Monorail Recall, the organization hoping to kill the Green Line narrowly approved by voters in 2002, got its petition drive off to a heady launch last week. Organizers claim they delivered 500 petitions to a dozen locations for distribution; within a few hours, 1,500 more had to be printed. Does this worry proponents of the $1.6 billion project, on the eve of its June 15 construction-bid opening? Some Seattle Monorail Project officials think the petition's aim, to disallow use of city rights of way, might be legally flawed. But pro-monorailers who chat on Yahoo.com see progress slipping away. Wrote one: "We are at risk of losing the monorail project that we worked so hard to build." Monorail officials are "doing a piss poor job of educating people. Rise Above It All is doing nothing. Friends of the Monorail is doing nothing. The City Council and the mayor certainly aren't helping much." Meanwhile, "Henry Aronson and On Track are up to the same-old shenanigans that they were back during the election. Tim Wulf and MonorailRecall.com just use outright lies and scare tactics to win people over. They only need 18,000 signatures on this petition. They may just get that in the anti-monorail areas of the city pretty easily. Then we really will have a political (and legal) fight on our hands." RICK ANDERSON
Once again, Christine Gregoire has reinforced the notion that she's Gov. Gary Locke in a skirt. On Tuesday, May 18, Washington's attorney general and leading Democratic gubernatorial candidate unveiled her long-awaited economic program. The centerpiece is something Gregoire calls the Life Sciences Discovery Fund. She proposes to take hundreds of millions of dollars of the state's tobacco settlement money and use it to promote research in biotechnology, in hopes of attracting investment. If this sounds familiar, that's because Locke unsuccessfully pushed the exact same idea during the last legislative session, only he was calling it Bio21. It's more evidence: If Gregoire wins the governor's mansion, politics in Olympia will be remarkably unchanged. GEORGE HOWLAND JR.
After years of bickering and who knows how many hearings, City Council member Nick Licata, head of the public-safety committee, on Tuesday, May 18, passed out of the committee by a 6-0 vote an ordinance that would end Seattle's draconian impounding of cars driven by people with suspended licenses—cars sometimes owned by somebody other than the driver. The present law, a legacy of former City Attorney Mark Sidran, is considered by many to be unfair to the poor. In supporting a change, Licata and committee members David Della and Peter Steinbrueck were joined by council members Jean Godden, Richard McIver, and Tom Rassmussen. The measure could be before the full council Monday, May 23. PHILIP DAWDY
"The Seattle Art Museum, designed by Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown, is a rancid piece of work. Frank Gehry's Experience Music Project looks like something that crawled out of the sea, rolled over and died." —Herbert Muschamp, New York Times architecture critic, in a rave review of the new Seattle Central Library (Sunday, May 16) See "Simplicity in the Stacks," p. 20.