The war on drugs is back: In case you missed it, last night the Seattle City Council voted 6-3 to make drug possession and public use a gross misdemeanor with a penalty of up to 180 days in jail for a first or second offense. The vote kicks no additional funding toward treatment. Andrew Lewis, whose surprise 'no' vote killed this effort a few months back, co-sponsored the latest iteration. Lewis and the conservatives touted $27 million in treatment funding added to this new version of the bill, but the vast majority of that comes from opioid settlement funds that must be spent over 17 years. Seven million dollars comes from unspent grant funding.
As a coda to this stupid chapter in Seattle politics, let's shake our heads at this absurd interview with Council Member Sara Nelson:
BREAKING: Seattle City Councilmembers revived a recently voted down bill that many community activists are calling War on Drugs 2.0. We spoke with Sara on her campaign trail about her experience with drugs, mushrooms, and what she hoped to accomplish while in office. The vote… pic.twitter.com/VszVQvNmPn— Dae (@daeshikjr) September 19, 2023
KCRHA ends downtown homelessness program: The King County Regional Homelessness Authority shuttered Partnership for Zero, its effort to reduce the number of people living outside in downtown to fewer than 30. (Needless to say, this closure comes before they've achieved that goal.) The reason: The program's funding expired, and KCRHA's new boss is "reexamining" the agency's goals, the Seattle Times reports.
Every door shut in KCRHA's face: The agency struggled to fund the program from the beginning after former CEO Marc Dones sought Seattle City Council funding and the council denied that request. The agency then turned to private philanthropic funding, and some of that money failed to materialize. Supporters also wanted to tap into Medicaid funding, but that also never materialized.
Seattle's public sector workers rally for raises at City Hall: Hannah will have a full report later today. Give them the money!
#Solidarity w/ our public sector workers who are calling for a contract NOW with the City of Seattle - one that recognizes they were on the front line throughout the ongoing pandemic, who make this city run, who deserve compensation that allows them to live in the city they work! pic.twitter.com/9Y8CIli5iQ— Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda (@CMTMosqueda) September 20, 2023
The First Lady cometh: Jill Biden will arrive in Seattle on Thursday and stay through Friday to promote the administration's "Cancer Moonshot" and speak at two fundraisers for POTUS's reelection campaign, KOMO reports. Prepare thyself for traffic. (In case you're wondering, I used perfect Old English in this blurb as a show respect.)
The latest on the SPD rumor: The employee SPD fired for allegedly spreading a rumor that Chief Adrian Diaz was having an affair with a subordinate now tells KUOW he "was made to be the fall guy." The employee, Durand Dace, says he was "not the primary source of this rumor as it spread throughout the department." Ashley reported last week on the Equal Employment Office investigation that found the employee harassed and discriminated against the woman by spreading the rumor.
New bill could force Seattle to finally fix the damn sidewalks: Sidewalk construction costs tons of money, and the City's current list of sidewalk work would literally take hundreds of years to finish at current rates. In the face of this conundrum, Council Member Tammy Morales proposed a bill to integrate sidewalk construction and repair into the City's regular roadwork on paving projects that cost more than $1 million, the Seattle Times reports.
Burien to vote on camping ban: The Burien City Council plans to vote next week on whether to criminalize camping with a misdemeanor charge unless shelters are full, KIRO 7 reports. Expect a yes vote from Mayor Sophia Aragon, who's running against Seattle City Council Member Teresa Mosqueda to replace Joe McDermott on the King County Council. She needs to punish as many poor people as possible if she only wants to lose by single digits.
World leaders line up to kiss Musk's ring: According to the BBC, a bunch of heads of state stopped by Musk HQ after meeting with President Biden to suck up to the bizarre oligarch. French President Emmanuel Macron wants "a new Tesla gigafactory," as do the leaders of Turkey and Italy. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wants him to tone down the anti-semitism on Twitter. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi wants him to remove certain other content from that site. Ukraine and its allies want him to launch more Starlink satellites into space to fight against Russia. The fact that an unhinged, flighty billionaire makes decisions with massive geopolitical implications means liberalism is working as intended. Congrats, everybody!
Kraft-tastic: "An unspecified number" of people called Kraft Heinz (when did those two get together?) to complain about choking on plastic stuck to individually wrapped slices of cheese, and so now the company will recall nearly 84,000 boxes of the cheese product, the Washington Post reports.
Republicans in disarray: On the House floor Tuesday, five far-right US House members killed the body's consideration of the annual "must-pass" military spending bill as a way of registering their disappointment with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy for not trying hard enough to shut down the government, the New York Times reports. McCarthy now finds himself in the same position he's been in since he took the gavel: He either does what they say, or they kick him out. When the GOP won't even pull the lever for the Pentagon, then you know these fucks will absolutely shut down the government on Sept 30.
They're just having fun at this point:
Found on a baby changing table in restroom underneath House floor:— Matt Laslo (@MattLaslo) September 19, 2023
“Declaring the office of Speaker of the House of Representatives to be vacant,” from Rep. @mattgaetz, Sept. 15, 2023, 11:22am pic.twitter.com/6p7uJ2qNvh
Question: Uhhh, do we have to pay student loans if the government shuts down in two weeks? Answer courtesy of Business Insider: Maybe not? The Department of Education offers no contingency plan, and an Office of Management and Budget contingency plan from 2021 mentions "some level of disruption due to a lapse."
Guys, think of the party: Or don't, that would be great, actually.
Republicans today:— Ryan Grim (@ryangrim) September 20, 2023
Lost a special election in New Hampshire in a Trump district, nearly losing control of the statehouse
Lost a special in PA, giving Dems control of the statehouse
Lost a vote on the rule—which never happens—on the House floor thanks to 5 R defections,… https://t.co/fyEGu4RCtA
Biden plans to build a gun violence prevention office: On Friday, representatives from national gun safety nonprofits will flank the president and thank him profusely for creating a new office to "help coordinate efforts across the federal government to reduce gun violence," according to the Washington Post. Folks, we're talking about "a governmental focal point dedicated to creating a framework for overseeing national policy, research and resources." Lol file this news under "the least they could possibly do."
Zelensky addresses the UN: He called on all nations to join Ukraine in its fight against Russia and reiterated his 10-point peace plan, which calls for full territorial restoration, security guarantees, funding to rebuild the country, and a lot of other stuff. By all accounts, Ukraine's recent counter-offensive made little ground, and all sides are preparing for a protracted war, with the US continuing to send billions of dollars in weapons and aid. From the Times on the current push: "This is what is certain: More people will die, more buildings will burn and the surrounding farmlands will be seeded with land mines and unexploded shells that probably will take decades to clear."
Surprise! The National dropped a second album this year. Here's the title track. Fall officially begins on Friday, but emotionally it begins today: