News Roundup

3 Charged with May Day Crimes, New Candidates Join (and Drop) Races, Jon Grant Wants Mayor to Resign

A wrap-up on May Day and more election news.

By Hayat Norimine May 2, 2017

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1. City Attorney's Office Files Charges 

It was a safe and relatively quiet May Day in Seattle with several thousand marching downtown for immigrants and workers' rights (as well as a good group of Trump supporters who gathered at Westlake Park). The city attorney's office did file criminal charges against three men; two others arrested by Seattle police Monday night were released on personal recognizance, according to the office, which will lead to review of the incident reports later. The charges filed so far were:

Tavner Castle: assault.

Nathan Davis: resisting arrest and possession of an unlawful weapon.

Joseph Harrison: obstructing a police officer. 

2. Safe Seattle Activists Join Races

Harley Lever and David Preston, activists for the Safe Seattle website and Facebook group, both filed as independent candidates running for office on Monday. Lever is running for mayor, and Preston—who is also Lever's campaign manager—is running for City Council position 9 against incumbent Lorena González. 

In January Lever, 44, and Preston, 56, had posted on Safe Seattle's Facebook group—known to be against safe injection sites and encampment sites—that they're looking for candidates to run for mayor and the two council positions this year. Preston said after they couldn't recruit anyone to run, they instead decided to become candidates. But he said they don't want to be known as "the Safe Seattle candidates." (Preston also writes The Blog Quixotic.) 

Lever said he leans more to the left than a lot of the regular visitors on Safe Seattle, but that they "fostered a community" where both right- and left-leaning users can voice concerns. Lever said he opposes the supervised safe injection sites because they don't meet the scale of the opioid problem; he says he wants first responders and nurses to all be trained and able to administer Naloxone and wants more beds for detox and rehab centers. Preston said he personally can support supervised safe injection sites if they had "wraparound services" to accompany them but can't support the sites as the city proposed them. 

Lever and Preston oppose any new taxes, saying the city hasn't proposed what it would do with the new money. "Seattle has become notorious for wasteful spending," Lever said, and has proposed "a tax-only policy devoid of strategy." On affordable housing, Lever said he wants more rapid rehousing and a landlord engagement system. Preston said he's unsure about upzones and density and would consult land-use experts on it. Preston won't be participating in democracy vouchers, which he says are unconstitutional.

3. To Run or Not to Run

Amazon employee Adam Star, a Seattle University School of Law graduate, filed to run for mayor April 25, then oddly dropped out of the race less than a week later.

Star told PubliCola Tuesday that there was no candidate he really believed in and said he had an "inspired moment" to join the race. He backtracked a few days later—in part, he said, because he found out about another candidate he could get behind who may file soon. (He wouldn't give any specifics as to whom.)

"That was reassuring to me," Star said. "I kind of sat down and I said, 'Now is not the time. I have a lot going on.'" He can learn this year to come back and consider running again at a later time with a solid platform. 

Star says he's a centrist and a pragmatist, and doesn't "want us to become San Francisco" where there's animosity between city residents and big tech companies like Amazon. 

4. Pete Holmes Says He's Hurt

City attorney Pete Holmes in a PubliCola interview Friday responded Public Defender Association director Lisa Daugaard's endorsement of Scott Lindsay, who announced last week he's challenging Holmes for his seat this year. "That's kind of personal, and it hurts," Holmes said, and said it reflected a difference of opinion on police reform.

"There was a fundamental disagreement there that I think would've seriously compromised our federal reform efforts. ... It is hurtful, frankly, that Lisa would take this tact." 

Holmes said he believed her endorsement of Lindsay this year had to do with Holmes's refusal to appeal U.S. District Judge James Robart's decision to side with the federal monitor's recommendations on police reform last year. Daugaard and Reverend Harriett Walden, both cochairs of the Community Police Commission who endorsed Lindsay this year, wrote a letter in August asking for the CPC to have political and budgetary independence, become a permanent body, and have civilian oversight entities be involved in police unions' bargaining process. (Those discussions are still taking place in the council committee and could be implemented.) Holmes said the appeal would've been a "slap in the face of the federal monitor." Daugaard didn't immediately respond to calls or email Tuesday. 

Daugaard has endorsed Holmes for his last two bids for city attorney and this year sent a statement endorsing Lindsay, Murray's public safety advisor. 

“We can do better, but to get there, we need a partner in the city attorney's office who will do everything possible to show that our city can be healthy, vibrant and safe through use of public health and housing strategies rather than overincarceration," she said in her statement on Thursday. "I'm convinced that Scott Lindsay is committed to those outcomes and will use the city attorney's office to achieve them.” 

5. Jon Grant Says Mayor Should Step Down

City council candidate Jon Grant, running for Tim Burgess's open position 8 seat, on Tuesday morning released a statement calling on mayor Ed Murray to step down and said his actions attacking the character of alleged survivors "only serve to perpetuate rape culture." 

"For weeks many of us have assumed the mayor would step down and address the accusations as a private citizen. Instead he has dug in his heels and publicly called into question the character of his accusers, pointing to their criminal history and 'troubled' past as proof of their untrustworthiness," his statement said. (The full statement can be found here.)

Meanwhile Murray's campaign said he continues to raise money and Tuesday morning reported raising nearly $409,000; that's about $30,500 raised in April from, the campaign says, more than 200 individual donors. Nikkita Oliver has raised $28,000, Cary Moon has raised $10,000, and Casey Carlisle $1,500, according to the PDC.

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