Last Week in Politics

Top 10 Stories: Matt Shea, Prostitution Stings, and Initiatives

Your weekly dose of top political stories.

By Anne Dennon November 6, 2018

1. State representative Matt Shea, the same elected official who called journalists "dirty, godless, hateful people," distributed a manifesto titled "Biblical Basis for War" that the Spokane sheriff referred to the FBI, The Spokesman-Review reported

The four-page, bullet-pointed list summarizes war theory in the Old Testament and includes criteria for what the enemies of "biblical law" must agree to—no abortions, same-sex marriage, communism, and other stipulations, or face death. 

2. As arrests from the Seattle Police Department's second prostitution sting move through the court system, critics question whether the strategy of only prosecuting those who buy the sex—not sex workers—is working, Crosscut reported. While the first sting ("Euro Spa") made 204 arrests of would-be clients, over half weren't charged and many more were dismissed. Some public defenders fear the current sting ("Barbie's Dollhouse") will end with the same ineffective outcome. 

3. Seattle council member Teresa Mosqueda proposed exempting menstrual hygiene products from sales tax, The Seattle Times reported. Mosqueda introduced the statement of legislative intent on Tuesday, saying the exemption would move toward greater tax equity for women, who make 75 percent of men's salaries in King County.

Mosqueda received support from the council, who will decide whether it's part of mayor Jenny Durkan's 2019 budget. If passed, the City Budget Office would be tasked with evaluating the feasibility of tax exemption under either city or state law. 

4. Durkan's budget proposes increasing Seattle Center parking rates, KIRO7 reportedIf that portion of the 2019 budget passes the council's November vote, daily rates in Seattle Center's three city-owned garages will go from $30 to $45, and monthly rates will go from $140 to $225. The rates haven't changed since 2014. 

5. The Community Police Commission (CPC) submitted its qualms with the proposed Seattle police contract to the District Court, Seattle Weekly reported. During a rowdy public meeting on October 25, CPC commissioners detailed deviations between the milestone police reform legislation passed in 2017 and the contract under negotiation, primarily the timeline and process of police misconduct investigations.

In the brief sent to the District Court, CPC suggested the contract be finalized—with the caveat that accountability portions of the contract language be immediately re-opened for negotiation. 

6. Soda corporations brought campaign contributions for Initiative 1634 to over $20 million, The Stranger reportedI-1634 seeks to prohibit any new taxes on beverages and certain grocery items. Only sugary beverages have been the subject of taxes in Seattle. Coca Cola, Pepsi, Dr. Pepper, and Red Bull have provided over 99 percent of the campaign's budget. 

7. The "No on 1631" campaign, combatting the carbon fee initiative, has raised even more money, but perhaps not as much support as they claim, KNKX reportedSome Latino small-business owners were surprised to find their names listed in a "No on 1631" bilingual ad. 

8. Hundreds of citizens commented on the environmental review of Puget Sound Energy's liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant during public meetings in Tacoma, The News Tribune reported

The plant will convert 250,000 gallons of natural gas to LNG a day. Critics of the review pointed to its outdated methods of measuring greenhouse gas effects and inaccurate or approximate math. The Puget Sound Clean Air Agency is expected to release the final environmental impact statement in February. 

9. Aging LGBTQ community members need resources and support that Seattle is not providing, Seattle Weekly reportedWhile Seattle, and Capitol Hill in particular, have long served as a safe place for queer identities, both cater increasingly to young and financially secure demographics.

LGBTQ elders—done with the bar scene, priced out of skyrocketing housing, and statistically more isolated from family support networks—are in dire need of senior services and housing.  

10. Washington Supreme Court ruled with a 5-4 majority that the state be held responsible for the safety of foster children. The decision affirmed an earlier one from the Court of Appeals, both siding with five women who suffered over 10 years of abuse from a Pierce County couple who fostered and later adopted them.

Now the women, and the thousands of children currently in Washington's foster care system, are in a legal position to hold the Department of Social and Health Services accountable for their experiences.  

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