Oh, Ann: This morning, City Attorney-elect Ann Davison announced the first appointments to her leadership team and they are striking to say almost nothing. After Pete Holmes blew Scott Lindsay out of the water by a staggering near 50% in the 2017 race for City Attorney, former mayoral public safety advisor Lindsay will finally get a taste of the office as Davison’s Deputy City Attorney. He will oversee policy development, communications, community engagement, and data transparency. Davison described Lindsay as a “key thought leader”—after all, he was the catalyst for KOMO’s "Seattle Is Dying” special. No one is surprised.
In the recent November election, Davison distinguished herself from her abolitionist opponent Nicole Thomas-Kennedy with a tough-on-crime approach. She recently doubled down when she flipped out about the council’s bill requiring the City Attorney’s Office to publish more regular transparency reports regarding the city’s diversion programs, including the council’s beloved LEAD.
That’s what makes the next pick especially interesting. Davison chose Natalie Walton-Anderson for the office’s Criminal Division Chief. She’s an assistant U.S attorney with a long history at the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office who was "instrumental" in the success of LEAD. Her appointment has received mixed reviews from today's initial reactions.
King County Prosecuting Attorney Dan Satterberg vouched for her:
“Natalie worked in our office since she first started as a receptionist in our Victim Assistance Unit – over 20 years ago. As a Deputy Prosecuting Attorney she served throughout the office and was instrumental in the success of the LEAD program for many years. Everywhere Natalie served within the office she left it a better place because of her capable leadership and innate understanding of the humanity on all sides of our work,” Satterberg said in the statement.
The Chair of the Sexually Violent Predator Unit at the King County Prosecuting Attorney's Office, Jennifer Ritchie, worked with Walton-Anderson for 25 years. Walton-Anderson called Ritchie her role model in an interview in 2019. Ritchie told The Stranger today, “I always saw Natalie as putting therapeutic approaches first, putting diversion programs first, as opposed to what people see as the traditional prosecution: incarceration, incarceration, incarceration – that was never her thing.”
Walton-Anderson’s perspective seems different from Davison’s, but Ritchie said Davison’s inclusion of this perspective is “a great sign for the direction of the City Attorney’s Office.”
To some, this is not such a great sign. LEAD organizes with cops, and a good portion of voters was excited by NTK’s open antagonism of the Seattle Police Department in the summer of 2020. Davison, who became a Republican during Donald Trump's presidency, successfully blue-washed herself during the election despite her tough-on-crime messaging. This appointment of Walton-Anderson has appeased LEAD fans, but it seems like smoke and mirrors for the abolitionists who backed NTK.
These kids just won’t quit: Okay, okay, I know some of y’all don’t like this Bellevue School District stuff, but if KUOW and Crosscut and KIRO 7 can write about it, so can I. Today, students and parents gathered outside the district's Wilburton Instructional Service Center right before the school board meeting to once again advocate for survivors of violence.
We'll take wins where we can get them: The Biden administration just made abortion pills much easier to get. Pills can now "be prescribed through telehealth consultations with providers and mailed to patients in states where permitted by law," reports WaPo. "Previously, the pills could not be mailed, though that regulation had been temporarily suspended by the FDA." Notice any familiar faces below?
Healthcare heroes hang up the cape: Clapping for the healthcare workers who continue to risk their lives for others throughout this beast of a public health crisis cannot make up for the toll the pandemic took on nurses. Who would have thought. The Seattle Times reports 1 in 5 nurses say they will quit their jobs due to the crisis’ effect on their mental health.
Finally, a call: Remember the recall effort against lone socialist Councilmember Kshama Sawant? She won.
Do svidaniya, Durkan: The Durkan administration is coming to a close. Sure, her successor has markedly similar donors, network policies, and all around vibe, but Durkan will no longer have to worry about protesters showing up to her house when she pisses them off. KING 5 aired an exit interview with Durkan last night. She said the COVID-19 pandemic will define her term, which, if she’s choosing her own legacy, is much better than gassing protesters and sweeping the homeless.
"Our trans family isn't your punchline": Comedian Dave Chappelle is set to perform at the Climate Pledge Arena on New Year’s Eve. Naturally, plenty of queer people are pissed. Chappelle caught flack for his October Netflix special, The Closer, in which he punched down at trans people and the LGBTQIA+ community as a whole. Seattle Pride continues to ask “the most progressive, responsible, and sustainable arena in the world” to postpone Chappelle’s show until he apologizes.
Remember Palestine: Redmond officials told artists Omar Sourour and Amal Khalaf to remove the “Palestine” from their public artwork at a Redmond Light arts event because the word “might be” considered “political” or “offensive.” Literally ??? Yesterday, the city backtracked and the artists restored the artwork. Crosscut has the full story.
Redmond officials told artists to remove the word ‘Palestine’ from their public artwork just hours after its installation. Five days later, after conversations with community groups, the city reversed course and the artwork has been restored. https://t.co/ZrxzARd3vh
— Margo Vansynghel (@Margo_vs) December 16, 2021
Not the Buzzfeed Holiday Party: Imagine, you work at Buzzfeed and you go to a holiday party full of other people who work at Buzzfeed and then you get COVID-19 and still work at Buzzfeed. The Insider reports several Buzzfeed employees contracted the virus after the company’s holiday party in Manhattan. The company has since strengthened its health protocols.
NYC is fucked: To be fair to Buzzfeed, the “media variant” hit New York City, according to The Intelligencer. The lame-stream media is getting COVID-19 from their holiday parties. Business Insider’s Jake Swearingen tweeted: “you have about 12 hours left to get covid if you want to stay on trend.” Doesn’t seem like a trend The Stranger will hop on, but good luck to all the sick journalists in New York.
Melania??? I wish I knew enough about NTFs to say something clever about this.
Excited for this new venture, which combines my passion for art and commitment to helping our Nation’s children fulfill their own unique American Dream. #MelaniaNFT https://t.co/XJN18tMllg pic.twitter.com/wMpmDDsQdp
— MELANIA TRUMP (@MELANIATRUMP) December 16, 2021
Big news about Mr. Big: The promotion of the Sex In The City revival triggered painful memories for two women who both told the Hollywood Reporter independently that Sex In the City star Chris Noth sexually assaulted them in 2004 and 2015. In a statement, Noth said “it’s difficult not to question the timing of these stories coming out,” and claimed the encounters were consensual.