In brief: It's time to fill out your ballot and send it in if you haven't already (and no, you don't need a stamp anymore); the City Council is in the middle of their budget deliberations;  progressive groups called for state Senator Joe Fain to resign after a woman said that he raped her in 2007; and the state supreme court allowed charter schools to continue to operate.
Sunday, October 21st - Saturday, October 27th, 2018
Image from The Seattle Times / Steve Ringman
Last Week in Seattle
The City budget:
  • The City Council is currently in the process of considering changes to the proposed budget that Mayor Durkan transmitted to them last month before passing a final budget (historically with minimal changes from the mayor's proposed budget) on November 19th. 
  • A coalition of transit and biking advocates, organizing under the name Move All Seattle Sustainably (MASS), called on the City Council to increase support for transit and bike lanes.
  • Councilmember Kshama Sawant, meanwhile, called out the lack of significant new funding for affordable housing and homelessness in the current draft of the budget--the head tax that the City Council passed and then hurriedly repealed in the face of a backlash from the business community earlier this year would have generated $47 million in additional revenue, but Mayor Durkan's proposed budget only contains a $3 million increase. 
  • Because Mayor Durkan has said that she doesn't plan to introduce any new taxes, Sawant proposed making $48 million in cuts to the existing budget and using the savings to build affordable housing instead.
  • The head tax began its brief life last year as a similar proposal; it was voted down by the council (as this proposal is likely to be) but referred to a working group that spent months engaging various stakeholders and finally arrived at the version of the head tax that...well, you know. 
  • Several progressive groups and individuals held a press conference calling for state Senator Joe Fain's resignation 3 1/2 weeks after a local woman, Candace Faber [who, full disclosure, is a good friend of mine] named him on Twitter as the man who raped her in 2007. 
  • Faber, meanwhile, called on Governor Inslee and state lawmakers to launch an investigation of the matter. Fain has avoided answering any questions on the subject by calling for an investigation repeatedly, but no one in the state government has taken any action to start one, instead suggesting that Faber should file a police report in Washington, D.C. 
  • Washington News Wire looked at the similarities and differences between Fain's situation and that of Republican Representative Matt Manweller, who was finally pressured to resign after numerous women came forward with stories of inappropriate sexual relationships with him while they were underage.
  • Danny Westneat at The Seattle Times looked at the phenomenon of many voters in Fain's re-election race doubling down on their support for him in the wake of the news, something that's reflected in his strong fundraising numbers this month. 
  • A former student at Issaquah High School sued the school for allegedly protecting football players who she says sexually assaulted her in 2014. 
  • And Asia Fields at The Seattle Times interviewed the anonymous UW student who created a controversial online list called Make Them Scared that anyone can use to call out a sexual assaulter publicly. 
Election Watch:
  • Based on the number of ballots that have already been sent in, voter turnout is way up vs. the equivalent period in the 2014 midterms (we're at 13.4% turnout now, vs 8% this time in 2014).
  • Although the online voter registration deadline has already passed, if you've never been registered to vote in Washington state before, tomorrow (Monday, October 29th) is the deadline to register to vote in person--in King County you can do that either downtown or at the King County Election headquarters in Renton.
  • If you're still figuring out how to vote, I recommend checking out the Progressive Voters Guide and the Stranger's endorsements...and if you're interested in how I voted, I wrote a quick Medium post on the subject here
  • There's been a flood of last-minute campaign contributions to races across the state; KING 5 looked at the biggest donors to the major statewide initiatives...and if there's a particular candidate or initiative that you support, now's a great time to give them some extra money yourself. 
  • On the initiative front, opponents of I-1631's carbon fee have now raised a record $25.8 million (mostly from the oil industry), narrowly surpassing the previous record of $24.3 million spent by industry groups in 2013 to defeat that year's GMO food labeling requirement; and on a related note, state Senator Reuven Carlyle announced that he plans to introduce legislation next year that would require any companies that give over $50,000 to a ballot initiative to have their names and logos listed on all of that campaign's advertisements. 
  • With three Republican-held Congressional seats in play this year across the state, the races in the 8th and 5th are both extremely tight, and the 3rd is much more competitive than it has been in a long time.
  • And on the state legislative side, Democrat/Republican-in-all-but-name/Democrat again state Senator Rodney Tom's comeback effort following his resignation from the legislature in 2014 appears to have run out of steam
Real Estate Corner
A religious couple who own a small apartment building in Greenwood are honoring the Biblical concept of the 50-year debt jubilee and giving all of their tenants free rent next month, no strings attached. 

Downtown property owners representing 48% of the total funds that the City has proposed raising from a planned Local Improvement District (LID) to pay for a new waterfront park have already filed protest letters against the LID, not far short of the 60% who need to object to it in order to stop it from moving forward. 

The Puget Sound Business Journal looked at the wealthiest zip codes in the Puget Sound area. 

Crosscut produced a 90-second video by Josh Cohen on Paul Allen's impact on the Seattle real estate scene

Cohen also looked at the City's decision to sell a large parcel of land in South Lake Union called the Mercer Mega Block to the highest bidder, in relation to the ongoing debate over how to use City-owned land to build and/or finance affordable housing. 

Speaking of selling to the highest bidder, Seattle-based Unico Properties has reached a deal to sell the historic Smith Tower to Goldman Sachs

And Sarah Anne Lloyd from Curbed Seattle looked at what $1600/month will rent right now across the city.
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
The UW researchers whose report last year seemed to find that the $15/hour minimum wage had had a small negative impact on low-wage workers released an updated report showing that it appears to have benefited long-term minimum wage workers while possibly reducing the number of jobs available for young entry-level workers. [New York Times]

Insurance premiums on the state-run Obamacare exchange are set to increase by 13% next year. [MyNorthwest]

Washington apparently has stronger anti-corruption laws for public officials than any other state in the country. [Seattle Times]

Seattle Magazine announced their list of Seattle's Most Influential People of 2018. [Seattle Magazine]

According to a new report, last year the average woman in Washington made 78 cents for every dollar that a man made, putting our state 35th in terms of gender pay equity nationwide (California and Washington DC were tied for 1st place at 89 cents, and Louisiana was in 50th place at 69 cents). [Seattle Times]

Last year's soda tax in Seattle is generating more revenue than anticipated (an estimated $21 million this year, vs. an initial estimate of $14 million), and the City Council and the Mayor's Office are debating how to use the additional money. [KUOW]

The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) created a 5-truck rapid-response team to quickly clear road-blocking accidents, modeled after a similar system used by the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT). [Seattle Times]

Councilmember Lorena González, responding to pressure from the Community Police Commission, called for a full review of the SPD contract negotiated by Mayor Durkan. [KING 5]

Seattle has one of the highest rates of property crime of any major city in America, and nearly half of the property crimes in the city involve vehicles in some way (car prowls, auto thefts, etc). [Seattle Times]

The City is holding public meetings to discuss and get public feedback on 29 different types of surveillance technology that it currently employs in various contexts. [MyNorthwest]

The ACLU is calling on the City Council to reject a request by SPD to purchase a technology that would allow them to forcibly unlock a suspect's iPhone (Apple, meanwhile, is working on eliminating the vulnerability that allows the technology to work in the first place). [KUOW]

In a major victory for charter school supporters, the state Supreme Court ruled that charter schools can be funded with proceeds from the state lottery. [Seattle Times]

Sound Transit will spend several years replacing the often-out-of-service escalators at the UW light rail station with stairs and new, better escalators. [KUOW]

Dominic Gates looked at the noise impacts on some neighborhoods of increased levels of both inbound and outbound air traffic at SeaTac in recent years (side note: for a great map of airplane arrivals from the story as a standalone graphic, click here). [Seattle Times, Seattle Times]

Paul Allen's sister has been named as the executor and trustee of her late brother's estate. [KING 5]

And the Belltown Community Center is set to close at the end of the year, due to a combination of low usage and the high rent the City has to pay for the space. [Seattle Times]
Events this week
10/29, 7:30 pm: The New Wave of Candidates at Democracy's Door

10/30, 6:30 & 9:30: Scared SIFF Double Feature (The Shining & The Conjuring)

10/31: Kid-friendly trick-or-treat spots

10/31, 7:00 pm: 48 Hour Film Horror Project screening

11/1, 5:30 - 8:00 pm: The Future of Worker Power

11/3, 11 am - 6 pm: Short Run Comix & Arts Festival

11/3, 3 - 5 pm: Learning Club: This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. Climate

11/4, 6:00 pm: Fly to the Assemblies! Voices from the South Seattle Emerald

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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