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Join the informed writers of The Times' editorial board in lively discussions at our blog, Opinion Northwest.

Topic: Seattle

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October 22, 2014 at 6:25 AM

Seattle preschool Proposition 1B’s consensus, and the alternative’s problems

The Seattle Preschool Program —  known as Proposition 1B on the Nov. 4 ballot —  is racking up endorsements. The King County Labor Council, El Centro De La Raza, the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and many other groups are on board.  You also have a rare consensus of Seattle’s media organizations, including the centrist Seattle Times editorial board, the left-leaning Publicola,  The Stranger, and even tipped-over-off-the-left-o-sphere blogger David Goldstein.

All say voters should pass Seattle Proposition 1B.

State Rep. Ross Hunter, D-Medina.

State Rep. Ross Hunter, D-Medina.

The unanimity forms around the simple idea that it’s time to get moving on universal, high-quality prekindergarten education. A pair of the nation’s leading pre-K researchers laid out the research behind 1B in a recent Seattle Times guest column. If you missed it, read it.

Understanding the unanimity is important because there’s a competing measure, Proposition 1A, on the ballot. Only one can pass. It’s either-or. Prop. 1A does not create a citywide preschool program. It does not have any way to fund its child-care teacher training enhancements.

And it’s a budget-buster for the city.

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Comments | Topics: city council, endorsements, november election

October 14, 2014 at 6:05 AM

Charts: Wake up and fund public health, prevention services

“When public health is effective, the public isn’t thinking about it,” says Metropolitan King County Council member Joe McDermott, head of the panel’s budget committee this year. It’s true. Prevention is not sexy. Fewer people care when the system works. However, the Ebola scare sweeping the world should be a wake-up call. Why wait for an…

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Comments | Topics: ebola, family planning, funding

October 8, 2014 at 6:05 AM

Shaping Seattle’s understanding of Latinos through film

Many people in the Northwest tend to equate “Mexican” with “Latino,” but that’s a limited perspective. As a Mexican-American, I see that dynamic play out on a regular basis like when people think all Latinos wear sombreros and eat spicy food. Even so, many people have a superficial view of Mexican culture based on chips,…

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Comments | Topics: film festival, latinos, movies

September 29, 2014 at 6:04 AM

Seattle, the affordable city

HOME SALES

Nancy Ohanian / Tribune Content Agency

Affordable housing has morphed into a loaded term in Seattle. Many residents and city leaders say it’s disappearing or there isn’t enough of it.

The idea that affordable housing is endangered in Seattle is misleading, however, because it depends on what how you define “affordable.”

Keeping housing affordable means spending 30 percent or less of household income on housing, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

“Affordable housing” as a technical term in general refers to housing developed with subsidies like tax dollars or grants reserved for residents based on income.

For the average person, affordable housing means not feeling like too much of your money goes to paying rent or a mortgage.

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Comments | Topics: affordabe housing, housing, Seattle

September 26, 2014 at 11:48 AM

Do city growth strategies subtly discourage car ownership?

MercerMess

Drivers and traffic enforcement officials struggled to deal with vehicular congestion on Mercer Street in this August 2012 photo. (Jordan Stead / The Seattle Times)

After a long evening of revelry while attending a soccer tournament in Portugal a few years ago, I was more than ready to grab a taxi home.
But that very American inclination to pay someone to do for me what I could do for myself was quickly rubbished by my new friend-in-football Jürgen Meier from Munich.

“No Robert,” I remember Jürgen protesting in a slightly lubricated Bavarian accent. “We can walk it!”

Not wanting to appear narrow-minded, I relented and I unhappily scaled a few miles of Lisbon’s undulating topography.

Sure, Jürgen insisted we walk home because it saved money, but his core motivation — like most Europeans — was that he came from a walking culture.

Americans, conversely, have an emphatic driving culture. We’ll drive three blocks to a convenience store. I know this because I’ve done it … many times.

And we’ve always liked our cars proportionate to our hedonistic appetites. American motorists proudly sported battleship steel monstrosities in the 1970s, and bogarted cramped roads with Hummers 20 years later. But in rapidly growing cities, the cult of the car is

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Comments | Topics: congestion, Seattle, traffic

September 11, 2014 at 6:01 AM

Seattle takes bold and necessary stand for net neutrality

The online homes for the City of Seattle and Mayor Ed Murray became protest sites on Wednesday, part of the nationwide “Internet slowdown” effort to oppose proposed federal regulations that would create a two-lane highway on the Internet — fast for those companies that can afford premium prices and slow for everyone else.

As seen in the screenshot below, a buffering icon signifying slower speeds was added to the Office of the Mayor’s website. In a blog post, Murray called on the Federal Communications Commission to preserve an open Internet that is equitable.

Screenshot of Mayor Ed Murray's website on Wednesday.

Screenshot of Seattle Mayor Ed Murray’s website on Wednesday.

Do you agree with the mayor’s stance? The Seattle Times editorial board does, as stated in numerous editorials over the past year.

Here’s an excerpt from a July 19 editorial:

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Comments | Topics: net neutrality, Seattle

September 5, 2014 at 6:04 AM

Reader responses to newcomers to Seattle: Most vulnerable Seattleites have reason to fear change

My recent editorial notebook and solicitation for experiences of new Seattle migrants produced an assortment of tales and, not surprisingly, a good dose of resentment.

Several readers replied emphatically to my suggestion that newcomers could contribute to the city’s growth with strong suggestions that I go back to where I came from. One email’s subject line summed up the sentiment: “Who asked you?”

“We aboriginals have loved and lived and appreciated what we have, just the way it was,” the email read. It finished: “Leave us alone,  we were doing just fine. Who says we want to evolve?”

A more thoughtful respondent boasted the following:

“Yes there’s a lot that can be made better, but not by you, who have no sense of place, people, or history. You have no investment, except perhaps financial, please take that investment with you and go.”

The authors may not have expected it, but I understand their reaction. Wherever this attitude surfaces, it usually comes from the most vulnerable with the most tenuous hold on an illusory stability.

Any change loosens their grasp on that already shaky stability, so it makes sense that any suggestion of change prompts fear.

When I said new arrivals could contribute to Seattle’s future – rather than be a drain on it – what some heard was that new arrivals “hate” Seattle and want to change what long-time residents cherish most about the city.

While Seattle certainly has an abundance of unique charms, it also has plenty to work on.

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Comments | Topics: Seattle

August 25, 2014 at 6:02 AM

3-minute recap: Video chat on problems, solutions for Washington’s mental health system

In case you missed last Thursday’s Google+ On Air Hangout on mental health care here in Washington state, here’s a three-minute highlight video from the nearly 45-minute long online chat. Watch the full replay and read The Seattle Times editorial board’s week-long series of editorials, which shine a bright light on the successes…

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Comments | Topics: mental health, psychiatric boarding, Seattle

August 14, 2014 at 6:03 AM

FCC should listen to tech-savvy Seattle and preserve open Internet

Well, Seattle residents have spoken. Many of them, anyway, in favor of preserving net neutrality and against creating a two-lane Internet highway in which Internet providers could charge some users more for faster access and connectivity. The Federal Communications Commission recently released about 1.1 million comments from its first comment period.  TechCrunch’s initial analysis found…

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Comments | Topics: fcc, net neutrality, Seattle

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