We need your help. The economic fallout of the coronavirus crisis is threatening our ability to keep producing the stories you've come to love. If you’re able, please consider making a monthly contribution to The Stranger.
A unanimous State Supreme Court threw out the petition to recall Mayor Durkan: The citizen-led recall effort blamed Durkan for Seattle Police Department's summer of tear gas, claiming she allowed SPD to use the chemical agents during a coronavirus pandemic "without concern for the health and well-being of the community." Durkan has asserted that it was the chief of police's responsibility, not hers—even though the chief of police reports to the mayor—and her lawyers wrote that "there is no evidence that any discretionary decision Mayor Durkan made in the midst of multiple ongoing civil emergencies was manifestly unreasonable."
The State Supreme Court notably wrote that it still found the allegations in this case to be "deeply troubling," but concluded that "the recall charges presented in this case are factually and legally insufficient."
"After it became clear that the SPD was routinely violating the rights of protesters and the rights of those simply residing in Seattle, and after it became abundantly clear that the use of chemical gasses during a respiratory pandemic was unreasonably dangerous, it became incumbent for the Mayor to use her power to intervene."
The court doesn't appear to agree. Here's the order. The court said they would release a full decision at a later date.
As Jasmyne noted in Slog AM, the Seattle Human Rights Commission wrote in a letter that Jenny's gotta go. The 21-person commission, serving in an advisory capacity, accused Durkan of authorizing police brutality, allowing SPD's use of chemical weapons in densely populated neighborhoods, and vetoing budgetary actions that would "force the department to respond to its harms to the community and implement systemic changes." The letter also alleged violations in regards to homelessness, income inequality, and city governence. It's a doozy.
It's official: The Elephant Car Wash is packing up and taking down the iconic pink Elephant Car Wash sign. But good news: It's headed to MOHAI. Still, people are fucking wrecked over the news. "With Seattle changing so quickly, how can we keep a mental map of the landscape that’s come and gone?" writes arts and culture editor Brangien Davis for Crosscut. "When we emerge from the pandemic and search for the Seattle we knew, will we find our way back like elephants?"
Counterpoint: "Replace that Elephant With 240,000 Apartments," one Stranger writer wrote over Slack when he found out about the sign. "Maybe it's the special cynicism of 5:15 p.m. but this neon elephant nostalgia is too much for me right now."
I guess we have to check in with our fucking president: He's rambling. "To my favorite people in the world, the seniors, I'm a senior, I know you don't know that, nobody knows that, maybe you don't have to tell them, but I'm a senior......."
Nancy's threatening to invoke the 25th amendment: "The president is, shall we say, in an altered state right now," she said earlier today.
.@SpeakerPelosi: "Tomorrow, by the way, tomorrow, come here tomorrow. We're going to be talking about the 25th Amendment."
Full video here: https://t.co/5q4HIglmaZ pic.twitter.com/8Jeim87yJM
— CSPAN (@cspan) October 8, 2020
Thirteen people have been charged in a plot to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer: From CNN:
Six people were charged federally with conspiracy to kidnap, and seven other people, associated with the militia group "Wolverine Watchmen," were charged by the state, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel announced.
"The individuals in (state) custody are suspected to have attempted to identify the home addresses of law enforcement officers in order to target them, made threats of violence intended to instigate a civil war, and engaged in planning and training for an operation to attack the capitol building of Michigan and to kidnap government officials, including the governor of Michigan," Nessel said at a press conference.
The movie CATS arrives on HBO Max this Saturday: It seems apropos to give my CATS advice: Before you see CATS, which you should and will, I want you to take a look in the mirror and ask yourself: "What do I want from CATS?" Because I bet you will get exactly what you want. Or, perhaps, deserve.
As Rich wrote on Slog earlier: Inslee has extended the statewide eviction moratorium through the end of the year.
ICYMI, some updates on the children: Kindergarten enrollment is down across the state. Speaking on Bellevue School District's decreased enrollment, the district's director of communications told the Seattle Times that they "believe the decline is due in large part to COVID-19 and our start of the year in remote learning."
Perhaps to combat this, the Bellevue School District plans on reopening soon with a hybrid model:
First and second graders at Bellevue School District return to classes for in-person instruction starting on October 26, five days a week, the district announced.
Kindergartners return to regular classes full-time at Bellevue on November 2.
Bellevue fifth graders will attend in-person classes for a maximum of three days a week beginning on November 9.
Under the plan, Bellevue students from the sixth through the 12th grades will be taught in-person once a week.
Some parents moved their younger kids into in-person programs, like private Christian schools, because they didn't think the quality of Zoom education would cut it. Some parents say they even moved to specific districts hoping that those districts would do in-person classes, only to have those hopes dashed. One parent said she didn't want to put her kids in front of a Zoom "screen of 20 faces they didn’t know." The Washington Homeschool Organization says interest in homeschooling is "through the roof," reports the Times.
This can't be good for funding: Here's a snippet from a post published by Washington's Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (bolding by moi):
Compared to September 2019, September 2020 data shows a 2.82% decrease in enrollment (or nearly 31,000 students out of nearly 1.1 million total) in Washington’s public K–12 schools.
About one-third (more than 11,000 students) of the total decrease is attributed to kindergarten-age children not enrolling or delaying their kindergarten start. By grade level, kindergarten saw the largest decrease in enrollment—14%—from September 2019 to September 2020. Across the board, the early grades experienced larger declines in enrollment than the later grades.
The trend is national:
“We are not alone in this,” said Chris Reykdal, Superintendent of Public Instruction. “As our nation continues to fight the spread of COVID-19, states across the country are seeing changes in K–12 enrollment as families make decisions about the safest and most effective learning environments for their children.”
“Counts are taken every month, and if these trends continue, many of our districts will need to make adjustments in the short-term even as they plan for booming kindergarten and first grade classes next year,” Reykdal continued. “We will continue working with the Legislature and our congressional delegation on solutions to these unique challenges.”
TikTok ain't for everyone:
Tonight's scary movie recommendation: Ginger Snaps (2000). A lot of people have recommended this one for tonight's Scarecrow Video Psychotronic Challenge: "EQUAL SLICE. Watch a film where women get top billing."
Alsoooooo: Jasmyne and I joined Scarecrow on their new podcast, Scarecrow Radio. Listen to the episode below. Two episodes ago, Scarecrow had Ken Jennings on the podcast. Now they have us. The mighty have fallen.
Episode 3 of SCARECROW RADIO is here! On today’s show, @chaseburnsy and @jasmynekeimig of @TheStranger
join us to discuss their column UNSTREAMABLE. And Matt from Scarecrow is back again to talk exploitation. https://t.co/ppoYuEwLC1 pic.twitter.com/OOXbdI6hz0
— ScarecrowVideo (@ScarecrowVideo) October 8, 2020