1. After Friday’s alarming developments in the presidential election, I need to pause for a second on the local news beat and address what’s going on nationally.
There's some great reporting that outlines the context and causes of the Brown Shirt atmosphere at Donald Trump rallies—Rachel Maddow compiled live clips chronicling Trump's odious rhetoric on the campaign trail and Ezra Klein at Vox documented it too (correctly expanding the scary list to include the time two Trump fans beat a homeless Mexican man in Boston last August). The New York Times traces the inevitability of violence embedded in Trump's ascendance as well.
All of this reporting, of course, was part of the media reaction to Friday night in Chicago, when Trump's terror rhetoric circus arrived in town—only to get shut down by a broad based coalition of anti-Trump protesters. The protest occurred on the the heels of the attack at a Trump rally in Fayetteville, North Carolina earlier in the week when a Trump supporter sucker punched an African American protester in the face.
However, it's the basic news report in the Chicago Tribune ("Trump cancels Chicago rally amid organized protests") that captures the meaning of events best: It takes a city.
Chicago, with its history as a mecca of diversity, city culture, and organized activism (and at its core, as a beacon for African American migration from the south in the first half of the twentieth century), would not abide by the Trump show.
It took one of America's most diverse cities to provide a reality check on this reality TV demagogue's presidential campaign.
Almost since Trump announced the Chicago rally a week ago, groups were mobilizing, including securing free tickets to get into the UIC Pavilion either to attend and protest, or to prevent Trump supporters from gaining access to the arena, which seats nearly 10,000.
On Monday, a group of Latino elected officials led by Democratic U.S. representative Luis Gutierrez, of Chicago, called on people to show up and express opposition to Trump's candidacy.
In addition, UIC faculty and staff signed off on a letter asking administrators to cancel the rally because it could turn violent. And more than 40,000 signatures were collected on a petition started by a student leader asking how security would be handled and who would pay for it.
Gutierrez had hoped that representatives from Chicago's Muslim communities, the LGBTQ communities, those who support women's rights and other minorities also would attend the outdoor protest.
In November, Chicago erupted in protest marches for weeks after the public release of a video that showed a white Chicago police officer shooting an African American teenager who was walking away. Hours before the footage was released, Officer Jason Van Dyke was charged with murder in the October 2014 death of Laquan McDonald, who was shot 16 times.
During the protests that followed, demonstrators shut down stores on North Michigan Avenue the day after Thanksgiving, one of the busiest holiday shopping days of the year.
On Friday, hours before the scheduled start of the Trump event, hundreds of young people, many of whom appeared to be students, filled sections toward the back of the arena.
How could Hillary Clinton even make such a wildly inaccurate statement about the AIDS crisis of early 1980s? (“Because of both President and Mrs. Reagan—in particular, Mrs. Reagan—we started a national conversation, when before nobody would talk about it.")
Here's how she could make that statement: For years now, mainstream Democrats have capitulated to the lazy hagiography and revisionist history about Ronald Reagan to the point that it's become delusional.
2. Meanwhile: It’s going to be a big week at city hall. The council is taking up a street vacation for hedge fund manager Chris Hansen that’s eventually necessary to build the SoDo arena; Hansen has entered into an agreement with the city and county, including $200 million in initial public funding, to build an arena in SoDo as long he buys an NBA and NHL team to play there.
Supporters of the arena and opponents are expected to pack a Tuesday hearing in front of the council’s transportation committee where they will take up the street vacation—essentially an agreement to turn over public right way, two blocks of Occidental, for the stadium footprint.
There will be claims and counterclaims about traffic and the maritime economy—the Port of Seattle doesn’t support building a third arena in SoDo, while the mayor and the previous city council do. (However, a letter signed by a batch of Seattle state legislators coming out against the deal is on the table too.)
Also on the docket this week: Another proposal that has already been vetted by the council’s transportation committee (and approved in a clumsy 4-2 vote), to let the Seattle Department of Transportation’s spend $1.4 million to buy Pronto, the local bike share nonprofit, goes to the full council for a vote this afternoon.
I’m also expecting to hear today whether or not mayor Ed Murray was able to make good on his promise to eject developer Triad from the deal to redevelop the vacant lot across Fourth Avenue from city hall, transferring the project to developer Touchstone. If those talks fell through, and Murray holds fast to his pledge, Triad is almost certainly going to sue. (After Triad made headlines when it tried to bully council candidate Jon Grant into dropping his lawsuit against Triad late last year, Murray said Triad wasn’t the type of business the city wanted to work with.)
3. And lastly, The Seattle Times reports on Erica C. Barnett’s reporting.
On her blog The C Is for Crank, Erica broke the news several weeks ago that the city was using closed door social media site NextDoor to facilitate public policy discussions about crime and homelessness.
Barnett’s reporting has forced the city to reevaluate whether NextDoor is an appropriate tool for engaging the public.