Thursday morning's headlines

Feb 3, 2011

Making headlines around the Northwest this morning:

  • Budget Cuts Create Backlog for King County Prosecutor
  • Boeing Says More 787 Work Possible in Everett
  • Six Years of Rate Increases Needed, Says Seattle City Light
  • State Patrol to Investigate Gig Harbor Police Chief


Budget Cuts Strain King Co. Prosecutor Staff

The King County Prosecutor says his office can’t keep up with high-priority crimes because of budget cuts and a jump in aggravated assaults. Doug Satterberg has asked the County Council for $225,000 in emergency funding. The Seattle Times' Keith Ervin reports the request comes six months after voters rejected a proposed sales tax increase:

"It's what I anticipated would happen if we lose 16 percent of our deputy prosecutors. There are some things we absolutely have to do to respond to constitutionally mandated deadlines — and other things necessarily go by the wayside, but they're important as well," he said.

Since 2008, cuts have eliminated 28 prosecutors, while the number of assaults has doubled.


Boeing: Everett's Temporary 787 Line Could Become Permanent

The Boeing Company is hinting that a temporary 787 production line in Everett could become permanent. The Herald of Everett's Michelle Dunlop reports that whether that happens depends on the supply chain. Jim Albaugh, head of Boeing's commercial airplane division says there's demand for more than the current ten Dreamliners - possibly as many as 15 a month:

But getting up to that rate would require an “investment on the part of the supply chain,” Albaugh said. Boeing has yet to deliver its first 787, because of troubles with its global supply chain, which ship major 787 sections to Boeing's final assembly line in Everett.

A second line in North Charleston, S.C., will be complete this summer. Boeing has said it intends to increase production to 10 787s monthly by the end of 2013.

Boeing expects to deliver the first of its 847 Dreamliner orders to Japan's All Nippon Airways during 3rd quarter.


City Light Rate Increases Coming?

It would take six years of rate hikes to keep Seattle City Light at current operating levels. Utility directors laid out the scenario, assuming increases of 4.2% per year - to a city council committee Wednesday. According to Publicola’s Erica Barnett, there are multiple reasons, including:

Higher debt service, increasing power costs, and increasing costs for operations and maintenance. City Light is also assuming wage increases higher than the rate of inflation, a rate Phil Leiber from City Light told council members was necessary to be competitive with other utilities.

Another impending cost: the $122 million needed to relocate utilities as part of the Alaskan Way viaduct tunnel project.

Rates could be reduced if City Light-owned property were sold. The council would have to approve any increases. Customers absorbed a 4.3% hike this past year.


Gig Harbor Police Chief to Face Investigation

Gig Harbor's police chief may be the subject of an investigation by the Washington State Patrol because of an accusation by an attorney representing the Gig Harbor Police Guild.

The News Tribune's Christian Hill reports the guild attorney made the accusation against Chief Mike Davis for actions related to the 2009 trial of one of his sergeants, Matthew Dougil:

A Pierce County jury found the sergeant, Matthew Dougil, not guilty in August 2009 of three criminal charges after prosecutors accused him of lying in police reports during a drug investigation. He returned to work the next month after being reduced in rank and suspended for four weeks for violating department policy.

According to the Trib, Chief Davis said at the time that he took the steps "in the best interests of fully restoring confidence in law enforcement in the community."