Follow us:

UW Election Eye 2012

Campaign 2012 through the eyes of UW faculty and students

Topic: Seattle

You are viewing the most recent posts on this topic.

June 11, 2012 at 6:30 AM

A Seattle woman named Melanie: young, pregnant, and homeless

Melanie, a homeless woman on a Seattle street corner on May 3, 2012. (Photo by Thor Tolo/UW Election Eye)

During election cycles, much attention is paid to the economy, and more specifically, job creation. UWEE talked to a homeless woman in Seattle about how she found herself on the street after her career faltered, which provides a sobering reminder of how easily it could happen to others.

SEATTLE — Melanie has bright eyes, a welcoming smile, and a wicked laugh. She is 27 years old, a jewelry artist, an expectant mother, and a self-proclaimed Republican. A former Whidbey Island resident, Melanie currently lives on the streets. She panhandles for a living, sleeping in doorways with her boyfriend and her dog Duke.

Five years ago, Melanie’s life was very different. She explained that she owned her own home and a successful jewelry business. Then the economy turned.  “The tourists started buying cheap key chains and stopped buying my jewelry,” she said.  Without reliable income, she found herself struggling to make ends meet. First, the career she built was lost. The house followed.

While standing on the corner of 45th and University Way, a stone’s throw from the University of Washington campus, Melanie and Duke hold court. Melanie displays a sign asking for money for marijuana and beer. She says that the sign is more for the amusement of those that pass her on the streets than anything else: local college kids will give to a cause when they readily agree with the sentiment. A young man stops and gives Melanie two cigarettes and she tucks one behind each ear. He laughs, then gives her two more to which she responds, “I only have two ears!” and pretends to give them to her dog. A college-aged young man hands Melanie ten bucks and tells her to buy Duke dog food, to which she smiles and says, “I will! Thanks!”


Comments | More in Local | Topics: Homelessness, Republican, Seattle

May 7, 2012 at 6:42 PM

Stranded on top of Snoqualmie Pass provides an opportunity for storytelling

Greyhound Bus station. (Courtesy of Omar Omar on

Greyhound Bus station. (Courtesy of Omar Omar on

En route to Spokane, Washington a Greyhound bus experienced engine trouble and pulled off to the side of the road to await help. This created an opportunity to talk with the passengers — everyday people — about politics and issues that are important to them.

SNOQUALMIE PASS, Wa. – The Friday mid-morning Greyhound bus from Seattle to Spokane was already running late. Passengers waited patiently in line for the bus to arrive, and then to walk to the boarding area, and finally to board.  The bus driver stood at the front of the bus after all had been seated, and in no uncertain terms discussed all the reasons he may have to pull the bus to the side of the road should he feel the need. Drinking, sneaking alcohol onto the bus, loud or obnoxious behavior, disturbing fellow passengers, or bothering the driver.  The bus pulled out of the station maneuvering through city traffic, onto Interstate 90 and up to the mountain pass towards Eastern Washington.

About 90 minutes into the drive, the bus slowed, and pulled over to the side of the road.  You could hear murmurs and whispers about smoke coming from the back of the bus, and the driver got on the radio to headquarters.  Those of us in the front of the bus could hear him talking to dispatch, giving details and grumbling that he’d been so close to reaching the top of the pass, if only he’d had made it….now he feared he would have to return to Seattle.  The driver got off the bus, checked the engine, and decided to forge on a few hundred feet to a safer place where passengers could stretch their legs and get a bite to eat.  The side of the road outside of a convenience store at the summit of Snoqualmie Pass was to be our resting place for the next three hours, until help arrived.


Comments | More in Local | Topics: Greyhound bus, Seattle, Snoqualmie Pass

May 1, 2012 at 3:06 PM

May Day protests turn violent early

Breakaway protestors at today’s May Day events in downtown Seattle broke windows and lit off an incendiary device at the U.S. Courthouse.

Protestor being treated for a cut on his hand. (Photo by Dan Thornton/UW Election Eye)

SEATTLE — A modest turnout at today’s May Day events in downtown Seattle  didn’t prevent a determined band of anarchists from inflicting damage to two Seattle buildings. Just after noon approximately 150 protestors took to the streets in what was advertised as an “Anti-capitalist march.” The protestors left a few hundred more protestors in Westlake Park before heading west on Pike Street toward Third Avenue. The march was mostly peaceful and self-governed as it moved south. Most of the protestors were peacefully chanting and dancing, but an ominous group of anarchists, clad in all black, in the middle of the procession looked determined to shake events up as they moved along the procession.

When the marchers turned east on Seneca Street, several masked protestors broke from the ranks and began throwing rocks and debris at the windows of the Wells Fargo on the corner of Fourth and Seneca. One protestor had what looked to be a large wooden pole and was successful in punching a large hole into the bank’s ATM lobby window with it. Several others hurled rocks and paint at the front windows and quickly ran off. There were no police at the scene. Frightened bank workers ducked out of the way as the march pushed on towards Sixth Avenue. Some other businesses along the route were also damaged, including the Washington Athletic Club and Niketown. People at the head of the march seemed to be unaware of the broken windows and proceeded peacefully toward Sixth Avenue.


Comments | More in Local | Topics: May Day, Police, Protestors

April 21, 2012 at 8:29 AM

Many in Washington state still in search of a job, despite 3,300 new jobs in March

Washington state has unemployment rates consistently above the national average and, despite modest job growth in March, many Washingtonians are still looking for a job.

SEATTLE — Anyone who’s faced unemployment knows the real story isn’t told by the numbers.  Against the backdrop of Washington state’s recent “meh” unemployment stat, preliminarily 8.3%, Jobbernaut’s “Greater Seattle Diversity Job Fair” was held Wednesday at Seattle Center’s Exhibition Hall bringing together a wide spectrum of job seekers and employers.


Graph and chart of unemployment numbers and job growth areas combined for Washington state.

The chart on left shows unemployment numbers in Washington state for the period of March 2007 through March 2012. The illustration on the right shows the sector distribution of job creation for the period of March 2011 through March 2012. (Data visualization by Corey Murata/UW Election Eye.)


Comments | More in Economy, Local, State | Topics: Jobbernaut, Jobs, Seattle

April 20, 2012 at 1:30 PM

As Primanti Brothers goes, so goes Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh, Pa. The flagship location of Primanti Brothers, an iconic eatery established in 1933. (Photo by Rachel Crick/UW Election Eye)

Iconic sandwich shops have become a metaphor for Pennsylvania’s second largest city not just surviving — but thriving — in America’s struggling economy.

PITTSBURGH — The sight of eight exhausted Harley Davidson motorcycle riders rolling into Primanti Brothers in the heart of Pittsburgh’s Strip District may seem unremarkable just past quittin’ time on a muggy April afternoon, but a closer look at the backs of their jet-black, patch-covered jackets reveals a metaphor for this city’s revitalized downtown.

These self-described rednecks from little London, Kentucky were not just killing time after clocking out for the night. No, they were in town because all they’ve heard about these past few years is how downtown Pittsburgh is both fabulously entertaining and immune to the recession.


Comments | More in National | Topics: Belltown, Detroit, Economy

April 20, 2012 at 11:30 AM

King County has low number of registered Asian American voters, leaders taking action

Linh Vu and Nancy Huang ask a Beacon Hill resident if she's registered to vote. (Photo by Kat Chow/UW Election Eye)

Despite a growing population, Washington’s Asian Pacific Islander community has a disproportionately low percentage of registered voters. This election season, community leaders are launching a big push to change that.

SEATTLE — Nancy Huang, a senior at Garfield High School, had never canvassed before.

But there she was on a sunny afternoon in Beacon Hill, standing nervously on the front steps of a stranger’s porch. The rest of her doorbelling team — an international student from Vietnam and a labor union member — watched from the sidewalk. Huang wondered if she’d have to resort to her “not so great” Mandarin in order to ask: “Are you registered to vote?”


Comments | More in Local | Topics: Asian American Pacific Islanders, Election 2012, Local

April 16, 2012 at 7:49 AM

Light turnout at Seattle-area Democratic caucuses may signal apathy, overconfidence, or a sunny day

With reporting by Alicia Halberg and Stephanie Kim

Democrats held their legislative caucuses on Sunday to help decide the party’s platform and select the presidential nominee. With Obama guaranteed the nomination, many simply didn’t see any point in attending.

Caucus sign fail at Beacon Hill International School (Photo by Dan Thornton/UW Election Eye)

Caucus sign fail at Beacon Hill International School (Photo by Dan Thornton/UW Election Eye)


Only 24 people showed up for the meeting of Washington’s 36th legislative district caucuses at Whittier Elementary in Ballard, where 15 precincts met to caucus.

Alice Woldt, former chairwoman of the King County Democratic Party and former chair of the 36th district Democrats, convened the caucuses at Whittier. She said the district had tried to reach out to potential caucus-goers using local media, calling those who came out in 2008, robocalls in the area, and having caucus officers talk to their neighbors.

“With all of the media attention on the other party, we need to build up energy and enthusiasm, otherwise people won’t think that we’ve got anything going on,” Woldt said.


Comments | More in Local | Topics: Ballard, Barack Obama, Beacon Hill

April 15, 2012 at 2:10 PM

One year, many changes in the 46th LD – part 1

The 46th legislative district, covering Northeast Seattle, Lake Forest Park and Kenmore, has a whole new shape, and a whole new slate of candidates following formative events within the last year.

46th LD – old in red, new in blue | View in a larger map

This was the home district of the late Sen. Scott White whose untimely passing last year left a hole not only in Olympia, but also in the heart of the 46th. White would have been the majority whip and vice-chair of the transportation committee this session.


Comments | More in Local | Topics: 46th Legislative District, Demographics, Election 2012

April 15, 2012 at 1:00 PM

Seattle might learn from Philadelphia on sports stadiums

Citizens Bank Park

View from Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, PA (Photo by David Domke/UW Election Eye).

PHILADELPHIA — Sports stadiums are a big deal for cities.

They cost a lot of money to build, their teams inspire passion among fans and loathing among rivals, they spur significant revenue among restaurants and other businesses in the vicinity, and they draw traffic like honey draws bees. We know all this well in Seattle.

In Philadelphia on Sunday, I saw the upsides.


Comments | More in National | Topics: Citizens Bank Park, Cultural sights, Philadelphia

March 2, 2012 at 3:16 PM

Where the candidates go matters: Ron Paul is the only candidate coming to Seattle

Republican presidential candidates campaign stops around Seattle, WA. For the Republican presidential candidates, actions can definitely speak louder than words. Tonight at 7:30pm, Seattleites will welcome their first and only Republican presidential candidate to town: Ron Paul. Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, and Mitt Romney have all skirted around the Emerald City. The closest Santorum…


Comments | Topics: Barack Obama, Democrats, Demographics