U.S. Rep. Dave Reichert, R- Auburn, is crowing at being chosen one of the most centrist members of Congress by National Journal, the prestigious D.C. magazine. "At the center of National Journal's 2005 congressional vote ratings are the mainstream Republican moderates and the conservative mavericks who boldly defied President Bush and GOP leaders," National Journal wrote in an article published last month. National Journal's editors and reporters ranked congressional members ideologically on the basis of 107 key votes in the House and 70 votes in the Senate on economic-, social-, and foreign-policy issues from 2005. Reichert came out with a 45 percent liberal, 55 percent conservative rating overall. Having an independent source like National Journal describe him as a raging moderate is pure gold for Reichert's re-election. GEORGE HOWLAND JR.
It wasn't a good week for former University of Washington football players. Ex–Husky linebacker Hillary Butler was criminally charged last week in Seattle federal court after he and a second man were caught crossing a field to the Canadian border carrying 140 pounds of dope in duffel bags. Ex–UW footballer Roc Alexander, meanwhile, now faces a civil trial for allegedly sexually assaulting two women in 2001. In King County Superior Court papers filed last week, the women's attorney, Rebecca Roe, says Alexander had agreed to a confidential two-payment settlement in a 2004 lawsuit, but failed to make the first payment in February. Alexander was one of three ex–Husky footballers sued by Roe in 2003–2004 for sexual assault of her clients. Court files now show that a woman's lawsuit against ex-Husky and now Seahawks tight end Jerramy Stevens was settled in July 2004, terms undisclosed. In March 2005, a $350,000 default judgment was entered against ex–UW cornerback Eric Shyne in a case brought by another woman. No criminal charges were filed in those three cases, and the players all denied the women's claims. RICK ANDERSON
On Mon., March 20, Seattle City Council member Peter Steinbrueck didn't back off much from his effort to fund affordable housing. Steinbrueck wants to amend Mayor Greg Nickels' plan to change downtown and the Denny Triangle zoning to encourage a forest of tall, skinny residential towers. Steinbrueck wants developers to pay bonus fees into an affordable-housing fund to ensure that downtown and the Denny Triangle don't turn into the exclusive province of the rich. Nickels had called for a $10-per-square-foot affordable-housing fee, Steinbrueck countered with $20 per square foot, and developers hit the ceiling. Now, Steinbrueck proposes charging developers $10 a square foot on the first 290 feet in height of new buildings and $20 a square foot for the next 110 feet, among other proposals in the plan. The full council will take up Steinbrueck's plan by early April.
Last week, City Council member Jan Drago, in an unusual move, proposed the council rezone a three-block area due north of Pioneer Square between First and Western avenues, the site of historic buildings like the old art deco Federal Building and the Alexis Hotel. The move was designed, Drago says, to allow Triad Development to put a 240-foot residential tower on a parking lot at Western Avenue and Marion Street. Triad executives contributed $1,300 to Drago's re-election campaign in 2005. Steinbrueck declared her proposal a "spot zoning" and an "abuse" of the planning process and said his committee would not consider the proposal. PHILIP DAWDY