1. Kathleen O'Toole, Mayor Ed Murray's pick for Seattle police chief, sailed through city council confirmation yesterday after a short process in which most council members quickly made it clear that they were thoroughly impressed by the former head of the Boston and Irish national police. (Sample question from her first confirmation hearing, courtesy of council member Sally Bagshaw: "How can we encourage you to work to get the changes that you need?")
Only socialist council member Kshama Sawant voted against O'Toole, citing (with alarm) her promise to run SPD more "like a business."
O'Toole will start at a salary of $250,000, which also set off alarm bells with Sawant. "I am in principle opposed to income inequality," Sawant said in explaining her vote against O'Toole's pay package.
"And I think it’s great that the first female police chief of Seattle will be getting paid competitively with her counterparts on the West Coast."—Tim Burgess
Council president Tim Burgess responded tartly: "I don't think we should be looking for a cheaper police chief," Burgess said, adding: "And I think it’s great that the first female police chief of Seattle will be getting paid competitively with her counterparts on the West Coast."
2. There are currently two competing citywide pre-K funding initiatives headed to the fall ballot—one supported by Mayor Ed Murray and the City Council and one supported by SEIU 925, the union that represents early learning workers and education support staff.
YesforSuccess, the group that collected signatures for the union-backed initiative, I-107, has filed an ethics complaint with the Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission arguing that the city violated ethics laws by using public resources to campaign against the union measure.
The complaint says the city wrote a biased memo with speaking points against I-107 and wrote up a biased fiscal analysis about the measure. The complaint also says the city leaked the anti-107 memos to the Seattle Times editorial page—securing an anti-I-107 Times editorial—which amounts to an in-kind contribution against 107, the complaint says.
The complaint, written by attorney Knoll Lowney, says:
The City used this taxpayer-funded memo for campaign purposes. The City provided this biased study to The Seattle Times along with talking points against I-107, but refused to provide this study to the proponents of I-107 despite repeated requests. ...
The City effectively made an in-kind contribution to the opponents of I-107 when it prepared this biased analysis and then provided it to I-107 opponents, with negative talking points, while refusing to give it to I-107 sponsors despite repeated requests. The City’s actions suggest that this document was not leaked, but rather was provided by a top official and/or staff member.
The complaint also asserts that the City Council held closed-door meetings to discuss I-107, a violation of city rules because council deliberations on citywide initiatives are supposed to be public. (Fizz reported on the "cryptic" executive sessions earlier this month.)