Morning Roundup

Morning Roundup: Central District, Congestion Pricing, Opioid Crisis

Your local politics morning digest.

By Hayat Norimine April 5, 2018

SEATTLE CITY COUNCIL: Central District zoning. A bill to adopt guidelines for the Central District's future developments passed out of council member Rob Johnson's committee yesterday and will go to a vote for the full council on Monday. The biggest challenge with that—to give proper credence to the African American community, in a rapidly gentrified neighborhood that was historically black due to redlining. 

Sitting in the audience were a group of Central District residents who worked with the city, including Robert Stephens Jr., a fixture who's been in the neighborhood since 1959. Stephens said it was only fitting that the legislation passed out of committee on the anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination. (Johnson was the only one there to vote; members of the committee, Lisa Herbold and Mike O'Brien, came later.)

"Fifty years ago, a man's candlelight was put out, but that light still shines. It shined today to allow me to walk in the front door of this chamber," he said. "I ask of you to move that we can let that light shine to make our Central Area a beloved community." 

MAYOR JENNY DURKAN announced her plan to toll downtown streets as part of a plan to cut down the city's carbon emissions and reduce traffic congestion. That would make Seattle the first city to implement congestion pricing. There are no details as of yet, and no word on whether there will be any exemptions. According to the mayor's plan, Seattle Department of Transportation officials will study potential pricing possibilities and how it would work with the SR 99 tunnel's tolling. 

In other climate-change-tackling news, Durkan is also reforesting parts of the Stossel Creek area (a Seattle City Light-owned property) with a $140,000 grant from the Wildlife Conservation Society. 

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CONGRESS: U.S. senator Patty Murray and senator Lamar Alexander, a Tennessee Republican, as ranking members of the Senate health committee released a draft of a bipartisan bill to try to tackle the opioid crisis through improving treatment access for rural patients, encouraging preventative regulations or strategies, developing more non-addictive painkillers, and clarifying the authority of agencies like the FDA. They're holding a hearing on the legislation on Wednesday. 

Murray's visiting a South Seattle bilingual preschool this morning to promote her child care bill, which her office says would more than double the number of children eligible for child care assistance. Murray's weeklong tour ends in Seattle after stops at Eastern and Southwest Washington.

U.S. representative Pramila Jayapal has something to say about President Donald Trump sending the National Guard to the U.S.-Mexico border: "a monumental waste of time, money, and resources." 

IMMIGRATION: A U.S. District Court judge in Seattle ruled yesterday that asylum seekers already determined to have reasonable fear of persecution at the Northwest Detention Center have the right to a bond hearing after six months in detention. 

THAT DISMAL MEDIA WORLD. A look into when Sinclair first took KOMO over by Crosscut. And KUOW eliminated seven staff positions yesterday, The Stranger reported.

Other good reads: 

-For the first time ever, the Seattle School Board chose a Native American superintendent—Denis Juneau, a member of the Mandan Hidatsa Arikara Nation, The Seattle Times reported. 

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