Seattle City Council

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

Nearly a decade after the SuperSonics left Seattle because of lack of funding for a new arena, the city has a deal it hopes will eventually bring the NBA back.

Kirsten Harris-Talley served on the Seattle City Council for just 51 days. She was appointed after Councilmember Tim Burgess became mayor following the resignation of Ed Murray earlier this fall.

Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

After Ed Murray's resignation as Mayor of Seattle, there was a series of transitions as council members took over the city's highest office, returned to the council, and an interim council member was appointed. In a couple weeks, Seattle City Hall is going to do it all over again.

Elaine Thompson / AP

Political organizer Kirsten Harris-Talley is the newest member of the Seattle City Council.

Harris-Talley was appointed Friday to fill in while Tim Burgess is mayor through the end of November. She is currently the program director of Progress Alliance of Washington.

Paula Wissel / knkx

Two Seattle police officers recently filed a lawsuit against Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant for defamation of character.

They say she defamed them when, shortly after it happened, she referred to the police killing of Che Taylor, an African American man, as a “brutal murder.” They point out they were eventually cleared of wrongdoing in the killing by an inquest jury. 

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

Updated at 3:14 p.m. Monday Aug. 14 with the council's passage of the law.

 

The Seattle City Council passed a law Monday that mostly prevents landlords from screening potential tenants by criminal history.

 

The “Fair Chance Housing" ordinance passed in a 8-0 vote (Councilmember Kshama Sawant was absent). The law is intended to expand housing options for those with criminal records.

 

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.

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

Hundreds of anti-pipeline demonstrators chanted and waved signs outside of Seattle’s City Hall early Wednesday, before dozens crowded in to council chambers to testify in front of Seattle’s Finance Committee.

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.

One woman holds up an "Every Driver Counts" sign while another holds one that says "$15 and a Union" at a packed meeting about for-hire driver unionization at Seattle City Hall.
Simone Alicea / knkx

More than 200 people gathered at Seattle City Hall Tuesday afternoon to talk about how drivers for companies like Uber and Lyft could potentially unionize.

The hearing was held to talk about draft rules the city released a couple weeks ago regarding an ordinance the Seattle City Council passed last year.  

"Seattle" by Chris Yunker is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Housing advocates say up-front costs of renting a new apartment, like security deposits and non-refundable fees, are a major barrier to finding a home in Seattle.

ELAINE THOMPSON / AP PHOTO

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray on Thursday unveiled what he called a more "balanced" approach to managing the city's unauthorized homeless encampments, entering a debate that has simmered for weeks.

Murray said at a news conference that city workers would tolerate encampments in some public spaces -- but not parks, sidewalks, or school grounds. 

Monica Spain / knkx

Legislation before the Seattle City Council has some people worried that city parks could turn into campgrounds for people without permanent housing. Councilmembers have received thousands of emails expressing concern that homeless encampments and neighborhood recreation don’t mix.

Daniel X. O'Neil via Creative Commons

The Seattle City Council is scheduled to vote Monday afternoon on new scheduling rules for hourly retail and food-service employees.

The proposed law would require employers to schedule shifts 14 days in advance, pay workers extra for certain last-minute scheduling changes, and provide a minimum 10 hours rest between open and closing shifts, among other provisions.

In this March 14, 2014, file photo, Jerad Bernard hands out cards to passers-by offering one free ride through the Lyft ridesharing service in Seattle.
Elaine Thompson / AP

The Seattle City Council has extended the deadline for the city to figure out out how to implement a law allowing drivers for companies like Uber and Lyft to unionize.

The City Council approved the ordinance last year and tasked the city Department of Finance and Administrative Services with determining the rules for how drivers and unions could work together.

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.

Kdt.via Compfight bit.ly/28YyChl

Contentious labor negotiations at the television station KING 5 have now gotten the attention of Seattle’s City Council. A council committee has passed a resolution supporting the unionized news staff who say their jobs are threatened by the corporate owner’s business model. 

Ashley Gross / KPLU

Seattle’s City Council has been working on possible ways to help employees who struggle with erratic work schedules. Tonight, the labor group Working Washington and the news and politics blog Seattleish are hosting a storytelling event with performances from a barista, a retail worker and writers. 

DON MCCULLOUGH / FLICKR

Both the city of Seattle and the state of Washington have laws criminalizing voyeurism. But with drones and selfie sticks, comes the ability for cameras to sneak into places where they shouldn’t be. That's one of the reasons Seattle is looking to update its current city ordinance.

Seattle lawmakers want to make it clear that you can’t take pictures or film someone’s intimate body parts in a public place without their permission. It’s already a gross misdemeanor to take a picture of someone, say if their skirt blows up in the wind.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

Landlords of apartments in Seattle with broken heaters and other safety violations will be prevented from raising the rent under a new Seattle ordinance. The law is likely to be challenged in court.

Working Washington

Seattle has paid sick leave and one of the country’s highest minimum wages. Now, the city is exploring whether to adopt another kind of worker-friendly ordinance, this time one focused on how to make workers’ schedules more predictable.

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

UPDATE: In its meeting Monday, the Seattle City Council voted 8-0 to approve a measure that allows drivers for ride-hailing companies to unionize.

Seattle’s City Council will take up an ordinance on Monday that lawyers say is unprecedented. The council is scheduled to vote on whether to allow drivers for ride-hailing companies such as Uber to form unions and collectively bargain for better pay. 

Paula Wissel

In Seattle’s City Council races, incumbents are all leading, including the city’s first socialist council member Kshama Sawant. Council President Tim Burgess, as well as council members Sally Bagshaw, Bruce Harrell and Mike OBrien, appear to be winning handily. Sawant’s race for Seattle City Council District 3 is closer.

About two dozen gun retailers are located in Seattle. Opponents of the proposed tax on sales of firearms and ammunition say it would cause buyers and ultimately shops to go outside the city.
Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

Seattle’s City Council will take aim at gun violence Monday with a vote on a pair of gun safety measures. One would tax sales of firearms and ammunition. The other would require owners to report lost or stolen guns.

City Council President Tim Burgess proposed the measures. The former Seattle police detective says firearms put an undue burden on communities.

“Gun violence begets gun violence,” Burgess said, “which is a huge problem in our city and frankly in our entire state. And we’re trying to take common sense, reasonable steps to address that.”   

He argues getting sellers to chip in to break the cycle of violence is one such step.

The revenue from the tax would be dedicated to prevention programs and research, such as was carried out in 2013 by doctors at Seattle’s Harborview Medical center, where last year alone, the city says the cost for treating victims of shootings totaled $17 million.

AP Images

 

Five out of six incumbents running in a crowded Seattle City Council field will advance to the fall election, according to the Tuesday night returns in the 2015 Primary Election.

One likely exception is councilwoman Jean Godden, who sits third place in Northeast Seattle’s District 4. Godden had 21 percent of the vote as of last night, Rob Johnson had 34 percent and Michael Maddux had 23 percent.

Johnson, who’s leading in that race, heads the Transportation Choices Coalition, a non-profit that advocates for transit, biking and walking. Maddux is a paralegal.

In all nine races, the top two vote-getters will move on to the Nov. 3 general election.

Paula Wissel

Seattle’s Central District has long been the hub of the city’s African American community -- in part because until the late 1960’s, racist housing covenants and redlining prevented most blacks from living elsewhere in the city.

Even after fair housing laws were passed, the area continued to have the largest percentage of African Americans. Now, long-time residents say they are being forced out by gentrification. And they worry about what is being lost. 

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

Gun shop owners in Seattle say a proposed tax on sales could force them to move or go out of business. The Seattle City Council is considering placing a $25 tax on every gun sold and a 5-cent tax on every round of ammunition purchased in the city.

The money from the guns and ammo tax would be used to pay for gun violence research and prevention, which would be conducted at Harborview Medical Center. 

City officials estimate the new tax would collect between $300,000 and $500,000 a year. But, at a city council hearing, bun shop customer Ken Stok, said the measure is unlikely to bring in much money at all.

Ashley Gross / KPLU

Seattle is in the middle of a development boom that many people argue is proceeding without enough limits set by the city. The city council has now voted to tighten some zoning regulations but one councilman says they don’t go far enough. 

Some parts of Seattle are zoned for low-rise multi-family development that allows for three- to four-story buildings. But Ballard residents, for example have complained that when the city council updated the code five years ago, they made it possible for developers to build things that are out of proportion with the rest of the neighborhood.

Paula Wissel

They arrive at nearly every city or county council meeting. The regulars. The gadflies. The people who, no matter the topic, seize the microphone during the public comment period and say things like:

“You’re all criminals,” or “ I’m looking at you being an extraordinary, abusive, pathological liar,” or “I would think that this council would have some pretty high priced heads on spikes when all this clears.”

And so on.

While a member of the public has a right right to say such things – off-topic, on-point, sometimes insulting – that right isn’t unlimited.  In the interest of civility, some local governments have been tightening the rules for public comment speakers.

It becomes a balancing act between protecting people’s free speech rights and moving a meeting along.   

Bellamy Pailthorp, KPLU

While the Polar Pioneer remains parked in Port Angeles, 

a second oil drilling rig -- the Noble Discoverer -- arrived Everett Tuesday, where it was greeted by activists and onlookers. 

The arrival brings additional attention to the Port of Seattle which is facing continued controversy over its agreement with Royal Dutch Shell to service the oil giant's Arctic  drilling vessels. And despite a port commission request for a delay of any moorage of oil exploration vessels and a city council vote in opposition to the deal, the two rigs are on their way. 

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