Art work by Noel Franklin
What, July 4 again this year?
Seattle is again scrounging for a Fourth of July fireworks sponsor. Seattlepi.com's Casey McNerthney reports that One Reel, the nonprofit that organizes the Lake Union show, is looking for $500,000 in donations. Otherwise, there might not be a show. Didn't we just go through this soap opera/farce last year? Do other communities wake up in March, realize July 4 is looming and dial 911, as a way to filch a few bucks for the patriotic booms? And do any of those communities boast corporations named Starbucks, Microsoft, Amazon ...?
A United Nations agency and former federal drug officials both asked the Obama administration today to stop the legalization of marijuana in Washington — Colorado too. The U.N. International Narcotics Control Board urged the administration to go to court to overturn the voter-approved state laws as a way to "ensure full compliance with the international drug control treaties on its entire territory." Eight former heads of the Drug Enforcement Administration warned the administration that it's running out of time if it wants to block the Washington and Colorado pot measures, according to Associated Press. Act! Quick! Before you think about tolerating any changes to a system that works so well!
Justice and police
The federal police reform monitor released his plan for overseeing changes to the Seattle Police Department's use of force. The plan included a statement praising the work of the City Council and City Attorney, but not Mayor Mike McGinn, The Seattle Times reported. McGinn quickly said the city cannot agree to anything without his say-so and pointedly included a reference to questions about the monitor's expense-reimbursement requests. City Attorney Pete Holmes, a target of McGinn wrath over his efforts to work directly with the monitor, criticized the mayor for his "counterproductive" statements.
School discipline investigation
The U.S. Department of Education is investigating possible discrimination by the Seattle School District. Investigators will look into the high rates of discipline for African American males in Seattle's schools, according to a Seattle Times report. Disparity in discipline along a number of ethnic lines is a longstanding problem in public schools, and it has received significant attention from the Obama administration.
Former Seattle School Board member Steve Sundquist, who happened to be at Crosscut today for a meeting with writers and editors on school reform, called disparate discipline "an ongoing issue of board concern." He added: "It is absolutely something that is important for us as a school district." In a number of districts, the Justice Department has negotiated reform plans; it's not clear from the initial report what role Justice, which forced the city's police reform effort, might eventually assume in any work on discipline. The state Legislature, Sundquist noted, is also working on discipline-related reforms that would limit the amount of time students lose to any suspensions.
A Gregoire appointment
Port of Seattle commissioners today appointed Courtney Gregoire, daughter of former Gov. Chris Gregoire, to fill the vacancy on the commission created when Gael Tarleton won a seat in the Legislature. Next up for the troubled port: Filling the vacancy created by the resignation of Commissioner Rob Holland. Since Gregoire is a (presumably) well-paid Microsoft attorney, she may not be a fierce advocate for fellow Commissioner Tom Albro's proposal that Port pay rise from $6,000 per year to $42,000. And, hey, at least one Gregoire got the job she wanted this week.
DelBene 'vulnerable' in 2014
The Democratic Congressional Committee today put new U.S. Rep. Suzan DelBene on a list of "Frontline" members it will help in re-election bids — basically a list of the most vulnerable members the party thinks it needs to defend in the next election. Republicans quickly distributed an email that DelBene sent to supporters calling her inclusion on the most vulnerable list "an honor," and asking for contributions. A National Republican Congressional Committee spokeswoman, Alleigh Marré, said the group shares "DelBene's enthusiasm in being named to the Democrats' vulnerable list." DelBene might be at risk if 2014 is a big Republican year, but otherwise her district should be fairly safe territory for a Democratic incumbent.
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