This Week in Seattle: Tension rises between the Trump administration and local jurisdictions over the federal government’s efforts to detain and deport undocumented immigrants; Macklemore endorses a mayoral candidate; lawmakers sound alarm bells over threats to net neutrality; and more.
Seattle sets up legal defense fund for immigrants
The Seattle City Council unanimously approved a $1 million defense fund to help Seattle-area immigrants and refugees get legal representation. Undocumented immigrants don’t have the same rights to an attorney as citizens do, and they often go unrepresented in court. The money will be doled out through grants to community organizations that support immigrants. The fund comes as the federal government cracks down on undocumented immigrants and plans changes to legal immigration policy. [Curbed]
Macklemore picks a horse in Seattle’s mayoral race
Like it or not, Macklemore is one of the most visible celebrity symbols of Seattle and he has thrown his weight behind a candidate in the city’s surprisingly intense mayoral race. In a lengthy Facebook post, Macklemore details his reasons for supporting Nikkita Oliver, a young lawyer and activist buoyed by an impassioned grassroots campaign. “I believe Nikkita represents a bold and alternative vision,” Macklemore says. [Facebook]
Sound Transit speeds toward a vast public transportation network
Sound Transit is hitting the gas. The organization is planning 24 new train and bus projects this year. The ramp up is part of the Sound Transit 3 packages that voters approved last fall. Sound Transit predicts that by 2040, overall weekday system ridership is will grow from 147,000 today to up to 695,000. [SoundTransit.org]
Seattle CTO calls net neutrality deregulation ‘disastrous’
The city’s technology chief, Michael Mattmiller, called FCC Chairman Ajit Pai’s pledge to roll back regulations that enforce net neutrality “disastrous to a free and open internet.” The FCC’s vague proposal outlines plans to take away the legal authority used to implement net neutrality — the principle that internet service providers shouldn’t be able to block or favor certain websites or apps.
“Seattle has made great progress over the last three years increasing broadband competition, affordability, and choice,” Mattmiller said in a statement. “Net neutrality, which protects open and equitable access to the internet, is necessary to support equity, economic growth, job creation, education, and a better quality of life.” [Seattle Office of Information Technology]
Pig out at this all-you-can-eat pork fest
Avert your eyes if you keep kosher. On Sunday, Seattle will host a feast that even Louis XIV might say is a little over the top. Five chefs will each be tasked with preparing one full, 200-pound pig amounting to 30 dishes to sample — per person! This porcine party will be held at The Fairmont Olympic Hotel and for a cool $125 you can join the fête. [Seattle Times]
Federal judge in San Francisco blocks Trump’s sanctuary cities order
The Trump administration isn’t mincing words. In a statement, the White House said the city officials responsible for blocking plans to withdraw funding from so-called sanctuary cities “have the blood of dead Americans on their hands.” A district judge in San Francisco blocked the president’s plans Tuesday. In March, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration over the sanctuary cities order. Seattle is reviewing the San Francisco judge’s order and deciding how to best proceed. Murray called the decision “yet another rebuke of [Trump’s] misguided agenda.” [Bloomberg, Office of Mayor Murray]
Seattle tries to regulate Airbnb (again)
Take two. The Seattle City Council is back with a new set of proposed rules, designed to curb businesses that operate Airbnbs like hotels while still allowing residents to rent out their properties for a little extra cash. The new rules would allow homeowners to rent out units on the property where they live, plus one additional unit outside of their primary residence. Anyone operating short-term rentals on platforms like Airbnb and VRBO will be required to obtain a new Short Term Rental Operator’s License. The proposed legislation is open for public comment and will go before the Council in early June. [GeekWire]