1. The Seattle City Council initially rejected more than $12 million in federal grants, then approved all but one from ICE in a special full council meeting. On Monday, three absent council members and two "no" votes led to the council rejecting needed money.
Council members Lorena González and Lisa Herbold voted against the grants package because it included reimbursement money from ICE. (The funds, intended to pay back Seattle Police Department overtime, were not directly related to immigration enforcement.) Two days later, eight council members unanimously rejected ICE's $90,000 reimbursement and then approved receiving the rest of the grants.
2. Facebook announced it will "pause" selling political ads in Washington, The Stranger reported. By the end of December, Facebook will join Google in banning political ad sales in the state as both companies figure out how to comply with Washington's strict political ad disclosure laws. The announcement came the day after Facebook and Google collectively paid $455,000 to avoid lawsuits for ignoring those regulations.
3. Mayor Jenny Durkan announced Sam Zimbabwe as her nominee for the new director of the Seattle Department of Transportation. Zimbabwe, a Washington, D.C. transit official, has had experience providing transit service to an area undergoing massive urban growth. In a press conference Tuesday, he said he envisions a "safe, equitable, multimodal transportation system" in Seattle.
4. State representative Matt Manweller officially submitted his resignation to the governor's office. Manweller's resignation will take effect on January 14, the first day of the legislative session.
Manweller, a former Central Washington University professor, promised to vacate his seat should he be re-elected in response to allegations of sexual misconduct with female students. Waiting until after the election to resign ensured that another Republican will be appointed to his seat. Three candidates have been selected by local party officials; one will be appointed by county commissioners in Manweller's 13th Legislative District.
5. Durkan and King County executive Dow Constantine endorsed a plan to unify the county's "fragmented" homelessness response, The Seattle Times reported. The plan is based off a report commissioned by Seattle and King County, which confirmed longstanding criticisms as to the inefficiency of a response spread across six different agencies in the region.
Under the proposed plan, spending, operations, and policymaking will unite under the authority of a small board. Officials haven't set the cost and timeline of the plan.
6. Durkan also announced another $75.7 million in affordable housing in 2018. Ten affordable housing projects across the city will receive the funding—which came from the voter-approved 2016 housing levy, payments from developers from the Mandatory Housing Affordability program, and the sale of city surplus properties.
7. The Seattle Mariners officially announced that Safeco Field will become T-Mobile Park on January 1. T-Mobile, the cellular company based in Bellevue, will pay the Mariners $87.5 million for the 25-year naming rights agreement. T-Mobile Park will be Seattle baseball's third home, after the multi-purpose Kingdome (shared with the Seattle Seahawks and the Seattle SuperSonics) and Safeco Field. Rebranding will take place throughout the baseball park in the coming months. Artist renderings of the completed project contain a lot of pink.
8. The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) executed a $1.17 billion grant to Sound Transit to build a light rail line to Lynnwood. The transit grant is the largest the FTA has awarded since president Donald Trump took office.
While Trump has proposed eliminating federal funding for bus, rail, and streetcar projects in two budget proposals, Congress rejected the infrastructure cuts both times. The light rail extension, scheduled to open in July 2024, promises to ease traffic congestion and better connect North Central Puget Sound to Seattle destinations.
9. A Seattle company sued the federal government for denying a work visa to an employee, GeekWire reported. The architectural firm that employs Bharath Raj Kumanan applied to renew his H-1B visa, which U.S. companies use to hire foreign workers for specialty occupations, upon promoting him to an IT manager position.
But even with the promotion, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) said Kumanan's role didn't qualify as a specialty occupation. According to USCIS data, the agency is denying legal immigration applications at a 37 percent higher rate than it did during ex-president Barack Obama's administration.
10. Seattle collected over $16 million from its sweetened beverages tax in its first nine months, The Seattle Times reported. The amount already exceeds the $15 million that officials estimated the "soda tax" would raise during its first year.
While the disparity between estimated and actual revenue may boil down to bad math, it also shows that the tax, intended to alter unhealthful consumption habits, has not yet had its desired effect.