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Stories about Washington

Seattle to decide on Social Housing Developer initiative on Feb. 14

On Feb. 14, Seattle voters will decide on Initiative 135, an initiative to create the Seattle Social Housing Developer, a public development authority to own, develop, and maintain what the initiative describes as social housing. According to Initiative 135, this housing would provide publicly financed apartments that are “removed from market forces and speculation” and built “with the express aim of housing people equitably and affordably … to remain affordable in perpetuity.”

Under Initiative 135, the public developer’s housing units would be available to those with a mix of income ranges from 0% to 120% of the area median income (which was $120,907 as of 2022). Rent prices would be limited to 30% of household income. Applications would not include prior rental references, co-signers, background checks, or application fees. Tenants would be selected using a lottery-based system.

As a public corporation, the Seattle Social Housing Developer would be allowed to issue bonds, receive federal funds and grants, receive private funds, and collect revenue for services.

House Our Neighbors! (HON), also known as Yes on I-135, is sponsoring the initiative. House our Neighbors needed to submit 26,520 valid signatures to qualify for the ballot. The group submitted 27,220 valid signatures.

HON stated, “Social Housing is publicly owned forever, permanently affordable, and creates cross-class communities and resident leadership. In countries around the world, such as Singapore, Austria, France, Uruguay and Canada, housing is a public good. Unlike in the United States, governments, not the private sector, are directing the housing market. By creating a community-controlled Social Housing Developer to buy and build housing that will be available to those across the income spectrum, Seattle will have another critical tool to address the suffering, displacement, and inequity that defines our housing landscape. We can create a Seattle not just for those with generational wealth and high incomes, but where ALL can live and thrive.”

The measure has received endorsements from State Sens. Joe Nguyen (D) and Rebecca Saldana (D) and State Reps. Frank Chopp (D) and Nicole Macri (D). It is also endorsed by the Green Party of Seattle and the Working Families Party of Washington.

The Housing Development Consortium, a non-profit organization based in Seattle with a mission to “build, sustain, and inspire a diverse network committed to producing, preserving, and increasing equitable access to affordable homes” released a statement on Initiative 135, writing, “The primary constraint on our ability to scale proven affordable housing models is the limited public resources available to fund affordable housing. … we are concerned [the initiative] distracts funds and energy away from what our community should be focusing on – scaling up affordable housing for low-income people. We do not need another government entity to build housing when there are already insufficient resources to fund existing entities. … The proposed new public development authority (PDA) would not have the authority to impose taxes on its own, so the funds necessary to set up the additional citywide PDA would likely draw from existing affordable housing funding that could otherwise be dedicated to creating homes for our lowest-income neighbors.”

Currently, the Seattle Housing Authority, an independent public corporation, provides low-income housing and rental assistance to 17,945 households. The SHA owns and operates 8,530 apartments and single-family homes in Seattle. Eighty-five percent of SHA housing serves households with incomes at or below 30% of the area median income (about $36,270). Funding for the Seattle Housing Authority comes from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), rent revenue, and public and private grants. The Social Housing Developer would not replace the Seattle Housing Authority.

Mail ballots must be postmarked no later than February 14 or returned to a ballot drop box by 8 p.m. on February 14. In Washington, individuals who prefer to vote in person rather than by mail may do so at voting centers, which are open during business hours for 18 days prior to the election. Washington allows for same-day voter registration.



No signatures submitted for Washington Initiatives to the Legislature by Dec. 30 deadline

The deadline to submit signatures for Initiatives to the Legislature in Washington (ITL) was Dec. 30, 2022. Initiatives to the Legislature is the name of indirect ballot initiatives in Washington. The Washington Secretary of State’s office confirmed to Ballotpedia on January 3 that signatures were not submitted for any of the 179 filed initiatives. If proponents of any of the initiatives had submitted 324,516 valid signatures by Dec. 30, those initiatives would have been sent to the Washington State Legislature during its 2023 session, set to begin on Jan. 9.

The legislature would have then taken one of three actions:

  1. The legislature can adopt the initiative as proposed, in which case it becomes law without a vote of the people.
  2. The legislature can reject or refuse to act on the proposed initiative, in which case the initiative must be placed on the ballot at the next state general election.
  3. The legislature can approve an alternative to the proposed initiative, in which case both the original proposal and the legislature’s alternative must be placed on the ballot at the next state general election.

The last ITL to appear on the ballot was Initiative 976 sponsored by Tim Eyman to limit car tab renewal fees to $30 in 2019. During the 20-year period from 1999 to 2019, 12 Initiatives to the Legislature were on the ballot, of which, six were approved and six were defeated.

The first day to file Initiatives to the People (ITP) in Washington is Jan. 9. For Initiatives to the People—which are direct initiatives in Washington—a total of 324,516 valid signatures are required to qualify for the ballot. The last day to submit signatures for ITPs is July 7, 2023. As of Jan. 4, 2023, no Initiatives to the People had been filed. ITPs do not have to go before the legislature, and if enough valid signatures are submitted, ITPs are placed on the next general election ballot for a vote of the people.

The last time an ITP was on the ballot was in 2018 when voters decided on three initiatives concerning a carbon fee, firearm restrictions, and taxes on groceries. From 1999 to 2018, 49 Initiatives to the People were on the ballot, of which, 32 were approved and 17 were defeated.

A total of 61 measures appeared on statewide ballots in Washington during odd years between 1999 and 2021. Thirty-four measures (56%) were approved, and 27 measures (44%) were defeated.

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Richland school board enacts new policy on race in U.S. history lessons

The Richland School Board in Washington state, which governs the 583rd largest school district in the country with 14,221 students, voted 4-1 on October 25, 2022, to adopt Policy 2360, which specifies how teachers can discuss race in U.S. history lessons. It is one of several recent responses to trends in curriculum development tracked on Ballotpedia.

Titled “Race, Culture, and the Curriculum”, Policy 2360 prohibits curriculum that causes students to become, in its view, “indoctrinated in the belief that the U.S. is fundamentally or systemically racist”, according to the policy guidelines. It also bars teachings that give preferential or disparaging treatment to any student. 

Krista Calvin, educator and president of the Richland Education Association, argued against the policy by saying, “The problem that I have specifically with this policy, as a teacher of 25 years in the state of Washington, is that I feel it paints all teachers with a very broad brush and furthers a nationwide agenda that’s really aiming more to villainize teachers rather than to lift them up as they try to do the important work they’re doing with students.” 

Richland School Board member and policy proponent Semi Bird, who requested the board vote on Policy 2360, argued in a candidate promotional video posted on Youtube last summer, “CRT is a Marxist and anti-American proposition that will poison our society and the minds of our children. We must not allow this divisive curriculum to enter our school system.”

Additional links:

https://ballotpedia.org/Richland_School_District,_Washington

Reference links:

https://www.tri-cityherald.com/news/local/education/article267944257.html

https://app.eduportal.com/documents/view/848685

https://youtu.be/vjquSsF26GQ

https://www.tri-cityherald.com/news/local/education/article267786007.html



All candidates for Northeast Division judge of King County District Court in Washington complete Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey

Both of the candidates running in the November 8, 2022, general election for Northeast Division judge of King County District Court in Washington — incumbent Michael Finkle and Joshua Schaer — completed Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey. These survey responses allow voters to hear directly from candidates about what motivates them to run for office. 

According to the King County website, the “King County District Court is one of the busiest courts in Washington state, and is a leader in many areas involving public safety and access to justice.” The court is responsible for hearing cases related to civil litigation matters up to $100,000 per claimant, small claims matters up to $10,000, and nuisance violations, among others.

Here are excerpts from candidates’ responses to the question: What are the main points you want voters to remember about your goals for your time in office?            

Finkle:                   

  • “There is more to being a judge than making decisions in Court. An excellent judge should improve the court system. I have a demonstrated history, as recently as June of 2022, of successfully doing just that.”
  • “Improvements to the court system don’t happen by chance. They require advance planning. I have plans in mind for changes over the next 1-4 years, including how to carry out those changes.”
  • “Some of the biggest steps in providing access to justice for all involve very small gestures. Because of my experience as a judge, I am aware of those small gestures and I have been using them over the years.”

Schaer:           

  • “As a King County District Court Judge, Joshua Schaer will reduce backlogged dockets and guide individuals to improve their lives through community-based services while holding repeat offenders accountable.”
  • “Joshua Schaer’s colleagues in the Attorney General’s Office and nonpartisan endorsers know his good character, attention to detail, and thoughtful consideration of important issues.”
  • “Joshua Schaer will encourage legislators to continue budgetary support for court programs that benefit disadvantaged individuals. Additionally, he will advocate for greater funding toward legal aid and mediation services that can assist litigants in civil cases.”

Click on candidates’ profile pages below to read their full responses to this and other questions.

We ask all federal, state, and local candidates with profiles on Ballotpedia to complete a survey and share what motivates them on political and personal levels. Ask the candidates in your area to fill out the survey.

Additional reading:

King County Municipal elections, 2022



All candidates for Washington House of Representatives District 19 – Position 1 complete Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey

Both of the candidates running in the November 8, 2022, general election for Washington House of Representatives District 19-Position 1  — incumbent Jim Walsh (R) and Kelli Hughes-Ham (D)  — completed Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey. These survey responses allow voters to hear directly from candidates about what motivates them to run for office.

Eighty-eight of the country’s 99 state legislative chambers will hold regularly scheduled elections in 2022. The Democratic Party controls both chambers of Washington’s state legislature. Washington is one of 14 states with a Democratic trifecta.

Here are excerpts from candidates’ responses to the question: What are the main points you want voters to remember about your goals for your time in office?                

Walsh:           

  • “Restore balanced, constitutional government in Olympia.”
  • “Return the ability to chase criminal suspects and fight crime to our law enforcement agencies.”
  • “Give the people of Washington reasonable tax relief: especially property, sales and fuel tax relief.”

Hughes-Ham:       

  • “We deserve a representative who will actively fight for engaging, relevant public education, fully-funded and accessible to all.”
  • “We deserve a representative who fights for strong local industry that utilizes realistic climate solutions.”
  • “We deserve a representative who fights for safe, inclusive communities with ample, affordable housing.”

Click on candidates’ profile pages below to read their full responses to this and other questions.

We ask all federal, state, and local candidates with profiles on Ballotpedia to complete a survey and share what motivates them on political and personal levels. Ask the candidates in your area to fill out the survey.

Additional reading:

Washington House of Representatives election, 2022



All candidates for Washington State Senate District 35 complete Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey

Both of the candidates running in the November 8, 2022, general election for Washington State Senate District 35  —  Julianne Gale (D) and Drew MacEwen (R) — completed Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey. These survey responses allow voters to hear directly from candidates about what motivates them to run for office.

Eighty-eight of the country’s 99 state legislative chambers will hold regularly scheduled elections in 2022. The Democratic Party controls both chambers of Washington’s state legislature. Washington is one of 14 states with a Democratic trifecta.

Here are excerpts from candidates’ responses to the question: What areas of public policy are you personally passionate about?   

Gale:

“Creating an Economy That Works for Everyone • Addressing the Climate Crisis by Sensibly Transitioning to a Livable Future • Respecting Tribal Sovereignty • Championing Our Public Schools • Accessible & Affordable Healthcare • Gun Safety • Safe & Affordable Housing”

MacEwen:           

“As a senior member of the House Appropriations committee I am very concerned about our state having sustainable budgets. With that we can ensure we have a strong economy, well funded K12 education, and proper funding for public safety.”

Click on candidates’ profile pages below to read their full responses to this and other questions.

We ask all federal, state, and local candidates with profiles on Ballotpedia to complete a survey and share what motivates them on political and personal levels. Ask the candidates in your area to fill out the survey.

Additional reading:



All candidates for Washington House of Representatives District 8-Position 2 complete Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey

Both of the candidates running in the November 8, 2022, general election for Washington House of Representatives District 8-Position 2  —  April Connors (D) and Joe Cotta (R) — completed Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey. These survey responses allow voters to hear directly from candidates about what motivates them to run for office.

Eighty-eight of the country’s 99 state legislative chambers will hold regularly scheduled elections in 2022. The Democratic Party controls both chambers of Washington’s state legislature. Washington is one of 14 states with a Democratic trifecta.

Here are excerpts from candidates’ responses to the question: What are the main points you want voters to remember about your goals for your time in office?   

Connors:

  • “Better Schools. We need an advocate in Olympia who will fight for both children and parents. As a past PTO officer April has the experience and grit to defend our kids and put families back in the driver’s seat.”
  • “Reliable Energy & Good Jobs The Tri-Cities is a world leader in clean, renewable energy – from nuclear to hydroelectric we’re leading the way to energy independence.”
  • “Expanded Housing The Tri-Cities has not been immune to the statewide housing crisis. While Seattle politicians raise taxes and fight over regulations, their urban policies only exacerbate our problems in the Tri-Cities.”

Cotta:           

  • “I am running to restore individual liberties. Our religious, medical, election, educational and 2nd amendment liberties are all under attack.”
  • “I believe in reinstating trust to our law enforcement officers. The ‘Use of force’ and ‘pursuit’ laws have had a devastating effect on our safety.”
  • “Our farmers and other business owners want and deserve a level playing field. Over regulation from the government is crippling our farms and businesses. We need and must provide foreign and domestic policies that encourage free market principles, to allow the hard work of farming and other businesses to be rewarded.”

Click on candidates’ profile pages below to read their full responses to this and other questions.

We ask all federal, state, and local candidates with profiles on Ballotpedia to complete a survey and share what motivates them on political and personal levels. Ask the candidates in your area to fill out the survey.

Additional reading:



All candidates for Washington House of Representatives District 36-Position 1 complete Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey

Both of the candidates running in the November 8, 2022, general election for Washington House of Representatives District 36-Position 1  —  Jeff Manson (D) and Julia Reed (D) — completed Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey. These survey responses allow voters to hear directly from candidates about what motivates them to run for office.

Eighty-eight of the country’s 99 state legislative chambers will hold regularly scheduled elections in 2022. The Democratic Party controls both chambers of Washington’s state legislature. Washington is one of 14 states with a Democratic trifecta.

Here are excerpts from candidates’ responses to the question: What are the main points you want voters to remember about your goals for your time in office?

Manson:               

  • “Housing Affordability: Many of our neighbors can no longer afford to live in their homes, so they move out of the city, or onto our streets. To ease supply constraints, we need tens of thousands of additional housing units built in the region over the next decade. I will support smart density legislation, prioritizing transit-oriented development.”
  • “Environmental and Climate Justice: We live in one of the most naturally beautiful regions of the world, yet our glaciers are melting and our summers days are choked with smoke from forest fires.”
  • “Keeping our Communities Safe: Crime is increasing nationwide, including in our neighborhoods. Keeping our streets, homes, and small businesses safe requires a multi-pronged approach.”

Reed:           

  • “Increasing housing affordability and availability: The future viability of our city and economy rests on increasing housing affordability and housing availability in Washington, where we have the fewest number of housing units per household of any state in the nation.” 
  • “Building community climate resiliency: As we work to reverse climate change, we need to help communities cope with these weather impacts today, which disproportionately impact people of color and low income people.”
  • “Education and Workforce: We must fully fund K-12 education, including ensuring robust pathways to postsecondary credentials for all students.”

Click on candidates’ profile pages below to read their full responses to this and other questions.

We ask all federal, state, and local candidates with profiles on Ballotpedia to complete a survey and share what motivates them on political and personal levels. Ask the candidates in your area to fill out the survey.

Additional reading:



All candidates for Washington House of Representatives District 35-Position 2 complete Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey

Both of the candidates running in the November 8, 2022, general election for Washington House of Representatives District 35-Position 2  — Sandy Kaiser (D) and Travis Couture (R) — completed Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey. These survey responses allow voters to hear directly from candidates about what motivates them to run for office.

Eighty-eight of the country’s 99 state legislative chambers will hold regularly scheduled elections in 2022. The Democratic Party controls both chambers of Washington’s state legislature. Washington is one of 14 states with a Democratic trifecta.

Here are excerpts from candidates’ responses to the question: What are the main points you want voters to remember about your goals for your time in office?                

Kaiser:           

  • “I believe in hard work, love of family, community and country and making sure that everyone in our rural district has the same opportunities for success as in other parts of western Washington.”
  • “We need to create better conditions for local business to thrive and grow, create more family-wage jobs, improve our schools and expand rural broadband.”
  • “It’s critically important that we fund our local sheriffs and first-responders, so they can be there in an hour of need.”

Couture:           

  • “Constitutional Rights – Following the Constitution is my top priority. I will always defend your rights and freedoms, and protect your liberties.”
  • “Public Safety – We need to get tough on rising crime and reverse laws that make our communities vulnerable. I respect our police and first responders, and will help them keep us safe.”
  • “Quality Education – Every child should feel safe at school, with all the resources to learn. I will oppose unfunded mandates that crush school budgets, and support policies that focus on strengthening core skills comprehension, safety, and school choice.”

Click on candidates’ profile pages below to read their full responses to this and other questions.

We ask all federal, state, and local candidates with profiles on Ballotpedia to complete a survey and share what motivates them on political and personal levels. Ask the candidates in your area to fill out the survey.

Additional reading:



All candidates for Washington House of Representatives District 17-Position 1 complete Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey

Both of the candidates running in the November 8, 2022, general election for Washington House of Representatives District 17-Position 1  —Terri Niles (D) and Kevin Waters (R) — completed Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey. These survey responses allow voters to hear directly from candidates about what motivates them to run for office.

Eighty-eight of the country’s 99 state legislative chambers will hold regularly scheduled elections in 2022. The Democratic Party controls both chambers of Washington’s state legislature. Washington is one of 14 states with a Democratic trifecta.

Here are excerpts from candidates’ responses to the question: What areas of public policy are you personally passionate about?                    

Niles:           

“Our economy is foundational to other issues we sometimes view as separate. My support for a strong regional economy is rooted in investing in our communities. Jobs, healthcare, housing, championing new infrastructure, public safety and education. What may seem like huge and diverse topics can be dealt with a focus on common issues affecting them all. As a healthcare provider I know that our healthcare system is broken and we need to find real solutions. Many people living in the 17th LD do not have access to healthcare. This will be a top priority for me.”

Waters:

“I am passionate about Economic Growth and the policies that support and not hinder it. I am also passionate about Police having the proper tools and policy to be able to do their jobs. I am also passionate about energy policy and making sure we do not have a failing power grid and support our dams. We need to make sure that we can continue to supply power to all at a reasonable rate and not bloated because of policies that do not bring reasonable rates and power for all.”

Click on candidates’ profile pages below to read their full responses to this and other questions.

We ask all federal, state, and local candidates with profiles on Ballotpedia to complete a survey and share what motivates them on political and personal levels. Ask the candidates in your area to fill out the survey.

Additional reading: