theft.

Happy reading and happy Friday!

Monday, October 12, 2009

A hands-on look at the viaduct replacement project

The 36th District delegation of Reps. Reuven Carlyle and Mary Lou Dickerson and Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles last Friday afternoon hosted the second in a series of hands-on community tours exploring the Alaskan Way Viaduct replacement project. More than 30 community members and representatives from stakeholder groups attended the event, which focused on the central waterfront and seawall portions of the mega-project.

The three lawmakers held the tours so that the public has a baseline level of information about the project. Carlyle notes that they want an “engaged, open, transparent process” that adequately addresses the concerns of all stakeholders, from commuters and freight businesses to bicyclists, transit riders and more. Dickerson said Friday’s event “really helped people to listen to one another, which is important as we move forward.” In late July, the lawmakers held the first event, focusing on tunnel access points for NW Seattle.

Ron Paananen and Mark Bandy of WSDOT, Bob Chandler and Steve Pearce of Seattle DOT, Ron Posthuma of King County DOT, and Mike Merritt of the Port of Seattle were on hand on Friday to explain the current stage of the project and what the next steps will be. Utility relocation work has already begun, and an environmental impact assessment and soil testing are currently underway. Meanwhile, WSDOT on Sept. 15 issued a request for qualifications to contractors interested in the bored-tunnel project.

Participants met at Carlyle and Kohl-Welles’ office at the base of Queen Anne for a presentation, followed by a walking tour of several points along the waterfront to see where the proposed changes could occur.

To learn more about the viaduct replacement project, visit WSDOT’s viaduct project Web site.