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August 2018

News in Brief

  • Washington voters will likely be asked this November whether local governments should be barred from placing new taxes on soda or other grocery items. The Spokesman-Review reports that backers of Initiative 1634 turned in more than 291,000 signatures on their petitions to the secretary of state's office in Olympia Thursday and plan to turn in another 60,000 by Friday's deadline. They'll need nearly 260,000 to qualify for the November ballot. If approved, the measure would prevent cities and counties from imposing their own taxes on sodas or other sweetened beverages. The measure does not prevent the state from doing so and it would not affect Seattle's soda tax that took effect this year. The campaign supporting the measure has raised about $4.7 million, with The Coca-Cola Co. contributing $2.2 million and PepsiCo, Inc. giving $1.7 million.


  • Seattle-based startup Blokable is hoping to change the way affordable housing is developed, using a new approach to design and technology according to mynorthwest.com. The company recently delivered its first unit to land donated by the Edmonds Lutheran Church, reports Geekwire. It's part of a co-project with the Seattle-based Compass Housing Alliance that will see the creation of a three-story complex with 70 units. Instead of wood frames, the units are composed of steel, which make them easier to transport and arrange as part of larger units. Blokable is the brainchild of Co-CEO Aaron Holm, a former Amazon product manager, and Co-CEO Nelson Del Rio, who's worked extensively on partnerships between developers, nonprofits, and governments. Paul Allen recently invested $5 million, and the company is in the process of developing additional sites in Seattle, as well as in New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco, among other cities.


  • According to a study by Wallethub, Mercer Island and Redmond came in the ninth and tenth spots respectively on the Top 10 Best Beach Towns in America list! To determine the most livable beach side communities, WalletHub compared 205 cities across 58 key metrics. The data set ranges from housing costs to share of for-sale waterfront homes to quality of beach water. And here's how the list rounded out:
    1.
    Traverse City, MI
    2.
    Eden Prairie, MN
    3.
    Folsom, CA
    4.
    Highland Park, IL
    5.
    Mequon, WI
    6.
    Holland, MI
    7.
    Alpena, MI
    8.
    Bay Village, OH
    9.
    Mercer Island, WA
    10.
    Redmond, WA

    For the full study and more information on how Wallethub put together this study, check them out online!


  • With unprofitable coal and nuclear plants continuing to shut down amidst current administration support, the personal-finance website WalletHub recently released its report on 2018's Most & Least Energy-Expensive States. For a better understanding of Americans' energy costs relative to their location and consumption habits, WalletHub compared the average monthly energy bills in each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia using a special formula that accounts for the following residential energy types: electricity, natural gas, motor fuel and home heating oil.

    Energy Consumption & Costs in Washington
    (1=Most Expensive; 25=Avg.):
    Avg. Monthly Energy Bill: $253
    50thPrice of Electricity
    23rdElectricity Consumption per Consumer
    25thPrice of Natural Gas
    33rdNatural-Gas Consumption per Consumer
    48thMotor-Fuel Consumption per Driver

    View the full report on Wallethub.


  • According to a study by Wallethub.com, Seattle has the absolute honor of being the fifth worst city to drive in for 2018. Data ranges include average gas prices, annual hours in traffic congestion per auto commuter, auto-repair shops per capita, and more. Here's the get down:
    Driving in Seattle (1=Best; 50=Avg.):

    60th
    Annual Hours Spent in Congestion per Auto Commuter
    90th
    Accident Likelihood in City vs. National Average
    71st
    Rate of Car Thefts
    50th
    Auto-Repair Shops per Capita
    82nd
    Avg. Gas Prices
    99th
    Auto-Maintenance Costs
    77th
    Average Parking Rates

    Here's the top 10 worst cities to drive in case you're curious:

    1.
    Detroit, MI
    2.
    San Francisco, CA
    3.
    Oakland, CA
    4.
    Philadelphia, PA
    5.
    Seattle, WA
    6.
    Boston, MA
    7.
    New York, NY
    8.
    Newark, NJ
    9.
    Los Angeles, CA
    10.
    Chicago, IL