Seattle City Council | KUOW News and Information

Seattle City Council

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.

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

Bill Radke speaks with reporter Heidi Groover of The Stranger about a new law Seattle City Council passed unanimously Monday targeting housing discrimination.

Uber provided drivers like Suzy Harrison with shirts that say, 'I Drive, I Vote.'
KUOW Photo/Amy Radil

Seattle’s attempt to offer collective bargaining to the city’s Uber and Lyft drivers is facing delays.

The ordinance allowing those drivers to unionize was scheduled to take effect in September. But city officials say they aren’t ready to implement it yet. And they still need to settle a divisive issue: which drivers will get to vote on the union when the time comes.    


Bill Radke speaks with Sydney Brownstone, reporter for The Stranger, about her reaction to the Seattle City Council unanimously banning gay conversion therapy. 

Pride flag Seattle LGBTQ
Flickr Photo/Cloganese (CC BY NC ND 2.0)/http://bit.ly/1LPdJO9

Therapists in Seattle will no longer be able to offer “conversion therapy” to LGBTQ youth. Monday, the City Council unanimously voted to ban the practice and fine violators up to $1,000.

Many LGBTQ youth in the U.S. experience some form of conversion/aversion therapy when they come out. Counselors who offer it aim to change a person's sexual orientation or gender identity.

Local Wonder bill radke
KUOW Photo/Bond Huberman

Chris P. works full-time for Uber in Seattle, including long shifts on the weekends. The rest of the week, he’s a stay-at-home dad. He likes the job, but he hopes a union could get him more stability. 

Pride flag Seattle LGBTQ
Flickr Photo/Cloganese (CC BY NC ND 2.0)/http://bit.ly/1LPdJO9

The American Medical Association opposes "gay conversion therapy" — counselors who offer conversion therapy aim to change a person's sexual orientation or gender identity.

Now, Seattle's City Council wants an outright ban on conversion therapy for minors.

Seattle leaders have scrapped their proposed regulations on Airbnb and other vacation rentals. City Council member Tim Burgess revealed a new plan during a Wednesday committee meeting.

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

Kim Malcolm talks with Seattle City Councilmember Mike O'Brien about a proposal that would limit how much landlords could charge for security deposits and other move-in fees. We also hear from Roger Valdez, director of Smart Growth Seattle.

File Photo: Kathleen O'Toole speaks after being introduced by Seattle Mayor Ed Murray as his nominee to be Seattle's new Chief of Police, May 19, 2014.
AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

Seattle city leaders say the Seattle Police Department has an overtime problem. In 2015 the department blew past its overtime budget by $9 million (over the budgeted $15 million).

A city audit in April directed SPD to fix the problem. This week, Seattle City Council members said they plan to hold the department accountable, too.

Kristy Nguyen is a hairdresser in Belltown. She rents an apartment set aside for low-income earners. It's how she can stay in the city.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

The city wants residential developers to help build affordable housing. It’s going to ask them to set aside some of their apartments for low income earners.

It’s part of the larger effort to build 20,000 affordable apartments. 

Pioneer Square apartment listed at $130/night on Airbnb.
Courtesy of Airbnb

People that run Airbnb-style rentals in Seattle say proposed city rules are too narrow. Opponents of the rule shared their concerns at a City Council committee meeting Wednesday.

For a meeting in which the council was discussing, not voting, on the changes, Councilmember Tim Burgess noted that a lot of citizens showed up. More than 30 signed up to speak.


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

An expensive bunker for police. That’s the view of nearly a dozen people who criticized plans for Seattle’s new North Precinct building at a Seattle City Council meeting on Wednesday.

The proposed $160 million building includes a public plaza and space for community meetings, along with a gym, firing range and parking garage.

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