1. The King County Democrats elected a new chair this weekend. After three votes, including a first go around where two candidates tied for second place, Mercer Island Democratic Party activist Rich Erwin won the top spot.
A press release reports:
"Erwin, fifty-three, has been active in Democratic politics for over a decade. He supported Howard Dean's campaign for the presidency in 2003 and joined Democracy for America when it was formed the following year. He helped organize a portion of the media campaign against I-1240 (charter schools) in 2012, and has served in the party primarily as a vice chair of the 41st District Democrats."
Howard Dean lost in the 2004 primary to John Kerry. I-1240 won in 2012.
It was a hilarious total clusterf that somehow managed to achieve its primary objectives. It opened with some furious elderly gentleman declaring the venue unfit for human habitation and calling the fire department to report that the Democratic Party was in violation of code, and proclaiming the meeting “illegal”, like, generally.
The three candidates for chair (Betsy, Rich, and Omaha) proceed with making the case for why they should be elected. Betsy made a reasonable case without saying anything worthy of ridicule. Rich, however, generously offered to help minority communities with their paperwork. The belligerent guy who had earlier declared that the venue was unfit for human habitation made even more of a ruckus and stormed out. Omaha said she was going to help minority groups sue people, and said she wanted to change a lot of the bylaws - like, basically all of them, but also bylaws aren't things that should be changed all the time... And should be simultaneously left alone...
And then the power went out.
2. Hundreds of demonstrators marched from Garfield High School in the Central District on Saturday to downtown Seattle police headquarters at 6th and Cherry, continuing the protest movement that began two weeks ago after a grand jury in St. Louis County, Missouri didn't bring an indictment against white police officer Darren Wilson who shot unarmed African American teenager Michael Brown.
That controversial decision was followed by a decision a week later in Staten Island, New York when a grand jury didn't indict white police officer Daniel Pantaleo who killed 43-year-old African American Eric Garner with a choke-hold; Garner's death was videopaped as he famously repeated "I can't breath." (In between the two decisions, video emerged from Cleveland, Ohio where a white officer shot and killed Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old African American boywho was playing with a toy gun in a park.)
A second breakoff protest followed Saturday's peaceful march. Protesters marched through downtown Seattle to the Alaskan Way viaduct, some attempting to enter and the highway, throwing rocks at the police, says the SPD, who were blocking the entrance.
Protesters continued to march up to Broadway and John on Capitol Hill. Seven people were arrestsed overall during the second breakaway march.
A New York Times article published over the weekend challenged the conventional wisdom of one of the protesters' central demands, the use of body cameras on officers; Seattle has set up a pilot program.
3. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, speaking at a progressive meeting of national city leaders, gave a big shout out to Seattle on Friday.
“Seattle, I’m going tip my cap,” the mayor told the Local Progress National Convening.
“I hope you appreciate that we bow before you here in the largest city in the country, and we look with great respect at what you’ve achieved.”
De Blasio was specifically talking about Seattle's $15 minimum wage, though other recent left-coast achievements include: paid sick leave, preschool funding, $45 million for Seattle-only bus fudning, and lifting the cap on ride sharing companies.