by Carolyn Bick
The wind catches Dee Powers’ short, wavy hair as they lean out of the window of the mobile home they share with their partner. Squinting in the sun, Powers banters with Daniel Ojalvo, who has come to drop off jugs of bleach and other supplies that Powers will divide into small amounts for distribution among the homeless community.
Both Ojalvo and Powers are part of the homeless mutual aid network, a grassroots effort that formed to serve the homeless community during the novel coronavirus pandemic. The community often doesn’t have access to regular sanitation or food in normal times, and has even less access now as the pandemic sweeps across the world. Much of the regular homelessness outreach has dried up, since it’s more difficult to do outreach safely these days. That’s where the mutual aid network, in partnership with existing nonprofits and other community organizers, comes in.
Continue reading Grassroots Mutual Aid Network Provides Services for King County’s Unsheltered Community
by Chetanya Robinson
Four years ago Esther “Little Dove” John, then 64, accomplished something she had wanted to do since junior high. She became a member of the electoral college, and in December 2016, joined 538 others across the country to choose the next president of the United States.
John, a longtime Beacon Hill community member, artist and activist whose friends call her Dove, never imagined her choice would cause a ripple that would reach the U.S. Supreme Court.
Members of the electoral college are expected to vote for whoever wins the popular vote in their states. But in 2016, ten electors across the country tried, and seven succeeded, in casting a vote for someone else. It was the largest such revolt since 1808.
Continue reading Esther “Little Dove” John: Faithless Elector or Trump Resistor?
by Carolyn Bick
A bill that would create a public emergency ordinance to restrict the City of Seattle’s ability to sweep encampments during the current novel coronavirus crisis will be introduced to the Seattle City Council on Monday, May 18, with a vote to be taken on May 25, the Emerald has learned.
Continue reading Bill to Create Public Emergency Ordinance to Restrict Encampment Sweeps Set to Be Introduced at Seattle City Council on May 18
by Erica C. Barnett
(This article previously appeared on The C is for Crank and has been reprinted with permission)
Nearly two years after King County first announced that it planned to open a modular shelter for people experiencing homelessness on county-owned property in Interbay, the project is almost ready to open for a new purpose: Providing non-congregate shelter for between 45 and 50 homeless men over 55 from the St. Martin de Porres shelter, run by Catholic Community Services. The modular buildings, which are essentially trailers with windows, fans, and high-walled cubicles to provide privacy and protection from disease transmission between the four men who will share each unit, were originally supposed to be dorm-style shelters housing up to eight people on beds or cots.
Continue reading As County Opens More Non-Congregate Shelter to Prevent Spread of COVID-19, City Plans to Remove Two More Encampments
by Mark Van Streefkerk
Sterling Carter, the new head coach of Cleveland STEM High School Boys Basketball Team, is no stranger to Seattle’s Metro League; in fact, he’s a product of it. He attended Rainier Beach High School before transferring to Franklin High as a sophomore. As a senior, the point guard was part of the Quakers’ 2009 championship team. Carter played division one basketball at Seattle University and Purdue, then went on to play professionally in Germany from 2015–2016.
Continue reading Basketball Pro Sterling Carter Returns to South Seattle as Head Coach of Cleveland High’s Boys Basketball Team
by Carolyn Bick
Washington State Sen. Patty Murray (D) was among the four United States senators who didn’t vote on a bipartisan amendment that would have prevented law enforcement agencies from obtaining Americans’ internet search histories and web browsing activities without a warrant.
The amendment to H.R. 6172 needed 60 in-person votes to pass, and failed by one vote, according to Gizmodo. Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Lamar Alexander (R-TN), and Ben Sasse (R-NE) were the other three senators who did not vote, though Alexander is currently in self-isolation, after a member of his staff tested positive for COVID-19.
Continue reading UPDATE: Sen. Patty Murray Not Present to Vote on Bipartisan Amendment That Would Have Increased Online Privacy
by Bunthay Cheam
On March 23, the City of Seattle closed the West Seattle Bridge due to rapidly expanding cracks that rendered it unsafe for vehicle traffic.
The bridge will be closed until at least 2021 and may not be repairable according to Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) director Sam Zimbabwe. SDOT is still working to assess the full cost and timeline of needed repairs.
The city-owned bridge is vital to people living on the West Seattle peninsula, serving as the main route of access to the rest of the city, serving about 100,000 vehicles per day.
The main detour routes offered by the city take drivers through the Duwamish Valley, and through the communities of Georgetown, South Park and along West Marginal Way.
Continue reading West Seattle Bridge Closure Exposes Inequities in Duwamish Valley Communities
by Jack Russillo
At a time when the majority of the workforce that’s been deemed essential is part of some infrastructure sector, Robert Hanlon thinks it’s the ideal time to bring people together to talk about how to do an infrastructural overhaul in Seattle.
“Now’s the perfect time in human history to make a transformative change,” Hanlon said. “We’re at perhaps the most divisive time in the past hundred years and we talk about needing a common enemy for people to come together, and I think that the state of our infrastructure could be that common enemy. We’ve had the same energy infrastructure for over a hundred years and we need to come together to start to move forward in creating infrastructure that is symbiotic with its community, with its various structures and policies, and is regenerative and not extractive.”
Continue reading Infrastructure Week 2020 Goes Online This Week to Bring Together Voices for a Transformative Change
by Carolyn Bick
Washington State Gov. Jay Inslee unveiled the state’s novel coronavirus contact tracing plan in a press conference on May 12.
The plan is meant to “box in the virus,” Inslee said, and work in tandem with the state’s phased reopening plan. The contact tracing plan will involve almost 1,400 contact tracing team members, including 351 members of the Washington State National Guard and a combination of more than 600 local and state health department officials. The effort will not directly involve law enforcement, and the National Guard will not have law enforcement capabilities.
Continue reading Washington State Gov. Jay Inslee Unveils Novel Coronavirus Contact Tracing Plan
by Carolyn Bick
It’s sunny, and beginning to get warm on an afternoon in early May, when people start to line up outside the White Center Food Bank. Clad in masks, they patiently wait an adequate distance from each other to choose food the National Guard is helping food bank workers distribute.
This outdoor model is the latest iteration of food service the food bank has tried, Associate Executive Director Carmen Smith said. So far, it’s also the most successful, she said. Usually, the food bank operates in a grocery store model, which allows patrons the freedom to choose their own items, and mitigate the stigma associated with needing to use a food bank. But once the novel coronavirus pandemic hit the state, Smith and her fellow food bank employees found that the inside of the food bank was just too small to allow for safe social distancing practices. Having volunteers shop for the patrons’ food was also a no-go, because it’s just too hard to shop for someone else, Smith said.
Continue reading South King County Food Banks Face Severe Shortages — And There’s No End in Sight