Politics

Political news

Daniel X. O'Neil via Creative Commons

Despite strong leads for all of the incumbents in Seattle’s city council races, the new council will be younger and more diverse than the current one. That’s one likely effect of the new district elections. 

Women will make up the majority of Seattle’s new city council; and it will have two Latinas, one of whom is also Native American.

All week long, Bernie Sanders has been getting questions about sexism. The charges have been fueled by comments his campaign manager made, saying Sanders would consider Clinton for vice president.

These are not the sorts of questions the Vermont senator, who considers himself a feminist, and candidate for the Democratic nomination wants to be answering.

Should he even have to answer them? Is the accusation fair? Does it go too far?

Gabriel Spitzer / KPLU

A tenants group says it has settled a lawsuit against the developer of a high-profile property in downtown Seattle, across the street from City Hall. The agreement, which would pour millions into affordable housing, follows a public incident of political pressure involving a city council candidate.

Elaine Thompson / AP

 

Seattle voters will soon decide the fate of Proposition 1, which at $930 million, is the largest levy in the city’s history.

Billed as Let’s Move Seattle, Proposition 1 promises to make getting around town easier and smoother. But opponents say there are good reasons why the measure should be voted down.

It's been more than a month since Oregon Governor Kate Brown told a reporter after a parade during the Pendleton Round Up that she's doing what most political observers expected: running for Oregon governor.

Ashley Gross / KPLU

Seattle voters are getting ready to choose who will represent their district. Seven district seats will be decided, as well at two at large positions. KPLU’s election series, Back On The Block, revisits issues affecting each district and introduces us to the candidates.

Erin Hennessey

Reporters from the Puget Sound region shine a light on stories they think deserved more coverage this week. 

KPLU's Sound Effect hears from Emily Parkhurst, Digital Managing Editor at the Puget Sound Business Journal, Bryan Cohen, a reporter with Capitol Hill Seattle blog, and Eli Sanders, Associate Editor at The Stranger.

Kyle Stokes / KPLU

Seattle voters are getting ready to choose who will represent their district. Seven district seats will be decided, as well at two at large positions. KPLU’s election series, Back On The Block, revisits issues affecting each district and introduces us to the candidates.

Canadian news outlets are calling it a "Liberal wave." After nearly a decade in office, Stephen Harper has been ousted as Canada's prime minister, falling to the Liberal Party's Justin Trudeau. Losing his bid for a fourth term, Harper will also step down as leader of the Conservative Party.

House speaker may be the most undesirable job in Washington for Rep. Paul Ryan, but a growing number of backbench Republicans are indicating they would be happy to hold the gavel if Ryan refuses to run.

The field is back open after heir apparent Rep. Kevin McCarthy dramatically quit the race just moments before House Republicans were to vote last Thursday.

Some lawmakers, like Rep. Lynn Westmoreland, R-Ga., and Rep. Bill Flores, R-Texas, have told their colleagues they are actively considering a bid if Ryan opts out.

Both of the leading Democrats probably helped themselves in their party's first debate of the 2016 presidential campaign, held in Las Vegas and carried by CNN. But Hillary Clinton, the candidate with the most to lose, may have come away having gained the most.

The longtime front-runner has been beset by controversy, falling poll numbers and a brittle relationship with the media. A bad performance before this season's first national audience would have deepened doubts about her candidacy.

This is an off election year, but there is one hot legislative race that has implications for future control of the Washington state House.

The race is on to replace indicted Washington State Auditor Troy Kelley. Republican state Senator Mark Miloscia announced Thursday he will campaign for the seat in 2016.

(This post was last updated at 1:31 p.m. ET.)

House Speaker John Boehner will give up his seat in Congress at the end of October.

Boehner became the 53rd speaker of the House in 2011. The Ohio Republican's tenure has been marked by fierce confrontations with Democrats and sometimes with his own party. One of those fights led to a 16-day partial government shutdown in 2013.

Amid renewed conflict with more conservative members of his party, Boehner is once again facing the prospect of a government shutdown.

The perimeter surrounding Washington’s governor’s mansion has been breached twice by trespassers since 2013. The incidents were not publicized at the time.

The Oregon Governor's office has released the first 5,000 of more than 12,000 emails archived from the private account of the state's disgraced former governor.

The final two undecided Northwest Democratic Senators, Oregon's Ron Wyden and Washington's Maria Cantwell, came out Tuesday in favor of the Iran nuclear deal.

Vance for Senate Campaign

Longtime Washington U.S. Senator Patty Murray has drawn a Republican challenger. Former GOP Chair Chris Vance says he plans to focus on issues like the national debt. Vance formally announced his 2016 run Tuesday.

Vance launched his campaign with a video announcement and a promise to be a different kind of candidate.

Washington Lt. Governor Brad Owen traveled to China last year and touted a company that’s now at the center of a federal fraud investigation.

Jennifer Wing / KPLU

 

A King County Superior Court judge says Tim Eyman’s latest initiative will not be removed from the November ballot.

Initiative 1366 requires the Legislature to put a constitutional amendment before voters that would reinstate a two-thirds legislative majority to raise taxes.

 

The threat if they don’t do this, is that the state’s 6.5 cent sales tax would be lowered to 5.5 cents, costing the state more than a billion dollars each year.

Ashley Gross / KPLU

You’re in downtown Seattle getting ready to drive onto the Alaskan Way Viaduct. Then, an alert comes over the radio or shows up on your phone saying an earthquake is about to strike, allowing you to pull over and avoid being on the elevated highway when it could collapse.

That’s an example of how getting even just a few seconds’ warning before a big earthquake hits could save lives. Such an alert system for the Pacific Northwest is being tested right now.

Ashley Gross / KPLU

Some news reports say the 2016 presidential campaign could cost twice as much as the 2012 race. People in Washington state who are disgusted by all the money flowing into politics are gathering signatures to try to amend the U.S. Constitution.

Diane Tilstra is one of them. She remembers vaguely hearing about the 2010 Supreme Court decision in the Citizens United case.

“Just on a peripheral level, I was paying attention to it and thinking, `Gee, that doesn’t sound good,’” she said.

Kyle Stokes / KPLU

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray is backing away from a controversial proposal to alter nearly all of the city's single-family neighborhood zoning to allow duplexes, triplexes, cottages and other denser housing types.

The idea — one of 65 the city's Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda (HALA) committee recommended this month — drew significant blowback from neighborhood groups who oppose granting greater flexibility to housing developers.

City Of Seattle

Seattle city officials want to put a stop to a scenario that’s playing out more often in this region’s tight and competitive housing market. It goes like this: landlords issue a staggering rent hike, tenants move out and not to long after that, the building undergoes a big remodel. It’s called an “economic eviction.”

 

This is how landlords avoid the responsibility of paying about $1500 to low-income tenants to help them find a new home. When landlords do this, tenants also lose the opportunity to collect a similar amount of money from the city for a total of more than $3,000.

Paula Wissel

The state is cracking down on handicapped parking abuse. Beginning tomorrow, July 1st, you’ll need a doctor’s prescription in order to get a disabled parking placard. It was rampant misuse and abuse of disabled parking permits that prompted the Washington state legislature to act.

In Seattle, a 2013 auditor’s report showed a loss of $1.4 million a year in parking meter fees due to people cheating the system.

Under the new state law, according to Department of Licensing spokesman David Bennett, penalties for cheating are tougher. 

“Illegally obtaining  or selling a special parking placard is now a gross misdemeanor instead of an infraction,” Bennett said.

Meaning, you could face criminal charges and a fine of $250 dollars.

Paula Wissel

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray says the solution to disjointed planning in Seattle is to create a new city office to deal with the city's booming growth.  At a news conference, Murray signed an executive order creating a new Office of Planning and Community Development.

Associate Press

 

Backers of Seattle voter initiative I-122 want political candidates to start knocking on the doors of regular people to raise money instead of relying on big donors and special interest groups.

What Initiative 122 would do has never been tried before. Registered voters would get four vouchers, each worth $25. They would be able to give that money directly to their candidate or candidates of choice. The goal is to encourage candidates to spend more time meeting with voters.

“And the way to do that is to make the voters the donor class in the city by giving them all vouchers," said Sightline Institute's Alan Durning, who helped write the measure.

House Democrats on Friday unveiled a proposed $1.5 billion tax package. Senate Republicans plan to rollout their proposed budget later this week.

Ashley Gross / KPLU

Technically speaking, Alicia Goodwin knows she's benefiting from one of Washington state's biggest tax exemptions just by checking out at the grocery store. Sales taxes aren't charged on food purchases.

Seattle Daily Times

Editor's Note: We're taking a closer look at Washington's tax system through a week-long series. This is the first installment of “Where’s the Dough? On the Hunt for Washington’s Missing Tax Dollars."

Washington state’s tax system has long been heaped with insults. Lately, it’s been called a jalopy, a Ford Pinto and the worst in the country.

The Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank, says Washington's tax system is the most regressive in the nation. That’s because with our state’s heavy reliance on sales tax and lack of an income tax, the poorest 20 percent of residents pay 16.8 percent of their income in state and local taxes, while the richest pay 2.4 percent.

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