May 3, 2013 at 2:10 PM
Leadership and reform of the police department again led the debate among seven candidates for Seattle mayor at a forum Thursday night sponsored by North-end Democrats. Challengers criticized incumbent Mayor Mike McGinn for the lack of a strong command of the force and the ongoing oversight of a federal monitor.
But McGinn and the department won mostly praise for their handling of the May Day protests Wednesday.
“As soon as violence began, they acted,” said City Councilmember Tim Burgess of the police response. “It was a vast improvement over last year.”
McGinn also praised the officers and command staff saying, “In a tough situation, they did a difficult job.”
The Burgess campaign has seemed ambivalent about his past as a Seattle police officer, at one point this spring highlighting his subsequent work as a poverty aid worker in Asia and Africa. But Thursday, Burgess emphasized that no one else running for mayor had walked a beat. He said there was an urgent need for reform of the department and that he was the one to lead it.
State Senator Ed Murray, more engaged than at Monday’s forum (he reportedly had only five hours sleep after the Legislature’s late Sunday adjournment) called it a travesty that a progressive city like Seattle should be under a Justice Department consent decree. He blamed both McGinn and Burgess, who chaired the Council Public Safety Committee in the lead-up to the federal investigation that found the department had a pattern of excessive use of force.
Moderator Enrique Cerna, of KCTS public TV, asked the seven candidates what they would look for in a new police chief. The job is vacant with the retirement of John Diaz last month.
April 29, 2013 at 10:34 AM
Seattle City Councilmember Richard Conlin has drawn a second challenger: Brian Carver, an Amazon.com manager who says education, police department reform and user-friendly transit are the keys to his second Seattle City Council campaign. Carver lost in the 2009 primary for Sally Bagshaw’s seat.
“We need to do all these things while staying true to our progressive values as a city,” Carver said.
Carver criticized Conlin for being the one no vote on legislation requiring companies to offer sick leave. He has been working as a Democratic activist since his 2009 run. He lives with his wife and their 7-month-old son in Wallingford.
Socialist candidate Kshama Sawant is also in the race.
April 15, 2013 at 1:02 PM
Although it’s six months down the road, King County Sheriff John Urquhart is getting ready for the November election.
He’s set to kick off his re-election campaign at a meet and greet Wednesday evening at the House of Hong in the Chinatown-International District.
He has lined up some big guns for his election roll out including King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg, Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes, and former U. S. Attorney John McKay.
Urquhart became sheriff in a special election last year to fill the final year of Sheriff Sue Rahr’s term. Rahr left to become director of the Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission.
March 27, 2013 at 10:48 AM
The Port of Seattle Commission has selected seven finalists for an open position left when Rob Holland resigned earlier this month.
Four of the finalists were previously finalists for a seat recently filled by Commissioner Courtney Gregoire. Gregoire replaced former commissioner Gael Tarleton, who was elected to the state House of Representatives in November.
The finalists for Holland’s seat were chosen from 27 applicants. They will participate in a public forum moderated by KUOW’s Steve Scher at 6 p.m. April 2 at the port’s Pier 69 Headquarters, 2711 Alaskan Way, Seattle.
The finalists are:
– Stephanie Bowman of Seattle, a former manager of Federal Government Affairs at the Port of Tacoma who ran for the state House of Representatives last year in the 11th District.
– Darrell E. Bryan of Seattle, President and Chief Executive Officer of Clipper Navigation.
– Claudia Kauffman of Kent, a former state Senator representing the 47th District and Intergovernmental Affairs Liaison for the Muckleshoot Tribe.
– Randy Loomans of Seattle, the Director of Government Relations for the International Union of Operating Engineers, Local 302.
– Vicki Orrico of Bellevue, a consultant and member of the Bellevue College Board of Trustees.
– Keith Scully of Shoreline, an attorney, a member of the City of Shoreline Planning Commission and former legal director for Futurewise.
– Nancy E. Wyatt of Kent, the President/CEO of the Auburn Area Chamber of Commerce and former President/CEO of the Covington Chamber of Commerce.
March 19, 2013 at 3:42 PM
The House committee overseeing the state’s marijuana law today heard feedback about a bill that would change state regulations.
Rep. Christopher Hurst, D-Enumclaw, introduced House Bill 2000 to modify Initiative 502, a voter-passed measure allowing the sale and possession of marijuana for adults. He said he introduced the bill to preempt the “myriad of problems” the Washington State Liquor Control Board will face while implementing the initiative, especially given the lack of marijuana regulation the state has long had.
“We really have done nothing to regulate marijuana in Washington state,” Hurst said. “I could walk to downtown Olympia and find someone to sell him marijuana within five minutes.”
HB 2000 would change where businesses could legally sell marijuana. Under I-502, marijuana can’t be sold within 1000 feet of certain public facilities, including schools, parks, playgrounds and transit centers. HB 2000 would cut that distance to 500 feet, except near schools.
March 19, 2013 at 2:29 PM
David Ishii, AKA Papa Bigfoot, a self-described West Seattle “character,” switched political races this week. He decided not to compete in the crowded race for Seattle mayor, but to instead challenge City Councilmember Sally Bagshaw, who is seeking her second term.
Ishii has raised no money for his campaigns and plans to collect signatures to qualify for the August primary ballot, rather than pay a filing fee.
Ishii said he continues to generate ideas. At a recent campaign forum, he said he proposed sending homeless people to Eastern Washington to pick fruit. He also promised to work closely with the Department of Justice to clean up corruption in the city.
In a telephone conversation, he said he used to golf with Al Capone. When told that Al Capone had been dead for some time, he had a quick comeback. “That’s a pseudonym,” Ishii said.
March 18, 2013 at 1:05 PM
A coalition of downtown Seattle business leaders and social service providers asked the state Legislature today to provide funding for housing and health services for the poor to address problems of chronic disorder and public safety on downtown streets.
The coalition called on the Legislature to implement the Affordable Care Act with full Medicaid expansion, preserve funding for mental-health and substance-abuse treatment programs and invest $175 million over the next two years in the Housing Trust Fund to increase affordable housing.
“The lingering effects of the economic recession have compounded with recent cuts in funding for treatment services, resulting in severe challenges in our downtown core and in many other cities across our state. Without stable housing and medical care, we have seen too many people become a danger to themselves and a threat to public safety,” said a letter sent to the Legislature by Mayor Mike McGinn and members of a group working on a Center City initiative to address street crime and vagrancy.
March 14, 2013 at 3:30 PM
State Senator Ed Murray, who declared his candidacy for Seattle mayor in December, announced Thursday that he is indeed running.
“I am running for mayor,” said Murray in a press release.
To be fair, Murray’s initial announcement was qualified by his inability to actively campaign or raise money while the Legislature is in session. He described his candidacy as “exploratory,” but went on to raise almost $120,000 for the mayor’s race in the nine days before the session began.
Since then, he also has picked up an endorsement for mayor from the national Human Rights Campaign, a civil rights organization for LGBT Americans. The only other local candidate to with the group’s endorsement this year is Christine Quinn, the openly gay candidate for New York City mayor.
Murray Wednesday also said he is hiring Maggie Thompson as his campaign manager. Thompson oversaw the Seattle citywide organizing for the successful state referendum to legalize gay marriage. She previously worked on the campaign to oppose liquor privatization in the state.
March 13, 2013 at 6:41 PM
OLYMPIA — The Washington State Dream Act was approved by the state House on Wednesday, bringing undocumented students one step closer to being eligible for the State Need Grant.
The measure was approved 77-20, with unanimous Democrat support and a split vote on the Republican side. It was the last piece of House legislation to make it through before the session’s cutoff.
House Bill 1817 would qualify all students who graduated from a Washington high school or earned a diploma-equivalent in the state for the State Need Grant — the state’s largest financial-aid program — as long as they meet other grant requirements. The students must also remain in the state after earning their diploma, until they attend college.
Bill sponsor Rep. Zack Hudgins urged fellow legislators to pass HB 1817 for the good of Washington. He said regardless of where students are born, they are capable of having a big impact on the state’s economy.
“[Undocumented students] are the ones who will sell our apples and pears and airplanes,” said Hudgins, D-Tukwila. “These kids have no choice in where they are born, but they do have a choice in how hard they work.”
The issue now goes to the Senate for consideration. Senate Minority Leader Ed Murray, D-Seattle, introduced a similar bill the Senate, but it died without receiving a hearing. And on Wednesday, a maneuver by supporters to pass the Dream Act by tacking it onto other legislation failed.
Several House Republicans spoke in favor of the bill Wednesday, arguing it would benefit their constituents and strengthen their communities. Rep. Bruce Chandler, R-Granger, said receiving an education will allow undocumented students a chance to participate fully in their communities.
But fellow Republican Rep. Larry Haler, of Richland, spoke against passage – not because he disagreed with the intent of the bill, but because of the budget.
“Currently we can’t fund 32,000 young men and women who meet the eligibility of the State Need Grant,” said Haler, R-Richland. “Sometime in the future, a few years from now, we might be able to afford it.”
Rep. Overstreet, R-Lynden, argued that the bill shouldn’t be passed because people in the county illegally shouldn’t have access to a state-funded education. He said representatives shouldn’t vote on the bill based on emotion or compassion, they should vote based on laws already in place.
March 12, 2013 at 5:26 PM
For many people, flash mobs are a delightful fad. Videos of performers breaking into dance in train stations, parks and shopping malls are popular on YouTube. But Washington state senators are worried the trend could take a more sinister form: flash robs.
Sen. Mike Carrell said he introduced a bill in response to a group of teens staging a flash rob at a Portland Nordstrom last April. The Lakewood Republican said there haven’t been any flash robs in Washington, and he hopes the legislation will prevent them from occurring.
Under Senate Bill 5178, groups of at least six people who steal at least $500 in merchandise can be charged with organized retail theft. The group must also have used electronic communication – emails, text messages or social media – to organize the theft.
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