Will James

Business & Labor Reporter

Will James covers business, labor, and the South Sound region for KPLU. He came to the station from Newsday in his home state of New York. 

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Will James

High rates of diabetes and other health problems in Seattle's Chinatown-International District are due in part to a lack of safe outdoor space, a community organization says.

InterIm CDA, a housing and advocacy group, released a report Sept. 21 saying the district has less green space per person than any other Seattle neighborhood. 

ELAINE THOMPSON / AP

Seattle leaders unveiled a package of reports Sept. 8 filled with recommendations on how to solve the city's homelessness crisis. 

DANIEL X. O'NEIL VIA CREATIVE COMMONS

Seattle lawmakers Monday passed a law designed to give thousands of hourly workers more regular schedules, calling it a step in a fight against economic disparities in the city. 

The law, dubbed "secure scheduling" by activists and city officials, passed 9-0 over objections from managers at national retail and restaurant chains. The vote makes Seattle the second city in the country, after San Francisco, to pass scheduling protections for hourly workers.

Will James / knkx

Washington state has the fifth highest percentage of Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders in the country. But members of those communities say their full voting power isn't felt in the state.

That's why more than 1,500 people gathered at the Tacoma Dome on Thursday for a political summit organized by the statewide Asian Pacific Islander Coalition.

"We're the sleeping giant," said Lua Pritchard, chairwoman of the coalition's Pierce County chapter. 

Daniel X. O'Neil via Creative Commons

Seattle may be days away from passing what some activists consider the nation's strongest worker scheduling regulations. 

The City Council's Civil Rights, Utilities, Economic Development and Arts Committee voted 5-0 Tuesday in favor of the secure scheduling proposal

The committee vote was the last step before the full nine-member City Council takes up the law, expected as soon as Monday. 

ELAINE THOMPSON / AP

The Seattle City Council is weighing new rights for homeless people living in camps along highways or deep in wooded parks.

On Tuesday, four council members introduced a law that would make it harder for city workers to disband the illegal clusters of tents and makeshift shelters that have grown as the region's homeless population has swelled.

SIMONE BOE

Activists say they're still ready to campaign for an income tax to fund college tuition in Olympia, despite a court ruling last week blocking the initiative from the ballot this Election Day.

The Opportunity for Olympia campaign has appealed the Aug. 24 decision, and leaders say they hope to get a hearing as early as Wednesday in the state's Court of Appeals. 

ELAINE THOMPSON / AP PHOTO

The median price for a single-family house in Washington state hit an all-time record of $317,500 in the second quarter of 2016.

That beats the prior record of $316,700 set in 2007, just before the housing market crashed, according to an analysis by the University of Washington's Runstad Center for Real Estate Studies.

Seattle City Council

A proposed Seattle law that aims to ease the city's housing crisis by encouraging homeowners to build cottages in their backyards has run into resistance.

The Queen Anne Community Council is trying to force the city to conduct an environmental review of the law. The nonprofit has brought a case before the city's hearing examiner and says it has raised $25,000 for legal fees.

"Aerial photo of area surrounding Chief Leschi School Administration" by D Coetzee is licensed by CC by 2.0

Pierce County leaders are exploring a way to save more farmland from the development sweeping the Puget Sound region. But they risk upsetting some key stakeholders: the farmers. 

Every county in Washington has to decide which farms count as "agricultural resource land" -- basically farmland that can't be developed. 

No county has stricter criteria, or less farmland preserved in this way, than Pierce County. It boasts some of the nation's best soils, but about two-thirds of its farmland has disappeared since 1950 as the county's population nearly tripled. 

Supporters of secure scheduling  march in downtown Seattle in April.
Working Washington

Businesses made their stand against Seattle's proposed "secure scheduling" law Tuesday evening.

Representatives from Home Depot, AutoZone, Target, Petco, Subway franchises, and other chains packed half the city council chamber at a public hearing to criticize proposed rules on how their companies schedule workers in the city.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders plan to gather in Tacoma, Seattle and elsewhere Friday to watch the presidential campaigns vie for their votes.

They’ll tune into a live stream of a Las Vegas forum featuring Bill Clinton, Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson and the Green Party’s Jill Stein.

Puget Sound Energy

Plans for a terminal that would make and store liquefied natural gas at the Port of Tacoma are moving closer to reality.  But there’s still a question of how the costs should be divvied up. 

Puget Sound Energy, the private utility hoping to build the plant, is in talks with state regulators over how to structure the corporate entity that would run the facility — essentially a chilled steel tank wrapped in three feet of concrete. 

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