News

News Shorts

News, Gossip, and Your Internet Usage

News Shorts

Dominic Holden

METAPHOR For an increasingly crowded city, spotted on May 23.

SEATTLE HAS STUDIED YOUR ONLINE BEHAVIOR And finds it very interesting! Having surveyed more than 2,500 residents by phone, by e-mail, and in person, on May 23 the City of Seattle released its quadrennial report on internet usage and access. Here's what it discovered: The digital divide is alive and well. The whiter and wealthier you are in Seattle, the more internet access and faster access you are likely to have. One of the greatest barriers to getting online is the cost. And with more people ditching TVs to watch video online, there's strong demand across race and class lines for speedier internet connectivity, the survey concluded. All of which gets us to a huge question: Mayor Ed Murray says he's open to pursuing a city-run municipal broadband strategy that breaks up the stranglehold of Comcast and CenturyLink on internet service, so what's he waiting for? ANSEL HERZ

ISRAEL DIVESTMENT EFFORT FAILS After a three-hour-plus debate on the evening of May 20, a resolution to ask the University of Washington to divest from Israel's occupation of the Palestinian territories was overwhelmingly voted down by the student senate. The vote tally: 59 to 8, with 11 abstentions. The resolution would have asked the UW to divest from specific US companies that some feel are involved in the occupation. A pro-Israel lobbying group called Stand with Us declared the vote a victory against "bigotry" (even though the resolution discussed only Israel's human-rights record), while Palestinian student activists called the vote a temporary setback and said they'll try again next year. Days later, a similar divestment effort succeeded at DePaul University in Chicago, where the question was put to the entire student body in a referendum. ANSEL HERZ

LAWYER SENTENCED FOR RAPES Former city prosecutor and downtown private attorney Danford Grant was sentenced to 25 years in prison on May 19 for raping five women—some at knifepoint—at massage parlors in Shoreline, Greenwood, and Bellevue. Grant pled guilty, but he and his defense lawyers initially denied the allegations and claimed the sex was consensual. Representatives of the survivors—all Asian women—read statements in court, and one of them said a defense lawyer's contention that this was consensual sex made her feel "sick to my stomach." (She said the same about online comments about the victims being "just Asian prostitutes.") Another survivor said, "Just because I'm an Asian woman who works as a massage therapist doesn't mean I offer sexual services. I am proud of my dignity." ANSEL HERZ

ALL GROWED UP NOW? US Census data released recently shows that Seattle is now the fastest-growing large city in the country. As the Seattle Times reported on May 22, the city grew by 2.8 percent from 2012 to 2013, thereby bringing the population to 652,000 and making Seattle officially larger than Boston. Nevertheless, the city still lacks any real plan to build a citywide light-rail system necessary for a major metropolis. Instead, it's facing gutted bus service (thanks to rural voters) and backward local "neighborhood activists" who have a cultural phobia of bicycles—with many of them believing in a "war on cars" bogeyman. See below for a recent visual metaphor for all of this change, produced on May 23 when a freight truck hit a box truck parked on East Pike Street, pushing the box truck several feet onto the curb and, in the process, crushing this sweet fixie bicycle underneath it. Nobody was hurt. DOMINIC HOLDEN

PARENTS LOVE PRESCHOOL And why not? A whopping 96 percent of Seattle parents, according to a multilingual survey commissioned by the Seattle City Council, want citizens to have access to high-quality preschool regardless of income. Ninety percent believe the government should help subsidize such access. Council President Tim Burgess says the findings "directly align with the outcomes" that his $58 million Seattle Preschool pilot program for low-income families aims to deliver, starting next year. ANSEL HERZ

MORE FORECLOSURES MEANS MORE SUICIDES A new study by researchers from the University of Wisconsin–Madison and Purdue University confirms that an increase in foreclosures has driven up the suicide rate during the recession. In Seattle, we're approaching the first anniversary of the death of Phyllis Walsh, a beloved South Seattle resident who fatally shot herself on her front lawn on July 30, 2013. In her suicide note, she bemoaned the "foreclosure vultures" who'd evicted her while she thought she was refinancing her mortgage. The Seattle City Council has talked during the past year about taking action to stop unethical or illegal foreclosures—but so far, it's done nothing. ANSEL HERZ recommended

 

Comments (0)

Add a comment