In brief: City Councilmember Sally Bagshaw announced that she won't seek re-election next year; two new City Council hopefuls announced their candidacies; state Speaker of the House Frank Chopp announced that he'll step down as Speaker after the 2019 legislative session; and the City settled a lawsuit against former mayor Ed Murray brought by his former foster son.
While the Civic Minute was on vacation from the 18th to the 24th, the City Council passed a final budget for 2019-2020; a hearing examiner ruled in favor of the City Council's plans to upzone multiple neighborhoods as part of the City's Mandatory Housing Affordability program; and activist and journalist Shaun Scott announced his candidacy for City Council District 4, a district seat that current incumbent Rob Johnson had earlier announced his intention to vacate at the end of next year (and in which Alex Pedersen, a former aide to Councilmember Tim Burgess, had previously announced his candidacy).
Sunday, November 25th - Saturday, December 1st, 2018
Image from The Seattle Times / Greg Gilbert
Last Week in Seattle
Election Watch 2019:
  • City Councilmember Sally Bagshaw, who was first elected in 2009, announced that she won't seek re-election next year.  
  • A day later, City Attorney's office lawyer Andrew Lewis announced his candidacy for Bagshaw's District 7 seat, joining Navy veteran Naveed Jamali and Magnolia neighborhood activist Elizabeth Campbell.
  • Beto Yarce, a small business owner who sits on Mayor Durkan's Small Business Advisory Council, announced that he'll be challenging incumbent Councilmember Kshama Sawant in District 3. 
  • High-profile attorney Lincoln Beauregard, who brought the sexual assault lawsuit against former mayor Ed Murray that ultimately drove him out of office, announced a recall effort against City Council President Bruce Harrell over his handling of the City Council's response to the allegations against Murray last May. 
  • Beauregard also said that if no "satisfactory candidate" steps up in District 7 that he'll consider running himself in that race. 
  • And The Stranger's Rich Smith speculated that short-lived District 6 candidate Chris Rufo, who announced earlier this fall that he was taking on incumbent Mike O'Brien but then abruptly ended his campaign two weeks ago after being harassed online, appears to be considering getting back into the race.
Meanwhile, in Olympia:
  • State Speaker of the House Frank Chopp announced that he plans to step down as Speaker at the end of the 2019 legislative session, but that he still plans to run for re-election in 2020.
  • Republicans in the state House removed Representative Matt Shea from a leadership role after widespread media coverage of a pamphlet he wrote about how to wage a Biblical war. 
  • After election results across the state were certified on Tuesday, three races in the state legislature remained too close to call, with margins of 99 votes, 45 votes, and 80 votes, respectively. The outcomes of the race won't change control of the state House or Senate either way; if the current results hold, as is expected to be the case, Democrats will pick up a seat in the Senate and Republicans will gain a seat in both the Senate and the House.
  • Conservative initiative maven Tim Eyman filed for bankruptcy following  a lawsuit from state Attorney General Bob Ferguson over alleged campaign finance violations by Eyman.
  • The state Public Disclosure Commission ruled that the burden of disclosing the existence of a political ad falls on Facebook and Google, rather than on the campaigns that buy them. 
  • And Democrats in the state legislature plan to introduce a non-compete agreement reform bill in next year's legislative session.
Real Estate Corner
Case-Shiller's data showed that the median home price in the three-county region increased 8.4% from September of 2017 to September of this year, but declined 1.3% from August to September of this year. 

The Federal Housing Finance Agency announced new conforming loan limits for 2019, with a new limit of $726,525 (p. 111, top line) for King, Pierce, and Snohomish counties. That means that mortgages for which the borrower is taking a loan--after down payment--of more than $726,525 will be jumbo loans instead of conforming loans starting on January 1st. 

A San Francisco developer is planning a new condo tower at 2nd & Virginia. 

9.7% of millennials in Seattle live with their parents, vs. 32.5% nationally.

And Curbed Seattle's Sarah Anne Lloyd looked at what $900/month will rent you right now across 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
Melissa Hellmann wrote about local transgender activist Danni Askini's attempt to seek asylum in Sweden in order to avoid the Trump administration's transgender policies as they relate to passports and immigration. [Seattle Weekly]

A Russian asylum-seeker who was being held at the federal Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma was taken off life support two weeks after he attempted suicide. [Seattle Times]

A federal report predicted that the Pacific Northwest will continue to be seriously affected by climate change in the coming years and decades. [Seattle Times]

Several outlets wrote retrospectives on Mayor Durkan's first full year in office. [Seattle Times, Crosscut, KING 5]

The rental housing assistance pilot program that Durkan created by executive order when she first took office has kept over 200 people from becoming homeless in its first 6 months. [KUOW]

The Seattle Department of Transportation announced a new implementation plan for the money from its 2015 Move Seattle levy. [Seattle Times]

The City announced that Uber and Lyft will both be rolling out their own bikesharing platforms in Seattle soon, and ramping them up in 2019. [Capitol Hill Seattle]

A group of City elected officials including Mayor Durkan and City Attorney Pete Holmes moved forward with plans to vacate over 200 outstanding low-level arrest warrants. [SCC Insight]

Someone spray-painted anti-Semitic graffiti on a West Seattle woman's house. [KING 5]

Following a turbulent period for tech stocks on Wall Street, Microsoft narrowly edged out Apple to become the most valuable publicly traded company in the world. [Seattle Times]

The City agreed to pay $75,000 in a sexual abuse lawsuit against former mayor Ed Murray by his former foster son. [KING 5]

Veteran KING 5 journalist Elisa Hahn announced her retirement, two weeks after her colleague Natalie Brand left the station to move to DC. [Twitter, Twitter]

Anna Boiko-Weyrauch looked at efforts to get Seattleites to better sort and clean our recyclables, following stricter rules from China about the quality of the recycled goods that they're willing to accept. [KUOW]

And voter turnout for the midterm election was 74.8%, higher than it has been for a midterm election in over 20 years; and statewide turnout was 71.83%, just barely below a record 71.85% that was set in 1970. [KING 5, Seattle Times]
Upcoming events this week
12/6, 5:30 pm: Human Rights Day: A Focus on Intersectionality [Seattle Human Rights Commission]

12/6, 7:30 pm: A Generation Priced Out of the New Urban America [Town Hall Seattle]

12/7, 6:30 - 8:30 pm: The 32nd Annual Great Figgy Pudding Caroling Competition

12/7, 8:00 pm: Winter Solstice Night Market

12/8, 2:00 pm: Holiday Pops [Seattle Symphony]

12/8, 4:30 - 7:30 pm: Annual Green Lake Pathway of Lights

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