Polimedia, South Lake Union

POLIMEDIA With this week's launch of the Committee for a Two- Newspaper Town (CTNT), one hardly knows where to begin in summing up the latest developments of the increasingly litigious fight to the death between The Seattle Times and the Seattle Post -Intelligencer. Perhaps we start with the fact that CTNT co-chair Phil Talmadge, a Democratic former state senator and former state Supreme Court justice, is running for governor and will, presumably, be seeking editorial endorsements. Or perhaps we should begin with the fact that the other co-chair, Anne Bremner, a former deputy prosecutor and privately practicing trial attorney, has over the years been mentioned in 84 Times articles and 67 P-I stories. No conflict of interest for these serial newsmakers. To be fair, most of the other CTNT endorsers are lesser known though, in the case of many, no less conflicted when it comes to an insatiable professional need for ink. (For the full list, which includes other present and former politicos, go to www.twonewspapertown.org.) Democrats and unions are overrepresented. The business sector isn't on board. We could find few on the list of endorsers who had not had their name in one or both papers. This raises an obvious question: We know how newsmakers and special-interest activists feel. But do average readers care if this is a one-newspaper town? Are the papers different enough for them to see a potential void? I ask as a former Times newsie with many friends at the P-I. It is not a rhetorical question. Meanwhile, another round of the did-not-did-so King County Superior Court lawsuit over the joint operating agreement (JOA) between P-I owner Hearst Corp. and the Times was played on Friday, June 27. In motions filed in anticipation of a July 18 hearing, the papers go back and forth over whether losses incurred during the strike of 2000 really count now that the locally owned and dominant Times claims to have lost money three years in a row and wants to close the P-I. Hearst says the strike loss was a one-time event exempted in the JOA. Complicating this matter, CTNT filed a motion Tuesday, July 1, complaining that a provision in the JOA that would allow Hearst to collect 32 percent of Times earnings for the next 80 years, should the P-I be shuttered by mutual agreement, is, as an incentive to do so, restraint of trade and violates the state constitution. CHUCK TAYLOR SOUTH LAKE UNION How's it going at the long-proposed maritime park and museum at South Lake Union? "The unfinished wharf is an embarrassment for the city," says Parks Director Ken Bounds in a letter to other officials. Financial and planning failures by the Maritime Heritage Foundation mean the city will be investing more public money. "Frankly," says Bounds of the unplanned costs, "we don't have much of a choice." City Hall plans to spend as much as half a billion taxpayer dollars in partnership with billionaire Paul Allen to redevelop the neighborhood, and the park/marine center's success is crucial to selling the deal to taxpayers. Bounds suggests a whole new start with "a compelling vision" for the 12-acre park, wharf, and 65-year-old former Naval Reserve armory, which was to become a $30 million nautical museum. "Our priority is to complete the wharf," says parks spokesperson Dewey Potter. "We'll find funds to pay for it somehow." RICK ANDERSON info@seattleweekly.com

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