Sunday, January 30th - Saturday, February 5th, 2022
In brief: Mayor Harrell held a press conference to outline his administration's response to rising levels of crime across the city, Thursday was the cutoff for most bills in this year's state legislative session to be passed out of committee; and COVID case counts continued to drop across Western Washington, although hospitalizations are still rising statewide.
Editor's note: This week's newsletter has been triaged due to time constraints. 
Top Stories
The most recent complete COVID data from the state, from mid-January, showed a continued decline in case rates in Western Washington and a continued increase in case rates in Eastern Washington, with  statewide hospitalizations and deaths continuing to increase. [Seattle Times, KING 5]

Mayor Harrell held a press conference to outline his administration's response to rising levels of crime across the city, as shown in year-end 2021 data from SPD and King County both. [Seattle Times, MyNorthwest, KING 5]

Harrell also made several new department director announcements, including appointing former mayoral candidate and state representative Jessyn Farrell as the head of Seattle's Office of Sustainability & Environment. [MyNorthwest]

Thursday was the cutoff for most bills in this year's state legislative session (with the exception of budget bills) to be passed out of committee. Among the many bills that made it past the deadline were proposals to increase density in single-family neighborhoods, reign in the governor's executive powers during states of emergency, and create a new office to coordinate between the state and local governments for cleanups of tent encampments on and around state highways

A former King County prosecutor named Stephan Thomas joined the race to replace outgoing King County Prosecuting Attorney Dan Satterberg. [South Seattle Emerald, The Stranger]

Daniel Beekman and Lewis Kamb reported that former Mayor Durkan's office was quietly considering transferring the East Precinct to Black Lives Matter Seattle-King County in June of 2020, before SPD abandoned the precinct and precipitated the creation of the CHOP. [Seattle Times]

The state Department of Licensing shut down its online professional licensing system (which governs real estate licenses, among others) to determine whether or not the system and its licensees' personal information had been hacked as part of suspicious activity from the week of January 24th. [KING 5, Seattle Times]

A book-banning controversy is brewing in Kent, after the principal of Cedar Heights Middle School removed three LGBTQ-themed young adult books from the school library over the librarian's objections. [Seattle Times]

The lawyer behind the landmark McCleary case that eventually changed how the state funds public K-12 education filed another lawsuit alleging unfair school funding practices on behalf of the Wahkiakum School District, which is stuck with old schools with numerous safety issues because its voters consistently vote down the levies that it needs to be able to fund maintenance of existing schools and construction of new ones. [KING 5]

And according to new data from the state Office of Financial Management, from April of 2020 to April of 2021 the Washington cities with the fastest rates of growth were cities with populations of fewer than 30,000 people--but Seattle still added more new residents in that period than any other city in the state. [Seattle Times]
Ending on a high note
It's my great pleasure to introduce you to Duck, a tiny know, you should probably just go ahead and find out for yourself (it's super adorable, I promise).

Sol Villarreal
Broker, Windermere Real Estate
Sol's Civic Minute: What's happening in Seattle, in 60 seconds per week.
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