News Shorts

BLACK-MARKET SHRIMP NOW HARDER TO COME BY A three-month police operation called "Rock and Hock" in the center of Little Saigon (around 12th Avenue and South Jackson Street) ended with the arrests of 25 people early on March 27, according to the SPD Blotter. The operation exposed an underground network of criminal activity allegedly involving drugs, stolen smartphones and iPads, and large amounts of shrimp and rice that were sold out of vans in alleys, police say. CHARLES MUDEDE

WHAT FORECLOSURE CRISIS? The Seattle City Council's approach to stopping illegal or unethical home foreclosures by banks continues to be a big fat can of nothing. A task force's preliminary report to the council last week downplayed the issue, citing a rebounding housing market and data from RealtyTrac that shows 1.5 percent of Seattle homes are currently in foreclosure (about 2,000 homes). One-fifth of all Seattle residents owe more than their homes are worth on their mortgages, according to real-estate firm Zillow, so housing activists are calling for legislation that would reduce the principal on thousands of mortgages. Instead, the report makes weak recommendations, suggesting that existing services for distressed homeowners work more closely together. "But outreach can't solve the problem. The banks are violating the law all the time," warns Northwest Justice Project attorney Lili Sotelo. The report also ruled out using the power of eminent domain to help homeowners, as did Mayor Ed Murray in a dinner gathering with mortgage bankers on March 18 at the posh Broadmoor Golf Club. Josh Farris, from Standing Against Foreclosure & Eviction, has all but given up on the mayor and council: "They're just totally useless, man." ANSEL HERZ

ARMY VET PUT IN SOLITARY CONFINEMENT "I'm doing this for my kids," says Hassall Moses, a Fort Lewis army veteran who's been locked up at a privately run immigrant detention center in Tacoma for nearly two years. Amidst an ongoing hunger strike at the facility, Moses—who served time in a county jail for a misdemeanor offense and was later picked up by immigration agents—typed up a letter calling for a work stoppage to protest poor conditions. But Northwest Detention Center authorities charged him with "misusing machinery," he says, and placed him in solitary confinement. Representative Adam Smith (D-9) tells The Stranger he was "shocked" by a recent visit to the center and plans to introduce legislation reforming immigrant detention practices as soon as possible. ANSEL HERZ

DOING RIGHT BY IMMIGRANTS Mayor Ed Murray is doubling the size of the Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs, hiring two new full-time employees for the historically understaffed and underfunded bureau. This is a great move, given that one in five Seattle residents is foreign-born. Among its projects, the office will develop pilot programs like the Refugee Women's Institute, the brainchild of brilliant policy analyst Sahar Fathi, who says it's "specifically aimed at building relationships between refugee women and the police." ANNA MINARD recommended


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