In brief: Following the end of the legislative session in Olympia, multiple outlets looked at some of the biggest new laws that passed this year; Mayor Durkan announced plans to allow electric-scooter-sharing companies to begin operating in Seattle; there was a shooting at 21st & Union and an officer-involved shooting in Lower Queen Anne; and the real estate reporter for the Seattle Times was placed on leave after sending a sexually explicit message to a female journalist on Twitter.
Sunday, May 5th - Saturday, May 11th, 2019
Image from The Seattle Times / Ken Lambert
Last Week in Seattle
SPD emphasis patrols:
  • The City Council held a hearing to ask questions about Mayor Durkan's recently announced "emphasis patrols" in seven neighborhoods across the city, which combine an increased police presence with additional attention from multiple City departments in an attempt to respond to "crime and the perception of crime" in those neighborhoods. 
  • Some councilmembers expressed concerns that the the increased patrols were coming about based on which constituents complained the loudest rather than an objective analysis of which parts of the city could most benefit from an increased focus of City resources. 
  • On a similar front, Durkan announced the creation of a new "Health One" team within the Fire Department to respond to non-emergency calls in and around downtown and connect people in crisis to a wider range of options than just transporting them to Harborview, which is often what happens now. The Health One team is also expected to reduce the number of firefighters who are needed for non-emergency calls; 911 operators will determine whether to send traditional firefighters or the Health One team during the dispatch process.  
  • Steve Miletich at The Seattle Times looked at all of the government agencies that are currently investigating Boeing over the crashes of two of its brand new 737 MAX planes.
  • The New York Times looked at Boeing's struggling efforts to reassure its airline clients and pilots' and flight attendants' unions that the 737 MAX is safe to fly.
  • KUOW reported on a former Boeing engineer who met with federal investigators last week to discuss several flaws in the automated Maneuvering Characteristics Automation System (MCAS) auto-pilot system that appears to have been responsible for both crashes.
  • And Seattle Times aerospace reporter Dominic Gates reported that Boeing knew a year before the first crash that an important warning light wasn't working on many of their planes; that senior management actively pushed back on recommended safety testing procedures by their own engineers in order to rush the MAX through the certification process; and that the company changed key elements of the cockpit layout from older 737 models in a way that made it impossible for the pilots in both crashes to disable the MCAS system and regain control of their planes. 
Homelessness and housing affordability:
  • The number of deaths of people experiencing homelessness that were investigated by the King County Medical Examiner's office more than doubled from 2014 to 2018, from 87 to 194 (that's not a complete count, though, since the Medical Examiner's office only investigates deaths that are "unexpected, sudden, violent, suspicious, and/or lack a known cause").
  • Scott Greenstone looked at the challenges inherent in providing trash service to the hundreds of unauthorized tent encampments around the city. 
  • And a survey of the UW student body across its Seattle, Bothell, and Tacoma campuses found that roughly 5,000 UW students had experienced homelessness of one kind or another at one point in the preceding year. 
Meanwhile, in Olympia:
  • There were a lot of wrap-up articles looking at newly passed laws from the legislative session that just ended, including increased financial aid grants for roughly 110,000 "low-to-median-income" students (and tuition-free college at a two- or four-year public schools for students from families with annual incomes of $50,000 or less); a package of climate-change-focused environmental policies, including a requirement that all utility companies in the state stop using fossil fuels by 2045; several orca-friendly bills; a prohibition on non-compete agreements for workers who make less than $100,000/year (an income limit requested by Amazon, most of whose workers' incomes are above that limit); the creation of alternative pathways to high school graduation besides standardized tests; the elimination of parents' rights to choose to withhold the measles/mumps/rubella vaccine from their children; an overhaul of the state's mental health system; and a new sales tax on vaping products
  • Attorney General Bob Ferguson announced a $700,000 settlement with Amazon over the presence of "toxic school supplies" that were being sold on the company's website. 
  • Jim Brunner and Joseph O'Sullivan from the Seattle Times talked to local Cambodian community leaders who are shocked and dismayed that Republican state Senator and Trump ally Doug Ericksen is being paid $500,000 by the anti-democratic government of Cambodia to give the appearance of respectability to an election that's been universally criticized by the global community as well as the U.S. State Department. 
  • And some of the advocates who helped pass I-940 and its police reform measures last year feel that their voices aren't being heard by the committee in charge of implementing the legislation. 
Real Estate Corner
Seattle Times real estate reporter Mike Rosenberg was suspended from his job after a female freelance journalist in New York posted screenshots of a Twitter direct message conversation she had with him in which he abruptly pivoted from giving her career advice to apparently trying to hit on her and then sending her a sexually explicit message. 

The Northwest MLS's monthly stats showed that the median home price for houses and townhomes in Seattle proper was $754,000 last month, essentially flat from $752,500 in March but 8.2% below April of 2018's $819,500.

Erica C. Barnett looked at the implications for renters of the state legislature's newly passed eviction protections, as well as some ways in which it's even better for renters than had been previously reported

The National Guard is planning to vacate a 25-acre parcel just north of the Magnolia bridge, opening up a range of possibilities for what could happen with the space next. 

Facebook is adding another 1,000 employees to its Seattle offices in South Lake Union. 

And Sarah Anne Lloyd at Curbed Seattle looked at what $2,000/month will rent you in Seattle right now. 
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
There was a shooting at the corner of 21st & Union that killed one person and wounded two others, as well as an officer-involved shooting in Lower Queen Anne in which a man was killed during a domestic violence call. [Seattle Times, KING 5]

Mayor Durkan announced plans to launch a free-floating electric-scooter-share pilot later this year. [GeekWire]

With the candidate filing deadline for this year's local election cycle coming up this Friday, May 17th, only one school board incumbent out of the four whose seats are in play has filed to run for re-election. [Seattle Times]

The number of reported hate crimes in Seattle increased by almost 400% between 2012 and 2018 according to a report from the City Auditor, from 106 to 521, although the report also cautioned that "[a] rise in reported hate crimes does not necessarily mean there are more of these crimes occurring." [Seattle Times]

After Rainier Beach High School was featured on an HBO TV show segment about systemic inequality in Seattle's public schools, students and teachers at the school held a demonstration calling for the restoration of two teaching positions that are scheduled to be cut next year. [KING 5]

ICE has already started using a municipal airport in Yakima for deportation flights after being barred from using King County's regional airport for them. [Seattle Times]

Seattle Times homelessness reporter Vernal Coleman left the Times to take a job with the Boston Globe, and education blogger Melissa Westbrook announced that starting in July she'll be shifting her focus to national policy conversations and away from Seattle Public Schools specifically. [Twitter, Seattle Schools Community Forum]

Public health officials warned of a measles risk to King County residents based on the travel patterns of an infectious individual who visited the area in late April. [Seattle Times]

Seattle detectives solved a 52-year-old murder cold case with the help of a public genealogy database, which "contain[s] information from people who have obtained their DNA profiles from companies like 23andMe and" [Seattle Times]

A Sound Transit committee voted not to demolish the brand new Dick's drive-in location in Kent to build a light rail train maintenance base. [Seattle Times]

King County is considering changes to how it regulates ride-sharing drivers following sexual assault allegations against several drivers. [Seattle Times]

Washington state's wildfire season is off to a very busy start...but that doesn't necessarily mean that we'll see a repeat of last year's smoke in Seattle. [MyNorthwest, Cliff Mass Weather and Climate Blog]

And according to a survey by a Denver-based market-research company, Seattleites between the ages of 21-38 are pretty dissatisfied with Seattle. [Seattle Times]
Upcoming candidate forums this week
5/15, 6:00 - 7:30 pm: Seattle District 3 Candidate Forum [MLK Labor Council]

5/15, 6:30 - 8:30 pm: Ballard Alliance District 6 Candidate Forum [Ballard Alliance, Visit Ballard]

5/18, 1:00 - 2:30 pm: District 3 City Council Forum [43rd District Dems]
Upcoming events this week
5/14, 8:00 - 9:45 pm: Salon of Shame #90 [sold out, but rush tickets available]

5/15, 6:00 - 8:00 pm: Affordable Housing 101: Why is it so dang hard? 

5/15, 6:30 - 8:15 pm: Renters' Rights 101: Know Your Rights, Assert Your Rights

5/16 - 6/9: Seattle International Film Festival

5/16, 6:00 - 7:30 pm: All About Accessory Dwelling Units

5/18 - 5/19: 50th Annual U District Street Fair 

5/17, 10:00 am - 8:00 pm: Syttende Mai Festival

5/18, 11:30 am - 5:00 pm: Seattle Pierogi Fest 2019

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