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Seattle City Council

Housing in the Yesler Terrace area.
KUOW Photo/Dominic Black

A landlord group is suing the city of Seattle over a new law that caps move-in fees and allows renters to pay their deposit in installments over several months.

The ordinance was unanimously passed by the City Council in December and came into effect in January.

Seattle Police Officer Louis Chan, center, talks with a man in Ballard about his erratic and threatening behavior. Chan is partnered with a social worker to help deescalate volatile situations.
KUOW Photo/Kara McDermott

If people want to take pictures or video of police making an arrest they have the legal authority to do so in Seattle. The Seattle City Council passed a so-called "Public Safety Bill of Rights" on Monday.

Lorena Gonzalez at her election night party on Nov. 3, 2015, in Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Kara McDermott

Jeannie Yandel talks to Seattle City Councilmember Lorena Gonzalez about the legislation the City Council passed that will increase civilian oversight of the Seattle Police Department. 

Flickr Photo/clappstar (CC-BY-NC-ND)
Flickr Photo/clappstar (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Housing activist Jon Grant wants to replace departing Seattle City Councilmember Tim Burgesss and, like most candidates in Seattle this year, affordability is his top issue.

"We can no longer let the market dictate to us what is acceptable in terms of our housing market" Grant said.

Recruits from around the region, including Seattle Police Department, on the first day at the police academy.
KUOW Photo/Isolde Raftery

After years of work, the Seattle City Council is finally going to vote on police accountability legislation.

A council committee is expected to vote on the bill Thursday and it's expected to go to the full council next week.

bikes in Seattle
Flickr Photo/papahazama

When bikes are stolen, there’s no easy systematic way of keeping track. If they are found, returning them to the owner can be difficult.

Just ask ­­­­Christopher Schumaker, a bicycle deliveryman.


'Week in Review' panel Chris Vance, Bill Radke, Erica C. Barnett and Knute Berger.
KUOW Photo/Kara McDermott

Two Washington state Republicans voted against President Trump's health care bill, one voted in favor and one has better things to do and skips it altogether.

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray denies new allegations that he paid for sex.

Will Seattle finally have an income tax?

May 2, 2017

On Monday the Seattle City Council unanimously passed a resolution to pursue an income tax on the richest households. This is the first step towards Seattle passing an ordinance that would impose a 1.5 percent tax on the incomes of those making over $250,000 a year.

Proponents say it could raise $125 million a year. But critics, including the Seattle Times Editorial Board said last week that this move hurts more than helps the city’s cause. 

Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant
KUOW Photo/Deborah Wang

Seattle officials have committed themselves to trying to adopt the city's first income tax. Monday, the City Council passed a resolution to start the process.

But the city faces legal uncertainty in this area. That's because the state Supreme Court once ruled an income tax unconstitutional, and no city or county has approved one ever since.

A proposal to tax sugary drinks like soda pop in Seattle passed Monday.
Flickr Photo/Mike Mozart (CC BY 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/JwCQyB

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray's proposed soda tax will now include diet beverages.

Murray's original plan only included sugary drinks and received pushback. He said Thursday that the addition of diet drinks comes out of a desire for equity.

An example of a 400 square foot backyard cottage.
KUOW Photo/paintchipdiaries (CC BY NC ND 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/CXL53

Seattle officials are taking another shot at regulating Airbnb, VRBO and other vacation rentals. City Councilmember Tim Burgess is proposing new rules after a similar plan last year attracted opposition from the rental industry.

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray in the KUOW studios.
KUOW Photo/Bond Huberman

The Seattle City Council is not commenting on child sex abuse allegations against Mayor Ed Murray.

A lawsuit filed last week in King County accuses Murray of repeatedly raping and molesting a 15-year-old boy in the mid-1980s.

An example of a 400 square foot backyard cottage.
KUOW Photo/paintchipdiaries (CC BY NC ND 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/CXL53

Backyard cottages and mother-in-law units are back on the city of Seattle's priority list — and they will be for at least the next year. City officials want to make it easier for people to build them in order to add to the housing stock.

Crosscut reporter David Kroman.
KUOW Photo/Kara McDermott

Bill Radke speaks with Crosscut city reporter David Kroman about the recent move by the City Council to equip Seattle's officers with body cameras by the end of 2017. Kroman says that multiple groups are concerned about privacy issues, decreased accountability for officers, and the possibility that footage could be used to identify undocumented immigrants. 

Housing in the Yesler Terrace area.
KUOW Photo/Dominic Black

Just over half the households in Seattle are renters. And they may soon get a formal voice at City Hall.

Legislation to be introduced to the City Council this week would create a 15-member commission to advise on issues of development and affordability and represent tenant rights.

Apartment buildings in the University District, Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Kara McDermott

Seattle lawmakers are on the verge of rezoning each neighborhood to be denser, taller versions of what they are now. 

The Seattle City Council is scheduled to start the process Tuesday with a vote to rezone the University District. It’s part of what city leaders call HALA (Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda), the city’s response to Seattle's affordable housing crisis.


M. Lorena González
KUOW Photo/Meghan Walker

New moms and dads who work for the city of Seattle will now be allowed 12 weeks of paid leave. The City Council unanimously adopted a new parental leave policy Monday with the support of Mayor Ed Murray.

Supporters say expanding the paid parental leave law is a step toward closing the gender pay-gap.


Where will Seattle put its $3 billion?

Feb 8, 2017

Bill Radke talks to Seattle Weekly reporter Sara Bernard about the Seattle City Council's decision to divest $3 billion from Wells Fargo for their connection to the Dakota Access pipeline and questionable business practices. Bernard explains why the council is focused on placing their money with a bank that they feel is more ethical and how hard that may actually be. 

Paul Wagner, center, of the Saanich Nation on Vancouver Island, takes part in a protest against the Dakota Access Pipeline and the City of Seattle's use of Wells Fargo Bank, Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2017, at City Hall in Seattle.
AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

UPDATE 2/7/2017, 4:30 p.m.

The Seattle City Council unanimously voted Tuesday afternoon to cut ties with banking giant Wells Fargo over its role as a lender to the Dakota Access Pipeline project, as well as other business practices.


Wells Fargo
Flickr Photo/Mike Mozart (CC BY 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/okhmqR

Seattle lawmakers will take a final vote Tuesday on whether to stop banking with Wells Fargo over ethical concerns. The ordinance already received support from eight out of nine City Council members at the committee level.

Wells Fargo's days as the city of Seattle's bank may be numbered.

The city council's finance committee has voted to disqualify Wells Fargo from doing business with the city. They cite ethical and environmental reasons.

File photo of Uber driver near the San Francisco International Airport.
AP Photo/Jeff Chiu

The global ride-hailing company Uber is suing the city of Seattle. Uber is challenging new city rules that allow for-hire drivers to unionize.

After 36 people died in an Oakland, California warehouse fire in December, artists in Seattle want to prevent that kind of tragedy here. To do so, they are asking city officials for help.

This month Seattle lawmakers will start taking steps to rezone the University District. In a sign that City Council members want to get it right the first time, they plan to amend their proposal even before they introduce it.

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray announces more resources for immigrant families in the city's public schools.
KUOW photo/Liz Jones

The City of Seattle plans to boost counseling resources in public schools for immigrant and refugee students, particularly those who are undocumented or Muslim.

'Week in Review' panel Dan Savage, Chris Vance, Bill Radke and Joni Balter.
KUOW Photo/Bond Huberman

Washington state's presidential electors meet to pick a president at noon on Monday, and in an effort to derail President-elect Donald Trump, two of them say they won't be casting their votes for Hillary Clinton even though that's who state voters chose.

Also, some of Seattle's big names in tech are meeting with Trump, including Amazon's Jeff Bezos, who once joked about sending the president-elect to space on a rocket.

And Governor Jay Inslee wants a carbon tax to help fund education, a three-term Seattle City Councilmember said he won't run for reelection, and how badly do you need to check Facebook from Mount Rainier?

How densely packed should Seattle get?

Dec 14, 2016

Bill Radke speaks with Queen Anne Community Councilmember Martin Kaplan and housing advocate Laura Bernstein about the city's decision to put a hold on more backyard cottages and mother-in-law apartments until an environmental impact study can be performed. They discuss density issues, affordable housing and the changing character of Seattle's single family neighborhoods. 

A view of one of Cast Architecture's backyard cottages. The firm has been a leader promoting backyard cottages in Seattle
Courtesy of Cast Architecture

A housing plan to bring more backyard cottages to Seattle was halted Tuesday when the city's hearing examiner ruled that the proposal needs to undergo a full environmental review, not just approval through the city council.

City Councilmember Kshama Sawant speaks at her election night party at Melrose Market in Seattle on Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2015.
KUOW Photo/Liz Jones

There are new limits on how much Seattle landlords can charge for move-in fees. The City Council unanimously approved the rules Monday after months of debate between tenant advocates and landlords.

Apartment buildings in the University District, Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Kara McDermott

Jeannie Yandel talks to Xochitl Maykovich, an organizer with the Washington Community Action Network, and Brian Robinson, a Seattle landlord who's on the board of directors at the Rental Housing Association, about the pros and cons of the Seattle City Council legislation that would put a cap on move-in fees. 

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