You still have time to vote, but we're getting down to the wire here: According to The Stranger's click-o-meter and to several campaign staffers I talked to for a forthcoming piece, a very large number of you are still trying to decide who to vote for at this very moment! (As of yesterday, just under 17% of registered voters in King County had returned their ballots. The day before the 2017 primaries, 18% of registered voters had turned in their ballots, so we're slippin!!) That's somewhat understandable given the unending stresses and perturbations of daily life, but uh....time to vote or else let the old rich white people decide who the next mayor will be!!
If you have yet to vote, then bust out your ballot NOW (or at lunch!), pull up our Cheat Sheet, vote the Stranger ticket, and slide that puppy in a dropbox by 8 pm today. It's probably too late to mail by this point, so find a dropbox near you. Not registered? No ballot? Need to vote in person for some reason? Find answers to all those questions here.
Check back here tonight: As we normally do, the Stranger Election Control Board will report LIVE from a few election night parties around town and post regular updates right here on Slog. Stay tuned for in-depth snack reportage, reaction shots, overheard expletives, and the results of the first ballot drop. Important note: King County elections typically expects to post "about 50-60%" of the returns on the first night. The rest of the returns will dribble out over the course of the next week or so.
Today is also the deadline for the Recall Sawant campaign to turn in its signatures in order to put the question on the November ballot. Yesterday the Kshama Solidarity campaign lent a hand by giving the recall campaign more signatures in support of its efforts, bringing Sawant's contribution to her own recall to 3,174 signatures. Over three weeks ago, the recall campaign said they aimed to make the deadline and had collected over 9,000 signatures, so Sawant now claims the recall campaign "easily has more than enough signatures to qualify for the November ballot" even if it hadn't collected a single signature since then. The elections department requires nearly 11,000 signatures from District 3 residents, but recommends submitting a couple thousand more than that to account for invalid signatories.
COVID hospitalization rate is as high as it was before the vaccine was widely available: The Department of Health claims 680 people were hospitalized "with a COVID-like illness in a two-week period from July 11-24," which more or less matches the hospitalization rate in April 2020 "when there were more eligibility restrictions on the vaccine and limited availability," KING 5 reports. Washington State Hospital Association CEO Cassie Sauer says, "right now, it’s pretty universal that every hospital is quite full."
Look out for these freaky algae blooms: Toxic blooms have been detected in nine lakes in the state, making the water unsafe for people and pets, according to KIRO 7. Those parks include Hicklin Park, Tanwax Lake, Anderson Lake, Gibbs Lake, Hourglass Pong, Lake Marcel, Lone Lake, Rufus Woods Lake, and Spanaway Lake.
Lightning starting new fires in Oregon: Lightning struck dry forests in southern Oregon "hundreds of times in 24 hours, igniting some 50 new wildfires," the Associated Press reports. Elsewhere in Oregon, the Bootleg Fire is 84% contained but not expected to be fully contained until October.
Here's what Spokane looks like:
How did I not know about "Flutes in the Forest?" Follow up Election Day with this outdoor concert in West Seattle. Bring your own chair/blanket and watch these flautists let 'er rip. I love them, obviously:
"It's too little too late." Those were Seattle Rep. Pramila Jayapal's words for the Biden White House after it let the national eviction moratorium expire despite the fact that only $3 billion of $46 billion in rental assistance has been allocated to landlords and tenants. "I think they did not think about this eviction moratorium in a serious way," Jayapal said, according to the Washington Post. The Post also reports that "nearly two dozen lawmakers...railed against the White House and House Democratic leaders over the eviction strategy" during a "hastily called, expletive-laden videoconference call of the caucus’s executive board Sunday."
The argument basically goes like this: Progressive Democrats claim Biden could extend the CDC's eviction moratorium with an executive order, but Biden says the Supreme Court "said the ban had to end [on July 31] unless Congress acted to prolong it." House Speaker Nancy Pelosi floated an extension last week, but "about 20 moderate House Democrats" tanked it because they're bought by landlords and realtors. Without an extension, millions of tenants behind on rent in states and cities without moratoria will face eviction and homelessness. (Seven million people say they're behind on rent, and only a handful of states currently offer any eviction protections.)
St. Louis Congresswoman Cori Bush, who has been evicted three times, protested on the Capitol steps:
Rep. Cori Bush slept overnight on the Capitol steps to protest evictions.
The federal moratorium that was put in place during the pandemic has expired and it could leave millions homeless. pic.twitter.com/zhqb9lOdmQ
— AJ+ (@ajplus) August 3, 2021
I like this idea:
This is all correct, and also, why WOULDN'T the Biden administration openly defy the Court here? If the justices won't allow a moratorium extension anyway, make THEM be the ones to kick people out of their homes mid-pandemic! https://t.co/YYOQOeiBZT pic.twitter.com/cMY44UG3FQ
— Jay Willis (@jaywillis) August 3, 2021
Hey King County renters, do you want to tell the county how not to fuck over tenants in deciding how to dole out rental assistance? Of course you do! You just voted! You're in a civil service mood! Okay cool! Just apply for a spot on the King County Renters Commission. The body will meet once a month for two years. The only qualifications: you must be a King County resident, and you must be a renter. That means they're looking for regular-ass people. Get in there, you beautiful and talented renter!!!
The CDC says it lacks legal authority to extend the moratorium, but it sure as hell retains the authority "to leave in place for now the public health rule that has allowed it to turn away hundreds of thousands of migrants" crossing the southern border for fear of violence and persecution, the New York Times reports. The CDC says letting in asylum seekers risks spreading the deadly respiratory virus that's still going around because at least 30% of this country is out of its god damned mind.
A "slim majority" is "somewhat supportive" of bringing back mask mandates and social distancing rules: Monmouth University released a poll yesterday showing 52% support the mandates and 46% oppose them, according to Politico. Would it shock you to learn that the poll found "85 percent of Democrats supporting a return to mask wearing and 73 percent of Republicans opposed"?
Hey Jenny Durkan, New York City has an idea for you: This morning Mayor Bill de Blasio said the city will require all to show "proof of vaccination for people participating in indoor activities, including at restaurants, gyms and performances," the New York Times reports. Last week several Seattle venues and restaurants started asking for proof after local health officials marked the beginning of a Delta-driven fifth wave of infections and hospitalizations.
Microsoft pushes back office return, will require proof of vax: Let's keep this trend going!! How about you next, Alaska Airlines?
Union says National Labor Relations Board claims Amazon violated labor law: In a few weeks we'll know the NLRB's final decision, but for now the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union spent the day telling reporters that the NLRB will recommend a do-over vote to unionize the Amazon warehouse workers in Bessemer, Alabama, the Associated Press reports. The original vote failed 1,798 to 738, after "Amazon threatened workers with layoffs and even the closing of the warehouse if they unionized," the union alleges. A spokesperson for Amazon said the company will appeal if the NLRB ends up following through on its recommendation.
I found this piece by Daniel Brook in Harper's about the effort to unionize Amazon workers instructive: Age—not partisanship—seemed like the most salient dividing line between pro- and anti-union voters in the warehouse, Brook strongly implies. Because the right crushed labor organizing over the course of the last several years, younger workers were unfamiliar and therefore more suspicious of unionization—and they figured they weren't going to work in the warehouse forever anyway, so why trouble the waters—whereas older workers associated the union with an earlier era of better pay and more rights for workers.
You cannot make this shit up:
An important detail in the NLRB dispute over the USPS collections box in the Alabama Amazon warehouse parking lot that has somehow gone missing in the @BAmazonUnion election coverage:
Amazon hung a banner on it with their Vote No campaign slogan: “Speak For Yourself!” pic.twitter.com/MNt9P5oBZx
— Daniel Brook (@Brookfiles) August 3, 2021
Myanmar coup leader, Min Aung Hlaing, says the beatings will continue until next year: That's when the junta plans to hold another election—a year later than the date he originally promised. The U.S. claimed the coup leaders were "stalling," and urged the Association of Southeast Asian Nations "to step up efforts to resolve the political turmoil triggered by the power grab." So far, "900 people have been reported killed in the six-month crackdown on anti-coup protests," Al Jazeera reports.
Breaking bad -governor news: Independent investigators found that New York Governor Andrew Cuomo sexually harassed employees and retaliated against them, according to NY Attorney General Tish James.
NY AG Letitia James: "Governor Cuomo sexually harassed current and former state employees in violation of federal and state laws. The independent investigation found that governor Cuomo sexually harassed multiple women." pic.twitter.com/md7WtYyHK9
— andrew kaczynski (@KFILE) August 3, 2021
Just one more thing: DON'T FORGET TO VOTE. IF YOU VOTE, THEN YOU WILL BE POWERFUL LIKE THESE CHILDREN.