Sen. Joe Fain Accused of Rape; Bothell to Allow Accessory Dwelling Units; Kirkland Supports I-1639

A weekly roundup of regional news

• A Seattle woman has accused Sen. Joe Fain (R–Auburn) of raping her roughly a decade ago.

The woman, Candace Faber, a former foreign service officer and employee in Seattle’s Information Technology Department, first accused the state senator in a Sept. 27 tweet of raping her in Washington, D.C., back in 2007, the night she graduated from Georgetown University.

“@senatorfain, you raped me the night I graduated from Georgetown in 2007. Then you had the audacity to ask me to support your campaign. I’ve been terrified of running into you since moving home and seeing your name everywhere,” she wrote in one of her tweets. “I’m done being silent.”

In response, Fain denied the allegations and called for a full investigation into the matter, as first reported by The Seattle Times. He asked the public to respect Ms. Faber and the process, adding that he would cooperate with any inquiry. Otherwise, Fain has declined to comment on the allegations.

According to an online essay Faber posted in June, she met an unnamed Washington state lawmaker at the Capitol in D.C. after she graduated from Georgetown. Faber wrote that they spent the night dancing and kissing, and that they “drank way too much.” Eventually, she walked the man back to his hotel, went to his room, where he pinned her to a bed, pulled down her dress and raped her. Faber later told the Seattle Times that in the hotel room, she repeatedly told him to stop and attempted to kick him away during the alleged assault.

In an online statement posted after her initial tweets naming Sen. Fain as her assailant, Faber wrote that after watching the hearings about allegations of sexual assault made against Brett Kavanaugh (President Donald Trump’s U.S. Supreme Court justice nominee), she was inspired to speak out. “Until recently, I withheld my rapist’s name, even in private conversations. I hoped that I could help change the culture of sexual assault without needing to say his name. I no longer believe that to be the case. We cannot heal without accountability,” she wrote. “Like Dr. Ford, I can no longer remain silent knowing that the man who raped me is in a position to influence the laws that govern my state and impact every woman who lives here. I do not believe that survivors have a civic duty to speak out. I believe that we have a civic duty to believe survivors.”

Fain, 37, is the minority floor leader of the state Senate who represents the 47th Legislative District that includes Auburn, Kent, Covington, and Renton. He is running for re-election this year. — Auburn Reporter

• The Bothell City Council has unanimously approved changes to the city’s building codes to encourage the development of accessory dwelling units (ADUs). Specifically, the amendments will allow ADUs to be built over garages in alleys and increase height limits to permit two-story detached ADUs.

The effort is part of the City of Bothell’s broader strategy of building more affordable housing to meet regional demand. “I know that 15 years ago, there were quite a few cities that didn’t allow [ADUs] at all,” senior city planner Dave Boyd said.

The city had addressed some of the restrictions on ADU development back in 2014, when it first allowed detached ADUs and removed size restrictions on new development. However, the overall minimum building footprint of 800 square feet remained. “We are doing this partly, and I would say largely, as a way of providing an affordable housing option,” Boyd added. “We want to keep them a relatively small size so that they remain relatively affordable.” — Bothell-Kenmore Reporter

• In an attempt to increase school bus safety amid bustling traffic, cameras will be installed on stop paddles on 27 Bellevue School District school buses in October.

The high-resolution cameras will be attached to the exterior of the school buses and will be able to detect vehicles that pass the bus when its stop paddle is extended. The cameras record both images and video of passing vehicles’ license plates. Drivers who don’t obey the stop paddle will eventually receive a $419 fine from King County District Court.

Mark Hazen, the director of transportation with the Bellevue School District, said he and other officials are concerned for the safety of the students he and the other school bus drivers pick up and drop off every day; anecdotally, they’re seeing more drivers pass school buses even when they have their stop paddle out. “It is terrifying when a car flies by and you’re loading kids in and you’re like, ‘Whoa, that was close!’” Hazen said. “It scares us to death.”

The cameras will be on 27 buses, which is about 20 percent of the fleet. The Bellevue School District ran a pilot last October with two paddle cameras on two buses for nine weeks. Within those nine weeks, there were 118 violations.

While the bus paddle cameras will be installed Oct. 8, there will be a short courtesy period where any violators will receive a warning instead of a ticket. The official date the paddle cameras will go into effect is yet to be determined. — Bellevue Reporter

• The Kirkland City Council approved a resolution on Sept. 18 supporting Initiative 1639, a statewide initiative on the Nov. 2018 ballot that would increase gun regulation.

I-1639 would require increased background checks, training, age limitations, and waiting periods for sales or delivery of semi-automatic assault rifles. It would also criminalize noncompliant storage upon unauthorized use, allow fees, and enact other provisions.

The discussion of the resolution came after a series of nine focus groups and a town hall meeting on gun safety with more than 200 attendees. After hearing from the public during the town hall, the council directed city staff to investigate the pros and cons of I-1639 and to schedule a public hearing on a resolution in support of the measure. Following the hearing, the council approved the resolution.

“Kirkland must continue to show leadership around gun safety,” said Mayor Amy Walen. “Approving the Resolution in Support of Initiative Measure No. 1639 was an important demonstration of our commitment to do everything we can do to protect our children and our community.” — Kirkland Reporter