Should Mayor Jenny Durkan Resign Over Those Missing Texts?





Resignation should be followed by prosecution.


Why? Just another Democrat. Corruption in real time.


There’s a very “but her emails” vibe happening here.


If Durkan resigns over missing texts then the bar gets raised for government work over gmail Sawant.


I feel the same way about this as I do about the Sawant recall effort. Calls for her head are grossly out of proportion to the alleged offenses.

I'm even less of a fan of Durkan than I am of Sawant. In her defense, she was handed a shitty situation, trying to deal with widespread civil unrest in the middle of a pandemic with a racist reactionary police department. It was kind of a no-win situation, but she nevertheless handled it badly. There is no way I would have voted to reelect her, and the only smart thing she's done in a year is to bow out because she knew she'd get her ass handed to her if she tried to run again.

Having said that, this sounds a lot like the right wing obsession with Hillary's emails. Durkan losing or burying her texts certainly seems improper, but demands for her resignation are ridiculous. She's already leaving. She'll be gone by the end of the year without having to do a thing. Why throw the city government into chaos in her remaining months for little benefit? If her actions were unethical or illegal, she'll be investigated and prosecuted or fined, regardless of whether or not she were to resign. If she's found guilty of a crime or ethics violation, her credibility will be further trashed, regardless of whether or not she resigned. Her political career has ended either way.

Dumping some texts (intentionally or not), just doesn't rise to the level of offense where I think she needs to be removed from office. She'll be gone in six months anyway, and you'll never hear from her again. If she is investigated and found guilty of ethics violations, she'll be fined, as is appropriate. Done. Move on.


It has something to do with the Law. The one she was fully aware of. Nothing more. Oh well, just forget it she's a Democrat. Corruption in real time.


It's amusing to watch a trained attorney who was the DA for the Western District of Washington claim she was unfamiliar with the record keeping laws when as DA she no doubt regularly told those who unknowingly violated obscure laws that ignorance was no excuse.

Like all laws relating to the ruling class, there are sanctions attached so she might as well ignore the law.

If there was a prosecution, It would be interesting to see the instructions Dan Satterberg would give the judges on what their opinion will be and what they will decide, but it hardly rises to the level of the of kicking her from office or a prosecution. She will be gone soon enough, but the systemic corruption will remain.


there are "no" sanctions attached


Accept destruction of public records, or wear a tinfoil hat? Seriously, that's the false dichotomy that the photo caption writer felt was appropriate? That's a shamefully glib interpretation of the situation.


@6 I doubt it would make much difference if Durkan resigned, so you won't find me pounding the table for it, but I'd say the missing texts of the Mayor, the Fire Chief, the Chief of Police, three police command staffers, and three other city officials, all for the same time period covering the protests and city's response, might rate just a smidge higher on the ol' scandal-scale than Sawant running off $1,757.87 worth of fliers on the office photocopier instead of sending the job down to Office Depot?


@5: See @12 for how little the people now howling for Durkan to resign actually care for CM Sawant and Socialist Alternative's deliberately, intentionally, and systematically keeping how they conduct our civic business free of our pesky little public-disclosure laws.

I'm all for prosecuting everyone who failed to follow the records-retention rules, especially as it reeks of cover-up during the epic charlie-foxtrot of the East Precinct violence. Sadly, I doubt it will happen, but the rank hypocrisy of The Stranger in protecting Sawant whilst screaming about Durkan will remain fun to watch, at least.


@13 Sawant's quaint Marxist-Leninist party affiliation is a bit of an eye-roller, to be sure, but sadly it's all entirely legal unless communism was banned by the state while I was off caring about other stuff.

I wouldn't want to deny you the boner you get from imagining her and the eleven other active members of Socialist Alternative rolling into the city at the head of a column of tanks, the Soviet National Anthem blaring through loudspeakers, so I suggest giving Red Dawn another rewatch before you reply, for maximum pleasure.


@14: No, refusing public-disclosure requests is not legal, as CM Sawant and Socialist Alternative have already done. (And, contrary to your silly attempts at reverse red-baiting, it does not matter a bit who does it.)

Again, the rank hypocrisy, shamelessly on display here, does give the entire depressing show some amusement value.


@15 Oh my goodness, illegal? Well surely there's been a case and a conviction and a sentence and there's a court record you can link me to? I mean the SPD are hardly her biggest fans, if she's gone and just flat-out committed a crime I can't think of any reason they wouldn't at least have a go at charging her for it.


Anyone who thinks Jenny Durkan manages the configuration of her City provided cellphone has never worked in the Corporate or Government sector. There's a reason all these phones screwed up around the same time, and it wasn't Jenny's doing. Some tech support lackey screwed the pooch.


@17 That would make a lot of sense if the records request hadn't turned up so many other text messages to and from city officials on city-issued phones for the same period.

It's not a single department affected, as you'd expect from a low-level techie screwup, and it's not the whole city either. It's just the Mayor, the Chief of Police, the Fire Chief, three police command staffers, and three others, and the reasons vary for why the records are missing-- misconfiguration, trouble unlocking devices, etc.

Just read the article, as the kids used to say.


digital media tends to become an added value to incompetent politicians like Durkan and Mme. Hillary because they can "flush the toilet" and eliminate incriminatory evidence that could lead to prosecution and or removal from office. Durkan should be ensconced in the orangutan cage at Woodland Park Zoo with Beaubeau and Féfé and we need a real socialist leader like Sawant in the Mayor's Office who isn't afraid to take control of the city and impose progressive taxation and address the homeless problem and police brutality. Let's eschew these Rotary Club politicians with orangish Trump-like lack of leadership tendencies like Durkan. Colleen Echohawk and Nikkita Oliver would also be excellent, progressive and socially-conscientious choices.


The regular election is 171 days away. Putting in a new mayor now would be a huge waste of taxpayer money.

If you want to go after her after the election, have at it, but a recall is just stupid.


A waste, yes. Unfortunately politicians have no shame. She should resign. But she and all politicians should be held to a higher standard and prosecuted without mercy. Trump for inciting a riot, Durkan for ignoring public record laws and Ted Cruz just because.


Nope. Pandering to a bunch of do nothings that don't contribute many positive things to the city shouldn't really be on the mayor's priority list.


@24 Come now, The Seattle Times isn't a Sinclair outlet. It's privately held by a family of local real estate barons, just like the daily papers of so many other American cities. And the Blethens backed Durkan (and Best and Scoggins et al) 1000% of the way and still do, even after their employees' bit of shoe-leather reporting on this. Or muckraking, if you prefer. All depends on whether you're bored already I guess.


For the folks that want to "go after" Durkan, what led you to believe she faces personal liability for noncompliance with the PRA?


@27 Er, what? I know a whole bunch of people on the left who loathe Hillary Clinton, and not one of them gives a single shit about her emails. That's entirely a chud thing afaik.


@29, There's a bit more to it in this instance and the question shouldn't be "should she resign?" but more along the lines of "WTF were in those text messages between Mayor, SPD, SFD, et all that disappeared at the same time?". My guess is that they were embarassing and showed a level of incompetence that we all plainly saw last summer, but now that there is a potential for cover up and coordination it reeks of scandal.
Nobody who knows how these things works really gave a shit about Clinton losing emails, but they would have if the DNC, State Dept, Foundation et all lost the same emails at the same time.


@31: Agreed.

The headline is clickbait we can ignore, but the story itself of multiple public officials all deleting their texts during the height of a Seattle protests is a real story.

We know there will seldom if ever be legal repercussion for politicians breaking the law and that's the very reason it's important to cover these stories. Social embarrassment in literally the only tool we have future politicians may respond to.


Yes, she should resign. But she and Best should also be put into prison for breaking public record laws. These people are not above our justice system.


@16, @33: The penalty for breaking our public-disclosure laws (RCW 42.56) is a fine for withholding the information. There are no convictions or imprisonment for it. (Also, @16, since you asked, the measure of whether something is illegal or not resides in our law code, not in any case or conviction records. You're welcome!)

Knowingly destroying public records as part of a cover-up (as Durkan, Best, et. al. may have done), or intentionally creating an entire infrastructure to avoid compliance with public disclosure requests (as CM Sawant has done), may be different matters. In the latter case, it's also a violation of her oath of office, as RCW 42.46 requires an elected official to complete training on our public-records disclosure policy prior to taking the oath.

The difference, therefore, is that Mayor Durkan, et. al., may have some justification for their acts, although this seems unlikely; CM Sawant has absolutely none.