Seattle City Council

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. 

AP Images

After hearing testimony in favor of Arctic oil drilling, the Seattle City Council voted unanimously to join Mayor Ed Murray in opposing the Port of Seattle’s lease with Royal Dutch Shell.  

The resolution doesn’t carry the legal authority to block the port's decision to host Royal Dutch Shell's drilling fleet. But it was enough of a statement that several Alaska Native leaders traveled from remote areas in the Arctic to lobby in favor of the lease with the city council. 

The jobs drilling would bring are vital, the Alaska representatives said.

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

Seattle police could have been much more effective in how they handled May Day protesters when violence erupted on Capitol Hill Friday night, said the head of the Seattle City Council Public Safety Committee.

It was during a debrief before the Public Safety Committee that chair Bruce Harrell laid into incident commander Captain Chris Fowler.

Harrell went so far as to say it seemed like police provoked the riot. He referred to a video, that’s gone viral, of a cop on a bike ramming a protester from behind and knocking him down.

City Of Seattle

 

After almost 10 years of service, Seattle City Council Member Sally Clark says it’s time for her to start a new chapter.

Clark announced she will not seek reelection. Her decision follows similar announcements by council members Tom Rasmussen and Nick Licata.

Ashley Gross / KPLU

Seattle City Councilmember Nick Licata, a favorite of many of the city's progressives during his 17 years on the council, announced Wednesday that he will not seek re-election this year.

Licata, who has been on the council since 1998, cited a desire to tackle "one major challenge ahead of me" as his reason for leaving. He doesn't know where that will land him yet, but he says he has a book coming out and wants to spread his vision of Seattle as a model for urban governance.

Dana

On a morning when a fire at a Seattle City Light substation knocked out power to customers including the Monorail, the utility’s CEO happened to be in city council chambers answering questions about safety. 

Seattle City Council members brought CEO Jorge Carrasco into an energy committee meeting to discuss a string of recent embarrassing news stories, including Seattle City Light’s effort to suppress unflattering online search results.

But public testimony at the meeting steered toward the issue of employee safety.

Courtesy of Seattle Municipal Archives

The Seattle City Council is scheduled to vote today on whether to bring back the downtown streetcar.  

The proposed line would traverse First Avenue and link to the existing South Lake Union line and the First Hill line, which is slated to open later this year. 

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

Confirmation hearings begin today for Kathleen O'Toole, the woman nominated to be the new Seattle police chief. Kathleen O’Toole will appear before the Seattle City Council Public Safety Committee.

One issue stirring controversy among the top brass in the Seattle Police Department is O’Toole’s plan to hire assistants from outside the department.

Matt Kowalczyk / Flickr

The city of Seattle says its parks need major repairs and it doesn’t have the money to pay for them.

On Monday night, the Seattle City Council will hear from the public on the idea of creating a special park district that could levy its own taxes.

zeraien / Flickr

Following a decision by the Seattle City Council this week, the Seattle Police Department will soon use facial recognition software. 

The ACLU of Washington doesn't think the move will encroach on citizens' rights, but privacy advocates, including Seattle City Council member Kshama Sawant, aren’t fond of the new policy.

Gabriel Spitzer / KPLU

Seattle will not switch its trash pickup schedule to every other week following an unpopular pilot program.

Mayor Ed Murray asked the Seattle City Council to shelf the proposed plan and keep the city on its current weekly pickup schedule.

Ashley Gross

Options are running out for tenants of an apartment complex in Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood who are facing much higher rents once the new owner renovates their units. Seattle City Council members say more needs to be done to make sure other renters don’t face a similar plight.

joolie / Flickr

Seattle city leaders are working to establish a citywide system of lockers for the city’s homeless residents, council members Sally Bagshaw and Bruce Harrell announced in a guest blog post in The Stranger on Tuesday.

Lockers, the council members wrote, would free homeless residents from having to “drag your possessions with you to your interview, on your back, in bags, whatever you have, stigmatizing you for sure as homeless.”

Elaine Thompson / Associated Press

Seattle’s newly-elected Socialist city council member Kshama Sawant isn’t wasting any time. At a news conference Tuesday, Sawant boldly promised “2014 will be the year of the $15-an-hour minimum wage.”

Sawant, who won’t be sworn in until January, has already been meeting with council members and labor leaders. But she says she’s also looking for support from ordinary people on the street.

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