Outside City Hall.
Outside City Hall. Ulysses Curry

Camp Out and Sleep In: Scores of protestors staged an overnight demonstration at City Hall to support a per-employee tax on Seattle's highest-earning businesses and a budget proviso that would effectively end "sweeps" of unsanctioned homeless encampments. Several dozen tents were pitched outside the city hall steps, while protestors in sleeping bags filled the Bertha Knight Landes room until sunrise.

At around 8 a.m, protesters staged a "die-in" to acknowledge the 66 unsheltered people who died last year. The latest on the protest:

Protesters acquired a permit to camp outside City Hall until midnight, but security allowed the demonstration to go on through the morning. Kshama Sawant, the Socialist Alternative city council member representing District 3, called the action a “spectacular success." Her team Seattle Housing For All Coalition. Other members include SHARE, the Transit Riders Union, Nickelsville and the Neighborhood Action Coalition.

Several elected officials and candidates for office joined the demonstration. After 1 a.m, when The Stranger dropped by City Hall, just a couple remained at the indoor sleep-in.

“I cannot recall a time where we’ve been able to reclaim City Hall like this,” said city council candidate Jon Grant, looking groggy-eyed and slap-happy as he wore a mermaid’s tail of a sleeping bag.

“I’ve seen this kind of thing, but I haven’t seen it in City Hall,” said council member Kirsten Harris-Talley, who took over one of two citywide positions after Tim Burgess became interim mayor. She drew comparisons to the 2011 Occupy Seattle encampment at West Lake park.

Outside, in the tent area, a 19-year-old homeless man named Cole told The Stranger, "I only came here because I have no where else to stay."

The camp-in followed a full afternoon of rallying at City Hall during a lengthy and impassioned public budget hearing, where many members of the public spoke in favor of the so-called heads tax (supporters prefer to say HOMES tax) and halting funding for sweeps.

Council members Sawant and Mike O’Brien earlier this month introduced a budget proviso that would prohibit the city from committing resources to “sweeps” of unsanctioned homeless encampments until the council members voted again to lift the amendment. Exceptions would be granted for schools, rights-of-way, and parks that are in regular use, recalling an earlier effort by Columbia Legal Services and the American Civil Liberties Union to halt sweeps.

And O'Brien and Harris-Talley are sponsoring a per-employee tax on big businesses that gross more than $5 million a year to help fund diversion programs and homelessness services.

Mayor Burgess Opposes Both Proposals: He and a couple other top city officials penned a memo against the anti-sweeps proviso, saying that they pose a health and safety risk and removing city authority to clear them "would be to abdicate our obligation to maintain a safe and peaceful city." KING 5 has the letter.

Burgess, who has veto power on the budget, is also against the heads tax. Calling it "anti-business," Burgess has instead proposed a tax on short-term rentals to help pay for homelessness services. But activists reject that idea, noting that taxes on AirBnB-like rentals have been directed to help develop services and jobs for immigrant communities.

Single Family-Zoned Neighborhoods And Segregation: A Seattle Times analysis confirms what everybody has long suspected: Areas zoned for single-family houses are white enclaves. For instance, North Capitol Hill and Sunset Hills/Loyal Heights have 100 white people for every black person, despite Seattle's population being about 8 percent black.

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Urquhart Subject to Ombudsman Complaints Over Release of Accuser's Information: Sydney Brownstone reports. Meanwhile, the King County Sexual Assault Resource Center issued a statement condemning Urquhart for his handling of the allegations. "We are deeply disturbed that Sheriff Urquhart’s response to assault allegations was to publicly demean and discredit the victims," KSARC executive director Mary Ellen Stone said.

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