Category: Announcements

City Attorney-Elect Fires Civil Division Chief, Homelessness Authority Gets Exemption from HUD Mandate, and More

1. Ann Davison, the new city-attorney elect, abruptly fired the head of the civil division of the city attorney’s office, Jessica Nadelman, last week, multiple sources tell PubliCola. The news came as a surprise to many inside and outside the city attorney’s office who had been under the impression that Davison planned to retain the civil chief, who provides legal advice to all branches of city government and defends the city against legal challenges, among many other responsibilities.

Nadelman sent an email to her coworkers on Saturday morning telling them, “Last night Ann and Scott [Lindsay, Davison’s deputy] informed me that I will no longer be civil chief when they take office in January.”

In her capacity as civil chief, Nadelman trained the two public disclosure officers, Stacy Irwin and Kim Ferreiro, who filed a whistleblower complaint alleging that Mayor Jenny Durkan and her legal counsel, Michelle Chen, violated state public disclosure law when they advised Irwin and Ferreiro to help cover up the deletion of several months’ worth of text messages from Durkan’s phone. The phone’s settings were adjusted to set to auto-delete in July 2020, just as the administration came under fire for its handling of protests against racial injustice sparked by George Floyd’s murder by police in Minneapolis, an investigation by the Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission investigation found.

Seattle Nice is now available on iTunes, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts.

At the time, then-city attorney Pete Holmes’ office told the Seattle Times his office considered the deletion of the texts a “deliberate act” that compounded what could end up being “tens of millions of dollars in damages and fees” to resolve lawsuits over Durkan’s handling of the protests. Lindsay, Davison’s deputy, is the son-in-law of a longtime friend and ally of Durkan, former Gov. Chris Gregoire.

Nadelman was not available to comment on her departure. Several people PubliCola contacted who worked closely with Nadelman spoke highly of her work and professionalism, but did not want to comment on the record.

On Tuesday evening, Davison informed employees that she had appointed Jack Johnson, who was civil chief under Mark Sidran from 1990 to 2001, to serve as interim civil chief. In a statement, Davison’s office said she would do a “robust national search” for Nadelman’s permanent replacement.

2. The King County Regional Homelessness Authority has received a one-year exemption from a federal mandate that requires government agencies overseeing homelessness to do an in-person “Point In Time Count” of the unsheltered homeless population every two years. As PubliCola reported last month, the decision put the agency at risk of losing up to 40 points—out of a possible 200—on its next application for federal housing funds.

KCRHA spokeswoman Anne Martens said HUD granted the exemption in light of the agency’s work to use different methodology to get a more accurate count of the region’s homeless population without a physical count. The new tally, which used data from several sources, suggests that the number of people experiencing homelessness in King County could be above 45,000—more than triple the tally from the latest in-person count, which advocates have always acknowledged was an undercount.

Martens said HUD gave the KCRHA an exemption for 2022 only, “with an opening to keep talking about it if we want to do something similar in future years.” On December 7, agency director Marc Dones sent a letter to King County Councilmember (and Republican congressional candidate) Reagan Dunn, responding to Dunn’s call for the agency to reconsider its decision not to do an in-person count. In the letter, Dones criticizes the methodology behind the Point In Time Count, noting that critics have said the count may not represent “an appropriate use of precious community resources.”

Advocates for the Point In Time Count have argued that the count has value beyond producing an annual number, including large-scale community engagement, and point out that they have never claimed the count represents anything other than a massive undercount.

3. Check out the second episode of Seattle Nice, where political consultant Sandeep Kaushik and I discuss what it means that Seattle elected a declared Republican, Ann Davison, as its new city attorney—and what having a Republican city attorney might mean for the city of Seattle. When we recorded, Davison had just selected Scott Lindsay—author of the “prolific offenders” report that became the basis for the infamous KOMO special “Seattle Is Dying—as deputy city attorney, and picked Natalie Walton-Anderson, a former King County deputy prosecutor popular with groups that advocate for alternatives to incarceration, to head her criminal division.

Seattle Nice is now available on iTunes, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts.

—Erica C. Barnett

Introducing Our New Podcast, Seattle Nice!

By Erica C. Barnett

I’m excited to introduce PubliCola readers to the new podcast I’m doing with Sandeep Kaushik and KUOW political reporter David Hyde, Seattle Nice. The name is a tongue-in-cheek homage to the teeth-gritted, smiley-faced politesse of political discourse in the Pacific Northwest, to which all three of us are transplants; our goal is to give listeners a peek inside the conversation we’ve been having for years, about Seattle politics, issues, and personalities—including, in this inaugural episode, city council member Kshama Sawant, who just survived a recall attempt but may face a tough reelection battle in two years.

Sandeep and I met in 2003, when we were both reporters at the Stranger, and we’ve been arguing (and occasionally agreeing) about the often-frustrating politics of Seattle ever since. David, a longtime producer for KUOW radio, does the heavy lifting, interrupting us, keeping us (mostly) from shouting over each other, and editing our nonsense into a digestible half-hour format.

Since this is our pilot episode, here are a few answers to questions readers might have.

Q: Will this be available on iTunes, Overcast, or the podcatcher of my choice?

A: Yep—Seattle Nice will be available on all streaming platforms soon, if it isn’t already up by the time you read this. In the meantime, you can listen on Spotify or stream or download the first episode here.

Q: Can I contribute to the podcast directly, or should I just keep donating to PubliCola?

A: The podcast is its own project, and we’d love your support to make it happen. If you want to support PubliCola financially—and as an independent, completely reader-funded website, we encourage you to do so—here are all the ways. If you want to pitch in to help us make the podcast, we’ll have a Patreon soon and I will post the link here and on Twitter when we do.

Q: Do you seriously not know how to pronounce “Jacobin”?

A: Look, you know how there are some words that you just see in print? And nobody ever said them to you out loud because you never took a course in, I don’t know, French revolutionary history? Let me ask you something: Can YOU pronounce “Frühsjahrmüdigkeit”?

Q: Do you take comments, topic suggestions, or requests?

A: As always, feel free to reach out to me directly; I read every email sent to

The C Is for Cola

Exciting news: Starting today, all the local politics coverage and analysis you rely on from The C Is for Crank will be appearing under a new banner and at a new location:

PubliCola is the pioneering news website my longtime reporting compatriot Josh Feit and I launched in 2009; much like The C Is for Crank, PubliCola covered city hall, Seattle politics, and the state legislature, where it was the first online-only site to get accredited back in 2009.

It also ran a little opinion column called The C Is for Crank.

Seattle Met magazine bought PubliCola in 2012, and last month, we got it back. We are grateful to Seattle Met for facilitating this exciting transition. We have a new logo too, designed by Jordan Rundle, which I’m especially excited to share with you. (Here it is with our old logo from 2009):


As part of the relaunch, I’ll be reviving The C Is for Crank in its original incarnation—as an occasional opinion column focusing on issues I care deeply about, including housing, homelessness, and transportation. Additionally, Josh will be returning to write for the site in his spare time, as he did in 2018, when he wrote an urbanist column called The J is for Judge, such as this installment against saving the Showbox.

Other than the name change, the site will remain true to the values and priorities you’ve come to expect at The C is for Crank—the same obsessive local news and analysis written by me and, since summer, also by the site’s new, outstanding police accountability reporter, Paul Kiefer.

Under the PubliCola banner, I’ll continue to emphasize the same coverage priorities I’ve established over the past five years at the Crank: news from City Hall, stories about the ongoing homelessness crisis, debates about transportation policy, police accountability, and much more.

For those who don’t want to update your bookmarks, don’t worry— still works, it just redirects to PubliCola.

The C is for Crank—and also for Cola!

I hope you’ll join me in celebrating this acquisition. It’s been a long time coming.

Breaking News: The C Is for Crank Is Expanding!

Image by Gerhard G. from Pixabay

I’m really excited to announce that The C Is for Crank has hired Paul Faruq Kiefer as our new police accountability reporter.

Paul’s impressive resume includes experience as a member of the RadioActive Youth Media team at KUOW, where he produced this award-winning feature; a news internship at WUNC radio in Durham, NC; and freelance work for KUNF in Fayetteville, AR, the Progressive, and the South Seattle Emerald, where he first caught my attention as part of the reporting team that produced this story about the pandemic’s impact on active drug users.

Paul will be covering the entire police-accountability beat, including the upcoming Seattle Police Officers Guild contract negotiations; the debate over how, and by how much, to cut the Seattle Police Department’s budget; the city’s response to protests against police brutality, which is currently playing out in court; and the role of the city’s alphabet-soup accountability agencies, among what I’m sure will be many other stories.

At a time when other media outlets are contracting and laying off staff, it’s exciting to be able to announce that this site is expanding, thanks in HUGE part to support from readers like you! After I posted that I was raising money to supplement grant funding for this position, readers stepped up and kicked in well over the initial $5,000 goal, which will make this position sustainable for at least one year. If you’d like to contribute to The C Is for Crank’s ongoing operations, or this position specifically, all your options are here.

Thanks for your support, and please join me in welcoming Paul—who can be reached at—to the team!

Police Accountability Reporting Fund Drive Update: You Did It!

Great news: I asked readers to contribute to a new fund to help me pay for a part-time reporter covering the police accountability and community safety beat, and you delivered! Since that first post on Monday, readers have given more than $5,200 to fund this position, beating my initial goal of $5,000 in five days flat. (This tally doesn’t include physical checks.)

Your contributions, along with a generous grant I’ve received to fund this position, will allow me to hire an entry-level reporter to cover the ongoing discussions about police defunding and community reinvestment, the Seattle Police Officers Guild contract, protests against police brutality, the future of Seattle’s police accountability  bodies, and the Seattle Police Department budget, among many other current and emerging topics

Any additional contributions to this fund will also be set aside to fund this position and will help make this coverage sustainable for a longer period; just make sure you include a note with your Paypal or Venmo contribution indicating what it’s for. (If you have trouble, email me at and I’ll make sure your donation ends up in the right account).

And I’m still taking applications! This is an entry-level position—you don’t need any specific prior experience, but critical thinking, fearlessness, and a willingness to push past official talking points are important. BIPOC candidates are especially encouraged to apply; email a resumé along with any published clips or a writing sample, along with a brief email telling me why you’re seeking the position, to

Now Accepting Applications and Contributions: New Police Reporter!

On Monday, I announced that I’m hiring a part-time, entry-level police accountability reporter, and I need your help!

I’ve received a generous grant to fund this position, and I’m trying to raise an additional $5,000 to make this position sustainable for at least one year. All contributions will go directly and entirely to supplement the grant I’ve received to fund this position, including contributions above the initial $5,000 goal. This new reporter will cover police accountability, community-based alternatives to police response, the federal consent decree, the upcoming police contract negotiations, protests against police violence, the ongoing debate over Seattle Police Department funding, and everything related to the role police play in Seattle.

Please contribute generously to support this new position by making a one-time contribution via Venmo or Paypal, and include a note indicating that the donation is for the new police reporter! If you have any issues leaving a note or with the contribution process, email me at and I’ll make sure your contribution is directed to the correct account.

Second: If you are interested in this position, please send a resumé, any published clips or a writing sample, and a brief email explaining why you’re interested in the position to I’ll be responding to candidates and setting up interviews next week. BIPOC candidates are especially encouraged to apply.

Special Announcement: The C Is for Crank Is Hiring, and We Need Your Support!

I have exciting news: The C is for Crank is expanding and hiring.

We are in an extraordinary moment—a time when communities across the country are debating the role of police and rejecting conventional “reform” efforts as inadequate responses to decades of unaddressed problems with the current system, including police brutality, racially biased policing, and militarization of police departments. In recognition of this moment, I’m hiring an entry-level reporter to cover everything related to policing in Seattle.

I’ve received a generous grant that will go most of the way toward funding this position, but I need $5,000 more in contributions to make the position fully sustainable for a year. Please consider a one-time contribution to help The C Is for Crank dedicate a reporter to this important beat.

This new reporter will focus exclusively on police accountability, covering stories such as the Seattle Police Department budget, the upcoming Seattle Police Officers Guild contract negotiations, the future of police accountability bodies like the Community Police Commission, the federal consent decree, and other emerging stories related to cops, the Black Lives Matter movement, and community safety. 

If you’d like to make a one-time contribution to support this coverage, please donate via Venmo, Paypal, or by writing a check and sending it to The C Is for Crank at PO Box 14328, Seattle, WA, 98104. Please include a note indicating that your contribution is to fund the police-accountability reporter; this will ensure that your contribution ends up going directly and entirely to fund this position. (If you’re having trouble, email me at and I will make sure your contribution is directed to the correct account.)

For those interested in the position, which will involve on-the-ground reporting, going to meetings, developing sources, and regular bylines at The C Is for Crank, please send an email describing your qualifications, along with your resumé and any published clips, to BIPOC candidates are especially encouraged to apply.

Thanks, and I look forward to telling readers more about this position soon.