Can Mayor Harrell get the Seattle City Council’s favor? Today So Far

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  • There’s a new plan to craft a drug law in Seattle. Will the council approve?
  • PACs and Seattle’s elections.
  • Pickleball vs tennis.

This post originally appeared in KUOW’s Today So Far newsletter for Aug. 1, 2023.

Quick hits

Mac vs PC. Star Trek vs Star Wars. BBC’s 1995 “Pride And Prejudice” vs “Bridget Jones’ Diary.” These are the debates we have. And now … pickleball vs tennis?

That’s the takeaway I got from the demonstration that followed the Seattle Open pickleball tournament. The event wrapped up last weekend, and you may recall that there was some drama leading up to it. Seattle’s pickleball courts weren’t in good enough condition for the tournament, so the Professional Pickleball Association footed the bill to give some local tennis courts a facelift, converting them to pickleball standards. But following the event, the sites were converted back into tennis courts.

That rubbed pickleball fans the wrong way. They argue that since pickleball’s popularity has skyrocketed, the city needs to nix its tennis courts in favor of their preferred game. A group has started a campaign to get the city to create 24 new pickleball courts by 2024. And to make their point to city leaders, they held a “funeral.” Read all about that here.

When people running for office sign up for Seattle’s Democracy Voucher Program, they agree to a certain funding format — take small donations. Thankfully for some candidates, there are PACs.

In short, people can only donate so much to political candidates, and those candidates have campaign funding rules. But Political Action Committees have the ability to raise and spend money as they see fit. In Seattle’s case, a PAC called the University Neighbors Committee is backing District 4 council candidate Maritza Rivera.

KUOW’s David Hyde points to this PAC as an example of how such funding has increased ever since the city’s Democracy Voucher Program kicked in six years ago. Former Costco CEO Jim Sinegal lives over in Issaquah. He donated a total of $20,000 to two PACs ($10,000 each). There are about 18 major donors to these groups. Those PACs are supporting certain council candidates in Seattle. You may see this result in advertisements for or against candidates. For the full story, read here.

Mayor Bruce Harrell is more concerned with the current Seattle City Council right now. He’s got a new plan and he is seeking its favor.

Remember back in June when the council voted down a public drug use proposal? It was meant to align the city’s code with the state law on this. Following that rejection, Harrell formed a task force to come up with a proposal that could get the approval of a majority of the council. He’s now submitted a new bill for the council to consider.

One immediate observation: Councilmember Andrew Lewis was included on the press release for this. When the previous drug possession law failed, Lewis was sort of viewed as the swing vote that doomed it. Now, he has a statement praising this new bill, which is interesting. When government types push out announcements, they often send them with some canned quotes from various officials, hyping the issue. These statements can be plugged into reporting … like I did with this article. When the mayor’s office sent this news out, Lewis was among the handful of statements that were included. That may indicate this bill has a chance of surviving, since he was that swing vote. Of course, there are eight other council members. So we’ll have to wait and see.

What’s in this bill that is so different? Read more here.


caption: Justin Ingram with Vehicle Resident Outreach visits an encampment before it is cleared on Tuesday, July 18, 2023.

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Justin Ingram with Vehicle Resident Outreach visits an encampment in Seattle’s SoDo neighborhood before it is cleared on Tuesday, July 18, 2023. People living in vehicles report that they’ve been forced to move around a lot more these days. (Casey Martin / KUOW)


On Aug. 1, 1996, “A Game of Thrones” was first published. This is the first book in George R.R. Martin’s now-famous fantasy series, “A Song of Ice and Fire.” Fifteen years later, HBO aired a TV series based on this book, and unless you’ve been living under a rock, we all know what happened after that. But it all would never have happened if Martin chose differently back in the 1970s, while in college, planning his post-graduation career. He almost went into chess.

Martin wrote a blog a few years back, praising the miniseries “The Queen’s Gambit.” He revealed that chess was once a major priority in his life and he considered making a career out of it after college. In the end, he opted to become a writer instead, mainly because chess didn’t pay as well for him as it did Beth Harmon on TV. His first published work was a short story in a magazine in 1971. He published a children’s book called “The Ice Dragon” in 1980. During this time, he taught English and journalism at Clarke College in Iowa, but he kept writing fantasy and horror stories. That ended up diverting him, sort of, to another career change — television.

A Hollywood producer liked one of his novels and invited him to write for the 1980s revival of “The Twilight Zone.” After that, he wrote for the “Max Headroom” TV show, and a TV version of “Beauty and the Beast” until it was cancelled in 1990. In 1991, Martin got an idea for a fantasy novel. The more he worked on it, the longer the story got and he began to plan a six-novel series. That effort became “Game of Thrones.”


caption: Bronze statue of Henrietta Lacks by sculptor Helen Wilson-Roe located at Royal Fort House, Bristol, England. The statue was unveiled in October 2021.

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Henrietta Lacks’ descendants reach a settlement over the use of her ‘stolen’ cells

The family of Henrietta Lacks has reached a settlement with a science and technology company it says used cells taken without Lacks’ consent in the 1950s to develop products it later sold for a profit.


Credit TO Owner