Martha Choe, Gov. Gary Locke's point person on economic development and landing the Boeing 7E7 jetliner assembly plant for Everett last year, is joining the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Locke's Department of Information Services director, Stuart McKee, is leaving his state post to rejoin Gates' Microsoft Corp. as U.S. national technology officer. Locke's top political aide and campaign manager, DeLee Shoemaker, has already departed the governor's office for a high-level Microsoft job. Earlier, Locke's brother-in-law, Judd Lee, left a technology firm the governor helped get off the ground and joined Microsoft. Is there a trend here—and is Gary Locke next on Bill Gates' to-hire list? The governor's office says Locke hasn't made any decision about his future, other than deciding not to stand for re-election for a third term this year. But a corporate ambassadorial position—in effect, a lobbyist—with Microsoft is among the jobs Locke is rumored to be weighing. And why not? The governor has been very, very good to Microsoft, promoting technology tax breaks throughout his two terms (this year he sought and got approval from legislators to extend those breaks into 2015). State records show that Microsoft, which did at least $1.2 million in contract work for the state last year, has already received $117 million in sales-tax exemptions alone. Bill, give the guy a job, already! Taxpayers can't afford to keep him. RICK ANDERSON
Seattle's 10th annual Northwest Bookfest, which had been scheduled for October, has been canceled. Says the board of directors in a written statement issued Thursday, May 27: "Producing another large scale event could potentially leave the organization facing another deficit, and the decision was made that it would be irresponsible to continue." This is an interesting turn of events considering that not six weeks ago the nonprofit hosted a wine reception to celebrate its future, giving no hint of financial difficulties. "We were in a really different place," says Danielle Bennett, Bookfest's recently hired executive director. "It's amazing how quickly things changed." As of June 30, the paid staff will be laid off. Bennett cites a number of factors, including changes in the publishing industry that cut author travel, dwindling attendance (last year there was a $10 admission for the first time), changes of venue in recent years, and cutbacks in philanthropy. When asked about the future of Bookfest as an organization, Jon Shorr, president of the board, says the board will have to discuss the viability of some sort of 2005 event, but adds, "It is going to be very hard to pull out of this." KIMBERLY PETERSON
"There is no mention of anything about the [new] monorail cutting through the Seattle Center. No mention of the demolition of the current Alweg monorail. No mention of a skybridge near Westlake Center the length of the Space Needle. No mention of football field–length switches. No mention of single tracking. No mention of Iris columns. It doesn't even mention the length of the line or the estimated cost." —Monorail critic Richard Borkowski, president of People for Modern Transit, recalling what was not included in the 2002 monorail initiative. Last week, Seattle Monorail Project officials sued backers of a new recall initiative, calling it "misleading."