If losing a third of her staff wasn’t bad enough—aide Mariette Spence reportedly just got the ax—Judy Nicastro suffered another blow last week, this time literally. The newly multimodal council member got knocked off her shiny new E-Bike on her way to a Shawn Colvin concert downtown last Saturday, tearing up the ligaments in her shoulder and leaving her right arm “about an inch longer than my left one.” The only upside to this cautionary tale about two-wheeled transit: Nicastro says she’s seen the light on bike lanes, one of which could have could have prevented her from bumping against the car mirror that took her down on Fremont Avenue. . . .
Nicastro’s accident didn’t keep her out of commission for long. By Monday, she was busy re- asserting her tenants’ rights pedigree, damaged by a recent pro-developer vote, by promising to introduce a right of first refusal law later this year. The original state law, which gave mobile home owners the first right to bid on their mobile-home park if their landlord put it up for sale, was deemed unconstitutional. That’s where things stood until this year, when a group of low-income tenant advocates drafted legislation that would give the city or “quasi-public agencies”—the Seattle Housing Authority or, theoretically, nonprofits—the first right to bid on low-income rental housing when it goes up for sale. Nicastro sat on the legislation for months, finally moving the proposal into her land-use committee, where it’s expected to come up Aug. 6. She’s feeling confident, if not downright cocky, about the long-controversial legislation: “I’m assuming this bill will pass,” she says. . . .
When is the council going to move forward with the monorail, anyway? Last week, Richard Conlin and Margaret Pageler were jonesing to push a City Council vote on the monorail from August to September, on the theory that more than a year of public input just wasn’t quite enough. Meanwhile, a Sept. 20 deadline to get measures on the ballot is creeping up fast, but Ed Stone, spokesperson for the Elevated Transportation Company (ETC), isn’t worried. The reason: During last year’s negotiations on the state legislation that authorized a monorail tax, the ETC worked a provision into the bill that authorized the agency to put the measure on the ballot with the signatures of just 1 percent of registered Seattle voters—a grand total of about 3,760 signatures. “We could get that in a weekend,” Stone says. . . .
Rep. Ed Murray, D-Capitol Hill, is feeling restless. With no opponents emerging for this year’s state House election, Murray has set his sights on the chairmanship of the House Transportation Committee and claims he already has the necessary votes from the Democratic caucus—if the D’s can hold onto their one-vote majority in the House. Murray is also contemplating life after Olympia, noting that he “might take a look” at running for Seattle City Council if there’s an open seat next year. “Or,” Murray adds slyly, “maybe I’ll wait two years and run for Congress.” Ed wouldn’t really oppose Seattle’s incumbent Congressman Jim McDermott, would he? “Maybe, or maybe not.”
Contributing this week: George Howland Jr.