State Supreme Court upholds liquor privatization initiative

May 31, 2012

NEW — 10:15 a.m. May 31, 2012

The state Supreme Court upheld a liquor privatization initiative Thursday, a day before the measure goes into effect and liquor sales expand statewide.

In a 5-4 ruling, justices upheld Initiative 1183, a Costco-backed measure to end the state-run liquor system. Voters approved the measure in November and, in April, the state auctioned the rights to private entrepreneurs to sell liquor at former state-run stores.

Opponents said I-1183 violated the single subject rule for statewide ballot initiatives.

In addition to the liquor privatization language, I-1183 included a section directing $10 million to public safety, in addition to the liquor-privatization language.

“The challenged portion of I-1183’s ballot title is not palpably misleading or false,” justices wrote.

Read more

State Department of Ecology scrutinizes proposed shoreline rules

May 29, 2012

The state Department of Ecology requested input from citizens as officials evaluate the city-developed plans for land along Issaquah Creek and Lake Sammamish.

The updated Shoreline Master Program is designed to guide construction and development for 12 miles along the creek and the lake. The agency is accepting public comments on the proposed rules until June 29.

The proposed rules combine local plans for future development and preservation, plus recent development ordinances and related permitting requirements. The plan is meant to minimize environmental damage to shoreline areas, reserve appropriate areas for water-oriented uses and protect public access to the shoreline.

Read more

Issaquah liquor store to close May 29 before changeover

May 24, 2012

NEW — 2 p.m. May 24, 2012

The state-run liquor store in Issaquah is due to close May 29, as the Washington State Liquor Control Board prepares to shift stores from public to private ownership.

Under a state law approved by voters last year, liquor sales by private entrepreneurs can start June 1.

The board auctioned the rights to entrepreneurs to sell liquor at the state-run store in Town & Country Square along Northwest Gilman Boulevard last month. State records show the right to the Issaquah store sold to Seattle merchant Leon Capelouto for $251,000.

“There is a lot of work involved in transferring these stores to private ownership,” Chris Liu, director of retail services for the liquor authority, said in a statement. “This method will ensure that our customers have the ability to buy liquor right up until June 1, when private retailers take over.”

Read more

Supreme Court hears challenge to Costco-backed liquor privatization

May 22, 2012

Opponents of liquor privatization urged state Supreme Court justices May 17 to overturn Initiative 1183, less than a month before the switch from a state-run liquor system to private entrepreneurs.

If the high court overturns the Costco-backed measure, state-run liquor stores could remain open and retailers could not sell spirits. The changeover is scheduled to occur June 1, and a ruling is expected before then.

Opponents said I-1183 violates the single subject rule for statewide ballot initiatives.

In addition to the liquor privatization language, I-1183 included a section directing $10 million to public safety, in addition to the liquor-privatization language.

Read more

State Supreme Court hears challenge to Costco-backed liquor privatization

May 18, 2012

NEW — 8 a.m. May 18, 2012

Opponents of liquor privatization urged state Supreme Court justices Thursday to overturn Initiative 1183, less than a month before the changeover from a state-run liquor system to entrepreneurs.

If the high court overturns the Costco-backed measure, state-run liquor stores could remain open and retailers could not sell spirits. The changeover is due to occur June 1, and a ruling is expected before then.

Opponents said I-1183 violates the single subject rule for statewide ballot initiatives.

In addition to the liquor privatization language, I-1183 included a section directing $10 million to public safety, in addition to the liquor-privatization language.

Read more

King County Library System’s Internet policy is unchanged after court ruling

May 8, 2012

The use of software to filter Internet content for library patrons received support in a recent federal court ruling.

Officials at the King County Library System filter Internet content at public computers, although library patrons can have the filter deactivated. The library system uses a tiered system of filters to determine patrons’ access to Internet content.

In April, Eastern Washington Federal District Court Judge Edward F. Shea ruled the Wenatchee-based North Central Regional Library did not violate the First Amendment by installing Internet filtering software on computers for all library patrons.

Under a policy adopted in August 2003, the Issaquah-based library system provides access to the Internet on all public computers and uses Internet filtering software.

Read more

Supreme Court upholds state redistricting plan

May 8, 2012

The state Supreme Court has authorized use of the redrawn political boundaries for upcoming elections, even as a citizen challenge to the Washington State Redistricting Commission’s maps continues to proceed.

The bipartisan commission responsible for reshaping the districts spent 2011 redrawing legislative and congressional districts. State legislators then made minor modifications and the plan entered into effect Feb. 7.

Vancouver resident John Milem filed a challenge against the redistricting plan Feb. 8. The longtime redistricting observer contended the reshaped maps granted too much power to Western Washington counties.

Commissioners divided Issaquah between the 5th and 41st legislative districts to determine representation in Olympia, and kept the city in a reshaped 8th Congressional District for federal representation.

Read more

Schools fare well in House budget, officials wait for Senate proposal

February 28, 2012

Local officials are taking a wait-and-see attitude toward budget and revenue news coming out of Olympia.

The state House of Representatives passed its version of a 2012 supplemental budget Feb. 21.

In total, the spending plan slices about $890 million from the current budget. While local school officials have been steadying themselves for budget cuts, the House plan largely leaves funding intact, Issaquah School District Superintendent Steve Rasmussen said.

However, Rasmussen quickly noted the state Senate must still act on its version of the budget. He didn’t say so, but the two plans almost certainly will need some work to blend them into one document, which still would need approval by Gov. Chris Gregoire.

Read more

Bellevue utility tax hits some Issaquah residents

February 7, 2012

Bellevue officials decided Jan. 23 to impose a utility tax on water customers in Greenwood Point and South Cove — Issaquah neighborhoods served by the Bellevue municipal water system.

Bellevue City Council members approved extending a utility occupation tax to the water utility’s revenue, including for customers beyond Bellevue. Starting March 1, customers should start to see a 10.4 percent increase on water bills. The change does not affect customers in Bellevue.

Officials intend to use the additional dollars for fire hydrants, oversized pipes and reservoir storage.

The decision followed a 2008 state Supreme Court ruling related to how cities pay for municipal fire hydrants. The ruling in Lane v. Seattle identified hydrants as a general government service and not a utility.

Read more

Bellevue imposes utility tax on some Issaquah water customers

January 30, 2012

NEW — 6 a.m. Jan. 30, 2012

Bellevue officials decided Jan. 23 to impose a utility tax on water customers in Greenwood Point and South Cove — Issaquah neighborhoods served by the Bellevue municipal water system.

Bellevue City Council members approved extending a utility occupation tax to the water utility’s revenue, including for customers beyond Bellevue. Starting March 1, customers should start to see a 10.4 percent on water bills. The change does not affect customers in Bellevue.

Officials intend to use the additional dollars for fire hydrants, oversized pipes and reservoir storage.

The decision followed a 2008 state Supreme Court ruling related to how cities pay for municipal fire hydrants. The ruling in Lane v. Seattle identified hydrants as a general government service and not a utility.

Read more

« Previous PageNext Page »