House Passes Capital Gains Tax With Amendment to Keep Referendum Off Ballot

by Leo Brine

(This article originally appeared on PubliCola and has been reprinted under an agreement.)


After a month of deliberations, the Washington State House finally passed capital gains tax legislation (SB 5096), including a pivotal amendment proposed by Finance Committee Chair Rep. Noel Frame (D-36, Seattle) which restored referendum-protections. Senators had removed those provisions when they voted on the original bill in March.

Republicans say the capital gains tax is unconstitutional and want to make sure it stays vulnerable to a referendum — which is their safest option for defeating the tax. But the new language puts their hopes in jeopardy. Republicans proposed 19 amendments attempting to remove the referendum-protections, dragging the debate from Tuesday evening to Wednesday afternoon.

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State in Fourth Wave in COVID-19, Vaccination Sites Open in South King County

by Elizabeth Turnbull


Gov. Jay Inslee announced Thursday that the state appears to be entering a fourth spike in coronavirus cases as mutations of the virus appear to be contributing to its spread. 

“We have a situation that we’re dealing with right now, I wish it was otherwise,” Inslee said at a press briefing. “Unfortunately we now are seeing the beginnings of a fourth surge in the state of Washington.”

Continue reading State in Fourth Wave in COVID-19, Vaccination Sites Open in South King County

StoryWalk Trails Begin Wednesday at Seattle Parks for Earth Week

by Ronnie Estoque


On Wednesday, April 21, Seattle Public Library (SPL) and Seattle Parks & Recreation (SPR) launched StoryWalk in the Parks for Earth Week at four different local parks. The collaboration intends to encourage an outdoor reading experience, where families can read picture books that are posted alongside walking routes at Genesee Park (Upper Field parking lot) and Herring’s House Park (Tualtwx), as well as Magnuson Park and Northacres Park. The event will last until Saturday, April 24.

The various StoryWalk trails intend to showcase a diverse group of picture books that are relevant to nature and its preservation. Each chosen park is in a different geographical region of the city that was an intentional choice to make the program more accessible to all Seattle residents. Louisa Storer, a Children’s Librarian at the Broadview Branch, selected most of the books that were chosen for Earth Week, which include We Are Water Protectors by Carole Lindstrom and Michaela Goade, Harlem Grown by Tony Hillery and Jessie Hartland, The Storm Whale by Benji Davies, and The Tin Forest by Helen Ward and Wayne Anderson.

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OPINION: State Bill Raising Age for Juvenile Prosecution Would Make Seattle Safer

by Luna Reyna, contributing columnist


Brain maturity throughout life was assumed to be largely finished after puberty. A person’s teenage years have been considered a time that a person’s body and mind goes through dramatic change which allows them to transition into self-sufficiency and responsible adulthood. Recent cognitive neuroscience has proven otherwise. From the ages of 18-25 a person’s brain continues to develop in the prefrontal cortex, the area that is responsible for planning, prioritizing, and controlling impulses. With this new understanding, policymakers are reconsidering the ways in which adolescent health and well-being are affected in the criminal legal system.

Continue reading OPINION: State Bill Raising Age for Juvenile Prosecution Would Make Seattle Safer

OPINION: Who Can Afford the American Dream?

by Bennet Vining


Growing up in Washington, I would often hear the “aspirational” success stories of white entrepreneurs like Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos, paired with the line: “You can do anything with hard work!” Like many other young People of Color, I bought into this dream. But as I grew older, the dream was quickly washed away by the reality that our state only sets folks like Gates and Bezos up for success.

Many Black, Indigenous, and other People of Color experiencing poverty, especially during the pandemic, know firsthand that housing, education, and basic needs are extremely difficult to maintain without the generational wealth some Washingtonians were born with. Still, every day, we hear from the people around us that we just need to work harder, be smarter with our money, or learn how to invest. Usually, the people telling us this are white and painfully unaware of the way our economy has been quietly benefiting them and harming us.

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The Morning Update Show — 4/22/21

The Morning Update Show — hosted by Trae Holiday and The Big O (Omari Salisbury) — is the only weekday news and information livestream that delivers culturally relevant content to the Pacific Northwest’s urban audience. Omari and Trae analyze the day’s local and national headlines as well as melanin magic in our community. Watch live every weekday at 11 a.m. on any of the following channels, hosted by Converge Media: YouTube, Twitch, Facebook, Periscope, and whereweconverge.com.

We also post the Morning Update Show here on the Emerald each day after it airs, so you can catch up any time of day while you peruse our latest posts.

Morning Update Show — Thursday, April 22

Compassion Seattle – a closer look | Erin Goodman | What’s up with Participatory Budgeting and the $30M?

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‘Interloper’ Explores (Not) Belonging With Pop-Up and Online Art Installations

by Rayna Mathis


Interloper (n) a person who becomes involved in a place or situation where they are not wanted or are considered not to belong.

—Oxford English Dictionary

Interloper is a network of art exhibitions, community engagement events, and a conversation podcast all centered around rotating themes of controversial topics. Interloper’s current show, “THIS IS(NT) FOR YOU,” which premiered on March 29 in the Ravenna neighborhood, is a pairing of two solo exhibitions, each with an artist making work for their own community — communities alienated in different ways by language, location, and class expectations. By constructing the exhibitions using language and coded signifiers of the communities the work is for, each artist creates dual viewing experiences that immediately confront the viewer with a sense of (not) belonging. 

The show asks the following questions: Who controls the narrative? Who is art for? Who is left on the outside looking in? 

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Community Safety Requires All Of Us: Rainier Beach Safeway Update

by Mark Van Streefkerk


In January, the Rainier Beach Safeway parking lot saw several shootings — including one incident in which two people sustained non-life threatening injuries. In response, the community organized a series of Town Hall meetings, parking lot improvements, and an organically-driven “Action Team” that included Safeway employees, Rainier Beach Action Coalition (RBAC), Southeast Network Safe Passage at the Rainier Vista Boys and Girls Club, and Urban Family. Since then, business owners say the area is safer, with no reported incidents of violence to date. 

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OPINION: Community Members and Advocates Achieved a Big Victory for Inclusive Cash Support

by Margaret Babayan and Emily Vyhnanek


Last week, in a historic win for Washingtonians, the legislature passed House Bill 1297, an updated version of our state’s long-unfunded Working Families Tax Credit, with overwhelming bipartisan support. This targeted tax credit, which will provide an annual cash rebate to nearly 1 in 6 households with low and moderate incomes, will soon be signed into law by Governor Jay Inslee. 

An earlier version of the credit initially passed the legislature in 2008 thanks to the efforts of many anti-poverty advocates, but amid state budget cuts during the Great Recession, it was never funded. 

In the past few years however, a statewide coalition of more than 45 organizations formed to rekindle and strengthen advocacy efforts to get direct, flexible cash to Washingtonians and to expand eligibility to include more immigrants. The diverse coalition represents economic and racial justice groups, immigrant rights advocates, small business incubators, labor organizations, direct service providers, domestic violence advocates, research organizations (like the one we work for: the Washington State Budget & Policy Center), and more. 

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Auburn Votes to Criminalize Camping on Public Property

by Ashley Archibald

(This article originally appeared at KNKX and has been reprinted under an agreement.)


The Auburn City Council voted Monday, April 19, to criminalize camping on public property, a change with consequences that will largely fall on people experiencing homelessness.

Those cited under the new law face a misdemeanor punishable by up to 90 days in jail and a $1,000 fine.

The measure departs from an ordinance passed in September 2020 that made the offense a civil infraction that could come with a fine of $250. In a report, city staff wrote that six months of experience and the impending launch of the Auburn Community Court made this the right time to revisit the city’s approach.

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Amplifying the Authentic Narratives of South Seattle

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