News Roundup

Top Stories: A New Murray Lawsuit, Sawant's Defamation Cases, Anti-Immigrant Fliers in Burien

Your weekly dose of top political stories.

By Araz Hachadourian October 27, 2017

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1. Delvonn Heckard, one of former mayor Ed Murray’s accusers, filed a new lawsuit Monday against Murray, and this time it includes the city. Heckard is accusing the city of negligence and defamation, pointing to public statements from city council members Bruce Harrell and Sally Bagshaw in support of Murray after the initial allegations were made. 

2. Anti-immigration group Respect Washington released a flier in Burien this week with the addresses of alleged undocumented immigrants and descriptions of crimes they committed. Crosscut reported that Respect Washington claims each name and allegation corresponds to a news report or public record. The list was attached to a list of endorsements for the upcoming city council elections where Respect Washington had tried (but did not succeed) to place a measure that would let voters roll back Burien's sanctuary status.

3. Seattle City Council president Bruce Harrell decided on Thursday the city will defend council member Kshama Sawant in a defamation lawsuit filed by two police officers. The cops—who fatally shot Che Taylor, a 46-year-old black man, last year—say Sawant defamed them when she referred to the shooting as a "brutal murder." “While many may not agree with what Sawant has to say, I believe we must defend her right to say it," Harrell wrote of his decision in a Seattle Times op-ed. "That is the cost of free speech.”

4. Seattle City Council discussed the potential head tax this week with many members voicing concerns about the proposed legislation. The bill, co-sponsoed by Mike O’Brien, Kirsten Harris-Talley, and Kshama Sawant, would add a tax of about $100 a year per full-time employee to businesses with revenues above $5 million. The money from the taxes would go toward the homelessness.

5. Seattle City Council Position 8 candidate Teresa Mosqueda has garnered about 500 signatures on an open letter to the Seattle Times editorial board in response to its endorsement of her opponent, Jon Grant. In the letter, Mosqueda says the board citing Grant's experience as a reason for its endorsement is an example of how the professional experiences of women are often minimized. The centrist Times has been criticized for uncharacteristically endorsing a democratic socialist candidate, Grant, over a woman of color. In response, Grant began circulating his own letter that so far has 16 signatures of community organizers with a list of his accomplishments. 

6. Seattle City Council discussed the potential head tax this week when the majority of members came out against the proposed legislation. The bill, co-sponsoed by Mike O’Brien, Kirsten Harris-Talley, and Kshama Sawant, would add a tax of about $100 a year per employee to businesses with revenues above $5 million. The money from the taxes would go toward housing and homeless services.

7. Mayoral candidates Jenny Durkan and Cary Moon appeared on a televised debate Sunday, when both candidates said they didn't support the head tax. Durkan had notably more air time from her comebacks. While Moon had a more specific answer on addressing middle-income housing, Durkan had cost estimates for her proposals and called Moon "irresponsible" for not having plans to pay for her ideas. 

8. Durkan's campaign also filed a complaint against Moon Wednesday claiming she has amassed debt in order to appear as though she’s raised money. The Seattle Times reported the complaint alleges that a mailer campaign on Moon’s behalf could not have been paid for by the campaign and amounts to an “illegal loan.”

9. Republican state Senate candidate Jinyuong Lee Englund for the 45th District seat spoke at a recent debate in Redmond about Seattle’s “extremism.” Campaign ads supporting Englund attempt to tie Manka Dhingra to Seattle, while the Democratic Party is trying to tie Englund to President Donald Trump. The parties have both poured a record-breaking amount of money into their candidates, in a race that will determine party control in the state Legislature.

10. An aide of former mayor Ed Murray asked the Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission to restrict political consultants’ ability to lobby in the citySenior policy advisor David Mendoza says he's "seen this access and influence alter or successfully block legislation," referring to Murray's campaign consultant, Sandeep Kaushik, who lobbied for corporations Comcast, Airbnb, and Lyft this year while working with Murray. Kaushik, who's now working for Durkan, said Mendoza's letter was a late election ploy by someone heavily involved in Moon's campaign. 

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