Local reporters and editors request City Auditor to investigate city officials’ use of private email accounts

Today, several local reporters and editors, including myself, sent a joint letter to the City Auditor requesting an investigation into city officials’ practices of using private email accounts and other private electronic media to conduct city business. Below is the letter we sent, along with the attachments demonstrating the extent of the issue. The City Auditor reports to the City Council, an arrangement that usually is well-suited to the Council’s oversight responsibilities over the executive branch. In this case, however, the issue implicates several (if not all) City Council members and their staff, as well as the Mayor’s office. Since …

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DOJ threatens Seattle over sanctuary city policy

Back in January, the Department of Justice sent letters to several cities and counties, including King County, expressing concern over sanctuary city policies, demanding further documentation of existing policies, and threatening consequences if its demands are not met.  Yesterday the DOJ sent the same letter to the City of Seattle, with the same demands and threats.

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Durkan, Holmes, Gonzalez stand up to “bully” Trump over Sanctuary City policies

This morning, Mayor Durkan, City Attorney Holmes, King County Council President Joe McDermott, and City Council member Lorena Gonzalez held a joint press conference to double-down on their support for the city’s “welcoming city” policies, to release a letter sent to the DOJ on the topic, and to announce funding for programs to support Seattle’s immigrant community and DACA recipients.

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Wells Fargo sends new letter to city, offers to end contract early

Yesterday Wells Fargo Bank sent a letter to the City of Seattle in response to the Council’s action to cut its business ties with the bank. In the letter, Wells Fargo’s Head of Government and Institutional Banking expresses its disappointment with the decision, invokes some concern trolling over the resulting “unintended consequences for taxpayers,” and defends its investment in the Dakota Access Pipeline project. The letter departs from the humble, apologetic tone of their last letter and disingenuously skips over or distorts inconvenient facts. Let’s dig in.

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Responding to the Ghost Ship warehouse fire puts the city in a bind

Two months ago, a warehouse in Oakland known as the “Ghost Ship” caught fire and burned, killing 36 people. It was being used as a live-and-work facility for people in the Bay Area arts community, and there were numerous building code violations in the building, on top of illegal occupancy, that contributed to the tragedy. Could an incident like the Ghost Ship fire happen in Seattle? Easy question: it absolutely could. The hard question, however, is what the city should do about it. And that was the subject of a two-part discussion in the Council’s Civil Rights, Utilities, Economic Development …

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City Council to US Immigration: don’t screw up a good thing

Earlier this week Council member Lorena Gonzalez, the chair of the Gender Equity, Safe Communities, and New Americans Committee, circulated a letter for her colleagues on the City Council to sign. The letter is addressed to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, and raises concerns about their proposal to increase fees for naturalization. In particular: The fee for Form N-400, Application for Naturalization, will increase from $595 to $640 — though they are also proposing a reduced fee of $320 for those whose household income is between  150% and 200% of the federal poverty guidelines. The application fee for form …

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