Let's hope this is part of a plan. On Monday, March 28, state Senate Democrats released their proposed $26 billion biennial budget, which calls for raising $480 million in new revenue, including higher taxes on cigarettes ($168 million), taxes on estates of more than $1.5 million ($135 million), and higher liquor taxes ($49.7 million). This is over $200 million more than Democratic Gov. Christine Gregoire proposed last week, and the increased revenue goes to pay for—pensions. Not exactly an easy sell to the public. If Democrats are being strategic, the Democrat-controlled state House and Senate and the governor have already agreed on an amount of increased taxation, and this is all political theater. Under that scenario, Gregoire will stand up tall and tough and say $400 million is too much, the Legislature will back down, and everyone will proclaim the governor to be a tough, tightfisted leader. If, on the other hand, Gregoire and the Legislature get into a fight over how many hundreds of millions are required to fund state workers' pensions, Republicans can just sit back and count the days until the next election. GEORGE HOWLAND JR.
Elapsed time as of Wednesday, March 30, since the Seattle Monorail Project received the sole and still secret bid from Cascadia Monorail to build the Green Line: 226 days. CHUCK TAYLOR
On Feb. 14, bearded Keith Gilbert limped–he has a bad leg–into the federal courthouse in Seattle and filed the latest papers in his latest lawsuit. An indefatigable jailhouse lawyer and notorious property manager who has gone by 17 aliases, Gilbert is well known in the U.S. District Court, where he is barred from filing lawsuits without a judge's prior consent, just as he is so barred in Idaho. The next day, the feds showed up at his door, looking for illegal weapons. The 100 guns found in his University District residence included at least one machine gun, for which he's been charged and remains in custody. (Records from that and other cases involving the reputed neo-Nazi show that though he once bragged about planning to blow up Martin Luther King Jr., the white-skinned Gilbert claims he's black.) As for the papers he dropped off at the federal court, they had to do with the appeal of a lawsuit filed by the city of Seattle against his employer, Hugh Sisley, whom the city has repeatedly engaged in local housing-violation cases. The latest allegations, involving one of Sisley's homes on 15th Avenue Northeast, are now being settled. The house still "is not in compliance," says Darby DuComb of the city attorney's office, "but at a pretrial settlement hearing last week, Mr. Sisley agreed to complete the repairs." DuComb is hoping for the best. This is the 35th city case filed against Sisley, involving more than 100 property violations. RICK ANDERSON
On Monday, April 4, Lynn Jacobson joins Seattle Weekly as deputy managing editor for arts and culture. She fills a position vacated last year when Mark D. Fefer moved to New York. Jacobson comes to SW from The Seattle Times, where she was assistant arts-and-entertainment editor in charge of theater, dance, classical music, and film. She is a former professional dancer who toured with the Pat Graney Company and taught modern dance and ballet. Jacobson will be in charge of this paper's food, music, stage, books, film, and visual arts sections. CHUCK TAYLOR