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Tuesday 29 Sep, 2015

A recommendation against city's I-122. Music to honor bridge crash victims. Media day for NW's pro basketball team.

Bellevue crash kills 2-year-old on sidewalk

at 3:43pm by Joe Copeland

Bellevue officials say that a vehicle involved in a crash at the intersection of Bel-Red Road and NE 140th Street jumped onto a sidewalk and struck a 2-year-old child, who was with her mother. Emergency personnel attempted to help the girl but she died at the scene. Her mother was injured.

Bellevue officers were still investigating but officials said it appeared that the vehicles collided while one of them was making a left turn. The impact pushed one of the vehicles onto the sidewalk. Both drivers are cooperating with the investigation; drugs and alcohol use is not suspected.

Membership: A chance to see 'Waterfall'

at 3:21pm by Sherry Larsen-Holmes

Members and readers, you are helping us get ever closer to our fall member drive goals! We’re more than a third of the way there! Please cast your vote for local, in-depth journalism and let’s wrap up the drive!

Crosscut’s prize drawing this week involves a story of intrigue and romance in war-ridden Japan. Only members who contribute by 5 p.m. on Friday, will be entered to win 2 tickets to 5th Avenue Theatre’s new musical, Waterfall.

The Seattle Times: No on I-122

at 1:23pm by Matt Spaw

The Seattle Times editorial board has come out against Seattle’s Initiative 122 (endorsed by virtually every Seattle City Council candidate). The initiative includes voluntary limits on campaign spending, a voucher system that voters can use to fund their favorite candidates and increased property taxes to pay for the vouchers. The editorial board sees problems in the initiative’s spending assumptions that only a small portion of voters would use the vouchers. And, the board suggests, the voucher system will work in the favor of well-organized incumbents.

The editorial board found some redeeming qualities in the initiative, including banning contributions from contractors that do more than $250,000 of work with the city.

Fatal motorcycle crash shuts down northbound I-5

at 11:39am by Matt Spaw

A stolen motorcycle crashed on I-5 near Highway 520, shutting down all northbound lanes in Seattle for a time this morning. The female driver was riding at speeds exceeding 100 miles per hour with another motorcyclist when she crashed into the back of a car, according to Washington State Patrol spokesman Trooper Chris Webb.

The Seattle Times said Seattle Public Schools said 66 buses were late because of the closures.

Make it so, Joe Biden

at 6:00am by Joe Copeland

The Draft Biden movement (a Super PAC) has already placed staffers in four early primary or caucus states and, KING5 reports, about 200 volunteers in Washington state. One of the local volunteer phone callers for Joe Biden says that only about 10 percent of the people she reaches currently voice support, but she thinks the numbers would grow rapidly if the vice president declares he’s a candidate for president.

Music to honor bridge accident victims

at 6:00am by Joe Copeland

Seattle composer Fred West has written a song to commemorate all the victims of the Aurora Bridge accident, surviving and dead. The Seattle Times reports West was kayaking under the bridge when the accident occurred. The Times’ story includes a video of Seattle Peace Chorus members performing “All of Your Precious Light” as they learned it from West, who directs the chorus as well as the City Cantabile Choir and the Shoreline Unitarian Universalist Choir.

NBA media day in NW

at 5:00am by Joe Copeland

The Portland Trail Blazers are getting ready for the 2015-16 NBA, unveiling the team with a media day on Monday. It’s a radically different team, built around All Star point guard Damian Lillard, according to The Oregonian, which has blowout coverage. Don’t be jealous, Sonics-dreamers. I-5 still runs between the two cities.

Monday 28 Sep, 2015

UW: Up with wages. Shell Arctic fail: Good for Seattle? 5th person dies from bridge crash injuries.

UW: Up with wages

at 3:56pm by Joe Copeland

The University of Washington says it will pay all employees, including student workers, at least $15 per hour. The UW’s announcement said the minimum pay will go to $13 per hour on Jan. 1, as the new city law outlines, and $15 a year later, with the bulk of the extra money going to student workers. The university said that the implementation of the raises had raised a number of questions, including the effects on student fees, that it had to work through before making a final decision.

There have been legal questions about whether the city law applied to the University, a state institution. Interim President Ana Mari Cauce said in the announcement, “Bringing our workers to the $15 minimum is something we have been aiming for since the conversation began last year in Seattle. It’s the right thing to do, and I’m glad we are positioned to get there.”

Shell: good news for Seattle?

at 3:44pm by Joe Copeland

Shell Oil’s announcement today that it is suspending Arctic oil drilling operations is, according to USA Today, a major setback for the company, which had hoped for a big injection of revenues. But the suspension could have hardly made Seattle politicians happier. Mayor Ed Murray said,  “The people of Seattle stood up to oppose the use of our city as a base for expanded Arctic drilling.” Murray, however, held out an olive branch to the Port of Seattle, which had stood with Shell despite protests, suggesting that the city, port and maritime industry can work together to build a clean economy.

King County Executive Dow Constantine said, “While we should all be relieved that Shell Oil decided not to drill in the Arctic, this will not be the last proposal to drill for fossil fuels in that region, posing both local and global environmental risks. Let’s seize this opportunity to make King County a hub for clean-technology development and take the lead in creating a sustainable 21st-century economy.”

Halt the Ducks

at 2:35pm by Joe Copeland

The Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission today suspended all operations of Ride the Ducks of Seattle, and said it would file a formal complaint against the company by Wednesday. The Seattle Times reports that the commission chair, David Danner, expressed a lack of confidence in the Seattle company and said there was a possibility of wider problems with the company, whose amphibious vehicle crashed into a tour bus, killing five North Seattle College students.

The company has said it will keep the Ducks off the road until their safety can be demonstrated. A National Transportation Safety Board commissioner has said the amphibious vehicle involved in the Aurora Bridge accident had not had an axle repair recommended by Georgia-based Ride the Ducks International. Ride the Ducks of Seattle may not have known about the recommendation.

 

Romance, Intrigue, and Singing: What you get from supporting Crosscut

at 2:25pm by 0ceann

You, our readers, have helped us reach over one third of our fall member drive goals! With only 2 weeks left of our drive, we urge you to cast your vote for local, in-depth journalism.
Crosscut’s raffle prize this week is all song and dance. If you give before 5 P.M. on this Friday, you’ll have the chance to slip into a story of intrigue and romance in war-ridden Japan with 5th Avenue Theatre’s new musical, Waterfall.
As Benjamin Anderstone writes, “Invest in Crosscut and you invest in not only a great news source, but also a great source of momentum for positive social change.” Support Crosscut today!

Where were the clouds?

at 6:00am by Joe Copeland

What if they gave an eclipse and Seattle actually got to see it? We found out: There were quite a few happy people out Sunday night enjoying the view of what NASA called the Super Blood Moon eclipse.

Bridge crash claims 5th victim

at 4:45am by Joe Copeland

North Seattle College says a fifth international student has died of injuries suffered in Thursday’s crash on the Aurora Bridge. The family of the student requested privacy, so the name wasn’t released. Harborview said the victim was a 20-year-old woman from abroad, who had been in critical condition since the accident, in which a Ride the Ducks amphibious vehicle crashed into a bus chartered to show new international students the city.

The National Transportation Safety Board said the Ducks vehicle had not had a fix to its axle housing recommended by Ride the Ducks International, based in Atlanta. But the Seattle Times said it wasn’t immediately clear whether Ride the Ducks Seattle knew about the recommendation.

North Seattle College President Warren J. Brown said in a statement, “We appreciate the support that has been extended to our campus from this city and throughout the world.”

Friday 25 Sep, 2015

FBI investigating Everett developer. 3 bridge crash victims identified. I-405: A final slowdown for express work.

I-405: Worse before better?

at 3:49pm by Joe Copeland

The Washington State Department of Transportation is about to open the new I-405 lanes between Lynnwood and Bellevue, complete with the option of paying to use less-crowded lanes. But first — a big slowdown!

As WSDOT advises, a quarter-million drivers will be affected by lane closures that will reduce the highway down to two lanes in each direction. That starts at 11 p.m. tonight and continues until the new lanes open at noon Sunday.

Details on the weekend tie-ups, the new lanes and the easiest ways to pay are all on WSDOT’s site, here.

3 North Seattle accident victims ID'd

at 12:51pm by Joe Copeland

North Seattle Community College has identified three of the four students killed in Thursday’s crash on the Aurora Avenue Bridge. They are Claudia Derschmidt, a 49-year-old woman from Austria; Privando Putradanto, an 18-year-old man from Indonesia; Mami Sato, a 36-year-old woman from Japan. Because the other victim, from China, was a minor, the college cannot legally release the name.

FBI checks out Everett developer

at 5:00am by Joe Copeland

The FBI and federal regulators are looking into the activities of an Everett developer, Lobsang Dargey, the Herald of Everett reports. A civil lawsuit by the federal Securities and Exchange Commission last month accused Dargey of misusing investors’ money on buying a house and Bentley automobile.

The lawsuit led to a stop on construction of a 40-story skyscraper that the investor was building in downtown Seattle.

This item has been updated since it first appeared to correct the location of the 40-story building.

Thursday 24 Sep, 2015

4 die in Aurora crash. Xi surprises Lincoln High students.

At least 4 dead in 'Duck,' charter bus collision

at 3:58pm by Crosscut Editors

At least four people died and 12 suffered critical injuries when a charter bus and a Ride the Ducks amphibious vehicle collided on the Aurora Avenue Bridge late this morning.  North Seattle College said 45 students and staff members were on board the charter bus. A full report is here.

 

A cultural farewell to President Xi Jinping

at 2:00pm by Leslie Holleran

Maybe this is the perfect way to mark the end of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to Seattle and Tacoma this week: with some fanfare. The University of Puget Sound in Tacoma will host a performance by China’s Soochow University student dancers, musicians and martial artists on Friday. The Soochow student troupe, which visits UPS annually, will perform at the Wheelock Student Center’s Rasmussen Rotunda (on campus near N. Alder Street and N. 15th Street) from 5 to 6:30 p.m. A reception with the performers will follow.

Keep them in the class

at 11:15am by Joe Copeland

Seattle Public Schools will cut back on suspensions of elementary school students this year, eliminating the punishment for disruptive behavior and disobedience. As the Seattle Times notes, its reports have repeatedly shown that suspensions are disproportionately handed out to minority children. The change appears likely to eliminate about one-fourth of elementary suspensions. Students can still face suspensions for dangerous conduct, assault and fighting.

Seattle’s suspension rate is lower than the state average, the Times reports, and the resolution passed by the School Board orders development of a plan for further cuts in suspensions.

A good day for a contribution

at 10:52am by Sherry Larsen-Holmes

Crosscut readers are stepping up!  Thanks to you, we’re a third of the way to our member goal, and over a quarter of the way to reaching $50,000 during this fall drive.

Today is a great day to give. Contribute at least $60 and a generous supporter will add $120 to it! Your $60 gift becomes a $180 gift! By giving, you’ll also be entered to shoot oysters at Revive, see Tacoma Film Festival cinema, or discuss immigration law at an Evening of Justice at the Wing Luke Museum. Join today!

Come to China!

at 5:00am by Joe Copeland

Chinese President Xi Jinping pretty much blew away the students at Lincoln High School in Tacoma with a speech in which he mentioned that 100 of them are invited to come to his country at the government’s expense next year. And it wasn’t just the students who were surprised: School officials tell The News Tribune that they are awaiting details of the unexpected offer.

Wednesday 23 Sep, 2015

Big Oregon fine for discrimination against transgender customers. Lawmakers want to be done with state auditor. Seattle could get West Coast's tallest skyscraper

Oregon court upholds big fine for bar's discrimination against transgender customers

at 3:38pm by Joe Copeland

An Oregon appeals court today upheld a $400,000 fine against a Portland bar owner who asked members of a transgender club to stop frequenting his place, OregonLive reports. The fine is for violating the Oregon Equality Act of 2007, which prohibits denying people accommodations on the basis of their sexual orientation.

Expedia: A deal for employees who share rides

at 2:36pm by Joe Copeland

According to the Puget Sound Business Journal, Expedia is offering a new incentive to employees to stop driving to work alone: cash. Sort of: For any employee who switches to riding with others, the travel company is offering chances on five travel certificates worth nice amounts of money: $500, $1,000 or $1,500. What if everyone in the same car pool wins?

The company is also offering other incentives for more eco-friendly commutes, including a shuttle between a Redmond park-and-ride lot and its current Bellevue campus. Expedia said the shuttle data could also help make decisions about future shuttle routes when it moves its headquarters to Seattle next year.

For reptile lovers and great news enthusiasts alike: Support Crosscut today

at 12:12pm by 0ceann

Kudos to you, Crosscut readers! Because of your support, Crosscut is a quarter of the way to reaching our fall member drive goal. With help from 383 more members, we can work together to make this drive a success.

Today only, the first 10 Crosscut supporters will instantly receive free tickets to the Burke Museum’s Titanaboa, an exploration of the world’s largest snake. (There are only a few opportunities left!)

If giant snakes aren’t your thing, join anytime before 5 p.m. on Friday for more options. Shoot oysters and talk conservation at EarthCorps’ Revive event, discuss immigration law at the Evening of Justice at Wing Luke, or enjoy trendy cinema with tickets to the Tacoma Film Festival. Join today!

Day 9 Fall Member Drive Social Media Therm Templates

Lawmakers send new message to state auditor

at 12:07pm by Joe Copeland

Legislators have sent a letter to state Auditor Troy Kelley, again asking him to resign, The News Tribune reports. The letter points to additional charges filed this month, including tax evasion, and notes that he has been unable to perform his official duties since he took a leave of absence in April. He took the leave to fight charges that he had systematically failed to pay clients of a private title business he operated some $3 million in refunds. Kelley has denied all the charges.

The lawmakers’ effort is bipartisan: The Republican and Democratic leaders of both the House and Senate signed the new letter.

Kam Chancellor in the building

at 11:19am by Joe Copeland

Seattle Seahawks star Kam Chancellor ended his holdout, returning to the team. The news broke on 710 ESPN Seattle early today, followed by a string of reports that included a text message telling a national ESPN journalist, “Time to help us get back to the big dance. I can address business after the season.” Seattle Times sports columnist Larry Stone writes that his holdout was doomed to fail all along.

Kam Chancellor after a big play in the playoffs last season
Kam Chancellor after a big play in the playoffs last season Credit Adam Gessaman/Flickr

Seattle building to reach for the sky

at 5:00am by Joe Copeland

A developer is planning a 101-story skyscraper in downtown Seattle, the Puget Sound Business Journal reports. The tower, which is to be across the street from the 76-story Columbia Center, would be the tallest on the West Coast. The Seattle Times says the owner of the Fourth Avenue and Cherry Street property, where a parking lot now sits, is Costacos Family Limited Partnership of Seattle.

 

Tuesday 22 Sep, 2015

Boeing sees a rival (or partner) in Amazon. Holding 225 million women back. Teacher of the year: Mr. Modest, too.

Holding 225 million women back

at 3:54pm by Joe Copeland

Ariel Wood, a student at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, won a national contest for the best video on youth involvement in support of reproductive rights. The contest was sponsored by the United Nations Foundation Universal Access Project in partnership with Planned Parenthood Federation of America and the Sierra Club. Her theme: Denial of access to reproductive health care will limit the opportunities of up to 225 million worldwide. You can see the video here.

Wood, who is majoring in French and global studies, and other winners of the Why We Care Youth: Emerging Leaders for Reproductive Rights contest will travel to New York later this month for part of the upcoming U.N. General Assembly.

Boeing CEO talks about rivals with tech roots

at 3:36pm by Joe Copeland

New Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg has Amazon and Facebook in his sights as emerging rivals, GeekWire reports. They are both developing drones for package deliveries. But he also seemed to be tossing an olive branch in Jeff Bezos’ direction, responding to a GeekWire question about possibly selling drones to Amazon by saying: “Unmanned airplanes — and more broadly, autonomy in space, in the air, undersea — is a big future area for Boeing, and an area where we are continuing to build out collaborations. So we are always looking for partners in that arena.”

Fall Member Drive: Help us keep you in the know!

at 2:10pm by Sherry Larsen-Holmes

To keep you “in the know” this fall, we need your support. We’re 25 percent of the way to our fall member drive goal and just need 352 additional members to reach the goal. Please make your tax-deductible gift to Crosscut today.

As a bonus, when you join before Friday at 5 p.m., you’ll be entered to win tickets to EarthCorps’ Revive event, an Evening of Justice at Wing Luke, or, for our South Sound members, tickets to the Tacoma Film Festival. Join today!

Crosscut Day 8 Fall Member Drive

Xi's dinner speech being served up

at 1:53pm by Joe Copeland

Chinese President Xi Jinping, who arrived at Paine Field this morning, may have left himself a sliver of time for jet lag on his schedule in Seattle: He’s meeting this afternoon with Gov. Jay Inslee and Seattle Mayor Ed Murray, as the Puget Sound Business Journal reports, but he’s expected to skip a couple of events where commercial and educational cooperation agreements are being signed. He apparently intends to be sharp and fresh later in the day: He’s giving a dinner speech to business executives, government leaders and others. One of the banquet’s sponsors, the National Council on United States-China Relations, will stream the entire event live beginning at 5:30 p.m.

Among the other speakers: Gov. Inslee, Ford Motor Co. CEO Mark Fields and former Secretary of State Henry M. Kissinger. (Former Gov. and Ambassador to China Gary Locke will give a final toast. Locke and travel writer Rick Steves are the featured guests at the Civic Cocktail, co-sponsored by Crosscut, on Oct. 7; event details and registration here.)

Careful how you say the Library's name

at 7:35am by Joe Copeland

Seattle Public Library could decide as early as next month to change its name: It is considering “Seattle Public Libraries,” according to KIRO 7. The station reports that the switch would cost about $365,000, including some money already spent on researching users’ perceptions of the city library system.

Teacher of year: Mr. Modest, too

at 7:26am by Joe Copeland

Washington state’s new teacher of the year is Nathan Gibbs-Bowling of Tacoma’s Lincoln High School — the school Chinese President Xi Jinping will visit on Wednesday. The News Tribune reports that Gibbs-Bowling, who teaches AP History and human geography, said, “I’m not the best teacher in my school,” he said. “I’m not even the best teacher in my own house.” His wife, Hope Teague-Bowling, teaches English and composition at Lincoln.

Monday 21 Sep, 2015

Eyman faces new questions about campaign finances. Council sidesteps Sawant but pushes for rent control. Lake City beach will stay public.

Council sidesteps Sawant, passes Burgess' rent control resolution

at 4:28pm by David Kroman

Days after it looked like rent control was dead in the Seattle City Council, Council President Tim Burgess played legislative Lazarus and introduced his own (slightly) more moderate version of a resolution, saying the State should lift its prohibition on cities’ enacting rent controls. The new resolution is largely stripped of rhetoric that would suggest the city is in favor of rent control, instead emphasizing the “local control” of what legislation the city can and cannot pass concerning rents for apartments.

After a 3-3 split committee vote on a rent control resolution from Councilmember Kshama Sawant and Nick Licata last week, the resolution looked to be headed to defeat in the full council. But the council approved Burgess’ version 8-1, with only Councilmember John Okamoto voting against it.

The passage was clearly bittersweet for Sawant, who made it clear she did not believe Burgess’ resolution would have happened without the efforts of herself and her supporters. “Let’s be clear,” she said, “the majority of this council has been in office for years and has shown nothing but inaction on issues of housing affordability. … Why is this happening now? Because our movement has brought pressure to bear.”

Licata, on the other hand, was not as concerned. “I appreciate good penmanship,” he said, “and I don’t really care who has the pen.”

Burgess’ opponent in this November’s election Jonathan Grant quickly sent a response, accusing Burgess of trying to “appear progressive” and calling the language of the new resolution weaker than the original.

 

You make Crosscut coverage possible

at 4:15pm by Sherry Larsen-Holmes

It’s week two of our Fall Member drive. Will you be one of 400 members who help reach our goal? As a member, you make Crosscut’s heritage and culture coverage possible, bringing analysis and insight from writers like Knute Berger and Florangela Davila.

Here’s what others are saying:

  • Margaret R: “I trust and use Crosscut everyday and especially like Knute Berger’s articles.”
  • Louis R: “By far the best local news source. Succeeds in putting the news in social; economic and; when necessary; historic context.”

Become a member today and tell us what you think!

When you join before Friday at 5 p.m., you’ll be entered to win tickets to EarthCorps’ Revive event, an Evening of Justice at Wing Luke, or, for our South Sound members, tickets to the Tacoma Film Festival. Join today!

Lake City beach to remain public

at 4:15pm by David Kroman

The residents of North Seattle who have long fought to keep a small slice of Lake Washington beach public may have finally won. Although not a publicly owned beach, the site at the end of NE 130th Street has been open to the public for many years. But after neighbors bordering the beach said they would close it off, the neighborhood reacted with the “Save the Beach” campaign.

The Seattle City Council passed a bill Monday to acquire the small beach, the only water access in a long stretch near the Burke Gilman Trail. The City will make an offer to purchase the property from the neighbors who intended to close it to the public. If they refuse, the City will acquire it through eminent domain — essentially forcing the neighbors to sell the property to the city.

'Vision Zero' youth incarceration resolution passes Seattle City Council

at 3:59pm by David Kroman

The Seattle City Council unanimously approved a resolution Monday pledging to reduce the youth jail population down to … exactly zero.

In and of themselves, resolutions create no action. They are largely symbolic votes meant to make the opinion of the council known or to commit the city to certain action items in the future.

At the core of the issues surrounding youth incarceration is the immense tilt in the youth jail population toward youth of color. The imminent construction of a new youth jail by King County has become the symbol for the fight against jailing any youth. This resolution does undo council support — near unanimous — for the new facility, but does promise to develop an action plan for eliminating the disproportional impact.

Public support at City Hall was loud and largely unanimous. But the council members were clear that funds needed to match intent. “It’s got to be more than a vision,” said Councilmember Sally Bagshaw. “It’s got to be a commitment.”

 

Aww, shucks: 2 housing ordinances pass City Council

at 3:40pm by David Kroman

Apartment buildings on Seattle's Capitol Hill.
Apartment buildings on Seattle’s Capitol Hill. Credit: Joe Wolf/Flickr

Seattle City Council President Tim Burgess today managed to get two affordable housing ordinances approved — both of which he credits to former Councilmember Sally Clark. The first would require landlords to provide a 90-day notice for no-fault evictions of tenants. The most common reason for such an eviction is to make room for a family member of the landlord or for the landlord to move into the building.

The second ordinance requires owners of market-rate affordable units to give the city advanced notice of sale. Although the city cannot legally require a right-of-first refusal, advanced notice would, at least in theory, make it easier for the city to buy units and preserve them as affordable.

It’s odd for a politician like Burgess to deflect credit for what is a largely popular measure. But Burgess has been getting criticism from his opponent Jon Grant for coming around too late on progressive housing measures. By crediting the work of Clark, Burgess has proof the measure has been n the work for a while now.

New financial questions about Eyman campaigns

at 1:15pm by Joe Copeland

Staffers recommend that the state Public Disclosure Commission consider asking the state Attorney General’s Office to look into initiative entrepreneur Tim Eyman’s handling of campaign finances. In a report today, the staff said the commission should look at strong action on what a staff investigation suggests are “multiple apparent violations” of state campaign finance laws. Those include his possible use of $170,000 in donations for personal purposes and the possible diversion of some $180,000 donated for one initiative campaign to support another campaign. The staff also said Eyman appears to have involved himself in some campaign finance activities that violate an order issued after a 2002 investigation into his failure to report use of campaign funds for personal purposes.

Attorney Mark Lamb told The News Tribune that Eyman believes he provided all the proper information on the expenditures and that the timing of the new report, which dates backs to campaigns in 2012, is tied to opposition to his current initiative on limiting taxes, Initiative 1366. It demands that the Legislature let voters consider a constitutional amendment requiring two-thirds approval of all taxes or face a 1-cent cut in the state income tax.

The Public Disclosure Commission could consider the staff recommendations as early as Thursday.

Seahawks get their stumble on

at 6:00am by Joe Copeland

A loss to the Green Bay Packers puts the Seattle Seahawks at 0-2 for the year. If the Hawks have been waiting for people to start doubting them, they may have gotten their wish. For a brief time, the Seattle Times web headline asked whether it is time to panic. And Sportspress Northwest began its game roundup, “This year may turn out to be different, but in their 40-season history, the Seahawks have never made the playoffs after starting 0-2.”

Credit: MiltPriggee.com
Credit: MiltPriggee.com

Seattle teachers look ahead

at 5:00am by Joe Copeland

Members of the Seattle Education Association overwhelmingly approved a new collection bargaining agreement with Seattle Public Schools. Teachers union officials said the vote was taken by secret ballot during a membership meeting on Sunday evening. Presumably, more than a few students were busy at the same time finishing up homework assigned during the first two days of school while teachers worked on the basis of the tentative deal.

SEA President Jonathan Knapp said in a statement, “We have powerful, unified, resolute members who will take their passion for doing what is right for children to Olympia.” Legislators in the state capital: You’re on notice.

Friday 18 Sep, 2015

Ed Murray unveils parks budget. Eastsider running for Lt. Governor. Should local voting be open to non-citizens?

Eastsider running for lieutenant governor

at 3:59pm by Joe Copeland

State Sen. Cyrus Habib, D-Bellevue, says he is running for lieutenant governor in next year’s election. Habib, who is blind because of a childhood illness, promised to campaign in every part of the state.

The incumbent, Brad Owen, recently filed paperwork for a re-election campaign, according to the Northwest Progressive Institute’s Cascadia Advocate blog. Associated Press reports Owen said Friday that he hasn’t decided whether to seek a new term.

Cyrus Habib
Cyrus Habib Credit: John Stang

Day for volunteers

at 3:49pm by Joe Copeland

More than 12,000 people from local companies volunteered during United Way of King County’s Day of Caring on Friday. Beforehand, UWKC estimated that the volunteers would do $1.6 million worth of work for 270 non-profit groups, but a spokesperson said the value was likely a bit higher.

The annual day of volunteer work also serves as the kickoff of United Way’s annual fund drive.

 

Murray unveils Parks' budget

at 3:36pm by David Kroman

Mayor Ed Murray rolled out his budget proposal for new initiatives at Seattle Parks and Recreation on Friday: $47 million to be spent on deferred maintenance, new equipment and renovations. $4 million of that will go toward developing “new culturally relevant programming to serve an additional 6,000 Seattle residents across the system,” according to a statement from the Mayor’s Office. Some $9 million will go toward acquiring new property to expand parks.

This budget represents the first full year of spending since voters approved the parks district a year ago — a new system that creates an alternative tax pipeline for parks separate from the city’s general fund. And 2016 will be the first full year for new superintendent Jesus Aguirre who recently took the reins from interim superintendent Christopher Williams.

Wanted: A few good helicopter pilots

at 7:37am by Greg Hanscom

As wildfires raged across Washington this summer, the state’s acting chief helicopter pilot warned that there weren’t enough pilots to keep firefighting choppers in the air, reports the Seattle Times. John Adolphson told senior Department of Natural Resources officials that the shortage was likely due to low wages. “Whether the shortage hampered the summer’s wildfire battle isn’t easy to gauge,” Joseph O’Sullivan writes in the Times, “but the concerns come as national, state and local firefighting resources have been outstripped by the unprecedented blazes.” Peter Goldmark, state public lands commissioner, requested a $4.5 million increase in firefighting funds for this year after the record-setting Carlton Complex fire blew up in the Methow Valley in 2014, but the state legislature gave him only $1.2 million. It’s a tension that is only likely to grow as climate change increases the length of fire seasons in our forests.

Is it right that non-citizens know local politics but can't vote?

at 4:45am by Joe Copeland

Seattle Times columnist Sarah Stuteville questions the reasons for blocking longtime residents but non-citizens from voting in local elections. She writes that Seattle’s Initiative 122 would open an opportunity for all residents to use vouchers to support City Council candidates of their choice. And that would be an option to have a voice in local matters [that is, it would appear, assuming the voucher program is well enough funded for most residents to take part].

She talked to former Mayor Mike McGinn, who believes that all local residents should have a voice in local elections. As McGinn tells her, “We’re talking about police protection and crime and parks and potholes and schools.”

Thursday 17 Sep, 2015

Poverty rate improves in state. Rent control push struggles. A guide to I-405 express lanes.

State's poverty rate improves

at 1:29pm by Joe Copeland

New U.S. Census figures show that nearly 1 out of 8 Washingtonians lived in poverty last year, but the poverty rate here improved markedly over 2013, falling to 13.2 percent from 14.1 percent.  Prof. Jennifer Romich, director of the West Coast Poverty Center at the University of Washington, said in a statement, “We are finally seeing a drop in the poverty rate six years after the end of the Great Recession. However, there were still over 900,000 poor residents in Washington in 2014, including more than 275,000 children.”

The UW noted that, while the Seattle-Tacoma-Everett area’s 11.3 percent poverty rate is better than the state’s 13.2 percent, parts of the metropolitan area have higher rates. Among them: Everett at 21.6 percent and Tacoma at 19.6.

Washington is one of 12 states with significant improvements in poverty rates. Despite the easing of the poverty rate, there was no measurable improvement in income inequality here or in most states.

Fall Member Drive

at 1:15pm by Sherry Larsen-Holmes

Day 2 Fall Member Drive Social Media Therm Templates
We’re only $11,000 away from reaching our weekly goal! If you become a member right now, you’ll keep content like the Daily Troll free for everyone to read. And if you give before 5 p.m. this Friday, you’ll be entered to win exclusive in-studio, VIP tickets to live jazz at KPLU!

Police: A dip in gun violence

at 12:48pm by Joe Copeland

Seattle Police tell Q13 Fox’s Brandi Kruse that, after months of rising gun violence, the number of shots fired in the past two weeks have dropped from the prior two weeks. Police and community groups have been trying new strategies, and police said it’s too early to declare any sort of victory. As the Seattle Times reported in excellent detail over the weekend, it has been a horrible year overall for gun violence, with 11 deaths in the city, mostly among young black men, and more deaths in nearby communities.

 

Rent control resolution survives, barely

at 12:03pm by David Kroman

The Seattle City Council’s Housing, Human Services and Economic Resiliency Committee split evenly on a resolution Thursday that calls on the Washington Legislature to lift the statewide ban on rent control. Councilmembers Nick Licata and Kshama Sawant introduced the resolution earlier this summer. The vote was 3-3, with Licata, Sawant and Councilmember Mike O’Brien in favor and councilmembers Tom Rasmussen, John Okamoto and Jean Godden opposing. City code stipulates that a split vote will go before the full council after a full week has elapsed and with the recommendation of the chair, which, in this case, is Okamoto’s ‘no.’ (There’s a full story here.)

Seattle city councilmember Kshama Sawant
Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant Credit: Eino Sierpe/Flickr

 

New police info officer used to run city tech office

at 11:22am by Joe Copeland

The Seattle Police Department has named Bill Schrier, the city’s former chief technology officer, as its  chief information officer. In a statement, Mike Wagars, the department’s chief operating officer, “We are excited to bring Bill on board to continue our push to bring new and better technologies to the SPD.” The announcement referred to the appointment of Schrier as interim but it’s likely that the job is his for as long as he wants: Schrier, 66, is highly regarded in City Hall and far beyond.

Since his 2012 retirement from City Hall, he’s been busy, most recently as a senior policy adviser in the Washington State Office of the Chief Officer.  He’s also written occasional articles for Crosscut.

William_M_Schrier_2

Brothers who 'struck out' may get another chance

at 7:28am by Greg Hanscom

In the mid-1990s, brothers Paul Rivers and David Conyers were sentenced to life in prison without parole. Their crimes? Small-time robberies of convenience stores and an espresso stand, armed with nothing but their fingers, concealed in their pockets, that they pretended to be guns. Rivers was the first person to get life under the state of Washington’s “three strikes” law. Conyers was the youngest. These laws are designed to put career criminals out of business, but they come at a great cost to society and communities of color. A review released this May by the University of Washington Law, Societies & Justice Program found that roughly one in 10 Washington state inmates is serving life without parole under the three-strikes law, each at a cost of roughly $2.5 million to taxpayers. While African Americans make up just 4 percent of the state’s population, 28 percent of those serving life in prison here are black. Last week, the state’s Clemency and Pardons Board voted unanimously in favor of clemency for Paul Rivers and David Conyers. On its editorial page today, the Seattle Times calls on Gov. Inslee to pardon them, and on the legislature to “revisit a law that sends black men to the slow death of a life sentence for petty robberies.”

3 nominees picked to replace Ross Hunter in Legislature

at 6:00am by Joe Copeland

King County Democrats say they have picked three nominees as the possible replacements for Ross Hunter in the 48th District state House of Representatives seat he has resigned. The precinct committee officers in the Eastside district selected attorney Patty Kuderer, who lives in Clyde Hill, as their top choice. She was followed by Redmond City Councilmember Kim Allen and real-estate broker Santiago Ramos. The King County Council will make the final decision in the next 60 days.

Hunter left to become head of the state’s Department of Early Learning.

I-405 express lanes: Got it?

at 5:00am by Joe Copeland

The Washington State Department of Transportation will start tolling for the new express lanes on I-405 between Bellevue and Lynnwood on Sept. 27 (a Sunday). But the state has already turned on the new signage, creating lots of confusion. KING5 takes a crack at explaining things with a Q&A here. The state has a host of information here. If you already have a Good to Go! Pass and account, you get a better rate and automatic billing. But to get free use of the lanes while car pooling, you need the more advanced Good To Go! Flex Pass.

Wednesday 16 Sep, 2015

Joel Klein knocks charter ruling. China's President: The Tacoma connection. Do Supremes need to go further on school funding?

Joel Klein: Not liking WA's charter school ruling

at 3:40pm by Joe Copeland

Former New York City Schools Chancellor Joel Klein told a Seattle crowd that he finds the state Supreme Court’s ruling against public funding of charter schools “remarkably unpersuasive.” He was talking to a luncheon supporting the non-profit group, Stand For Children. He’s not alone, to be sure: Former Justice Philip Talmadge argues in The News Tribune that the court decision is so confused and based on such antiquated concepts that it would ban the Running Start program which allows advanced high school students to attend community college without tuition.

In another part of Klein’s talk posted on Twitter by a charter-school supporter, he said, “I’m not for district schools or charter schools, I’m for good schools.”

Help count WA bikers and walkers

at 2:56pm by Leslie Holleran

The state’s Department of Transportation is about to perform its annual survey of bikers and walkers. From Tuesday, Sept. 29 to Thursday, Oct. 1, over 400 volunteers are needed in many communities throughout the state to get a headcount. The information is used by the DOT to improve conditions and policies for bicyclers and walkers statewide. Those interested in helping can register or learn more online. 

See Live Jazz in KPLU's Studio!

at 1:50pm by 0ceann

Crosscut members have already raised $4,000 of this week’s $15,000 goal! Help us tell the stories you rely on by making your gift to Crosscut’s Fall Member Drive.

Thanks to KPLU — Crosscut’s award-winning media partner — everyone who gives before 5 p.m. this Friday will be entered to win passes to KPLU’s exclusive live studio session. You could see jazz celebrities Karrin Allyson or the Westerlies perform up close, enjoy delicious snacks and get a tour of KPLU’s Seattle studio. Don’t miss this unique opportunity, make a gift today!

By contributing to Crosscut, you are supporting the Northwest’s unique, independent news source. As one of our readers so aptly put it, “Democracy requires a vital media. It’s that simple.”

 

Karrin Allyson

Chinese President: the Tacoma connection

at 12:14pm by Joe Copeland

Of course, Chinese President Xi Jinping is going to make Seattle his first U.S. stop: As the Puget Sound Business Journal noted well before today’s official announcement of Xi’s schedule, that’s what Chinese leaders usually do. The City of Tacoma points out something different: Xi will visit the City of Destiny 21 years after being part of the establishment of sister-city ties between Fuzhou and Tacoma. At the time, Xi was chair of the Standing Committee of Fuzhou Municipal People’s Congress.

In a statement, Mayor Marilyn Strickland said, “Since 1994, our cities have both benefited from a variety of educational, cultural and sports exchanges, and Tacoma has hosted at least 30 delegations from Fuzhou.” A delegation from Fuzhou visited Tacoma in 2010 to help build a pavilion, known as the Fuzhou Ting, in the Chinese Reconciliation Park on the Ruston Way Waterfront. (The park commemorates the expulsion of Chinese residents in 1885, for which the City officially apologized in 1993.)

Xi and his wife will visit Lincoln High School.

The Fuzhou Ting Credit: Metro Parks Tacoma
The Fuzhou Ting Credit: Metro Parks Tacoma

 

No neighborly support from Kennewick for Arlene's Flowers

at 10:16am by Joe Copeland

The Kennewick City Council last night voted against a resolution in support of the owner of Arlene’s Flowers, the shop that refused to provide floral arrangements for a same-sex wedding, the Tri-City Herald reports. Only one council member supported the measure, which sought action by the Legislature to “ensure that Washington’s business climate never requires someone to choose between their job and their conscience.” The shop is in nearby Richland; one council member noted that it had been argued that the case had nothing to do with the City of Kennewick.

A Superior Court judge ruled that the shop’s owner, Barronelle Stutzman, had violated state law.

Bellevue football parents complain

at 7:46am by Joe Copeland

Some parents of Bellevue High School football players, past and present, are telling the School Board that the district’s own probe of alleged recruitments, academic problems and excessive practicing is bogus, KIRO-TV reports. The coach is on a two-game suspension after self-reporting problems. The parents said he and the team would be fully cleared of all charges if the district looked more carefully into the allegations.

The mother of a former Bellevue student who is now at Stanford, Mustafa Branch, said she and her son picked the school for its academic reputation but people assume he was induced to come there.

Meet your new landlord: Wall Street

at 7:18am by Greg Hanscom

As if it wasn’t hard enough to find a house in the Northwest’s burgeoning urban centers, now we have to compete with Wall Street, too. In an interview with Oregon Public Broadcasting, Lee Van Der Voo of Investigate West talks about high rolling investment firms that are storming the Portland-area’s real estate market, buying up hundreds of houses and, as she puts it, using them as collateral to “raise huge amounts of capital that they’re putting into more real estate.” The practice grew out of the Great Recession, when Wall street went looking for a way to profit from the real estate crash, and it has grown from there, says Van Der Voo, who wrote a recent feature story on the topic. The Seattle Times has reported that one such company, Blackstone, is active in Seattle, too, hoovering up homes for cash and turning them into rentals — and in the process, pushing home prices even farther out of reach for working families.

To fix school funding, high court might need the ‘atomic option’

at 6:43am by Greg Hanscom

To truly fix the state’s schools, the Washington Supreme Court might want to take a few cues from New Jersey, writes Jen Graves at the Stranger. Graves interviewed Michael Rebell, an author and teacher at Columbia University, about a time 40 years ago when the Garden State faced a school-funding pickle every bit as sour as the one Washington faces today. In 1976, the state Supreme Court had ruled that the legislature had failed to meet constitutional mandates for funding schools. “Then, New Jersey’s State Legislature provided a plan… but no funding,” Graves writes. “Sounding very familiar?” So the court shut down every school in the state. What happened next? Well, read Graves’ story. There are interesting lessons there for Washington, all these years later.

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