Tag: Kenneth Wilson

Jail Guard Falsified Security Check Prior to Inmate Suicide; Candidate Proposes Shipping Homeless Out of Seattle

1. King County Jail Guard Falsified Records Surrounding Inmate Suicide

A correctional officer at the King County jail in downtown Seattle failed to do a required security check less than two hours before a 47-year-old man with “a history of mental health issues” committed suicide in his cell last year, then falsified a record to make it appear that he had performed the check, PubliCola has learned.

Disciplinary records from the Department of Adult and Juvenile Detention confirm that the guard, Emmanuel Palaita, did perform a check about an hour before the inmate, Keith Denegal, was found dead in his cell in the early morning of February 20, 2022. However, Palaita failed to do the previous mandatory check, leaving Denegal alone in his cell for more than an hour and a half, in violation of jail rules requiring checks at least once an hour. An investigator concluded that Palaita’s “failure to act endangered the safety of the inmate population he was responsible for.”

Because of the fraudulent log, investigators found Palaita had violated department policy, falsified documents, caused loss or injury to the county or public, and breached jail security. He was never disciplined, however, because he left his shift and never came back, going on leave for several weeks before turning in his official resignation more than a month after walking off the job. According to DAJD spokesman Noah Haglund, Palaita never responded to notices about the internal investigation, and declined a hearing after the investigation to clear his name.

Because Palaita falsified a DAJD record, the department forwarded his name to the King County Prosecutor’s office for inclusion on the county’s Brady list—a list of law enforcement officers whose testimony in court is suspect because they have a history of dishonesty.

Since 2021, nine people have died “unexpectedly” at the jail, including five who committed suicide. Haglund said the department “has taken several important steps since last year to protect jail residents against self-harm,” including retrofits to remove gaps between beds and walls, limiting the distribution of over the counter medication, and increased suicide prevention training.

Since 2021, eight DAJD employees have been disciplined for falsifying security checks, Haglund said.

Because Palaita falsified a DAJD record, the department forwarded his name to the King County Prosecutor’s office for inclusion on the county’s Brady list—a list of law enforcement officers whose testimony in court is suspect because they have a history of dishonesty.

PubliCola has also determined that after Palaita left the county last February, he applied to be a Seattle firefighter, although it does not appear the department has hired him. According to records maintained by the city’s Public Safety Civil Service Commission, Palaita passed all the tests required for placement on the Seattle Fire Department’s Firefighter Register, one of the first steps toward becoming a firefighter in Seattle, and he will remain on the list until June 2024.

We have reached out to the fire department for more information about Palaita’s application and whether the department takes the Brady list into consideration when hiring firefighters.

2.  Here’s a Bold New Idea from Westneat’s Favorite Candidate: “Triage” Homeless People Into “Open Space” in King County

On Wednesday, the Seattle Times’ Danny Westneat posted a layup column lightly mocking “the good, the bad, the bizarre ideas” coming from some of the candidates who are unlikely to make it through this year’s August 1 primary. Among the “out-there ideas” Westneat chose for mockery: Taxing spray paint to stop graffiti; building campgrounds for homeless people around the city, including one where people could use fentanyl (“imagine the community meetings,” Westneat snorts) and using AI to audit city departments for waste. “Their ideas,” Westneat chuckles, are like “Seattle satire.”

Given his interest in oddball ideas, it’s strange that Westneat—who says he’s been attending forums and debates all around the city—failed to mention any of the bold new proposals from a candidate he helped boost to prominence two years ago: Kenneth Wilson, who’s running for the open seat in District 4. In 2021, when Wilson was running against council incumbent Teresa Mosqueda, Westneat wrote that he, “stands out in the crowd”  being “being boring and competent.” Westneat was thoroughly charmed by Wilson’s “dorky” engineer vibe, and praised him for his back-to-basics campaign focused on “mismanagement,” government waste, and “building housing for the homeless faster.”

So you’d think Wilson’s big idea this year would be right up Westneat’s alley. Wilson wants to fix homelessness with a “triage” system that will take homeless people off the streets of Seattle and relocate them to an as-yet-unidentified piece of land somewhere in King County, providing recycling bins for them to store their belongings while they “move along in the right path with us.”

“We could do something with triage, especially with King County and their big resources in land. And we would actually move and get these people on the path that’s away from drugs, it’s away from the challenges of the city,” Wilson said at a recent forum.

“There’s so many people in [Seattle] who’ve got mental issues and things like that,” he continued. “In King County, we have a lot of open space, beautiful areas where we can actually make a difference in people’s lives, get them away from the challenges that are making the addictions, causing some of the mental health spill-out, where the damage is coming to our community.”

Wilson, unlike the candidates Westneat poked fun at this week, has a decent shot of making it through the primary, thanks in part to the credibility Westneat’s column gave him during his first campaign. As of Wednesday, he had raised more money than any other candidate in his race.

Council Candidate Backed Republican Smiley for Congress, Kirk Cameron’s Anti-“Woke” Event Spurred Successful Protest Fundraiser

1. Seattle City Council candidate Kenneth Wilson, running to replace one-term council member Alex Pedersen in District 4, supported Republican Tiffany Smiley over US Senator Patty Murray in the 2022 election, according to campaign finance records as well as Wilson’s response to a lightning-round question at a recent forum sponsored by the 36th District Democrats. At the forum, held on May 23, Wilson indicated “no” in response to the question “Did you vote for Patty Murray”; as the senator’s GOP opponent, Smiley flirted with election denialism and ran as an anti-abortion candidate.

Wilson also donated $500 to Smiley’s campaign last October, according to federal records. During his first run for council in 2021 against incumbent Position 9 Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda, Wilson said he was motivated to run by crime and the presence of “ghetto-type paintings” all over the city.

His opponents include Maritza Rivera and Ron Davis. Rivera, a deputy director of the city’s Office of Arts and Culture whose husband, political consultant Dan Kully, worked on former mayor Jenny Durkan’s campaign, is aligned with Harrell; Davis, who contributed to Harrell’s opponent, Lorena González, is running as a progressive urbanist. Durkan contributed $300 (the legal maximum) to Rivera, her first campaign contribution since 2015, when she gave $125 to the short-lived council campaign of Mian Rice, the son of former Seattle mayor Norm Rice.

Wilson has raised more than any of his opponents so far—about $65,000.

2. About 200 people showed up to see former TV star Kirk Cameron speak at the downtown Seattle Public Library last week, after the library rented a meeting room (subsequently upgraded to the main downstairs auditorium) to the former teen star. As PubliCola reported exclusively earlier this month, Cameron is promoting his appearances, in which he reads from his children’s book, as “a wholesome alternative to the Drag Queen Story Hours promoted by woke Marxist librarians.”

Cameron has said homosexuality is “unnatural,” believes women who have abortions are “murderers,” and has said public schools are “sexualizing” and “grooming” kids, a common trope among right-wing fringe groups. The library told PubliCola it would amount to “government censorship and a violation of the First Amendment” to refuse to rent a meeting room to Cameron’s group.

In a silver lining, the fundraiser raised more than $5,000 in pledges for Drag Queen Story Hour, the American Library Association’s LeRoy C. Merritt Humanitarian Fund (which provides financial assistance for library staffers who lose their jobs for defending intellectual freedom; and Libraries for the People, an anti-censorship group.

According to one attendee—who helped organize a fundraiser to raise money for pro-library organizations—Cameron started his children’s book reading by delivering a “15 minute lecture on America’s tallest granite monument.” (Cameron is so obsessed with this obscure monument, known as the Forefathers Monument, that he made a documentary about it (!) and even sells “high-density resin” replicas of it (!!) for $200 (!!!) on his website. It’s so weird it would almost be charming, if the message of the monument wasn’t that the US is meant to be an explicitly Christian nation).

After that, he brought out the Bremerton coach who won a $2 million settlement after he was fired for holding prayers on the field during football games and led the crowd in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance and singing “God Bless America” before reading two of his children’s books promoting “traditional family values.”

At one point, according to the attendee, “Cameron pointed to the sky and asked the audience, ‘who loves you the most?’ and a kid in the audience yelled ‘Obama!'”

The library had security on hand, along with Seattle Police Department officers, to respond to potential protests. On Tuesday, library director Tom Fay issued a bland statement calling the event “a learning experience for all” and thanking library staff for their work to “minimize disruption and reduce the use of Library resources needed.”

In a silver lining, the fundraiser raised more than $5,000 in pledges for Drag Queen Story Hour, the American Library Association’s LeRoy C. Merritt Humanitarian Fund (which provides financial assistance for library staffers who lose their jobs for defending intellectual freedom; and Libraries for the People, an anti-censorship group.

Mosqueda Challenger Rails Against “Ghetto-Type Paintings,” Durkan Proposes Moving Homeless Outreach Team to Parks Department

1. Ever since an unknown civil engineer named Kenneth Wilson eked out 16 percent of the vote to come in second in the August council primary, the conventional wisdom has been that City Council District 8 incumbent Teresa Mosqueda (who in actual fact won with 59 percent) is facing “a more competitive race than expected,” thanks to a “surprise” upset by a  “frugal,” “competent” “fresh face” whom one pundit called just the kind of “Mr. Fixit” that the council “badly need[s].”

As compelling as those arguments may seem, we’d like to offer a counterpoint: Wilson’s own words.

During his closing statement in a debate last weekend moderated by PubliCola’s Erica Barnett, Wilson explained that one of the reasons he started “becoming political” was the presence of “ghetto-type paintings everywhere” (presumably: Graffiti-style murals), which he associated with crime. In her own closing statement, Mosqueda responded that Wilson, “as someone who says they’re analytical, should analyze how that statement is not a good thing to be saying.” She also pointed out that Wilson constantly talked over and interrupted the moderator, which he did.

In response to a question about how he would deal with the confirmation process for and appointment of a permanent director for the city’s arts office—a process Mayor Jenny Durkan upended by appointing a new temporary director to replace one she appointed earlier, all without input from the arts commission or the advisory body set up to advise her on the selection—Wilson responded: 

“So, first, first and foremost, the arts and culture are so fundamental to our life. We saw the great impact that we lost with what happened in COVID. So many things shut down. So having this important position is valuable to our community and something that we need to build upon. So I would take that very seriously. … I know we had questions even about what’s your qualifications for a position to teach in school. I think some of these jobs have a background to them but an educator, even having some of your background in arts and doing these things firsthand. So being a performer and how we’re going to select this and criteria that we would add to our thing is really valuable to me.”

Sometimes it really is okay just say you don’t have enough background to answer the question and leave it at that.

Finally, at a forum sponsored by Seattle Fair Growth, Wilson responded to a question about preventing displacement by suggesting that someone who makes $50,000 a year and can only afford a $1,600-a-month studio apartment in Seattle should take advantage of their “mobility” and “use their $1,600 maybe down at Angle Lake and get a three-bedroom apartment. Here in Seattle, we’re having other challenges.” Moving away from an urban neighborhood where you’ve lived for a long time to a suburb 20 miles away is pretty much the definition of displacement, not its solution.

Deputy Mayor Tiffany Washington said the city planned to “loan” the HOPE Team’s system navigators to the Parks Department, where their job will consist of being “present on the day of a clean to offer shelter to the one or two people that are left there.”

Wilson has raised about $62,000 in his bid to unseat Mosqueda, and so enchanted Seattle Times columnist Danny Westneat that Westneat devoted an entire column to his virtues. The Times did not endorse in the primary, expressing astonishment that the popular incumbent did not draw “stronger” challengers.

2, As the city’s homelessness services move over to the new regional homelessness authority, one major unanswered question is: What will happen to the HOPE team?

The team, whose acronym stands for Homeless Outreach and Provider Ecosystem, was supposed to be a less-punitive replacement for the Navigation Team, which was primarily responsible for removing encampments. In reality, the team became a kind of vanguard for the Parks Department, which now conducts most of the city’s sweeps. Continue reading “Mosqueda Challenger Rails Against “Ghetto-Type Paintings,” Durkan Proposes Moving Homeless Outreach Team to Parks Department”