Tag Archives: Seattle

Reports of Seattle gun crime reaches record levels

But, but how can this be? Seattle’s new gun tax has left no shop in Seattle selling firearms. Wonder where the criminals could be getting their guns…

stoopid

From MyNorthwest.com: The second highest number of shots fired in Seattle were recorded between January and August of 2016. The only year to have a higher number was 2015. Seattle has also experienced more gun deaths in 2016 than the previous year.

City Living Seattle reports that a recent meeting of the East Precinct Police Advisory Council reviewed gunshot statistics for Seattle from January to August 2016. According to City Living:

The year 2016 saw 211 reports of shots fired from Jan. 1 to Aug. 1, the second-highest number of incidences for the same period of every year from 2012. Only 2015 was higher, with 226 police reports that included evidence or eyewitness reports of gunshots. The gap was even narrower when it came to the number of victims of gun violence. Between Jan. 1 and Aug. 1, the year 2016 saw 35 gun-related injuries, compared to 45 for the same period in 2015. But 2016 has seen more gun-related deaths, with seven fatalities this year versus six in 2015.

City Living reports that on Aug. 2 — the day after the January through August statistics end — Seattle had its eighth gun death. The majority of the shots fired were reported in the east precinct.

Anti-Second Amendment Mayor Ed Murray

Anti-Second Amendment Mayor Ed Murray

The data adds to other recent statistics reported by Seattle Times columnist Danny Westneat, who noted that rapes are up by 55 percent in Seattle over the past year. Police data shows that there have been 127 reported rapes in Seattle between January and Sept. 10, 2016. That’s more than the 82 reported during the same time in 2015, as well as more than the reported numbers over the past 10 years.

Domestic violence calls are also up by 11 percent in Seattle.

And going back to the issue of Seattle gun crime, local police seized more than 900 illegal guns in 2015.

Socialist Kshama Sawant has HER priorities straight...

Socialist Kshama Sawant has HER priorities straight…

But there is a debate between the data and other issues plaguing Seattle. Council member Kshama Sawant recently told the Jason and Burns Show that housing is a higher concern than police funding. That debate comes amid controversy over a proposed — and now canceled — north police precinct. Sawant argues that funding the construction of more housing trumps the need to fund such police projects.

A group called Block the Bunker also maintains this argument. It not only aims to halt the construction of the north precinct, but also has demanded that no more officers be hired in Seattle; the dismantling of the police officers’ union; and more.

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Meet George Scarola, Seattle’s first homeless czar

Let’s see how long it will take the “czar”, who is making $137,500 a year, to eliminate his job by solving the homeless problem

George Scarola

George Scarola

From MyNorthwest.com: It has long been speculated that Seattle will eventually get a homeless czar to handle the mounting issue in the region. Now, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray has hired for such a position — the city’s first director of homelessness, George Scarola.

“Because of the growing scope of work around homelessness, Seattle needs a proven manager to ensure we are achieving our desired outcomes,” Murray said. “I have known George for many years, working alongside him in Seattle and Olympia, and know him as a unifying leader that excels at creating successful results through community engagement.”

The position is slated as “cabinet-level.” Scarola will be paid $137,500 a year by the City of Seattle. He starts on Aug. 24.

In November 2015, Mayor Murray announced a state of emergency over the issue of homelessness in town. Since then, a cluster of city responses have addressed encampments in the area. The city even hired a homeless specialist to analyze the city’s approach — that expert basically said “less talk, more action.” But with George Scarola stepping in as the homeless czar, it is hoped that a more coordinated effort will take place. The idea is to have one person manage the efforts across multiple departments.

According to the mayor’s office:

“Scarola will be responsible for leading the city’s homelessness efforts across departments, providing oversight and evaluation of outcomes, strategic guidance, and leading community engagement.

To make it official, Murray signed an executive order Tuesday establishing the position. The order states that the director of homelessness will report to the mayor’s director of operations, and will essentially engage in a “systematic reform of the city’s response to homelessness.” The goal of the director is to improve the “overall quality, responsiveness, and success at serving people experiencing homelessness and the greater community.

Scarola has a history of working among educational and Democratic circles in Washington. Sacarola worked as the legislative director for the League of Education Voters. A 2012 article in Seattle Met referred to George Scarola as a lobbyist for the league. The mayor’s office notes that he was integral to motivating Seattle voters to approve educational bonds in the ’90s.

He was previously was top aide to Democratic State Representative Frank Chopp in 2000. Then he helped the Washington House Democratic Campaign in 2002 to obtain a majority in the house.

In the 1990s, Scarola was executive director of the Sand Point Community Housing Project that turned buildings on the Sand Point Naval Air Station into shelters for youth, adults and families.

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Federal judge declares ‘black lives matter’ during hearing over Seattle police reform

Judge Robart

Judge Robart

Via Seattle Times: U.S. District Judge James Robart, pointedly reacting to the Seattle police union’s rejection of a tentative contract, said Monday he would not let the powerful labor group hold the city “hostage” by linking wages to constitutional policing.

“To hide behind a collective- bargaining agreement is not going to work,” Robart said during a dramatic court hearing he opened by laying out a path for police-accountability reform and closed with an emotional declaration that “black lives matter.”

Robart, who is presiding over a 2012 consent decree requiring the city to adopt reforms to address Department of Justice allegations of excessive force and biased policing, called for major changes that would directly affect the union’s membership: streamlined appeals of officer discipline and internal investigations conducted by civilians rather than sworn officers.

Kevin Stuckey

SPOG President Kevin Stuckey

Kevin Stuckey, who recently became president of the Seattle Police Officers’ Guild (SPOG) in a power shake-up and listened in court to the judge’s blistering remarks, said the union is prepared to sit down with the city and reach a deal.  “The judge has given us our marching orders,” Stuckey said, insisting the union’s vote this summer to reject the deal was not tied to money but to the leak of confidential contract details to The Stranger newspaper.

Guild members — officers and sergeants — voted 823 to 156 this summer to reject a contract containing a mix of wage hikes and reforms, an outcome one source attributed to too many giveaways without enough in return.

Other sources previously said former SPOG President Rich O’Neill, who in 2008 won big pay raises in exchange for reforms, led the campaign against the package.  O’Neill’s effort indirectly led to Robart’s tongue lashing, during which he said he might formally intervene if he concludes the guild is interfering with reform.

“The court and the citizens of Seattle will not be held hostage for increased payments and benefits … ,” Robart said, adding, “I’m sure the entire city of Seattle would march behind me.” (Oddly enough, no one ever holds the teachers accountable for “holding the kids hostage” when they routinely go on strike [illegally] in Washington State.)

Robart, at the same time, praised the city’s overall reform effort, saying the Police Department had adopted sweeping changes. It has become a national model for de-escalation tactics, he said, and put in place successful crisis intervention techniques, use-of-force reviews and added training on bias-free policing.

Seattle Police Chief O’Toole

Seattle Police Chief O’Toole

He said that the work is not done and that strong leadership is required. “I think we have the right person to do that in Chief O’Toole,” Robart said of Kathleen O’Toole, who listened from the audience.

Last week, Robart issued an order allowing the city to draft police-accountability legislation, as long as he reviews it before it is submitted to the City Council to make sure it does not conflict with the consent decree.

During Monday’s hearing, he provided a blueprint for what he would like to see in the legislation, based on various proposals produced by city officials, the Community Police Commission (CPC) and the court-appointed federal monitor, Merrick Bobb.

Beyond changes to appeals and internal investigations, Robart said he wants the position of civilian director of the Office of Professional Accountability, which handles internal investigations, to be strengthened. He said the city should create the position of inspector general, to be held by a civilian with broad oversight powers. O’Toole, Robart said, should retain the final word on disciplinary decisions.

City Attorney Pete Holmes, speaking for the city, pledged to complete legislation for Robart’s review by Labor Day. Holmes said the city would have to reconcile legislation prepared by Mayor Ed Murray with proposals submitted by the CPC, a temporary citizen-advocacy body created as part of the consent decree.

Robart has clashed in the past with the CPC over its attempt to become a permanent body and expand its powers, saying that can’t be done without the court’s approval. On Monday, Robart said he would not find the CPC in “contempt” over its release last week of a proposed police-accountability ordinance. But he said it went too far. “Some of your provisions cross the line,” he said, citing legitimate input versus management of the department.

Murray is expected to submit a framework for a community oversight panel, but it might be different from the body envisioned by the CPC.

In comments after the hearing, CPC member Isaac Ruiz said the commission was glad Robart established a path forward. “We’ll definitely take the judge’s words … to heart,” Ruiz said, explaining the proposed ordinance was only meant to be recommendations.

The Rev. Harriett Walden, the CPC’s co-chair, said the commission would work with the mayor’s office on drafting a package, with the hope Murray will recommend the CPC be made permanent.

Robart ended the hearing with deeply personal remarks, in which he noted a statistic that showed, nationally, 41 percent of the shootings by police were of blacks, when they represented 20 percent of the population.

“Black lives matter,” he said, drawing a startled, audible reaction in a courtroom listening to the words coming from a federal judge sitting on the bench.

He also said the recent shootings of police officers, including in Dallas, Baton Rouge and, in 2009, of four Lakewood, Pierce County, officers, reflected the importance of the work being done to heal police and community relations.

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Seattle landlord wonders why he can’t choose the ‘nice and clean’ renters

The landlord has no choice because demorats run Seattle.

electionshaveconsequences

From MyNorthwest.com:  As long as he isn’t discriminating, a Seattle landlord asks why he can’t choose who he rents to. Hugh Brannon told KIRO 7 that before the Seattle City Council passed a renter protection ordinance on Monday, there was already a “whole list of protected classes.”

“As long as you’re following that, is there no human element left in this business?” Brannon asked.

Brannon says landlords should be free to screen people and choose those who they believe will be a responsible renter. That includes the ones who look “nice and clean” and will take “better care” of the rental unit, he says.

But in about a month, the decision won’t be left to the landlord’s discretion. Under the council’s ordinance, landlords will no longer be able to choose which tenants they believe will be best. Instead, they will have to choose the first applicant who qualifies. The goal of this, KIRO 7 points out, is to prohibit discrimination against people with different forms of payment, such as vouchers and subsidies.

The only exception is for landlords who are living in a house in which they are renting a unit from the same property.

lisa herbold

Council member Lisa Herbold* said Seattle is the first city in the nation to require a “first-in-time” policy. “It’s considered to be a best practice among rental housing providers,” Herbold said. “When rental housing providers can establish that they follow a policy like this, they can also use that policy as a basis to argue that they’re not discriminating.”

Brannon said there could be a problem if landlords are forced to accept short-term vouchers. Herbold told KIRO 7 that about 80 percent of people with short-term vouchers stay in their housing by paying for rent on their own.

The approved ordinance follows investigations into renters experiencing unbalanced treatment. Twenty-three property owners were accused of housing discrimination in May. Some building owners advertised move-in specials for tech employees, along with employees of other large businesses.

Landlord groups say the measure will backfire, because a first-come-first-served system will benefit those with access to a car or the internet.

The city will conduct an audit of the new policies 18 months from their taking effect.

*Herbold is also spearheading regulations for employers to provide “livable schedules” for employees.

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Seattle Congressional candidate allegedly driving stolen van claims police ‘conspiracy’

Demorat, of course.

wineberry for congress

From MyNorthwest.com: Jesse Wineberry, a Seattle Democrat running for Congress, was detained after driving a van that was reported stolen and being extremely uncooperative with police. And now he’s claiming a “conspiracy” to stifle his political career, according to a police report.

Seattle Police Officer Benjamin Flick found a red Toyota that had been reported stolen in the 1500 block of Occidental Avenue South on July 20, according to the report. Wineberry, 61, was the driver and was asked repeatedly to exit the vehicle but did not comply.

After being asked three times to exit the van, he began to drive away from the officers but was quickly stopped. On the fifth command, Wineberry finally started to comply. But Wineberry again ignored police commands, even with more officers arriving.

Wineberry, according to the report, would not “place his hands behind his back” even after being asked nine times. Instead, he told them to “Stop f****ing with me.” He then resisted arrest, refusing to allow officers to place handcuffs on his wrist. At one point, Wineberry allegedly “place[d] his left hand onto the … gun belt of one of the officers.” At the time, he denied reaching for the officer’s gun.

Finally, Wineberry was placed in handcuffs but refused to sit in the back of the patrol car. When taken to the South Precinct, the report says Wineberry “…accused officers of being part of a conspiracy to derail his campaign for being the first African-American member of the Washington state Congress.”

He may now be doubling down on his claims. In a press conference on Thursday, Wineberry says he was racially profiled by police, even though he admits the van he was in was reported stolen after a “misunderstanding with the rental-car company,” The Seattle Times reports. The Times reports that Wineberry’s staff didn’t extend the rental agreement, something he was unaware of.

“I think I was stopped because of the vehicle,” he said, according to Times. “I think the way I was treated was because I was African-American.” In an interview with Q13, he claims an officer was giving the other officers “…code to shoot me.”

“I wanted to make sure that I was not going to be a victim of what I believe to be code language to authorize the use of lethal force in that situation,” Wineberry said. “If it can happen to me, it can happen to anybody.”

Only, it didn’t happen to him. The report concludes he refused multiple commands from officers. At one point, he seemingly attempted to drive away, and he had his hand on the gun belt of an officer. He wasn’t mistreated; he was given considerable opportunities to comply. In fact, this situation does more to combat the claim that cops are going out of their way to mistreat black suspects.

Watch the Seattle Police video at the MyNorthwest.com web site here.

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Delegate calls out treatment of disabled people at DNC

Don't kid yourself: It's not about inclusion, it's about the Queen

Don’t kid yourself: It’s not about inclusion, it’s about the Queen

From MyNorthwest.com: Organizers of the Democratic National Convention made a concerted effort to highlight and give a voice to people with disabilities on stage at the 2016 convention. But a Seattle delegate told KIRO Radio’s Jason Rantz that disabled individuals aren’t being treated with respect behind the scenes.

Vivian Queija, a Seattle resident, and at-large Bernie delegate said she is speaking out because of multiple worrisome occurrences at the convention, including a lack of good ADA seating.

“We have an area in our delegation seating that is ADA,” she said. “However, we are having delegates from Louisiana, Alabama, Oregon — all over — come and be seated in that area because there just isn’t good ADA seating in their own delegation or nearby.”

But it’s not all about seating. Queija walks with a cane because of a bad knee and hip problem. She says her frustrations have been minor compared to others, such as an Oregon delegate named Niko.

“His disability is pretty involved,” she said. “So he needs one of the chairs that is very big that will recline. He was contacted by the DNC, and they (asked), ‘Would you please be willing to come out on stage as a person with a disability?’ They wanted to have him showcased on the stage. He said sure. They did not send a wheelchair accessible bus for him!

“I mean, really? That’s like … wait a minute, we are about being the party of inclusion. We want you to be on stage so you’re visible in front of the cameras, but that’s how we actually treat our ADA people. OK. I think that’s like ouch all the way around.”

Another female delegate who can only walk short distances but also recently had shoulder surgery was provided a non-battery operated wheelchair, she said. Though DNC officials told the woman that the situation would be taken care of, but it didn’t happen expeditiously.

“We waited all day Monday. She came in again and Tuesday it wasn’t there,” she said. “And she just broke down in tears out of pain and out of panic in the heat.”

There were 400 delegates with disabilities at this year’s DNC, a 35 percent increase from 2012. Plenty of disabled non-delegates have been a part of the event, too.

Rantz asked Queija if she was making claims that disabled individuals were being exploited.

“Well, I would say in Niko’s case, we are seeing all these people with disabilities up there on stage but we’re seeing (a different) reality in our delegation because that little pit where they put these people from the all other states is really sad,” she said.

Queija, who said she has contacted the DNC about her complaints, added that people in wheelchairs from other delegations have not been given access by the DNC to the proper transportation and have been forced to be dropped off by the buses “a couple football fields” away. Once the person gets to the curb, Queija says, there is no ramp accessibility.

“I mean it was tragic,” she said. “The perimeter fence was put three feet covering up the wheelchair access. We were like, ‘Come on guys.’ They wouldn’t even help the man from Colorado get his wheelchair up over the curb. Our Washington delegates were like, well, somebody go help this poor man.”

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Socialist Sawant wants to cap fees landlords charge Seattle renters

Is the socialist going to pick up the tab for any unpaid fees? Don’t hold your breath.

Socialist Kshama Sawant

Socialist Kshama Sawant

From the Seattle Times: Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant on Thursday proposed legislation that would put a cap on the amount of money landlords charge incoming renters.

The ordinance would limit move-in fees — including a security deposit and any nonrefundable, one-time payments — to no more than the cost of one month’s rent.

Sawant’s legislation also would require landlords to allow renters to pay their move-in fees in installments rather than immediately and in full. Landlords asking for last month’s rent up front would likewise be required to accept that sum in installments.

The council member said her proposal is aimed at reducing costs for Seattle renters during a time in which many of them are struggling to make ends meet.

“Seattle renters are facing a serious crisis. In May, one-bedroom apartment rentals rose 11 percent, the highest increase in the nation,” Sawant said in a statement, referring to a report by the rental-search website Abodo. “We need to reduce all barriers faced by renters. The cost of moving into a rental unit is first on that list.”

The Abodo report said the price for an average one-bedroom apartment in Seattle rose to $1,906 in May from $1,722 in April. The company’s most recent report said the price for an average one-bedroom in Seattle fell 9 percent from June to July.

Read the whole story here.

See also:

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