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 Elizabeth Turnbull
In response to prolonged difficulties for small businesses caused by COVID-19 quarantine measures, City Councilmember Dan Strauss and Council President M. Lorena Gonzalez introduced a bill early last week that aims to support small business as well as allow for more flexibility around land use codes and operating out of garages and residences.
“There are home-based businesses in my neighborhood currently operating out of compliance with current code,” Strauss said in a statement. “While they have not been reported or cited, it is important we provide an even playing field for them.”
Continue reading City Council Bill Would Relax Constraints on Home-Based Businesses
by Guy Oron
Seattle’s Black Brilliance Research Project (BBRP) — the largest Black-led community research project in the world — released its nearly 1,300-page final report on Friday, Feb. 26. The project was born out of last summer’s Black Lives Matter protests in response to the police killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor.
Due to pressure from the Defund SPD campaign organized by Black, Brown, and Indigenous community leaders and activists, the Seattle City Council set aside funds, including diverting some money away from the police department, to fund the research project. This research will inform the creation of a participatory budgeting process which would allow all Seattle community members over 10 years old to have a say in how almost $30 million is allocated to communities in the city.
Continue reading Black Brilliance Research Project Releases Final Report
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 — Wednesday, March 3
Dawn Bennett running for Mayor of Kent | Brianna Thomas running for City Council | FBI Director calls DC insurrection “Domestic Terrorism” | Texas removes mask mandate, will open 100% | KC Sheriff Deputy suspended for FB post | Black Joy event recap
Continue reading The Morning Update Show — 3/3/21
by Ansel Herz
Election season is heating up in Seattle with the entry of Brianna Thomas, an accomplished City Hall staffer who managed campaigns to reform election financing and raise the minimum wage, into the race for City Council Position 9, the citywide seat being vacated by her boss, Lorena Gonzalez, as she runs for mayor.
Continue reading City Hall Legislative Aide Brianna Thomas Enters Race for Citywide Seat
by Paul Kiefer
(This article originally appeared on PubliCola and has been reprinted under an agreement.)
The Seattle City Council’s Public Safety Committee is considering a $5.4 million cut to the Seattle Police Department’s (SPD) 2021 budget to account for an equivalent amount of overspending by the department last year. During the committee’s regular meeting on Tuesday morning, councilmembers received a briefing from the council’s central staff on the potential impacts of those cuts on a department still reeling from a spike in attrition in 2020.
Continue reading Seattle City Council Considers Cutting SPD by $5.4M in Response to 2020 Overspending
by Jack Russillo
Last weekend’s nationwide stormy weather affected vaccine shipments from the east coast to the west coast, meaning that Washington State health care providers will see delays in vaccine shipment arrivals.
The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) estimates that more than 90% of this week’s allocation to the state will arrive late due to stormy weather across the country, DOH officials said in a virtual press conference on Thursday, Feb 18. Moderna vaccines have not shipped yet this week and Pfizer vaccines did not ship Monday, with only a limited number of vaccine shipments processed Tuesday and Wednesday. These delays caused the DOH to close its Kennewick and Spokane vaccination sites through the weekend, and others might follow suit.
Continue reading Delay of Vaccine Delivery a Concern, But Washington DOH Guardedly Optimistic About COVID-19 Cases
by Ben Adlin
Thousands of frontline workers at large grocery stores in Seattle will soon see a $4-per-hour raise under emergency hazard-pay legislation passed Monday, Jan. 25, by the City Council. Labor leaders hope the new rule will inspire similar action around Puget Sound, including neighboring Burien and unincorporated King County.
The increase requires Seattle grocery businesses with 500 or more total employees to raise workers’ hourly wages by $4 in recognition of the higher risk of contracting COVID-19 involved in their work. The measure does not apply to small businesses, convenience stores, or farmers markets.
The City Council approved the bill on an 8–0 vote, allowing it to take effect as soon as the mayor signs it. That’s expected to happen next Wednesday, Feb. 3, Durkan’s staff told the Emerald in an email.
Continue reading Seattle ‘Hazard Pay’ Bonus for Grocery Workers Likely to Begin Next Week
by Melody Ip
When Seattle City Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda reflects on her past four years in office, she celebrates hard-fought wins for healthier families, worker protections, and small businesses. Yet COVID-19 hit and reversed the progression, significantly impacting many of the people Mosqueda has worked so hard to protect. For this reason, Mosqueda is running for a second term on the City Council, believing her work is not yet done.
“I don’t want us to recover to what we were before,” Mosqueda said. “I want to recover to a more equitable Seattle, and that drives me to stay in the legislative branch and fight for those longer-term policies that, once we [pass them] into law, will make dramatic improvements for people’s lives over the long haul.”
Continue reading Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda: Finding Commonality in Division
by Jack Russillo
For more than a month, Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant received a series of increasingly threatening emails from a Seattle Fire Department (SFD) employee’s email address.
In total, four emails were sent to Sawant’s official email address. The first was sent on December 17 and the most recent was received on January 18 and ended with the message “Announce your resignation now, or else.” Previous emails from this same account said “If you don’t willing leave [sic], we will make that decision for you by any means necessary” and “If you need help leaving, try jumping head first off the top floor of your building. I’ll even come push you.”
Continue reading Sawant Asks for “Thorough Investigation” Into Series of Threatening Emails Sent from Seattle Fire Department Address