KCTS board member Don Nielsen confirms that the troubled public television station is about to report another deficit. The station says it hasn't yet completed its audited financial statement for the year ending June 30, 2002, but Nielsen says he and other board members got a preliminary briefing from auditors. "The station has not been profitable for a number of years," Nielsen says. No wonder he says he's thinking of leaving the board. Meanwhile, according to an internal document, the board finally approved a break-even budget for the current fiscal year that slashes $1.8 million from the working budget and puts two productions on hold.
If it looks like lobbying, smells like lobbying, and sounds likewell, lobbyingis it really just informing the public?
The Seattle Popular Monorail Authority's Paul Bergman contends that a note informing citizens on its e-mail list of the whereabouts and time of a hearing on monorail legislation and providing information on how to contact their legislators was just "aggressive communicating." But skeptics, including the Seattle Community Council Federation, wondered whether the monorail might be overstepping its governmental bounds. Last week, federation members voted to file a complaint with the state Public Disclosure Commission, alleging that the mass e-mail amounted to grassroots lobbying. "The Public Disclosure Act absolutely prohibits the use of any public funds in organizing a grassroots lobby campaign," says federation member Chris Leman. Monorail watcher Patricia Stambor adds, "[The monorail] forgets that they're running a government right now and not a political campaign." She admits the fine for violating PDC rules is really just "a slap on the hand, [but] if you don't catch them, they just keep doing it."
Meanwhile, over at the state auditor's office, monorail gadfly Geof Logan has filed another complaint, calling the hiring of Executive Director Joel Horn and the appointments of board members Nick Hanauer and Richard Stevenson potential conflicts of interest. Logan is challenging Stevenson's appointment because the Clise Properties exec is effectively the monorail agency's landlord, providing them cut-rate office space in the Securities Building at Third and Pine. He's challenging Hanauerthe guy who couldn't vote for the monorail because he lives in a gated community in Shorelinebecause his primary residence is not in Seattle. According to the PDC, Hanauer and his wife contributed $18,000 to the monorail campaign.
And you thought your bills were going through the roof.
Downtown developer Martin Selig got a past-due notice from City Light for more than $630,000 last month, along with a sternly worded warning: Pay up, or your electric service is history. City Light spokesperson Bob Royer says Selig has agreed to pay off the account by March 15; of Selig's 20-odd buildings, Royer says "several" were in arrears. "The dilemma with having that many buildings is that when you get behind, you get behind very far and very fast," Royer says, noting that a big downtown building can rack up an electric bill of $35,000 to $40,000 a month.