by Paul Kiefer
(This article originally appeared on PubliCola and has been reprinted under an agreement.)
The Seattle City Attorney’s Office debuted a plan March 15 to identify people who are frequently accused of committing crime — or, as they put it, “high utilizers of the criminal justice system” — to prioritize bookings into the King County jail or for referral to mental health or addiction treatment services.
Continue reading City Attorney’s Initiative Targets ‘High Utilizers’ of the Criminal Justice System
by Paul Faruq Kiefer
(This article was originally published on PubliCola and has been reprinted under an agreement.)
The Seattle City Council is backpedaling its plans to add diversion to the Seattle City Attorney’s list of mandatory responsibilities.
Earlier this year, City Council President Lorena González said she would propose legislation to require the city attorney to send some misdemeanor cases to diversion programs instead of filing charges. Instead, on Thursday, Dec. 9, González introduced a pared-down bill that would require the city attorney to notify the Council 90 days before making any changes to, or eliminating, the office’s diversion programs and provide quarterly reports to the Council about the effectiveness of any diversion programs.
Continue reading Council Changes Course, Won’t Require City Attorney to Run Diversion Programs
by Alexa Peters
The race for Seattle’s next city attorney has been a surprising one since three-term incumbent Pete Holmes conceded in the August primaries, leaving newcomers Nicole Thomas-Kennedy and Ann Davison to duke it out.
The typically uneventful race for an often overlooked office heated up after many of Thomas-Kennedy’s controversial anti-police Tweets from 2020 resurfaced, prompting local media and previous Seattle municipal court judges to question her fitness for the City Attorney’s Office. Even Fox News’ Tucker Carlson took a stab at the candidate during a September segment of his show, calling the candidate flat-out “crazy.” Meanwhile, Davison, who recently switched from Republican to “moderate Democrat,” has come under fire for her Republican rhetoric and ties to a video campaign organized by a Trump supporter who participated in the Jan. 6 insurrection.
In looking beyond political warfare, experts say the race for city attorney gets to the heart of a question all the more relevant since anti-police protests broke out in 2020: In Seattle, what do we consider justice and how should it be administered? Our selection for city attorney will be decided on voters’ answers to those questions.
Continue reading What Is Justice and How Should It Be Administered: Seattle’s City Attorney Race
by Lola E. Peters
Act One was the campaign. We met the players, learned their public backstories, got hints about their character, and were introduced to the context of their stories. Act Two was the primary: a much shorter period where we learned about ourselves. Through social media, on Zoom calls, and over outdoor happy hour snacks we asked, “Who are you voting for?” or “Can you believe so-and-so is voting for so-and-so?” The end of Act Two revealed who were the players representing minor, though no less important, voices but no longer primary participants in the current play. We also learned whose dramatic arcs would move forward to the next act.
Here I sit, in the lobby, looking around at my fellow voters, wondering what they were thinking.
Continue reading OPINION: Political Intermission
by Paul Faruq Kiefer
(This article was previously published at PubliCola and has been reprinted with permission.)
The former Seattle police officer who condemned city leadership for abandoning the Seattle Police Department in a CBS news segment on Wednesday left SPD with a record of harassment and violent outbursts, one of which drew condemnation — but not criminal charges — from City Attorney Pete Holmes in 2013. In his appearance, Powell blamed the Seattle City Council for the exodus of 260 officers from SPD in the past year and a half, and claimed city leaders “didn’t allow [officers] to intervene” to prevent violence during last summer’s protests.
Continue reading Former SPD Officer Featured in CBS Report Has a ‘Troubled’ History
by Mark Van Streefkerk
If you’re a registered voter and Seattle resident, you’ve probably already received your Democracy Vouchers in the mail. You’ll recognize them in that the envelope looks a bit like your election ballot, though they come from the City of Seattle. The Democracy Vouchers Program automatically distributes four $25 vouchers to all registered voters that can be used to support participating candidates for City of Seattle office. You can participate in the voucher program even if you’re not registered to vote. The idea behind the program is to provide public funds to candidates who might otherwise not have the financial resources to run a campaign and to allow more Seattle residents to donate to candidates they support.
Maybe you’ve already used your vouchers, maybe you’re unsure how to use them, or even accidentally threw them in the recycling bin. (Don’t worry, there’s an easy fix for that!) The following is a guide on how to use Democracy Vouchers, including how to receive them in any of 18 languages and where you can find out more information about each candidate.
Continue reading A Guide to Democracy Vouchers
by Erica C. Barnett
(This article was originally published on PubliCola and has been reprinted with permission.)
City Attorney Pete Holmes is running for reelection, he told PubliCola Monday, in a wide-ranging conversation that covered the federal Consent Decree, the state of downtown Seattle, and last year’s historic protests. If he’s reelected, Holmes said, he will have served alongside six mayors, about 30 councilmembers, and “six or seven police chiefs,” and “we’ll be negotiating my third or fourth police contract.” Coming out of the pandemic, he said, “I can’t think of a time that it’s been more necessary to have steady and strong leadership.” If Holmes didn’t run again, in other words, who would take his place? Scott Lindsay?
Continue reading City Attorney Pete Holmes Will Seek Fourth Term
by Paul Faruq Kiefer
(This article was originally published on The C Is for Crank and is reprinted under an agreement.)
In early April, a pair of Seattle Police lieutenants from the West Precinct spotted a man rolling a bike and a garbage can down Main Street in the International District. Large coils of copper wire hung off the bike’s handlebars, and the garbage can was packed with more of the same wire. In their report, the officers noted that the wire appeared to have been torn or quickly cut; the officers concluded that the man had probably stolen it from a nearby construction site. When they stopped the man to question him, he quickly admitted that he had taken the wire from a site near Yesler Terrace. The officers then booked the man into the King County Jail.
By most standards, the arrest was unremarkable. But if one of the officers who arrested the man had been called to testify, her name — Lora Alcantara — it would have triggered an alert that could have prompted prosecutors to drop the case.
Continue reading The City and County Keep Lists of Cops With Credibility Issues. Many of Them Remain on Patrol.
by DJ Martinez
In an Op-Ed for the Seattle Times August 29, Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes wrote that he would no longer be “turning a blind eye” to protesters who invoke their First Amendment rights by using non-violent protest tactics that block city traffic, in reaction to recent protests earlier this year held by activists from multiple movements.
Continue reading Protestors Unite Following City Attorney’s Threat to Aggressively Prosecute ‘Reckless’ Protesters