1. KIRO Radio program director Bryan Buckalew confirms that Carolyn Ossorio—the reporter who posted a video of herself entering and walking through a trailer that was parked in front of city council member Lisa Herbold’s house without the owner’s permission—is no longer with the station. A source close to the station told The C Is for Crank that Ossorio was fired for the stunt, which Ossorio performed at the behest of conservative KIRO personality Dori Monson.
Monson, who praised listeners who showed up at Herbold’s house, “protested” outside the RV, and covered it with spray-painted slogans including “DORI FOR PRESIDENT,” has not apologized for encouraging his listeners to vandalize and break into the vehicle and is still on the air.
The day before the RV appeared, Monson had unsuccessful District 2 city council candidate Ari Hoffman on his show. In that conversation, the two men endorsed the idea of parking locked, garbage-filled RVs in front of council members’ homes to drive the point home that “drug RVs” were destroying Seattle. When the RV showed up at Herbold’s house, Monson assumed it was in response to his radio show, calling it a welcome sign that people were “fed up with Seattle leadership.” “I had nothing to do with this,” Monson insisted. “But am I enjoying it immensely? Yes, I am. I can’t hide that.”
Monson, who praised “protesters” who showed up at Herbold’s house and covered the RV with spray-painted slogans including “DORI FOR PRESIDENT,” has not apologized for encouraging his listeners to vandalize and break into the vehicle and is still on the air.
KIRO Radio sent Ossario to the scene, where she talked to “protesters” and neighbors who, she said, supported the “protest.” This is when she filmed herself walking through the RV, which had been locked, and making disparaging contents about its contents. “The council has trashed the beautiful city I grew up in, and reduced it to being a haven for heroin addicts and meth-heads,” Monson said. “Now at least one person has said that enough is enough.”
There was just one problem with Monson’s narrative: The trailer, it turned out, was owned not by a “protester” but by a pregnant woman and her partner, who had parked it temporarily near a relative’s house and were planning to move it to a campground outside the city. When the woman, Briar Rose Williams, showed up at the trailer, someone threw a bottle at her and threatened her with a knife, the Seattle Times reported.
Monson never apologized for the stunt. Instead, he invited Williams and her family onto his show, where he peeled a hundred-dollar bill from his money clip (saying, “here’s a hunski”) and told her to split it with her partner and godfather. “You seem to understand the irony and the exquisite, delicious, unbelievable odds of parking it in front of a Seattle city council member’s house!” Monson declared, adding, “That hundred dollars is for baby food!”
2. In the final few weeks before election day, mailboxes around the city are filling up with mailers from independent groups backed by big money from business, labor, and other interest groups. Here’s how those groups are spending the millions they’ve collectively amassed to influence Seattle’s local elections:
• Civic Alliance for a Sound Economy, the Seattle Metro Chamber of Commerce PAC, has raised well over $2 million ($1.45 million of it from Amazon). In the last two weeks, it has turned that money into nearly $900,000 worth of canvassing, TV ads, direct mail, and phone banking calls on behalf of Heidi Wills (D6), Jim Pugel (D7), Phil Tavel (D1), Egan Orion (D3), Mark Solomon (D2) and Debora Juarez (D5). Those numbers are listed in descending order based on how much CASE has spent on each candidate.
• Civic Alliance for a Progressive Economy, a labor-backed group that presents itself as an antidote to CASE, has spent a much smaller amount—less than $125,000 so far—supporting (again in descending order) Dan Strauss (D6), Lisa Herbold (D1), Tammy Morales (D2), Shaun Scott (D4) and Kshama Sawant (D3).
People for Seattle, the PAC formed by former city council member Tim Burgess, just spent more than $350,000 on direct mail and TV ads supporting Heidi Wills, Egan Orion, Alex Pedersen, Jim Pugel, Mark Solomon, Phil Tavel, and Debora Juarez.
Moms for Seattle, which bombarded voters with Photoshopped mailers of playgrounds filled with tents and trash during the primary election, has made just a couple of major spends in the general—$15,000 each to support Jim Pugel and Heidi Wills. The group had only about $25,000 in the bank as of mid-October, and has raised around $30,000 since then.
• Neighborhoods for Smart Streets, the PAC formed by activists who opposed (and ultimately killed) a long-planned protected bike lane on 35th Ave. NE in Wedgwood, spent $7,000 on mail backing Debora Juarez and $20,000 on mail supporting Alex Pedersen in District 4.
• Pedersen also got $11,000 in support from the Seattle Displacement Coalition-backed People for Affordable Livable Seattle, whose members have opposed development and upzoning in the University District.
• People for Seattle, the PAC formed by former city council member Tim Burgess, just spent more than $350,000 on direct mail and TV ads supporting Heidi Wills, Egan Orion, Alex Pedersen, Jim Pugel, Mark Solomon, Phil Tavel, and Debora Juarez.
• The Seattle Hospitality Association, which represents big hotels, spent $75,000 on direct-mail pieces supporting two candidates, Heidi Wills (or, as the PAC’s California-based direct mail company identifies her, Heidi “MIlls”) and Jim Pugel.
• And UNITE HERE LOCAL 8, the New York City-based union that represents hotel workers, has poured nearly half a million more dollars into a campaign backing D7 candidate Andrew Lewis.
Contacted about why the union is putting such significant national resources behind Lewis, a 32-year-old first-time candidate, local UNITE HERE representative Steven Moritz said, “Forty percent of all jobs in Seattle are located in Seattle City Council District 7. A vast majority of Seattle hotel workers go to work in District 7 every day. Because of their small paychecks they can no longer afford to live close to their work and are forced to move out of Seattle. We support Andrew Lewis to be the next City Council member in District 7 because he understands and is committed to the hard working housekeepers, cooks, servers, and dishwashers having a future in our city.”
3. Every year since 2011, the Seattle Department of Transportation has raised or lowered on-street parking rates based on demand, with the goal of leaving one to two spaces available per block. The idea is to price parking low enough that most of the available parking spaces are used, but high enough that people don’t have to drive endlessly around the block, which produces emissions and frustration.
“We are working on an outreach and engagement strategy in advance of making rate changes,” which will involve “reach[ing] out to neighborhood chambers, business organizations and community councils to inform them of upcoming changes and offer to meet with them,” SDOT spokesman Ethan Bergerson says.
Ordinarily, the city releases a report in the summer or fall and begins adjusting parking rates in the fall. Last year, the report came out in October, and the year before that, in September. In 2016, it came out late—in December—because of delays in implementing new dynamic parking meters, which allowed the city to change the price of parking based on demand at different times of day. In almost every year prior to 2016, the reports (which are based on spring data) have been released in the summer, and since 2016 the rate changes have kicked in by the middle of October.
So where is this year’s parking study, and why haven’t parking rates budged—either up or down—this year?
Ethan Bergerson, a spokesman for the Seattle Department of Transportation, says SDOT has finished up the report and plans to release it at some point before the end of the year. “We are working on an outreach and engagement strategy in advance of making rate changes,” Bergerson says, which will involve “reach[ing] out to neighborhood chambers, business organizations and community councils to inform them of upcoming changes and offer to meet with them.” Although city law requires SDOT to do a parking study and adjust parking rates to reach the one-to-two-open-spaces standard, Bergerson notes that the law doesn’t include a deadline for those changes. “We’re still working to nail down the timeline,” Bergerson says.