Tag Archives: Seattle

Designer sets sights on untapped transgender community

Via NY Post: Leo Roux hopes to make his mark in the fashion world by catering to a very specific demographic: the transgender community.

The designer is readying his collection that he promises will offer a better fit than the clothes currently at retail — whether “pre-op, post-op or no-op.”

There are 1.4 million adults in the US who identify as transgender, according to the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law.

“A lot of transgender people who want to present masculine have to shop in the boys department, and that does not match up with what an adult would want to wear,” said Roux, 31, who was born female, named Louise and transitioned to male in 2012. “We are altering the proportions of clothing,” Roux said.

His Seattle-based company is joining a handful, but growing number of apparel businesses catering to the transgender community, including Chrysalis a 3-year-old lingerie company, and Saint Harridan, which makes masculine clothing for women and transmen.

Leo Roux, which will sell T-shirts, pants, shorts, dresses and blouses, is holding a pre-sale later this month to fund its first manufacturing order.

The duds aren’t cheap — with jeans costing around $70 and T-shirts around $30. Nothing will cost more than $100.

Roux is hoping carving a niche in the casual clothing sector, where there is a dearth of offerings. “A lot of online companies are aimed at crossdressers, and that clothing has a big night club performance feel,” Roux said. “But a lot of transgender people are living their lives in the open now rather than hiding it away.”


Seattle teachers organize Black Lives Matter day

blacks protesting black-on-black crimes

From MyNorthwest.com: Seattle teachers are organizing a Black Lives Matter demonstration next week.

The demonstration will simply be teachers wearing Black Lives Matter T-shirts on Oct. 19. The teachers are planning their demonstration during the kick-off event for Seattle Public Schools’ effort to close the achievement gap between black and white students. The plan is separate from the effort.

The scenario is familiar to last month when teachers planned to wear Black Lives Matter T-shirts during an unrelated event. The demonstration was received as controversial by some and was ultimately cancelled. The annual Black Men Uniting to Change the Narrative event at John Muir Elementary School was canceled as well — the same day teachers planned to wear Black Lives Matter T-shirts — after there were threats against the school.

KIRO 7 reports that about 1,000 teachers in the district have ordered Black Lives Matter T-shirts ahead of time. And that Hamilton Middle School teacher Sarah Arvey organized the demonstration in response to the threats directed at John Muir Elementary.


An email was sent from Seattle Public Schools to families on Oct. 7 explaining the school district’s plans, and the teachers’ demonstration. It explains that the district is starting an effort to close the achievement gap between its white students and students of color.

“While Seattle Public Schools outperforms like districts academically and is considered a high performing urban district, we still have unacceptable opportunity and achievement gaps. We have the 5th largest academic achievement gap in the nation between black and white students.”

As a result of that gap, the Seattle district is debuting a campaign called “Close the Gaps.” The district is starting the effort with events during Oct. 16-22.

The email also notes that during the kick-off week, the district is promoting Oct. 19 as a “day of solidarity to bring focus to racial equity and affirming the lives of out students — specifically students of color.” The district points out that the Seattle Education Association — the teachers union — is organizing the Black Lives Matter demonstration.

“In support of this focus, members are choosing to wear Black Lives matter t-shirts, stickers or other symbols of their commitment to students in a coordinated effort.”

The email ends by saying the teachers union is leading the t-shirt effort and “working to promote transformational conversations with staff, families, and students on this issue.”

Ferguson looter

Additional information from Q13Fox:

Throughout the week, they’re encouraging teachers to have race-related lesson plans and they’re offered resources to guide the conversation.

From the TV screens to social media to the classrooms at Garfield High, students are talking about racial injustices and Black Lives Matter.

It’s important for us to know the history of racial justice and racial injustice in our country and in our world and really in order for us to address it.   When we’re silent, we close off dialogue and we close the opportunity to learn and grow from each other,” said Arvey.

I would say that it’s not a political agenda. I would say we’re here to support families. We’re here to support students. As Rita from the NAACP said, when black lives matter, all lives matter,” said Avery.


Seattle socialist council member not happy with UW researchers study of impact of $15 minimum-wage law

Remember, Kshama Sawant is a socialist. That leads me to question her objectivity.


From Seattle Times: Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant is raising concerns about city-commissioned research into Seattle’s landmark minimum-wage law and about public comments by one of the University of Washington professors leading the effort.

Professor Jacob Vigdor and other members of the UW team, who in July published a preliminary report on the impact of the law, are defending their work and saying they don’t control how their comments are presented in the media.

Professor Jacob Vigdor

Professor Jacob Vigdor

The report said Seattle’s labor market thrived after the city became the first major metropolis in the country to enact a law setting its minimum wage on a multiyear path to $15 per hour. It said much of that success can be attributed to trends separate from the law itself, such as the growth of Seattle’s tech sector.

Why all the fuss about a group of number crunchers and their study, which is scheduled to continue for five years? People across the country — including pundits and activists on both sides of the political spectrum — are closely watching what happens in Seattle as they debate whether to raise minimum wages in their own cities and states, and nationwide.

“I’m not only concerned that we’re in danger of drawing erroneous conclusions about Seattle’s minimum-wage increase — I’m concerned about the consequences that could have on the nationwide fight for $15 (per hour),” said Sawant, who holds a doctorate in economics and was an instructor at Seattle Central College before winning office.

In a letter addressed to Vigdor on Tuesday, Sawant questioned the study’s methodology and Vigdor’s objectivity. On the first issue, she attacked the “synthetic Seattle” statistical model that the UW team used to prepare the report.

Socialist Kshama Sawant dares to question someone else's "objectivity"

Socialist Kshama Sawant dares to question someone else’s “objectivity”

To try to isolate the impact of the minimum-wage law from other conditions, the team aggregated ZIP codes from outside the city that had previously shown data and trends similar to ZIP codes inside the city. The team compared what happened in real Seattle from June 2014 through December 2015 to what happened in synthetic Seattle.

“I have strong reservations about the relevance of a model built on geographically and demographically distant ZIP codes,” rather than on ZIP codes just outside the city’s borders, Sawant wrote. She faulted the researchers on other academic grounds, as well, saying they failed to adjust for seasonality and to include chain businesses in the study, for example.

Sawant also went after Vigdor’s comments in the media. “Wages, jobs, hours worked and net business openings all increased in Seattle. Yet you chose to emphasize to the press that employment rates and hours worked went down compared to the fictional synthetic Seattle,” she wrote. “It is professionally irresponsible to draw such a conclusion from the data at this time.” To conclude, Sawant wrote, “Your methodological shortcomings and ideological editorializing undermine the credibility of the report.”

In a letter replying to Sawant on Tuesday, Vigdor and 10 other UW researchers, including several professors, said their work is a collective project.

“The research products generated by the minimum-wage study team are the work of all team members and not one member,” they wrote. “The entire team has participated in discussion around research design, analysis, interpretation and presentation of results. We have taken great care to discuss where we find the evidence most compelling and where we are most uncertain. We believe our report reflects this care and caution.”

The synthetic Seattle approach has been used before for minimum-wage research and is a good approach for various reasons, the team wrote. And besides, the July report had an appendix with the approach Sawant prefers. “None of the conclusions reached in our report are contradicted” by the use of that alternate approach, the team’s letter said.

The researchers admitted to some methodological challenges. But, they wrote, “In the end, we believe that every question or criticism raised in your letter reflects information fully disclosed and discussed in the report itself.”

With regard to Vigdor’s objectivity and comments, the team noted, “Our work product is a public document, subject to partisan interpretation,” and said parts of the report have been used to promote both positive and negative views of Seattle’s law.

The researchers said their comments in the media can be taken out of context. But they said the stories about the July report that have been most misleading have been those written by people who didn’t speak to the team.

In an interview, Vigdor insisted that he’s playing it straight. “We have no ideological commitment,” he said. “We may appear as though we have some ideological slant because we’re not reliably agreeing with anybody.”

The former Duke University professor is an adjunct fellow at the conservative Manhattan Institute and a onetime visiting scholar at the right-leaning American Enterprise Institute. He said that he recently spoke out against American Enterprise Institute scholar Mark Perry’s criticism of Seattle’s minimum-wage law.

“Our entire team is troubled by the high and persistent degree of income inequality in the United States and believe our nation has a moral responsibility to ensure that the fruits of our prosperity are shared equitably,” the UW letter said.

“We are committed to producing objective and rigorous research, however, regardless of our individual preferences or concerns.”


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…


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.


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.


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.


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

The landlord has no choice because demorats run Seattle.


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.