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Seattle City Council

The Seattle Police Department will soon have a bigger presence in neighborhoods. Community members will be trained to handle non-emergency incidents. They will be part of the Community Service Officer program, which the city is bringing back to Seattle after a 12 year hiatus.

An early draft of the democracy vouchers Seattle Elections will send to residents in January 2017.
KUOW Photo/Kara McDermott

Seattle's Ethics and Elections Office is ramping up its alternative way for candidates to raise money. It's called the Democracy Voucher Program, and at least one candidate plans to participate.

A Dakota Access pipeline protester defies law enforcement officers who are trying to force them from a camp on private land in the path of pipeline construction, Thursday, Oct. 27, 2016 near Cannon Ball, N.D.
AP Photo/James MacPherson

A Seattle official is speaking out in support of the protests in North Dakota, a week before the camp could be shut down. Seattle City Councilmember Debora Juarez has supported the protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline all along.

Flickr photo/Alvin Smith (CC BY-NC 2.0) / https://flic.kr/p/dkzcUU

More 32-story buildings, like the UW Tower, could be on the horizon for Seattle's University District. Proposed zoning changes head to the city council for review next week. Just as big as the high-rise buildings are the arguments for and against the rezone.

Seattle renters could get a break on rental costs as soon as mid-January. A City Council committee advanced a measure Tuesday that would cap move-in fees.

Stackhouse Apartments, South Lake Union
KUOW Photo/Ross Reynolds

This week the Seattle City Council and Mayor Ed Murray passed a budget package for the next two years. With it, council members hope to take on one of the city's biggest problems: housing affordability.

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

Kim Malcolm talks with Seattle Times reporter Geoff Baker about a new proposal from Chris Hansen to build a sports arena in Seattle's Sodo area. Hansen now says he doesn't need the public to chip in $200 million in public financing.

Policing and homeless services are high profile items in Seattle's proposed budget. A program that helps drug users touches on both. Now, the fate of the Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion program is stirring up debate.

Through LEAD, police connect low level drug and prostitution suspects to community services, instead of arresting them.

Bill Radke speaks with City Councilmembers Tim Burgess and Mike O'Brien about proposed legislation that could allow camping on public lands within the city. 

Over the past several months, protesters have interrupted City Council discussions. Like on Sept. 19:

Councilmember Bruce Harrell: "You're giving me no choice but to adjourn the meeting and I don't want to do that, I want to hear from you."

The City of Seattle is breaking ties with Wells Fargo after revelations that the bank opened accounts nationwide without the knowledge of the account holders.

Seattle city leaders were considering taking out a $100 million loan from Wells Fargo to cover a Seattle City Light bond. In a letter Friday, city leaders say they're calling off the contract before it's finalized this month.

SPU reports that residents are confusing bags made out of recycled materials with bags that can be used for composting.
Courtesy of Seattle Public Utilities

Seattle will be the first city in the nation to take a citywide plastic bag ban to another level, and ban any plastic produce bags in the colors green or brown.  Seattle leaders want to help people who are composting wrong to finally get it right.

People have been throwing plastic produce bags in their compost, since they resemble the green/brown biodegradable bags meant for compost bins. Plastic bags jam up the city's composting machines, which are costly for the city to fix.

To prevent the problem, the City Council has unanimously approved a plan that requires grocery stores to limit what bags they give away. For produce, stores can either offer clear plastic bags, or green or brown compostable ones. The purpose is to tell shoppers: green and brown are compostable, other colors are not.

The city council measure alo makes the five-cent fee for paper bags permanent.

KUOW's Paige Browning asked shoppers on Capitol Hill: should Seattle offer compostable produce bags? Listen to what Seattle residents Sandra Wagner, Fatima Malik, Kevin Mason, and Anthony Hall had to say about it:

Judith Herrera and her son Carlos Reyes of Muy Macho restaurant in South Park
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

Sometimes businesses that have been around forever disappear. That favorite dive bar or cheap restaurant closed to make way for a glitzy condo complex.

For a while, Seattle City Councilwomen Kshama Sawant and Lisa Herbold were trying to get rent control for businesses like that. But that idea didn’t fly. Now Herbold is exploring a backup plan.


Use a social media site in the last two years? Seattle police may have read your posts.

The police department has been using social media tracking software called Geofeedia, and they did so without the city's permission.


SPU reports that residents are confusing bags made out of recycled materials with bags that can be used for composting.
Courtesy of Seattle Public Utilities

Seattleites, you have been composting wrong.

Seattle Public Utilities says people often put produce bags in the compost bin, but not all of those bags are biodegradable. That messes up the city's composting machines, which are costly to fix. 

Bill Radke speaks with Subway franchisee owner David Jones about secure scheduling rules passed by the city of Seattle on Monday. Jones says the new rules will make things much harder for businesses like his. 

KUOW Photo/Carolyn Adolph

Seattle’s City Council has passed a measure that will ensure workers' schedules are predictable. It’s the latest in a series of low wage worker protections the council has passed. There’s been the $15 minimum wage, paid sick leave, and restrictions on criminal background checks.

Bill Radke speaks with Josh Feit about the behind the scenes politics of the City Council vote on a new secure scheduling law. Feit is the politics editor at Seattle Met and editor of their local politics blog PubliCola. 

From left, Zaki Hamid, Eli Sanders, Ijeoma Oluo and Bill Radke.
KUOW Photo/Isolde Raftery

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray has announced that the plans for the new North Precinct building will be put on hold. He says the city needs to consider the cost of the building and impact it will have on communities of color. What should happen as the city re-draws the plan?                

Seattle is one step away from adding worker scheduling rules to its workplace laws. A City Council committee unanimously approved secure scheduling legislation Tuesday, forwarding it to a full council vote next Monday.

City of Seattle

The University District is gonna be HUGE. We’re talking towers – up to 32 stories tall in some places – where right now there are just one and two story buildings.

Officials say the neighborhood has more room to grow than Capitol Hill, because of all the parking lots in the U-District.


Gabe Galanda is an attorney specializing in Native American law
KUOW Photo/Caroline Chamberlain

Bill Radke sits down with Seattle-based lawyer Gabe Galanda to talk about the protests surrounding the Dakota Access Pipeline in North Dakota. Galanda opposes the pipeline and joined the protests in North Dakota earlier this month.

He also helped draft a resolution in opposition to construction of the pipeline that was introduced at a Seattle City Council meeting Monday.

Tents lined up in the Jungle, which extends north and south under Seattle's Interstate 5 corridor.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

The way homeless camps are regulated in Seattle could change soon.

Tuesday, the City Council proposed legislation to limit homeless sweeps. The legislation is against the wishes of Mayor Ed Murray and his administration.

Seattle City Hall
Flickr Photo/Daniel X. O'Neil (CC-BY-NC-ND)/http://bit.ly/1OGMTuh

Seattle leaders are pushing for a new level of worker's rights, on top of the city's $15 minimum wage law. The next proposal: predictable scheduling. The City Council will discuss the topic next week and vote on the legislation later in September.

Bill Radke sits down with David Jones, a Subway franchisee and founder of the Blazing Onion restaurant chain, to discuss proposed secure scheduling legislation in Seattle. The law is aimed at giving workers more control over their schedules and threatens employers with penalties if they don't comply. But Jones feels it's misguided, will have unintended consequences and hurts businesses that are doing nothing wrong. 

Police officers pause next to a sign outside a restaurant as they observe a May Day anti-capitalism march, Friday, May 1, 2015 in Seattle.
AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

Videos of police arrests and shootings around the country this year have put a spotlight on police behavior. A new Seattle City Council proposal would reinforce the right to record police. A council committee discussed the idea Wednesday.


A march protesting the Seattle police shooting of Che Taylor on Feb. 21, 2016 moves through downtown Seattle on Feb. 25, 2016.
KUOW Photo/Liz Jones

A federal judge who oversees Seattle police reform has invited the city to draft its own reform policies.

The Seattle Police Department is currently under federal oversight on use of force and biased policing. On Monday, U.S. District Judge James Robart gave an update on the progress and laid out next steps.

An artist's rendering of the proposed new North Precinct station for the Seattle Police Department.
City of Seattle

The Seattle City Council will take a new look at the cost of a controversial police building.

But the project is moving ahead.

Bill Radke speaks with Dylan Orr, director of Seattle's Office of Labor Standards, about the new secure scheduling rules proposed by the city and what they would mean for local businesses and workers. 

Apartment buildings in Seattle
Flickr photo/N i c o l a (CC BY 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/peTBEw

Bill Radke speaks with Seattle landlord Hugh Brannon about a new ordinance the Seattle City Council passed this week.

The measure aims to reduce housing discrimination through a series of mechanisms, but Brannon explains why he believes certain aspects of this law are counterproductive and take the "human element" out of being a landlord.

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