Lambert’s Colleagues Denounce Racist Mailer, Cops Debate Use of Projectile Launchers, and a Provider Recounts Street Sink Frustration

1. Six members of the King County Council—all Democrats—condemned Republican County Councilmember Kathy Lambert yesterday for a campaign mailing to some of East King County constituents that implied Lambert’s opponent, Sarah Perry, is being controlled by a shadowy cabal made up of Jews, socialists, and people of color.

The mailer showed three unrelated elected officials of color—Vice President Kamala Harris, Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant, and Lambert’s own colleague, King County Councilmember Girmay Zahilay—along with US. Sen. Bernie Sanders, looming above a Photoshopped image of Perry as a marionette, a classic anti-semitic trope. Harris, Sanders, and Sawant appear to be laughing while Zahilay pulls Perry’s strings.

The message to white Eastside voters is as clear as an “OK” hand sign: If you don’t reelect Lambert, brown, Black, and Jewish Democrats will take over the Eastside and impose their left-wing values on you and your family. But just in case the dog whistles were too subtle, the mailer is emblazoned: “SARAH WOULD BE A SOCIALIST PUPPET ON THE EASTSIDE PUSHING THEIR AGENDA. SARAH PERRY IS BACKED BY SEATTLE SOCIALIST LEADER GIRMAY ZAHILAY WHO WANTS TO DEFUND THE POLICE.” The flip side calls Perry an “ANTI-POLICE PUPPET.” 

Lambert is currently fighting for her political life in a diversifying East King County district where 60 percent of primary-election voters supported one of two Democrats over the 20-year Republican incumbent.

“Put simply, this is a racist piece of political mail. It has no place in any public or private discourse here in King County,” the six council members said. “Planning, authorizing and mailing a communication like this betrays ignorance at best, deep seated racism at worst. Regardless, it demonstrates disrespect for the fundamental duty that the residents of King County give to all of their elected representatives—the duty to respect and serve everyone who resides in King County, regardless of race or ethnicity.”
The council members—Zahilay, Claudia Balducci, Jeanne Kohl-Welles, Dave Upthegrove, Joe McDermott, and Rod Dembowski—demanded that Lambert apologize to Zahilay and Perry “for subjecting everyone, especially our friends, families and constituents of color, to this hurtful and painful communication.”
PubliCola first posted the full mailer on Twitter Wednesday morning.

“Although it’s led and orchestrated by the city, the city is not interested, really, in bringing anyone to help us… They’re looking for partners like nonprofit organizations that have direct access to water that would be able to make their water available. So it’s like—now you’re relying on us.”—David Sauvion, Rainier Beach Action Coalition

2. The Rainier Beach Action Coalition, which works to promote affordable housing and equitable development in Southeast Seattle, was one of many organizations that expressed an interest in setting up a street sink to help prevent the spread of communicable diseases, particularly among people experiencing homelessness.

But, according to RBAC Food Innovation District strategist David Sauvion, the organization decided against installing a sink after the city informed them that they would be wholly responsible for providing water to the location, making sure it was ADA compliant, and maintaining the sink, all without any direct support from the city.

“Although it’s led and orchestrated by the city, the city is not interested, really, in bringing anyone to help us… They’re looking for partners like nonprofit organizations that have direct access to water that would be able to make their water available. So it’s like—now you’re relying on us.”

Sauvion said RBAC wouldn’t have minded paying for the water; the problem was that RBAC wanted to install a sink where it would actually get some use, next to a bus stop on the southeast corner of South Henderson Street and MLK Way South, rather than directly in front of their office, which is in a house on a quiet corner across the street. “It’s just not a place where we see a lot of homeless people,” Sauvion said.

As for the city’s insistence that nonprofit groups should be willing to provide ongoing maintenance, including graywater disposal, without help from the city, Sauvion said, “why don’t we do that? Why don’t we just rely on everybody else to provide the services the city should be providing?”

The founders of the Street Sink project, Real Change, spoke to about 100 organizations about hosting a street sink. Of those, just nine met all of the city’s requirements, and only five told the city they were interested in moving forward. Since the Street Sink project started in May 2020, just one sink has been installed.

3. During Seattle’s Community Police Commission (CPC) meeting Wednesday, Mark Mullens—the sole police officer on the commission—revisited an ongoing point of tension between the Seattle Police Department’s command staff and its rank-and-file.

“Is it not true that the 40 millimeter launcher is banned?” he asked Interim SPD Chief Adrian Diaz, referring to a gun that fires large rubber projectiles as an alternative to live ammunition.

“That is not true,” replied Diaz, who was attending the meeting to answer questions from the commission.

The department has been doing the same back-and-forth for months as law enforcement agencies across the state try to interpret a new state law that prohibits police officers from using high-caliber weapons, which some officers believe includes the 40 millimeter launcher. Both SPD leadership and the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Roger Goodman (D-45, Kirkland), believe that the bill does not cover the “less-lethal” launcher, which police sometimes use against people experiencing mental health crises.

But within SPD, Diaz noted that some officers have turned in their 40-millimeter launchers, claiming to be afraid that they could lose their permit to work as police officers if the state legislature eventually deems the weapons illegal. The state’s Criminal Justice Training Commission (CJTC), which licenses law enforcement officers in Washington state, hasn’t taken a firm position; instead, commission leadership ruled that both Diaz and Mullens’ interpretations of the law are correct, and only legislative action will clear up the disagreement.

In light of the dispute, Diaz told the CPC that his department is distributing a new “less-lethal” weapon to its officers: a launcher known as a BolaWrap, which wraps a tether around a person’s limbs to immobilize them. According to Diaz, SPD is in the process of purchasing and distributing 30 BolaWrap launchers to its Crisis Response Unit, which responds to mental health crisis calls, as a pilot.

During Wednesday’s meeting, Diaz also announced plans for a new training module for new recruits focused on “social-emotional learning and brain development” and taught by a Seattle Public Schools principal. The module, which new hires will attend 45 days before entering basic training at the state’s law enforcement academy, will launch at the beginning of 2022.

7 thoughts on “Lambert’s Colleagues Denounce Racist Mailer, Cops Debate Use of Projectile Launchers, and a Provider Recounts Street Sink Frustration”

  1. In France, police use of the 40mm launcher has been the subject of considerable controversy after allegedly causing at least 23 individuals to lose an eye, and provoking at least one fatality.

  2. Regarding item (3), Wednesday’s Seattle Community Police Commission (CPC): also notable at that meeting was a record setting 7 people who signed up for public comment, notable because the CPC has blocked public comment from 2014 through 2020, and during 2021 never has more than 0-2 people in public comment.

    The 5 public commenters who were able to present all called on the CPC to investigate or otherwise act on the the scandals at the Office of Police Accountability (OPA) & the Office of Inspector General (OIG) which have revealed the failure of the OPA to properly investigate police abuse, the possible criminal actions of OPA director Andrew Myerberg, and the willingness of the OIG to hide the OPA’s failures and to do the opposite of its legal duty (provide oversight of the OPA).

    The CPC falsely claimed at this meeting that they are somehow prevented from taking action because there is an ongoing City of Seattle Ethics investigation. That’s like people driving off a failed bridge and the DOT saying they can’t take action until an investigation is completed.

    Also notable at this meeting was the gas lighting of people’s public comments and complaints and the absurd CPC discussion with Chief Diaz and Andrew Myerberg regarding how to handle people with knives besides shooting them to death. The discussion took place in a parallel universe where the UK — a country that has not shot people wielding knives for many decades — does not exist, nor do the US cities, like Camden, New Jersey, that have long ago adopted the UK’s training and practices.

    Oh yeah, then there is also the recently revealed fact that Andrew Myerberg is attempting to flee Seattle for Phoenix to avoid the legal and public relations consequences of his corrupt and illegal practices.
    see: https://twitter.com/bessarabia1/status/1445933377236783117

    1. It’s odd to read an account of that meeting that omits the awkward fact that public comment highlighted a pending whistleblower complaint into the OIG’s oversight of OPA. There’s an increasingly large story emerging that our police accountability system in Seattle is biased and itself unaccountable. Police accountability leading to reform is what the CPC was created to ensure, and the commission really should take a few steps away from the OPA and Myerberg and quite a few steps closer to the entire community it was created to represent, including protesters harmed by violent policing and the families of people harmed or killed by police. On Wednesday it was also noted that OPA Director Andrew Myerberg has been interviewing for a job to do in Phoenix what he has been doing here. Important developments Publicola should acknowledge.

  3. Here’s what Voter Science LLC says on their website (http://www.voter-science.com/)

    “In 2015, a group of Washington state grass-roots activists formed Voter Science to redefine how right-of-center candidates run for office.”

    “We’ll hone your messaging for the right audience and create a full spectrum plan for your voter engagement activities.”

    They say they use data to create a plan. Makes me wonder what data led them to produce this racist campaign message.

    1. This is so badly done I can’t see this moving anyone. It reminds me of the clumsy propaganda at the beginning of the 20th century. Maybe the “science” is a trip to the local library. I’ve seen better attempts at persuasive work (disregarding the vileness) from 1st year students. This would not survive a professional critique. Someone got conned.

      1. Junk like this flyer isn’t meant to persuade people to vote for the candidate when they might not previously. It’s meant to persuade them to get out and vote – to activate their fear and anxiety so they don’t stay home. Because that’s just what we need is racist, low-information voters.

  4. What political consultant thought this was a good idea? Who designed the flier? I looked at Councilmember Lambert’s PDC reports and noticed payments made to an entity named “Voter Science” but couldn’t find much about them.

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