Lester Black

Rich chamber donors dish: The political arm of the Chamber of Commerce is raising hundreds of thousands of dollars to spend on flipping the city council, but what the hell do these hella rich fucks folks donating to the PAC want? The Chamber of Commerce says they want “transparent, accountable” politicians, but I guess that transparency doesn’t include the PAC's donors. My colleague Nathalie Graham reached out to every donor that has given more than $1,000 to the PAC and most didn’t respond. Those who did respond gave Graham some perspective on why they donated, and why they might not be happy with Amazon getting involved. Also, if you want to know which candidates are lining up to suck from Bezos’s teet of cash, read our earlier story, As Amazon Opens the Cash Spigot to Flip the Council, These Candidates Say, "Yes, Daddy!".

Tim Burgess forms CASE-light:Less than a month after news broke that the Chamber of Commerce had raised nearly $800,000 to try to flip the liberal city council this year, a new big-money PAC was announced. This time it’s former interim Mayor Tim Burgess and businesswoman Taylor Hoang, who told reporters Wednesday that their PAC, called People for Seattle, had raised over $120,000 to elect candidates that will… wait for it… “restore good governance, accountability and transparency to the City Council.” Sound familiar? That’s because those are the same platitudes that the Chamber’s PAC is running with. Crosscut reported that this new PAC also shares many of the donors with last year’s effort to repeal the head tax (another Chamber pet project). But Hoang and Burgess are adamant that they are different than the Chamber, claiming that because they are not taking donations from big businesses they aren’t just another big business lobbying group. The PAC hasn’t filed any donations with the state as of today, but some early donors already identified include ultra-wealthy locals like Tom Alberg, who was an early investor in Amazon, and who is worth at least tens of millions of dollars. See, this isn't a PAC for the trillion-dollar corporation named Amazon, it's a PAC for the investors in that trillion dollar corporation. Big difference, people!

Will Seattle lose black representation on its city council? I published a post today looking at one interesting aspect of the coming elections—it may end the council’s 52-year-run of including at least one black person. Council Member Bruce Harrell (who did not return my requests for comment) is the only sitting black person on the council, and he is not running for reelection. There are five black candidates running this year but, in a crowded race of 56 candidates, there’s no guarantee that there will be an African American on the next council. That possibility has the local black community worried.

Think Seattle isn’t a segregated city? Just look at our council districts: I grew up in the Seattle area and I remember learning about segregation in public school as if it was something that happened elsewhere. It was a thing that people did in Nashville and New York, not progressive Seattle. This is of course not true, Seattle has a long and ugly history of racist housing covenants that banned people of color or Jews from living in certain neighborhoods and stopped black people from getting mortgages outside of certain, very limited areas. It was even literally illegal for black people to live in Washington back when it was part of the Oregon Territory. That’s all to say we have a long history of racial segregation and we are still feel its effects. Our zoning laws exacerbate it, and our city council districts show that segregation still dominates Seattle.

Six of the seven city council districts contain between 68 and 84% white people. Where are all the non-white people? In that seventh district, South Seattle’s District 3, which contains only 29.8% white people, according to the city's 2014 estimates.

The Seattle Times Editorial Board is impersonating Mitch McConnell: The editorial page of our city's largest newspaper is calling on the city council to hold off on passing a law that would allow backyard cottages until after a new city council is elected. Sound familiar? Senate Majority Leader and apparent turtle-demon Mitch McConnell pulled the same shit when he blocked President Barack Obama from appointing a Supreme Court justice. It was fucked up when McConnell did it, and it’s no different now that the Times Editorial Board is trying to pull the same shit. Elected leaders have a right to vote on legislation even if it means allowing more affordable housing next door to rich fucks folks. It's literally the fucking law.

The children—and by that I mean Democrats in King County under 36-years-old—are our future: The King County Young Democrats, a group of politically active young people, will not be voting for District 2's Ari Hoffman. In fact, they don't want anyone voting for Hoffman. KCYD released its endorsements for the local elections. Hoffman's is the sole name listed under the category "Do Not Vote for Under Any Circumstances." It's the first time anyone has ever received that distinction in the club's history. Derek Richards, KCYD chair, said that members didn't appreciate Hoffman's multiple NRATV appearances, or when he misleadingly claimed a homeless person was beheading people

Shaun Scott reveals his birth chart: I asked resident Stranger astrologist and music calendar editor Kim Selling to analyze these findings. Scorpios, according to Selling, are "dark and sexy and don't trust a fucking soul." Leos typically are "hyper attention-seekers but also have their own shit on lock." While Tauruses tend to be "stubborn buttheads who crave comfort and stability and tend to be very supportive friends."

Even SPD is annoyed with Ari Hoffman: Are you tired of talking about Ari Hoffman? Me too! But this one is weird. Local music producer and Twitter personality @spekulation got a hold of Hoffman’s emails to the Seattle Police Department and, wow, this guy. It looks like Hoffman won’t stop emailing the department reporting that his campaign signs keep getting stolen, and SPD even graciously stopped by his house to assure Hoffman and his wife that they were safe. It's surprising to see that a candidate who is running for office under the pretense that our cops are short-staffed and overburdened is also making the cops investigate his campaign signs' disappearance.

Do District 2 and 3 candidates want more cops on the streets? There’s been a rash of gun violence this spring (like there is essentially every spring), and one of the responses from Mayor Jenny Durkan’s administration is to send more cops to roam the streets in what are called “emphasis patrols.” Do the candidates in the two districts where these shootings have occurred want these patrols? I asked every candidate and found out that some candidates are falling on both sides of the issue.

Today in Seattle history: What happened on May 31 in year's past? Chief Seattle's daughter died on May 31, 1896, Fremont's first high bridge, the Stone Way Bridge, opened on May 31, 1911, and half of the town of Cedar Falls and the surrounding eastern edge of King County burned in a forest fire in 1922.