Friday Likes and Dislikes Part 2: The New Chief, Metro, and Obama
Today's likes and dislikes.
We were psyched to let the ladies from Seattlish commandeer Fizz this morning, but you didn't think you were going to escape hearing our Likes and Dislikes, did you?
We Dislike: New SPD Chief Kathleen O'Toole's tendency to resort to sound bites, as she did at last night's "Ask the Mayor" taping in Southeast Seattle.
When host Brian Callanan asked O'Toole about her "Summer of Safety" plan and her proposal to create a specific community safety plan for each Seattle neighborhood, she (once again) recited her "four priorities"—restoring public trust, restoring pride within the department, reducing crime and disorder, and increasing departmental efficiency. "We need to bulid our strategy from the bottom up," O'Toole said. Which totally didn't answer the question.
We Like: O'Toole's focus on "prevention and intervention" above "enforcement" for front-line officers.
Asked how SPD will address the mental-health crisis that manifests itself in low-level street crime and disorder throughout Seattle, O'Toole said, "I think all officers working on the front lines need to have crisis intervention training. Prevention and intervention are more important than enforcement. We only want to enforce as a last resort, and I think it’s really important that we work with our partners in social services and health services to develop strategies to deal with these problems."
We Dislike: The fact that getting from Beacon Hill to Hillman City, thanks to a Metro map that's generally hostile toward east-west travel, takes an hour—down to Rainier Beach on the 106 and back up again on the 7, or all the way to downtown on the 36 and down on the 7. Driving, this trip would (according to Google Maps) take seven minutes. Thanks, Metro!"We only want to enforce as a last resort, and I think it’s really important that we work with our partners in social services and health services to develop strategies to deal with these problems."
We Dislike: The fact that the discussion around how and whether to save Metro service in Seattle has devolved into a ridiculous contest over who's more progressive—Murray, who's proposed a flat $60 vehicle license fee and a 0.1-cent sales tax, modeled on the April Metro funding proposal that tanked countywide but won by 66 percent in Seattle, or city council members Kshama Sawant and Nick Licata, who've proposed their own flat $60 vehicle license fee but coupled it with an increase in the commercial parking tax and a head tax on employers.
Yes, I get it. The head tax (which, by the way, failed 8-1 in 2009) and the commercial parking tax are more progressive than a sales-tax increase. But the sales tax increase is small, and voters here supported it, and isn't the point of this whole debate to save Metro service, not to prove who's more progressive-than-thou? It's time for the warring sides to bury this ridiculous hatchet and come together behind a plan that will preserve mobility for people who actually need it.
We Like: The fact that Seattle's Food Action Plan, a pet project of former city council member Richard Conlin, makes Seattle one of the only cities in the country where you can sell the produce you grow in your backyard without a special license or permit. According to Grist, "Most cities aren’t as farmer friendly as Seattle: In Orlando, Tulsa, and St. Louis, front yard farmers have been threatened with fines and even jail timefor violating ordinances that prohibit farming."
Make fun of Conlin for legalizing urban pygmy goats all you like, but the Food Action Plan is a pretty impressive legacy.
We Dislike: The fact that President Obama has had exactly nothing to say about yesterday's SCOTUS ruling, which says that terrorizing women seeking abortion care constitutes protected "free speech" under the U.S. Constitution—a ruling that will inevitably further erode access to abortion. Mr. President, you sure do like talking about "our mothers, wives, and daughters." Maybe you could think about yesterday's ruling in that context now.