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

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. 

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

The Puget Sound region is more civically engaged than other metropolitan areas in the country, according to Seattle City Club's latest Civic Health Index.

The report has come out every few years since 2011. It tracks several metrics for civic engagement, such as voter participation and charitable donations. 

Simone Alicea / KNKX

A deal has been reached between the owners, a developer and two nonprofits on a valuable piece of property in Seattle's Central District.

Lake Union Partners has agreed to buy the old Midtown Center property on 23rd Avenue and East Union Street for $23.25 million.

The property is one of the last full blocks of undeveloped land in the city and lies at the historical heart of Seattle's black community.

Elaine Thompson / AP

The Seattle City Council approved an ordinance Monday to increase civilian oversight of the police department in a unanimous vote.

"There really is unity around this," Councilmember Sally Bagshaw said. "When we do get together and we do listen to each other, we can come up with this kind of solution."

The legislation calls for additional civilian staff for the Office of Professional Accountability, the agency responsible for investigating individual cases of officer misconduct.  

"PT 511 at Union Station" by SounderBruce is licensed under CC by 2.0. bit.ly/2qzO7W8

While cities around the country debate how to deal with a future full of self-driving cars, Pierce Transit has been incorporating technology into its fleet of buses to make them safer.

Transit agencies around the state began experimenting with collision avoidance technology last year. Buses are outfitted with sensors on the front and sides that alert drivers when pedestrians or bicyclists get too close.

Ted Warren / AP Photo

The Seattle City Council is digging into how best to proceed with a tax on sugary drinks proposed by the mayor last month.

The city wants to accomplish two things with the tax. The first goal is to encourage healthier choices by making drinks like soda more expensive and less appealing. The second is to use the new revenue source to pay for programs for low-income children.

Tom Banse

The city of Seattle is partnering with a car-sharing company to install more charging stations for electric vehicles.

ReachNow is headquartered in Seattle and run by BMW. They have invested $1.2 million to install 100 new chargers in 20 locations around the city.

"That increases the density of electric charging infrastructure that makes it easier to own and use an electric car in Seattle," ReachNow CEO Steve Banfield said.

Al Grillo / AP Photo

The Environmental Protection Agency has settled a lawsuit with Canadian-owned Pebble Limited Partnership over development of a copper and gold deposit in southwest Alaska.

Two years ago, the EPA proposed restrictions on the Pebble Mine in the Bristol Bay region. The settlement walks back that proposal, giving the company up to 30 months to apply for proper permits and limiting the agency from pursuing further restrictions for four years.

Bristol Bay is host to a world-class fishery and produces about half of the world's supply of wild sockeye salmon.

Flickr

Seattle-based Nordstrom reported first-quarter earnings that were better than expected, but the company is still struggling to navigate a new retail landscape.

Revenues met Wall Street expectations at $3.35 billion, but sales at Nordstrom's brick-and-mortar stores are down.

Simone Alicea / KNKX

Apprenticeships are common in sectors like building and manufacturing, but now Washington state is trying to apply the model to the tech industry.

The first cohort of 41 apprentices were pinned by Governor Jay Inslee in a ceremony Friday honoring the state's only registered tech apprenticeship program called Apprenti.

Simone Alicea / KNKX

Amazon hosted a ceremonial tree planting Thursday as work continued on the large glass domes at the center of the company's downtown Seattle campus.

The Australian tree fern is the first plant to call the spheres home. The spheres will house a kind of indoor park for Amazon employees with hundreds of different species of plants from around the world.

"This is an opportunity to link nature to today's office space," said John Schoettler, Amazon's vice president of global real estate and facilities.

Simone Alicea / KNKX

Two security officers who work on the Amazon campus in Seattle say their hours were cut after they marched to the company's headquarters on May Day.

The Service Employees International Union filed a complaint Wednesday to the National Labor Relations Board on behalf of Abdinasir Elmi and Betiel Desta.

Elmi and Desta are employed by Security Industry Specialists, a California-based company that contracts with Amazon.

"This problem has been going on for a long, long time. This is not the first time," Elmi said.

Ralph Radford / AP Photo

Boeing is reporting an increase in profits from the same time last year even though there has been a decrease in plane sales.

The Chicago-based aerospace company did see an uptick in deliveries on its 787 Dreamliner and expects good prospects as it rolls out the 737 Max.

But Boeing is cutting output of the 777 jet, which has consequences for workers in Washington state.

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