• Supporters of the carbon fee Initiative 1631 have turned in the first round of signatures to qualify it for the November ballot. The initiative would levy a $15 per ton fee on carbon emissions from large carbon emitters beginning in 2020, which would rise by $2 per ton each year. Washington Environmental Council president Becky Kelley said the Yes on I-1631 campaign had gathered some 375,000 signatures, well above the 260,000 required to qualify for the November ballot.
The fee would be levied against large emitters, including power plants that use fossil fuels, power providers that import electricity generated from fossil fuels, and other companies that produce large quantities of pollution. By 2035, the fee would hit roughly $55 per ton, adjusted for inflation, and would either freeze or continue to rise depending on whether the state was meeting its goal of reducing emissions to 25 percent below 1990 levels. This could increase the cost of gas by roughly 15 cents per gallon.
Part of the appeal of I-1631 is that it’s a fee instead of a tax, meaning revenue raised can only be spent on projects related to carbon emissions. Carbon reduction and clean-air investments will receive 70 percent of the total revenue from the fee. Another 25 percent will be specifically allocated to creating healthy forest and clean water. The remainder will go toward community safeguards for vulnerable communities. This includes funding to help Native communities relocate from areas that could flood due to global warming as well as treating forests to reduce fire risk.
Around one-third of the total revenue will be reinvested into communities that are suffering from poverty and pollution. This could come in the form of energy-bill assistance, transit vouchers, or offering cleaner transit. Some $50 million will be set aside to provide full pension, salary, and health benefits for two years to fossil-fuel workers who lose their jobs as a result of the initiative.
— Aaron Kunkler, Bellevue Reporter
• Details continue to come out about how a man—accused of first-degree murder for allegedly fatally shooting his girlfriend, 18, last month in Kent—managed to briefly escape custody on the Fourth of July while being treated for illness at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.
Giovanni Herrin, 19, of Federal Way, was on a gurney with four-point restraints on his arms and legs and an armed King County jail guard in the room when he fled from the hospital, according to court documents.
Herrin ran out of the hospital and jumped in the backseat of a vehicle with a Lyft driver stopped at a red light at the intersection of Yesler Way and Eighth Avenue. Herrin reportedly slapped the head of the driver about three times and told him, “Give me a ride! Go, go, go!” The driver saw two uniformed officers with guns drawn coming at his vehicle, so he threw his body down on the passenger’s front seat. The driver said Herrin was in the vehicle about five seconds.
Herrin then ran out of the vehicle; guards fired shots; and a shot hit and injured Herrin, who was taken into custody. He was treated at Harborview for his injury. His arraignment had been rescheduled for July 10.
King County prosecutors charged Herrin on June 22 with first-degree murder for allegedly shooting Karyme Barreto-Sabalza, of Des Moines, once in the head and leaving her on a trail to die during the evening of June 16.
Prosecutors listed robbery as a motive as Herrin reportedly fled the crime scene with Barreto-Sabalza’s car, purse, and cellphone, according to court documents. Soon after the shooting, Herrin was seen at an ATM where the victim banked.
Barreto-Sabalza told a friend on social media just weeks before she was shot that she feared for her life because of her relationship with Herrin.
— Steve Hunter, Kent Reporter
• The Federal Way City Council voted to repurchase the former Target property adjacent to the Federal Way Performing Arts and Events Center after the property owner failed to develop a new hotel in the city’s downtown core.
The council agreed to buy back the 1.86-acre property July 3. A contract stated the city had the option to buy it back for $2.18 million from owner Ottone-Salinas Inc. if construction didn’t start by June 1. The hotel was initially slated to open Dec. 1, 2019. The city had required the hotel to be mid- to upper-scale, such as a Hilton Garden Inn, Hilton DoubleTree, Hyatt Place, or Hyatt House.
— Haley Donwerth, Federal Way Mirror