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HOUSING ACTIVISTS FURIOUS WITH THE CITY COUNCIL OVER FORECLOSURES When a person loses his or her home to foreclosure, it's devastating financially and emotionally—and often, those foreclosures are flat-out unethical or illegal. But the Seattle City Council is still taking its sweet time addressing the problem, even though there are about two foreclosures a day in Seattle, according to the real-estate information company RealtyTrac. A finalized internal report presented to the council's housing committee on June 19 recommends a $150,000 program of "intensive outreach" to struggling homeowners. But that would just be more "outreach" on top of the city's already-existing, little-used, and ineffectual Foreclosure Prevention Program. And, as housing attorneys have made clear to the council before, outreach is not enough to keep a family in a home when banks refuse to offer mortgage modifications on predatory loans. "The foreclosure crisis is still alive and well in Rainier Valley," said Chettie McAffee, who says she's currently fighting to save her home from foreclosure by two large banks. Another homeowner called the council's internal report "insulting." In an interview, Council Member Nick Licata says he's frustrated with the report, but he seems resigned to going nowhere fast on this issue. Council Member Kshama Sawant decried the "sheer lack of urgency in the solutions being recommended." She'll build public momentum, she says, like she did on the minimum wage, to secure stronger protections for homeowners (and renters). ANSEL HERZ

DRAMA OVER EARLY EDUCATION After a year of work, the Seattle City Council finally passed the humble beginnings of a taxpayer-funded universal pre-K plan on June 23. It will still have to go to voters, and it's just an early phase of what will hopefully grow later, but it's big news. Of course, it's not without controversy: Yes for Early Success, a union-backed campaign for Initiative 107, which raises child-care workers' salaries and creates a worker-led training program, is also going to the ballot. And the way the city council set it up, the two measures will be in opposition to each other this fall, meaning only one can win. Before the council meeting had even adjourned, Yes for Early Success announced they had filed an ethics complaint against the city, alleging that the council used public resources to work against I-107 and violated open-meetings rules by holding some discussions in closed-door sessions. Stay tuned. ANNA MINARD

WE HAVE A NEW POLICE CHIEF! That same June 23 city council meeting also brought official confirmation of Kathleen O'Toole as Seattle's newest chief of police. The vote was 8–1, with Council Member Kshama Sawant the lone no vote. Her reasons? Though she praised O'Toole, Sawant said she hasn't seen "sufficient evidence" that O'Toole will be "willing to challenge the status quo." O'Toole's $250,000 annual salary got the same 8–1 approval, with Sawant voting against it because she doesn't support public salaries above $100,000. Council President Tim Burgess, for his part, said he's glad that the city's first female police chief will be paid competitively. (On point, both of you.) Next, O'Toole joins Mayor Ed Murray for a public Q&A on Thursday, June 26, at 7 p.m. at New Holly Gathering Hall. ANNA MINARD recommended

 

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