City of Seattle
This week saw the end of filing week. In a month that has seen upheaval and an ever-growing list of mayoral candidates from a spoken word poet to a civic activist to a former attorney general, perhaps one of the biggest stories this week is who isn't running. Rumored to be considering a bid for the mayoral office, council member Lorena González officially announced she would not be running for mayor. Instead, González filed for her position 9 seat on Tuesday, stating she is "uniquely positioned to continue protecting our immigrant and refugee families and championing paid family and medical leave, police reform, and housing affordability.”
She's also the champion of an overhauled police accountability legislation that received a 5-0 vote this week from the city council's public safety committee. While many are praising the legislation as a step in the right direction, both the Community Police Commission and city attorney Pete Holmes wanted more changes that ultimately didn't get included.
With Seattle mayor Ed Murray out of the mayor's race—he had five council members' endorsements—and over a dozen candidates, council members have so far been divided on endorsements. Kshama Sawant endorsed Nikkita Oliver, Rob Johnson endorsed Jessyn Farrell, and Sally Bagshaw supports Jenny Durkan.
Sawant's party, Socialist Alternative, also endorsed Jon Grant, running for Position 8. Nicole Grant, no relation, slammed their endorsement in a statement on Wednesday. (She supports Teresa Mosqueda.) Grant, the Martin Luther King County Labor Council’s executive secretary-treasurer said, “Teresa is a working class, power-femme positioned to win the race, but Socialist Alternative would rather turn their back on the very unions and workers who have helped Sawant get elected twice because suddenly Jon Grant says he’s a socialist. Tragedy."
In other Murray news, the Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission said a legal-defense fund for Murray would break its ethics rules on Tuesday. The fund was intended to defray any legal expenses as Murray battles charges of sexual assault, with promised ethical safeguards. Commission chair Eileen Norton didn't buy it. “There’s no manner in which that fits into the state’s and the city’s attitudes towards transparency and accountability and disclosure.”
Seattle attorney, Lincoln Beauregard, representing Murray's accuser, has petitioned a judge to have the trial moved to Pierce County, The Seattle Times reported. He said Murray's legal team has tainted the jury pool and "the possibility of hosting a fair trial in King County" by spreading rumors that their law firm is anti-gay.
Governor Jay Inslee signed a law banning the use of electronic devices while driving or at a traffic light on Tuesday. While it's been illegal to hold a phone to your ear or text in Washington, the expanded measure will bar everything except "the minimal use of a finger” to activate or deactivate a device function. Originally scheduled to take affect in 2019, Inslee cited the danger of driving distracted. The law will now roll-out in mid-July.
A Senate committee will look into whether or not Sound Transit misled the public in their approach to passing Sound Transit 3 plan last November. Uproar has surrounded the 0.8 percent tax increase and sticker shock for Seattle residents, leading some legislators, mainly Republicans, to question the bill. Two Senators, Steve O'Ban (R-University Place) and Dino Rossi (R-Sammamish) to the Law and Justice Committee requesting hearings on the topic. Senator Mike Padden (R-Spokane Valley) agreed to hold a work session on the topic. No date has been set.
The ever-popular Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau met with Inslee on Thursday. Trudeau, who spoke at Microsoft's CEO Summit on Wednesday, and Inslee covered a wide-range of topics from business relationships to action against climate change, The Seattle Times reported.
Seattle Versus Trump
The Washington Post broke a story that U.S. president Donald Trump revealed classified information to Russian delegates. While Politico reported Republican talks behind closed doors of impeachment, our own Washington delegation have been more cautious. With more of a wait-and-see mentality, the Democrats' rhetoric seems to be focused on ensuring a fair and detailed investigation into possible Russian ties.
Following the appointment of Robert Mueller as special counsel who's investigating Trump-Russia ties, senator Patty Murray said in a released a statement Wednesday, "The appointment of Robert Mueller to serve as special counsel is a positive step toward holding President Trump accountable and making sure the American people are getting the answers and information they deserve."
A federal judge on Wednesday also temporarily blocked the federal administration's "cease and desist" order to immigration lawyers. González said she's asked Holmes to file an amicus brief in support of the nonprofit.
"Today’s ruling demonstrates that lawyers and advocates defending immigrants and refugees will not back down in the face of the federal government’s fear-mongering," González said in a released statement Wednesday.
At the end of this week, Trump heads to his first foreign trip with five stops in the Middle East and Europe.