We're rooting for you, Shota!
We're rooting for you, Shota! Courtesy of Bravo TV

Tonight is the night: Will Seattle's Shota Nakajima win Top Chef: Portland? He better! The chef behind Capitol Hill's Taku has made it to the end of the competition and tonight at 6 PM, the reality show judges will pick a winner. The Stranger reached Nakajima for comment on the finale and here's what he had to say:
“Making it to the Top Chef finale is a very proud moment for me. It’s hard for me to say that as I’ve rarely allowed myself to be proud of my accomplishments in the past. So I’m celebrating tonight by picking up some Taku and taking it to my parents’ house to watch the show with them! I want to share this night with my parents and just chill.”

We'll check in with him again after the dust settles.

Meghan McCain's ass is off The View: The conservative talking head and daddy's girl announced today that this season would be her last with the women of The View. "On a professional note, this show is one of the hands-down greatest most exhilarating most wonderful privileges of my entire life," McCain said of her departure at the top of today's episode.

After hearing reports that the King County Harbor Island Studios' insulation couldn't keep the sound of seagulls out, I reached King County executive Dow Constantine's office for comment. A representative said Harbor Island Studios will take an "intermission" after the episodic production currently filming at the facility moves out to "make some further improvements and do some general maintenance," with sound mitigation being part of those improvements. He confirmed that seagull noise "was one factor" but is not "the driving force" behind this intermission. Current plans are for the facility to reopen in January officially.

We have a Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission update from my colleague, Rich Smith: Rich, take it away:

Bruce busted the cap: At a special meeting of the Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission (SEEC) on Thursday afternoon, SEEC director Wayne Barnett and his commissioners released Andrew Grant Houston from the Democracy Voucher program's $400,000 "campaign valuation" limit, which means the game's afoot for Ace! His campaign can now raise contributions of up to $550 from anyone eligible to make such contributions without worrying about exceeding the cap.

The decision comes after AGH's campaign asked the SEEC to release it from the cap, citing the combined spending total of "Bruce Harrell for Seattle's Future" (a PAC supporting Bruce Harrell) and the Harrell campaign's total contributions. After looking at the numbers, Barnett said the PAC spent $6,473.10 and the combination of Harrell's Democracy Voucher and hard-cash contributions added up to $399,978.16. That number plus the IE's spending amount put Harrell's "campaign valuation" at $406,451.26.

What does this mean for every other campaign? Campaigns participating in the Democracy Voucher program must first raise $400,000 to qualify for a release from the cap. Aside from Harrell's campaign, Lorena González and Colleen Echohawk are the only two campaigns who have hit that goal already. A spokesperson for the González campaign said they've hit $400,000 and will apply to be released from the cap immediately. Unions formed a PAC called Essential Workers for Lorena, which has raised $200,000 so far.

Echohawk’s campaign confirmed they will apply for release from the cap as well: “The whole goal of Democracy Vouchers was to elect people that wouldn’t have a bunch of IOU’s to special interests—but now with two of our opponents that won’t be the case. It’s really unfortunate that outside special interests and PACs are trying to end run public financing so they can control the next mayor,” said a campaign spokesperson.

Now that Gonzalez and Echohawk are applying for release, a spokesperson for the Harrell campaign said they will do so as well. Jessyn Farrell’s campaign plans to raise enough money by July 13 and will ask for release then.

Thanks Rich!

"Washington Ready"...to evict: Governor Jay Inslee's office released plans this week for what he has termed "bridge" eviction policy, reports Heidi Groover for the Seattle Times. According to Groover, the policy "opens the door for landlords to seek to remove tenants for lease violations, nuisances and other issues" marking a "significant shift from the moratorium." Some cities in the state still have eviction bans in place: Seattle, Kirkland, Burien, and Kenmore have all extended their moratorium through September 30. But this is pretty fucking chilling for many renters.

High bacterial levels force some King County beaches to issue warnings and closures: If you were planning on heading over to Juanita Beach in Kirkland, Lake Wilderness Beach in Maple Valley, and Newcastle Beach in Bellevue to celebrate the upcoming holiday, think again. The county has issued a recommendation that people not swim or wade at these beaches. Newcastle Beach is closed, but the park is still open.

How is this for a headline? "Mass bird death event in Seattle attributed to record heat Monday" from KING 5. Apparently dozens of baby Caspian Terns leaped to their death from rooftop nests on Monday to escape the 108-degree weather. Since they cannot fly, they smashed into the pavement, causing injury and/or death. May they all rest in peace :'(

What do you think of these? Let me know in the comments.
What do you think of these? Let me know in the comments. Courtesy of the Office of Arts and Culture
New permanent installation on the waterfront just dropped: Stephen Vitiello's Land Buoy Bells is the first of several permanent works of art to be installed along the waterfront. If you mosey on down to Pier 62, you'll see the five lid-like sculptures that will interact with the sounds of Elliott Bay. From the City of Seattle's press release:
The sound-based installation, “five instruments performed by collected tidal energy,” uses the movement of the water rising and falling around the floating dock to strike five bell-like objects and create sounds that harmonize with their surroundings. Its goal is to integrate with the other sounds of the waterfront, including voices, the natural environment and industry.

US unemployment claims hit new COVID-era low: 364,000 Americans filed first-time jobless claims last week, a decline of 51,000 from the week previous. "The last time there were fewer claims was the week of March 14, 2020, just before the worst of the economic damage hit," reports CNBC.

ICYMI: Biz Markie is dead. Biz Markie is definitely still alive, his manager confirms to Pitchfork. Rumors spread far and wide on social media that the rapper—best known for his hit "Just A Friend" as well as his extensive work on Yo Gabba Gabba—passed away yesterday. But that ain't true. In a statement, manager Jenni Izumi wrote that Biz is "still under medical care" but that "Biz’s wife and family are touched by the outpouring of love and admiration from his friends, peers and fans alike." Phew!

She's seriously taking over the world: RuPaul's production company World of Wonder announced that the first-ever season of Drag Race Italia will premiere this year on WOW Presents Plus here in the US. Can Ru be stopped?!

The President visited the site of the condo collapse in Surfside, Florida today: He met with first responders who have been sorting through the rubble to find survivors as well as Florida's snotty lil shit of a governor, Ron DeSantis. His visit comes as the search came to a halt after engineers "identified that one column had shifted 8 to 10 inches and three cracks were expanding," reports USA Today. Their efforts will continue once it is safe to do so.

Compassion Seattle is headed to a ballot come November: The campaign behind the controversial charter amendment that would codify sweeps into the city's charter has double the number of signatures needed to qualify for the ballot in the fall. I just let out the biggest sigh.

Love Slog AM/PM?

The date for California governor Gavin Newsom's recall is September 14.

Seattle Parks and FKA twigs have something in common: The department dropped their annual announcement that they will turn the lights on ballfields throughout the city on July 3 and 4 to deter the use of fireworks. Security will also monitor the fields from 9 pm to 4 am. Check out the full list here.

Mark your calendars: A Bam Bam tribute show called SWIMMING IN EYEBALLS is coming to Central Saloon next week. In the venue's first show since the pandemic, the saloon will host tons of talent honoring Seattle punk legend and inventor of grunge, Tina Bell, on July 9. Bad Brains cover band Re-Ignition will open. After, musicians like Om Johari, Eva Walker, Shaina Shepherd, and D'mitra Dawn will join together to cover all of Bam Bam's songs and honor Bell's pioneering of the genre. Tickets go on sale tomorrow morning—this is an event that is absolutely not to be missed.