Politics podcast: Bertha’s halfway there, and Seattle hotels may get blacklists and panic buttons

Will Bertha finish her $2.1 billion tunneling task? Should Seattle voters approve — or beware — of a union-backed initiative that would give more workplace rights to hotel workers, including a way to blacklist guests accused of harassment? In Episode 6 of our weekly Seattle Times politics podcast, ace transportation reporter Mike Lindblom breaks down the latest with Bertha, Seattle’s troubled tunneling machine, now halfway done with a Highway 99 waterfront tunnel. We also host a debate about Seattle Initiative 124. That’s the measure written by a hotel-workers union that would impose a bunch of new requirements aimed at protecting housekeepers and other hotel workers. Most Read Stories Unlimited Digital Access. $1 for 4 weeks. Heather Weiner, spokeswoman for the Yes on 124 campaign, makes the case for the initiative…

2016 Malaysian Superbike Championship: Rajini Krishnan finishes sixth overall after Round ... Indian racing talent Rajini Krishnan had a mixed outing at the fourth and fifth round of the 2016 Malaysian Superbike Championship. In Round 4, Race 1 was declared wet before the start. However, there were a few patches where the surface was dry. Taking a gamble, Rajini opted for slicks, hoping that there’ll be a dry line as the race progressed. The first five laps were disastrous as he slipped to P13. But after that, he began to claw his way up the field as conditions improved. Picking places quickly, he managed to grab the second spot by Lap 11. He then began hunting down the man in P1 and managed to get past him on the last lap, at Turn 8. Race 2 was declared a dry race and Rajini tried to ...

Throttle-Back Thursday: Turkey Night Grand Prix marks the end of the line for Ascot Park On the night of November 22, 1990 -- Thanksgiving Day -- a pack of midget cars did 100 laps of Ascot Park in Gardena, California. After the checkered flag fell, they turned off the lights, and that was the end of it for Ascot Park.Autoweek was there for the final race; Joe Scalzo, an Ascot regular, wrote about it for December 24, 1990 issue. There were more famous SoCal tracks lost to time and progress, like the Riverside International Raceway and the Ontario Motor Speedway, but Ascot was something special.Opened in 1957 by J.C. Agajanian, a race team owner and event organizer perhaps best known for his successes at the Indianapolis 500, "the whole thing was a semi-secret, we wrote. "On a given Saturday night, for example, you might witness the greatest...

HScott Motorsports shuts down ahead of 2017 NASCAR season Another backmarker team will not return to the Cup Series in 2017 as HScott Motorsports announced on Monday that it will immediately cease all NASCAR operations.Team owner Harry Scott Jr. fielded entries in 2016 for Clint Bowyer and Michael Annett, respectively. But the team also fielded four cars in the KN Pro Series East -- including a Chevrolet for reigning champion Justin Haley.But the team will completely dissolve before the end of the year."Over the past several months, I considered a number of options for moving forward with the team," Scott said in a news release. "Regrettably, there are no viable sponsor/driver options immediately available to allow the team to participate in 2017 …"I love this sport and being part of it. I invested in NASCAR...

VW diesel saga hits 3.0-liter TDI models: Buybacks happening Volkswagen has reached a tentative agreement with U.S. agencies over 80,000 vehicles equipped with 3.0-liter V6 diesels spanning three VW Group brands, Reuters reports. The parent company plans to buy back at least 20,000 older TDI vehicles, believed to be VW Touareg TDI and Audi Q7 3.0 TDI SUVs from certain model years; the rest will be repaired via software updates. The deal has not been finalized, and negotiations are still ongoing prior to a Nov. 30 court appearance along with various stakeholders.Of the 20,000 older TDI vehicles that will pose a more serious technical challenge to make compliant with U.S. regulations, a mix of repairs and buybacks is expected, suggesting owners may have the option of selling the vehicles or obtaining a technical fix. A software fix is...

2017 Cadillac CT6 Plug-in Hybrid is the most efficient and torquey CT6 of all Cadillac is returning to the hybrid game after discontinuing the ill-fated ELR, this time with an existing car and a new drivetrain. The company has taken its CT6 flagship and given it a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder, a pair of motors, and a big battery pack. The result of this combination is a CT6 that manages a rating of 65 MPGe, can go 30 miles on a full electric charge or 400 miles combined with the engine.The powertrain produces 335 horsepower and 432 lb-ft of torque. That's the same amount of power as the 3.6-liter V6 CT6, and more torque than that engine or the twin-turbo 3.0-liter V6. Cadillac claims the CT6 plug-in is capable of hitting 60 miles per hour in 5.2 seconds and reaching a top speed...

Katherine Legge adds punch to Michael Shank Racing's Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona effort Katherine Legge was back at Daytona International Speedway preparing for the 55th Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona, Jan. 28-29 -- and she was back in a slightly more conventional vehicle.The production-based GT Daytona (GTD) class had the biggest turnout in a two-day test this week, 10 cars, including the intriguing new No. 86 Acura NSX from Michael Shank Racing, co-driven by Legge and a former Rolex 24 champion, Ozz Negri, who co-drove a Shank-owned prototype to victory at Daytona in 2012.Legge is a former IndyCar Series regular who in recent years had driven the revolutionary DeltaWing prototype in IMSA competition. With the DeltaWing not competing currently, Legge landed with Shank’s organization which also has accomplished drivers Andy Lally and Jeff Segal in the team’s second NSX entry...

BMW M rumored to be planning family of ‘CS’ models 2016 BMW M2 Coupe Recent trademark filings reveal that BMW has protected the names of a range of potential M cars wearing the CS designation. The names range from “M1 CS” through to “M8 CS.” While it’s not unusual for automakers to trademark names even when there’s no intention to actually use them, there are rumors BMW’s M division is planning a range of hotter CS-badged cars starting with an M2 CS. News of the car, previously thought to be an M2 CSL, surfaced in July and since then partially camouflaged M2 prototypes have been spotted testing at the Nürburgring. Bimmerpost, citing a reliable source, claims the M2 CS will be fitted with the turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-6 of the M3 and M4 but with a slightly...