Seattle driving away Amazon is not our state’s only economic worry: Water ruling, stifled building damaging our economy, hugely

$6.9 billion in lost economic activity annually. 9,300 jobs and $52 million in employee wages, gone. No, I’m not talking about Amazon’s recent announcement. These staggering figures are the estimate of what it will cost us if legislators and the governor continue to do nothing about fixing the Hirst decision. And while Amazon’s news is extremely worrisome, it directly […]

Amazon expanding elsewhere: Sawant ready to storm the barricades

It certainly was a Thursday morning jolt – no espresso needed. Amazon announced it is seeking to build a second headquarters that will be “a full equal” to its Seattle HQ and “a second home.” The Seattle Times reports: “The company, still growing quickly in the city where it has been based for 22 years, […]

The ridiculous idea that new fees don’t raise housing prices

Any political movement has its shibboleths and sacred cows. There are beliefs that must not be deviated from to be a member in good standing, and “truths” that aren’t really true. It’s good to see stale ideas get challenged, regardless of where on the political spectrum the debate is happening. In this age of social […]

Voices on the left and right don’t “get” the First Amendment

There’s a reason the Founders codified our rights to free speech, free assembly, a free press and freedom of religion as the First Amendment. They’re first because they’re foundational to what our republic is about. The rights listed in the First Amendment were a rejection of common practices in the monarchies that the Founders and […]

No fix needed? Evidence of negative Hirst consequences piling up

You can see it as a sign of hope or a futile gesture. Key legislators beat the heat in a cool basement conference room in Olympia this week to restart talks on finding a fix to the unfortunate Hirst water decision. At this point any sign of movement is a good thing. Since talks fell […]

Income tax a big dividing line in WA, but Seattle’s case is going nowhere

One of the clearest dividing lines in Washington state politics is our lack of a state income tax. Many on the left view an income tax as the path to a fairer tax system. To most everyone on the right, it looks like just one more way to let government chip away at your paycheck. […]

On minimum wage, Seattle officials refuse to listen to info they don’t like

“Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts,” the saying goes. It’s never as simple as that, of course, especially in politics. But the sentiment is a good one – facts are supposed to inform public policy, not just opinions and ideology. What we instead see too often is ideology driving […]

Democrats howl over Hirst, but keep these things in mind

There has been plenty of indignation expressed – some real, some with crocodile tears – since legislators adjourned without passing a construction budget or a fix to the state Supreme Court’s Hirst decision. Much editorial ink has been spilled since then. The Hirst decision reaches a conclusion about growth management law that legislators never intended. […]

Sewage treatment failure – is local government getting the basics right?

Given the Pacific Northwest’s reputation, if you told people around the country that our region’s largest sewage treatment plant is easily paralyzed by large rainfalls – well, they’d probably find that funny. A “catastrophic event” at King County’s West Point sewage treatment plant within Discovery Park last February resulted in “235 million gallons of untreated […]

Government takes people’s stuff without a conviction or even charges. That’s wrong

You can say this about U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions: He doesn’t mind swimming against the tide. That can be an admirable trait, depending on the issue. Increasing the use of civil asset forfeiture (CAF) is the wrong issue. Sessions announced this week that he is undoing the modest CAF reforms put in place by […]