Seattle Pre-K Initiative Approved by Voters; Local Fracking Ban in Texas Challenged

Voters in Seattle approved a city-backed proposal on expanding access to pre-kindergarten. Voters in Seattle approved a city-backed proposal on expanding access to pre-kindergarten. Stephen Griffith / Shutterstock.com

Here is our State & Local news roundup for Wednesday, November 5, 2014 ...

SEATTLE, Washington: Voters in the Emerald City overwhelmingly supported a city-backed pre-kindergarten ballot initiative over a dueling union-backed proposal to expand pre-kindergarten access in the city. David Kroman details the winning proposal for Crosscut:

1B is a four-year pilot program designed to provide free pre-K for low-income families; that is, families earning less than 300 percent of the poverty level or just above $70,000 for a family of four. The program is voluntary and targets 3-4 year olds. Funding will come from a hike in property taxes.

Proposition 1A, the union-backed measure would have sped-up the implementation of the city’s $15 minimum wage for pre-kindergarten teachers and provided certifications and training for teachers and staff members.  

SACRAMENTO, California: The Golden State’s Health and Human Services Agency’s new open data portal is open for business after finishing a public beta testing period. As TechWire reports, the datasets currently available include “cause of death statistics, West Nile virus case data, high school smoking rates, maps of health-care facilities, mothers’ age giving birth, and much more.”

DETROIT, Michigan: A real estate developer that had been interested in buying up more than 6,000 properties to either rehabilitate or demolish said it was backing out of the deal because the city government wanted to “ultimately” control the properties, Tom Greenwood and Christine MacDonald report for the The Detroit News. Although the so-called “blight bundle” deal fell apart, the city and the real estate developer, John Page of Eco-Solutions, hope to partner on a smaller deal down the road.

DENTON, Texas: The Texas Oil and Gas Association wasted no time to challenge the new local ban on hydraulic fracturing approved by voters in this North Texas city this week. James Osborne reports for the Dallas Morning News that the association filed for an injunction on Wednesday aimed at stopping implementation of the ban.

ROCHESTER, New York: The “Snapshot City” has a new downtown innovation zone. As Thomas Adams of the Rochester Business Journal reports, city leaders gathered this week to announce the creation of the new zone, a partnership with the Downtown Development Corporation. "We are working to build on Rochester's strong tradition of leadership in technical and entrepreneurial innovation," Delmonize Smith, the city's commissioner of neighborhood and business development, said, according to the Business Journal.

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