City of Seattle
City council passed the income tax legislation on Monday. Although council members unanimously supported the bill, it's not in the clear yet. The income tax is expected to be challenged in the state Supreme Court. The state GOP chair, Susan Hutchison, held a press conference following the vote in front of City Hall, urging citizens to practice "civil disobedience" by not paying taxes, The Stranger reported.
King County mailed ballots out on Tuesday, and the search for endorsements for mayoral and city council candidates hoping to make it through the August 1 primary is heating up. The Stranger has endorsed urban planner Cary Moon, with a dissenting faction of four reporters endorsing Nikkita Oliver. Oliver also received the Seattle Weekly endorsement, while The Seattle Times has thrown its weight behind Jenny Durkan. All of this has left King5 News wondering just how relevant endorsements are in the age of news via social media. Jon Grant, city council candidate for position 8, received both Stranger and Seattle Weekly endorsements.
Labor groups remain divided on mayoral candidates. Martin Luther King County Labor Council (MLKCLC) were split between Jessyn Farrell and Bob Hasegawa at its vote Tuesday night; SEIU 775 endorsed Jenny Durkan on Tuesday.
Durkan during Tuesday night's Candidate Survivor, held by The Stranger and Washington Bus, made a major slip and used the racially insensitive term "colored person" in her skit impersonating Sean Spicer. Though she apologized shortly afterward, the hashtag #JennyonebutDurkan was trending on Twitter the following day.
Still undecided on the vote for mayor or city council position 8? In the next two weeks, PubliCola will be publishing candidate profiles, starting with: Jenny Durkan, Jessyn Farrell, and Bob Hasegawa. They'll continue to be updated with more developments as the races progress, all the way up to the primary.
After an unfavorable report from the Investment Advisory Committee, the Seattle City Employees' Retirement System board—chaired by council member Tim Burgess—on Thursday decided Seattle would not divest the city's pension funds from fossil fuels. That was after testimony from activists and some elected officials (Mike O'Brien and Lisa Herbold) who had concerns about the IAC report. Former mayor Mike McGinn, who's running for mayor again, also testified in favor of divestment; all six high-profile mayoral candidates have said they support fossil fuel divestment.
Legislation, SB 5952, aimed at improving the Department of Corrections is unlikely to pass this year, The Seattle Times reported. The bill was designed to addresses the many instances of mistaken early-release of prisoners. Between 2002-2015, the Department of Corrections incorrectly freed up to 2,700 due to a reported software coding error. SB 5952, sponsored by Senator Mike Padden (R-Spokane Valley), would require a worksheet that spells out how each sentence is calculated and authorize an audit of the agency's IT.
Tim Eyman, an anti-tax conservative activist, launched a campaign on Tuesday to replace Sound Transit's taxes with a flat $30 car tab fee. In the process, Eyman also weighed in on the mayor's race and said he'd vote for Durkan if he lived in Seattle. Less than pleased with the endorsement, Durkan fired back, calling Eyman "the self-promoting village idiot of Washington state." Eyman is currently embroiled in a $2 million lawsuit led by attorney general Bob Ferguson.
Seattle Versus Trump
Mayor Ed Murray on Wednesday joined mayors from New York, San Francisco, and Boston in signing a letter urging the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chair, Ajit Pai, to preserve net neutrality. "Individuals should be free to access the Internet without discriminatory practices applied to services and websites," Murray said in a statement on Wednesday. The FCC is considering a possible repeal on August 16.
With Congress back in session, it's time for Republicans to take another shot at Trumpcare. Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell revealed an updated health care bill only to run into a wall of opposition on Thursday, reported Politico.
What did Republican leaders do in the face of large-scale popular rejection of their bill? They made their bill even worse! pic.twitter.com/iVTzaPZeEi— Senator Patty Murray (@PattyMurray) July 13, 2017
Senator Maria Cantwell said she wouldn't stand any threats to Medicaid:
President Donald Trump, in a series of four tweets late Thursday night, imparted the importance that Republican Senators pass a new health care bill:
So impt Rep Senators, under leadership of @SenateMajLdr McConnell get healthcare plan approved. After 7yrs of O'Care disaster, must happen!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 14, 2017
Donald Trump Jr. is in the spotlight for a meeting he reportedly held pre-election to get dirt on Hillary Clinton. The source of said dirt: a Kremlin-connected attorney. The meeting was set up to gain incriminating information against Clinton in an effort to help Trump's campaign.
In an effort to appear transparent or head off release of the emails by news sources, Trump Jr. took to Twitter to defend himself:
Here's my statement and the full email chain pic.twitter.com/x050r5n5LQ— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) July 11, 2017
NBC News reported the attendance by a Russian American lobbyist and veteran of Russia’s military. Rinat Akhmetshin, whose presence was first reported by NBC News and the Associated Press, denied any current connections to Russian spy agencies. Special consul Robert Mueller continues his probe into Trump-Russia ties.