The Election Night first count of ballots in the recall of Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant revealed that supporters weren’t kidding when they said they would need “the biggest get out the vote campaign the city has ever seen” to keep the District 3 representative in office.
The first count of the District 3 recall ballots the night of Tuesday, Dec. 7, showed “yes” on the recall on top with 53% of the tallied vote, leading by just under 2,000 votes. But those votes and six percentage points may very well be an impossible goal — even with the district’s propensity for left-leaning late votes. The challenge? The first count included 32,000 ballots. King County Elections totals show nearly 35,000 ballots were received as of 6 p.m. meaning the Sawant camp will need to produce a massive showing for “no” votes as the few thousand remaining ballots are processed. If turnout truly hits 50% as predicted by officials, about 6,000 ballots are up for grabs — Sawant will need more than 67% of them to have voted “no.”
After raising and disbursing more than $62 million during the height of the pandemic for the state’s undocumented community last year, the Washington Dream Coalition (WDC) says there’s still more work to be done.
A new report published early last week details the impact the organization’s COVID-19 relief fund had on the undocumented immigrant community. The grassroots effort for the relief fund was in response to most undocumented immigrants being left out of the stimulus package last year and ineligible for unemployment benefits. The report consists of qualitative demographic and employment data taken from the application process, which one of the main organizers and writers of the report called an “unprecedented” look at the community. It also highlights the voices of those who were directly impacted by the pandemic and the fund.
The Emerald’s Watchdragon reporting seeks to increase accountability within our city’s institutions through in-depth investigative journalism.
In August, a former high-ranking staffer from the Office of Inspector General (OIG) resigned from their position as investigations supervisor. At the same time, the whistleblower and now former investigations supervisor filed what was then an ethics complaint against the office, alleging that Inspector General Lisa Judge and Deputy Inspector General Amy Tsai have actively tried to silence any pushback against the Office of Police Accountability (OPA) — the fellow police oversight entity the OIG is supposed to oversee and audit — creating, in effect, a squad of rubber stampers in the OIG itself. The complaint alleged that OIG’s efforts to avoid criticizing the OPA were in part engineered to “appease” OPA Dir. Andrew Myerberg, stating that OIG leadership didn’t want to “anger” Myerberg. The complaint also alleged that the OPA had committed malfeasance of its own.
The Washington Supreme Court decided Friday, Dec. 3, that district maps approved last month by the Washington State Redistricting Commission can proceed to lawmakers for review despite the commission missing a key deadline by 13 minutes.
The court, which by law is supposed to adopt its own redistricting plan in cases where the redistricting commission misses its deadline, punted the redistricting issue back to the commission. In an order signed by all nine justices, the court said that “the primary purpose of achieving a timely redistricting plan would be impeded, not advanced, by rejecting the Commission’s completed work.”
On Nov. 19, City Councilmember Kshama Sawant gathered with tenants of the Rainier Court Apartments to pressure the landlord to commit to not increasing rent in 2022 and to fixing problematic living conditions — two demands of Sawant’s larger plan to implement rent control citywide, ahead of an impending recall election.
Tenants living in the Dakota and Courtland Place buildings of the Rainier Court Apartments, who spoke at the rally, said that their standard of living has been lowered by mold, long maintenance wait times, and questionable security.
As State officials predicted, three cases of the omicron variant were confirmed Dec. 4 in three different counties in Washington. Experts did not reveal details about the travel history of the patients. There was one patient each in Thurston, Pierce, and King counties.
Elsewhere in the nation, patients have been diagnosed with omicron who had no travel history, and infectious disease doctors predict that the new variant is likely already in many communities.
“We knew this day was inevitable, but the good news is we have more tools at our disposal to fight the virus than at any previous point in the pandemic, and we must continue to protect ourselves and our communities,” Washington Gov. Jay Inslee said in a statement.
(This article originally appeared on PubliCola and has been reprinted under an agreement.)
After a grueling 13-hour mediation on the night of Monday, Nov. 29, the family of Charleena Lyles reached a $3.5 million settlement with the City of Seattle and two Seattle police officers, ending a four-year-long wrongful death lawsuit that began when the officers shot and killed Lyles in her Magnuson Park home in June 2017.
“This has been a horrible case. Shameful,” said Karen Koehler, the lead attorney representing Lyles’ family, during a press conference at the Stritmatter law firm on Tuesday afternoon. On a television behind her, Lyles’ eldest daughter — watching from her aunt’s house in California, seated in front of a Christmas tree — leaned off-screen to cry.
Following a deadly shooting last week next to the Mount Baker light rail station, a group of South End residents are set to meet privately with City and County officials on Wednesday, Dec. 1, to discuss how to prevent future violence in the area.
Residents say they’re frustrated with the lack of progress by Seattle, King County, and Sound Transit officials to address their safety concerns. The director of a nearby preschool, for example, said the situation has gotten so bad that she’s hoping to install ballistic fencing around the school’s playground.
(This article previously appeared on PubliCola and has been reprinted with permission.)
Last week, the new King County Regional Homelessness Authority (KCRHA) announced that it will forego next year’s annual count of King County’s unsheltered homeless population, leaving the region without one major source of information about how many people are living unsheltered, and in what circumstances, for two consecutive years after last year’s count was scuttled by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The count, which is generally regarded as an undercount, is often used to measure whether homelessness is increasing or decreasing over time and how; in 2020, for example, the count suggested a large increase in the number of people living in their vehicles.