With supporters hoping for 2021 run for Seattle mayor, attorney and activist Nikkita Oliver to teach course on ‘police and prison abolition’ at Seattle U

Seattle University has announced it is adding attorney and activist Nikkita Oliver to its faculty roster this spring to teach the school’s young would-be lawyers a course on “police and prison abolition.”

Don’t worry if you’re hopeful Oliver might make another bid for the Seattle mayor’s office — Seattle U’s policies won’t preclude the Seattle University School of Law adjunct faculty member making a 2021 run for city hall.

Oliver declined to comment on the 2021 race. “When the time is right, I will answer questions related to a mayoral campaign,” Oliver said. Continue reading

City Council passes disclosure rules targeting ‘indirect lobbying’ like Move Seattle Forward

This summer, the Move Seattle Forward group helped organize opposition to the City Council’s efforts to cut back on police spending in the city. it was a slick effort. And it probably helped shape the final budgets that followed.

Monday, the City Council passed new rules based on recommendations from the Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission to clamp down on so-called “indirect lobbying” efforts that shape public opinion without having to disclose who was calling the shots and where the money was coming from. Continue reading

How King County Sheriff’s Office charter amendment votes on your November ballot can also change policing in Seattle

Girmay Zahilay thinks next month’s election is a once-in-a-decade opportunity for changing the way Seattle communities police themselves, but not in the way you might think.

The debate for months locally has been around the Seattle City Council’s moves to defund the police and shift some functions, such as 911 operations and parking enforcement, out of the department. Meanwhile, the Metropolitan King County Council has no such authority to change the ways law enforcement works at the county level.

The first step in improving how the King County Sheriff’s Office works, county councilmember Zahilay argues, is through a charter amendment on the ballot next month that grants the council the ability to decrease the department of public safety’s duties

“All of these structural barriers create a situation where, yeah, we can do budgetary sticks and carrots, but we can’t really have the true accountability and the true innovation to public safety like other jurisdictions can,” Zahilay told CHS. 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

‘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

43rd District Dems to hold online forum in Chopp-Lascelles race

Mark you calendars for a virtual candidates forum Thursday night and a debate pitting incumbent 43rd District Rep. Frank Chopp against challenger Sherae Lascelles.

43rd Democrats Host Online Candidate Forum for State Representative Pos. 2 

(Seattle, WA) The 43rd District Democrats will host an online candidate forum on Thursday, September 10 with the general election candidates for 43rd State Representative Pos. 2: Representative Frank Chopp and Sherae Lascelles.

Event highlights:

  • Get to know the candidates ahead of the November general election and hear where they stand on important issues affecting the state and 43rd District.

  • Open to the public: All residents of Washington’s 43rd Legislative District are invited to attend, regardless of party affiliation.

  • Ask questions: Attendees will have the option to submit questions for the candidates ahead of time.

WHEN: Thursday, September 10, at 7:00 – 8:00 p.m. PT

WHERE: Online via Zoom and Facebook Live! This is a free event, but registration is required to receive the Zoom link. Please RSVP here. The form to submit questions will be included in the registration confirmation, and a link to the Zoom meeting will be sent out the day before.

ACCESSIBILITY: Please contact programs@43rddemocrats.org if you need any assistance joining or participating in an online meeting.

CHS reported here on the August primary vote that put Democratic Party veteran Chopp into a race with the political upstart Lascelles. A member of the Seattle People’s Party, Lascelles grabbed the second slot in the “top two” primary system. You can read more about their positions and campaigns here.

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

CHS Pics | #impeachandremove — Seattle rallies for Trump impeachment

Hundreds rallied in downtown Seattle Tuesday night in advance of a day of debate and decision in the House of Representatives on the impeachment — and removal — of President Donald Trump

“This is a day of accountability and defending our democracy,” WA-07 Representative and member of the body’s judiciary committee Pramila Jayapal said during her part of an expected six hours of debate to proceed the House votes Wednesday. Continue reading