Boeing Busts An Accused Leaker

Also: 10-alarm fire-levy spending, and Tent City 4 is evicted.

Media

Why are two daily newspapers better than one? Because had The Seattle Times been our only local option, we might never have learned that a Boeing employee had been arrested and then fired last month for allegedly leaking proprietary information from computer files— apparently to the Times. Reported the Seattle Post-Intelligencer on Saturday, June 10, in an article by aerospace reporter James Wallace: "For more than a year, Boeing has been quietly trying to determine the source of leaks to The Seattle Times, which has published a number of Boeing-related stories that cited 'internal Boeing documents.'" Wallace has been known to take advantage of "internal Boeing documents" himself, so it must have been kind of weird to call Times business editor Becky Bisbee and aerospace reporter Dominic Gates for comment. They declined, of course. The Boeing employee, Gerald Eastman, confirmed for the P-I that he'd been fired, but he would neither confirm nor deny a relationship with the Times. He told the P-I he was fired from his job in the propulsion unit in Kent as retaliation for blowing the whistle a few years back on what the Federal Aviation Administration described for the P-I as "procedural non-compliance." So far, the Times has been silent on the matter, in print and otherwise. Managing Editor David Boardman told us: "We don't comment on who our sources might or might not be." CHUCK TAYLOR

City Hall

The massive makeover and retrofitting of fire boats, fire stations, and a training facility, sold to the public mainly as a $167 million levy in 2003, is now expected to cost $276 million, excluding interest. The levy funds, along with almost $30 million in other taxpayer money, were sufficient to cover what was a $196 million program, Mayor Greg Nickels promised three years back. But along with a breathtaking $67 million increase in cost to replace or redo 31 neighborhood fire stations, it will take another $13 million above estimates to build two new fireboats, a new combo firehouse/fire-alarm center, and a new training facility now rising in southwest Seattle. That's $80 million over the $196 million budget, says city Fleets and Facilities planning manager Chris Potter. The mayor blames unpredictable rises in steel prices as the culprit, but a city report identifies other major factors, including inept planning. And were costs low-balled to influence voters? If Nickels and the City Council can't come up with more money (possibly through a property tax), the public-safety program will have to be partly delayed or cut back. RICK ANDERSON

Homelessness

After two years, Tent City 4 continues to run into stiff resistance from Eastside residents and cities. On Friday, June 9, King County Superior Court Judge Charles Mertel ordered the roving homeless encampment to vacate its current site at Northshore United Church of Christ in Woodinville before midnight Saturday, June 17, finding in favor of the city. Woodinville had argued that organizer SHARE/WHEEL violated a 2004 agreement that it would go through the city permitting process before setting up shop. The judge also didn't buy legal arguments made by the church that the city was violating constitutional rights to worship. SHARE/WHEEL and the church filed an appeal with the state Court of Appeals on Tuesday, June 13. Arguments are scheduled for Friday, June 16. Barring a stay of Mertel's ruling, it is not clear where Tent City 4's 60-plus residents will head next. The group has previously agreed to stay out of Kirkland and Bellevue following legal dustups there. PHILIP DAWDY

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