Paula Wissel

Law & Justice Reporter

Paula reports on groundbreaking legal decisions in Washington State and on trends in crime and law enforcement. She’s been at KPLU since 1989 and has covered the Law and Justice beat for the past 15 years. Paula grew up in Idaho and, prior to KPLU, worked in public radio and television in Boise, San Francisco and upstate New York.

Paula's most memorable moment at KPLU: “Interviewing NPR Senior News Analyst Daniel Schorr about his ability to put current events in historical context. It’s something I aspire to.”

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Election 2013
5:01 am
Tue November 19, 2013

Seattle Public Campaign Financing Gaining in Vote Tally

This image shows the tally as of Monday, Nov. 18, 2013.

There’s the possibility of another election turnaround.

First there was Kshama Sawant’s dramatic post-election night come-from-behind win over Seattle City Council member Richard Conlin. Now, supporters of Seattle Proposition 1 hope it’s their turn.

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fighting Poverty
5:01 am
Thu November 14, 2013

New Program Offers Financial Counseling to Those in Need

Nadia Olusolo
Paula Wissel KPLU

Learning how to budget and save is something everyone can benefit from, even people who barely have a penny to their name.

That’s the idea behind so-called Financial Empowerment Centers Seattle is setting up with a $1.8 million grant from the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation.

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Election 2013
4:34 pm
Tue November 12, 2013

Socialist Sawant Takes Lead Over Conlin in Seattle Council Race

FILE - In this photo taken Aug. 1, 2013, Seattle City Council candidate Kshama Sawant, right, speaks with a restaurant worker during a demonstration in Seattle.
Elaine Thompson Associated Press

A Socialist candidate has taken the lead as an updated ballot count was released on Tuesday afternoon in a close Seattle City Council race.

Kshama Sawant initially trailed incumbent Richard Conlin by more than 6,000 votes, but is now leading by about 40 votes—79,751 to 79,710.

“I think the results that we got today confirm that people in Seattle and, indeed, everywhere in the country are actually eager and hungry for a big political shift,” Sawant said Tuesday.

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changing times
5:01 am
Tue November 12, 2013

Lawyers Must Adapt to Changing Profession

Lawyers are finding themselves facing the same pressures recording artists and journalists have had to contend with: free content on the Internet. 

Technological changes and a DIY culture are also changing the legal profession in fundamental ways. And how to adapt has been a hot topic at law schools in Washington and at the Washington Bar Association.

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Election 2013
8:39 pm
Tue November 5, 2013

Seattle on its Way to Electing a New Mayor

Seattle mayoral candidate state Sen. Ed Murray, center, is cheered by his husband, Michael Shiosaki, left, and former Gov. Chris Gregoire at an election night party Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2013, in Seattle.
Elaine Thompson Associated Press

 

Seattle may soon have a new mayor.

State Sen. Ed Murray carried 56 percent of the vote in the first round of ballot counting Tuesday night, building a lead over incumbent Mayor Mike McGinn. Because Washington state votes entirely by mail, many ballots were not counted Tuesday.

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moving on two wheels
5:00 am
Thu October 31, 2013

Cycle Tracks Offer Added Protection for Bicyclists in Seattle

City of Seattle

With the number of bike commuters up 78 percent since 2005, bike lanes in Seattle are packed. 

But not everyone feels safe riding in close proximity to cars, having to worry about distracted drivers or collisions with car doors.

So Seattle planners are in the midst of an experiment—one they hope will make anybody feel comfortable hopping on a bike to get around the city. Seattle is building what are called "cycle tracks" as a way of making riding on the street more attractive to the novice or reluctant rider.

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Election 2013
11:55 pm
Tue October 22, 2013

KCTS Debate: Seattle Mayoral Candidates Forced to Prioritize

It isn't always easy to pin down a politician. Most would prefer to list a range of issues they plan to address than choose just one top priority. But Tuesday night, during a debate on KCTS-TV, the candidates for mayor of Seattle, incumbent Mike McGinn and challenger state Senator Ed Murray, were forced to list everything, from housing to education in the order of importance.

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State Supreme Court
11:48 am
Tue October 22, 2013

State High Court Hears Airplane Meal Workers Case

Several prepared meals are displayed with wine inside the Delta Airlines Gate Gourmet facility at the Cincinnati Northern Kentucky International Airport, Tuesday, April 22, 2008 in Erlanger, Ky.
David Kohl AP Photo/File Image

Washington’s Supreme Court will decide whether employers must accommodate the religious practices of their employees.

Justices heard oral arguments Tuesday in a lawsuit that involves four men who makes meals for airline passengers. Because they are not allowed to bring their own food to work, their employer, Gate Gourmet, provides them lunch. The men allege the meal choices did not accommodate their religious dietary restrictions. 

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Election 2013
5:01 am
Tue October 22, 2013

Mayoral Candidates Differ on Most Effective Transportation Fix

Oran Viriyincy Flickr

Have you ever been stuck in traffic or tried to get on an overcrowded bus, or had to dodge potholes in the bike lanes?

Sometimes, just getting from point A to point B can be an exercise in frustration, even if you live and work within the city limits of Seattle. The candidates for mayor of Seattle, incumbent Mike McGinn and challenger state Sen. Ed Murray both say they’ve experienced problems in getting around the city.

Not surprisingly, each candidate also says he is the best candidate to improve transportation in the city.

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Washington Supreme Court
6:54 pm
Mon October 21, 2013

State High Court Points to Police Negligence in Woman's Murder

aidaneus Flickr

Advocates for victims of domestic violence are praising a Washington Supreme Court decision that they say could help save lives.

The case concerns the serving of an anti-harassment order by the Federal Way Police Department on a man who later killed his girlfriend.

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Election 2013
11:58 pm
Wed October 9, 2013

Seattle Mayoral Candidates: Who Pays if Tunnel Goes Over Budget?

What if Seattle gets stuck with cost overruns on the Alaskan Way Viaduct replacement project?

That question sparked a lively exchange on KING-TV between the two candidates for mayor of Seattle during their first televised debate.

During the hour long debate sponsored by KING-TV, KIRO-FM and The Seattle Times, Mayor Mike McGinn and Sen. Ed Murray traded jabs on everything from leadership style to police reform.

But their discussion of the tunnel project raised one of the most interesting questions.

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Police Reform
6:53 pm
Wed September 18, 2013

Survey Shows Racial Divide in Approval of Seattle Police

zeraien Flickr

A survey shows more than 60 percent of Seattle residents approve of the job the Seattle Police Department is doing. But it’s a far more problematic picture when you break down responses by race.

While the vast majority of whites and Asians give high marks to the Seattle Police Department, when you talk to African-Americans and Latinos, the approval rating drops dramatically.

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Downtown Safety
1:22 pm
Wed September 18, 2013

Stabbing Death Prompts Call for Tax to Fund Mental Health

Paula Wissel

Last weekend’s random killing of Shoreline Community College English Professor Troy Wolff in Pioneer Square has prompted Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn to call for more money to be spent on mental health resources, including a possible tax dedicated to mental health.

Donnell Jackson has been charged with first-degree murder and attempted first-degree murder in the stabbing of Wolff and Kristin Ito, who survived the attack.

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Labor & Union
8:17 pm
Tue September 17, 2013

Space Needle's Treatment of Workers on Trial

Union supporters rally on behalf of Space Needle workers outside federal building, where a hearing on unfair labor practices is being held.
Paula Wissel

The Space Needle’s labor practices are on trial in a federal hearing room in Seattle. All week, the National Labor Relations Board(NLRB) has been presenting its case against the privately-owned Seattle icon.

Acting on a complaint from Unite Here Local 8, which represents several hundred Space Needle food and banquet workers, the NLRB is making its case that the company engaged in unfair labor practices, including encouraging employees to resign from the union and stop paying union dues.

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Getting Around Town
5:01 am
Mon September 16, 2013

Taxi vs. Rideshare Services: Taking a Test Drive

Jeff Chiu Associated Press

Click here or scroll down for full comparison chart >>>

It used to be if you wanted to get around town or to the airport and didn’t have a car, you’d take public transit or call a cab. But in the last six months, new options have popped up—rideshare services.

I decided to take these services for a test drive, with the help of KPLU news intern Simone Alicea.

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