Looks like youth jail protesters are making things difficult for King County Executive Dow Constantine. The 2018 State of the County report was scheduled for 11 this morning at the Burien Library, but protesters interrupted the proceedings by standing on stage with a sign against the construction of the county's new youth detention facility. The county then decided to cancel Constantine's address after inviting Mayor Jenny Durkan, the entire King County Council, and 100-plus guests. A livestream went up at the same time the meeting was scheduled, but was cut off at around 11:30 AM.
Olivia Smith, an activist with European Dissent, filmed the protesters holding a sign reading "People's Moratorium, Stop the Youth Jail," at the podium where King County Executive Dow Constantine was scheduled to speak. (Smith speaks to Mayor Jenny Durkan at 1:50 and King County Council Member Larry Gossett at around 2:45.)
Half an hour into the recording, Constantine's communications director Alex Fryer announced that the State of the County had been delivered earlier and taped, and would be aired later in the day online. By e-mail, Fryer confirmed that a speech had been scheduled at 11 AM, but that the County Council was not able to hold the meeting. He did not specify why the scheduled speech was cancelled, but deputy communications director Chad Lewis confirmed it was because of the protests.
"We routinely tape the practice speech. However the speech we'll send around later may or may not be that version," Fryer said by e-mail.
The 'People's Moratorium" is an effort from anti-youth jail activists to get Constantine to halt construction of the new Children and Family Justice Center facility, which would include a 114-bed jail. The effort has escalated in recent weeks, from protesters blocking traffic outside of Constantine's office in downtown Seattle, to attempting to block work on the construction site itself. Last week, Constantine agreed to debate the youth jail issue on the Seattle Channel, but former mayoral candidate and activist Nikkita Oliver has said she will refuse the debate unless it is held before a live audience.