Understanding Amazon’s “HQ2” announcement

Late last week, Amazon announced that it intends to set up a second headquarters campus in another city in North America, where it would employ up to 40,000 people over time.  Since then, local politicians and pundits have sounded off on what this means for Seattle. I used to work in business and operations for a division of Microsoft; I was involved in the strategy, selection and setup of several new sites, and I worked with people across the company who did similar work. Based on that knowledge, here’s my take on what Amazon is doing, why they’re doing it, …

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I can’t even.

The Council had two committee meetings today, including a marathon 3.5 hour Planning, Land Use and Zoning Committee meeting. I can’t bring myself to write about any of it. Everything on the agendas is important to someone, but all of it is trivial compared to the national conversation of the last few days. And especially today, when President Archie Bunker doubled down on giving political aircover to Nazis, white supremacists, and domestic terrorists — while simultaneously giving a big, wet sloppy kiss to large corporate developers and construction companies in the form of a rollback on regulations that will also …

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SPD responds to Council’s questions on death of Charleena Lyles

The Seattle Times has published a 45-page memo from SPD to the City Council, responding to the 34 questions they submitted following the death of Charleena Lyles at the hands of two SPD officers. The answers are lengthy, and for the most part defy quick summaries as they dive into the nuances and complexities of the situation. SPD also refuses in many cases to speculate on what the outcome of the ongoing investigation will be. But the memo is an interesting and informative read.

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City reaches verbal agreement on Civic Square project

Back in May, I reported that that the city had extended its deadline to June 30 for reaching agreement with Bosa Development on the details of the Civic Square development project — i.e. the big hole in the ground just west of City Hall. A spokesperson for the city’s Finance and Administrative Services Department told me this afternoon that the parties reached a verbal agreement before the deadline and are now hashing out a written agreement: We did reach a verbal agreement on all major points by the June 30 deadline, though we cannot share the deal terms publicly until …

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Should Seattle City Light join the energy imbalance market?

Since last September, Seattle City Light has been trying to convince the City Council’s Energy and Environment Committee that it should be allowed to join the California Independent Systems Operators (CAISO) Energy Imbalance Market (EIM). On its face, it seems like an easy decision, and if SCL had done a better job on its initial pitch to the Council it might have gone through quickly. But they didn’t, and the Council members asked for more information. As the details have emerged, the case for joining the EIM has become murkier. It’s an interesting case study on the state of the …

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What’s going on with the Civic Square project?

Right across the street from City Hall is the “hole in the ground,” aka the Civic Square project.  After years of starts, stops, scandals and recessions, last October Bosa Development signed an MOU with the City of Seattle and Triad Development to take over the project, pending the signing of a new development agreement with the city. Their intent was to have the next agreement signed by December 31, and Bosa would begin construction by June 30, 2018. Since then, silence. What’s up?

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