SOS: All D3 candidates to attend forum hosted by Speak out Seattle

Tuesday night will bring a D3 candidate forum to the Central District organized by a group that has drawn criticism but appears to be shaping up as an important player in this summer’s city council races.

The forum, at the Northwest African American Museum Tuesday night, is Speak Out Seattle’s final pre-primary forum after it has hosted a string of forums in other districts in the past months.

All seven candidates currently in the D3 race (Capitol Hill LGBTQIA activist Asukaa Jaxx has withdrawn) will attend the forum, which will be moderated by KIRO 7’s Essex Porter and feature a City of Seattle table with information and a chance for people to fill in or replace their (lost) democracy vouchers.

SOS District 3 Candidate Forum

Among the candidates attending is Zachary DeWolf, who has previously said he wouldn’t attend the debates hosted by Speak Out Seattle. “I’m not really sure that they are completely unbiased and coming to the table in good faith, so my inclination is no,” DeWolf said in April and repeated his position in another interview with journalist Erica C. Barnett.

But he is scheduled to attend Tuesday night.

DeWolf said he talked with the SOS organizers of the forum, who indicated “that they were being misrepresented,” he said. “They communicated to me that they’re interested in solutions, that they’re not for sweeps when there are no resources for people. My understanding from that communication is that they’re not what everybody is saying they are. I don’t have anything else to go off, and I have to take them at their word.”

The local organization, which has opposed drug-consumption sites, the head tax, tiny house villages, and encampments, had come under scrutiny for its views and some shared early connections with Safe Seattle, an online group that has mapped where homeless people live, spread fake news about a beheading in a homeless encampment and posted videos of people in crisis.

DeWolf’s change of heart might signal a larger shift in views on SOS, which seems to have been putting in work to appear less partisan. Continue reading

Sawant campaign to ‘Save the Showbox’ at heart of $40M lawsuit

The Kshama Sawant-championed Seattle City Council decision to “save the Showbox” by surgically sliding the 1st Ave venue under the historical protections of the Pike Place Market has the city staring down the barrel of a $40 million lawsuit and an embarrassing reversal of the ordinance.

While District 3 and Capitol Hill representative Sawant is mentioned by name only once in the 22-page suit, her political effort to stymie the planned sale and redevelopment of the property owned by strip club magnate Roger Forbes is front and center in the suit:

When politicians cater to populist calls – whether those calls are “lock her up,” “build the wall,” “ban Muslims,” or “Save the Showbox” – civil and other rights are placed at risk. Populism, and politicians’ desires to appease their loudest constituents and generate headlines must, however, yield to the rule of law. Luckily for those who prefer protection of civil, constitutional and property rights, the courts exist to preserve, protect and enforce the rule of law.

About the D3 council member herself, lawyers at the Seattle-based Byrnes, Keller, and Cromwell firm representing the property — set to be acquired by Canadian developer Onni Group to build a 44-story apartment building after demolition of the Showbox — say Sawant’s actions were an “Appearance of Fairness” violation: Continue reading

Banks makes headway in D3 chase putting public safety on the table — UPDATE

unnamed-1

Banks announced her plan at Powell Barnett Park Thursday morning. (Image: Bryan Cohen)

Pamela Banks has finally struck a campaign blow in an election season that has mostly seen incumbent Kshama Sawant dominating. The candidate will look to build on that success Thursday with a push on public safety at a Central District park playground recently caught in the crossfire of ongoing gun violence.

UPDATE: Banks called for the City to hire ex-gang members to quell gun violence as the main part of her plan to address public safety concerns in the Central Area. The proposal would require hiring at least 12 “violence interrupters” to diffuse deadly confrontations, she said.

The program is modeled off one in Chicago and is a revival of sorts of a Seattle initiative that was disbanded in 2010, Banks said. Banks also called for more resources to be devoted to SPD’s community police teams — an issue Attorney General Loretta Lynch was due to speak about later in the day at a “community policing forum” in the Central District. That would likely involve hiring more officers, Banks said.

During the media conference at Powell Barnett Park, Banks took the opportunity to note Sawant’s relatively quiet stance on the issue of public safety in this year’s election. “My opponent hasn’t lead on this issue and hasn’t even made a public statement regarding this violent crime in this city,” Banks said.

Banks said addressing violent crime is her top issue in the campaign.

A full statement on the Banks “Jobs Stop Bullets” plan has been included at the bottom of this post.

Original report: After her plea for Democratic unity failed to secure a key endorsement from the 43rd District Democrats earlier this month, the D3 challenger found a friendlier response this week from her home legislative district as the 37th voted to throw its support behind Banks.

“It was great to see so many friends and neighbors at the Rainier Valley Cultural Center, and to earn the endorsement of the 37th District Democrats,” Banks said in a statement:

I’ve known many of these strong Democrats for years. Some friendships go back to when I helped make sure small businesses kept their doors open during light rail construction back in the 1990’s and others are friends and fellow parents from when I served as Garfield PTSA President.

This is the kind of results-driven, hands-on community activism that I love, and it was humbling and gratifying to see so many people turn out and support my candidacy for City Council. I continue to make housing, education, jobs and public safety my priorities, and making a difference on these issues energizes my campaign.

Banks will look to continue her momentum Thursday with a push on public safety and a morning announcement in Powell Barnett Park, “the scene of a shooting on June 25.” Continue reading