Allentown, Drug War, Racism

Allentown

How will Mayor Greg Nickels pay to run his proposed South Lake Union streetcar? By diverting 9,000 Metro bus hours from other neighborhoods and pouring them into a streetcar subsidy for Paul Allen's favorite neighborhood. So says Seattle City Council member Nick Licata. There's a limit to how many hours of bus service the city can receive from King County Metro. (It is based on a complicated formula established by the transit agency.) Metro has agreed to operate and maintain the mayor's new streetcar, but there is a hidden cost. The mayor admits that as of 2009, 20 percent of the new bus hours that Metro has planned for Seattle will be diverted into streetcar operations instead. "If we do this, it could actually result in poorer transit service in other parts of the city," warns Licata. The council member is encouraging citizens to call the City Council, 206-684-8888, and protest. GEORGE HOWLAND JR.

Drug War

On Monday, June 6, the U.S. Supreme Court gave the feds the green light to use federal antipot laws to go after medical marijuana patients in Washington and the nine other states that have legalized medical marijuana. Since then Washington state lawmakers have been noticeably quiet with one exception: Toby Nixon, a Republican state representative from Kirkland. Nixon says the court ruling is an assault on states' rights and wants the state Legislature to send a message—in the form of a so-called memorial, essentially a fancy proclamation—to Congress. The memorial would call upon federal lawmakers to change drug laws so states can decide for themselves if they want to "experiment with liberty" and go against the feds on medical marijuana. PHILIP DAWDY

Racism

Angela Walker, whose black family has endured racial attacks in the small white logging town of Hoquiam (see: "Black and White in Grays Harbor County," March 16) finally has good news to report. Since Seattle Weekly's story, "Things are changing here," she says. "It's just shy of amazing." She formed a group with others demanding action from City Hall. Mayor Jack Durney has now assigned a liaison to meet with her group, and Walker herself was given a position with Hoquiam's summer parks program. "I will be teaching diversity through arts and crafts," says Walker, the mother of five. "This is exciting." Importantly, she notes, "We also had an incident where a man physically assaulted our son. We went to the police knowing nothing would be done [as she says routinely happened in the past]. Lo and behold, the sergeant talked about arresting the man! We were shocked!" She believes, "People are actually taking this problem seriously now." RICK ANDERSON

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