Lots of news to report on this week! But first, a little housekeeping….
Changes to this newsletter
It’s hard to believe that I started this newsletter over nine months ago now. I’m pleased to say this is the 55th issue! This is also the first issue at Notes from an Emerald City‘s new home at Revue. While it was not an easy task to weigh the ethical problems with Twitter against the ethical problems with Substack, I have ultimately come to the conclusion that for now I am more comfortable working on the Revue platform. Hopefully this change won’t affect you, the reader, at all; I’ve already ported my email subscription list over to this new platform. You will receive one last notification email from the old Substack newsletter, and then we will carry on here at Revue.
At the suggestion of a few readers, I have also added a paid subscription option to this newsletter. I think it’s important the news and information I discuss here be free and available to all, so I won’t be locking any posts for only paid subscribers. Instead this is a chance for you support the work I’m doing if you find it valuable and can afford to do so. You can give via a monthly subscription here.
WA State legislature news
In the Washington State legislature, both HB 1054, which deals with use of force, and SB 5051, which deals with the decertification process, have passed both Houses. HB 1310, which deals with de-escalation, is still in the Senate Rules committee. You can email the Chair of the committee, Karen Keiser, to ask her to pass this bill out of committee.
In other state legislature news, Governor Inslee signed the bill restoring voting rights to those who have committed felonies upon their release from prison. He also just signed SB 5055 today, which reforms arbitration but is fairly weak.
On Monday at their full council meeting, the Seattle City Council will be voting on whether to appropriate additional money for the SPD to fund civilian Bias Crime Prevention Coordinators. The Massage Parlor Outreach Project (MPOP), a grassroots group providing outreach support for Asian immigrant massage workers in Chinatown-ID, has condemned this action, saying, “Despite the Executive’s insistence that this position will be undertaken by a non-uniformed, civilian position within SPD, we fully reject any attempts to conflate the police department with any attempts to address community safety and issues related to anti-Asian violence.” You can email your CMs to urge them to vote against this additional expenditure, or you can sign up for public comment at the meeting on Monday, April 12 at 2pm (sign-ups begin at 12pm).
The critique on the proposed charter amendment on homelessness continues. Main arguments against the amendment are its lack of naming a funding source or providing additional funding to achieve its goals and the ambiguous language that could mean a return to a city policy of more aggressive sweeps. Dr. LaMont Green of the Lived Experience Coalition said, “”You know this is all setting the stage for aggressive encampment sweeping.”
It’s clear that a great deal of power over how to enact such an amendment would rest with the Mayor. Accordingly The Stranger‘s Nathalie Graham asked mayoral candidates what they thought of the amendment. Andrew Grant Houston came out against the amendment, while Bruce Harrell supports it. Colleen Echohawk says she is hopeful about it, and Lorena González says it’s a good start while criticizing its lack of funding. Jessyn Farrell says what I’m thinking, which is, “This policy is really only going to be as good as the next mayor.” But the charter amendment would exist in perpetuity, which means it will also only be as good as the mayor after that, and the mayor after that.
Meanwhile, the appeals court upheld the termination of Officer Shepherd from the SPD for excessive use of force, although SPOG will be appealing this decision to the state Supreme Court. This case is interesting because, as Kevin Schofield reminds us, “It does remind us that arbitration, a right guaranteed to police officers under state law, is a far from perfect process that is still overdue for reform.”
Other WA State News
Meanwhile, across the lake in Bellevue, an outside consultant has completed their use of force policy review for the Bellevue Police Department and will be presenting their recommendations at the Belleuve City Council meeting on Monday, April 12 at 6pm. You can take a look at the report here, which ends with a whopping 47 recommendations for changes to the policy. The Bellevue Police Chief is scheduled to brief the Council on this report at a future meeting.
In King County, the calls for the King County Sheriff to resign are continuing. If Sheriff Johanknect were to resign, the timing would matter; before a certain date and there would have to be a special election for a new Sheriff for only a short period of time before the office becomes an appointed one, whereas if she resigns after May 15 she’d be replaced by an interim sheriff.
Thanks for reading, and have a lovely weekend!