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The Today File

Your guide to the latest news from around the Northwest

Category: Government
July 28, 2014 at 6:16 PM

SPD Chief O’Toole announces top staff appointments

Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole today announced her first major appointment to her top staff. In a posting on a department website, O’Toole wrote: “I am pleased to announce that I have added Mike Wagers to my staff as SPD’s Chief Operating Officer. Mike will oversee the Patrol Support Bureau, Administrative Services, Information Technology, Human Resources and…

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Comments | More in General news, Government, The Blotter | Topics: Kathleen O'Toole, Mayor Ed Murray, Seattle Police Department

July 27, 2014 at 12:30 PM

Pierce Co. councilman wants ‘In God We Trust’ in chambers

TACOMA (AP) — The Pierce County Council is considering displaying the national motto of “In God We Trust” in its chambers. The Tacoma News Tribune reports the resolution by councilman Jim McCune will be considered on Monday by a subcommittee with final action scheduled for Tuesday. McCune says “In God We Trust” is a national motto…

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Comments | More in Government, Religion | Topics: chamber, In God We Trust, patriotic

July 27, 2014 at 10:33 AM

Former Mayor Paul Schell dies

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Former Seattle Mayor Paul Schell died Sunday morning at Swedish hospital. Schell, who served as mayor from 1998 to 2002 was remembered as a “great city builder” by Mayor Ed Murray, whose office announced the death. Schell was 76.

Schell’s rocky term as mayor was marked by public-safety and political crises including the chaotic 1999 WTO protests and 2001 Mardi Gras riot — events that doomed his reelection bid.

But civic leaders praised Schell as a visionary civic leader who left a lasting imprint on Seattle, starting decades before his election as mayor.

“As a citizen activist, lawyer, director of community development, port commissioner, dean of architecture and mayor he directly shaped the civic infrastructure of Seattle for more than 40 years,” Murray said in a news release.

As mayor, Schell led a successful $196 million Libraries for All bond campaign that funded a new downtown library and rebuilt many neighborhood branch libraries. He also championed a $198 million levy for parks and the zoo, and a $72 million effort that mingled public and private dollars to renovate the Seattle Center Opera House and community centers.

“He had a vision for the city that got articulated in bricks and mortar,” friend and former Mayor Charles Royer said in an interview. “I think if it were not for a couple of those bumps, he would have been been regarded as much more effective than he was given credit for. And he is, in my book, one of the most productive mayors we’ve ever had.”

But Schell’s only term was marred by a string of bad news. The 1999 WTO ministerial conference, which Schell had sought for the city, turned into a fiasco of tear gas, property damage and mass arrests. Two years later, during Mardi Gras, a young man was beaten to death in Pioneer Square while police remained on the sidelines of the unruly crowds. As if that weren’t enough, Boeing announced its corporate headquarters would move to Chicago.

By the time Schell ran for reelection, voters were fed up. He placed third in the 2001 primary, behind then-City Attorney Mark Sidran and then-King County Councilman Greg Nickels, who went on to win the general election.

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Comments | More in General news, Government, Politics | Topics: Former Mayor Paul Schell, Mayor Ed Murray

July 16, 2014 at 7:23 AM

Wildfires prompt state of emergency declaration

OLYMPIA (AP) — A state of emergency has been declared in 20 Eastern Washington counties because of multiple wildfires that threaten several hundred homes. The declaration allows officials to get help from the Washington National Guard and the State Guard if needed. It also directs state agencies to help local governments in responding to wildfires. State officials…

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Comments | More in General news, Government | Topics: emergency declaration, wildfires

July 15, 2014 at 11:31 AM

Poll: Strong support for gun background checks

The Associated Press A new poll shows strong support among Washington voters for a ballot initiative that would require background checks on all firearm sales in the state. The Elway Poll found that 70 percent of people were inclined to vote for Initiative 594. The same poll showed that 46 percent of people were inclined to vote…

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Comments | More in General news, Government, Politics | Topics: background checks, Elway, guns

July 14, 2014 at 11:03 AM

Lottery winner fined for clearing brush, trees on San Juan Island

The Associated Press Washington state regulators have fined a property owner $79,000 for illegal clearing sensitive shoreline on San Juan Island. The Department of Ecology last week issued two penalties to Orca Dreams LLC for illegally cutting down at least 80 trees and allowing polluting material to enter False Bay. KUOW-reports that Orca Dreams was…

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Comments | More in Environment, General news, Government | Topics: fine, illegal clearing, lottery

July 10, 2014 at 7:35 AM

Lawn watering limit requested in Bellingham

BELLINGHAM (AP) — The city of Bellingham is asking residents to limit lawn watering to conserve drinking water this summer. Residents with odd-numbers addresses are asked to limit watering to Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays. Residents with even-number addresses are asked to water only on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. KGMI reports no one should water on…

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Comments | More in General news, Government | Topics: bellingham, lawns, water conservation

July 7, 2014 at 4:39 PM

Seattle council repeals ride-service regulations

The Seattle City Council, in a 6-3 vote today, repealed regulations it approved just months ago for app-dispatched ride services like uberX and Lyft. With hopes of ending a year-and-a-half-long debate over how to fairly and safely regulate all ride services, including taxis and for-hire vehicles, most if not all council members hinted they were ready…

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Comments | Topics: Lyft, ride services, Seattle City Council

July 2, 2014 at 4:12 PM

Murray names new city transportation chief

A former big-city transportation deputy with experience in developing transit, street cars, bike lanes and pedestrian routes is Seattle Mayor Ed Murray’s choice to lead the city transportation department. Scott Kubly, who was previously a deputy transportation director in both Washington D.C. and Chicago, will take over the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) July 28 on an interim basis…

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Comments | Topics: Peter Hahn, Scott Kubly, Seattle Department of Transportation

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