Simone Alicea

Business & Labor Reporter

A Seattle native and former knkx intern, Simone Alicea has returned to the Pacific Northwest from covering breaking news at the Chicago Sun-Times. She earned her Bachelor's of Journalism from Northwestern University. During her undergraduate career, she spent time in Cape Town, South Africa, covering metro news for the Cape Times. 

Ways to Connect

Tom Banse / Northwest News Network

An advocacy group will hold a public forum on Wednesday to talk about its proposal to levy a property tax to pay for affordable housing in Olympia.

The Home Fund is a project to encourage cities to dedicate funds for affordable housing around Thurston County.  

The group hopes to get a property tax levy on Olympia's November ballot to build 250 housing units over seven years. The tax would be 36 cents per $1,000 of assessed value and would raise about $2.2 million annually, according to The Home Fund.

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

The Seattle City Council is starting to ask questions about a potential new arena.

There are two possibilities at play. The first option is a privately-financed stadium in the SoDo neighborhood. The second is the redevelopment of KeyArena.

Both options will require council action in the coming months, leading to the creation of the Select Committee on Civic Arenas. The committee met for the first time Monday.

Elaine Thompson / AP

Starbucks has long taken on the mantle of socially conscious retailer. The Seattle-based coffee chain pledged commitment to those endeavors at Wednesday's annual shareholders meeting at McCaw Hall.

Peter Morrison / AP

To get a first-class room on the RMS Titanic in 1912, it might have cost upwards of $4,300. In 2017 dollars, it's roughly $105,000.

Incidentally, that's how much it costs to get on the private submarine that will take dozens of people to the depths of the Atlantic Ocean, where the Titanic now lies.

Everett-based OceanGate is building that sub here in the Puget Sound. The company will take 54 people along with their crew next spring to comb over the wreck.

A northbound train pulls into Westlake Station in downtown Seattle.
Simone Alicea / knkx

As the president's proposed budget ripples through various sectors of Washington state, one question that arises is what potential cuts to transportation could mean for Sound Transit's ambitious light rail plans.

The biggest potential problem is the president's proposal to eliminate all grant funding for transit projects that don't already have it.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

Talking about a $15 minimum wage may seem common now. But when that number was pitched to airport workers and then to SeaTac voters in 2013, the concept was far-fetched.

Jonathan Rosenblum was the SeaTac campaign director for Working Washington at the time. He has a new book chronicling that campaign called "Beyond $15: Immigrant Workers, Faith Activists, and the Revival of the Labor Movement."

realtor.com

Seattle could soon become the first city in the country to create a renters' commission.

The commission would comprise 15 members who could comment on city policy. The city has several boards and commissions, including groups for women, immigrants and members of the LGBTQ community.

Elaine Thompson / AP

There will be no criminal charges against two Seattle police officers who shot and killed 46-year-old Che Taylor during an arrest last year in the Wegwood neighborhood.

Taylor was black. The two officers who shot him are white. The decision comes after a King County inquest last month into his death.

County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg said that process and other evidence keeps him from pursuing criminal charges under the law. Specifically, the prosecutor said the officers reasonably believed their life was in danger and their fear justified their actions.

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

Washington state lawmakers are trying to limit the scope of non-compete agreements.

A non-compete agreement is part of a contract that says an employee can't work for a competitor for a certain period of time after leaving a company.

There have been several attempts to restrict the use of non-compete agreements in Washington. Some states, like California, have all but banned them.

Susan Walsh / AP

President Donald Trump does not always get along with the media.

The president tweeted last month that "the fake news" is the "enemy of the American people," listing the New York Times and CNN among others. Shortly after, he doubled down on those comments at this year's Conservative Political Action Conference and barred several news outlets from a White House press briefing.

PR NEWSWIRE

Amazon has not yet said exactly what caused one of its cloud storage services to go down for several hours Tuesday, but businesses who were affected can learn from the headache.

The Seattle-based tech giant dominates the cloud services market, far outpacing its next three competitors.  

Courtesy of King County Wastewater Division

King County is working to expedite the cleanup at a wastewater treatment plant that flooded earlier this month in Seattle's Magnolia neighborhood.

The King County Council unanimously approved to extend a waiver on the county's competitive bidding process for contractors. 

Will James / KNKX

Seattle police say the city sees about 300 demonstrations every year, but it now seems the rest of the country is following suit.

From the nationwide Women's March to spontaneous demonstrations at airports, more people are reportedly becoming more politically active by going to protests.

The First Amendment grants people the right to gather, but there are limits to that protection. 

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

A group of historic preservation advocates in Seattle are giving valentines to KeyArena as the city considers whether to build a new arena. 

The city is seeking proposals to redevelop the site as a new arena with the potential to host NBA and NHL events. Those proposals could include demolition.

Courtesy of Seattle City Council

Plans for a special homeless shelter in Seattle called the Navigation Center are underway now that the city has found a location.

The city announced yesterday that the center will occupy the Pearl Warren Building on 12th Avenue South and South Weller Street.

David Lee / Flickr

At a special commission meeting Tuesday, the Port of Seattle responded to a state accountability audit and to the resignation of ex-CEO Ted Fick.

In 2015, the commission approved a one-time payout to certain employees to boost employee morale and retention amid reorganization. Auditors flagged the move during a yearly accountability audit as it was being debated.

Justin Shearer / flickr.com

As cities like Shoreline prepare for more development around future light-rail stations, there may be an opportunity to use technology to help navigate that growth.

Using an online tool called CityBldr, a group of Shoreline neighbors came together in November to sell their properties as one site to a developer. They were asking for $3.2 million.

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

One of the most pressing questions in the debate over education funding in Washington state is about how much money should come from local school districts in the form of levies.

Voters around the state see levies on their ballots regularly, but understanding what they have to do with education can get complicated fast.

Mike Mozart / Flickr

Microsoft is suing the U.S. Justice Department, claiming it exploits the company's trove of data on customers who use its cloud-based products.

The Redmond-based company is asking the court to declare that a section of the law that governs electronic privacy is unconstitutional. Specifically, it wants to be able to tell customers when the government is investigating them.

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray affirms the city's "sanctuary city" status at a November press conference.
Elaine Thompson / AP

Seattle and many other "sanctuary cities" are pushing back on the latest executive orders signed Wednesday by President Donald Trump.

The orders deal in part with Trump's campaign promise to build a wall between Mexico and the United States. It also gives broad power to federal immigration authorities, imploring local law enforcement to participate in a crackdown on undocumented immigrants.

That requirement is problem for a city like Seattle, which does not allow police or other agencies to ask about a person's citizenship status.

Henry Alva / Flickr

Trade advocates in Washington state are feeling disappointed after President Donald Trump signed an executive order Monday to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

The TPP is a trade pact between the United States and 11 other Pacific Rim countries, including Canada and Japan. 

The agreement was signed by all twelve countries, but Congress never passed it. Trump and other TPP critics have said the partnership would have been good for corporate interests and bad for American workers.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

We learn in school that the three branches of government -- the legislative, the executive, and the judicial -- are designed to provide checks and balances on each other.  

To understand what that looks like, a good place to start is the Washington State Legislature, which is being held in contempt by the state Supreme Court for failing to fund basic education.

Jeff Chiu / AP

Ride-hailing company Uber is suing Seattle to block the city's new driver unionization law.

The ordinance passed by the City Council allows taxi drivers and drivers for companies like Uber and Lyft to join a union.  The city has spent the past year writing the rules for how that happens. 

Those rules went into effect Tuesday, the same day Uber filed the lawsuit in King County Superior Court.

"Welcome at SEA" by bfishadow is licensed by CC BY 2.0

A new immigration bill introduced in Congress last week could affect technology companies in Washington state.

Companies like Microsoft and Amazon often hire through the H-1B visa program, which allows highly skilled workers to come to the U.S.

Stephan Brashear / AP

Everett police are running  monthly active shooter drills this year in a vacant store at Everett Mall.

The training sessions have been in the works for a long time. But events like the deadly September shooting at Cascade Mall in Burlington serve as a reminder that police need hands-on training. 

In that shooting, five people were killed after a man with a rifle opened fire in a department store at the mall.

A King County Metro RapidRide B Line bus approaches.
Simone Alicea / knkx

King County Metro is trying out a few programs this year to improve parking access for its transit system.

Building a parking lot near transit can be more cost effective than building frequent bus or train lines outside a dense city center. But the transit agency's park-and-ride lots often fill up before many commuters can get to them. 

"Access to the system is a big piece of the puzzle," said Metro's manager of strategy and performance, Christina O'Claire.  "If you can't have access to the system ... you can't use it."

"hallway in the cherry tree inn in billings" by Bradley Gordon is licensed under CC by 2.0

Three hospitality business groups are suing Seattle over a measure intended to protect hotel workers that voters approved in November.

The American Hotel and Lodging Association, the Washington Hospitality Association and the Seattle Hotel Association filed the lawsuit in King County Superior Court on Monday.

Courtesy of Boeing

Leaders at Boeing have announced that the company will see more job cuts in 2017 in a further effort to reduce costs as orders have slowed.

Washington state's largest private sector employer has already cut jobs in its commercial airplanes unit by eight percent, according to a joint statement to employees from Boeing Vice Chairman Ray Conner and Commercial Airplanes Chief Executive Kevin McAllister.

Postmates is an app-based food and grocery delivery service.
Chandice Choi / AP

On-demand delivery startup Postmates has been ordered to pay more than two years' worth of worker compensation premiums for its couriers in Washington.

The San Francisco-based company says the cyclists and drivers who work through the app are independent contractors who should be exempt from workers' comp coverage.

"Looking up Thomas towards Space Needle" by Alan Wu is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Local designers and developers are going to try to "hack" Seattle's snow problem.

The city is hosing the "Let It Snow" hackathon Thursday night to come up with better ways to communicate when conditions get icy. Thirty participants will use the transportation department's winter weather map and other city data.

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