King County Elections relies on census data to determine languages for ballots

October 25, 2011

Law requires elections office to offer materials in Vietnamese

King County is often celebrated as a melting pot and, reflecting a demographic shift recorded in the most recent census, ballots should soon start to include another language spoken in the community.

Under a provision in the U.S. Voting Rights Act, King County is required to create and offer election materials in Vietnamese.

The county is home to about 28,000 Vietnamese speakers — enough to trigger the federal threshold for election materials in Vietnamese. Data collected in the 2010 Census determined King County needed to add the language.

The elections office already produces instructional election information and ballot packets in English and Chinese.

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King County bans unwanted door-to-door solicitation

October 25, 2011

Residents in rural and unincorporated King County gained a tool to discourage door-to-door solicitors due to a recent County Council decision.

If a resident posts a “No Soliciting” or “No Trespassing” sign on his or her property, then a commercial solicitor is prohibited from contacting the resident. Under the ordinance, violators face a $100 fine.

The regulation adopted by the council Oct. 3 applies to more than 300,000 residents in unincorporated areas.

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State estimates Issaquah added 256 residents last year

July 12, 2011

Issaquah, long ranked among the fastest-growing cities in Washington, is no longer experiencing a population boom, but the city continues to add residents.

The latest tally from the state Office of Financial Management indicates Issaquah added 256 people last year. The estimated population is 30,690 — about 170 percent more people than a decade ago.

The state used data from the 2010 Census as a baseline, and then estimated population for Issaquah and other Washington cities by using information related to school enrollment, housing construction and driver licensing.

State officials use the population data to determine how to allocate dollars to municipalities.

State demographers released the data June 30. The figures represent population changes between April 1, 2010, and April 1, 2011.

Issaquah added 104 housing units during the past year, to bring the total to 14,018 units.

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State estimates Issaquah added 256 residents last year

July 4, 2011

NEW — 8 a.m. July 4, 2011

Issaquah, long ranked among the fastest-growing cities in Washington, is no longer experiencing a population boom, but the city continues to add residents.

The latest tally from the state Office of Financial Management indicates Issaquah added 256 people last year. The estimated population is 30,690 — or about 170 percent larger than a decade ago.

The state used data from the 2010 Census as a baseline, and then estimated population for Issaquah and other Washington cities by using information related to school enrollment, housing construction and driver licensing to form the estimate.

State officials use the population data to determine how to allocate dollars to municipalities.

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Census: Issaquah is home to more than 30,000 people

March 1, 2011

City is more diverse and 170 percent larger than a decade ago

Issaquah is 170 percent larger and more diverse than a decade ago.

The city ballooned to 30,434 people — the result of a population boom fueled by annexations and housing construction. Information from the 2010 Census released Feb. 23 ranks Issaquah as No. 6 on the list of fastest-growing cities in the state during the past decade.

Furniture and belongings are unloaded from a moving truck Feb. 26 for a new resident of Estates on Cougar Mountain at Talus. By Greg Farrar

The population data also depicts Issaquah as a more diverse place than a decade ago.

The city claimed 11,212 residents after the 2000 Census. In the decade since the last decennial count, housing construction boomed in the hillside Issaquah Highlands and Talus neighborhoods. Issaquah also absorbed unincorporated King County communities in large annexations.

The population remains overwhelmingly Caucasian — 75 percent, although the percentage dipped from the 88 percent recorded in the 2000 Census — as more Asian and Latino residents settled in the city.

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Schools need to teach the importance of nonfiction reading

March 1, 2011

Hall Monitor Michael Payant Liberty High School

Over winter break, I read a compilation of sports articles put together by renowned sportswriter Peter Gammons in “The Best American Sports Writing 2010.” These stories were focused on the “personal interest” side, not a depiction of the sporting world, but a trip into the lives of many different people who happen to have sports as a common bond.

Only two times in my life have I been moved to tears while reading. Once was in the aforementioned compilation of sports stories. The particular story was titled “Still Life.” It detailed the bond between a mother and her son after his nearly full paralysis in a high school football game.

The second time was while reading Tim O’Brien’s “The Things They Carried,” another riveting compilation of short stories, focusing on the lives of soldiers serving in the Vietnam War. Though the stories were historical fiction, I felt while reading them as though the events portrayed actually occurred.

When I was younger, I thought reading nonfiction made me smarter. Now, if nothing else, I know there are an infinite number of true stories just waiting to be read which I will never be too old to appreciate.

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Census: Issaquah’s population crests 30,000 people

February 24, 2011

NEW — 2 p.m. Feb. 24, 2011

Issaquah’s population ballooned by more than 170 percent in the last decade to 30,434 people — the result of a population boom fueled by annexations and housing construction.

Information from the 2010 Census released Wednesday also depicts Issaquah as a more diverse city than a decade ago.

The city claimed 11,212 residents after the 2000 Census. In the decade since the last decennial count, housing construction boomed in the hillside Issaquah Highlands and Talus neighborhoods. Issaquah also encroached on unincorporated King County communities through annexations.

Issaquah’s population remains overwhelmingly Caucasian — 77 percent — although the percentage dipped from the 2000 Census — 89 percent — as more and more Asian residents settled in the city.

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Issaquah’s congressional district could be redrawn

December 28, 2010

The congressional district containing Issaquah could be redrawn in order to accommodate rapid population growth during the past decade.

The sprawling 8th Congressional District has added 137,750 residents since the 2000 Census. State figures indicate the district increased in population more than the state’s eight other congressional districts. The district is home to about 800,000 people. The state considers the ideal population for a district to be 672,000.

Republican Congressman Dave Reichert has represented the suburban district in the U.S. House of Representatives since 2005.

The state added the 8th District after the 1980 Census. No Democrat has represented the district in Congress, even as district voters backed Democrats for state and federal offices.

The district stretches from Bellevue, Issaquah, Sammamish and other Eastside and South King County cities through rural Pierce County.

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Fairness issue defines income tax debate

October 5, 2010

The state-sponsored spread in the Sept. 6 issue of Fortune magazine touted Washington as a land of natural beauty, educated residents and, oh yeah, no state income tax.

No state income tax for now, at least.

Initiative 1098, a measure on the November ballot, calls for instituting a state income tax on the richest 1.2 percent of earners. The measure could be a $2 billion boon for education and health care.

Initiative backers said the measure aims to correct a structural imbalance and lessen the reliance on sales tax — a revenue source subject to the roller-coaster fluctuations of the economy.

“This doesn’t solve everything that’s wrong with a tax system that’s ranked the worst in the nation, but it’s a step toward making it more fair,” Yes on Initiative 1098 spokesman Sandeep Kaushik said.

Opponents said levying a state income tax on high earners could erase a competitive edge and eliminate a draw for prospective business investment — and jobs — in a sour economy. Only a handful of states do not collect income tax.

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State taxes not bad, comparatively speaking

August 3, 2010

Washingtonians shell out a smaller percentage of their income in state and local taxes than residents in 29 other states, a report issued July 27 by the state Department of Revenue shows.

Evergreen State residents paid $105.49 in state and local taxes per $1,000 of personal income during the 2008 fiscal year, compared to the $111.99 national average. The state ranked 26th in 2007.

Washingtonians paid, on average, $4,354 in taxes during 2008 — just less than the $4,371 national average.

The report also compared property taxes.

Washington ranked No. 34 in property taxes per $1,000 personal income in 2008 — up from No. 32 in 2007.

Washingtonians paid $28.82 per $1,000 in property taxes. The national average: $34.49.

Washington ranked 26th in property taxes per capita at $1,189, or $57 less than the national average.

The report used information from the U.S. Census Bureau.

The bureau offers the only source of tax data for all states. The figures do not reflect the sharp drop in tax revenues from the 2009 fiscal year.

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