State Supreme Court will consider appeal in Sawant recall case in January

(Image: @try_thinking0 via Twitter)

December will bring new developments in Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant’s appeal of the recall case against her to the State Supreme Court.

Sawant’s legal team launched the appeal in October following a King County Superior Court judge’s decision that allowed the recall effort against the District 3 representative and longest serving member of the council to move forward.

The Supreme Court is scheduled to take up and decide on the appeal January 7th in a session in which legal briefs from Sawant’s team and lawyers for the Recall Sawant campaign will be considered but there will be no oral arguments. Continue reading

Kshama Solidarity campaign raising thousands in recall fight

The City of Seattle is covering the legal costs in Kshama Sawant’s fight against a recall campaign. The incredibly popular socialist leader’s fans — most also Seattle taxpayers — are giving to the cause, too.

“We’ve set a goal of raising $100,000 by October 31st, the end of our first full month of fundraising,” the pitch for the Kshama Solidarity fund reads:

We need to make abundantly clear to our opposition that working people won’t stand by while our movement is under threat. Defending Kshama’s city council seat is critical for continuing to build the movement to defund the Seattle Police Department by at least 50%, to win progressive funding for community programs and affordable housing, for community oversight and control of the police, and for working people to continue to have our voice in City Hall.

Kshamasolidarity.org shows more than $80,000 has already been raised.

The Sawant fundraising effort officially registered with the Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission last week with an opening filing of nearly $30,000 in donations — most in amounts of around $150 or less, and most from people listing Seattle addresses. Continue reading

As Durkan recall nixed, Sawant appeals her recall effort to State Supreme Court

As the State Supreme Court has crushed the effort to recall Mayor Jenny Durkan, her leading critic on the Seattle City Council is hoping for a similar decision.

The court Thursday rejected the “factually and legally insufficient” recall petition filed against Durkan after the mayor appealed a lower court’s decision to allow the effort to move forward.

Lawyers for District 3 representative Kshama Sawant are pushing for a similar outcome.

Last week, they filed to appeal the September King County Superior Court decision that certified a recall petition against the socialist councilmember on four allegations involving her participation in a brief June occupation protest inside City Hall, a rally and march to Mayor Durkan’s home at the end of that same month, the delegation of hiring decisions to Sawant’s political group Socialist Alternative, and the use of city resources to promote the Tax Amazon ballot initiative. Continue reading

‘Recall Kshama Sawant’ — Court to decide if recall against District 3 leader can move forward — UPDATE: ‘Certified for election’

The homepage of the recall campaign’s site

UPDATE 4:44 PM: The recall campaign can move forward. Judge Rogers ruled Wednesday that the charges in the case are sufficient to certify the petition on the four allegations argued in the day’s hearing and that the matter can now move forward to the election process meaning signature gathering to place a vote on the ballot.

In the decision, Rogers outlined his role as gatekeeper and noted there is evidence to support both the recall effort and Sawant’s responses to some of the alleged improprieties. “(I)n this proceeding, this Court’s role is not to weigh factual disputes over allegations,” Rogers writes, “but to examine whether, if the the allegation, taken as true, are sufficient.”

Details on the four allegations that will move forward in the recall process are below. The full response from Rogers is embedded here..

Sawant was scheduled to make a speech to supporters following the decision. According to a Sawant representative, Sawant will launch an appeal supported by the City Attorney.

Judge Jim Rogers, top right, Iglitzin, top left, and McKay, bottom during the Wednesday morning videoconference hearing

UPDATE 12:30 PM: The closure of City Hall this summer due to the COVID-19 crisis and Kshama Sawant’s appearance at a protest outside Mayor Jenny Durkan’s Northeast Seattle home could be key factors in the decision on whether the recall effort against the District 3 councilmember should move forward.

In a Wednesday morning hearing, Judge Jim Rogers heard Sawant’s legal counter arguing against certifying the recall petition against her that would clear the way for a ballot decision on her recall next year.

In his presentation to the judge, Dmitri Iglitzin of the Barnard Iglitzin & Lavitt law firm representing Sawant argued the recall effort lacks “specificity” and said the issues cited are political and not legally substantial. “This is not a campaign event,” Iglitzin said.

Meanwhile, Davis Wright Tremaine lawyer John McKay representing the recall campaign said Sawant’s acts including opening a COVID-closed City Hall to protesters and participating in a protest in front of the “confidential” location of the mayor’s residence are violations worthy of the recall being sent to the ballot. Continue reading

Council to decide if City of Seattle will pay legal costs in Sawant recall fight — UPDATE: Approved

UPDATE 9/15/20 3:10 PM: The council has voted to approve the expenditure to be supervised by the City Attorney’s office:

Pursuant to RCW 4.96.041, the necessary expenses of defending Councilmember Kshama Sawant in any and all judicial hearings to determine the sufficiency of a recall charge shall be paid by The City of Seattle, including all costs associated with an appeal of the decision rendered by the Superior Court concerning the sufficiency of the recall charge. The representation of Councilmember Sawant shall be supervised by the Seattle City Attorney.

ORIGINAL REPORT: The Seattle City Council will hold a special meeting Tuesday afternoon over whether the city should pay the legal bills of District 3 representative Kshama Sawant as she fights the recall effort being organized against her by a group of Capitol Hill and Central District-area residents and business owners.

The proposed ordinance would cover “the legal representation of Councilmember Kshama Sawant in judicial proceedings concerning a recall charge; paying expenses necessary to defend Councilmember Sawant in those proceedings,” according to the text of the bill posted as part of the agenda for Tuesday’s meeting. Continue reading

‘Kshama Solidarity Rally’ planned for courthouse to oppose Sawant recall petition — UPDATE

Mostly quiet since the effort was announced, Kshama Sawant supporters are ready to make some noise in support of the District 3 representative in opposition to a campaign to recall the Socialist Alternative city council member.

Surprisingly quiet following Mayor Jenny Durkan’s veto of police department budget cuts, Sawant’s office is planning a September 16th Kshama Solidarity Rally to defend the veteran City Council member “against the right-wing recall campaign.”

“Seattle’s working people need to stand together against the right-wing attempt to silence Councilmember Kshama Sawant and the Black Lives Matter movement with a recall campaign!,” a message sent this week to Sawant supporters reads. “The recall campaign, if successful, would overturn last year’s re-election and push our working-class representative out of office.” Continue reading

Tax Amazon campaign hit with late reporting fine

The Tax Amazon campaign is being hit with a $2,500 fine by the Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission over late filings on more than $100,000 in contributions.

“The Tax Amazon 2020 Committee (the “Committee”) filed 25 C-3s reporting almost $100,000 in contributions multiple days late,” a letter sent to the campaign’s manager Eva Metz last week reads. “In addition, a C-4 that showed how much money the campaign had on hand in mid-July was filed almost a month late, and another amendment showing an additional $23,000 in spending was filed today.” Continue reading

Sawant recall effort launched over ‘a criminal environment around the Capitol Hill Occupation Protest’ — UPDATE

Sawant during a June protest outside Durkan’s house organized by the Seattle Democratic Socialists of America

Seattle’s political scene is turning nasty with formal recall efforts targeting Mayor Jenny Durkan and now her longtime nemesis on the Seattle City Council, Kshama Sawant.

A self-purported “grassroots effort” to recall Sawant was launched this week by District 3 resident Ernie Lou on on behalf of a “Recall City of Seattle Councilmember Kshama Sawant Committee.”

“While, the majority of the citizens in District 3 are very liberal, we strongly feel that Councilmember Sawant’s actions and policy proposals are not supported by a majority of District 3 residents,” Lou says in a statement on the effort. “As the legal process moves forward, the campaign will be focused on raising awareness of our campaign and raising money to help in our petition signature gathering effort.” Continue reading

What really happened at The Neighbor Lady: A non-disparagement agreement, an alleged political feud, and a new home at 23rd and Union

(Image: CHS)

Central District dive bar The Neighbor Lady has plans to open in a new location across the street from its longtime home as part of the Midtown: Public Square development.

The vegetarian-friendly comfort food bar has officially moved out of its 23rd and Union spot after its lease was not renewed — and there appears to be two sides to the story including pot shop offices worried about odors from a dive bar, a dispute over Egan Orion campaign posters, and an alleged District 3 political feud playing out among business neighbors at 23rd and Union.

In January, CHS first reported on The Neighbor Lady losing its lease inside the building connected to the Uncle Ike’s pot shop complex at this key corner in the Central District.

Neighbor Lady co-owner Stephan Mollmann tells CHS the bar was “kicked out,” while landlord and Uncle Ike’s owner Ian Eisenberg cites a new use for the space as the reason behind his decision to replace the bar. Continue reading

After #defundSPD speech in front of her home, Durkan calls for City Council to investigate, expel Sawant

Sawant during Sunday’s protest organized by the Seattle Democratic Socialists of America

Speaking to a massive protest march in front of her Northeast Seattle home was apparently the final straw.

Mayor Jenny Durkan has escalated her ongoing political war with Kshama Sawant to a new level with a call for the Seattle City Council and council President Lorena Gonzalez to investigate end expel its longest-serving member.

“The City Council may choose to ignore and dismiss her actions, but I think that undermines public confidence in our institutions,” Durkan writes. “This letter requests that the Council exercise its Charter duties and fully investigate Councilmember Kshama Sawant and determine if action should be taken…”

The letter from Durkan’s office levels five allegations against Sawant including “using her official position to lead a march” to the mayor’s home Sunday night, Durkan says, “despite the fact that it was publicly known I was not there, and she and organizers knew that my address was protected under the state confidentiality program because of threats against me due largely to my work as U.S. Attorney.”

“All of us have joined hundreds of demonstrations across the City, but Councilmember Sawant and her followers chose to do so with reckless disregard of the safety of my family and children,” Durkan writes.

UPDATE 3:05 PM: In a blistering response, Sawant says she is proud of her activism.

“Socialist Alternative and my Council office are proud to have marched, rallied, and organized with thousands of community members and activists in recent weeks to demand #JusticeForGeorgeFloyd, #BlackLivesMatter,” she writes. “Our movement is demanding racial and economic justice, long withheld by a pro-corporate political establishment, whose leader currently is Mayor Durkan.”

Sawant concludes her letter saying she does not take the attack “personally.”

“While her words are directed at me and my elected office, I don’t take it personally,” she writes. “In reality, this is an attack on working people’s movements, and everything we are fighting for, by a corporate politician desperately looking to distract from her failures of leadership and politically bankrupt administration.”

“Our movement will respond accordingly: we will fight with even greater unity and determination,” she concludes.

The full response from Sawant’s office is at the end of this post.

Continue reading