Transportation, Media, Religion, Strippergate

TRANSPORTATION

Last week, Mayor Greg Nickels got $3 million more to fulfill his desire named streetcar. Nickels convinced Sen. Patty Murray to include $3 million in this year's Senate transportation bill for the yet-to-be approved, Vulcan-backed trolley envisioned to run from downtown to South Lake Union. That's three times the amount Murray got to help replace the tottering Alaskan Way Viaduct. This porkeven in lean timesdoesn't make all Seattle City Council members happy. Council President Peter Steinbrueck says, "I have to express some strong disappointment that our federal funds were not prioritized to our strong and urgent need to replace the viaduct." Steinbrueck adds, "This is a pet project. It's under the radar."

Nickels' spokesperson Marianne Bischel says Steinbrueck is comparing apples to oranges. The feds can fund the streetcar out of "bus facilities money," while the viaduct can only be fixed with highway dough. She says the mayor is working hard to secure $500 million in federal funding for viaduct replacement, but that's a long-term project. The streetcar is "something we can make happen very quickly," says Bischel. "We are quietly and effectively putting together funding for the streetcar." GEORGE HOWLAND JR.

MEDIA

If there were a Pulitzer for parody, then it would surely go to an anonymous reporter at the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Last week, Seattle Times Publisher Frank Blethen circulated his "Annual Mid-Year Message" to Times employees, a windy missive with a "hey-I'm-a-man-of-the-people" tone that contained much company chest-thumping and decried P-I owner Hearst's stance on the ongoing JOA battle. "Remaining 'fiercely independent' means serving our community and being beholden only to our readers, something we do as well as any daily newspaper in the country," bragged Blethen. In response, someone at the P-I penned their version of Blethen's memo. "Remaining 'fiercely redundant' means serving our community leftovers and bedeviling not only our readers but our creditors as well," reads the comic reply, which phrase by phrase turns Blethen's logic and tone on its head. To read both versions, go to www.poynter.org/romenesko and click on Memos. PHILIP DAWDY

RELIGION

"They still don't get it," Jim Biteman says of Catholic Church leaders. Biteman, head of the local chapter of Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP), responded to a Friday, Sept. 5, speech here by Bishop Wilton Gregory, president of the nationwide Conference of Catholic Bishops, in which he accused the press of "obsessively" covering the church's sex-abuse crisis. "They're trying to deflect responsibility, just like they initially tried to deflect responsibility on victims," Biteman says. The bishop was in town for a conference of religion newswritersan occasion that Biteman and his group used as a platform. SNAP held a press conference asking the church to remove a lawyer from her position handling calls from abuse victims on a toll-free hot line. The group believes the information from victims is not kept confidential and that a counselor would be better suited to that role. Over the weekend, SNAP also took the aggressive step of distributing leaflets outside Catholic churches in Seattle and Tacoma offering help to abuse victims. NINA SHAPIRO

STRIPPERGATE

Who broke the rules that forced the Seattle City Council to repeal the zoning changes at Rick's strip club in Lake City? So far, we know that six City Council members had improper ex parte communications about the matter. Three council membersPeter Steinbrueck, Nick Licata, and Margaret Pagelerhave told Seattle Weekly it wasn't them. We're still awaiting revelations from Jan Drago, Richard McIver, Judy Nicastro, and Heidi Wills. Steinbrueck says we'll soon get a complete report. City Council staff is compiling as complete a record as possible of all ex parte contacts as part of the process for rehearing the zoning changes later this fall.

For those whose Strippergate appetite is unquenchable, why not see the canceled checks from Frank Colacurcio Jr. and associates for yourselves? From now until Sept. 15, all campaigns must make all their financial records available to the public at advertised dates and locations. For a complete list of addresses and times, visit www.seattle.gov/elections/. G.H.

info@seattleweekly.com

 
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