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Seattle City Council

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.

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray
AP Photo/Elaine Thompson

Bill Radke speaks with Josh Feit about a heated text message exchange between Seattle Mayor Ed Murray and City Councilmember Sally Bagshaw concerning the city's response to the homeless encampment known as the Jungle. Feit is the political editor for Seattle Met magazine and writes the local politics blog, Publicola. 

Sally Bagshaw's condo burdened the city councilmember when she wanted to work on legislation affecting waterfront property values. New rules would let her and others work on laws for their districts, despite owning property there.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

The Seattle City Council has paused its plans to loosen its ethics laws. Under current law, council members can’t vote on legislation that could benefit them financially. A proposed new law would loosen that restriction, as long as they were open about conflicts of interest. 


The International Children's Park was built in 1981. It features a dragon sculpture by Gerard Tsutakawa.
Flickr Photo/Gexydaf (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/dYcjwA

The Seattle City Council is expected to vote Monday to rename a park in honor of the late Donnie Chin, Chinatown-International District’s beloved community activist and go-to guy.

The playground on 700 South Lane Street will be renamed the Donnie Chin International Children’s Park.

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

Bill Radke hosts a discussion between Rebecca Saldana, executive director of Puget Sound Sage, and Michelle Acquavella, owner of Sea to Sky Rentals,  about proposed legislation before the Seattle City Council that would tighten the regulations around short term rental websites like Airbnb or VRBO.

The Seattle City Council has passed a resolution refining the mayor’s plan to sweep the Jungle in the wake of criticism. The council’s new resolution is designed to provide jungle residents with some protection from eviction. It follows a week where the council and mayor sometimes seemed at odds over the best approach.

A new Seattle City Council plan would give thousands more people a discount on utilities. Two bills to do that were advanced at the committee level on Tuesday.

Currently, people who live in federally subsidized housing are excluded from Seattle's Utility Discount Program (UDP). The legislation would change that and automatically enroll them for discounts.

Homeless advocates gather outside Seattle Mayor Ed Murray's office.
KUOW Photo/Liz Jones

Some homeless people and supporters are pushing back against plans to close the encampment under Interstate 5 known as the Jungle. They interrupted a Seattle City Council meeting this week and say they plan to keep fighting. 


Light rail runs on the surface in Seattle's Rainier Valley.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

The Seattle City Council wants two more light rail stations added to Sound Transit 3, the expansion plan that will be on the November ballot.

Monday, the City Council unanimously passed a wish list for what they want added to ST3. It includes light rail stops at South Graham St. in south Seattle and Northeast 130th St. in north Seattle's Olympic Hills.

Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant
KUOW Photo/Deborah Wang

Kim Malcolm speaks with Xochitl Maykovich, an organizer with the Washington Community Action Network, about a Seattle City Council proposal that would make it illegal for landlords to raise rents in buildings that don't meet basic maintenance standards.  

Malcolm also speaks with Roger Valdez, executive director of Smart Growth Seattle.

Jim Loter documented building a backyard cottage in Seattle. Here's a picture from day 25: erecting the walls.
Flickr Photo/Jim L (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0) https://flic.kr/s/aHsju5PWuH

You won't find many backyard cottages or mother-in-law units in Seattle. City officials say about 220 have been built since city officials started allowing them in 2009.

City Councilmember Mike O'Brien wants to change that to meet the growing demand for housing.

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

Almost nobody provides outreach and services in the Jungle, the homeless encampment under Interstate 5. Most city-funded outreach workers won't go there because of safety concerns. 

But that's about to change. The city of Seattle is planning what they're calling an intense period of outreach in the Jungle. 

Jeannie Yandel talks with Seattle Times reporter Geoff Baker about what happens to plans for a new sports arena in Sodo after the Seattle City Council said no to selling the developer a key public right-of-way.

Thornton Place Apartments in Seattle's Northgate neighborhood has 56 apartments (out of 278) set aside for low wage earners. In exchange for keeping rents for those units low for 12 years, the developer got a tax break.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

This summer, Seattle voters will be asked to make property in the city a little less affordable to make housing for the poorest Seattleites more affordable.

On Monday, Seattle City Council unanimously approved putting a housing levy on the Aug. 2 primary ballot.


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