Most of the media flurry around Honest Elections Seattle died down after the Initiative’s landslide victory last November. But this spring, one of the Initiative’s lesser-known components took effect. All of Seattle’s elected officials had to file an estimate of their net worth with the City Clerk by April 15th. The Seattle City Council Insight blog published the city councilors’ reports this week. What did they reveal? Four of Seattle’s nine city council members are millionaires.

Perhaps more interesting is the fact that all of the city’s councilors are homeowners. Not a representative in sight for the 52 percent of Seattle households that rent their homes.  In fact, apart from Sawant, who was a renter for a few months during her first term, there hasn’t been a renter on the city council since the early 2000s.


How do you solve the problem of gendered bathrooms? This brewery in Seattle may have an answer. (And it seems pretty simple…)

The Northwest is becoming the capital for traffic fatalities in the United States. In 2015, Oregon experienced a 25 percent increase in traffic fatalities in just one year, and Washington jumped 23 percent. So, how do we make driving safer? Or better yet, how do we get more people off the streets and onto public transit and other low-carbon commuting options?

Bummed I missed Portland’s 16th annual Star Wars-themed Pug Crawl…. Luckily, you can experience it all right here.

And the fun new term of the week is: “snob zoning.” According to UBC economist Tom Davidoff, snob zoning is synonymous with single-family zoning, which limits the ability to build more housing, kicks working people out of the city, and subsidizes million dollar homes. Sounds pretty snobbish to me. “Let’s keep it simple. If 95 percent of Canadians can’t afford what you’re zoning, [then] that should not be legally enforceable,” Davidoff said.


About three years ago, Sightline reported on a bipartisan US Senate Bill attempting to implement a “consent-based” approach to siting atomic waste management facilities, based on recommendations from a Blue Ribbon Commission that the Obama administration set up. We noted the importance of the topic to eastern Washington and Idaho, where sites already contain atomic and toxic chemical wastes from past federal programs. But it may be no surprise to Congress watchers that the Senate bill did not attract enough support to move forward.

More recently, the US Department of Energy (DOE), assigned responsibility by law for managing atomic wastes from both commercial facilities and from former federal atomic weapons programs, is moving forward with a series of public meetings across the US to take testimony on this “consent-based” concept. Meetings have already been held in Washington, DC; Chicago, Atlanta, Sacramento, and most recently in Denver on May 24. Among remaining meetings, the only meeting in Cascadia is in Boise, ID, to be held on July 14, 2016. This same link contains information on how to register for the Boise meeting and/or view it live in July, along with material on the meetings already held including videos as available.

More information and background material, including questions that DOE poses, is posted here. Along with the public meetings, citizens can also submit comments electronically, with a deadline of July 31, via

On a related news item, and an update to a Sightline article on Idaho atomic waste, US DOE notified the State of Idaho that it was likely to miss a negotiated deadline to start processing nearly a million gallons of radioactive waste in eastern Idaho. The news article reports that the federal government faces daily fines if it misses this deadline, and describes the agency’s repeated failure to meet earlier cleanup deadlines.

May 27, 2016