Tag Archives: King County

King County judge pulls sanctuary city measure from Burien ballots

judge liz berns

The judge who made the ruling: Elizabeth Berns

The good judge stated the language in the petition was “inflammatory.”

About the judge who made the ruling:

“Judge Berns has been active in the LGBTQ community helping others understand domestic violence and sexual assault within that community. She has co-authored a chapter on LGBTQ Minorities and Sexual Offenses in the Sexual Offense Bench Guide for Judges, and a chapter on LGBTQ DV in the Domestic Violence Manual for Judges. She is the Project Chair for the King County Domestic Violence and Child Maltreatment Coordinated Response Oversight Committee, and is on faculty for the National Council of Juvenile & Family Court Judges for judicial education programs entitled “Enhancing Judicial Skills in Domestic Violence Cases.”

From Seattle Times: King County Elections is pulling an anti-sanctuary city initiative off the Nov. 7 Burien ballot, following a Thursday court ruling. The initiative calls for repealing a city ordinance, passed by the City Council in January, that bars police officers and other city employees from asking about a person’s religion or immigration status.

King County Superior Court Judge Elizabeth Berns issued a preliminary injunction Thursday morning declaring the ballot measure invalid on several grounds, including that it exceeded the scope of authority granted to initiatives and deviated from state requirements “for the contents and form of a petition.”

“It was a little overwhelming to get to this point,” said Hugo Garcia, a member of Burien Communities for Inclusion, the group that sought the injunction. “But yeah, I’m very happy.”

The initiative, pushed by the organization Respect Washington, sparked a fierce immigration debate in Burien that mirrored the national one prompted by President Donald Trump’s rhetoric about Mexicans being criminals and stealing American jobs.

Burien Communities for Inclusion cited language in Respect Washington’s petition to argue that it used inflammatory language that misrepresented the ordinance it sought to repeal.

The petition said the ordinance “threatens the safety of every Burien citizen and legal resident by allowing criminal aliens, like the one who shot Kate Steinle in San Francisco, to prey upon others inside our once peaceful town.”

Trump, among others, has cited Steinle’s murder in 2015 by an undocumented immigrant illegal alien as justification for cracking down on illegal immigration.

The plaintiffs also successfully argued that the petition intruded upon the city’s rights to govern its own affairs.

“It tells the city of Burien what kind of instructions to give its employees,” said Dmitri Iglitzin, a lawyer for Burien Communities for Inclusion, which includes city residents and other immigrant advocates.

Neither Respect Washington nor its lawyer could be reached immediately for comment.

Janine Joly, senior deputy King County prosecutor, said Thursday she had not yet heard of an appeal filed by the group. If Respect Washington did appeal, and won, she said a court would have to issue emergency relief to get the initiative back on the ballot.

The deadline for sending ballots to the printer is Thursday, said King County Elections spokeswoman Kafia Hosh. “Our team is working right now to create new ballots without the measure,” she said. The county is required to send ballots to overseas residents and service members by Sept. 23.

Garcia said the initiative had created a lot of fear in Burien, even for him, a naturalized American citizen who came here from Mexico when he was 8. “As a Latino male, I don’t know that cops are going to be able to differentiate whether I’m documented or undocumented illegal,” he said.

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Two police officers suing socialist Seattle councilmember Kshama Sawant for her irresponsible comments

sawant always screaming

Socialist Sawant…maybe having to pay for spreading lies will help keep her mouth shut.

Good. This socialist has been blabbing false truths since she took office.

From MyNorthwest.com: Seattle police officers Scott Miller and Detective Michael Spaulding are suing Kshama Sawant as an individual for “having their reputations ruined by an ambitious politician, doing so for personal gain.”

The lawsuit, filed by Williams, Kastney and Gibbs, claims Sawant, acting beyond her scope as a city councilmember, personally defamed the two officers who were involved in the shooting death against Che Taylor after he allegedly pulled a gun on them. A gun was found at the scene and a witness corroborates the story from Miller and Spaulding. A King County inquest jury found that Taylor, indeed, posed a threat of death or serious injury to these two officers.

According to the filing, “…having never spoken to the officers, their attorney, the department, and with the investigation still incomplete, Kshama Sawant was publicly pronouncing these officers ‘murderers’ and referring to the shooting as a product of ‘racial profiling.’ As a consequence of her rhetoric, the lawsuit alleges the officers were “publicly berated and chastised” and Miller had to move.

“Citizens of this community have this right (to file the lawsuit),” said Kevin Stuckey, president of the Seattle Police Officers Guild. “Kshama Sawant said those things but it’s up to a jury to decide.”

This is the second lawsuit filed against Sawant this month. Carl Haglund’s attorney says Sawant introduced a law prohibiting landlords from raising rents for buildings that do not meet basic maintenance standards. She referred to the legislation as “the Carl Haglund law.”

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DREAMer accused of brutally raping woman in Washington state

messed up

This happened in the sanctuary city of Burien.

From Fox News: A 23-year-old DREAMer in Washington state is accused of brutally raping a 19-year-old woman in her apartment complex’s gym and leaving her with severe facial injuries — including a broken jaw and dangling ear.

The woman ended up stumbling home with missing teeth, a bloody head and wearing only a black tank top, according to court documents obtained by Fox News. She was working out in the gym in Burien, a Seattle suburb, before the June 25 assault and did not know her attacker, police said.

Salvador Diaz-Garcia, an illegal immigrant who was a recipient of Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, is now facing second-degree assault and rape charges in the vicious attack. He also faces child molestation charges for allegedly assaulting a 14-year-old the same day the rape occurred.

His DACA status has been revoked and he now may face possible deportation, officials said.

According to police, the woman was on the treadmill of the gym at 9:15 p.m. when Diaz-Garcia stood behind her and kept asking her questions. She asked him to move. Diaz-Garcia then violently attacked her, police said, leaving her with a broken jaw, a broken nose and her ear partially ripped off.

The victim told police that a month before, her attacker had groped her and then ran away. Diaz-Garcia lived in the same apartment complex as the victim, but the two had never met.

He was arrested four days after the attack when witnesses and surveillance footage allegedly captured him watching girls at the complex’s pool just before the attack. Investigators say they found what they believe is the victim’s blood on his pants. A rape kit found DNA on her.

“The state is extremely concerned for the defendant’s brazen, bold, and violent behavior towards young women,” prosecutors said in court documents.

Diaz-Garcia was granted DREAMer status in 2013 and renewed it twice since then, most recently this past January. Immigration officials said his DACA status was recently revoked. 

Burien passed a sanctuary law in January, but now there’s a backlash. Residents have gathered enough signatures to force a vote on if the city should continue to shield undocumented immigrants illegal aliens. Residents are likely to vote on the issue in November, which could be the first referendum of its kind in the U.S.

“You want to lean toward having this welcoming ‘we want everybody here to be happy and feel safe,’” said Debi Wagner, a Burien councilwoman. “How can we guarantee that if we don’t know anything about people living in our midst?”

Diaz-Garcia is being held on $350,000 bail in Kings County Jail.

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Special snowflake triggered by American flag results in temporary removal of 9/11 memorial

preston memorial

The “offensive” display

King County apologized yesterday for removing the memorial: “On the division’s blog, the county’s transportation director said the department “should have reached out to the community before removing the flags, banners, and messages.”

The memorial will remain, thank goodness.

The original story from MyNorthwest.com:  A makeshift 9/11 memorial that’s been up for more than 16 years was removed from the Preston-Fall City Road. As they were taking it down, a King County road crew left a note saying that someone called to complain that the American flag was offensive.

“A number of people are flat out outraged that the American flag can be considered offensive,” says the man behind an effort to get replace the memorial. “This one small act that they did was actually a very large act.”

A Facebook page dedicated to the makeshift memorial has been setup.

Some irritated neighbors have started putting flags back up in place of the one taken down, but they worry the county might come back and take them down, too.

So, they’re also reaching out to County Councilmember Kathy Lambert, who has promised to schedule a community meeting to figure out if they can find some kind of compromise.

But, as of Tuesday, no date has been set for that meeting. This is the statement from Lambert’s office:

There is nothing scheduled yet, but Councilmember Lambert is in discussions with various county divisions about it. If we end up moving forward on it, it won’t be until the last couple weeks of August.

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King County defends safe injection sites as a “public health service”

druge injection

I understand there is an opioid epidemic in the U.S. right now. I would rather see taxes used for a rehabilitation facility than for an injection site. Yet I’m sure it’s much harder to get an addict into rehab than it is to allow them to shoot up.

From MyNorthwest.com: King County (Washington state) health officials took to Facebook to address mounting concerns over planned safe injection sites.

Public Health Officer Jeff Duchin and Brad Findgood, who previously co-chaired the county’s Heroin and Prescription Opiate Addiction Task Force, were on hand during the live event hosted by Public Health – Seattle & King County.

“These are locations that are public health services, that provide a safe space for people who are already using drugs in public spaces,” Duchin said. “… allow them to come indoors, under the supervision of a healthcare worker, use their drugs and have an overdose reversed if they should suffer from an overdose …”

“Certainly, we don’t believe someone should be pushed out onto the street after they are given clean injection equipment … and told to go inject in an alleyway, or in a restroom of a coffee shop, unattended, where you could die alone when we could save a life,” he continued.

But anxiety over the actual safety of safe injection sites has grown in King County. A Bothell councilmember even started a petition to ban them. It’s those concerns that Duchin and Finegood attempted to address.

Do safe injection sites encourage drug use?

The closest facility to Seattle is in Vancouver B.C. But the safe injection system has been used in Europe for some time, Finegood said. Therefore, there is evidence and studies available to help gauge their effects.

Duchin argued that the facilities don’t increase drug use, rather, they divert current drug use and directly engage users and more efficiently address the problem.

Duchin points out that there were similar concerns surrounding needle exchanges. Now, he says exchanges are a “safe and effective intervention to save lives and prevent disease.”

“I think we are going to see the same thing with these supervised consumption facilities in the United States. We’re just a little bit behind the curve,” he said. “Giving people a safe place to inject who are already injecting in unsafe ways, doesn’t in any way invite more drug use,” he added.

Where will the facilities be located?

What is known is that one facility is planned for Seattle and another for greater King County. But no exact locations have been decided.

“We have no interest in siting these in a community that doesn’t have these problems,” Finegood said. “The idea behind a supervised consumption space is: Where are the problems already happening? Where are people overdosing outside? Where are needles being discarded outside? Where are people dying from heroin use?”

“We have a lot of that information … people are already using publicly. We know that,” he said. “I came across somebody overdosing last week on my walk to the bus. A colleague walked into a Starbucks a couple weeks ago and somebody was overdosing in the bathroom. These things are happening already. This is just an intervention that says, You do not need to use alone. You do not need to be stigmatized, or have prejudice, or discrimination because of your illness. Come indoors, talk to a healthcare worker, and we can help.”

Duchin said there is no timeline for when the safe injection sites will open. He said officials would have liked to have them up and running “yesterday.”

Read the rest of the story here.

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City jobs grow out of Seattle homelessness crisis

government solve all problems

In April 2016, I told you how the embattled Seattle Mayor Ed Murray decided to tackle the severe homelessness crisis in Seattle. He hired a “homelessness czar” to “lead and align efforts across City departments, provide oversight and evaluation of data and outcomes, provide strategic guidance on developing policy and protocols, and lead external engagement and communication strategies.”

And, as many could have predicted, the homelessness czar (and the high salary) is not enough to solve the problem. What to do? Hire more people!

From MyNorthwest.com: Two new jobs have been created to tackle the Seattle homelessness crisis. This adds to other positions directly related to homelessness the city created within the last year.

The new positions bring the total number of new homeless-related jobs to six that the city has hired for since August. The two positions currently advertised for will potentially pay more than $100,000 each.

    • Homelessness czar: $137,500 annually
    • Homeless encampment trash/litter program administrator: up to $46.80 / hour
    • Two homeless encampment field operations advisers (x2): up to $42 / hour
    • Executive for encampment response: Between $119,997.36 and $140,000.41 annually
    • Homeless communications director: Between $91,872 and $125,843.76 annually

Adding all that up – at the high end of estimated annual pay – it comes to $537,908.17 in new salaries.

Before Seattle and King County declared a state of emergency over the homeless crisis in 2015, the city spent about $40 million on the issue; the county spent $36 million. After the state of emergency was declared, Seattle put up $5 million more, and the county threw in $2 million more.

Job descriptions

“Executive overseeing the homeless encampment response program” pays between $119,997.36 and $140,000.41. The role of the executive will be to lead cleanup programs for homeless encampments on public property while finding housing for people living in those camps. The purpose will be to move people living in tents into “indoor housing alternatives.”

Communications director will be dedicated solely to the homeless response program. This position pays between $91,872 and $125,843.76 annually. They will handle all internal and external communications around encampment issues. They will work with everyone from the mayor to the council, the police department and more to create messaging around homelessness.

And let’s not forget, in August 2016, the city hired George Scarola to be Seattle’s homelessness czar. Scarola is charged with leading the city’s homeless response efforts, organizing multiple departments and providing oversight and strategic guidance.

Seattle began hiring again in March 2017, this time to solve the homelessness issue. One position was for an administrator for a homeless encampment trash/litter cleanup program. The position is paid up to $46.80 an hour and was listed as temporary. The city also advertised to hire two field positions that would coordinate cleanup of encampments. They are paid up to $42 an hour.

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Homosexual Seattle mayor Ed Murray, accused of sex abuse, reportedly won’t seek re-election

Ed Murray with husband Michael Shiosaki

As Dr. Eowyn reported back in April, Seattle mayor Ed Murray was accused of sexually molesting three teenage boys. This includes having sexually molested a 15-year-old boy in the 1980s. At the time, Murray would have been in his early 30s. From her blog post:

“Lewis Kamb and Jim Brunner report for Seattle Times that on April 6, 2017, a 46-year-old man with the initials D.H., a resident of Kent, Washington, filed a lawsuit in King County Superior Court, claiming that Ed Murray had “raped and molested him” over several years, beginning in 1986 when the man was a 15-year-old crack-cocaine addicted high-school dropout. Murray gave the teen payments of $10 to $20.

In an interview with The Seattle Times, D. H. said, “I have been dealing with this for over 30 years,” and that he’s now coming forward as part of a “healing process” after years of “the shame, the embarrassment, the guilt, the humiliation that I put myself through and that he [Murray] put me through.”

Then, in early May, a fourth person accused Murray of sex abuse.  From King5:

A fourth accuser came forward claiming Seattle Mayor Ed Murray paid him for sex when he was a teenager.

In court documents filed Tuesday, Maurice Jones, 44, claimed he was introduced to Murray by Delvonn Heckard who also claimed he was abused as a teen by Murray. Heckard is the only person suing the mayor at this point. The declaration submitted to the court by Jones is in support of Heckard’s lawsuit.

Jones claimed in a written statement that Murray was known for patronizing child prostitutes at the time when Jones was a teen. Jones claimed he had also been in Murray’s Capitol Hill apartment at the same time Heckard has claimed abuse in the 1980s.”

Now the mayor is apparently ready to announce he will not seek re-election. And, his supporters are setting up a legal defense fund for him, anticipating that his defense of these allegations will cost him $1 million.

Sounds like the good mayor has got himself some serious legal issues.

From MyNorthwest.com: Seattle Mayor Ed Murray will officially announce Tuesday that he will not seek re-election, sources tell KIRO Radio.

Murray currently faces allegations that decades ago he sexually abused four minors. He has vehemently denied the claims, but had not yet filed to seek a second term with the deadline to submit the paperwork one week away. Publicly, his campaign staff has said the one-term mayor is going to run. But privately, Murray and others have been gauging the erosion of the mayor’s popularity before deciding to make another bid. Sources tell KIRO Radio, however, that the mayor plans to formally announce that he will not seek re-election.

According to the latest report from Washington’s Public Disclosure Commission, Murray has more than $372,000 in campaign contributions. He has been fundraising since late 2016.

Murray’s expected announcement likely will trigger a slew of potential candidates stepping into the fray.  Former Mayor Mike McGinn has already announced, as has urban planner Cary Moon and activist and poet Nikita Oliver. Former U.S. Attorney Jenny Durkan likely will announce her candidacy within days and Seattle Democratic Sen. Bob Hasagawa has also expressed an interest, among other candidates.

Four men have accused Murray of sexually abusing them as minors. The latest, Maurice Jones claimed he was introduced to Murray by Delvonn Heckard, who has said he was abused by the mayor in the 1980s. Murray has said he has no idea who Delvonn Heckard is and maintains that the man’s name “is not familiar” to him.

As of May, an independent trust has been created to raise money for Murray’s legal defense, The Seattle Times reports. To make sure the fund will not run afoul of regulations, the Pacifica Law Group sent a letter to the city’s ethics and elections commission stating their intent.

We represent the Ed Murray Legal Defense Fund, an independent trust being created to help defray the legal expenses that the Mayor of Seattle, Edward B. Murray, must incur to defend himself in an ongoing civil lawsuit … the mayor, a lifelong public servant, does not have the personal resources needed to fund his own legal defense.

Heckard, 46, is described as an openly gay man with no real political inclinations, which contrasts with the mayor’s claims that the allegations are a part of a right-wing conspiracy because the mayor pushed the LGBTQ civil rights bill.

Jeff Simpson, another one of Murray’s accusers, has stressed that he is not asking for anything other than for the mayor to admit what he did. Murray told KIRO 7 that he was Simpson’s “legal guardian for just under two years.”

Simpson is one of two Portland men who have accused Mayor Murray of sexual abuse while they were minors in the 1980s.

Murray became the mayor of Seattle in January 2014 after 18 years as state legislator representing the 43rd Legislative District. He was the prime sponsor of the state’s marriage equality bill. As mayor, he signed an executive order raising the minimum wage of City employees to $15 an hour.  Most recently, Murray proposed a soda tax and city income tax.

Murray lives in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood with his partner of 24 years, Michael Shiosaki.

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