In brief: The Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce's well-funded PAC announced the City Council candidates it'll be supporting in this year's election, Bellwether Housing announced an opportunity for ordinary people to invest in a new affordable housing fund to build 750 units of low-income housing, a new statewide distracted driving law went into effect, and the City is making preparations for another summer of wildfire smoke.
Editor's note: I accidentally set the send time for today's newsletter to 6 pm instead of 6 am when I finished it yesterday! Thanks to those of you who alerted me to the fact that it hadn't gone out on time so that I could send it manually. -Sol
Sunday, June 16th - Saturday, June 22nd, 2019
Image from GeekWire / Bellwether Housing
Last Week in Seattle
The homelessness and housing affordability crisis:
  • Local affordable housing developer Bellwether Housing announced its new Building Opportunity Fund, which aims to raise $4.5 million from individual investors as part of a $257 million fundraising campaign to build 750 affordable housing units for residents earning between 30-60% of area median income (AMI). Investors will see a return of 2% per year on their investments; you can get more information, and make an investment yourself, here.
  • The Seattle Housing Authority began helping the residents of its low-income housing buildings sign up to get free unlimited-ride ORCA passes from the City.
  • And The Seattle Times posted the full video of its recent "Stories About Home" night of storytelling, which featured stories from people who have experienced homelessness themselves.
Election Watch 2019:
  • The Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce's political action committee (PAC), CASE--which has raised over $800,000 so far, with $200,000 of that coming from Amazon alone--announced the 9 candidates who will be the beneficiaries of that money in the 7 district seats that are on the ballot this year (CASE endorsed two candidates in districts 6 and 7). 
  • Kevin Schofield at Seattle City Council Insight looked at the other endorsements that came out last week, including the local chapter of the Sierra Club and the King County Labor Council.
  • Crosscut's David Kroman looked at District 3 incumbent Kshama Sawant's loss of support from organized labor, which is a marked shift from her first campaign in 2015.
  • The Stranger's Lester Black interviewed District 5 incumbent Debora Juarez, the only candidate to be endorsed by the Chamber, the Sierra Club, and the Labor Council.
  • And GeekWire's Monica Nickelsburg wrote about the controversy surrounding a Speak Out Seattle-affiliated tech worker who created a local "which City Council candidate should you support?" quiz app based on questions from Speak Out Seattle candidate forums (Speak Out Seattle is ambiguously affiliated with the anti-homeless group Safe Seattle, and many candidates have boycotted their candidate forums as a result).
Real Estate Corner
The City Council's updated backyard cottage legislation passed out of committee, with final passage set for July 1st. 

A King County Superior Court judge overturned the City Council's recent temporary expansion of the Pike Place Market Historical District to include the building that houses the Showbox.

Danny Westneat pointed out that the City couldn't build housing on all of its public golf courses even if it wanted to, because of a 1997 ordinance that requires the City to replace any park land it takes away on a 1:1 basis (and the astronomical cost of purchasing 528 acres of Seattle at market rates).

And another one of my listings got picked up by Curbed Seattle!
Thank you to everyone who's sent me a real estate referral or used me as an agent yourself! The city of Seattle is my geographic area of expertise, and while I'm also very good at helping sellers get top dollar for their homes, my true passion is helping first-time homebuyers get homes that they love quickly and easily.

f you need a residential real estate agent to help you buy or sell a home of any kind--or you know someone who does--I'd love to be of service. My website is here, or see here for client reviews. 
Quick Takes
Dominic Gates and Mike Baker at The Seattle Times did a deep dive on the problems with Boeing's MCAS system, which was responsible for both of the company's recent 737 MAX crashes.  

In a perfect metaphor for our state's fundamentally broken tax system, Medina, the city on the east side of the 520 bridge that's home to the two wealthiest people in the world (Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates) and is in one of the 7 wealthiest zip codes on the planet, is running out of money to pay for basic services because of the low tax rates it imposes on its extremely high-income residents. 

Sydney Brownstone, who broke the story last summer of rape and sexual assault allegations by 11 women against local entrepreneur Dave Meinert, reported that Meinert has re-emerged after 11 months out of the public eye with plans to buy the Mecca Cafe in Lower Queen Anne. [Seattle Times]

With 2019 on track for near-record drought conditions across the state, the City announced plans for designated clean air sites in several City-owned buildings in preparation for what's expected to be another smoky summer. [KING 5, Seattle Times]

The Van Asselt Community Center in south Seattle was struck by gunfire during a shootout in the parking lot. [Seattle Times

Representatives from various City departments and the City Council held a forum in the Central District to address a recent spike in gun violence there. [KING 5]

Marcus Green looked at how Seattle's black community celebrated Juneteenth this year. [Seattle Times]

The Trump administration's plan to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census, which is currently before the Supreme Court, could lead to an undercount of of 1% in Washington state. [Seattle Times]

Meth use is on the rise in King County, at levels higher than the meth epidemic of the early 2000s. [Seattle Times]

The state's new distracted driving law, with fines starting at $136 for using your cell phone or other electronic devices while driving, went into effect. [Seattle Times]

The new light rail cars that Sound Transit will be using to dramatically expand service as new stations open in the coming years will be slightly roomier than the current ones. [Curbed Seattle]

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau re-approved the controversial Trans-Mountain Pipeline, which would allow Canada to export its oil to countries other than the United States. [KING 5]

The Seattle Department of Transportation will be giving pedestrians a head start over cars at more crosswalks around the city, in an attempt to prevent pedestrian injuries and deaths. [KING 5]

Mayor Durkan ordered the temporary closure of the Fire Station 31 in Northgate after an environmental inspection by the firefighters' union found evidence of mold there. [Crosscut]

Seattle Public Schools began the process of choosing a temporary replacement for outgoing board member Betty Patu, who announced her retirement a few days past a deadline that would have put her position on the ballot instead. [Seattle Times]

The Technology Access Foundation, which has had a successful partnership with the Federal Way public schools since 2008, is in talks with Seattle Public Schools to partner on what would be the district's first attendance-area STEM school (as opposed to the current STEM option schools). [Crosscut]

Microsoft announced a new app to streamline the reporting of noxious weeds to King County by the public, which resulted from an idea that county employees brought to a Microsoft-sponsored hackathon. [GeekWire]

The three Republicans on the King County Council plus Democrats Dave Upthegrove and Larry Gossett voted against a municipal-relations director candidate who had been recommended to them by their central staff, choosing instead to give the position to Republican councilmember Reagan Dunn's chief of staff. [Seattle Times]

And Snohomish County is re-branding itself as "Seattle NorthCountry" in a bid to attract more tourists. 
Upcoming events this week
Today,11 am - 6 pm: Fremont Fair

6/23 - 6/30: The 23rd International Festival of Improv

6/27, 8:00 pm: The Moth Seattle GrandSLAM

6/28 - 6/30: ACE Comic Con Seattle

6/29 - 6/30: Arts in Nature Festival

6/29, 12 pm - 10 pm: PrideFest Capitol Hill

6/30, 11:00 am: Seattle Pride Parade

6/30, 12 pm - 8 pm: PrideFest Seattle Center

Sol Villarreal
Broker, Windermere Real Estate
Sol's Civic Minute: What's happening in Seattle, in 60 seconds per week.
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Mailing address:
Windermere Real Estate Co.
1177 Fairview Ave N
Seattle, WA 98109
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