BREAKING: The Stranger's news department made more enemies in 2014. (And some new frenemies, too!) So, per tradition, we've decided to share in the continued bounty of venom directed our way. Because why be greedy? Behold this year's (necessarily abridged and annotated) collection of what the people we wrote about regret about us, our life choices, and life itself.
This year, Elizabeth Campbell led a campaign that had Seattle voting—again—on the idea of expanding the monorail. Close readers may recall the Stranger Election Control Board championing an expanded monorail in the past, but this year's vote was only about funding a monorail study committee. And that publicly financed study committee would have been led by—wait for it—Elizabeth Campbell. When Campbell failed to get her voters' pamphlet statement in on time, leaving a blank spot in the public's voters' guide, and then failed to show up as promised to a (re)scheduled endorsement interview with the SECB, we lost all patience with her and endorsed a "No" vote. Says Campbell:
The regret is that the Century Transportation Authority campaign even entertained the invite from The Stranger to discuss the monorail ballot measure. Despite my better judgment that no good is likely to come from a rendezvous with its pulp writers, I relented under duress to the entreaties of others on the campaign team and authorized them to meet with The Stranger's Eli Sanders. Campaign bumbles goofed up the meeting, and true to form, the snark and arrogance of The Stranger's Sanders reared its ugly head with Sanders raining opprobrium down on my head over the matter—including an online survey campaign against me. But frankly, the predictable tactics and response by Sanders are beside the point. More importantly, I learned lessons—to exercise tighter control over campaign partners and strategy, to damn well be sure to get any voters' pamphlet statement in on time, and to never have anything to do with The Stranger!
Jess Spear also failed to get the Stranger Election Control Board's endorsement this year. She was hoping to unseat Democratic house Speaker Frank Chopp, and when we endorsed Chopp, citing Spear's lack of a viable plan for accomplishing more in Olympia than Chopp has, Spear's Socialist Alternative Party denounced us in a 2,000-word response. That response continues today, with Spear saying:
As someone who has never accepted the establishment's narrow definition of the politically possible, and has ignored every fucking know-it-all who told me to stop fighting for what is right, I regret that The Stranger's editorial board doesn't share my optimism in the possibility of a new kind of politics. If they did, they would stop endorsing career politicians who helped enable Boeing's extortion of taxpayers and gutting of workers' pensions. (Stop that. Seriously, it only encourages them!) And, if they did, the SECB might be a lot less sore post-election, because they wouldn't need to bend and contort their logic to explain their support for corporate politicians who tell us everything is peachy keen, when it clearly isn't.
John "Zamboni" Scannell, the disbarred lawyer who ran for a seat on the Washington State Supreme Court this year, also regrets that the Stranger Election Control Board didn't endorse him. Scannell says:
I was in fact very disappointed in your coverage. I was counting on The Stranger being a base of support, as it has been very generous to me in the past. [Editor's note: Really? When?] Instead, the coverage ended up causing me to suffer my lowest vote totals in King County, which in the past has been my strongest area of support... My greatest disagreement with your coverage is The Stranger took my so-called "disbarment" as a given, when a number of courts have questioned its validity. [Editor's note: In 2010, Washington State Supreme Court justice Debra Stephens—who Scannell was running against this year—upheld his disbarment. It has never been overturned.]
Anarchists didn't like the way we wrote about them, as usual. Except when they did like the way we wrote about them. But in any case, how DARE we speak of "them," as if anarchists are a monolithic entity, as if anyone who loudly declares his or her membership in a group is responsible for what other autonomous individuals in said group might or might not do, either as subgroups or as autonomous individuals! Keeping in mind that you are prohibited, by anarchist order, from forming opinions about anarchists based on what some anarchists say, some anarchists say:
Some "anarchists" regret that the media's scaremongering hasn't changed since Seattle '99—or Seattle '69, or Seattle '19. Back in the day, we were crazed Europeans, fresh off the boat with bombs in hand. Today we're mostly from Oregon, apparently (as they say: Oregon, the Italy of the 2010s). By comparison: In 1923, Tokyo newspapers declared that the Great Kanto earthquake had been the work of "anarchists and Koreans," giving an excuse to initiate violent pogroms against minorities and dissidents. In 2014, the best you can come up with is that we're white dudes from Oregon? [Editor's note: Zero writers at The Stranger claimed anarchist protesters were from Oregon this year.] At least blame that windstorm on us: "Anarchists and Oregonians summon storm, lay siege to power grid."
With riots and insurrections kicking off across the globe, the clichés are growing threadbare. If people like Eli Sanders can't come up with better bogeymen [Editor's note: Again, zero writers at The Stranger claimed anarchist protesters are from Oregon this year—but hey, maybe when the anarchist revolution comes, we'll no longer be oppressed by things like facts? Maybe, as autonomous individuals accountable to no one but ourselves, we'll just believe whatever the fuck we want, make bogeymen out of people while claiming they made bogeymen out of us first, even if they didn't, and generally act on whatever the fuck we tell ourselves is true, whether it's true or not? Can't wait!], people might start noticing that police are literally strangling black men to death in the street, and all the body cameras and anodyne marches and strongly worded proclamations aren't doing a damn thing to stop it.
Some white dudes from Oregon, probably
Socialist council member Kshama Sawant was a big fan of David "Goldy" Goldstein, who parted ways with The Stranger in March. At the time, Goldy wrote in a post on his personal blog, Horsesass.org: "My Services Are Now Available to the Highest Non-Evil Bidder." Then, in a September post entitled "I Am Officially a Sellout," Goldstein announced that he'd taken a job doing research, analysis, and writing for "America's premier self-loathing plutocrat, Nick Hanauer." Says Sawant:
While I thank The Stranger for its invaluable support over my two campaigns, and look forward to earning its endorsement in the future, I sincerely regret that you lost Goldy. I regret this because Goldy offered some of the best, most courageous coverage of fast-food workers and other low-wage Seattleites who risked their livelihoods to fight for a $15 minimum wage. He also stood up to the bullies at Uber. He was one of The Stranger's most influential and prolific writers, with a provocative yet thoughtful voice, and so I also have to regret that his incredible talents are now being wasted making a billionaire sound literary. I regret that you edited out the best lines of this regrets column. [Editor's note: Yeah, Goldy regretted being edited, too.] Finally, I regret that it took the jokey conceit of this "Regrets" issue for The Stranger to even acknowledge Goldy's departure, let alone give him the fond farewell he so richly deserved.
Stranger publisher Tim Keck, an occasional reader of the news section, says:
I regret paying Goldy all those years when all I had to do was say I was a "Socialist" and he would have written anything I wanted for free.
Ron Smith, the president of the Seattle Police Officers' Guild, didn't get a lot of love in The Stranger this year. For example, we wrote in August that he "sounds a lot like Rich 'total dick' O'Neill, his predecessor." Then in December, we added that O'Neill "speaks out of both sides of his mouth" when it comes to protesters for racial equality. And yet Smith has no regrets. Smith says:
Thank you for the invite, however I have quite a fix [sic?] skin and The Stranger has not offended me in 2014...:)...
King County employees Carolyn Duncan and Cameron Satterfield, who do work supporting the voter-approved plan to rebuild Seattle's dilapidated juvenile detention center, will miss Dominic Holden. Holden thought opponents of the new juvie—some of whom call for no incarceration of anyone, ever, period—seemed a little bonkers. But then Holden left to take a job at Buzzfeed in New York City this year, leaving Stranger news writer Ansel Herz to cover the juvie debate. About that change, Duncan and Satterfield say:
We regret that Dominic Holden is gone, leaving The Stranger without a sane voice to report objectively about all the good our King County Children and Family Justice Center will bring to the thousands of families and youth in child dependency and juvenile justice cases who deserve better. We regret we don't get more credit from Ansel Herz and The Stranger for cutting juvenile detention rates by two-thirds—and for our progress to reduce racial disparities. We also regret Ansel signed a petition in opposition to the project—unknowingly, he says. (We believe you, Ansel. Really.) [Editor's note: Actually, Ansel says he went to a few meetings of the anti-juvie group before he was a reporter at The Stranger, but stopped going because, at that time, they were "stupid." He says he may have "signed in" at one of those meetings, but doesn't remember signing a petition. He does still volunteer each week running soccer sessions with kids at the juvenile detention center.] That said, we don't regret engaging readers about our project. We also don't regret that Ansel is "walking the talk" by volunteering at the current (dilapidated) facility. We hope Ansel is still around to volunteer when the new facility opens in 2019. (We appreciate your work, Ansel. Really.)
Seattle Police Department spokesperson Sean Whitcomb has a personal regret this year, and it concerns his brother. Whitcomb says:
My deepest regret of 2014 is the loss of my brother, Michael. He died of a heroin overdose on the 14th of April.
According to a 2014 University of Washington study, heroin-involved deaths have been rising steadily in King County, claiming 99 lives in 2013—the most deaths in any year since 2000. While it probably would not have helped my brother, Washington's 911 Good Samaritan Drug Overdose Law was created to reduce drug-related fatalities. If you have a friend or loved one addicted to heroin, remind them that heroin purity can fluctuate. They should never use alone for this reason. Make sure they know that they can call 911 to report an overdose. They will get the emergency medical care they need and immunity from arrest or prosecution.
Overdose deaths can be prevented. No one should die because someone else was afraid to call for help.
Jean Godden, the three-term Seattle City Council member, was really into the work of our former city hall reporter, Anna Minard. But then Minard left after the November elections to take a job at a nonprofit. Says Godden:
When it comes to The Stranger's coverage this year, I do have one regret: I'm dismayed that Anna Minard left. Thanks to her work on the city hall beat, readers learned about our region having the broadest gender pay gap in the nation. Is there anyone left at The Stranger who will have the nerve to call me a "bad-ass bitch," like Anna did? I am getting to know Heidi Groover, The Stranger's new city hall reporter, and when we do close the gender wage gap, I look forward to thinking of Anna—and Heidi, and all female workers in this city—as I sign off as a genuine "B.A.B."