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.
“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.