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Whenever we talk about wealth in Seattle, the conversation shifts toward a big issue: income inequality. As of 2016, the top 20 percent of earners were making more than half of the city’s total income. And in 2017, the percentage of local families making $200,000 or more was among the highest in the nation.
But income inequality isn’t just about the rich getting richer. Even though Seattle’s median family income is now around $121,000, those in the very bottom income tiers have seen their wages tick up only slightly — if at all. As The Seattle Times’ Gene Balk explains, those two forces working in tandem is what leads to greater income inequality.
So what do we do about this? For the third video in our wealth series, we asked folks to give their personal take on how Seattle’s money gets divided up — and what, if anything, should be done to change it. Here’s a sampling of what they had to say:
💰 “I see a state income tax. I think the political will is there.” — Antoinette Angulo, whose family earns over $150,000 a year
🏠 “I wouldn’t walk around giving people money. No, I wouldn’t do that. ‘Cause that ain’t gonna help anybody, right?” — Lakesha Johnson, who earns $38,000 a year and was formerly homeless
🎩 “What it really comes down to is sacrificing profit margins and sacrificing salaries at the very, very top.” — Cirrus Kain, who earns less than $30,000 a year
✋ “If someone’s going to take a role in it, I’d prefer it not to be an elected official in this city.”—- Nick Iacovino, whose family earns a combined $80,000 a year
» Check out our video to hear more, and leave your answer to this stumper in the comments: If you could change just ONE THING to address income inequality in Seattle for the whole city’s benefit, what would it be? For more on what money means to Seattle, check out our first video, about how much money you need to be comfortable in Seattle, and our second, in which your fellow readers share why we don’t always talk about what we make.
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We did our part. Now city officials should do theirs. That’s how one top techie summed up what he sees as an unfair dynamic — Seattle tech companies create tons of jobs, but get tons of blame when housing doesn’t keep up. This is a big deal, of course, because our cost of living has spiked along with our population growth, and there’s not enough affordable housing to go around.
Locals like to point the finger at big tech companies like Amazon for two big reasons: because they brought so many high-earning newbies (90 percent of the 85,000 new jobs created downtown since 2010 are tech-related), and because they seem to be flush with resources a strained city could really use (cue last year’s wild, doomed head tax). But the tech companies don’t control zoning rules and regulations, said John Scholes, head of the Downtown Seattle Association. And that’s what he thinks is really gonna make a dent in the housing crisis.
“They can continue to point the finger at the tech community,” he told GeekWire’s Monica Nickelsburg, “and that’s not going to lead to one more unit of housing being built.” (GeekWire)
And speaking of money…
This’ll warm your heart. The Muslim Association of Puget Sound paid almost $5,000 so the 28 people who live in a tent city near Issaquah could stay in hotels during this cold, cold Snowpocalypse. (Crosscut)
What did the billionaire pay for the burger? $1.90. That’s how much Bill Gates forked over for a cheeseburger the day a photo of him standing at our iconic Dick’s Drive-In went crazy viral last month. Hear him dish all about it — and whether Dick’s out-burgers Burgermaster — in this clip. (GeekWire)
Tech history for sale. $1.5 million could make you the proud owner of 10704 NE 28th St. in Bellevue — better known as the birthplace of Amazon. (Curbed Seattle)
That secret will cost you. Jerry Stritzke, the CEO of REI, just had to resign because of a “personal, consensual relationship” he had with someone at another outdoors company that he didn’t disclose. (The Seattle Times)
That’s rich. Isn’t it funny how other big cities make fun of Seattle’s winter freakouts when they have, like, no hills to worry about, ever? (Reddit)
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🔍 TODAY: Explore the differences between community engagement and community service at this Impact Hub Lunch + Learn (Pioneer Square)
TODAY: Make your own natural perfumes at this The Works Seattle workshop (Central District) — postponed
🎭 Thursday – Feb. 20: Check out “140 lbs,” a powerful play written and performed by Susan Lieu (International District)
👋 Saturday: Have some fun and make connections at this partner yoga class with Foundation (Queen Anne)
🎨 Wednesday, Feb. 20: Paint with local artist Sarah Elizabeth in this Foundation “Sharing Passions” workshop (Downtown)
💡 Drink to energy, neural signals, and “micro thrusters” at this science slam (Capitol Hill)
🎟 Get dazzled at this burlesque, drag, and dance spectacular — through Thursday (Downtown)
🎶 Make valentines for a beloved restaurant and stay for karaoke (International District)
💡 Get candid about equity, compassion, community, and service at this Evergrey partner event (Pioneer Square)
Make your own perfume at this Evergrey partner event (Central District) — postponed
TOMORROW ~ VALENTINE’S DAY
🎟 Let loose with some Valentine’s Day improv (Downtown)
🎈 Bring the fam to this Valentine’s roller skating party (Lynnwood)
🎨 Take a stroll through the Capitol Hill Art Walk (Capitol Hill)
🍴 Make a reservation for a Valentine’s date night (Open Table)
🎟 See a stage performance about the deadly cost of beauty — through Sunday (International District) — Thanks for the rec, Alica Forneret!
🎶 Freak out fellow passengers at this Silent Disco at the Sounder (2 Sounder trains)
🎈 Go on an actual island treasure hunt at the Great Northwest Glass Quest — through Feb. 24 (Stanwood and Camano Island)
🎶 Wake up to love at this pre-dawn Daybreaker dance party (Capitol Hill)
🏞 Take your sweetie to a Valentine’s party on a boat (Eastlake)
🍴 Eat delicious soul food from star chef Carla Hall at Junebaby — but get there early! (Ravenna)
🛍 Shop more than 100 pop-up vendors at the Seattle Winter Night Market (Sand Point)
🎟 Dress up, sing, and go all out for Love Fest Gay Bingo (Fremont)
🍿 Get sneaky at this film noir festival (Capitol Hill)
Hear new works by local black poets, playwrights, and wordsmiths (Central District) — postponed due to weather
👋 Do yoga and meet new folks at this Evergrey partner event (Queen Anne)
🍷 Take a road trip to nom on chocolate and sip wintry wines — through Feb. 17 (Whidbey Island)
💪 Learn the basics of pruning trees in winter at this workshop (Beacon Hill)
🎶 Ask the guys to dance at this big 80s Sadie Hawkins dance party (Bothell)
Going to one of these? Take us with you! Email a pic to [email protected] or tag #theevergrey on Instagram. Learn what our emojis mean here, see more upcoming events on our events page, and add your own events with an Evergrey membership. Is an event sold out? Hit reply to let us know and we’ll update the listing in tomorrow’s newsletter.
Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day, and we’re gonna share back the first of the amazing stories you’ve shared with us about your most memorable Seattle first dates.
Don’t miss all that love in your inbox tomorrow. And have a good one. — The Evergrey