In brief: The August 6th primary is only a week away, so be sure to return your ballot if you haven't already! Also Boeing may need to temporarily shut down their Renton plant over continuing 737 MAX fallout, Mayor Durkan announced two small affordable housing initiatives, a new Amazon Go location is going to be opening where the McDonald's on Madison used to be, and more...
Sunday, July 21st - Saturday, July 27th, 2019
Last Week in Seattle
Election Watch 2019:
  • The Seattle Times published a quick overview of the various positions and initiatives that are on the ballot for the August 6th primary that includes links to their various election guides, including their new ones for the Port Commission candidates and the King County Council candidates.
  • Daniel Beekman at the Times looked at what the impact of eliminating past-due library fines (which the current Seattle library levy would do) has been in Snohomish County, which hasn't had them for decades. 
  • The Seattle Bike Blog published their bike-friendliness guide to the City Council candidates in districts 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7 (they'd previously done guides for districts 1 and 2).
  •  KUOW's Kate Walters looked at the positions of the various City Council candidates on how to address the city's homelessness crisis.
  • Joseph O'Sullivan at The Seattle Times looked at how the state's newly passed same-day voter registration law, which allows voters to register to vote or update their registrations up to and including on Election Day (as long as it's done in person at the King County Elections office), could impact turnout in this year's elections. 
  • Jake Goldstein-Street covered a recent King County Council debate between incumbent Larry Gossett and challenger Girmay Zahilay for the South Seattle Emerald.
  • Mayor Durkan sent a personal email to her "friends and supporters" in District 2's City Council race supporting the Chamber-endorsed candidate in the district and attacking two of the other candidates, falsely identifying one as a socialist and correctly identifying the other as a "rigid conservative." 
  • Nathalie Graham at The Stranger did a deep dive into Puget Sound Energy's extensive history of donating money to defeat pro-climate candidates and policies in local elections, including this year's City Council races.
  • Opponents of I-1000, which would overturn a 1998 ballot measure that outlawed affirmative action in Washington state, gathered enough signatures to put it for a vote on the November ballot (the state legislature passed it at the end of this year's session, so without the challenge it would have simply become law). 
  • The Urbanist published City Council candidates' responses to their endorsement questionnaire questions about evictions and displacement
  • And Eli Sanders at The Stranger continued his crusade to try to get Facebook and Google to follow our state's election laws, pointing out that Facebook is continuing to sell local political ads on its platform despite saying 8 months ago that they had banned them in an attempt to avoid having to comply with our digital ad disclosure requirements. 
Boeing woes:
  • A week after announcing a $4.9 billion write-down from its 737 MAX losses, Boeing announced a $3 billion loss in the second quarter of 2019.
  • The company also announced that it may need to temporarily shut down its Renton plant in the near future due to significantly decreased demand, and it also revealed that engine troubles with its newest plane, the 777X, may delay its delivery to airlines until next year. 
  • Families of the 346 victims of the two crashes, meanwhile, announced that they're suing Boeing and filing a claim against the FAA over its certification process of the 737 MAX; and Southwest Airlines began negotiating with the airplane manufacturer over reimbursement for Southwest's lost revenue from the 737 MAX production delays. 
  • For context, as a recent article in The American Prospect put it, "The cost of developing a clean-sheet replacement incorporating the latest technologies was estimated at $7 billion above that of going with a re-engined 737. That is about the same amount that, on average, Boeing has been spending on stock buybacks annually since 2013 [the company spent a total of $17.3 billion in dividend payments and $43.1 billion in stock buybacks to prop up its share price from Q1 2013 - Q1 2019]." 
The homelessness and housing affordability crisis:
  • Mayor Durkan announced legislation to extend the successful Multifamily Tax Exemption (MFTE) program, which incentivizes apartment developers to include affordable housing in market-rate new construction projects through multi-year property tax breaks; and to use newly passed state legislation to retain $50 million over the next 20 years (roughly $2.5 million/year) from the portion of sales tax the City would normally pass along to the state and use it to build affordable housing instead.
  • The City's "Find It, Fix It" app was overloaded with fake entries after an anonymous graphic designer put up posters around the city encouraging people to use the app to report homeless people living in tents so that they could be removed, prompting more empathetic graphic designers to create alternative versions (which then went viral) encouraging people to show compassion to people experiencing homelessness and to submit as many false reports as possible to the City's app (the most popular submission was reporting a large number of tents in the REI flagship store).
  • Erica C. Barnett reported that the City's Navigation Team is now dedicated almost entirely to clearing unauthorized tent encampments, with virtually no outreach or connections to services being offered anymore.
  • Kevin Schofield at Seattle City Council Insight looked at the emerging structure of a possible regional governance body for Seattle and King County's homelessness response.
  • And Real Change announced that they'll be launching a public campaign next month to fund five mobile public toilets across the city. 
Real Estate Corner
Starting next year, a new law from this year's legislative session will increase the income threshold for property tax exemptions for seniors, people with disabilities, and disabled veterans from a flat $40,000 statewide to 65% of the area median income for a given county (or $40,000/year, whichever is more). For King County right now, 65% of AMI is $58,423, so seniors, people with disabilities, and disabled veterans in King County who earn less than that per year can qualify for significantly lower property taxes starting in 2020. Find out more on the county's website on property tax exemptions here

A study from the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia found that when measuring gentrification by the increase in college graduates who live in a given census tract, Seattle was the third-most gentrified city in the country between 2010 and 2014. The study also looked at an anonymized data set from the Census Bureau tracking the same residents from the 2000 Census to the 2010 Census and the 2014 ACRS survey, and determined that gentrification (as they defined it) wasn't as strong an indicator of displacement as is commonly thought to be the case and that the benefits of gentrification may outweigh the downsides. Many housing advocates across the country weren't convinced by the study's methodology or its cost-benefit analysis.

The Seattle Globalist looked at the history of Liberty Bank in the Central District, which was the first black-owned bank west of the Mississippi River when it opened in 1968 and operated for 20 years until its building was bought by Key Bank and then eventually sold to Capitol Hill Housing and turned into a community-oriented affordable housing complex. 

The City Council passed an update to their "notice of intent to sell" ordinance, which effectively creates a first right of refusal for the sale of naturally occurring affordable housing (i.e., older apartment buildings, duplexes, triplexes, and quadplexes) throughout the city. 

After stabilizing last year, rents across the region have begun trending upwards again

And Curbed Seattle mapped "Seattle's most significant terra cotta buildings."
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
Amazon announced that their newest Amazon Go store will be occupying the ground-floor residential spot of the apartment tower that's being built where the McDonald's used to be at Madison & Minor. [Puget Sound Business Journal]

Stefan Milne wrote a longform piece on the the role of Amazon and Microsoft in automating the experience of buying groceries. [Seattle Met]

A handful of Puget Sound beaches that had been closed due to a sewage spill from Discovery Park were reopened after water samples came back clean on Monday. [Seattle Times]

Heidi Groover looked at a new intersection design that Seattle may pilot in an attempt to improve safety for cyclists. [Seattle Times]

98 collisions occurred on Seattle streets in the first half of 2019, a higher number for that period than in any year since 2010. [Seattle Times]

Sara Jean Green looked at the high turnover rate in King County Superior Court as an increasing number of judges reach retirement age and decide to leave the bench. [Seattle Times]

Conservative initiative promoter Tim Eyman settled the court case over his theft of an office chair from Office Depot earlier this year. [Seattle P-I]

When the East Link light rail line to Mercer Island, Bellevue, and Redmond opens in 2023, it'll include the nation's first light rail tracks to cross a floating bridge (on I-90). [KING 5]

David Gutman broke the news that the retiring director of King County's Department of Juvenile Detention received a confidential $420,000 settlement as part of her retirement package for reasons that neither party would go on the record talking about. [Seattle Times]

A number of stores will be leaving Northgate Mall effective on August 9th to accommodate the construction of a practice facility for Seattle's new NHL team. [KUOW]

The King County Council approved a plan to set aside some of the park and ride spots at various transit centers around the county for paid monthly permit holders. [Seattle Times]

A software issue with the state's legal marijuana tracking system has been causing retailers across the state to lose money due to unsold inventory. [Seattle Times]

In the face of a veto threat by Mayor Durkan, the City Council passed (by a veto-proof majority) a requirement to prevent excess funds raised from the City's sweetened beverage tax from being used to backfill general fund revenues. [Crosscut]

Dahlia Bazzazz looked at the challenging relationship between Seattle Public Schools and a Native American after-school program based at Robert Eagle Staff Middle School. [Seattle Times]

Liz Brazile looked at the potential inaccuracy of graduation-rate data from several of the largest school districts in the state. [Crosscut]

And Hannah Weinberger looked at the potential impacts of global warming on Seattle and the Pacific Northwest by the end of this century. [Crosscut]
Upcoming events this week
7/29 - 8/3: Seafair Fleet Week

8/1 - 8/4: Seattle Art Fair

8/2 - 8/4: Umoja Fest 2019

8/2 - 8/4: Seafair Weekend

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