Tag Archives: Feature

Weekend Long Reads: The Cost of ‘Compassion’

by Kevin Schofield

Two “long read” documents came through my inbox in the past week that, upon reflection, are likely to set the tone for a good chunk of our political conversation over the next few months as we head into the primary and general elections here in Seattle.

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OIG Partial Certification Memos Raise More Concerns Over OPA Investigations

by Carolyn Bick

In April of this year, the Emerald published a story about the Office of Police Accountability’s recent decision not to sustain the most serious allegations against the Seattle Police Department officer who, in August of last year, drove onto a crowded sidewalk.

In its April story, the Emerald noted a curious addition to the Case Closed Summary (CCS) of the incident, which it had not seen in previous summaries. In this particular CCS, the Office of Police Accountability (OPA) stated that the Office of Inspector General (OIG) had declined to certify the OPA’s investigation as objective or thorough. This meant that the OIG — which is part of Seattle’s police accountability structure, conducting Seattle Police Department (SPD) and OPA audits, overseeing the OPA, and working alongside SPD and others to create and update SPD’s policies and practices — had only partially certified the investigation. In its brief paragraph about this in the CCS, the OPA did not go into detail. It merely stated that the OIG’s points of objection were “didactic and immaterial” and declined to address them further.

The Emerald recently obtained the OIG’s certification memo for that case, as well as for eight other OPA investigations for incidents that occurred between April 2020 and May 2021, via a public disclosure request. The Emerald also obtained the OIG’s memo for OPA case 2020OPA-0583, which concerned the overall decision by SPD officers to confront protesters in front of the Seattle Police Officers Guild (SPOG) headquarters in SoDo on Sept. 7, 2020. The Emerald published a story regarding that memo, which deemed the OPA’s investigative shortfalls so severe that they “cannot be remedied” with a new investigation.

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For the Love of Dogs and Baseball: J.P. Crawford Pitches Sandwiches for Charity

by M. Anthony Davis

Seattle Mariners star shortstop, J.P. Crawford, is teaming up with local bagel shop Blazing Bagels to create a custom sandwich. The partnership also combines his love for animals and giving back to the community.

Named after Crawford, the new sandwich, the CrawDADDY, will include turkey, bacon, and salami, with a chive smear inside of an everything bagel. 

“The sandwich is fire!” Crawford tells me. “I already tried it. It has everything I love, and it slaps!”

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PHOTO ESSAY: First Weekend of ‘Reopening’ in South Seattle

by Susan Fried

The Fourth of July weekend was also the first official weekend that King County dropped all COVID-19 restrictions, and many people in South Seattle were excited to finally go to their favorite places, sit down across from friends and family, and take their masks off (as long as they’d been vaccinated). 

Individual businesses could ask customers to wear masks, but many allowed those who had been vaccinated to go mask free, trusting them to be honest about whether they’d been vaccinated or not. Some businesses chose to ask patrons to continue wearing masks while others opted to not fully open.

For many South End residents, things almost felt like they were back to a pre-pandemic normal.  

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OIG Memo Reveals Serious ‘Deficiencies’ in OPA Protest Investigation That ‘Cannot Be Remedied’

by Carolyn Bick

Author’s Note: For the purposes of clarity, the Emerald will use “(sic)” in parentheses in quoted sections of the OIG memo discussed in this article to indicate that it has been reprinted here exactly as it appears in the source material (the OIG memo). Where readers see “[sic]” styled as shown here, with square brackets, this text was used by the OIG in their memo to indicate that the text quoted in their memo appears exactly as it appears in the source material (the OPA Report of Investigation/ROI).   

On the evening of Monday, Sept. 7, 2020, hundreds of protesters marched to the Seattle Police Officers’ Guild headquarters in SoDo. The march fell just after the 100th day of protests against police brutality held in the city since late May 2020, following the murder of George Floyd.

Once the protesters arrived at the Seattle Police Officers’ Guild (SPOG) headquarters, it didn’t take long for police on bicycles to confront the crowd. It’s unclear exactly what prompted the police to come outside, but the situation soon erupted, with officers deploying blast balls and pepper spray and arresting several protesters. Videos about the event online, including those in this Twitter thread from Seattle Times reporter Heidi Groover and this Twitter thread by Stranger Associate Editor Rich Smith, show what appears to be a peaceful scene, before Seattle Police Department (SPD) officers on bicycles come around the corner to confront protesters. Based on these videos, it does not appear that any of the protesters instigated the confrontation, though a heavily edited official SPOG video, complete with background music, claims otherwise and says that police sprang into action after allegedly seeing a protestor carrying Molotov cocktails.

Continue reading OIG Memo Reveals Serious ‘Deficiencies’ in OPA Protest Investigation That ‘Cannot Be Remedied’

yəhaw̓ Indigenous Creatives Collective is Here to Lift the Sky and Make a Space for Indigenous Art

by Kamna Shastri

There is a Coast Salish story about a number of neighboring villages, each speaking a different language but sharing the same land. While they did not understand one another, they had a shared challenge: When the Creator had made the world, he had left the sky a little too low. The village communities realized that though they spoke different languages, they had a shared word that could help them change the situation.

yəhaw̓ — a Lushootseed word meaning “to proceed” or “move forward.” Together they called out synchronously. Each time the word escaped their lips, a collective sound powerful and potent, the sky moved up just a little more.

This is the story behind yəhaw̓ Indigenous Creatives Collective, a newly birthed nonprofit which became a larger movement after beginning as a one-time art show at King Street Station in 2019.

“We felt like that was a really beautiful story in terms of art and the power of art and culture to unite communities and become a source of shared empowerment,” said Asia Tail, one of the collective’s three founders.

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Weekend Long Reads: Are the Kids AlL right?

by Kevin Schofield

This weekend’s “long read” is the 2021 Kids Count Data Book, produced by the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

The Kids Count project tracks indicators of children’s well-being over time and looks at which are trending better or worse.

The 2021 Data Book includes information collected by the U.S. Census Bureau and other agencies through 2019 and compares it with 2010 figures (get used to seeing a lot of 2019 data for a while — 2020 wasn’t a good year for collecting data). 

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A History of Juneteenth

by Samira George

(This article was originally published by Real Change and has been reprinted with permission.)

The Establishment

Also called Jubilee Day, Freedom Day, and Emancipation Day, June 19 has come to commemorate the end of U.S. slavery and is most known as Juneteenth.

After President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, it took several years for enslavement to end in the most remote Confederate state, Texas.

It is a lesser-known fact that the emancipation applied only to the Confederate states — the 11 states that seceded from the Union in a states’ rights plea to ensure they could keep Black people as slaves.

The last place in the Confederacy still enslaving Black people was Galveston, Texas, where Confederate soldiers held a firm grip. Some historians theorize that the news of emancipation was either withheld or Confederate soldiers with guns forced continued enslavement.

On June 19, 1865, Union soldiers brought the news to enslaved Black Texans that they could go free. Newly freed Black Americans celebrated their liberation on that very June 19 in 1865. Since that day, the tradition has grown and includes Black community gatherings and political rallies.

Yet, while Juneteenth is a major historical event in African American history, it has largely been excluded from classroom history books and the American education system as a whole.

“We’re still feeling the after effects of Black codes, Jim Crow, and exclusionary laws. That hasn’t changed for us,” Washington State Rep. Melanie Morgan said. “I’m excited that this will be a holiday that will start educating people and educating our youth.”

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Weekend Long Read: Economic Progress Report

by Kevin Schofield

This weekend’s “long read” is the Washington State Economic and Revenue Forecast Council’s report from last week on how the economic recovery is going, both nationally and locally.  In short: “It’s complicated.”

There is no one metric that gives us a perfect read on the economy; it is very much a multifaceted creature. Economists often start by looking at industrial production, employment, and consumer confidence, and the report definitely includes those, but it provides interesting, insightful charts on several other measures as well, including personal income, home prices, oil prices, and inflation.

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Wealthy Families Fundraising for Public Schools Poses Troubling Equity Issues

by Neal Morton, The Hechinger Report

(This story about PTAs was produced by The Hechinger Report, a nonprofit, independent news organization focused on inequality and innovation in education. Sign up for the Hechinger newsletter.)

In 2013, families at a Seattle high school raked in more than $100,000 for a raffle to win a Tesla Model S.

The year before, the parent teacher association at Garfield High School cleared $40,000 in raffle tickets for a Nissan Leaf. Other schools in this tech-boom city rely on lavish galas to raise as much as $422,000 in a single night, and some spend almost as much as they haul in.

During the pandemic, parents at the John Stanford International School spent $249,999 — one dollar less than the school district allows before the board steps in to review such spending — on teaching assistants for a dual language program. This year, the Green Lake Parent Teacher Association (PTA) paid about half that much to cover the cost of the elementary school’s vocal teacher and a portion of a full-time counselor’s salary, among other supports for students.

Meanwhile, in the South End, parents at Rising Star Elementary celebrate when they can cobble together even $300.

“That’s in a good year,” said Leticia Bazemore, former PTA vice president at Rising Star.

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