Let's catch up on the afternoon. First:
Landlords can start kicking people to the curb soon: This morning, Mayor Bruce Harrell announced a plan to lift Seattle's residential and commercial eviction moratoria in two weeks. The orders prevented landlords from evicting tenants for any reason other than health and safety risks.
But tenants won't be completely left in the dust on Feb 28: Thanks to an ordinance passed by the Seattle City Council, for six months following the expiration of the moratoria tenants can cite COVID-related financial hardships as a defense against eviction in court — if they can get to court in the first place. As Hannah reported last month, sometimes tenants struggle to navigate remote hearings, and the state's pre-court mediation process advantages landlords.
In his announcement, Harrell also touted a directive to the city's Office of Housing "to urgently distribute over $25 million in identified funding to support renters and small landlords." That $25 million is not new money, and the directive has no physical form (the Mayor's spokesperson couldn't send us a copy of it), nor does it direct the agency to do anything it's not already doing.
The Mayor's spokesperson said the $25 million comes from "existing unspent emergency rental assistance funding," which includes a mix of federal and general fund sources. Most of that money is already tied up in contracts with the community organizations tasked to distribute it, but about $6 million of it is sitting in the Office of Housing. According to an agency spokesperson, some of that $6 million came from assumed administrative costs they didn't end up needing, and the rest of it came from "unspent funds from contracts with community-based organizations." They now plan to funnel that money to The United Way of King County (UWKC), which seems to do a good job of distributing rental assistance. The agency expects UWKC to push out the money "by the end of March," which is a month after the moratorium lifts. Meanwhile, the "directive" simply "emphasizes the urgency with which rental assistance is needed at this moment."
The FDA is tapping the brakes on authorizing the Pfizer vaccine for kids ages five and under as they wait for further scientific data... as opposed to getting all their science from a Joe Rogan podcast.
Meanwhile the CDC has released a study that shows the effectiveness of boosters could wane after four months—but is still very effective in keeping one out of the hospital. But by all means, Rogan lovers... keep mixing horse urine in your Kool-Aid or whatever it is you ding-dongs are partial to these days.
You don't have much time left to bid adieu to Cafe Presse. It closes for good this weekend.
Bosco isn't the only Seattle queen competing: This city's got dueling drag competitions (again). Queer Bar starts a 10-week, 10-queen competition this Sunday (the winner gets $10,000!), and
R Place The Comeback starts its drag competition this Thursday (the winner gets $5,000!). And Bosco, of course, could win $100,000 if she makes it to the top spot on RuPaul's Drag Race.
All that money should pay for at least a few wigs.
ICYMI: Wordle is literally a life-saver.
Plenty of room to swing a cat: Museum of Museum's new group exhibition, Cat Tower, is open and it delivers both of the words in its name. Guests are invited to browse 12 of the strangest cat towers they've ever seen—some are modern, a few are a little disco, one is made of pillows—and vote on their favorite. Then the cats come in and truly decide which one is the cat's meow.
Margo Vansynghel at Crosscut has a post up today about this furry architecture exhibit, with photos of its cats and towers. Chase went last weekend and voted for the monolithic cardboard tower called MEOWolith, designed by Seattle-based studio SHED, because when he stuck his head inside it, all its internal spheres made him curious like a cat.
Mudede says this is the best thing on the internet today.
He also had a lot to say about inflation.
An Ontario court has ruled that anti-vax hee-haws must stop blocking the Canadian border by 7 PM tonight, giving the ignorant ding-dongs a chance to disband peacefully.
RIP to a real queen: Mama Veneno is dead.
What happened to Bob Saget? The late comedian's autopsy report showed he "died after what appeared to be a significant blow to the head." The report suggests he had a significant fall, injuring the back of his head, and said "that the injuries appeared more reminiscent of ones suffered by people who fall from a considerable height or get thrown from their seat in a car crash." The death is still ruled as accidental.
Bless the U.S. Forest Service because they're committing "nearly $3 billion more to the nation's forest restoration efforts and fire reduction, especially on federal forest lands in the heart of Washington’s fire country and in 10 other Western states," reports Hannah Weinberger for Crosscut.
Just in time for Valentine's: President Biden is scheduled to meet with Vladimir Putin on Saturday, while also warning that Russia could invade Ukraine at any time—perhaps even during the Olympics. (Which is a bad idea... nobody's watching the Olympics anyway.*)
*Except for Nathan Chen. We're watching Nathan.
Your weekend homework: Watch KIMI, then guess how much her fictional apartment costs. There's no right answer. It's a movie.