Seattle City Councilmember Mike O'Brien
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Seattle City Councilmember Mike O'Brien
Credit: KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

“As you can imagine, it’s a complex decision”: Mike O’Brien on tapping out

Councilmember Mike O’Brien gives an exit interview. The Not In My Backyard Olympics have come to Magnolia. And a new law could reverse decades of Native disenfranchisement in Washington State.

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City Councilmember Mike O'Brien

Seattle’s city council will look very different next year: seven of the nine seats are up for re-election, and at least four incumbents will not be running. Councilmember Mike O’Brien became perhaps the council’s biggest lightning rod over last year’s head tax fight, and is one of those who’s decided not to recontest his seat.

Fort Lawton affordable housing

We all agree that Seattle needs more affordable housing. But curiously, no one ever wants to see that development in their neighborhoods. The latest to be accused of NIMBYism are Magnolia residents who are fighting against an affordable housing development at Fort Lawton, next to Discovery Park. Neal Starkman wrote a Seattle Times op ed opposing the plan.

Washington State Native American Voting Rights Act

Until 1975, the Washington State Constitution held a clause stating that “Indians Not Taxed” – which included anyone using their tribal fishing rights – were ineligible to vote. The history of Native disenfranchisement in Washington is long, says attorney and author Gyasi Ross, who’s a member of the Blackfeet Nation. But a new bill proposed by Senator John McCoy would change that.

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