Last Week in Politics

Top 10 Stories: More Head Tax Developments, King County Prosecutor's Challenger, and Prepaid Ballots

Your weekly dose of top political stories.

By Grace Madigan May 21, 2018

The alaskan way viaduct skapl3

1. A coalition of businesses are putting up a fight against the head tax. The group filed a campaign for a referendum on Friday, hoping to put the issue up for a vote in the November general election.

Meanwhile, city officials debate how exactly the city will spend that revenue—$47.5 million a yearAlthough the city council unanimously approved the head tax, a resolution on the spending plan narrowly passed and is still up for debate.

On one side is Mayor Jenny Durkan, council member Sally Bagshaw, and council president Bruce Harrell, who want to see quicker, more immediate change by cleaning up the city. On the other side are council members Lorena Gonzalez, Mike O'Brien, Lisa Herbold, and Teresa Mosqueda who want to see long-term efforts put into effect.

2. King County prosecutor Dan Satterberg will have a challenger for the first time in 11 years—a career public defender. A couple days before the deadline to file, Daron Morris announced his candidacy against Satterberg, a Republican who has gained the support from city and county officials alike. 

3. Every county will have its pre-paid ballot paid for by the state except King County. Governor Jay Inslee and Secretary of State Kim Wyman announced legislation that would pay $1.2 million toward pre-paid postage for 38 of 39 counties. The decision came shortly after King County Council approved its own bill that would fund pre-paid postage, responding to concerns that King County's voters would hold more weight in statewide elections. 

4. After voting to divest from Wells Fargo, the city has renewed a contract with the bank unable to find an alternative. Demands for the city to divest from Wells Fargo came in response to the bank's investment in the Dakota Access Pipeline. City council members voted unanimously in February 2017 to find an alternative bank. The city couldn't find an alternative bank that would take on its contract, partly because of a smaller bank's inability to handle depository services, The Seattle Times reported. The city renewed its contract with Wells Fargo last week.

5. The Seattle Times reported on the Seattle Department of Transportation's inability to follow through on promises made by the Move Seattle levy from 2015. The $930 million effort that former mayor Ed Murray pushed was supposed to repave roads, add more bus-only lanes, more sidewalks, and traffic signals. 

6. A new study from the University of Washington finds that the majority of Washington state gun owners don't store their guns safely. The study was sponsored by Grandmothers Against Gun Violence and conducted by the UW's School of Public Health. The Stranger reported that of the 35,000 adult respondents, 34 percent had a firearm in their households. Of that percentage, only 37 percent stored their firearms unloaded and locked up.

7. The demolition of the Alaskan Way viaduct will cost an estimated $93.7 millionKiewit Infrastructure West won the bid, which is above the WSDOT engineer's estimate of $83 million but within the agency's range of $80 million to $100 million, The Seattle Times reported. Demolition is slated to start in January and last several months.

8.  The city of Seattle won one of two lawsuits brought forth against council member Kshama Sawant for the hefty price of $258,753, The Seattle Times reported. Landlord Carl Haglund sued Sawant for defamation after the council member called Haglund "a slumlord." Sawant also used an image for her re-election campaign in 2015 that portrayed Haglund as a rat with a name tag reading "Carl Haglund."

The other defamation lawsuit was brought against Sawant by two Seattle police officers. Sawant said the officers had committed "brutal murder" referring to the 2016 shooting of 46-year-old black man Che Taylor. 

9. If you were planning to buy an electric car, do it now—the tax break ends on May 31. The tax break made it so the first $32,000 of the purchase price or lease payments on a new electric car are sales tax-free. The tax is worth $3,000 to $4,000, KUOW reported, depending on the model. 

10. UW student employees staged a one-day strike on Tuesday. The mostly graduate student employees are asking for a 3 percent wage increase this year and a 6 percent increase the next two years in addition to health care that improves mental health care and coverage for trans-affirming proceduresThe university proposed a 2 percent increase the next three years, which the union said doesn't match the rising cost of living. The rally attracted hundreds of student employees.

Show Comments