City Politics, Vaccination Status, and Kraken Readiness for Play, This Week
Bill Radke discusses the news of the week with Erica Barnett of PubliCola, Josh Farley of Kitsap Sun and David Hyde of KUOW.
We’re in the midst of this year’s local election, and with November looming, that means it’s advertising season. A recent attack announcement against Bruce Harrell does the rounds, claiming that Harrell accepted nearly $ 100,000 from Seattle’s top contributor Trump. KUOW’s David Hyde follows the story: Did Gonzalez see it before it aired? Could she have stopped him? What does she say? What does Harrell say? What evidence is there to suggest how this will play out with voters? A recent post from King County Council member Kathy Lambert is also causing a stir after being condemned by other council members for his racist images. Lambert is a 20-year-old starter and faces a tighter race than usual, and his post features board member Girmay Zahilay holding puppet strings tied to challenger Sarah Perry, and called the board member socialist. Zahilay – the only person of color on the county council – endorsed Perry alongside three other council members, but Zahilay was the only one in the photo. In response, Zahilay wrote: “I wonder why she chose and used the face of her only black colleague to scare the East Side.” What does Zahilay think of being called a socialist? And how did Republicans react to this? What do we know about the reaction of voters? His supporters? Also, any other races that caught your attention, or do you think it’s worth paying attention to at this point? In the latest city news, Mayor Jenny Durkan released her final budget, which offers a muddled approach to homelessness. The budget would send money to the new homeless authority while increasing funding for the parks department, which is in charge of camp sweeps. What have we deciphered to explain why the mayor is proposing this roaming funding reshuffle? What does it change ? And with a new mayor on the horizon, what is the likelihood that these decisions will have an impact?
In more news, a deadline is fast approaching for state and city employees: get vaccinated, or get fired. An emergency order from Governor Inslee requires state employees to be fully immunized by October 18 – this means you must have received your second injection (or just one injection if it’s Johnson and Johnson) before October 4, just two weeks from the 18th. For many employers, it has become a game of waiting. Employees are not required to show proof of vaccination by the 18th, so organizations are waiting to find out how many people they will need to replace. This includes the Seattle Police Department. As of Tuesday, a third of their agents had not yet presented proof of vaccination. At the city level, Mayor Dukan’s office told the Seattle weather that city employees had submitted 9,020 vaccination confirmations and about 700 exemption requests, describing the data as preliminary. Seattle has approximately 12,000 employees. The city made tentative agreements with most unions last month, but not with the Seattle Police Officers Guild. Last Friday, in an email to officers at the base, Police Guild Chairman Mike Solan said the SPD had “sent conflicting information to our members regarding the COVID vaccination verification schedule. -19 ”. Does this silence of SPD agents necessarily mean non-compliance? Is this part of a larger SPOG trading strategy? Is the fact that people haven’t yet submitted even a bad thing? After all, they haven’t reached the deadline to do so. What is the impact of having employees waiting to submit their vaccine information? Plus, there’s one person that Washington residents, or at least Cougars fans, are watching. WSU coach Nick Rolovich announced in July that he would not be vaccinated against Covid. He also said he would comply with Inslee’s vaccination mandate. But he has yet to say what compliance actually looks like. If Rolovich is aiming for an exemption, he should have submitted it by the start of this week. As of yet, we have no information on whether he actually did. Why are we watching his decision so closely? Is it important for Rolovich to keep this information to himself? And even if Rolovich is exempt from being vaccinated, can he still do his job without being vaccinated?
Also, if you own a car and have driven around Seattle, you’ve probably been honked. But apparently it’s more likely now than before. A new poll by PEMCO Insurance shows that a majority of Washington and Oregon residents surveyed “use the horn as a communication tool.” According to the survey, 68% of drivers think it’s possible to honk now, up from 46% in 2017. Do you honk on the road? Do you mind when people honk at you? Does this mean a loss of “Seattle culture”? With more new people, less adherence to polite conduct?
Three new light rail stations opened last weekend, ushering in a new era of city travel. Have you ever taken a tour? The opening is long overdue by many and marks the first rapid transit route between north and south Seattle, which, as KUOW reported, is of both excitement and concern. What impact will these new stations have on their outlying neighborhoods? Aside from the fresh coat of paint, the new stations are also pleasing to the eye. The University District station includes color-coded light installations to help guide cyclists and includes a video art installation on its walls. Roosevelt and Northgate stations also feature significant artwork, and Sound Transit has spent $ 2.5 million to make sure the stations are fun to wait around. This is in stark contrast to the South Seattle stations, which have small platforms and few restrooms. Why are some stations more “chic” than others? Is it fair to compare north to south? Do we need “fancy” light rail stations – that is, what’s the use?
And finally, after the Mariners suffer another disappointing (albeit exciting) playoff loss, and with the Seahawks making inconsistent progress, Seattle sports fans need a rebound. They’ll get it this week when Seattle pitch the Kraken against the Las Vegas Golden Knights in the first regular-season game in franchise history. So far, the Kraken have set jersey sales records and have drawn strong preseason crowds in Spokane, Everett and Kent. So is Seattle becoming a hockey town? Or Washington a hockey state? Speaking of Climate Pledge Arena, the official opening of the renovated arena won’t be for a few weeks, which means Seattle won’t be able to enjoy a ‘real’ home game until October 23, giving the season a somewhat awkward launch pad. At this point, the Kraken has a busy schedule to start with (Tuesday’s game will be in Las Vegas). Do you plan to go there this season? Who is feeling the hype? How will the new Kraken-Canucks rivalry compare to Sounders-Timbers-Whitecaps? Are rivalries making the region more connected?