State Sen. Ed Murray, D-Seattle, wants to put Sound Transit on a diet. The new transportation committee chair says he’ll reintroduce a proposal that would shrink the transit agency’s board from 18 members to perhaps nine and turn two-thirds of those seats into elected positions. A similar bill floundered last year under former Transportation Chair Ruth Fisher of Tacoma, who once described herself as Sound Transit’s “protector.” This year, Murray thinks he has the momentum to move it forward. “I think there’s a strong interest” in improving Sound Transit’s responsiveness, Murray says. “It’s hard to figure out, out of 18 people, who’s accountable.”


Pretty soon, you’ll have to pay to park at the downtown and Capitol Hill branches of the Seattle Public Library, which will charge patrons two bucks an hour to park in the branches’ brand-new parking facilities. Park more than two hours and that rate goes up—to $8 for each successive hour. The goal, according to library spokesperson Andra Addison, is to “discourage poachers” who might horn in on free or cheap parking in neighborhoods where on-street parking is at a premium. But Dennis Ross, a member of the citizens board that oversees the library’s construction projects, says the money, part of a construction bond passed in 1998, was supposed to be used to expand, replace, and improve the library’s aging branches. Instead, Ross says, that money is being used to fulfill an unfunded City Council mandate that required parking at the branches.


Former Citizens Against Monorail spokesperson Cynara Lilly has a new boss: Seattle City Council member Margaret Pageler, who has tapped Lilly to manage her 2003 re-election campaign. The 11-year council veteran faces a potential challenger in pro-monorail campaign leader Peter Sherwin, who has announced his interest in running for the position. That could make monorail one of the defining issues of the campaign—though not if Lilly has anything to do with it. “Obviously, Peter and I have had our differences,” Lilly says, but “the [monorail] campaign’s over. The voters have spoken, and we lost.”


Is The Seattle Times preparing to ditch its federally mandated joint operating agreement (JOA) with the Seattle Post-Intelligencer? The answer appears to be yes: The paper reportedly is on the verge of hiring a special reporter to write about the JOA, which can mean only one thing—it wants a detached outsider to cover the dissolution, shielding the Times from a conflict of interest. . . .

Angry words are flying on the University of Washington campus over a Dec. 9 op-ed piece in The Daily. Penned by Rick Chan, the article slammed the notion of Houston Rockets’ center Yao Ming being a stereotype-smasher for Asians. In the process, Chan trotted out stereotypes of African Americans, such as “spoiled brat gangsta rapper,” and said that black NBA players play roundball with “predator rage,” “savagery,” and “animalistic barbarism.” The Daily‘s letters page has been filled with anti-Chan rants, including one claiming that Chan’s physical safety is in jeopardy.

Erica C. Barnett,

with Philip Dawdy