Hobbs at this swearing in ceremony earlier today. Courtesy of the WA State Leg
Washington officially has a new Secretary of State: Today, Steve Hobbs took the oath as Washington’s sixteenth secretary of state. He becomes “the first person of color to head the office and the first Democrat to hold the position in 56 years,” according to the Seattle P.I. He replaces Republican Kim Wyman, who is now working election security in Biden’s Department of Homeland Security. Hobbs’s Senate seat representing the 44th Legislative District now sits empty, and the Snohomish County Dems are expected to give the Snohomish County Council three potential names to fill the position soon.
Today was the deadline for federal workers to get one dose of a COVID vaccine: And so far, more than 90% have gotten that stab, reports AP. Apparently a “vast majority” of federal workers are fully vaxxed with just “a smaller number” awaiting exemptions for medical or religious reasons. Those who aren’t in compliance apparently have to go through “counseling” that could potentially result in their firing if they don’t either get the stab or an exemption.
Wow, transit: Sound Transit has been clearance-testing East Link light rail trains under the cover night. According to their blog, this testing involves “slowly pushing or pulling trains from the Operations and Maintenance Facility East along the alignment with a [special] ‘high-rail’ vehicle.” Very cool! They say the extension is 90 percent done and on track to open all the way through the Redmond Technology Station in 2023.
Why yes, that is a light rail train pulling into the Bellevue Downtown Station! See more and read all about train clearance testing on the Eastside. https://t.co/BMUn7dn7uD pic.twitter.com/s3NSwJrBTR
— Sound Transit #VaccinateWA – 🚆 🚈 🚍 (@SoundTransit) November 19, 2021
The city council passed Seattle’s 2022 budget: The over $7 billion budget fully funds the Seattle Police Department’s plan to hire 125 officers next year, as well as allocates $194 million in affordable housing investments and more $10 million to the Clean City Initiative, which aims to “clean up litter and graffiti in public spaces,” reports KING 5. I’m sure we’ll have a more detailed breakdown on this later, but the budget now heads to Durkan’s desk for her signature.
Today we passed the #2022Budget! Despite facing a $15M revenue shortfall, this budget adds to our fiscal reserves and protects us against future economic volatility while investing millions in community and Council priorities (1/2) pic.twitter.com/P82DeyoX0B
— Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda (@CMTMosqueda) November 23, 2021
Jeff Bezos engages in elite mutual aid: One of the richest men on earth just coughed up $100 million to the Obama Foundation in honor of the Congressman John Lewis. He requested that the plaza at the Obama Presidential Center—which has been the source of a lot of local controversy—be named after the late congressman, reports CNN.
And in other Amazon news: According to Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s office, the e-commerce behemoth has been instructed to pay $2.5 million for “selling highly regulated pesticides on its online platform without a license and without collecting information about their use as required by law.” Additionally, Amazon will have to acquire a license if they plan to continue selling these regulated pesticides in the future.
Sorry, this is the last bit of Amazon news, I swear: And it’s a bit dystopian. They have started the “flight testing of package delivery drones” in Pendleton, Oregon; Seattle; and other sites, reports KUOW. This is a step towards their goal of “30-minute delivery” via aerial drones, an idea first announced several years ago that’s still pretty slow-moving. I swear to God if the incessant sound of drones becomes a party of city life here in Seattle, I’m gonna flip.
Good news for Canadians: Beginning November 30, fully vaxxed Canadian residents “can reenter the country within 72 hours without presenting a pre-entry molecular test,” reports KING 5. They must be able to prove they’ve only been away for less than 72 hours and must go by land or air only. This change comes after many Canadians complained that the high cost of doing the molecular test deterred them from making shorter trips across the border.
I’m not crying, you’re crying: I’m honestly living for Adele’s 30 press tour. It’s giving down-to-earth glamor and EMOTIONAL moments. Here’s the singer getting surprised by her influential English teacher in a auditorium filled to the brim with British talent. Also, Alan Carr is a national treasure.
Shooting in Mount Baker leaves one dead, one injured: Police say they found two men with serious injuries after responding to reports of gun shots on MLK and Rainier Ave last night, reports the Seattle Times. One man died on the scene while the other was transported to Harborview with “life-threatening injuries.” No suspect has been detained.
This subpoena list now doubles as my own personal nightmare blunt rotation: Today, the House panel on the January 6 storming of the Capitol has issued five new subpoenas, including actual cartoon villain Roger J. Stone and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones. The New York Times reports this indicates “investigators are intent on learning the details of the planning and financing of rallies that drew Mr. Trump’s supporters to Washington” nearly a year ago now. Also being forcibly summoned: Dustin Stockton, Jennifer L. Lawrence, and Taylor Budowich.
Target says fuck no to opening on Thanksgiving: NPR observes that the retailer is “making permanent a shift to the unofficial start of the holiday season that was suspended during the pandemic.” God bless those frontline workers.
ICYMI: City of Seattle and King County agreed last week to a “land swap” that would give the county control over City Hall Park, with the city receiving “13 parcels of land” in return, reports the Seattle Times. The deal comes after the city “removed” the homeless from City Hall Park back in August, following a fatal stabbing in the space and several high-profile complaints (looking at you, Councilmember Regan Dunn) basically asking to keep the homeless out. The swap still needs to be approved by the Seattle City Council and the King County Council.
Headline of the evening: “Lobsters and crabs are sentient beings and shouldn’t be boiled alive, UK report says,” via CNN.
For your listening pleasure: Last week, Memphis rapper Young Dolph was shot and killed at a bakery in his hometown. He was an excellent rapper with a generous heart who left us waaaay too soon. Rest in Power, Dolph.