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The Today File

Your guide to the latest news from around the Northwest

Category: Politics
August 14, 2014 at 1:03 PM

Court’s psychiatric boarding ban will cost Washington tens of millions

Complying with the state Supreme Court’s recent ban on warehousing psychiatric patients in hospital emergency rooms will cost Washington’s already underfunded mental health system tens of millions of dollars, health administrators said Thursday morning. The state has been scrambling to respond to the high court’s ruling for the past week, but so far has only been able to free…

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Comments | Topics: Andi Smith, Department of Social and Health Services, Gov. Jay Inslee

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 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

June 16, 2014 at 1:44 PM

Deal jettisons driver caps for Seattle ride-service companies

Ride-service providers Lyft, Sidecar and uberX won’t be limited to 150 drivers on the street at a time under new regulations negotiated by the companies and Mayor Ed Murray’s office. The deal also would give hailing rights to taxi companies such as Eastside for Hire, allowing them to better compete. The city also will issue 200…

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Comments | More in General news, Politics | Topics: Ed Murray, Lyft, Seattle City Council

June 12, 2014 at 2:03 PM

Pete Holmes apologizes for charter amendment gaffe

Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes today apologized for his office’s failure to recognize that a 15 Now charter amendment couldn’t appear on the city ballot until 2015. “I have apologized to our city clients for not spotting the voter-proposed charter amendment issue sooner, and for not concluding our research sooner. I am committed to ensure that the CAO…

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Comments | Topics: 15 Now, minimum wage, Pete Holmes

June 4, 2014 at 3:40 PM

U.S. high court refuses to halt same-sex weddings in Oregon

The Associated Press SALEM, Ore.  — The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday refused to halt same-sex weddings in Oregon while a federal appeals court considers whether a group opposed to gay marriage can intervene in the case. The order follows an emergency appeal by the National Organization for Marriage, which seeks to overturn U.S. District Judge Michael…

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Comments | More in General news, Politics

June 4, 2014 at 2:33 PM

New voter’s guide wording for Seattle Parks District proposal

The Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission Tuesday agreed with opponents of a proposed Seattle Parks District that the wording submitted for the city voter’s guide wasn’t adequate. The commission voted 5-0 to add language that gives the maximum property tax that can be levied and notes that a new parks district can levy taxes above the current…

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Comments | Topics: Seattle City Council, Seattle Displacement Coalition, Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission

June 3, 2014 at 5:20 PM

Ex-Kent council member pleads guilty to stealing $300K from mother

A former Kent City council member pleaded guilty today to seven counts of first-degree theft and mortgage fraud for stealing nearly $300,000 from his mother’s bank account to shore up his failing business and fund vacations. Kenneth D. Sharp, 67, could face more than 3 1/2 years in prison when he is sentenced June 20. However, prosecutors…

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Comments | More in General news, Politics, The Blotter | Topics: Kent City Council, theft

May 30, 2014 at 8:05 PM

Judge tweaks ballot title for Seattle parks measure

A King County Superior Court judge has changed slightly the ballot title for a measure that would create a Seattle Parks District. After a lawsuit was filed challenging its sufficiency, Judge John Ruhl Friday added to the title the maximum amount of property taxes that could be levied under the measure — up to 75 cents on $1,000…

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Comments | More in General news, Politics

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