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. 

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Simone Alicea / KNKX

Detainees doing work at the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma are paid only $1 per day or sometimes only in snacks, according to a lawsuit filed Wednesday by the Washington state attorney general in Pierce County Superior Court.

Elaine Thompson / AP

City Councilmember Tim Burgess will act as Seattle's mayor for the next couple of months. He was appointed in a 5-1 vote of the City Council on Monday afternoon.

The Overcast: Amazon's HQ2 News Ripples Through Hometown

Sep 15, 2017
Elaine Thompson / AP

The news that Seattle-based Amazon wants to build what it calls an "equal" second headquarters somewhere else in North America sent shocks through the local political and business communities.

Elaine Thompson / AP

Updated at 10:41 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 14, 2017, with more details.

Seattle City Council President Bruce Harrell was sworn in as the city's 54th mayor Wednesday evening, after former Mayer Ed Murray resigned over sex abuse allegations.

J. Scott Applewhite / AP

Republican Rep. Dave Reichert of Washington state said Wednesday that he was retiring from Congress after seven terms, giving Democrats renewed hope of winning a district solely held by Republicans since its creation more than three decades ago.

A new survey from the Associated General Contractors of America shows that Washington and other states are facing a shortage of craft workers like carpenters and painters.
"setting out braces" by Matt Thompson is licensed by CC by 2.0

As construction booms, there continues to be a shortage of skilled crafts workers around the state, according to a yearly survey of general contractors.

The Associated General Contractors of America released results from the survey on Tuesday. About 79 percent of contractors in Washington state said they are having a hard time finding workers such as carpenters and concrete workers.

Marcus Harrison Green says people of color tend to be responsible for talking about racism to each other and to white people. But what does it look like when white people talk to each other about race?

Darryl Dyck / The Canadian Press via AP

The fight over safe drug-injection sites is underway in King County.

Earlier this year, county leaders moved to open two of them as part of a larger plan to deal with the opioid crisis.

Simone Alicea / KNKX

Tensions over high-profile police shooting deaths have led to ongoing conversations about bias, police culture and use of force.

Elaine Thompson / AP

The City of Seattle is once again considering how to help people living in their cars and motor homes.

To find out more about the debate over the city's latest moves, The Seattle Times City Hall reporter Dan Beekman asked his colleague Vernal Coleman, who covers homelessness issues, to break it down.  They spoke for "The Overcast", The Seattle Times weekly politics podcast recorded at KNKX.


Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

With primary ballots due Tuesday, Seattle voters are still trying to make sense of a crowded mayor's race.

For the latest episode of "The Overcast," Seattle Times political reporter Jim Brunner and City Hall reporter Dan Beekman hit the pavement to find out what voters care about and which names come up out the 21 candidates vying to lead the state's largest city.  

Simone Alicea / KNKX

While some people use their back yard as a garden or a place for kids to play, one group in Seattle wants homeowners to consider another purpose for the space behind their homes: An opportunity to provide housing for those experiencing homelessness.

Simone Alicea / KNKX

Seattlites looking to bike around the city can now try out two stationless bike-sharing apps.

San Francisco-based Spin began rolling out 500 bicycles Monday. LimeBike, also based in the Bay Area, is beginning to roll out its bikes in Seattle this week.

Courtesy of the Consulate of Mexico in Seattle

From agriculture to planes, Washington state holds its own when it comes to international trade. 

For many people, places like Canada, China and Japan easily come to mind when we think about trading partners. But Mexico also does a lot of business with our state.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

The Seattle City Council voted 9-0 Monday to pass a citywide income tax on high earners.

The 2.25-percent tax applies to annual income over $250,000 for an individual and $500,000 for a couple filing jointly.

Mayor Ed Murray supports the tax and is expected to sign it into law. 

The tax is scheduled to apply to income earned in 2018, though proponents say they expect a lawsuit that may delay its implementation. 

Legal experts view the city's legislation as a test case that may determine whether citywide income taxes are legal in Washington state.

House Vote
Ted Warren / AP

Washingtonians are still trying to make sense of the budget passed by the legislature late last week amid the threat of a state government shutdown.

Courtesy of PEMCO Webster & Stevens Collection, MOHAI, 1983.10.3975

People don't think there's anything old in Bellevue.

So says Sarah Frederick, the collections manager at the Eastside Heritage Center. She also says it isn't true as she points to a picture of a young man with a harpoon gun.

The man was part of one of the last commercial whaling fleets in the country, which made its home in Bellevue's Meydenbauer Bay.

The Overcast: Seattle Wants An Income Tax But It's Complicated

Jun 30, 2017
Simone Alicea / KNKX

The Seattle City Council plans on passing a local income tax in the next couple weeks. But there are a lot of questions about a potential city income tax in a state that doesn't have one.

MarketFront
Simone Alicea / KNKX

The first Pike Place Market expansion in 40 years had its grand opening Thursday.

The MarketFront is a largely outdoor pavilion near the northwest end of the market. It features four new indoor tenants near Western Avenue and a covered plaza for day stalls upstairs.

During the opening, some of Pike Place's regular artists demonstrated their work in the plaza. 

Elaine Thompson / AP

Two recent studies on Seattle's $15 minimum wage law seem to conflict in their preliminary analyses of the effects of the law.

Mike McGinn
Elaine Thompson / AP

When Seattle residents get their primary ballots in the next few weeks, they are going to see a list of 21 people hoping to lead the state's largest city. 

Simone Alicea / KNKX

The site of Washington state's first black-owned bank is on its way to becoming what developers hope will be a hub for the neighborhood's modern black community.

The Liberty Bank project on 24th Avenue and East Union Street broke ground Monday. The groundbreaking ceremony coincided with Juneteenth, which commemorates the end of slavery in the United States.

Like many new developments in the Central District and around the city, the project is set to become high-rise housing with businesses on the ground floor.

Simone Alicea / KNKX

Seattle City Council members heard from dozens of speakers Wednesday evening during the first public hearing at City Hall on a proposal to enact a citywide income tax.

Mayor Ed Murray and council members Lisa Herbold and Kshama Sawant unveiled the legislation Monday evening. The council passed a resolution in May saying it planned to consider and pass an income tax ordinance by July.

The current proposal is a two percent tax on income more than $250,000 per year for individuals and more than $500,000 for couples who file their taxes jointly. 

Hope for Gorilla/Flickr

School start times in Seattle are expected to change again next year, but doing it will take some maneuvering by the City Council this week.

The district school board has already voted to lengthen the school day and enact Wednesday early dismissals. Board members also want to change this year's three-tiered bell system to one with two tiers.

Rachel La Corte / AP Photo

The National Park Service is asking the public to weigh in on whether it should allow cell service providers to set up in Mount Rainier National Park.

The proposal would allow providers to set up equipment in a building in a developed part of the park. Coverage would be limited to the area immediately surrounding it.

When the park service first floated the idea last fall, comments were split about half in favor and half opposed.

"edge of belltown" by Jeff Wilcox is licensed under CC by 2.0

A person has to make nearly $19 per hour to comfortably rent a one-bedroom apartment in Washington state, according to a new report from a national housing advocacy group.

The National Low Income Housing Coalition's annual Out of Reach report measures housing affordability in terms of how much a person has to make to rent average homes of various sizes.

The report ranks Washington as the 10th most expensive state in the country by that measure. Hawaii was ranked number one.

Ted Warren / AP Photo

The Seattle City Council approved a tax on sugary beverages in a 7-1 vote Monday. 

After months of debate, the council passed a 1.75 cents-per-ounce tax on beverage distributors. The drinks affected include soda, sports drinks and energy drinks.

Diet drinks, baby formula, medicine, weight-loss drinks and 100 percent fruit juice were explicitly exempted. It's unclear whether syrup-flavored coffee drinks like lattes will be included.

Elaine Thompson / AP

Like communities across the Puget Sound region, Bellingham and Whatcom County are struggling to deal with homelessness and housing affordability.

Bellingham city officials are hoping to address some of those issues in a June 13 town hall meeting. Residents have until Wednesday to submit questions beforehand about housing and homelessness.

"I think the main thing we're looking for is to open up the line of communication on one of the most pressing issues," said council president Michael Lilliquist.

Bellamy Pailthorp / KNKX

Private bike-share companies are looking to Seattle to see if stationless bike-sharing might be a viable alternative to the defunct Pronto system.

Three companies with bases in the Bay Area -- Bluegogo, LimeBike and Spin -- are talking with city officials to coordinate a Seattle launch. 

Paula Wissel / KNKX

Seattle and King County have released a report on the area's homeless population that will be used by officials and service providers to determine how resources should be allocated.

The 2017 point-in-time count was taken on Jan. 27. Volunteers canvassing the county counted 11,643 people living outside, in cars, in emergency shelters and in transitional housing. 

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