News Roundup

The Week in Review

Today's Seattle protests, a court ruling in Valentine's Day spirit, and breakups at the White House.

By Rianna Hidalgo February 17, 2017

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Image: Alison Klein

Protests of the week. I mean, day. 

This week offers a lesson in why it takes more than just a title to be a sanctuary city. Today at 9am, protesters are gathering at the Seattle federal courthouse to demand the release of Daniel Ramirez Medina, a 23-year-old father and DACA recipient who was detained by ICE agents last Friday near Seattle. His story is garnering national attention; he is believed to be the first Dreamer detained under the Trump administration amid a wave of ICE raids. He has no criminal history, came to the U.S. as a seven-year-old, and has received work permits twice through DACA. Last night, the news broke that Ramirez Medina’s lawyers are saying they believe government officials doctored his request to be removed from the Northwest Detention Center’s gang unit (feds say he is a "self-admitted gang member," which he denies). Check out The Stranger's consistent coverage, and look at the document yourself. It's not pretty. 

Today's action trails yesterday's Day Without Immigrants protest, which shuttered businesses and restaurants across the country. Seattle didn't have an official protest, but some locals participated, including one of my favorites, Tacos Chukís: 

There's brings a "Solidarity for Justice in Education" strike at 11am in Volunteer Park, and a Unity protest in solidarity with the nationwide general strike for democracy at 9am at Pike Place Market. 

In the city chambers 

On Monday, the Seattle City Council added more paid parental leave for city employees—12 weeks total, and council member Lorena González told Publicola at Seattle Met that she's now turning her attention to the rest of Seattle. At the state level, two paid family leave bills have been proposed in the legislature on opposite sides of the aisle. Read about their differences (there's a lot). 

For those who bike to work each morning—and are tired of dodging cars and railroad tracks, SDOT has chosen to build Burke-Gilman Trail's missing link on Shilshole Avenue in Ballard, though the agency hasn't settled on a final route. 

One more transportation tidbit on carpool lanes and thinking before you speak. "Class warfare," fear of spousal death, a comparison to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, and, apparently, crying happened at a meeting in which the Mercer Island City Council decided to sue Sound Transit to ensure islanders can continue to drive solo in I-90 HOV lanes as construction of the new East Link light rail begins. 

Mayor Murray announced he will deliver his annual state of the city address at Idriss Mosque in North Seattle at 9:30am on February 21, to stand in solidarity with the Muslim community against "state-sanctioned discrimination by the Trump administration." I visited the mosque last week. They have an open-door policy, they are amazing, and they want you to visit too.

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Mayor Murray's 2015 Seattle State of the City address at Seattle City Council chambers.

Rumblings in the court 

If you want to buy flowers for your wedding without being stymied by blatant discrimination based on your gayness, carry on. The Washington State Supreme Court unanimously upheld a ruling Thursday that a Richland florist violated the state’s antidiscrimination laws when she refused to furnish flowers for a gay couple’s wedding. She argued it went against her religious beliefs. The prevailing attorneys (and the judges) say, new decade, old story. The ruling reads that the case is “no more about access to flowers than civil rights cases in the 1960s were about access to sandwiches.”

A federal judge ruled on Tuesday that Seattle and transportation officials can continue seizing people’s belongings during homeless camp sweeps, for now. The ACLU had requested a temporary halt to such practices while a lawsuit moves forward, but the judge declined. Last month, the mayor’s office released a draft of “more compassionate protocols” regarding encampment sweeps, which are now up for public comment. Doubtful those words are much solace to those who say they’ve had family photos taken by the city.  

White House breakups and shakeups

It was a short-term relationship: 24 days. Trump’s national security adviser, Michael Flynn, resigned Monday night after reports he misled officials about contact with Russia. When CNN’s Chris Cuomo asked congressman Chris Collins (R-New York) why Republican Party members were staying so quiet about it, Collins said, “It’s Valentine’s Day, and I guess they’re having breakfast with their wives.” Two days later, fast-food executive Andy Puzder withdrew his controversial nomination for secretary of labor when Republicans senators began to turn on him, putting his confirmation in jeopardy. 

Travel ban update: It appears Trump will issue a new version of his executive order that halted the U.S. refugee program and barred travel from seven Muslim-majority countries, rather than continue litigation. That’s not even mildly comforting, but it certainly is a departure from the ol’ “SEE YOU IN COURT" tweet.

Oh, and Trump gave another really weird press conference

Updated February 28, 2017. A previous correction, on February 24, changed the spelling of Idriss to Idris. Today's correction restores the spelling of the mosque’s name as originally published. While some materials spell it with one S, Idriss conforms to the spelling used by the family that helped establish the mosque and matches the dedication plaque on the building.

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