by Erica C. Barnett
(This article originally appeared on PubliCola and has been reprinted under an agreement.)
Advocates for people experiencing homelessness challenged the ballot title for the “Compassion Seattle” initiative in King County Superior Court on Thursday, arguing that the short description of the proposal — which is what City of Seattle voters would see on their ballots in November — is inaccurate and “prejudicial” because it implies that the measure would guarantee new funding for housing and homeless services when it does not, among other reasons.
Continue reading Homeless Advocates Challenge ‘Compassion Seattle’ Initiative
by Christy Carley
(This article was originally published by Real Change and has been reprinted under an agreement.)
In late January, the Environmental Protection Agency proposed a change to the cleanup plan for the Lower Duwamish River, one of the nation’s most polluted waterways, which was declared a Superfund site in 2001. The proposal — which would allow for higher levels of certain pollutants to remain in the river sediment — generated frustration amongst community groups in South Seattle, who called for an extension of a public comment period on the change. Public comment now lasts until April 21.
At the center of the EPA’s proposal is a pollutant called benzo(a)pyrene (BaP), a carcinogenic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (cPAH) that comes from burning coal and oil and is present in the sediment of the Duwamish River.
Continue reading Community Groups Oppose Slated Change to Duwamish River Cleanup
by Luke Schaefer
Where there once stood a historic Seattle ballpark, land that’s now home to the Rainier Valley Lowe’s hardware store may soon be leveled once again to make way for an Amazon distribution facility.
Despite being re-zoned to accommodate dense, affordable housing and small businesses, concept documents filed with the City this week suggest that the Lowe’s property on Rainier Avenue South could soon host a 68,000 square-foot distribution center and a small ocean of parking spaces. The Pepsi plant north of Lowe’s is also part of the proposed reconstruction and it appears as though a deal with Amazon would involve the use of both properties.
Continue reading Amazon Eyes Site of Rainier Valley Lowe’s for New Distribution Center
by Kevin Schofield
In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, this weekend’s “long read” is a look to the future of transportation in Seattle and specifically how City officials intend to turn it green.
This past week the City of Seattle released its “blueprint” for how it intends to move to a transportation system that is nearly entirely electric by 2030. City leaders feel a sense of urgency about this, as Seattle has not been meeting its climate-change goals. In fact, according to the City it has “flatlined” on reducing transportation emissions, with only a 2% reduction since 2008.
As is frequently the case, the blueprint leads with climate justice principles. In this case, it emphasizes that the transformation to all-electric should address the higher levels of pollution in low-income and communities of color in the city, the inequities in availability of transportation to some communities, and making sure that new economic opportunities — both green jobs and investments in communities — are made available to all Seattle residents.
Continue reading Weekend Long Reads: Seattle’s Vision for an All-Electric Transportation System
by Mark Van Streefkerk
If you’re a registered voter and Seattle resident, you’ve probably already received your Democracy Vouchers in the mail. You’ll recognize them in that the envelope looks a bit like your election ballot, though they come from the City of Seattle. The Democracy Vouchers Program automatically distributes four $25 vouchers to all registered voters that can be used to support participating candidates for City of Seattle office. You can participate in the voucher program even if you’re not registered to vote. The idea behind the program is to provide public funds to candidates who might otherwise not have the financial resources to run a campaign and to allow more Seattle residents to donate to candidates they support.
Maybe you’ve already used your vouchers, maybe you’re unsure how to use them, or even accidentally threw them in the recycling bin. (Don’t worry, there’s an easy fix for that!) The following is a guide on how to use Democracy Vouchers, including how to receive them in any of 18 languages and where you can find out more information about each candidate.
Continue reading A Guide to Democracy Vouchers
by Carolyn Bick
By the time the Washington State Patrol officers dropped her off in the parking lot of the Motel 6 in Sea-Tac on the afternoon of Jan. 18, Monsieree had been sitting in the patrol car for at least two hours, hands shackled behind her body, as the officers drove her up and down I-5, fruitlessly trying to find a jail within King County limits that would accept her despite current COVID-19 booking protocols. Monsieree and at least 11 others had been arrested a few hours earlier, just under the Yesler Overpass on I-5 near downtown Seattle. It was Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and the group had been carrying out a peaceful protest action centered around painting a Black Lives Matter mural and the names of Black people who lost their lives in police encounters on both the roadway itself and the wall beneath the overpass respectively. This action also briefly shut down the highway.
Continue reading ‘Just Drive Them Around for a Bit’: WSP Officers May Have Violated Protestors’ First Amendment Rights on MLK Day
by Carolyn Bick
Since March 2020, the King County Jail in downtown Seattle has instituted certain COVID-19 protocols in order to mitigate the spread of the novel coronavirus. One of these protocols stipulates that the jail will not book people arrested on nonviolent misdemeanor charges.
Except it has.
Continue reading Top SPD Officials Asked King County Jail Officials to Override COVID Restrictions and Book Nonviolent Protestors. They Complied.
by Elizabeth Turnbull
With the end of Donald Trump’s administration and quick action by the Biden administration to issue executive orders on immigration, city officials from across the U.S., including Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan, are pushing for a path to citizenship status and greater rights for immigrants.
On Tuesday, Jan. 19, Cities for Action, a coalition of roughly 200 mayors and county executives, including Durkan, released a letter urging the Biden-Harris administration and Congress to ensure a pathway to citizenship for all undocumented immigrants and to change detention practices to keep families together, among many other reforms.
Continue reading With Trump Out of White House, Seattle and other Cities Push for New Immigration Policies
by Mark Van Streefkerk
Andrew Grant Houston, AIA, Founder and Design Head of House Cosmopolitan and Board Member of Futurewise, officially announced his run for Mayor on Jan. 12, and he is clear about the cornerstone of his campaign: housing. The queer, Black, and Latino architect and small business owner has a vision for meeting the demand for affordable housing in Seattle, and is eager to share just how housing is directly linked to climate justice and defunding the police by 50%. Houston serves as Interim Policy Manager for Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda, and is a member of AIA Seattle, Share The Cities, The Pike/Pine Urban Neighborhood Council, The Sunrise Movement, and the 43rd Democrats. He plans on contributing a portion of the campaign funds he receives to mutual aid groups he has worked with over the last year.
Houston, also known as “Ace,” recently spoke with the Emerald, telling us about his background, and the immediate actions Seattle needs to take in the next eight years to curb climate change. Check out his website at agh4sea.com.
Continue reading Q&A: Mayoral Candidate Andrew Grant Houston Shares His Vision for Seattle, Starting With Housing and Climate Justice
by Ashley Archibald
In a video posted to YouTube, a woman in a blue surgical mask stands in the corner of a walled-off yard, a puffy, slate gray jacket zipped against the cold. To her right is a table draped with a white cloth holding 19 votive candle holders. Slowly, deliberately, the woman reads a list of names.
In the silence following each name, a man lights a candle.
Continue reading A Hard Year for Those Without Shelter: Death Rates Rose and Pressures Increased for the Homeless During the Pandemic