Washington

Slog PM: COVID Cases Down but Still High in WA, Gun Violence Rises in King County, and Yet Another Reason to Resent Joe Manchin

Over 200 employees at SPD are still protesting the vaccine mandate. Not exactly my idea of “community policing.” Lester Black

The vaccine mandates are working, generally: Washington state is seeing cases of COVID-19 drop across all age groups, “though disease remains high across the state,” the Seattle Times reports. Though vaccine numbers are “trending up,” public health officials said the hospitals are still “stressed and stretched,” and they pleaded with the public to avoid indoor events during Halloween.

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Kathy Lambert on the Jason Rantz Show. No need to say much more than that. We all know what’s going to come out of her kind of mouth: “Councilmember Kathy Lambert decries recent demotion as ‘unacceptable, dirty politics’”. (As Hannah wrote yesterday, the county council — including Lambert — voted unanimously to remove her from her committee assignments, though she resigned from them before the vote.) We also know she loves the Dark Continent. We know, therefore, what must be her favorite number. Let’s sing it, shall we: “It’s gonna take a lot to drag me away from you / There’s nothing that a hundred men or more could ever do / I bless the rains down in Africa”.

Damn, I get to go up there when I like, but you, my dear Canadian, can’t come down here to the states until November. You know what Valéry Giscard d’Estaing, the French Minister of Finance during the collapse of the Bretton Woods system, called this kind of thing? His own words were “privilège exorbitant“.

Paul Roberts, a business reporter for the Seattle Times, wasted no time suggesting that the end of “the $300-a-week in federal pandemic jobless benefits” on Sept. 4 was bringing labor back to its senses. The reporter even interviewed a “developer” who saw with his very own eyes a sharp increase in his “carpentry staff” that came with the stick of no-more-free-money. But what is this over here? New data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics? What does it show? “Workers are quitting jobs in record numbers”. Indeed, 4.3 million people left their jobs even as the jobless benefits were coming to an end. The stick may not be as scary as that Seattle developer believes.

Good thing it’s 5 inches of snow because I never ever want to be reminded of 12 inches of snow.

Is the end of the gas-powered leaf blower in sight? Sure looks like it. Why? Because the governor of California, Gavin Newsom, who has been on a roll recently, put his signature on a bill that would make the state the first in the country “to phase out gas-powered lawn equipment”. And where California goes, so goes the nation. The Washington Post, whose owner sent some geezer from a 1960s sci-fi TV show into what might or might not be space, reports that, “In 2018, Americans used nearly 3 billion gallons of gasoline running lawn and garden equipment. That’s equivalent to the annual energy use of more than 3 million homes.”

Boeing will fire you if you are not vaccinated? You best believe that. There might be some waffling at this corporation or at that one. But no way at Boeing. This company has been in the business of firing people for some time now. You only have to see the planes that fell out of the sky to know they are not playing. To mix the words of a tune from a very bad breakdance movie: There is no stopping them because no one does this firing stuff better. Fox 13 has the story.

How many employees? 67,000. And how many are unvaccinated? Just 232. What might this fact be telling us? That an empty wagon sure makes a lot of noise.

Meanwhile, at SPD, 214 cops have yet to show us their vax cards: This political grandstanding in the face of a public health mandate led the department to pull “detectives, education and training employees and people with patrol backgrounds” to respond to 911 calls, KING 5 reports. SPD instituted this “change in posture,” which is effectively a work-stoppage in protest of not having the freedom to spread a deadly disease, five days before the vaccine mandate’s Oct 18 deadline.

A lack of adequate federal and state money is contributing to the spread of gun violence: In a press conference this afternoon King County Prosecuting Attorney Dan Satterberg announced that gun violence in the county “continued to grow at an alarming pace” this quarter, and in total has already surpassed last year’s numbers. Deputy prosecuting attorney Darrah Hinton read out the report, which looked at data from 80% of the county. Between January and September of 2021, the county has seen 73 firearm homicides, 283 nonfatal shooting victims, and 1,036 shots-fired incidents. About 60% of those incidents happened outside the county. That’s a 48% increase in shots-fired incidents and a 76% increase in overall shooting victims over the four-year average.

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King County Prosecuting Attorney

Demographics show Black communities bearing the brunt of the losses: About 50% of the victims of the fatal and nonfatal shootings were Black, 81% were people of color, 85% were male, and the largest group of victims ranged in age from 18 to 24.

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King County Prosecuting Attorney

King County Councilmember Girmay Zahilay, who represents South Seattle, called for a “wholistic approach” to addressing the gun violence seen in the county and everywhere else in the country, noting a “strong correlation” between gun violence rates and low-income areas. He said he saw “no simple solution here” but added the county could use “a lot more” money to invest in basic needs such as housing, all kinds of health care, higher wages, and education. Since the state Legislature limits the kinds of taxes cities and states can impose, Zahilay called for the state to fix its regressive tax code, and for the federal government to start funding housing and behavioral health services the way it did before the Reagan administration.

Choose 180 executive director Sean Goode highlighted the fact that the county hasn’t seen a dramatic drop in gun violence over the course of the last four years, absent a “slight dip” in 2018, which tells him that “policing and prosecuting and programming are not the solution —they are a pause.” Goode said looking at the “disease of violence” through a public health lens would stop gun violence rather than merely “stop the increase in gun violence.” Make the schools, housing, jobs, clinics, community centers, sidewalk, streets, and transit lines in the poor neighborhoods look as good as they do in the wealthy neighborhoods, and then you might be getting somewhere.

Though Satterberg did express concern that SPD’s choice to change its staffing posture could lead to the cops solving fewer gun violence cases, he said lower numbers of police officers were “not among the top reasons we’re seeing this spike.” The prosecutor’s office does see evidence of “retaliatory violence” ramping up the numbers, though Satterberg didn’t sound convinced that the fighting was happening within a “rigid gang structure.” Funding nonprofits such as Choose 180, which help disrupt cycles of retaliatory violence, could help pause but — as Goode said — not stop the flying bullets.

A new round of disclosures from the “Seattle is Dying” PAC: Former Mayor Ed Murray’s tough-on-crime guy started a PAC to elect Republican Ann Davison as City Attorney, and it’s quickly filling up with Trump donors, general Republican donors, wealthy Democratic donors, bankers, and investors. The latest disclosures brings the haul up to $217,900, and includes $5,000 from Julian Whatley (Trump donor), $25,000 from Vulcan, $25,000 from Steve Gordon (Republican donor), $10,000 from Mikal Thomsen (Republican donor), $9,000 from John Stanton (Mariners guy), and $9,000 from Chris Larson (retired Microsoft exec and Mariners guy). What’s worse, spending $30 on a mean t-shirt to help bail out protestors, or spending $25,000 to elect a candidate who plans to use her power to throw more poor people in jail for petty crimes? Hard to say!

Yet another reason to resent Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema (Sinchin? Manema?): New polls show most Americans think the infrastructure bill and the Build Back Better bill won’t change their life, and more people think they’ll be worse off than better off if it passes. Washington Post columnist Greg Sargent argues that the survey reports should push Dems to “pass President Biden’s agenda as quickly as possible.”

“Who is in the city? We be in the city! All the way up!” [Eds note: With this quote, Mudede is referring to the orcas below.]

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