Voters Sit in Judgment

Also: A controversial homeless-housing plan gets money, and Husky basketball tickets are getting more costly.

The Judiciary

OK, so he called that domestic violence victim a heifer. And that Asian worker a Chinaman. But no way did he call that Mexican guy a Chihuahua! Besides, he was only joking. Furthermore, said Yakima County Municipal Court Judge Jonathan Martin, he might have fallen out of his chair that one day in court, but someone must have designed the floor wrong. Let's see, what else? Those court documents—returned unread and unsigned? Sometimes, maybe. And, well, if he looked and sounded confused up there on the bench, he wasn't, and if he didn't keep accurate records, failed to follow protocol and procedures, and improperly disposed of evidence? Yes and no, but not often. Of course, Martin ultimately agreed that if "his poor attempts at humor" and other public acts were to be tested, the state Commission on Judicial Conduct could prove "some or all" of the alleged violations and he'd be removed from the bench. So he accepted censure from the commission last week. That was sort of a joke, too. Yakima County voters had already laughed him off the bench last year. RICK ANDERSON

Public Housing

The city's Office of Housing announced last week that it has awarded $2.6 million in housing levy money to the Downtown Emergency Service Center's controversial Hillman City project to provide long-term shelter for homeless people with mental illnesses. The neighborhood has been up in arms over the idea. The project is also expected to get other money from King County, the state housing trust fund, and a fee collected from the recording of real-estate documents. DESC Executive Director Bill Hobson says he expects the project to go forward. The city also awarded money to three other homeless housing projects, as well as a housing project for AIDS patients. PHILIP DAWDY

Sports

Now that the University of Washington is having trouble keeping seats warm in Husky Stadium, Athletic Director Todd Turner seems intent on juicing the revitalized men's basketball program for Tyee Club cheddar. To wit, in a May 15 letter which went out to all 2,495 season-ticket holders, Turner stated that if Hec Ed devotees wanted to hold onto their seats, they'd best become Tyee members—and that tickets would be prioritized based on a tiered system that starts at $150 per year on top of ticket costs. (Tyee memberships help fund athletic scholarships.) "With the strong initial demand for season tickets, waiting would not be my recommendation," Turner writes. While the pitch appears to be bolder than ever before, "reallocation," as the tactic is known, occurs every three years for every major UW sport. The difference, says Turner's assistant, Liz McFarland, is that, unlike the 2003 reallocation cycle, demand for seats actually might outstrip supply, owing to the basketball program's recent success. In addition, Tyee men's basketball memberships have risen from some 500 in 2003 to 1,534 currently. Says McFarland: "We're not telling them to join, we're just telling them, 'If you don't, this might happen.' This is the first time we've reallocated the arena since the men's basketball team has been successful. The demand wasn't there before." Still, some fans feel hoodwinked. "It's almost like now that the football team is crap, they're trying to stick it to basketball fans," says season-ticket holder Brian Klein, UW Class of '96. "This is one of the few reasonably priced sporting events you can attend—it's more than rich people going to these games. It seems like the letter is crafted to intimidate you." MIKE SEELY

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