Oh, this is bullshit: Traffic tickets were supposed to backfill the Seattle City budget, but the Seattle Police Department failed to review 100,000 tickets issued from red light cameras and traffic cameras at school zones, or about 12% of all tickets. This misstep cost the city’s School Safety Traffic and Pedestrian Improvement Fund $4.3 million last year. Now, the projected revenue through 2027 will be "$14.6 million less than originally estimated." So, where is that money going to come from? Nope, not the SPD budget.
Bruce Harrell is making cuts: To make up for SPD's mistake, Mayor Bruce Harrell wants to slash funds from useful programs across the city. He wants to cut $500,000 from the Seattle Department of Transportation's Neighborhood Greenways program. It gets worse. He also wants to cut "$2.4 million from the Seattle Department of Transportation’s Americans with Disabilities Act program." As the Seattle Times reports, if cut, then the city will delay "improvements this year on at least 117 curb ramps between street and sidewalk."
A little quake: The Pacific Northwest recorded a modest 4.3 earthquake just south of Port Townsend at around 7:21 pm on Sunday night. You probably already knew this because everyone close to you said or texted something like, "Did you feel that?" right after the picture frames on your wall finished their earthquake jig. I didn't feel it because I was too busy trying to coax my cat in from the outdoors. I chased him around the neighborhood for an hour.
Rain returns: This week will begin wet. Good. Enough of these 70-degree October days. I just did my annual rewatch of Practical Magic, so I need to wear every single cardigan I own, stat. Throw a simmer pot together, make your house smell like autumn, and let the rain fall.
With a high of 69 Sunday Seattle just missed out on setting the record for the most 70+ days in a year. 2023 total 116 days which ties the record set in 2015. Will make another run at it Friday. Until then, rain at times thru Wednesday. Narrow but colorful sunrise this am. #wawx pic.twitter.com/iVi1NvOFdg— NWS Seattle (@NWSSeattle) October 9, 2023
Let's all move to San Juan County: San Juan County is the first county in the state to implement a four-day work week for most employees. The new program puts into place a 32-hour work week. A study of over 900 employees at more than 33 companies worldwide showed workers "had 45% higher job satisfaction, 32% less stress, with revenue up more than 8%" when working a shorter week.
Tukwila mayor declares state of emergency to help get resources for the 180 migrants who have been living in and around Riverton Park United Methodist Church since last December. According to the pastor, most of the migrants came from Venezuela and Angora.
What the fuck is going on with Israel and Palestine? Well, this wasn't exactly a light news weekend, was it? I'm not going to try to explain the entire centuries-long Israel-Palestine conflict in an aggregated news blog blurb. I will try to explain the facts. First off, for 16 years Gaza residents have lived under a military blockade from Israel and Egypt that has laid waste to the region's internal economy. Both Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch describe the situation as an apartheid, with Israel allowing only limited water service in the area. Second, violence in the area has escalated for months. In an editorial, Israel's paper of record, Haaretz, blames Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for that increased violence, for "embracing foreign policy that openly ignored the rights and existence of Palestinians," and for the Hamas attack over the weekend. This takes us to what happened this weekend.
Hamas attacked Israel: On Saturday, in an attack no one saw coming—not even Israel's high-tech surveillance of Gaza or its intricate spy network—Hamas and Islamic Jihad fired rockets into Israel; they broke through barriers along the Gaza strip and entered Israel, where they killed soldiers and civilians alike and reportedly took over 100 hostages. You can read a more detailed account here. Attackers also killed hundreds of young Israeli people at a music festival on Saturday. At least 700 people were killed in Hamas' initial attack, including nine Americans.
Israel responded by bombing Gaza: Israel officially declared war against Hamas. This means lots of airstrikes. Netanyahu told Palestinians in Gaza to "get out now," however there is no way for them to leave, since Gaza is literally blockaded. (Though the phrase he used could translate to something like "get away from Hamas-controlled areas," which Israel always claims are interwoven with residential zones.) Gaza is incredibly dense and home to 2.3 million people. So far, Israeli airstrikes have killed 400 Palestinians. Israel is also planning a "complete siege" of Gaza, which would cut off electricity and food to the strip. More than 1,100 people have been killed on both sides three days into the fighting.
Watch this CNN interview for some perspective: CNN interviewed Mustafa Barghouti, a representative of a democratic Palestinian movement called Palestinian National Initiative. Barghouti called this attack a direct result of the "longest occupation in modern history." The whole interview is worth a watch, but this is the kicker: "The Palestinian people are not allowed to struggle for freedom against oppression... If we struggle in a military forum, we are described as terrorists. If we struggle in a non-violent way, we are described as violent. If we even resist with words, we are described as provocateurs."
MUST-WATCH interview on CNN. Genuinely shocked they have aired it. pic.twitter.com/madjVCpBOb— David Adler (@davidrkadler) October 8, 2023
Joe Biden sends ships: Biden says he's ordered "American military ships, including an aircraft carrier and additional aircraft" to move closer to Israel as a sign of support, according to CBS News. The aircraft carrier comes equipped with 5,000 sailors and a deck full of warplanes.
Major US airlines suspend service to Israel: American Airlines, United Airlines, and Delta Air Lines suspended service to Israel after the State Department issued travel advisories citing potential terrorism and civil unrest.
We'll conclude this update by giving the floor to this guy:
Father of the girl taken hostage on motorcycle: “Also Gaza has casualties…mothers who cry…let’s use this emotion, we are two nations from one father, let’s make peace, a real peace” 🙏 pic.twitter.com/I74Bwj3oxF— تمار 🌴 Тама́р 🌴 תמר (@tamars) October 8, 2023
Back to some lighter news: Whidbey Island's only elk, Bruiser, is in a bad mood right now. If you see him, stay away. The old grump is taking his frustration out things like "yard art, tarps, trees, shrubs, bicycles, a little bit of everything," according to one resident. He also banged up an automobile. Welcome to the war on cars, Bruiser.
Okay, the news is bad again: A Spokane County Sheriff's deputy is on administrative leave after video surfaced of an arrest where he beat up a 62-year-old man who was sleeping in his car after he felt sleepy from commuting 11 hours on the way home from visiting his grandchild. The deputy told the man he was breaking the law by being in the park after hours. The man refused to give the deputy his name or identification. The deputy then wailed on the man, breaking eight of his ribs, puncturing his lung, concussing him severely, injuring his shoulder, and disfiguring his lip in the process.
At least 2,000 dead in Afghanistan quake: On Saturday, a 6.3 earthquake shook a densely populated area near Herat, flattening villages, collapsing buildings, and trapping victims under the carnage. Global aid has yet to come in 36 hours after the disaster since countries are wary about working with the Taliban government and are occupied with the Israel-Palestine conflict.
Sorry about it all: I feel like I need to splash cool water on my face and go disappear in the woods after writing this stuff about death, destruction, and disregard for life. I don't know how you feel after reading it. I'll leave you with a beautiful Seattle sunrise. At least we will always have this.