This Week in Seattle: Job growth outpaces housing, Chinese millionaires love this city, and Eastside could break up with King County

This Week in Seattle is your weekly dispatch of need-to-know news from the Emerald City. (BigStock Image)

State Senator wants to pave the way for Eastside to break up with King County

Sen. Phil Fortunato is tired of Seattle’s shenanigans. (

Republican Sen. Phil Fortunato is championing a bill that would make it possible to secede from a county and create a new one in Washington state. He’s not mincing words when it comes to the intention for the bill: “Seattle could be King County, and we’ll be something else,” he said. “They can go and continue to do all their crazy stuff, and have their little socialist enclave, and have $25 minimum wage, and free needles and all that stuff. They could do whatever the heck they want, they just won’t do it with our money.” [MyNorthwest]

Cops start enforcing Washington’s new distracted driving law

Officer Kevin O’Neill issues a warning to a driver using her cell phone. (GeekWire Photo / Monica Nickelsburg).

This week, a new law banning almost all use of a personal electronic device while driving or waiting on the road took effect. We wanted to get a better understanding of the law, so we rode along with a Seattle police officer while he busted violators. SPD is only issuing warnings during a grace period that extends through September. After that, they’ll start issuing $136 tickets for people they see holding their phones behind the wheel. [GeekWire]

Police union files complaint over mayor’s executive order on body cameras

An officer wearing a body camera. (Photo via Vievu.)

The Seattle Police Officers Guild is filing a complaint over Mayor Ed Murray’s executive order mandating the force wear body cameras. Murray issued his order last week out of frustration that it has taken so long to adopt body cameras since he earmarked nearly $2 million to purchase the devices two years ago. A series of delays due to union negotiations, privacy concerns, and other issues have prevented deployment of the cameras. The union complaint will now go before Washington’s Public Employee Relations Commission. [Crosscut]

Chinese millionaires really want to live in Seattle

Seattle home prices continue to their rapid ascent. (Flickr Photo / Harold Hollingsworth )

About 12 percent of Chinese millionaires would rather live in Seattle than any other city in the world. That’s according to a new Shanghai-based survey of Chinese people with an average net worth of about $3 million, who are considering emigrating, started the process, or recently made the move. Seattle was outpaced only by Los Angeles, where 18 percent of respondents said they would like to live. According to one real estate executive, affluent Chinese people think Seattle property is “in the first few innings of a long run.” [The Seattle Times]

Jobs in Seattle growing twice as fast as housing

Seattle skyline
Seattle’s vibrant tech and business industry adds record numbers of new jobs. (BigStock Photo)

Between 2010 and 2015, Seattle added more than two jobs for every new unit of housing that was permitted, according to a report from Apartment List. The city is feeling that discrepancy, as record numbers of newcomers move here for jobs, and rent and home prices seem to be on a limitless upward trajectory. It could be worse, though. San Jose, the heart of Silicon Valley, added five-and-a-half jobs for every new unit of housing during that five-year period, according to the study. [Curbed]

Central District gets upzoned to add affordable housing stock

Aerial view of the Central District, Lake Washington, and Bellevue. (Flickr Photo / Joe Wolf)

The Seattle City Council approved a rezoning plan for the Central District that allows developers to build taller buildings if they set aside about 7 percent of units as affordable housing. The upzone applies to Cherry, Jackson, and Union streets along the 23rd Avenue corridor. It is expected to bring 50 new affordable units and additional housing onto the market. It’s the latest in a series of upzones which includes the University District and South Lake Union. The rezoning is part of the city’s effort to adapt to its rapidly-growing population, driven by the booming tech industry. Record numbers of newcomers are driving up housing prices and the city is trying to increase density to keep up. [KUOW]

Seattle venture capitalists sound off on policy issues

Matt McIlwain. (Madrona Photo)

Two high-profile Seattle venture capitalists came out with strong statements on some of the most contentious policy issues the in the state of Washington this week. Madrona Venture Group director Matt McIlwain launched a nonprofit to fund legal challenges to Seattle’s new income tax on high earners, which he calls “illegal” and “unnecessary.” Meanwhile, Nick Hanauer, of Second Avenue Partners, published a lengthy essay telling his fellow plutocrats that the best way to fight Trumpism is to pay their workers fair wages. [GeekWire, Politico]