Morning Fizz

Tensions Didn't Break Out Until After the Rally

By Morning Fizz November 18, 2011

Caffeinated News & Gossip. Your daily Morning Fizz.

1. More than 1,000 demonstrators, including protesters with Occupy Seattle, local unions, and students from the UW, marched from Husky Stadium to the University Bridge late yesterday afternoon, blocking traffic.

Police let the protesters commandeer the bridge during rush hour (from about 5 to 6 pm), even allowing several protesters to climb on the trusses. The protest broke up peacefully without any arrests, with a long line of cars waiting to cross the bridge.

"Everything went smoothly," a formal statement from Occupy Seattle announced afterward, "and Occupy Seattle is gratified that the Seattle Police Department seems to have changed its tactics in the wake of the excesses of November 15,"—a reference to the SPD PR disaster at Tuesday's Westlake protest, when a photographer snapped an image of 84-year-old Dorli Rainey after she was pepper-sprayed. The statement from Occupy focused on Tuesday and demanded that they be part of the formal review of the police action.

Yesterday's peaceful march, coordinated with Occupy marches across the country to mark the two-month anniversary of the protests, also hit the same day that the state got more bad budget news: an additional $122 million shortfall to the $1.4 billion shortfall that's already devastating the $32 billion budget. The news added some urgency to the protesters message: "Jobs. No Cuts"—a call for a Paul Krugman-style credit card response to the recession as opposed to a Grover Norquist blood bath.

Protesters also unfurled a huge banner of the preamble to the US Constitution on the bridge; if it wasn't for the SEIU union nurses and anti-corporate-power placards, you couldn't have been blamed for momentarily thinking you were at a Tea Party rally.

2. Tensions didn't break out until after the rally. About 20 Occupy Seattle members, some wearing goggles to protest the Nov. 15 pepper spraying incident, showed up at an Associated Students of University of Washington board meeting at Condon Hall after the march where the ASUW board was reassessing a motion the group passed by a 49-32  vote earlier in the week to support Occupy Seattle. [pullquote]“The student body had their voices heard in saying that this is important,” said Brian Moe, an Occupy UW organizer. “We spent three weeks debating this on the floor. Why is it being challenged now?”[/pullquote]

“The student body had their voices heard in saying that this is important,” said Brian Moe, an Occupy UW organizer. “We spent three weeks debating this on the floor. Why is it being challenged now?”

Board members thought it was too close a vote to have the resolution properly represent the student voice, and members of the board received messages from dozens of students against the resolution, they said. The board sent the resolution back to the student senate. The senate can pass it again and send it to the board for approval one more time.

Around the same time, at about 7pm, at St. Mark's Church on Capitol Hill, 50 members of Occupy Seattle "crashed" a human services forum being put on by King County human service providers including King County Mental Health Services and King County Alcohol & Substance Abuse, says Pioneer Square Human Services Program Manager Jim Nobles.

The annual forum—where state legislators (including state Sens. Steve Litzow, Ed Murray, and Jeanne Kohl-Welles), clients, and providers discussed the upcoming session in Olympia—was open to the public, but Nobles said the Occupy group took over the roundtable discussion with questions about closing corporate tax loopholes and alienated the human services community.

Pictures and  additional reporting by Cola intern Hayat Norimine.

3. The Transportation Choices Coalition has released its legislative agenda for this session, and---no surprise---it largely meshes up with the Cascade Bicycle Club's agenda, announced earlier this week.

In addition to the neighborhood safe streets bill, which would allow cities to set speeds on non-arterial residential streets as low as 20 mph without doing costly traffic and engineering studies. a bill that would give cities more flexibility to use state transportation dollars for pedestrian projects; adding health to Washington State’s official transportation goals (a change that could require policymakers to pay more attention to things like car-related injuries and deaths and the health impacts of pollution from highways), TCC is pushing for: Legislation lowering the barriers to peer-to-peer car-sharing, in which users rent cars by the hour from individuals; and mileage-based insurance, in which drivers' insurance rates are based on how much they drive.

4. City Council member Sally Bagshaw, who issued a blog broadside against gas-powered leaf blowers earlier this week, says she isn't planning to introduce legislation implementing an outright ban on the dirty, storm-drain-clogging, noisy machines, citing the cost of enforcing such a ban,the additional manpower the parks department would need to clear leaves manually, and the cost of additional insurance and workers' comp claims due to back injuries from using rakes, makes the prospect of a ban untenable.

"I'd like for us to continue the dialogue, but I don't think there's momentum" to ban gas-powered leaf blowers, Bagshaw sais. "Right now, I'm focused on some other issues, including [banning] plastic bags."
Show Comments