The Overcast, Ep. 14: City Hall reporter Dan Beekman explains why Seattle’s new dump isn’t all that dumpy, and education reporter Paige Cornwell discusses what a projected budget shortfall could mean for Seattle Public Schools.

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Seattle’s new North Transfer Station is no ordinary dump. It’s less noisy and less smelly, accepts recyclable items and has amenities that include a playground and a basketball court.

At 2:35, assistant digital editor Gina Cole talks with City Hall reporter Dan Beekman, who recently got an up-close look at the $108 million project. (Skip to 8:20 if you want to hear Dan wax sentimental about his childhood memories of tossing trash into the pit.)

Then, at 14:00, education reporter Paige Cornwell schools Gina and Dan on the $74 million budget shortfall being projected by Seattle Public Schools. The gap is partly attributable to a so-called “levy cliff.” Paige kindly explains what the heck that is and how worried we should be about it (at 18:15, she notes that some teachers could be laid off and rehired).

But first up, as always, we name this week’s winner and loser in local politics.

The (bittersweet) winner: former state Sen. Dino Rossi, who will hold office again, but under unfortunate circumstances. The King County Council looked to Rossi to fill the state Senate seat left vacant after the untimely death of Rossi’s longtime friend Sen. Andy Hill. The three-time Republican candidate for statewide office will represent the 45th District, which covers Kirkland, Sammamish, Woodinville and Duvall.

The (potential) losers: the Seattle Housing Authority and the King County Housing Authority — and anyone who relies on affordable housing in our area. President-elect Donald Trump named neurosurgeon and former GOP presidential hopeful Ben Carson to lead the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Carson has no experience in government, housing issues or running a large bureaucracy. His appointment has prompted concerns about what could happen to programs like Section 8.

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Find and listen to past episodes of The Overcast here, and check out other Seattle Times podcasts here.

Send us your feedback and your nominations for next week’s winner and loser in local politics! Leave a comment on this post, tweet at us (@Jim_Brunner, @dbeekman and @Gina_Cole_), email us ( or drop us a voicemail at 206-464-8778.