King County Executive Wants a Six-Year, $65 Million Levy for Early Health, Walkable Communities: The initiative is intended to combat some of the disparate health and criminal-justice outcomes faced by low-income communities. "The goal of Best Starts For Kids is to sever the link between income and outcomes—to create a King County where the circumstance of one's birth no longer defines the course of one's life," Dow Constantine said in his "State of the County" address on Monday. For the owner of a $400,000 home, the initiative would cost $56 a year, the Seattle Times reports.
City Council Chose Former Port of Seattle Chief Administrator John Okamoto as Sally Clark's Replacement Yesterday: And it shined a spotlight on the division between the centrist and activist wings of the council. Read Heidi's analysis here.
Today's the Last Day to Vote in the April 28 Special Election: You didn't realize there was a special election? It's a single issue, and an important one: a property tax of a whole $0.07 per $1,000 of assessed valuation in order to fund a better radio communication system for first responders. What if something goes wrong with an oil train running beneath the city? Or an earthquake? Crappy communications equipment out, better radios in. The Stranger Election Control Board says Yes on Prop 1.
Whidbey Islanders Request Injunction Against Navy for Growler Jet Noise: The motion is part of a lawsuit that alleges the navy's electronic-warfare jets cause "depression, anxiety, insomnia, elevated blood pressure, anger, and hearing loss" in people who live nearby. Whidbey residents have long objected to the Growler jets, which some say fly over their homes for hours. The naval base at the north end of the island, as the Seattle Times notes, is also a major player in the local economy, which exacerbates tensions among different groups living there.
ACLU Says Don't Raise Traffic Ticket Fines: Washington's currently considering a proposal to raise the cost of traffic tickets in order to fund court services. But this would backfire, according to the ACLU. It would have an outsize impact on poor people, as well as people of color, the organization says. In 2000, the Seattle Times reported that black drivers in the city were twice as likely to get ticketed as whites. More recent statistics also show that, nationally, black drivers are three times more likely to be searched during a traffic stop than whites.
Read KING 5's Story About Laura Gholston: Gholston is a 48-year-old developmentally disabled adult, found horribly abused and neglected after seven years in the care of her state-certified (and state-paid) caregiver. Gholston filed a case against the state Department of Health and Human Services through her current caregiver, alleging that the state failed to protect her. Gholston's attorney also said that DSHS had identified her caregiver as her possible rapist, which the state denies. DSHS is settling the lawsuit, according to a statement given to KING 5.
A High School Sophomore Shot a Gun on a Washington Campus Yesterday: But no one was hurt. A social studies teacher "tackled" the North Thurston High School student before he was arrested.
Metro Transit Sergeant Fired For Racist, Antigay Texting: Sergeant Dewey Burns called one Latino sergeant "the Mexi," according to the internal investigation.
The Supreme Court Is Hearing the Challenge to State Gay Marriage Bans Today: Marriage is no longer defined as a merely heterosexual thing, according to the landmark Supreme Court decision (United States v. Windsor) on the federal Defense of Marriage Act. "And if states have chosen to give same-sex couples the same dignity and protection of marriage that they give to opposite-sex couples, [Justice Anthony Kennedy] reasoned, the federal government can’t say that it won’t recognize those marriages just because it doesn’t approve of them," SCOTUS Blog explains. But what about states' gay marriage bans? Are those constitutional? And can a state that defines marriage as a merely heterosexual thing choose not to recognize gay marriages? Watch Justice Kennedy, the "first gay justice," closely on this one. (And read the excellent SCOTUS Blog breakdown of the legal arguments here and here.)
Baltimore Schools Are Closed and the National Guard Has Been Called In: The Maryland governor has called a state of emergency after riots broke out yesterday over the death of Freddie Gray in police custody. The violence began at Mondawmin Mall after school let out, the Baltimore Sun reports, when kids threw rocks and officers released tear gas on them. A CVS went up in flames; more than a dozen people have been taken to the emergency room. The mayor of Baltimore has instituted a 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew.
This post has been updated.