Politics, Media, Quote

Politics

Are you already sick of Election 2004? Don't despair, the campaign for 2005 is under way! Last Spring, King County Council member Dwight Pelz, D-Seattle, announced he would seek election to the Seattle City Council next year. On Monday, Sept. 27, Pelz climbed aboard an issue he hopes will help lead to victory more than a year from now, bragging: "I was the first politician to oppose the monorail." At a press conference, Pelz released results of a King County Transportation Department study of whether Metro Transit buses could deliver as many riders to the proposed monorail as the Seattle Monorail Project assumes. Pelz says the answer to this rather arcane question is no. In other words, the monorail is putting out rosy numbers about ridership based on faulty assumptions about bus service, according to Pelz. This fine point is hardly going to make or break the monorail, or a campaign for City Council. Nonetheless, Pelz says, "I'm disappointed by the lack of scrutiny given by the City Council to the monorail. They are hesitant to ask hard questions and draw hard conclusions." We'll be hearing a lot of that from Pelz in the coming year as he tries to ride that elevated train to City Hall. GEORGE HOWLAND JR. (For more on the monorail, see Geov Parrish's column)

Media

Whether the Washington Post Co. is on the verge of buying the online magazine Slate, as reported this week in New York magazine, remains to be seen. But the Post Co. has done some serious looking. About a month ago, Slate founder Michael Kinsley had dinner with several Posties, who had come to Seattle to talk about a potential buy. They dined at Etta's Seafood, über-chef Tom Douglas' chic eatery on Western Avenue near the Pike Place Market. "It was not a done deal," says Kinsley, who is now the editorial and opinion editor for the Los Angeles Times and divides his time between L.A. and Seattle. Kinsley recalls, though, that the Posties seemed enthusiastic about the possibility. Kinsley's pretty enthusiastic himself, though he's no longer affiliated with Microsoft's online magazine. "The idea that it's being sold because it's worth something is very cool," Kinsley says. Whoever might be the buyer, Microsoft's recent announcement that it is selling Slate raises a number of questions. Most pertinent for Northwesterners: Without the connection to Microsoft, will the magazine, whose center of gravity has already drifted east, retain any presence at all in the region? NINA SHAPIRO

Quote

"I'm over the moon—as Richard Branson, astronaut, rather than Richard Branson, entrepreneur. My wife will find me even harder to live with."—Sir Richard Branson, British balloonist and owner of the Virgin airline, media, and vodka empire, on his deal with aeronautical engineer Burt Rutan and Mercer Island billionaire Paul Allen to license the technology of SpaceShipOne for suborbital passenger trips starting in 2007. He calls the venture Virgin Galactic.

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