The Seattle Police Officers Guild Says It's Time to Change: "Times have changed and we must also change to adapt to societal expectations," the police union says on its Facebook page, in a post urging officers to be careful with what they say on social media. "We are held to a higher standard," the Guild says, "by those who entrust us with their safety and who call us when they need help in their darkest hour. The more apolitical we can be, the smoother the path forward shall be." Is this an indication that union prez Ron Smith is attempting to steer the union in a new direction? Last week, Smith told me frankly that Officer Ronald Hylton, a member of the union's leadership, had "lost control" while running after a protester on Martin Luther King Day, in light of new video evidence. Smith also retracted the union's criticism of the judge who'd released a protester accused of assaulting Hylton. Of course, the real test of the union's commitment to reforming the department is what emerges this year from the city's contract negotiation process.
Student Accused of Stealing $30,000 From UW: Police say 21-year-old Said Ahmed, refunded a string of small amounts to his Husky Card, adding up to a huge sum over time. As an employee, he could make purchases and issue refunds for the university using the card. "The Husky Card can also be used," KIRO reports, "at the University Bookstore off campus, where police said Ahmed would buy electronics and resell them online."
We're Number Four! We're Number Four! According to a study of census data by Governing magazine, Seattle is the fourth-most gentrifying city in the country. Oddly, its analysis of Seattle considers much of the Central District "ineligible" to be gentrified.
Drone Crimes Get More Time Under Proposal: Washington State Senator Pam Roach wants to add "nefarious drone enterprise" to the state's criminal law, KOMO reports. Her bill would create a one-year prison penalty for crimes committed with the assistance of drones.
Environmentalists Challenge Loopholes in Oil Export Ban: "What’s happening is that the U.S. federal government," Sightline Institute Policy Director Eric de Place tells KPLU, "appears to be sort of changing the way that they define crude oil or changing what they mean when they say refining. So that you can now apparently export certain kinds of lighter crude oil or do very minimal processing of it, and then it’s eligible for export." The groups want more clarity about how these definitions are changing, in light of industry plans to use the Northwest as a gateway for exporting oil to Asia.
Everything You Wanted to Know About the Logs and Dirt Being Dug Up Near Bertha: Seattlish has some well-informed readers who have you covered.
Going to War With ISIS: After Kayla Mueller became the latest American hostage to die in Syria—ISIS claimed she was killed in a Jordanian airstrike on its compound, the US military said it's unclear how she died—President Obama has asked Congress to authorize waging war on the group. Obama said the authorization would "not authorize long-term, large-scale ground combat operations" as in Iraq and Afghanistan, but would permit ground operations in limited circumstances. "The approach offers what the White House hopes is a middle way on Capitol Hill," according to the New York Times, "for those on the right and left who remain deeply skeptical of its plans to thwart extremist groups."
Another Police Shooting and An Indictment: In Tri-Cities, police killed a man who'd thrown rocks in a parking lot, according to witnesses, but was running away at the time they shot him. Meanwhile in New York City, a grand jury indicted police officer Peter Liang for the killing of Akai Gurley, an unarmed-African-American who was walking through a stairwell in Brooklyn. Gurley was 28.
What's $16in16? These men—former Stranger writer David Goldstein, political organizer Zach Silk, traitor-to-the-plutocracy Nick Hanauer, and SEIU's David Rolf—appear to be hatching some kind of sinister plot.
Today in Cute Animals/Climate Change: The NOAA says otters will save us all from global warming with their cuteness, or something. I'm confused as to why this one is carrying around two spiky sea urchins. Looks uncomfortable.
You already know that sea otters are cute, but #DidYouKnow they help tackle #climatechange?http://t.co/UTeNzwOpUj pic.twitter.com/Hc2xOM5U9X
— NOAA Climate.gov (@NOAAClimate) February 6, 2015