Morning Fizz: Pay Close Attention to What the Council Does
Caffeinated News & Gossip featuring pot, housing, and cars.
1. Pot roundup:
Bureaucratic screwups mean there's not enough supply to meet the demand; basic questions answered (such as, yes, medical pot stores are still open and are awaiting new rules and regs from the state legislature); more questions answered ... by the SPD (such as, yes, officers need a warrant to draw your blood to see if you're stoned driving, but a blood test is mandatory if there's been an accident ); and opening day TV news coverage.
2. RapidRide buses are carrying 28 percent more riders than the routes they replaced.
3. And speaking of transportation choices: Honoring Mayor Ed Murray's compromise deal between the taxi industry, for-hire drivers, and rideshare companies such as Uber and Lyft, the council repealed the cap on the rideshare companies yesterday.
The King County Superior Court is expected to rule on a related lawsuit brought by a dissident group of taxi drivers today; the group was seeking to block a referendum on the council's original legislation that had capped ride share companies.
The council is expected to pass Murray's compromise which: lifts the cap on rideshare companies, also called Transit Network Companies, while putting new insurance requirements on them; gives for-hire drivers the right to pick up passengers who flag them down (like taxis); and formalizes the idea that taxi licenses are property, which adds capital to the cab industry, giving them the ability to upgrade their fleets and services. (The deal will also grant 200 new city taxi licenses. Currently, there are 336 city-only taxi licenses, plus 352 joint city-county licenses.)
The proposal will also add ten new taxi stands (which for-hire drivers will not be allowed to use.) .
4. Complaining that the city council is limiting housing supply by blocking infill development in single family zones, stiff-arming microhousing development, and pursuing an incentive zoning policy—charging developers for building taller—that freezes new supply, the development boosters at Smart Growth Seattle are unveiling a media campaign to pressure council to build rather than block.
"The election of 2015, in which all 9 council members face an election, should be a referendum on what the Council did to increase housing supply in 2014," paid advocate Roger Valdez (Smart Growth Seattle paid Valdez $5,000 for lobbying the council between April and June this year) says, adding that the media campaign "is intended to encourage people in Seattle to pay close attention to what the council does in coming months to improve the city's housing supply and choice, and let them know we need a plan."
Here's their video: