Paula Wissel

Law & Justice Reporter

Paula reports on groundbreaking legal decisions in Washington State and on trends in crime and law enforcement. She’s been at KNKX since 1989 and has covered the Law and Justice beat for the past 15 years. Paula grew up in Idaho and, prior to KNKX, worked in public radio and television in Boise, San Francisco and upstate New York.

Paula's most memorable moment at KNKX: “Interviewing NPR Senior News Analyst Daniel Schorr about his ability to put current events in historical context. It’s something I aspire to.”

Ways to Connect

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

SEATTLE (AP) — Seattle Mayor Ed Murray says he is dropping his re-election bid following allegations by four men that he sexually abused them when they were teenagers decades ago.

Murray vehemently denied the claims and has said they are politically motivated by an anti-gay conspiracy.

He made his announcement Tuesday after insisting for weeks he would not drop out.

Wing Luke Museum collection

On May 6, 1882, Congress passed the Chinese Exclusion Act.  The 1882 law barred all skilled and unskilled Chinese laborers from entering the country.

The law followed years of anti-Chinese activity in the U.S., with newspapers and magazines routinely depicting the Chinese as a "yellow peril" threatening to take over the country.

The Chinese had initially been welcomed in the U.S. to help build the railroads and do other hard labor. On the eve of the 135th anniversary of the Chinese Exclusion Act, 88.5's Paula Wissel sat down for an interview with Cassie Chinn, deputy executive director of the Wing Luke Museum in Seattle.

Seattle Aquarium Photo

Voters in King County will get to decide if they want to raise the sales tax to fund arts and cultural programs. The Metropolitan King County Council voted 7-2 to put the measure on the August 1 primary ballot.

"Field Mouse (peromyscus maniculatus)" by Dawn Beattie is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Are there rodents under your hood? King County Public Health officials say if you have mice nesting in your car, you could be at risk of contracting the deadly hantavirus. The airborne virus is spread when deer mice droppings are disturbed.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

Local officials are praising a federal judge’s decision to temporarily block President Donald Trump’s order to withhold funding from “sanctuary cities.” The temporary restraining order was issued in San Francisco, but applies nationwide.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

A Russian hacker will be sentenced in U.S. District Court in Seattle on Friday. Roman Seleznev, whose father is a prominent member of the Russian Parliament, was convicted last August for his part in a multi-million dollar credit card fraud scheme.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

Next November’s race for mayor of Seattle could end up being a rematch. Former Mayor Mike McGinn, who was defeated in 2013 by current Mayor Ed Murray, is running to get his old job back. 

Paula Wissel / knkx

Tennis is not an easy sport to just pick up. Players on high school tennis teams have usually spent years honing their skills. But at lower income schools that isn’t the case. There's an effort in South Seattle to help level the playing court.

A transgender woman has settled a federal lawsuit against a blood plasma bank in Kent. She sued after being told she would not be allowed to donate plasma because of her sexual identity.

Paula Wissel / knkx

Just off busy Aurora Avenue in Seattle, there’s a new cluster of tiny houses. The first residents began moving into the non-profit run Licton Springs Tiny Houses Village on Wednesday.

Paula Wissel / knkx

For the past five years, Seattle police have operated under a federal consent decree that requires steps to be taken to reduce biased policing.  United States Attorney General Jeff Sessions wants to review Obama-era consent decrees to see if they should remain in place. But the review is unlikely to change the one in Seattle.

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

How difficult is it to remove a politician from office outside of an election? Only two United States presidents have ever been impeached and even they kept their jobs. In Washington state, while there are mechanisms for both impeachment and recall of elected officials, they are rarely used and almost never successful.


Despite the often heard phrase “see you in court,” more and more conflicts are actually being resolved through mediation, without going to trial. 

At the University of Washington School of Law, the 23rd annual Northwest Dispute Resolution Conference begins Thursday featuring more than 40 national experts in the field of dispute resolution.

Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Seattle says it has a plan to reduce pedestrian traffic fatalities by half. It involves a minor tweak to the traffic lights

When you’re on foot in Seattle, it can be a little nerve wracking crossing the street at a traffic signal. Just as the walk sign comes on, the green light for cars goes on as well. If a car is turning, you just hope it sees you.

But Scott Kubly, Seattle Department of Transportation director, says, as part of the city’s pedestrian master plan, those walk lights are going to be reprogrammed so that the walk sign comes on first.

Austin Jenkins

A hallmark of democracy is transparency, a way to see inside the government so we know what it’s up to. To that end, there’s the federal Freedom of Information Act. And in Washington state, we have something similar called the Public Records Act.

Paula Wissel / KNKX

In the late 1960s and early '70s, all sorts of underground newspapers had emerged from the counterculture and antiwar movements. Most of them weren’t actually all that underground, since there wasn’t much risk involved in publishing or distributing them.

But if you were in the military and you wanted to publish stories that strayed from the company line, you could get in serious trouble. That led in part to something called the GI underground movement.

Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP Photo

From travel bans to trade policy, President Donald Trump’s actions in his first weeks in office have raised questions about presidential powers. The University of Washington School of Law is trying to provide some answers through a class and a website.

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

Washington state's attorney general declared Monday that he was suing President Donald Trump over his temporary ban on immigration from seven countries with majority-Muslim populations, making it the first state to announce a legal action against the Trump administration over one of its policies.

Trump's executive order also suspended the United States' entire refugee program and set off nationwide protests over the weekend, including one that drew 3,000 people to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

Chris O'Meara / AP Photo

The deadline to sign up for health care for this year under the Affordable Care Act is Tuesday, January 31. Even with the prospect of the ACA, also known as Obamacare, going away, Washington officials say there are good reasons to enroll through the state's Washington Healthplanfinder website.

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo / file

If Congress repeals the Affordable Care Act without a comparable replacement, it could have a major impact on the immunization program for children in Washington state. The state depends on dollars from the ACA, also known as Obamacare, to pay for the procurement and distribution of children’s vaccines. Loss of funds could affect other public health programs as well, including the state’s program to test lead poisoning in children.

Paula Wissel / knkx

The inauguration of President Donald Trump brought protests and pride from across Washington today. In western Washington, we found a mix:

Protesting The New President

In Seattle, marchers left from Capitol Hill and the city's Central District, headed toward downtown's Westlake Park, where a large crowd rallied.

Christine Armario / AP Photo

How does a city make sure all performance spaces for musicians and artists are safe without quashing creativity? That's something Seattle is grappling with in light of the deadly fire in a warehouse in Oakland, California last month. The space was being used by a group of artists.

Wikimedia Commons

When someone is elderly and incapacitated, it often falls to a loved one to make health care or financial decisions for them. The next of kin, or other designated party, is able to do this because they’ve been given what’s called “power of attorney.”  But, sometimes a vulnerable adult can be taken advantage of. A new state law is meant to curb such abuse.

Paula Wissel / knkx

The Seattle Police Department is getting good marks in the latest assessment from a federal monitor. The department has been under a federal court order to reform since 2012, following findings of racially biased policing.

In the latest review of the Seattle Police Department, the tenth assessment done since oversight began, the federal overseer looked at the adequacy of supervision in the department.  One question to answer was if all officers have a clearly identified first-line supervisor each day — also, if police sergeants receive timely and adequate supervisory training.

Rogelio V. Solis / AP Photo

Can landlords prohibit firearms in their rental properties? It's an issue that has come up recently following the deadly shooting in Tacoma of a police officer. The owner of the home that the suspect, who was killed by police after a standoff, was renting said she was unaware that he had firearms.

Paula Wissel / knkx

On the day the Electoral College met and officially voted for Donald Trump, some members of Washington’s congressional delegation were vowing to oppose the President-elect Donald Trump once he’s in the White House.

Howard Chandler Christy / public domain

Today is the 225th anniversary of the adoption of the Bill of Rights. To mark the occasion, the American Civil Liberties Union of Washington is handing out Bill of Rights wallet cards. The ACLU will be passing out the cards from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Westlake Park in downtown Seattle.


The 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor is a good time to remember the importance of the Puget Sound region to the war effort. In this radio story, which first aired on 88.5 in 2005, reporter Steve Krueger takes us to Bremerton, where the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard played a key role in rebuilding ships damaged at Pearl Harbor.

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

The King County Council has picked real estate developer and former lawmaker Dino Rossi to fill the senate seat in the 45th Legislative District.  The seat was left vacant after the death of Andy Hill. Hill, a Republican from Redmond, died of cancer on October 31.

Paula Wissel / knkx

In Bellingham, a giant work of art will link the city’s industrial past with the future of its waterfront, a place where pulp and paper mills once operated 24 hours a day. The artwork is referred to simply as "The Acid Ball."