The Seattle City Council is trying to determine how it should handle new rideshare companies that compete with taxis. Council members told a packed meeting Thursday they are leaning towards embracing — and regulating — them.
Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn presented his 2014 budget proposal yesterday. In a speech before the Seattle City Council, he outlined a plan to boost spending for a host of government programs — from police staffing to universal preschool.
McGinn said the city is in a position to spend more because tax revenues are coming in stronger than expected. “Construction remains strong, our sales tax and real estate excise tax are exceeding forecasts," he said. "That means we can make new investments in our people and our infrastructure.”
The problem of public toilets in Pioneer Square has been ongoing and unsolved.
A Pioneer Square merchant built a guerilla porta-potty because the aroma from the alley next door getting to be too much. The city spent millions on self-cleaning toilets but ended up pulling them out because of issues with drugs and prostitution. The city ended up selling the toilets on eBay in 2008.
Is there finally a solution in sight? Until a few days ago, the Seattle City Council had a tentative deal with a local developer to bring a public toilet to Pioneer Square. In exchange for adding 30 feet of height to its Pioneer Square building, developer Urban Visions was going to purchase a $250,000 “Portland Loo” for the city.
The Seattle City Council is considering a proposal that would bring a free, public toilet to Pioneer Square.
Local development company Urban Visions is offering to purchase the so-called “Portland Loo” for the city, in exchange for being allowed to add three stories to its mixed-use building in the neighborhood.
Seattle’s Bicycle Master Plan includes a proposal for a bike lane on NE 65th Street. The bike lane would be a cycle track, which is a protected lane for bikes. Usually such lanes take away some parking.
Seattle City Council is considering a law that would make public pot smoking a ticketable offense. Tickets would cost more than $100 dollars, mirroring a state law. At the playground at Cowan Park in Seattle on Friday, people had mixed reactions to banning pot smoking in public.
Richard Conlin is the incumbent in Position 2 of the Seattle City Council. He's being challenged in the primary by Socialist Alternative candidate Kshama Sawant and Amazon manager Brian Carver.
Conlin was first elected to the council in 1997. He served as council president in 2008-2009 and had a public dust-up with Mayor Mike McGinn over the building of the downtown tunnel.
Recently, Conlin presided over a massive re-zoning of the city's South Lake Union neighborhood, he led the effort to pass a $123 million library levy, and he spearheaded the city's "Happiness Initiative." Conlin cast the sole vote against an ordinance requiring employers to provide paid sick leave to their workers. He was one of two members who voted against using city funds to build a basketball and hockey arena in SODO.
Kshama Sawant is a Socialist Alternative Party candidate who is challenging incumbent Richard Conlin for Seattle City Council Position 2. The other candidate in the race is Amazon employee Brian Carver.
Sawant teaches economics at Seattle Central Community College. She has been active in the Occupy Seattle Movement. Last year, she ran for state House of Representatives against Democrat and long-time House Majority Leader Frank Chopp. She received 29 percent of the vote, which her campaign touted as the highest vote for a socialist candidate in decades.
Sawant is calling for a $15 minimum wage (it's currently $9.19 in Washington state) and a "millionaires' tax" to raise money for transit, education and social services.
David Ishii is a retired postal worker who makes his living as an artist and street performer. In his first run for office, he is challenging Mike O'Brien in Seattle City Council Position 8.
Ishii had originally declared his intention to run for mayor, but then switched to the council race because the mayor's race was "too crowded," he said.
Ishii believes that the city could solve its fiscal problems by developing its own google-like search engine. "That would be worth gadzillions of dollars," he said. Fighting corruption at City Hall would be his main focus in office.
Ishii said he would not take a salary if elected to office, but instead would donate it to "The First Tee," a program which teaches golf to city kids.
Mike O'Brien is running for re-election to Position 8 of the Seattle City Council. He is currently serving his first term.
Prior to joining the council, O'Brien served as CFO of the downtown law firm Stokes Lawrence. He has a degree in economics from Duke University and an MBA from the University of Washington.
O'Brien is a close friend of Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn, who also took office in 2009. The two men joined forces to oppose the building of the deep-bore tunnel through the city's downtown, a battle which they lost. O'Brien championed a ban on plastic bags in the city, an opt-out registry for telephone books, and is now pushing for campaign finance reform. He is widely regarded as one of the more progressive members of the City Council.
Albert Shen is one of two people challenging first-term incumbent Mike O'Brien for Seattle City Council Position 8. The other candidate is artist David Ishii.
Shen is the owner of Shen Consulting Inc., a transportation and environmental consulting firm. He graduated from the University of Washington with a degree in environmental science.
Shen says he wants to bring a small business person's perspective to the council. He has been endorsed by CASE, the downtown business association. A large number of supporters to his campaign are Asian Americans, and he's the only candidate in the race who has a Chinese language page on his website.
Beginning in 2015, Seattle residents might see a big change in how they’re represented in city government. A proposal that is likely to make the ballot this fall would create a hybrid system with seven geographical districts and one councilmember representing each. Two council seats would remain at-large.
Currently, Seattle voters elect nine at-large councilmembers who represent the entire city, and that’s fairly unusual. For cities with more than 500,000 residents, only Detroit, Mich. and Columbus, Ohio currently have at-large city council systems. So what are the arguments for creating a hybrid system? What are the arguments for keeping things the same?
David Hyde talks to Eugene Wasserman, president of the North Seattle Industrial Association and campaign coordinator for Seattle Districts Now, an organization proposing its own map of districts. David also hears from former city councilmember Jim Street and University of North Carolina government professor Kimberly Nelson.