Other items: Kenmore Video-booth doors must remain off and City councils adopt balanced '05 budgets.

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A 37-year-old man was arrested early yesterday morning after he led police on a high-speed chase through Kirkland and Bellevue.

Kirkland police Sgt. Mike Murray said the man approached officers at a traffic stop in the Totem Lake area around 2:30 a.m. It was unclear what he wanted. When they did not immediately respond to him, he drove off fast enough to arouse suspicion.

Police gave chase. The man’s Toyota Camry and the patrol cars reached speeds of 100 mph heading south on Interstate 405, Murray said.

The man turned off the freeway into downtown Bellevue, and police surrounded his vehicle near a car dealership at Northeast Fourth Street and 116th Avenue Northeast. Over about a 20-minute period, he held a large knife to his throat, covered his head with a blanket and then drove away before police could close the road.

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Police tried to bump the man off the road near Bellevue City Hall. The chase finally ended when he lost control of his car trying to turn onto 112th Avenue Northeast and ran into a tree.

The man was not seriously hurt but was taken to Overlake Hospital Medical Center for observation. He was later arrested on suspicion of reckless driving and eluding police.


Video-booth doors must remain off

U.S. District Judge John Coughenour ruled this week that the doors must remain off the “panoram” video-viewing booths at the Taboo Video adult store in Kenmore.

The ruling upholds an ordinance passed May 10 by the City Council. The ordinance required the store’s owner, JVN Corp., to remove the doors from the panorams within 90 days and establish a direct line of sight between the store’s cash register and the booths.

Rather than spend an estimated $400,000 to remodel the store to comply with the ordinance, JVN stopped operating panoram booths in August and filed suit against the city. JVN President Len Griesel said the booths brought in about 30 percent of Taboo Video’s revenue.

The booths had been a regular stop for Kenmore police for years. Officers made 369 arrests at the store from 1999 to 2004, nearly all for “lewd conduct,” and nearly all leading to convictions.

“We’re very pleased,” said Kenmore Mayor Steve Colwell. “We estimate we spent over $40,000 in police services” patrolling Taboo Video, he said. “[This ruling] is going to be a great money-saver for our city.”

JVN has 30 days to appeal the judgment.


City councils adopt balanced ’05 budgets

The city councils of Kenmore, Bothell and Woodinville have all adopted balanced budgets for the coming year.

Kenmore cut the city’s gas and utility tax rate from 6 percent to 4 percent, amounting to a $230,000 reduction in revenue. To offset that tax cut, the cardroom tax rate will rise from 11 percent to 15 percent, increasing revenue by an estimated $218,000.

Kenmore will bring in the same amount of property tax in 2005 as in 2004, aside from revenues from new construction. The city had initially proposed to reduce property-tax rates on existing properties by 5 percent.

Bothell raised its property-tax levy by the Initiative 747 maximum of 1 percent. The city also increased several utility rates; most households will pay an additional $3.90 per month.

Bothell kicked off its six-year, $84 million Infrastructure Improvement Program by allocating $32.6 million over the next two years to road and park projects. The city also budgeted for a full-time anti-fraud detective.

Woodinville raised its property tax levy by 1 percent, raising annual revenues by $25,000, and allocated substantial funds for capital projects: $10.2 million over the next two years.