You know your neighborhood has arrived when The New York Times deigns to deliver to your door. Seven years ago, I moved from Capitol


NYT Finds Beacon Hill

Also: The latest Sonics number-crunching.


You know your neighborhood has arrived when The New York Times deigns to deliver to your door. Seven years ago, I moved from Capitol Hill to a part of Beacon Hill near Columbia City. I was shocked to discover that the august paper refused to continue my subscription at my new Zip code. I insisted. I begged. I berated. My politically minded mother got into the act. Words like "redlining" were bandied about. No avail. The neighborhood I had chosen for affordability didn't have a Times-worthy demographic, apparently. The paper told me there wasn't enough demand to justify a subscription route, a problem oddly not experienced by The Wall Street Journal. Well, several iterations of housing inflation later, and with a Columbia City boom well established, the times, so to speak, have changed. Last week, without notice or explanation, an edition of the Times showed up at my door. A call to the subscription office made it official: Our neighborhood is now in New York Times territory. NINA SHAPIRO


Largely overlooked in recommendations of the Community Advisory Committee for Investing in Educational Excellence, set up by Seattle schools Superintendent Raj Manhas to help solve the district's financial crisis, is an exhortation that implies volumes about what is lacking at the district's leadership level. The committee's final report, released last week, asserts that a district turnaround must begin with "more forceful direction from the superintendent and greater unity and cohesion on the part of the school board." District leaders appear to be getting the message. Note the timing of Manhas' and the school board's announcement that they would be forming a committee to look at school closures—two weeks before the committee's final report. Even though the committee had already made clear its intention to recommend closing schools, Manhas and the board came off looking more proactive than reactive. The board in particular was asserting itself. "This year, the school board is taking the lead," said board president Brita Butler-Wall, explaining why this attempt at closing schools might fare better than Manhas' unpopular effort last spring. School Board newbie Michael DeBell noted another difference: The board, the superintendent, and district staff were all in agreement. "This is a milestone," he said. NINA SHAPIRO

Seattle Center

A consultant's KeyArena economic study, which Seattle City Council President Nick Licata says supports his belief that departure of the SuperSonics will have little dollar impact on the city, didn't seem to impress city legislative analyst Bill Alves. Without the Sonics and Storm, "The market's not there" to fill the 62 arena dates vacated by the teams, he says. Perhaps 29 days can be filled, and eight more if the city landed an Arena Football franchise, Alves recently told David Della's parks committee. Sonics principal owner Howard Schultz has been firing off ultimatums for the council and Legislature to back an extension of county hospitality and rental car taxes to fund a $271.5 million expanded arena the team would operate. The Sonics have yet to offer to chip in and want taxpayers (contrary to the Supes' original agreement) to pay off an existing $50 million–plus arena debt. An understandably irked Licata says the earmarked hotel-restaurant taxes could somehow be diverted to better use, though he hasn't said how or where. And, indeed, a Sonics-less arena could have a positive cash flow, according to the consultant, Convention Sports & Leisure. But, says analyst Alves, that's misleading since existing debt would still have to be paid off and the city would have to come up with at least $20 million to make the arena concert-attractive. And if the Sonics moved to Bellevue–Eastside developer Kemper Freemen recently told KING-TV a new multipurpose arena with considerable private financing is quite possible—it sucks the remaining life out of the Key, says Alves. RICK ANDERSON

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