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STATE Politics

Former state Supreme Court Justice and current Democratic gubernatorial candidate Phil Talmadge sounded good on the phone Tuesday, April 27, but he's been seriously ill. Last week, at dinner at P.F. Chang's China Bistro in Bellevue, Talmadge felt light-headed and passed out "with a great deal of show," he says. Taken to the hospital, Talmadge was informed he had blood in his abdomen, caused by a nonmalignant tumor on his kidney. The condition is not life threatening, says Talmadge, but he has to take it easy in the short term. Hopefully, the tumor will shrink on its own, but if not, surgery will be necessary to remove it. The recovery could take up to six weeks. Talmadge is considering ending his self-described "long shot" campaign for governor. "We'll be making a decision in the next few days," he says. GEORGE HOWLAND JR.

Seattle Public Schools

It's rare to see the public effectively question officials without the officials getting away with vague, pat explanations. Last Tuesday, April 20, however, Steve Wilson and Ammon McWashington—brand-new in their jobs as, respectively, chief academic officer and high-schools director for Seattle Public Schools—weren't getting away with anything. They had come to West Seattle High School to tell the building's leadership committee that they were replacing the school's beloved principal, Phil Brockman, with Susan Dersé, who recently called it quits at Garfield High School after a tumultuous three years. (See "Pastimes at Garfield High," April 14.) A cadre of angry parents showed up at West Seattle High to surprise Wilson and McWashington, demanding to know why the administrators were moving Brockman to Ballard High School and installing Dersé without allowing the school community the input they expect to have. Wilson kept repeating that Brockman and Dersé were a "good fit" at their newly assigned schools. Parents kept repeating that they wanted to know why. "You haven't made it make sense for us," said parent Marysue Hildebrandt. While the district needed to put Dersé somewhere, the wisdom of transferring Brockman is unclear, given that West Seattle had finally become a desirable school. Dersé, however, emerged better than expected. The day after the angry exchange with Wilson and McWashington, she faced the Ballard PTSA—and won the crowd over. The PTSA decided not to fight her appointment. NINA SHAPIRO

Geophysics

See the Space Needle topple! See the Golden Gate Bridge shimmy like Galloping Gertie! See Beau Bridges play the president of the United States! Again! These and more thrills are promised when NBC (KING-TV, Channel 5) airs the two-part miniseries 10.5 on Sunday, May 2, and Monday, May 3. Written and directed by John Lafia (Corpse Killer, Monster!, and The Rats), the film shows the supposed effects of a 10.5-magnitude earthquake on the West Coast through the eyes of a University of Washington seismologist, played by Kim Delaney. Filmed in Vancouver, B.C., 10.5 focuses on special effects, not probability. The real UW seismology department, which fields panicky phone calls every time a teacup falls off a shelf, is braced for some real traffic this time. Says UW science flack Vince Stricherz: "I think they're looking at it as an opportunity to educate people." ROGER DOWNEY

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