Today So Far: New home for Seattle's iconic Pink Elephant sign
Today So Far is KUOW's daily blog with updates and news briefs by the station's journalists.
MONDAY, NOVEMBER 30
Washington auditor rebukes ESD over fraud investigations
7 a.m. -- Washington state's auditor is rebuking the Employment Security Department, saying it's hindered investigations into fake unemployment claims that were filed early on in the pandemic.
The Seattle Times reports that state Auditor Pat McCarthy is conducting five audits of the ESD, three of which are routine.
But in a memo, she claimed the department has been slow responding to requests for information and has put conditions on how and when the ESD staff can be questioned about what went wrong. McCarthy also states that if things don't change, she will report "that management interference prevented us from fully completing the audits."
Over the spring, Washington became one of the first states targeted by cybercriminals who filed false claims in order to receive pandemic assistance funds.
About $356 million of the $576 million of the funds stolen by thieves has been recovered. McCarthy says ESD has made some improvements since her warning letter, but adds continued problems could delay the completion of at least one ongoing audit.
-- Angela King
WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 25
No Apple Cup, but Huskies will still play a game
10 a.m. -- It looks like the Huskies will take to the football field after all this week, despite the Apple Cup being canceled.
The annual matchup was called off because too many Washington State University players either had or were exposed to Covid-19.
So now, instead of the Cougs, the Dawgs will face the Utah Utes in a nationally televised game this Saturday at Husky stadium.
Utah's previously scheduled game against Arizona State was canceled.
There's still a chance the Apple Cup could be rescheduled for sometime next month.
-- Angela King
All-time high for voter turnout in King County
9:30 a.m. -- It's official. Voter turnout in King County reached an all-time high during this month's election.
Counties around Washington certified their counts Tuesday, and the figures show nearly 87% of registered voters in King County cast a ballot.
That beats the old record of 85% set back in 2012. And statewide, about 84-85% of people voted which puts us right up against the old record of 84.6% set in 2008.
Secretary of State Kim Wyman has until December 3 to certify the results.
-- Angela King
Seattle's iconic pink elephant is moved
9 a.m. -- You may notice a Seattle landmark is gone from its historic spot.
The pink elephant sign at the Pink Elephant Car Wash on the corner of Denny and Battery was pulled from its perch Tuesday. It stood there for more than 60 years.
To see it in all its neon glory, people will now have to visit it at its new home — the Museum of History and Industry in Seattle.
The second, smaller pink elephant sign is being donated to Amazon.
-- Angela King
Sounders win against LAFC
8:30 a.m. -- Defending MLS champs Seattle Sounders are off to a good start in their bid to hold on to the MLS Cup.
The Sounders beat LAFC 3-1 Tuesday night in the first round of the playoffs.
They'll take on FC Dallas next Tuesday night at 6:30 p.m. at Lumen Field.
-- Angela King
Hunger strike reported at Tacoma detention center
8 a.m. -- Immigration advocates say another hunger strike has started at the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma.
La Resistencia says eight people are refusing to eat to protest how Covid-19 cases are being handled at the facility.
But Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, claims there is no hunger strike going on.
-- Angela King
Seattle Marathon continues ... virtually
7 a.m. -- Hundreds of people will lace up this week for the Seattle Marathon and Half Marathon. But they'll run the 13 or 26 miles alone this year in a virtual event.
It's a Thanksgiving week tradition that requires some special preparation this year. Marathoners will not be together, rather, they will run/walk their own socially-distanced routes alone.
According to marathon medical director and UW Medicine professor Dr. Mark Harrast, runners should be prepared.
"Because you don't have someone to pick up the pieces if you get injured or have some kind of ailment," Harrast said.
Harrast advises runners: don't push yourself to the point of injury, have adequate supplies, and consider running in a loop.
"Just from a nutrition and aid station standpoint, having a loop course, a multiple loop course, where you're running past the same place either your car, or your house, or maybe someplace where you could stash some water underneath a tree could be helpful," Harrast said.
The Seattle Marathon is happening between now and December 15.
-- Paige Browning
TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 24
61% drop in holiday traffic at Sea-Tac Airport
11:45 a.m. -- The number of passengers flying through Sea-Tac Airport this Thanksgiving week is expected to be 61% less than last year.
Still, roughly 24,000 passengers are expected to depart from Sea-Tac each day, over the next three days.
That's more than have been flying in the early months of November, but significantly below the normal holiday rush of travelers.
Port of Seattle officials say masks and physical distancing are mandated.
More than 50 businesses remain open at the airport, including bookstores, restaurants, and pubs, many with limited hours.
-- Paige Browning
Seattle business community will see new leadership in 2021
11:30 a.m. -- The Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce has named Rachel Smith as its next president and CEO.
Smith is currently the Deputy Executive of King County.
She'll start at the chamber in January 2021, replacing current CEO Marilyn Strickland who was just elected to Congress in the 10th Congressional District.
-- Paige Browning
Washington leaders comment on GSA decision to allow presidential transition process
11 a.m. -- Some Washington state leaders are speaking out about the General Services Administrations decision to let the presidential transition process move forward.
Senator Patty Murray tweeted Monday she urged the GSA to stop putting politics ahead of public health and safety, adding the delay was undermining the federal response to Covid-19, which has already claimed over 250,000 lives.
And State Attorney General Bob Ferguson also tweeted that "Had Emily Murphy and the GSA not signed the ascertainment papers [Monday], we were prepared to file a lawsuit."
Ferguson said his team spent the past week working on the complaint adding he was thankful they didn't need to file it.
-- Angela King
Washington's Ken Jennings to host Jeopardy
10:30 a.m. -- Ken Jennings will be the first person to host Jeopardy following the death of Alex Trebec. The Edmonds native will be the first of several interim hosts.
Jennings won Jeopardy 74 times -- the longest winning streak on the show -- and scored the highest regular-season winnings with more than $2.5 million.
He will take over the temporary helm when production resumes on November 30.
Trebek recorded a number of shows before he died of pancreatic cancer earlier this month. Trebek's final episodes are scheduled to air the week of Jan. 4 and Jennings’ episodes will start airing Jan. 11.
-- Angela King
Washington hospitality industry asks lawmakers for more help
10 a.m. -- The Washington Hospitality Association says the latest Covid-related restrictions will cost restaurants and the industry about $800 million in labor and hard losses.
The group's CEO, Anthony Anton, says About 35% of the state’s hospitality businesses have closed permanently since the pandemic began.
The Washington Hospitality Association is asking state lawmakers to come up with a plan to support the industry before they convene for the next legislative session in January.
Washington Governor Jay Inslee also recently announced $135 million in aid to businesses during this time. But industry officials like Anton say they are grateful for the new assistance, but warn that it won't be enough.
Rep. Gina Mosbrucker, a business owner and hotel operator, says one idea is to suspend business and operating taxes.
"Lessening these taxes that are hitting us repeatedly, or any sort of a program that would help us with the cost of operating of our companies even when there’s no customer base," Mosbrucker said.
Some lawmakers have started talking about what's going on. But they say Congress and the White House need to step up as well.
-- Ruby de Luna, Angela King
Bill Gates knocked down to third richest in the world (Bezos is still first)
9:30 a.m. -- Bill Gates getting bumped once again from his spot on the list of the world's richest people. For the second time in the eight year history of Bloomberg's Billionaire Index, Bill Gates is not in the top two.
Bill Gates is now the third richest person in the world with a net worth of $127.7 billion.
Elon Musk recently knocked him from his second place position on the latest Billionaire Index. Musks' net worth is $128 billion.
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos beats them both with a reported net worth of about $182 billion.
This year, those on the Bloomberg index have collectively added 23%, or $1.3 trillion, to their net worth as millions of workers face financial hardship after being laid off by their employers due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
-- Angela King
Seattle Council passes 2021 budget
9 a.m. -- The Seattle City Council has approved a 2021 budget that Councilmember Teresea Mosqueda says will continue to help people suffering from the Covid crisis. Mosqueda says she's especially proud the budget restores the city’s emergency reserves which had almost been drained.
"There’s now $40 million, and that’s how we’re going to make sure that our most vulnerable have the services they need in 2021 and that our small businesses and workers have the ability to sustain this crisis," Mosqueda said.
Mayor Jenny Durkan praised the budget saying it makes the largest single-year investment in homeless services in Seattle’s history, as well as directing $100 million to communities of color.
The group King County Equity Now also called the budget “a major win” for its support of community alternatives to policing. The 2021 budget calls for a 20% cut to the Seattle Police Department.
But not everyone is on board with the plan. The Seattle Police Officers Guild called the city council "naïve." And the Downtown Seattle Association worries reductions at the Police Department will jeopardize neighborhood safety, especially during the pandemic.
-- Amy Radil
Seattle Council passes new car tab fee
8 a.m. -- One month after the state supreme court shot down I-976, the Seattle City Council has approved a new $20 car tab fee (vehicle license fee) as part of its 2021 budget.
It's set to go into effect in July 2021, if the mayor signs off on it.
The Seattle Times reports that the fee is expected to raise $3.6 million next year and $7.2 million annually in years to come. However, car owners will see their Seattle license fees drop from $80 to $40 once the new fee takes effect and old ones expire.
Some council members have proposed that the money raised from the tab fee go toward things like bridge maintenance.
-- Angela King
Alaska Airlines first to add 737 MAX planes back into its fleet
7:30 a.m. -- Alaska Airlines has become the first carrier to add 737 MAX jets to its fleet since the plane was allowed to return to service.
The Seattle-based company said Monday that in addition to the 32 planes it has ordered from Boeing, it will lease 13 MAX jets from Los Angeles-based Air Lease Corp (ALC).
Alaska says it plans to get the planes back up in the air by March.
-- Angela King
Effort to nix criminal records from housing considerations
7 a.m. -- One of the biggest challenges for people getting out of prison is finding a place to live. So what if state law prohibited landlords from asking about someone’s criminal record?
It’s an idea that advocates like Christopher Poulos are pushing. He heads the Statewide Reentry Council and says housing increases stability and decreases recidivism.
"We have a very simple message around this: we believe it should be public safety officials -- probation officers, judges, prosecutors, etc, rather than landlords who are making the kind of decisions on where it is safe to house someone, where is it not safe to house someone," Poulos said.
Poulos spoke with Olympia Correspondent Austin Jenkins on TVW’s “Inside Olympia” program.
Earlier this year, Poulos and others tried to get the state Legislature to pass the Housing Justice Act. It would generally prohibit landlords from considering a prospective renter’s arrest or conviction record. But the idea faced opposition.
Advocates say they plan to try again in the 2021 session.
-- Derek Wang
MONDAY, NOVEMBER 23
Latest Seattle City Council budget cuts SPD funding by nearly 20 percent
5 p.m. - In an 8-1 vote Monday, the Seattle City Council passed a 2021 budget that shrinks Seattle Police Department spending by about 20% and more than 100 officer positions. That includes some functions that are being transferred to other city departments. In a teach-in following passage of the budget, members of King County Equity Now called the $30 million dollars for participatory budgeting and scaling up community safety alternatives “a major win.”
Angélica Cházaro with Decriminalize Seattle said, “This was the year and this was the moment where we actually saw that tipping point: to actually seeing those in power listen and act in a way that actually forced the budget to shrink.”
Budget Committee Chair Teresa Mosqueda said the budget will continue to assist people suffering from the Covid crisis. She said she is especially proud that the budget restores the city’s emergency reserves, which had been almost drained. “There’s now $40m, and that’s how we’re going to make sure that our most vulnerable have the services they need in 2021 and that our small businesses and workers have the ability to sustain this crisis," she said.
In a statement, Mayor Jenny Durkan praised the final budget. She said it makes the largest single-year investment in homeless services in Seattle’s history, as well as directing $100 million dollars to communities of color. Only Councilmember Kshama Sawant voted against it, saying it didn’t go far enough to help working people.
LGBTQ civil rights leader Roger Winters passes away
11 a.m. -- Roger Winters, a civil rights pioneer for the LGBTQ community, passed away last week at his home in Shoreline, according to Seattle Gay News.
Winters was 75-years-old.
Winters was the first to give a keynote speech at the Seattle Pride Festival and later joined the board of the Pride Foundation. He also worked tirelessly in Olympia on issues such as gay marriage and anti-discrimination protections.
In lieu of flowers, the family has asked that donations be made in his honor to the Pride Foundation.
-- Kim Shepard
The NW needs four new cities, study says
10:30 a.m. -- Imagine new high rises towering over small communities like Burlington and Centralia. That may sound far-fetched, but it might be necessary, if Washington is going to accommodate all the people moving to the region over decades to come.
That's according to a new report by the Cascadia Innovation Corridor. The group is led by former Washington State Governor Christine Gregoire and leaders from cities like Vancouver B.C. and Portland, Ore.
The study argues that the Cascadia region needs to grow more dense, but it’s not happening quickly enough. As a result, it states that housing will get more expensive, urban sprawl will increase, and emissions will rise.
Instead, the study concludes that the Northwest needs four new cities that can accommodate 300,000 to 400,000 people, along with about 200,000 jobs each. They should be built densely around fast mass transit.
To fit that growth, cities like Seattle would require bulldozing 40% of the city’s single family homes. The report called that politically impossible.
-- Joshua McNichols
The Cosmic Crisp apple is back!
10 a.m. -- After selling out last year, Washington's all-original, home-grown apple is back in grocery stores.
QFC announced that the Cosmic Crisp apple will first his shelves at its University Village store on Monday, Nov. 23 (and likely other stores' shelves as well). About 2 million boxes are expected to be shipped this season.
The Cosmic Crisp apple debuted last year and is the product of more than 20 years of development in Washington state. The apple variety is bred to last longer on shelves, and therefore remain good-to-eat for a longer period of time.
The Cosmic Crisp apple sold out across the region last year. This year's harvest is reportedly much larger.
-- Dyer Oxley
Navy seeks more practice areas in Washington waters
9:30 a.m. -- You’ve seen the movies: Navy SEALs slowly emerge from the water and walk up a beach. In real life, the Navy is hoping to conduct special operations training exercises at 28 Washington State Parks.
But many park users say it ups the “creepiness” factor.
The Navy wants to up its training areas from five Washington State parks to 28. It has been conducting training exercises at state parks for at least 30 years. It's currently requesting permits from the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission to expand into other areas.
Navy officials say the Puget Sound coastline, cold waters and currents challenge SEAL trainees, calling the region a “critical cornerstone for (the Navy’s) overall development of our SEAL operators.”
At state parks, the trainees won’t have real weapons or ammunition during their exercises. But they would have simulated weapons. They would also be hidden on land for up to 48 hours, while they observe a mock scenario put on by military personnel. Navy members in civilian clothes would act as a “safety bubble” for the trainees.
-- Courtney Flatt, Northwest News Network
Seattle Council ready to vote on 2021 budget with 17% cut to SPD
9 a.m. -- After two months of debating, the Seattle City Council is set to vote on its 2021 budget Monday.
The budget proposal calls for a cut of about a 17% to the Seattle Police Department. This includes laying off 35 police officers and/or those who don't have clean records with the city.
It also calls for transferring 911 dispatch services, parking enforcement duties, and mental-health workers to outside of SPD.
Funding for homeless services, public safety programs, and Covid-19 response are also part of the budget proposal.
-- Angela King
No Apple Cup this week
7 a.m. -- The Apple Cup between the University of Washington and Washington State was supposed to happen this Friday, November 27. But it's been called off for now.
If you were unaware the Apple Cup was even happening this year, you’re probably not alone. After all, the Pac-12 football season was canceled. Then it was back, three weeks ago, with a shortened six-game season with safety protocols. It required canceling games if a team couldn’t field a minimum number of scholarship players.
On Friday, WSU was on a plane, ready to take off to play Stanford. But with too many Cougar players testing positive for Covid-19, it was declared a no contest.
The Huskies had their first game of this shortened season canceled for the same reason with California players.
The cross-state Apple Cup began 120 years ago. It’s been played every year since 1945. But it’s not exactly equal -- the Huskies have won 74 times to the Cougars’ 32.
It is possible the game could be rescheduled for later next month.
-- Scott Leadingham, Northwest News Network
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 19
Seattle City Council rejects calls for 'No New Cops' in SPD budget
2 p.m. - The Seattle City Council has voted down an effort by activists and some council members to maintain a hiring freeze for the Seattle Police Department next year. The Seattle City Council’s proposed budget allows SPD to hire 114 officers in 2021, 25 more than are expected to leave or retire.
Councilmember Tammy Morales supported an amendment to redirect $9m in salaries and recruiting funds away from SPD. “I think it’s important that we reject the notion that there is this ‘thin blue line’ of police between order and chaos in this city. As we witnessed this summer, much of the chaos we saw was caused by a department that was not willing to de-escalate," she said. "I understand that is changing somewhat, after repeated requests for that to happen.”
But the council voted 7 to 2 to maintain funding for the new hires. Councilmember Lisa Herbold said last summer the council cut positions in specialty units that they deemed unnecessary, like mounted patrol, but SPD's shift of dozens more officers to patrol now threatens investigations into human trafficking and other crimes. Herbold said, “I am concerned that a hiring freeze will result in a reduction from specialty units that are actually serving an important purpose at this time.”
She said she’s open to revisiting SPD staffing once more community alternatives expand next year. The council is putting tens of millions of dollars towards those efforts.
Rescue mission called off for missing officer in Puget Sound
11 a.m. -- The Tulalip Tribe tells the Everett Herald that an officer who was thrown from his fisheries boat Tuesday night by a rogue wave is now presumed dead.
The Coast Guard and other crews spent hours looking for 29-year-old Charlie Cortez, but have now turned their efforts into a search and recovery operation.
The tribe tells the paper that this is the first time its police department has lost an officer in the line of duty. Cortez was trying to help another boat near Jetty Island, along with another officer, Shawn Eng.
Both fell into the water when a rogue wave tipped their boat over. A private boat was able to rescue Officer Eng.
-- Angela King
Northshore's Michelle Reid named Washington Superintendent of the Year
9 a.m. -- Northshore School District's Michelle Reid has been named Washington State Superintendent of the Year.
The Seattle Times says Dr. Reid was among the first in the country to start shutting down schools because of Covid-19. She's now in the running for the 2021 American Association of School Administrators’ National Superintendent of the Year Award, which is a national title.
-- Angela King
Ski resorts opening with limits
8:30 a.m. -- Mountain snow has arrived and that has prompted ski resorts to open -- with limits.
Crystal Mountain became the first local resort to open for the new season on Wednesday. Next Friday, it'll be Mission Ridge's turn in Wenatchee
Stevens Pass set to open on December 4.
Still no word though on when the Mount Baker ski area and Summit at Snoqualmie will open.
Many ski resorts are requiring reservations and masks among other safety measures. Check the resort's website for details.
-- Angela King
Recent rains causes stormwater, sewage to overflow into Seattle-area waters
8 a.m. -- All the recent heavy rain has put Seattle's stormwater and sewage overflows to the test. And they're working as designed -- spilling off into Puget Sound and local lakes.
In the Seattle area, both sewage and stormwater from the street flows into the same pipes, which lead to wastewater treatment facilities. But when there is a rush of rain, there is often more flow than the pipes can handle, so they overflow into the nearest body of water -- such as Puget Sound, Lake Washington, or Lake Union.
At least seven combined sewer overflows have dumped this week into Elliot Bay, the Montlake Cut, and the Duwamish Waterway.
This polluted water is a mix of about 90% rainfall and 10% untreated sewage. It's harmful to marine life, as it contains human waste, motor oil, and other debris from roads.
The county has spent decades limiting the number of gallons that are dumped. Last year's total was about 95 million gallons.
The overflows are allowed, because otherwise the excess could back up into the wastewater treatment centers, or neighborhoods.
If there is time, health officials warn people not to enter the water within 48 hours of an overflow.
-- Paige Browning
Washington Congress members and their stances on the election
7:30 a.m. -- Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska admits President Elect Joe Biden won the election. So does Republican Representative Dan Young of Alaska. But so far, none of the three Washington state Republicans in Congress have followed suit.
Jaime Herrera Beutler who represents southwest Washington is of two minds. In a statement sent to KUOW, she admits we have not seen any evidence to support Trump’s claim to have won the election. But despite that lack of evidence Herrera Beutler voices support for his legal challenges. And she has not called on the president to concede.
Dan Newhouse of central Washington made similar statements according to the Spokesman-Review.
And Cathy McMorris Rodgers of eastern Washington was the political standout. She simply backs the president.
-- David Hyde
Pushback against Washington's pandemic restrictions
7 a.m. -- Covid-19 cases are surging across Washington state, prompting concern for health officials that hospitals will become overwhelmed soon. There are some communities, however, that feel the restrictions are excessive.
Tri-Cities officials have sent a letter to Inslee arguing against the restrictions, stating that businesses are not to blame for the virus' spread and should not be targeted. The letter states that mask wearing and social distancing should be enough and that the rise in cases is due to irresponsible gatherings, not businesses.
Outside of the letter, a Richland council member went as far as to call Inslee a "fascist" during a recent public meeting, according to The Tri-City Herald. Officials in Franklin and Benton Counties are also considering sending their own letter in opposition.
The region has not been spared from the pandemic. Two mayors from the Tri-Cities have become ill with Covid-19 since March. Congressman Dan Newhouse, who represents Central Washington, announced he tested positive for the virus on Wednesday.
The Washington Hospitality Association has also penned a letter and sent it to the governor. The association argues that 100,000 people are likely to lose their jobs under the shutdowns.
-- Dyer Oxley
WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 18
In federal court, attorneys debate SPD use of blast balls, pepper spray
1 p.m. — Today attorneys for Black Lives Matter Seattle-King County told U.S. District Judge Richard Jones that SPD use of blast balls and pepper spray on four dates in August and September violated the preliminary injunction he issued this summer.
ACLU attorney Lisa Nowlin said the order only allows police to use those weapons against an imminent threat. Instead she says police used them to enforce dispersal orders and make people move. “These are not specific imminent threats of harm that would justify the use of blast balls and pepper spray under the court’s order," she said.
Attorneys for the city of Seattle said SPD sets a high bar for dispersal orders, and is justified in using crowd control weapon against people who refuse to comply. Attorney Bob Christie said overall, these examples showed officers making split-second decisions while in harm’s way.
“There is no First Amendment right to throw a projectile, a rock, or an IED at officers,” he said. Judge Jones said he plans to rule shortly.
FAA says 737 MAX planes can to return to service
11 a.m. -- After being grounded for nearly two years, and following two deadly crashes, the FAA has approved the Boeing 737 MAX to fly once again.
It'll be a while longer before passengers can hop back on board, however. Pilots still have to undergo new training and the planes will need to be inspected.
Also a software fix to the planes' flight control system -- which was implicated in those two crashes -- still needs to be installed in all the planes.
Airlines like United, Southwest, and American currently have them in their fleets. Alaska Airlines has order some 737 MAX planes.
Only American Airlines Group Inc. has put the Max jets back into its schedule, with flights starting Dec. 29 on a lone route: Miami to New York.
One officer rescued, another still missing in Puget Sound
10:30 a.m. -- The search continues for a Tulalip police officer who was thrown from a fisheries boat after it was hit by a rogue wave shortly before 9 p.m. Tuesday. The incident happened off the coast of Jetty Island near Everett.
The fire department says the crew of two Tulalip officers was in the process of helping another vessel when their boat capsized. One 39-year-old officer was located and rescued by a private boat just before midnight.
The second officer, a 29-year-old man, remains missing.
Ken Griffey Jr. joins Sounders ownership team
10 a.m. -- The Seattle Sounders have a new member on the ownership team -- former Mariner and Baseball Hall of Famer Ken Griffey Jr.
His stake was actually finalized earlier in the year, but the announcement was delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Griffey and his family make up the second addition to the ownership group this year, along with Seattle Kraken CEO Tod Leiweke and his wife, Tara.
Griffey started his baseball career with the Seattle Mariners, making his debut in 1989. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2016.
Crystal Mountain resort opens
9:45 a.m. -- After the ski season was cut short last year because of the pandemic, the time has finally come.
The Crystal Mountain Ski resort is opening Wednesday.
Be aware -- you have to make a reservation ahead of time. Masks will be required across the resort, except for when you're actively skiing or snowboarding.
Crystal Mountain is reporting 40 inches of snow at its base.
Inslee's answer is still 'no' when it comes to Biden administration speculation
9:30 a.m. -- Washington Governor Jay Inslee has said that he is not interested in joining the Biden administration should a role become available. Still, there has been a lot of national speculation that he might be in line for a job with the new administration.
Inslee was asked by public radio if he’s been contacted by the transition team, or is being vetted, and what he would say to an offer.
“No, no; and my answer remains the same no matter how many times you ask it,” Inslee said.
— Derek Wang
Amazon to start delivering prescription drugs
9:15 a.m. -- Amazon announced it is going to offer home deliveries for prescription medications this week. The news sent drug store stocks on a steep downslide Tuesday.
Rite Aid saw its stocks drop 15%. Walgreens went down 9%, and CVS Health Corporation stocks went down 8%.
— Angela King
King County's $12.6B budget includes new youth programs
9 a.m. -- The King County Council has approved a new $12.6 billion, two-year budget. It includes cutbacks of 5% across many departments and is slated to pay for new programs aimed at helping local youth.
Budget chair Jeanne Kohl Welles says the Council is investing in programs focused on young people, including Orca card expansions for transit, pre-apprenticeship training, and programs to keep young people out of the court system.
“Six million dollars is included for restorative community pathways that will provide comprehensive community based services to 800 young people in lieu of having criminal charges filed against them, to get them on the right path forward," Kohl-Welles said.
The Council also increased the sales tax by one tenth of 1%. That will fund the purchase of hotels and motels to house up to 2,000 people who are chronically homeless.
— Amy Radil
US-Canada border likely won't reopen soon
8:30 a.m. -- The most recent extension of the U.S.-Canada border closure technically expires this Friday, November 20, but no one expects the border crossing restrictions to be lifted by then.
The tight limits on discretionary border crossings have been extended monthly by mutual agreement between Ottawa and the Trump administration. In an interview with public radio, Canadian ambassador to the U.S. Kirsten Hillman declined to speculate when the border might reopen, but it won't be soon.
"The pandemic seems to be escalating in both of our countries," Hillman said. "That would seem to suggest that these measures are with us for a while."
Hillman says she's encouraged to hear detailed proposals from business and trade groups in the Pacific Northwest to ease the border closure. An initial pilot project just launched in Alberta uses rapid Covid-19 testing to shorten quarantines for arriving travelers. Hillman cautions getting back to normal will be a gradual process.
— Tom Banse
Juneteenth and Indigenous People's Day added to King County holidays
8 a.m. -- The King County Council has voted to give county employees two new holidays starting in 2022.
Juneteenth, which commemorates the end of slavery in the U.S. will be a paid holiday. So will Indigenous People's Day. Although Indigenous Peoples’ Day would be a paid holiday contingent on funding being available.
Council Chair Claudia Balducci supported the changes, saying they could promote healing from some of the dark aspects of U.S. history. Councilmember Reagan Dunn voted against the paid holidays, saying the county can’t afford them amid pandemic shortfalls.
"People are out of work," Dunn said. "I just think it sends exactly the wrong message that the county government is so bloated that we can go ahead and vote ourselves one and possibly two holidays."
It costs the county about $4.8 million to add a holiday. The council approved a two-year budget of more than $12 billion Tuesday.
TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 17
Latest King County budget funds more court alternatives for youth
5 p.m. — The King County Council has approved a two-year budget of $12.6 billion, downsized from the previous one to reflect sales tax shortfalls resulting from the pandemic. Budget Chair Jeanne Kohl-Welles said the council is investing in programs focused on young people, including Orca card expansions for transit, pre-apprenticeship training, and programs to keep young people out of the court system.
“Six million dollars is included for restorative community pathways that will provide comprehensive community-based services to 800 young people in lieu of having criminal charges filed against them, to get them on the right path forward,” she said.
The budget includes a sales tax increase of .1 percent. It will fund the purchase of hotels and motels to house up to 2000 people who are chronically homeless. The budget also makes Juneteenth a paid holiday for King County employees starting in 2022. Indigenous Peoples Day could follow if funded in the future. Councilmember Reagan Dunn voted against the changes, saying, “People are out of work. I just think it sends exactly the wrong message that the county government is so bloated that we can go ahead and vote ourselves one-- and possibly two -- holidays.”
Wind advisory for western Washington
9:30 a.m. — The National Weather Service has issued a wind advisory for the Seattle, Everett, Bellevue, and Tacoma area from 8 a.m. through 5 p.m. Tuesday.
Sustained winds up to 35 mph are expected, along with gusts up to 50 mph.
The coast will experience higher winds with gusts up to 65 mph.
As a result, we could see power outages, so make sure to charge your cell phone and other devices.
Cold temps and more rain are expected the rest of the week.
Community coalition presses for further cuts to Seattle police budget
9 a.m. -- The Seattle City Council is preparing to cut the city’s police budget by about 20% next year. That includes layoffs and the transfer of certain services outside SPD. At a press conference Monday, King County Equity Now researcher LéTania Severe said their coalition will keep pressing for further cuts in final budget negotiations this week.
“We really need to be pushing Council to do what they said they were going to do,” Severe said. “They said they were going to defund SPD by 50% at least, and we’re not there yet.”
Severe said their community survey shows a need for funds redirected to work opportunities for teens.
“We want at least $2 million more invested specifically in creating Black-led youth programming,” she said.
Regarding the SPD budget, the coalition’s research director Shaun Glaze said one priority is to redirect funding away from hiring more police officers.
“We do believe there are places where there can be more cuts made, and we are advocating for essentially a hiring freeze by taking $9 million to 10 million aside out of that budget so they cannot hire new police officers,” Glaze said.
Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan said SPD has faced increased levels of attrition this year and will face “undeniable impacts” to its investigations and emergency responses if unable to hire new officers. The Seattle City Council’s final budget vote is scheduled for Monday, Nov. 23.
Endangered orcas just got some help finding food
7 a.m. -- Federal fisheries managers voted Monday to limit the catch of Chinook salmon off the Northwest coast. A shortage of the fish has pushed the orcas to the brink of extinction.
Orca advocates like Roosevelt High School student Owen Bagley-Collier welcomed the changes.
"We need more wild salmon in the water for these whales," Bagley-Collier said. "We are out of time, and I don’t want to watch an extinction."
But fisherman Glen Spain said habitat is the real problem for salmon and orcas.
"We’re doing what we can, but we are not, as salmon harvesters, the main driver of problems that the orcas have," Spain said. "The main driver is too few Chinook coming out of our river systems.”
Under the new policy, the start of fishing season will be delayed and catches will be restricted when Chinook populations off the Northwest coast drop to below about a million.
The new policy does not apply to tribal fisheries.
— John Ryan
MONDAY, NOVEMER 16
Democratic division emerges
10 a.m. -- As Democrats in the other Washington argue about who is to blame for the loss of US. House seats to Republicans, a similar debate is taking shape in the aftermath of the race for the 10th Congressional District here in Washington state.
Some centrist Democrats complain that progressive political action committees spent over a million dollars on independent expenditures, including $400,000 in attack ads, in a race that pitted one Democrat against another.
Former Tacoma mayor Marilyn Strickland won the open seat in the 10th District by a big margin of around 15 percentage points. That's despite the fact that PACs supporting her opponent, climate activist and state representative Beth Doglio, dramatically outspent PACs that supported Strickland.
Groups including the Service Employees International Union PAC and the United Food and Commercial Workers Union PAC spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on anti-Strickland ads. But Doglio’s biggest PAC supporter was fellow Washington Democrat Pramila Jayapal.
Jayapal represents the 7th Congressional District, which includes Seattle, and co-chairs the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) PAC, which spent more on this race than any other in the country: $643,000. Jayapal also runs the Medicare for All PAC that backed Doglio with an additional $190,000.
— David Hyde
Washington GOP wants a special session
9 a.m. -- Some GOP leaders are calling on the governor to convene an emergency session of the state Legislature in response to the new restrictions.
State Senate Republican Leader Mark Schoesler released a statement calling the surge “very concerning,” but added more voices need to be included in the decision making process.
He also mentioned the governor’s ban on social gatherings is going to be “hard to enforce.”
Gov. Jay Inslee said Sunday he did not rule out the possibility of a special session, but said there aren't plans at this time to hold one.
FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 13
Jump in unemployment across Washington state
8 a.m. -- As the country saw a decline in new unemployment claims last week, Washington state experienced a jump -- the biggest we've seen in nine months. The latest figures from the US Labor Department show that Washington is now leading the nation when it comes to new unemployment claims.
The state employment security department received more than 25,000 new claims during the first week of November.
That's a 71% increase from the week before and the biggest weekly jump in the state since March 21. Nationally, initial claims fell 6.3% to 709,000 last week, according to the U.S. Labor Department.
Regional economist Anneliese Vance-Sherman told The Seattle Times that the spike could be due to a combination of the pandemic and seasonal employment turn overs in industries like construction and agriculture. Experts also told The Times that the current wave of Covid-19 cases is likely causing a a wave of layoffs similar to what happened in March and April.
Mariners Kyle Lewis named Rookie of the Year
7:45 a.m. -- Congratulations to Mariners center fielder Kyle Lewis who manages to impress on both offense and defense.
Kyle Lewis has been named the American League's Rookie of the Year. He's the fourth Mariner to win the award and he received all 30 first-place votes making the decision unanimous.
The 25 year old led all Al rookies in runs, walks, total bases, on-base percentage, and home runs with 11.
-- Angela King
Federal Way schools will now better track bullying
7:30 a.m. -- The Federal Way Public School district has agreed to better track and prevent bullying among its students.
The agreement comes after the Department of Justice determined Thursday that the district failed to respond to student complaints about being physically and verbally harassed when it came to their religious beliefs or national origins.
The incidents that led up to the settlement happened between 2013 and 2015. The district says it started taking corrective steps before it found out about the DOJ's investigation.
But Seattle U.S. Attorney Brian Moran says the district immediately agreed to do things like update its anti-harassment policies and training, especially when it comes to communicating with parents and guardians who don't speak English.
-- Angela King
Council slated to pass new budget with police layoffs
7:15 a.m. -- The Seattle City Council plans to pass a new budget in just over a week. That budget includes 35 lay-offs at the police department, but members want the layoffs to happen out-of-order, not by seniority.
Mayor Jenny Durkan, however, continues to say that's not possible because of union contracts.
Durkan acknowledged Thursday that the Council may still pass the legislation.
"If that is what Council passes, we'll make every endeavor to do it," Durkan said. "But, the last thing we want to do is lay off our newest, most diverse police officers. So I think we have to see what the final package the Council passes, we'll work with them whatever they do."
The layoffs are among more than 20 policing reforms proposed by the City Council. Some council members want to prioritize laying off officers with complaints against them.
The Council is scheduled to vote on a 2021 city budget on November 23.
-- Paige Browning
Public/private venture aims to help displaced and vulnerable artists
7 a.m. -- Seattle’s hot real estate market has been a problem for arts and culture groups. When the pandemic hit, many lost the means to make rent on their spaces.
A new venture aims to help artists with this problem. Seattle’s Office of Arts and Culture was in emergency relief mode when Covid-19 initially prompted lockdowns and business closures. But office head Randy Engstrom says by May, they realized local artists had a bigger problem.
“It became clear the risk of displacement and vulnerability of these organizations was going to be worse post-Covid,” Engstrom said. Now, Engstrom’s office has rolled out plans to help arts groups find and pay for the space they need. A new public/private agency will be able to buy and transfer property, take private investments, even float loans or grants.
"Right now, everybody is at the mercy of what the market will bear and the market is pretty aggressive in Seattle. Even now.”
Advocates hope the city will give its final approval in mid-December.
-- Marcie Sillman
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 12
Navy approved to make noise in Northwest waters
11:30 am. -- The U.S. Navy has received the go-ahead to keep making noise underwater and blowing up explosives off the Northwest coast, even if that harms more whales.
Federal regulators approved a 7-year permit for the Navy to train and conduct tests in the region. The permit allows for harming up to 51 endangered orcas a year.
“We’re talking about a highly acoustic animal, whether it’s baleen whales that use songs to communicate or toothed whales that use echolocation to find their food," said Deborah Giles, a biologist with the nonprofit Wild Orca and the University of Washington.
"When we’re exploding bombs in the general vicinity and/or using active sonar, that is sound right into these whales’ living room.”
The Navy plan includes lowering the volume of its noisy sonar when whales are spotted within a thousand yards.
Federal regulators say the Navy plan has enough protective measures that it would not threaten the survival of 28 species of marine mammals or 30 species of fish.
-- John Ryan
Measles exposure at SeaTac Airport
11:15 a.m. -- Public Health - Seattle and King County says a child diagnosed with the measles may have exposed others at SeaTac Airport last week.
The boy stopped by the North Satellite terminal and the Carousel 13 baggage claim area on November 5 between 10 p.m. and 12:30 a.m.
Officials think he got measles after traveling outside of the United States. Health officials say since most people in our area have been vaccinated against the measles, they think the risk to the public is low. But if you think you may have been exposed and haven't been vaccinated, call your doctor if you come down with a fever or unexplained rash.
-- Angela King
Refugee advocate hopeful under Biden administration
11 a.m. -- Refugee resettlement has been slashed under President Trump.
Advocates in Washington expect that to change with a new administration.
Chitra Hanstad started her job at World Relief Seattle, resettling refugees, on the same day as Donald Trump's inauguration.
That year, more than 3,000 refugees came to Washington.
"Washington state became the second most welcoming state in the country," Hanstad said. "We bypassed California, New York and we're second only to Texas."
This year about a third as many refugees came here than when Trump took office.
Now Hanstad is optimistic about President-elect Joe Biden, but says it will take time to get back to previous numbers.
"Much of the infrastructure that was in place to welcome refugees has been decimated," Hanstad said.
This week Biden said he would raise the national cap on refugees from 15,000 to 125,000.
-- Casey Martin
FBI investigating Zoom incident at Gonzaga
10:30 a.m. -- FBI and the Spokane Police Department are now investigating an online racist attack during a Zoom meeting held by The Black Student Union at Gonzaga University.
The university president says that so far they've been able to uncover the IP addresses of the attackers. Those IP addresses are both domestic and international.
On Sunday, an online meeting of Gonzaga's Black Student Union was hijacked by several people who bombarded participants with racist and homophobic slurs. The intruders also sent pornographic material to the meeting's participants.
-- Angela King
Washington's new state treasurer has pandemic plans
10:15 a.m. -- Washington is getting a new state treasurer. Democrat Mike Pellicciotti recently beat Republican Duane Davidson for the seat.
The treasurer-elect says one of his first priorities will be to help businesses navigate the ongoing Covid-19 crisis.
“I really do think there’s an opportunity for the state treasurer to promote a lot of currently-existing programs related to small business grants, but also make sure that we advocate for the minority and women owned small business loans and grants that are currently available," Pellicciotti said.
Pellicciotti also says protecting Washington’s good bond ratings is important. He plans to meet with legislative leaders as they get ready to address a several billion dollar budget shortfall.
The treasurer-elect and other statewide officeholders will be sworn in during January.
Pellicciotti says the current treasurer has been “more than gracious” about the transition.
-- Derek Wang
Drive-thru Washington State Fair for the holidays
10 a.m. -- The Washington State Fair is going to host a drive-thru holiday celebration at the fairgrounds in Puyallup this year.
Holiday Magic at the Fair starts December 4 and runs -- mostly on the weekends -- through January 3. Attendees can enjoy their favorite fair foods and a light display.
There will also be a scavenger hunt people can do from their cars. You have to buy your tickets online and you have to stay in your car, or wear a mask, when you're in line for food or the bathroom.
-- Angela King
Suspected car prowler had history of mental illness
9:30 a.m. -- A suspected car prowler who was shot and killed by King County deputies in Woodinville on Monday afternoon had a history of mental illness, according to The Seattle Times.
Court documents show the 22-year-old Renton man suffered from depression, addiction, and other issues and was involuntarily committed to a local facility in 2018 where he assaulted another patient and a relative.
A psychologist at Western State Hospital also said he likely had an intellectual delay.
Investigators say two deputies killed him after he opened fire on them. Both of those deputies were treated for their injuries and released from the hospital.
The Seattle Times reports he's the eighth person killed by police in King County this year.
Last year, there were nine fatal officer-involved shootings county-wide.
-- Angela King
Initiative 1300: "The Manuel Ellis Washington Anti-Discrimination Act"
9 a.m. -- Relatives of Manny Ellis -- a black man who died while being arrested by Tacoma police earlier this year -- now want the state to ban a variety of choke-holds and restraints.
The family and its lawyers have introduced Initiative 1300 or "The Manuel Ellis Washington Anti-Discrimination Act" which addresses issues with police restraints. It calls on lawmakers to address systemic inequities facing communities of color.
While the case is still being investigated, the medical examiner has ruled that Ellis died from a lack of oxygen from being restrained during his encounter with police in March.
Ellis' last words of "I can't breathe" were captured on video. The case gained national attention following the death of George Floyd who said the same thing before he died at the hands of Minneapolis police in May. The family needs to get 300,00 signatures by the end of the year to get the initiative before state lawmakers.
-- Angela King
Juneau and Inslee on lists for potential Biden administration spots
8:30 a.m. -- Seattle Public School Superintendent Denise Juneau is the latest leader from Washington being considered for cabinet position within the Biden administration.
US News & World Report says she's one of several officials being considered for the position of Secretary of Education.
The New York Times reported on Wednesday that Gov. Jay Inslee is also being looked at for a possible role within the U.S. Energy Department or with the Environmental Protection Agency.
Inslee said over the summer that he's not interested in a cabinet position. Spokesperson with the governor's office Tara Lee said the governor “has not been contacted by the Biden transition team.” Lee referred to past statements by the governor saying he wasn’t interested in a federal appointment.
-- Angela King
Native Americans statewide supported the Democratic ticket in 2020 election
8 a.m. -- There’s one voter block in Washington that went for Joe Biden in the 2020 election, even in historically Republican areas.
Overall, about 65% of tribal reservation residents went for Biden.
They backed Biden in Trump country, and even outpaced some blue counties in their support for the Democratic ticket.
- Biden won 60% of Whatcom county's vote, but he won 68% in the precincts that are on the Lummi Tribal reservation.
- Clallam County just barely favored Biden this election. But on the Makah Tribe’s land along its coast, 81% did.
These numbers do not include Native Americans who live off-reservation, and some of the voter precincts overlap with non-tribal land.
-- Paige Browning
TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 10
Hornet haul: 500 Asian giants, including 200 queens
5:30 p.m. -- Biologists tearing a hornets’ nest apart have found more than 500 Asian giant hornets in a cavity in an alder tree near Blaine.
The tally from the first nest of the invasive Asian insects found in the United States included close to 200 queen hornets.
Washington state Department of Agriculture entomologist Sven Spishiger said the nest, discovered in October after researchers were able to tie a tiny transmitter onto a hornet and track it to its nest, was fairly small as far as these Asian giant hornets go.
“When you see a relatively small nest like this able to pump out 200 queens, it does give one a little bit of pause, because potentially each of those queens could be a new nest next year,” Spishiger said.
He said he believes “a very small number” of queens, each up to two inches long, escaped before this nest was destroyed.
While most hornets die off each winter, any escaped queens are expected to sleep through the winter, then try to establish new colonies of their own.
“The whole party will start up again early next spring,” beekeeper Paul van Westendorp with the British Columbia Ministry of Agriculture said.
The invasive hornets have been spotted in British Columbia and as far south as Bellingham.
“I have suspicion that we do have some nests up here as well,” van Westendorp said. “The real epicenter appears to be in your state, not here in B.C.”
The main concern with these invaders is that they can kill an entire hive of crop-pollinating honeybees in a day.
Spishiger said he’d heard no reports of any beehives being attacked this year and said there was a strong chance the hornets could be eradicated from the state.
-- John Ryan
No blue wave in Washington state
No blue wave in Washington state
1 p.m. -- Predictions of a “blue wave” in Washington state did not materialize last week, despite President Trump’s unpopularity in the region.
Initially, it looked like Democrats might be poised to pick up several legislative seats and further pad their healthy majorities in both the Washington House and Senate. But as later-arriving ballots have been counted, the advantage has swung the other way giving Republicans the edge in several tight races.
“The Democrats might be at their high water mark, but that’s not good news for Republicans," said Chris Vance.
Vance is a former Republican Party chair who now identifies as an independent. He says that while Republicans may hold Democrats to a draw this year, their longer term prospects are uncertain.
“You can’t get majorities in either house unless you have at least a few seats from King County; the math doesn’t work," Vance said.
While Democrats are poised to make gains in Pierce and Whatcom Counties, a bright spot for Republicans is in southwest coastal Washington which has now flipped from blue to red.
-- Austin Jenkins
Eastern Washington reacts to election results
Reactions to the election from east of the Cascades
10 a.m. -- As celebrations broke out across the Seattle area following Joe Biden's presidential win, the parties were smaller and quieter east of the Cascade Mountains.
There were socially-distant gatherings, brief rallies, and social media posts -- that is how some rural Biden fans reacted.
“Hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah! Feeling so relieved,” Cynthia Hurlbutt said, outside of Walla Walla.
Sandra Sampson of Mission, Oregon said “It was really great to hear the thank yous to all people of color.”
Many Trump voters held protests, but some looked for the bright side.
“Services like mental healthcare and marginalized individuals are going to be brought more into the the forefront now, and so I’m totally on board with that,” said Trump voter Jeremy Robertson of Colfax.
-- Anna King
Voters outside of Seattle react to Biden's win
9:45 a.m. -- In Arlington Washington, just north of Everett, the majority of voters chose Donald Trump for president in the 2020 election. Joe Biden’s win surprised a lot of people there, on both sides.
“I’m so happy I can’t even see straight,” said Val Davis while in downtown Arlington.
But not everyone in town is happy about the results.
“I’m sorry, but there’s not going to be a reconciliation between Democrats and Republicans,” said Trump supporter Randy Harper while at the Krosswalk Pub. "Because Democrats will do anything to win. They'll stop at nothing."
“I don’t want to see a civil war, and I see it coming to that" Elisa Harper said. "It’s a sad, sad world we’re gonna live in.”
Read more details here.
-- Joshua McNichols
Redmond council member celebrating VP elect Harris
9:15 a.m. -- Washington state politicians who identify as South Asian women are celebrating Vice-President Elect Kamala Harris.
Redmond City Councilmember Varisha Khan is of Pakistani descent. She says she hopes Harris' background will inspire her to focus on issues important to the South Asian community, such as increasing the number of H1B visas for foreign workers with specialized skills.
"So that communities like the one that I live in, in Redmond, can thrive and continue to grow, and create more opportunities for working here."
Khan says she also hopes the incoming administration will let in more refugees. And she wants to see Harris take strong stands against racism and xenophobia.
Khan says she thinks Harris will inspire even more women of South Asian descent to get involved in politics.
-- Eilis O'Neil
Snow in the mountains
9 a.m. -- There is a winter weather advisory in effect for the Cascade Mountains in Pierce and Lewis Counties. The advisory is for 3,000 feet and above until 9 p.m. Tuesday.
White Pass expecting more than a foot. Mt Rainier could get up to 20 inches on Tuesday alone.
Further north, Stevens and Snoqualmie could get up to 8 inches.
Traction tires are currently advised on all mountain passes.
-- Angela King
Rep. Jayapal celebrating Biden, but wary of moderate policies
8:45 a.m. -- Seattle Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal is celebrating's Joe Biden's win. But she told KUOW's The Record that she's also cautious about his moderate policies.
"Unity for unity's sake is not important if we are not delivering for people," Jayapal said. "So, we cannot compromise on the core idea that healthcare is a right and not a privilege as Joe Biden himself has said, and that every American should be able to get health care."
Jayapal supports what she calls "people first" policies which include things like a nationwide $15 an hour minimum wage, healthcare and immigration reforms, and housing as a human right.
-- Sonya Harris
Injured deputies released from hospital
8:30 a.m. -- Two King County deputies who were shot while confronting an alleged car prowler in Woodinville Monday have been released from the hospital.
Investigators say the suspect opened fire on them as they approached him near the Beaumont Apartments. They returned fire and killed the suspect. It's not clear if the suspect lived at the complex.
-- Angela King
Monroe teachers oppose district plans to bring students back to class
Monroe educators protest district plan to bring students back
8 a.m. -- Teachers with the Monroe Education Association say they're nervous about the district's plans to bring first graders back to their classrooms next week. It's a decision that the union president Robyn Hayashi says was made without their input
“The fact of the matter is we want to be back in school with our students," Hayashi said. "So we miss our students so much, and we need them back in school. But right now, it's not safe enough.”
Some kindergarten and special needs students in the district are already been receiving in-person instruction even though current Covid-19 cases in Snohomish County are more than triple what they were two months ago.
-- Ann Dornfeld
MONDAY, NOVEMBER 9
'Representation truly matters.' Washington state politicians celebrate Kamala Harris
4:49 p.m. —Washington state politicians who identify as South Asian women are celebrating the history made by Vice President-elect Kamala Harris.
Washington State Senator Mona Das said she knows firsthand how important role models are: When she was thinking about running for office, she walked by a sign for Congressmember Pramila Jayapal.
“I remember seeing that sign and thinking, ‘Well, if she can do it, I can do it,’” Das said. “And this is why representation truly matters. Until you see yourself represented in halls of power, it’s hard to imagine you doing it.”
Das said she’s been mentoring women of Indian descent who have an interest in politics, and she imagines even more will be interested in the wake of Harris' historic win.
Redmond city councilmember Varisha Khan, who is of Pakistani descent, said she hopes Harris’ background will inspire politicians to focus on issues important to the South Asian community.
That includes increasing the number of H1B visas for foreign workers with specialized skills, “so that communities like the one that I live in in Redmond can thrive and continue to grow,” Khan said, because increasing available visas would “create more opportunities for working here.”
Khan added she also hopes the incoming Biden administration will accept more refugees, and that she wants to see Harris take strong stances against racism and xenophobia.
Latest Seattle City Council budget package "prevents austerity."
3:30 p.m. -- Budget Committee Chair Teresa Mosqueda has released her budget package, which she said would rebuild the city’s reserve funds, and support various forms of assistance to help people weather the pandemic.
“We needed to look at the budget for how to best be prepared – be prepared to serve those who are the most vulnerable in our city, to make sure we are serving those most impacted by Covid and the economic downturn who are largely communities of color, and make sure we are getting prepared for 2021 and beyond," she said.
Mosqueda's proposal would increase the city’s non-police responses to calls for service, by expanding the roles of community groups as well as the fire department. In a statement, Mayor Jenny Durkan said she and the council are largely aligned on budget priorities and have “turned a corner” from their “significant disagreements” this past summer. The package will be presented in committee Tuesday, and the council is expected to pass a final budget for 2021 by Nov. 19.
Two deputies shot and injured in Woodinville; suspect reportedly dead
2 p.m. -- Two King County deputies were shot and injured in Woodinville Monday afternoon. Early reports indicate that one suspect was shot an killed during the incident.
Both deputies have been taken to a hospital, according to Woodinville Fire and Rescue. One deputy is in critical condition and was reportedly shot in the back.
Officials reported that the shooting occurred at the Beaumont Apartments sometime before 1:15 p.m.
-- Dyer Oxley
Community members will have new access to Seattle's negotiations with police unions
1 p.m. -- Seattle officials are preparing to start contract negotiations with both of the city’s police unions. And members of the city’s Community Police Commission are celebrating an important change to the process. Community Police Commission co-chair Prachi Dave said this year one of their members will be privy to the negotiations as they occur. It’s a change they’ve been seeking. In the past, the commission has only learned what was bargained after the fact.
“I would certainly say that this was a groundbreaking change,” Dave said. “What community always, I would imagine, wants, is the ability to be witness and participant to these conversations that are almost always had without the community’s involvement.”
The CPC member who will serve as a "bargaining advisor" is Suzette Dickerson, who has experience with collective bargaining and works for the Washington State Council of County and City Employees. Dave says the CPC has several key priorities during negotiations, like changes to the process for officers who appeal their disciplinary findings. She said she believes widespread demonstrations calling for police accountability have put the CPC's concerns in a position of strength going into negotiations. No date has been set yet for bargaining to begin. The changes were announced by Mayor Jenny Durkan and city Councilmember Lisa Herbold. The contract with the Seattle Police Officers Guild expires at the end of December.
Search continues for weekend shooting suspect in Seattle
9:15 a.m. -- Seattle police are still trying to find the person who shot and killed a 31-year-old man early Sunday morning as he was leaving a post-election celebration in the Capitol Hill neighborhood.
He's been identified as MarQuies Demone Patterson. His mother tells The Seattle Times “He just wanted to be part of something. He wanted to be part of history.”
Police say there's no indication the shooting, which occurred around 1 a.m. near the corner of 10th Avenue East and East Pike Street, was politically motivated.
Patterson leaves behind two children, ages 9 and 10. Relatives say worked for the city of Seattle in construction.
-- Angela King
Three Washington races headed for a recount
9 a.m. -- Predictions of 90% voter turnout in Washington state might have been overly optimistic. Meanwhile, some races may be headed for a recount.
Back in September, King County issued a challenge to voters to help it get to 90% turnout. It doesn’t look like that will happen. But we may still see record turnout both in King County and statewide. The record to beat at the state level is 84.61% from 2008. Final turnout won’t be known until the election is certified.
Before that happens there may be recounts in some tight races. The trigger for a recount is if less than half a percent and fewer than 2,000 votes separate the candidates.
The Secretary of State’s office has identified three races that could be in recount territory:
- The state Senate contests in the 10th legislative district on Whidbey Island
- The 5th legislative district in Issaquah
- A county commission race in Whitman County
Counties must certify the elections before Thanksgiving and the Secretary of State will certify the statewide results by December 3.
-- Austin Jenkins
Tariffs over "illegal aid" for Boeing
8:45 a.m. -- The European Union has announced it will put tariffs on up to $4 billion worth of U.S. goods and services over what the World Trade Organization deemed "illegal aid" for Boeing.
But the EU also expressed hope that trade ties would improve once President Trump leaves office.
As for which American goods will be affected the EU released a preliminary list that includes everything from fish and dried fruit, to vodka and motorcycle parts.
-- Kim Shepard
Colorado joins with Washington in effort to nix electoral college
Colorado joins Washington in effort to nix the electoral college
Colorado joins Washington in effort to nix the electoral college
8:30 a.m. -- Colorado has joined a pact with Washington and other states to nix the electoral college system.
What if the president was elected based on the number of people that voted for them nationwide? That's the idea behind the National Popular Vote bill.
The states in this pact - including Washington and Oregon - have agreed to give their electoral votes to whoever wins the popular vote and not to whoever wins their specific state, as it stands now.
It kicks in if the pact of states represents at least 270 electors. It represents 196 now.
The argument for the movement is that the electoral college favors certain states, and that using the popular vote would be more democratic.
-- Paige Browning
Cascade Care kicks in
8 a.m. -- Washington residents shopping for individual health insurance have a new option this year. Cascade Care is the state’s version of the public option health plan.
It was signed into law last year. While the state isn’t selling insurance, it's making sure plans meet certain criteria to keep costs down.
One common complaint about individual health coverage is that the premium might be affordable, but they can’t afford to use it because of high deductibles.
Michael Marchand of the state’ Health Benefit Exchange, says Cascade Care solves that by covering more of the services before the deductible kicks in.
“And that includes primary care visits and mental health services and generic drugs, things that you can just have a copay with," Marchand said.
Marchand says they’re able to keep costs down because payments to providers are capped. He says the new plan is ideal for young people or for those don’t qualify for tax credits or not eligible for Medicaid.
-- Ruby de Luna
SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 8
Seattle detectives investigating Capitol Hill homicide
10:40 a.m. -- A 31-year-old man was fatally shot on Capitol Hill early Sunday morning, according to the Seattle Police Department.
The incident happened just after 1 a.m., on Nov. 8, at the intersection of 10th Avenue East and East Pike Street -- the location where a crowd of people gathered earlier to celebrate after Joe Biden won the presidential election.
When police arrived, and found the male victim, they began life-saving measures. The Seattle Fire Department took over and the victim was taken to Harborview Medical Center. The man later died.
Seattle Police said the investigation into the shooting remains ongoing, and they want anyone with information to call the Seattle Police Department’s Violent Crimes tip line at 206-233-5000.
-- Ashley Hiruko
Mixed feelings at Seattle demonstrations / celebrations
Anna Boiko-Weyrauch reports from Westlake Park Nov. 7, 2020
9 a.m. -- Celebrations and demonstrations took to Seattle streets Saturday after news organizations began calling the 2020 election in favor of Democrat Joe Biden, ousting President Trump.
The celebration at Westlake Park in downtown Seattle Saturday wasn’t exactly an endorsement of the incoming Biden administration. Community organizer Nikkita Oliver said they wanted to be excited about the results, but also “Kamala Harris put a lot of Black people in jail. Biden also contributed to that.”
Performers shared music and danced in between the speeches
“The Black community is saving the Democratic party, and now we need the Democratic party to show up for Black community,” said one speaker.
Community organizer Hamdi Mohamed also spoke, saying “We cannot stop here just because Biden will soon be in office, we must keep the pressure on and keep pushing for federal progressive policies.”
In the crowd, Marisol Ponce was celebrating the Democratic win, even though she says the party -- and candidates -- are not perfect.
“But they were our best choice and I’m also very happy to have a female as a vice-president,” Ponce said.
The rally and march continued pushing for changes demonstrators have been demanding since the summer, including defunding the police.
In nearby Capitol Hill, a party erupted around 10th Avenue and Pike Street after the news of Biden's win. People danced in the streets, toasting the occasion with beers.
KUOW's Casey Martin reports that the afternoon and evening was the busiest Capitol Hill bars had been in a long time. Cars paraded through the neighborhood, honking horns, waving Biden signs, and cheering.
Casey Martin reports from Capitol Hill, Nov. 7, 2020
KUOW's Casey Martin reports from Capitol Hill, Nov. 7, 2020 as celebrations erupted for president-elect Joe Biden.
After an afternoon of speakers and celebration, antifascists groups started a dumpster fire at 10th and Pike.
-- Anna Boiko-Weyrauch, Casey Martin
Secretary of State corrects misinformation online
8 a.m. -- Just a reminder: Washington voters cannot look up their submitted ballots online.
Secretary of State Kim Wyman recently responded to some online confusion in the days following the Nov. 3 election. One voter misinterpreted information online and posted that their vote had changed. Instead, they were reading a list of current elected officials, not who they voted for.
Claims of voter fraud and other misinformation has spiked nationally ahead of November 3 and in the wake of the election. The notion was partially encouraged by President Trump. According to experts, however, this phenomenon was to be expected.
“Several months now … we’ve seen a lot of efforts to sow this narrative of systematic voter fraud,” Kate Starbird recently told KUOW’s Bill Radke. “Particularly around mail-in ballots and particularly around the count that may come in after election night.”
Starbird studies misinformation and disinformation at the University of Washington’s Center for an Informed Public. She argues that there were prearranged themes and narratives about voter fraud ahead of the election. Such narratives emerged as they expected.
“Over the last six weeks … every kind of case where somebody could find evidence of a ballot that had been misplaced, or didn’t arrive at the right place or the right time, or mail that was stolen or mail that was discarded in some way – these different incidents that had nothing to do with each other and don’t have any political motivation and are actually single incidents, they were picked up and amplified and reframed by right wing media into this narrative that this is some kind of systematic voter fraud … we saw that as preemptively setting up these claims of voter fraud…”
On the other side of the political spectrum, left wing influencers were circulating criticism of postal services around the election.
It's important to note the difference between misinformation and disinformation. Disinformation is intentionally spreading false and deceptive information to mislead people. Misinformation is more simply the spread of false information and rumors regardless of intent.
-- Dyer Oxley