Forget about the Cascadia Subduction Zone. There’s a more volatile north-south fault— and it slices direct from city hall to the state capital. The growing Seattle/Oly rift was evident during today’s city council briefing where members discussed their statehouse field trip last week, the specter of the “V” word hanging like a thick Seattle fog over the show-and-tell session.
Council members Jean Godden, Sally Clark, David Della and Jan Drago said they met with 18 state senators and representatives during their two-day tour to brief lawmakers on the city’s legislative priorities. The city's wish list numbers a couple dozen strong and runs the gamut from housing and education to the environment and public safety.
One of the bills council members are lobbying against would transfer ownership of the Washington Talking Book & Braille Library from the city to the state and likely result in moving the library from Seattle to Olympia.
The council grumbled about the proposal, sponsored by Rep. Phyllis Kenney (D-Seattle), with members saying they didn’t understand why changing ownership was necessary. They city’s spent $8 million on the library and “wants compensation” if the state takes it,” Della said.
“So this would be a state eminent domain action against the city if the state takes it?” Councilman Richard McIver asked, a not-so-veiled jab at the continuing brouhaha over the Viaduct that got him knowing nods and chuckles from his counterparts.
The city’s government relations reps vowed to keep a close eye on the measure, HB 2058, and get back to the council on its chances for passing. The proposal has been referred to the Capital Budget Committee, but hasn't been scheduled for a hearing.
Kip Tokuda from the city’s intergovernmental relations office tried to assure the council that the viaduct battle hasn’t poisoned all of the city’s efforts in Olympia.
“We’re actually doing quite well on most of our issues,” he said. “Our tack is to keep below the line of fire and keep on task.”