The mayor and City Council sometimes work at cross- purposes. How bad is it? So bad they can't even agree which day it is. The council proclaimed that Monday, March 21, was David Brewster Day to honor the retiring Town Hall exec and Seattle Weekly founder who helped bring civil society and culture to "new" Seattle. Apparently unbeknownst to the council, Mayor Greg Nickels was taking separate action, naming Monday Ivar Haglund Day to celebrate what would have been the 100th birthday of old Seattle's favorite seafood impresario. City Council spokesperson Jackie O'Ryan, who issued the council's Brewster press release, was surprised to hear of the mayor's action but said the double-day confusion was "somehow fitting." Besides, doesn't everyone know that in Seattle every day is actually Paul Allen Day? KNUTE BERGER
Smart politics, bad public policy. That's the shorthand for Gov. Christine Gregoire's first budget proposal, released Monday, March 21. For weeks, everyone was wondering what Gregoire would do about a $1.5 billion deficit in the state's $25.8 billion biennial budget. If she raised taxes significantly, she would make the business community howl. If she deeply cut social services and nixed wage increases for state workers and teachers, she would offend key Democratic constituents. Since she might face a new election against sore-loser Republican Dino Rossi in November, either choice was politically perilous. So she didn't raise many new taxes—around $202 million divided between a new cigarette tax ($73 million) and an inheritance tax on nonfarm estates over $2 million ($129 million). And she didn't make draconian cuts—roughly $355 million, mostly in social services. Instead, the budget has nearly $1 billion in one-time gimmicks, including moving surplus state money to the general fund ($244 million) and putting off pension payments ($524 million). Her budget is unsustainable and doesn't face the ongoing structural crisis in the state budget. But you have to admire it for being clever. GEORGE HOWLAND JR.
The Saturday morning ping of Little League bats has returned to Magnolia, along with the $82,000 that had been missing from the local league's treasury. Kyle Heinrich, erstwhile University of Washington football star and son of the late Husky gridiron legend Don Heinrich, was accused of stealing $82,163 from the Magnolia league, of which he was president. Heinrich quickly paid back the money, and the league said it wasn't interested in pressing charges. But it turns out that police went on to investigate the case, and Heinrich was in fact charged with felony theft last December by the King County prosecutor. Heinrich allegedly wrote up to 33 fraudulent checks from October 2002 through September 2003, prosecutors say, and replaced the missing funds via a bank wire transfer provided by another person after the theft was discovered. The former Little League leader, who told officials he had lost money on investments, filed for bankruptcy in 2003 and has faced debt collection in a series of county civil cases. Free on personal recognizance, Heinrich, 47, has pleaded not guilty and in February waived his right to a speedy trial. As Magnolia's little boys and girls of summer took the field for opening day last week, plea-bargain talks were under way. RICK ANDERSON