« June 2008 | Main | August 2008 »

July 29, 2008

Police Murder Two More People With Tasers

Steal Groceries, Go to Jail Get Electrocuted to Death By Police.

Via Digby.

As one of Digby's commenters points out, rule of law don't mean nothin' when the precedents are situations like an African immigrant reaching for his wallet, his body getting ripped apart by dozens of police bullets, and those same police officers going free.

I'm really not sure how much more we need to know about the danger of taser guns before somebody in political power actually decides to give a damn and challenge their rampant, unregulated use.

Justice. It's a nice concept. The gap between in-theory and in-practice seems to be getting wider all the time.

Posted by shoephone on July 29, 2008 at 06:34 PM in Policy | Permalink | Comments (0)

July 27, 2008

Enviros can celebrate with ST2 on the ballot this November

I’m ready to uncork the champagne at the news that Sound Transit is going to be on the November ballot.  2008 is going to have huge turnout after eight years of hell under the Bush administration.  Thank you to Mayor Nickels and the rest of the Sound Transit Board who took the leadership this year to make transit funding a priority. 

I can hardly contain my disgust with the so called bus advocates who are bashing light rail and ST2 every chance they get – and I mean you Ron Sims.  At first blush, I can see a rationale for making an infusion of cash into local transit agencies the priority this year, when bus ridership is seeing double digit increases.  But opposing Sound Transit is not the way to make this funding a reality – especially when the city of Seattle only gets a sliver of the new transit hours allocated by Metro.  Yes, we need a big infusion of new dollars for local transit, but that tax money and that new local authority needs to come from Olympia.

When it comes to funding for transit all roads lead to Olympia.  It bothers me to no end that the legislature spins its wheels and is so incapable of creating funding for transit.  We can applaud the action of past years to allow sales tax revenue to be used for transit, such as the 2006 King County Transit Now measure.  However this local revenue only makes up for the transit dollars lost by the passage of the 1999 I-695.  What we need is leadership in Olympia that will create new taxing authority for transit districts and for cities that would like to partner with local transit agencies to create supplemental funding for transit service in their cities.  We also need a slice of the state budget pie to fund transit service and capital construction of transit facilities.  Where are the advocates for transit in the legislature?  Frank Chopp never met a social service program he doesn’t like – and frankly I don’t have any complaints that we’re a state that cares about people in need.  But that caring approach doesn’t need to translate into an inability of the Democratic majority in Olympia to do the right thing for the environment by stepping up to the plate to figure out how to fund transit.

I’m ready to roll up my sleeves and vote a big happy yes for Sound Transit.  Investing in new light rail, express buses and commuter rail are going to make such a huge difference.  If you want to be a patsy for developers like Kemper Freeman, who want to delude you into believing that the car is still king, then take the blue pill and live in your fantasy world. As for me, I’m going to continue my advocacy for an investment in all modes of transit from all levels of government.  I’m going to continue to believe that we can create a transportation system that works by driving in one new rail spike and buying one new hybrid bus at a time.

Cross Posted on The Urban Environmentalist

Posted by EzraBasom on July 27, 2008 at 11:00 PM in Policy | Permalink | Comments (0)

July 16, 2008

Doug Sutherland -- Sexual Harasser?

Blech, how I hate this story -- mostly because the details are so familiar to me, and will sound familiar to anyone who has been sexually harassed. The perps are never very original, it seems.

Goldy has posted the cringe-inducing details of incidents that occurred between Doug Sutherland, Commissioner of Public Lands, and a female college graduate who went to work in his office in 2005. Goldy's post is long, but here is just one of the statements from the alleged victim:

Jon introduces me to the commissioner. “Doug, this is [REDACTED], the new public use forester.”
I shake his hand. [REDACTED] great to meet you.”
We resume to positions in tight circle.
Commissioner reaches across circle (& Doug M.) w/ his hand & grabs my left shoulder. Feels it, then twists me around so that my back is facing him & he holds me w/ one hand & feels my back (open palmed) from my neck down to my waist, shoulders, etc. Says something about “just looking.”
I am incredulous & half-smiling w/lack of reaction & blush v. red.
Doug Mc. (I made eye contact wi/ him @ some point during the inappropriate touching) & he made a comment like “We hire them strong.” or “Strong back.”
When commissioner returned to his position in the circle he said “Could have felt… up front” or “could have felt the other side”
“Wouldn’t be right.”

Goldy raises a very relevant question: Why has the major local news media refrained from reporting this story? An investigation took place where Sutherland admits that what the victim claimed happened did, in fact, happen, although he disputes the characterization of it as harassment. More than just a couple of people in Sutherland's office knew about the incidents -- at least two other employees witnessed them. And, not surprisingly, the young woman was made to feel so uncomfortable that she resigned her post.

Wonder how long it will be before the Seattle Times or the P.I. decides to put some resources into this story. After all, since Sutherland is up for re-election against a very formidable challenger, it would seem to be quite newsworthy, eh?

Update: Well, whaddya know? The Times has the story in its Wednesday edition. It shouldn't have taken a front page post from Goldy to spur them into action -- especially since they've been sitting on the story since February -- but that's pretty much what happened. The reporter even mentions Goldy's post. I'll let you decide for yourselves whether the Times article bends over backwards to paint Sutherland as an innocent...

Score one for the blogs.

Posted by shoephone on July 16, 2008 at 01:34 AM in Candidate Races | Permalink | Comments (0)

July 03, 2008

A New Blog on the Block

In my new role as Communications Director at the Institute for Washington's Future, we've upgraded the Institute's website and will be talking about sustainability issues in the Northwest, especially as they relate to agriculture and energy. 

The Institute has also historically focused on sustainable communities and social justice.  In that capacity, we've put up a piece on a wonderful development in Snohomish County that you might be interested in, something that seems particularly important on this 4th of July weekend. 

For the last 10 months a very distinguished group of citizens from Snohomish County has been developing a proposal for a new Human Rights Ordinance to prohibit discrimination and a  Commission that would "develop and conduct educational programs designed to prevent discrimination before it occurs and to promote better relations among the County’s diverse racial, ethnic, religious, cultural and social groups.”

Snohomish County has had a series of nasty incidents over the last few years - anti-immigration, anti-gay, anti-Native American and anti-African American.  It included a cross-burning on an African American minister's lawn and flying confederate flags at a High School.   There is very good reason for the establishment of the Commission.  The very cool thing is that a group of citizens, including a huge number of law enforcement officers, decided to first propose it and then to commit to stay involved after the Commission is created. 

Posted by Lynn Allen on July 3, 2008 at 02:17 PM in Environment | Permalink | Comments (2)

Covering Darcy's Back

Goldy writes about the response to the impromptu fundraiser that the national and local bloggers kicked off yesterday to raise money for Darcy so she could have some time to recover from the terrible fire that consumed all her belongings on Tuesday. 

I've been in Darcy's house several times and much as she might say, "It's only stuff", it was very comfy, thoughtfully chosen stuff, stuff that will take quite a long time to replace.  There were walls of books, mostly political books but books on science, biographies, history, and so on.  All their clothes, in Darcy's case, carefully selected over years.  Henry's many toys.  And more computer stuff than you'd likely find in any ten other houses.  Darcy's husband, Michael, is one of the most adept software architects in the country and he has the equipment to match.  Darcy's no slouch herself and had an office jammed with equipment, software, and books on software. 

So, it's wonderful that people are helping her raise some money to give her some time to pull things together before she has to get on the campaign trail again.  Here's today's news, from Goldy as well:

Well, thanks largely to the overwhelming support of the national netroots we’ve already raised over $85,000 in just 24 hours… that’s roughly equivalent to 17 days of fundraising this time of the year. Wow. And Markos is determined to raise $150,000 in online contributions, Darcy’s entire target for the month of July.

One of the most impressive things about watching Darcy in both of her races has been her discipline in raising money.  It sets her apart from any number of other candidates.  To have such a life-altering event take place in the midst of a tight race could have been devastating to Darcy's campaign. But we all had her back.  This is huge.  There are very few candidates anywhere in the country who would have received this gift and it says a lot about how Darcy's candidacy has impacted folks across the country.

What it tells me is that Darcy is not doing this race on her own.  She is our candidate.   She is one of us, someone who might wear a t-shirt to bed that says, in geek-speak, "End the War" and then find herself outside her burned out house wearing it when she has no time to gather up anything except her son.   

Darcy said once to me, "I am just a vehicle."   Our vehicle.  She is a netroots hero, as many across the blogoshere are saying as they ask us to help Darcy out in her time of need, because she is the one of us.  She is the one who has taken it upon herself to put herself and her family through the arduous process of running for office and asking people for money to help her do that. 

So, give her a hand if you can.  It is important on so many levels.

Posted by Lynn Allen on July 3, 2008 at 09:33 AM in Candidate Races | Permalink | Comments (1)