Juarez

Wrapping Up 2022

Seattle News

Some big Seattle City Council election news this past week! Both CM Herbold and CP Juarez have announced their intention not to run for re-election for their City Council seats next year. CP Juarez has always been clear about her intention to serve two terms, but much has been said about CM Herbold’s remarks about her decision. When comparing the upcoming D1 race to last year’s City Attorney race, it is important to remember a few key points. First, a district race is very different in character from a city-wide race. Second, one of the issues in the City Attorney’s primary was the lack of campaigning from Pete Holmes until the last second. And finally, Ann Davison’s campaign massively outspent Nicole Thomas-Kennedy’s campaign. So while the 2021 City Attorney’s race was certainly very interesting, we need to be cautious about the parallels we draw between these two races.

It does seem like the moderate council members, of which CM Herbold is one, face a messaging problem in this upcoming election. More conservative voters might disapprove of these CMs committing to trying to remove up to 50% from the police budget to reallocate for other public safety strategies back in 2020 (never mind that they never came close to this number), while very progressive voters might be disappointed at what could be characterized as a wishy-washy follow-through to that commitment.

It is interesting to note that CM Mosqueda, who is typically seen as a more progressive CM, won her city-wide race handily in 2021; she was one of seven council members to back the 50% defund pledge in 2020, but she has been more consistent and effective in her messaging and explaining her values than many of her colleagues.

The Public Safety committee voted unanimously to appoint Interim Chief Diaz as SPD’s new police chief. This is in spite of his lack of support of police alternatives, including the seemingly never-ending analysis of 911 calls the SPD has undertaken in spite of the fact that many other comparable cities have somehow managed to figure out how to implement civilian response programs without drowning in violence and death as a result. In addition, as Erica C. Barnett reports in PubliCola:
While transferring some low-risk work to trained civilian responders would be one way to free up SPD officers for police work and investigations, another option could be reducing the amount of overtime police burn through directing traffic and providing security for sports events, which added up to more than 91,000 hours through October of this year. Diaz didn’t seem particularly open to this suggestion, either, noting that there is always a risk of violence at large events, such as someone trying to drive through a barricade.
Meanwhile, in an act of breathtaking pettiness, the Seattle Municipal Court elected their new presiding judge without allowing recently elected new judge Pooja Vaddadi and recently elected returning judge Damon Shadid the chance to vote. As Erica C. Barnett in PubliCola says:
According to local court rule 10.2, the municipal court judges are supposed to elect a new presiding judge “within 30 days after [a] vacancy occurs.” Because Eisenberg will not vacate his position until next January, Vaddadi told PubliCola, “this action… was not appropriate, nor was it in line with [the local rule] for a minority of the judges to hold a secret vote to elect a presiding and assistant presiding judge.”

This action by the other sitting judges seems to exhibit both a lack of professionalism and respect for the law governing the institution.

Regional News

The Pierce County Sheriff Ed Troyer was found not guilty of false reporting today. While the verdict is not surprising in a country that rarely holds police accountable, this case appeared like a clear example of police overreach:

An investigation led by former U.S. Attorney Brian Moran, commissioned last year by the Pierce County Council, found Troyer had violated policies on bias-free policing and other professional standards. Moran’s report, released in October 2021, noted that Troyer had given shifting statements about the encounter to media, his neighbors, and police.

The King County Auditor released a report on the County’s incarceration alternative and diversion programs this week that found a lack of strategic direction and data coordination between the 12 existing programs. This deficit makes it hard to tell whether the County has implemented the right programs, how they could complement each other, or if they need more capacity. It also found the County’s criminal legal agencies collect race data in different ways, making it difficult to meaningfully analyze racial disparities in those agencies.

The King County Sheriff’s Office is looking for applicants for their Community Advisory Board. Applications will be accepted through the end of January. It is unclear why King County is forming a new advisory board instead of continuing the extant King County Public Safety Advisory Committee, although it is possible for members of that body to apply for the new board.

Governor Inslee introduced his proposed 2023-25 budget today. Included in his proposal are additional investments in law enforcement training. Washington State currently runs two academies in the state, the main one in Burien and a smaller one in Spokane. The governor is proposing funding for seven additional Basic Law Enforcement Academy classes per year, including four at two new regional campuses, in order to reduce the waiting time for training and increase the output of trained officers per year. He also wishes to invest in grants to help local agencies pay for their share of training costs and increase recruitment efforts. The total proposed investment for these additions would be $16.16m.

The Washington Coalition of Police Accountability (WCPA) announced four new bills related to policing that will be discussed during the upcoming legislative session (which begins on January 9). The most promising might be the “Traffic Safety for All” bill that would limit traffic stops and provide a pool of money for low-income drivers to keep their vehicles in compliance with traffic laws. The other three are: a Washington Attorney General pattern-or-practice law that would allow the state to sue departments that systemically violate the law, not unlike federal consent decrees but at the state level; the establishment of an independent prosecutor to investigate and prosecute police misconduct at the state level; and revoking qualified immunity for police officers on the state level. I’m also hoping we’ll see the bill for ending solitary confinement in Washington again this session.

Housekeeping

The Seattle City Council has their Winter Recess from December 19 through January 1st.

Revue, the host of this newsletter, will be discontinued as of January 18. As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve already begun the process of researching alternatives, and I’m hoping to use the City Council break to make some real headway in setting up a new delivery system for Notes from the Emerald City. My plan will be to automatically add my subscribers’ email addresses to the new system to keep the changeover as painless as possible.

For those of you who are paid subscribers, first of all, thank you for your support! On December 20, Revue will set all outstanding paid subscriptions to cancel at the end of their billing cycle. I expect to be setting up some new kind of payment system, and I’ll let you know the details when I have them.

In the meantime, I’m wishing you all a safe and happy holiday season. I hope you find some time to rest and rejuvenate; I have a feeling 2023 is going to be an eventful year!

Recent Headlines

Seattle Is Ignoring Major Support for Social Housing - The Stranger

King County jail diversion programs not collecting enough data | The Seattle Times

Is Burlington, Vermont suffering a crime wave because "woke" officials cut police funding? Probably not.

A wave breaks? In downtown Seattle, crime is now falling | The Seattle Times

Former Office of Police Accountability director files a lawsuit alleging city interfered with former BPD chief investigation

Wrapping Up 2022 Read More »

A New Mayor and New Council Committee Assignments for the New Year

I hope everyone had a nice break because we’re about to be in the thick of it again!

Seattle News

Amy Sundberg
All right, time for the first Seattle City Council meeting of 2022! This isn’t an official live tweet but I’ll post when things happen that I think are interesting.

First up, today Debora Juarez was elected to be the Seattle City Council’s Council President, so from now on, she’ll have a CP in front of her name. In spite of predictions to the contrary, she left CM Herbold as the Chair of Public Safety and Human Services, and it will remain on its old meeting schedule of every other Tuesday morning. Here is the full committee assignment roster and schedule, provided by Erica C. Barnett of Publicola:

In an address this morning, new Mayor Harrell made a few comments about public safety in Seattle:
Paul Faruq Kiefer
In his swearing-in speech, Harrell says that a “safe city needs the right kind and right number of police officers.” That number will be a biiig question mark in the coming years. Deputy Mayor Monisha Harrell will be the point person on the issue of policing.
Paul Faruq Kiefer
Harrell also seems to have refined the “different kind of police officer” he mentioned during the campaign into an “unarmed alternative responder” – not unfamiliar language, but more closely resembling what the council discussed last year.
This is another signal Mayor Harrell remains interested in alternate emergency response. He also said he wanted to give interim SPD Chief Diaz a chance to have his performance assessed at the job and will decide by the end of Q1 whether he’s going to conduct a nationwide search for a new police chief.
In other news, Court Monitor Oftelie and the CPC have announced three joint community engagement meetings: one each in January, February, and March. The first meeting will be next Tuesday, January 11 at 6pm, covering the topic of crisis intervention and focusing on the following three questions:
  • What ideas on policy and practices, systems, measures, and/or general innovations and change do you have to improve policing services for the City of Seattle?
  • What new policies, research, and/or general innovations should the Seattle Community Policing Commission pursue in 2022?
  • What policy and practice areas, if any, should the Federal Monitor oversee implementation on in 2022?
If you are interested in public safety in Seattle, I highly recommend attending this meeting. The other two meetings will be a discussion on stops and detentions on February 8 and a discussion on use of force on March 8.

WA State Legislative News

The next state legislative session begins on Monday, January 10–less than a week away! In the wake of the ongoing Omicron wave, it’s been announced that the session will once again be virtual, which is great news for everyone who would like to weigh in on legislative issues without hauling themselves out to Olympia on a weekday.
In addition to lawmakers going back to the table to take another look at HB 1310 and HB 1054, which were passed last session, other possible public safety bills that may be discussed include an independent prosecutor bill, a police discipline bill, a qualified immunity bill, a traffic stops bill, and a solitary confinement bill. There’s also a bill regarding odd year elections that should prove interesting. Expect more on these bills soon!

Recent Headlines

Man jailed for 9 years sues King County, Redmond after acquittal in killing: ‘I lost a lot’ | The Seattle Times

Editorial: Yes, there are problems with Prop. 47 and $0 bail. Just not what you think - Los Angeles Times

Inside District Attorney Jose Garza’s campaign to reform Austin’s police department - Washington Post

Family outraged after Tacoma police chief clears 2 of the officers involved in Manuel Ellis’ death | The Seattle Times

Kent assistant police chief disciplined for posting Nazi insignia and joking about the Holocaust | The Seattle Times

Council's ban on "less-lethal" weapons will be early test for Harrell as SPD waits for guidance

A New Mayor and New Council Committee Assignments for the New Year Read More »