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This Week in Seattle is your weekly dispatch of need-to-know news from the Emerald City. (BigStock Image)

Seattle mayoral race narrowing from 21 candidates to 2

Durkan will advance to the general election but her challenger is still yet to be determined. (GeekWire Photo / Monica Nickelsburg)

Former U.S. Attorney Jenny Durkan maintained a clear lead in this week’s Seattle mayoral primary, with 28.7 percent of the vote as of Friday night. Urban planner Cary Moon and lawyer and educator Nikkita Oliver are neck-and-neck for second place. Moon had 17.38 percent of the vote and Oliver 16.05 percent in the latest results. Volunteers from Oliver’s campaign are encouraging people whose ballot signatures have been challenged to fill out a form to have their votes counted. King County estimates about 14,000 Seattle ballots still need to be counted. The winner will be Seattle’s first woman mayor in 20 years and will help the city navigate a historic period of growth, driven in part by the booming technology industry. [The Seattle Times]


Microsoft helps Washington study possibility of a Cascadia bullet train

Washington state launches feasibility study of a bullet train connecting the region’s biggest cities. (BigStock Photo)

Washington state’s Department of Transportation has launched a feasibility study to determine what it would take to connect Vancouver, B.C. and Portland by bullet train. The state’s legislature earmarked $300,000 for the project and Microsoft donated an additional $50,000 the get the study off the ground. Microsoft’s involvement is part of the company’s broader push to connect the region’s biggest cities along what’s known as the Cascadia Corridor. The company hopes to foster more coordination and innovation between Pacific Northwest cities. [KUOW]


Report finds Seattle’s new consolidated IT department to be ‘mired in chaos’

City of Seattle CTO Michael Mattmiller speaks at CES 2016. (GeekWire Photo.)

In 2015, Mayor Ed Murray announced that the technology departments at various city agencies would be consolidated into a centralized organization, Seattle Information Technology (SIT) — and the transition isn’t going very well, according to an investigation by Crosscut. The political news site interviewed a dozen current city employees and obtained an internal employee survey from SIT. The research revealed an organization in which employees are widely unsatisfied and customers (i.e. other government agencies) are coping with long delays and inefficiencies. The new agency is headed by former Microsoft strategist Michael Mattmiller, who says SIT is in year one of a three-year transition and needs more time to deal with the complicated reorganization. [Crosscut]


Small businesses may be hit twice under Seattle’s new income tax on high earners

In certain circumstances, business revenue would be subject to the B&O and income tax. (GeekWire Photo / Brian Westbrook)

Earnings from some of Seattle’s small businesses would be taxed twice under a new income tax ordinance approved by the City Council last month. Revenue generated by “pass-through” entities, like LLCs, S Corporations, and partnerships, is attributable to the business’s owner, meaning it is taxed as income. If a business, under that designation, makes more than $250,000 in annual net income per owner, after operating expenses and losses are deducted, any dollars above that threshold would be subject to the income tax. That revenue is also subject to city and state Business & Occupation tax. [GeekWire]


Judge throws out U.S. Chamber lawsuit over Uber union ordinance

Uber drivers in advocacy group Drive Forward outside City Hall. (GeekWire Photo / Taylor Soper)

This week, a federal judge dismissed a lawsuit brought by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce over Seattle’s controversial law that allows Uber drivers to unionize. The lawsuit claimed that because drivers for transportation networks, like Uber, are contractors they do not have the right to organize like employees. The city cleared this legal hurdle but the judge left in place an injunction that stops the law from being implemented because there is another lawsuit pending. [Curbed, GeekWire]

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