Tag Archives: Ben Adlin

Mount Baker Community To Meet With Officials Over Latest Fatal Shooting

by Ben Adlin


Following a deadly shooting last week at 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.

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Shape Our Water: Pah-tu Pitt

by Ben Adlin

Shape Our Water is a community-centered project from Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) and KVRU 105.7 FM, a hyperlocal low-power FM station in South Seattle, to plan the next 50 years of Seattle’s drainage and wastewater systems. Funded by SPU, the project spotlights members of local community-based organizations and asks them to share how water shapes their lives. Our latest conversation is with Pah-tu Pitt, a small-business owner of Native Kut, course instructor at the University of Washington, and member of the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs.


When smoke from wildfires turned skies in the Pacific Northwest an otherworldly orange last summer, many of the region’s longest residents knew that more than climate change was to blame. Pah-tu Pitt, a member of the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, recognized that the fires also symbolized a rejection of Indigenous wisdom of how to care for the land.

“We really saw, on a large scale, what removing traditional fire practices from landscapes can lead to,” Pitt told the Shape Our Water project. Prevailing forest management practices [particularly in dry landscapes] relied on the idea that minor fires should be extinguished before they could spread and grow, while Pitt’s tribe had long understood that the smaller fires actually cleared underbrush — reducing the likelihood of larger blazes.

“My tribe has been a leader in using fires to reduce fuels within the system, to make it so fires tend to not be so catastrophic,” Pitt explained. Pitt, who currently lives in Seattle, expressed a sense of disconnect when she reflected on the many ways tribal lands benefit from traditional fire practices and how devastating wildfires have now become to their ecology and regional air quality.

The observation underscored Pitt’s belief in the need for Western institutions to better respect and incorporate the knowledge embodied in traditional place-based practices. As an educator and small business owner who has a background in environmental science, she now works to amplify the voices and perspectives of underrepresented groups. 

“Just because you don’t see yourself reflected in the field doesn’t mean that your people didn’t do science,” she said. “White supremacy just plays such a large role in excluding and dismissing our ideas. I don’t think that there are sustainable futures without us being able to reclaim those spaces.”

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State Supreme Court to Draw Redistricting Lines After Commission Misses Deadline

by Ben Adlin


Washington’s redistricting process has entered uncharted territory following a State commission’s failure to approve an updated plan before its final deadline on Monday, Nov. 15. The task of deciding political boundaries for the next decade now falls to the State Supreme Court.

It’s the first time ever under the State’s redistricting process that the role will be played by justices, who have until April 30 of next year to adopt a new plan. Normally, the boundaries are set by the Legislature.

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Seattle’s Divide on Public Safety Is Fueling a Fight Over Next Year’s Police Budget

by Ben Adlin


After an election that largely snubbed progressive candidates, advocates calling for cuts to police budgets are working to convince Seattle leaders to follow through with promises to reform law enforcement and fund alternatives to dealing with the city’s problems.

A revised budget proposal out of the Seattle City Council this week would make about $10.8 million in cuts to Mayor Jenny Durkan’s proposed 2022 funding increases to the Seattle Police Department (SPD). Projected revenue for Seattle’s general fund has fallen by about $15 million since Durkan released her proposed $7.1 billion City budget in September.

Durkan has said the investment in police is needed to address higher-than-normal officer departures in recent years and ensure fast response times to emergencies. But councilmembers and community advocates have challenged that idea, arguing that investments in services such as housing and education do more to improve public safety and improve the resiliency of vulnerable communities.

A rebalanced budget package introduced last Tuesday, Nov. 9, by City Council Select Budget Committee Chair Teresa Mosqueda would reduce Durkan’s proposed $365.4 million police budget to $354.6 million. Overall, Mosqueda’s budget would amount to an $8.3 million (2.3%) cut to SPD funding compared to this year’s budget, while Durkan’s plan would expand police spending by $2.5 million (0.7%).

Meanwhile, the Seattle Solidarity Budget coalition, which represents a number of local groups focused on improving public services and investing in Seattle’s BIPOC communities, is calling for an additional $29 million to be cut from next year’s police budget. The group sees the final weeks of the budget process as a chance to cement popular calls for police reform that took center stage during widespread community protests last year, following the police murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

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White Center Community Frustrated by Delayed Response to Fires

by Ben Adlin


White Center community leaders and small-business owners say they’re disappointed with King County officials’ response to a string of fires, break-ins, and vandalism that in recent months has devastated the area’s commercial hub

They describe the situation as yet another example of how unincorporated parts of the county lack sufficient services and government support. But County officials say they’re responding to White Center fires and have made progress addressing the community’s concerns.

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Seattle Colleges Professors Say a Faulty Software System Is Driving Down Enrollment

by Ben Adlin


New student enrollment and registration software has been causing a range of problems for students, faculty, and staff at Seattle Colleges, and they say school administrators and State officials have been unresponsive to their repeated requests to make fixes. 

The transition to the new software platform, ctcLink, has caused headaches for students trying to register, in some cases making it difficult to search for required courses or wrongly telling students they haven’t completed a class’s prerequisites. The platform has also prevented faculty from making quick corrections to course descriptions and meeting times, creating even more confusion for students. There have even been occasions when students were mistakenly dropped from courses for nonpayment, though they had, in fact, paid.

Critics claim the problems have contributed to significant declines in enrollment at Seattle Colleges — which include South Seattle, North Seattle, and Seattle Central colleges — since ctcLink’s launch there in February. They say the lower enrollment has led to course cancellations and has cost faculty members their jobs.

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Redistricting Is an Opportunity to Build BIPOC Voting Power, Organizers Say

by Ben Adlin


Every 10 years, officials undertake a great political balancing act that profoundly — but almost invisibly — determines the value of your voice in democracy. By redrawing voting districts at the state and local levels, they set boundaries that will influence elections for the next decade.

The process, known as redistricting, is fundamental to the idea of representation in politics. How lines are drawn determines who votes in a given district, which in turn determines which candidates get elected, what laws are passed, and how public money is spent.

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Facing Arson and Vandalism, White Center Businesses Say King County Has ‘Forgotten’ Them

by Ben Adlin


After a string of suspected arson fires, break-ins, and vandalism in White Center over the past several months, small-business owners and community advocates are demanding action from county officials, who they say have chronically neglected the unincorporated part of King County.

At an online community action meeting on Friday, Oct. 8, merchants and organizers presented a petition to county officials, seeking more investment in victim relief, heightened security, and a more transparent relationship with the King County Sheriff’s Department, which patrols the area.

“We are being forgotten,” said Ana Castro, co-owner of the Salvadorean Bakery and Restaurant, which has been in White Center for more than 25 years. Castro said she’s spent more than $4,000 to replace the bakery’s large plate-glass windows after they were broken, and some staff are now afraid to come into work after dark.

“Something has to be done,” she said at the meeting. “We need more accountability from our representatives. We need them to come around here. We live it every single day.”

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Multifaith Coalition Will Kick Off Conversation on Criminal Justice Reform With Documentary Screening

by Ben Adlin


More than two decades ago, Kimonti Carter was sentenced to 777 years in prison for his role in a devastating 1997 Tacoma drive-by shooting that left a college student dead. Since then, he’s become something of a role model — an example of how education and empathy can build bridges between traumatized groups and direct them toward common action.

From inside prison, Carter built a program within the Black Prisoners’ Caucus that teaches for-credit college courses to incarcerated people. Through an emphasis on shared humanity and empowerment through learning, the project has brought together prisoners of various backgrounds and identities, often shattering racial and ideological boundaries.

Carter is the uniting thread in the 2020 documentary Since I Been Down, which will be available to watch online later this month. The free screenings are being organized by a multifaith coalition initiated by the Blacks and Jews Building Beloved Community initiative, a Seattle-based project built in recent years to strengthen connections within and between Black and Jewish communities. The screenings will lead to a community conversation about criminal justice issues in Washington State, including calls to action around sentencing reform, prisoner reentry, prison debt, and housing justice. The organizers also hope the program will inspire people to get involved during the upcoming state legislative session.

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Seattle JazzED Opens Registration for Free and Reduced-Cost Music Lessons

by Ben Adlin


One of the region’s premier music education nonprofits is now enrolling young people in jazz lessons for the school year, continuing its mission of teaching jazz as “a quintessential Black American art form” and expanding its focus on equitable access and instruction. Tuition is pay-what-you-can, with no questions asked.

Seattle JazzED is signing up students in grades 4 through 12 for classes that run quarterly from mid-October through June. Students of all skill levels are welcome, and instruments are available to borrow free of charge. A blended in-person and virtual program will allow younger, unvaccinated learners to participate from home.

Registration is open online at the organization’s website. Instruments include flute, clarinet, saxophone, trumpet, trombone, guitar, bass, and drums, as well as two new options this year: violin and cello.

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