Seattle City Council gave tentative approval to increased requirements for affordable housing in South Lake Union this afternoon. Councilmember Nick Licata, who had pushed hardest on the issue, said the plan developed by other council members (chiefly Tim Burgess, Mike O'Brien and Sally Clark) would bring more than 700 new, affordable units and would apply to developers who build higher under a neighborhood rezoning. The original proposal, drafted by the mayor's office, called for about 500 units.
Legally, state initiatives can't require the Legislature to initiate changes to the state constitution. However, that seems to be the goal of Tim Eyman's new initiative, designed to force supermajority requirements for all state tax increases. The state Supreme Court recently ruled that it's illegal to require supermajority votes by the Legislature without a constitutional amendment. One part of the initiative would require an annual advisory question on the ballot about a constitutional amendment to require supermajority tax votes in the Legislature. Eyman apparently hopes the advisory vote would embarrass Legislators into actually writing and approving the amendment. Yes, it actually is as convoluted and confusing as it sounds. Crosscut's John Stang is preparing a full report.
Teacher of the year
Zillah High School's Jeff Charbonneau will receive the national Teacher of the Year Award from President Barack Obama on Tuesday. He teaches a variety of science, computing and engineering classes at Zillah (it's southeast of Yakima along Interstate 82). On "CBS This Morning" today, he talked about the importance of student-teacher relationships that give kids confidence that they can learn.
A profile on the state superintendent's website calls him "a whirlwind on a mission." He is a National Board Certified teacher who attended Zillah himself (he joked on CBS that he got hired because a new prinicipal and superintendent were at the school by the time of his job interview). The profile also said:
Jeff has also designed an exciting robotic challenge open to students from across the state, independent study opportunities, a hiking club that completes community service projects on their trips and much more. The robot challenge alone has served over 850 students from 43 school districts over the past 4 years. These opportunities, combined with his innovative instruction, have dramatically increased the interest in science at Zillah. This year, over 60 percent of juniors are registered for Chemistry and one third of seniors will take Physics.
Charbonneau made the point that there are a lot of great teachers. True. And for many young people, it only takes one to make a huge difference.
Seattle and Bellevue police tonight will meet with neighbors concerned about the fatal shooting of a man in Columbia City last month. KUOW radio reports today that neighbors continue to have questions about the actions of a Bellevue police SWAT squad that shot 51-year-old Russell Smith, while in Seattle to serve a warrant on him. The meeting is at 6:30 p.m. at the Columbia City Church of Hope, 3818 S. Angeline St. and was organized by a group calling themselves the 43rd Avenue South Community and Friends, according to the Rainier Valley Post.
Five dead in Federal Way
Police say that five people died during a Federal Way shooting spree carried out by a 27-year-old man, including the gunman. Police theorize that the gunman shot his girlfriend first and then may have wanted to eliminate witnesses. A Seattle Times report said the gunman apparently killed a 62-year-old neighbor after shooting the door to get into the older man's apartment.
Earth Day: Coal alliance
With Earth Day today, an array of events in and around Seattle that started over the weekend (when more people could take part) continued today. The Bullitt Foundation officially opened the Bullitt Center, which has been hailed as the greenest commercial building on Earth. The Seattle City Council went on record as opposing genetically engineered salmon (AquaBounty Technologies has applied to the Food and Drug Administration to market franko-fish, er, AquAdvantage Salmon). Perhaps most significantly, Mayor Mike McGinn announced a wide-ranging coalition of tribal and local governments formed to oppose both coal trains and coal exports.
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