1. Hundreds of texts, emails, and public documents showed former Seattle mayor Ed Murray's personal spokesperson, Jeff Reading, pushed city council member Lorena Gonzalez to call for Murray's resignation, The Seattle Times reported in a story published Wednesday. City officials battled with allegations against Murray and tried to manage the fallout. The Stranger's Eli Sanders also published a feature on the Murray allegations Wednesday, the product of his 10-week stint as a speechwriter in the mayor's office.
2. Now retired, Murray is receiving a public pension to the tune of $115,920 a year. The Seattle Times reported Murray is one of the few public employees that received payments from both the city of Seattle and the state of Washington. Because pensions are calculated based on the highest pay a person earns during two consecutive months, The Times calculated his pension would be $16,680 a year had Murray never been mayor.
3. The GOP released a memo accusing Russian investigators of abusing their surveillance powers. Ten senior Democrats in Congress—including U.S. senator Patty Murray—penned a letter to Trump in response, warning that using the memo as tactic to fire special counsel Bob Mueller or deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein would be viewed as an obstruction of justice.
This isn’t about transparency, this is just another attempt to undermine and discredit the Russia investigation, Deputy AG Rosenstein, and the hard-working men & women of the FBI — and another attempt to protect President Trump.— Senator Patty Murray (@PattyMurray) February 2, 2018
No, Mr. President it’s worse than that. The country’s top elected leader has agreed to selectively and misleadingly release classified info to attack the FBI — that’s what would have been unthinkable a short time ago. https://t.co/yGMJ1Jwj5B— Adam Schiff (@RepAdamSchiff) February 2, 2018
4. A former Seattle City Council candidate faces criminal charges for allegedly defrauding the “democracy voucher” program. Erica Barnett reported Sheley Secrest, who ran for the citywide Position 8 seat but didn't make it past the primaries, is accused of trying to qualify for the vouchers by putting her own money into the campaign and claiming it was donated by voters. Secrest in December denied the accusations made by her former campaign manager.
5. Former Tacoma mayor Marilyn Strickland will be the next president and CEO of the Seattle Metro Chamber of Commerce. Strickland established her reputation for boosting Tacoma’s economic development and raising the cities international profile during her two terms as mayor.
6. The King County Council voted Monday to offer families of people killed by police legal representation during inquests. Council members, who approved the new legislation unanimously, saw the issue as a “matter of fairness,” Seattle Weekly reported. King County executive Dow Constantine recently halted all ongoing inquests while the process—which the families of those killed by police criticized as biased against them—is under review.
7. School bus drivers in Seattle went on strike Thursday over health and retirement benefits. The 400 public school bus drivers have halted bus services. Drivers took part in a one-day strike in the fall but returned to the table to further negotiate with contractor First Student. If they don't reach an agreement next week, Seattle union teachers said they also plan to strike.
8. State legislators are debating a bill that would require schools to test all students for high intelligence. The Seattle Times reported the Northshore School District has already adopted the practice and as a result, 500 low-income or foreign-born students will be considered for gifted education. Proponents hope instituting the practice statewide will make education more equitable.
9. Republican Dino Rossi and Democrat Kim Schrier lead their respective packs in fundraising for Washington’s 8th Congressional District race. The Seattle Times reported Rossi, a former state senator, has raised $1.3 million and Schrier, a Sammamish pediatrician, has raised $595,000 in a race that could help swing the House into the hands of Democrats in November’s midterm election.
10. The city of Seattle received approval to move forward with the so-called "missing link" of the Burke-Gilman Trail to Ballard. The 1.4 mile stretch has been a contentious topic among some area residents, business owners and labor who say the proposed route passes through a heavily trafficked and industrial area. The hearing examiner only ruled on whether the city had met its responsibility of completing and environmental impact study to move forward on the project, which is scheduled to break ground later this year.