“Surprise” sweeps: Stop The Sweeps provides sweep support nearly every time this city decides to uproot a group of unhoused people. These folks never like sweeps, but this week they were especially unhappy. On Wednesday, the city swept Westlake Park with little notice. A spokesperson from Seattle Parks and Recreation said those residents got 24 hour notice. The evils of capitalism led to people blocking sidewalks with their homes, and — since the city loves pedestrians so much — of course it addressed this issue with urgency.
Surprise sweep today was awful 🙃 No one from the Hope team even showed up to offer shelter referrals at the bare minimum. And guess what? Tomorrow there are two more surprise sweeps! 😡😡😡 1/
— Stop The Sweeps Seattle (@Stop_Sweeps_SEA) January 20, 2022
Encampments more typically see about two days of notice, though recently the city has tried to reform these jarring evictions from public spaces. Service providers such as REACH took months to slowly bring to shelter around 80 residents of Ballard Commons. Westlake Park did not get such treatment.
When they say "surprise sweeps" it's because there's actionable intel to move on. The city of Seattle posts sweep notices anywhere from 24-72 hours ahead of time. These surprise sweeps have minimal to no housing outreach and no physical notices. So yes, they are surprise sweeps. pic.twitter.com/EITWR2fkXL
— Shit My Friends Say (@shitmafriendsay) January 20, 2022
More sweeps: The city went a little sweep crazy this week, just like old times. Yesterday the city swept an encampment on the corner of 3rd Ave and Cherry St. A spokesperson from Parks and Recreation said the city worked quickly because the encampment was blocking the right of way. It seems this encampment got a little bit better treatment with about a week of outreach. On the day of the sweep, there were 12 people at the site. The HOPE team offered the usual shelter options, and two people took them up on it. The city said the other 10 relocated.
Another one: Stop The Sweeps also raised concerns about a sweep at Olive and Melrose, but a Parks and Recreation spokesperson said WSDOT prompted that one. I reached out to WSDOT about the sweep, but I have not heard back.
A new way to dunk on cops: Earlier this month, a group known as Tech Bloc unveiled SPD Watch, a database of crowd sourced photos, salaries, and OPA investigations. A programmer from Tech Bloc told me that the project came out of frustration with officer anonymity in the protests of 2020. They said Tech Bloc wanted people to know who exactly was tear gassing their neighborhood and abusing their friends. The cops are not so openly committing war crimes in Capitol Hill, but now you can look up the cop if you get pulled over and see if they participated in the infamous ruse.
After months of hard work, Seattl Tech Bloc is proud to bring you https://t.co/JEFRo18CU5 This tool aggregates Public Data Requests and crowd-sourced photos to bring you information we have been able to gather on SPD officers.#SeattleProtests #ProtestCommsSeattle pic.twitter.com/hgFjlhYorb
— TechBlocSEA (@TechBlocSEA) January 10, 2022
Big food: The Washington State Supreme Court upheld a giant $18 million fine against a national grocery industry group for violating state campaign finance laws in 2013 when it duked it out with a food-labeling initiative. Washington Attorney General Bob Furgeson said that this is good shit, but he used more words.
RIP Meatloaf: Early this morning, TMZ reported that “Bat Out of Hell” rock singer, Meatloaf, died Thursday at 74 after contracting COVID-19.
RIP Louie: Emmy-winning comedian, actor and game show host Louie Anderson died today from cancer complications. He was 68
Big money for weed guy who wants us all to get along: Seattle Approves, which launched an initiative to bring approval voting to city elections, got $160,000 last month from the Center for Election Science, a national think tank focused on the “approval voting” method. Logan Bowers, who is sorta the face of the campaign, must be happy.
Also: This was nice if you missed it.
How to not get COVID: Since the government has yet to nip this in the bud with strong action, we are still dealing with COVID-19. And now it looks like “assess your own risk” is the new public health messaging, which is of course not helpful. This article in the Charlotte Observer can help you determine what’s safe and what’s just stupid. For example:
“Go into a crowded movie theater with poor ventilation and a mostly unmasked audience, and there’s a 14% chance of being infected, assuming everyone in the room is silent before, during and after the movie, according to the study data.
But if there are people talking throughout — potentially launching viral particles into the air as they do — the odds of infection when unmasked jump to 54%.
If the crowd is masked, the risk of infection drops to 5.3% without talking and 24% with talking.”
Also helpful for risk-assessment:
Where to catch Covid - and how. Our chart explained. This article has had close on a million hits in six days. @jljcolorado behind the sums.https://t.co/xYBifWmzUN pic.twitter.com/sWyH51uzYo
— Trisha Greenhalgh (@trishgreenhalgh) January 19, 2022
Alternatively, this: Hana Horka, A folk singer from the Czech Republic, died at 57 after deliberately catching COVID-19. Her son told BBC that Horka, who was not vaccinated, got infected on purpose when he and his father had the virus. Why? Her son said this would allow her access to certain venues with her area's recovery pass system.
Gotta give Meatloaf the last word: