The Seattle City Council this afternoon approved legislation tightening controls on police surveillance practices and equipment purchases. An ACLU of Washington representative urged a delay to look more carefully at Seattle Police Department provisions inserted at the last minute and to add an auditing provision.
Council members, led by public safety committee chair Bruce Harrell, declined to prolong the discussion any more, promising that the legislation would be just the start — not the end — of discussions about better regulation and privacy protections. Harrell said surveillance is important in some cases, suggesting the Council is "privy to certain information" from police about potential threats involving the Port of Seattle.
Mayor on public safety, spending
Mayor Mike McGinn joined downtown business leaders and social service providers to call on the state Legislature to expand Medicaid coverage and provide good funding for housing, substance abuse and mental health treatment. The group also asked that mental health treatment be provided for those cleared of crimes on the basis of mental illness.
Downtown Seattle Association President and CEO Kate Joncas described the joint approach as an "unprecedented" collaboration among city officials, business people and social service groups. "We have agreed on priorities that will protect public safety and make downtown a more attractive place to live, work and play,” she said.
Pot consultant picked
Washington state’s Liquor Control Board has reportedly chosen its pot consultant — it’s a firm headed by a UCLA professor, Mark Kleiman. Associated Press reported that the contract is expected to go to Botec Analysis Corp. of Cambridge, Mass.
Hailed for his advanced thinking about law enforcement, Kleiman is familiar with the Northwest. The Seattle City Council invited him to discuss public safety in 2010. At the time, Crosscut’s Kent Kammerer (who died in 2011) wrote:
Kleiman is the epitome of the pragmatist. He can tell you exactly the cost and effectiveness of most of our laws and their enforcement. He understands the cost both in human terms and dollars of how we currently handle law enforcement. His book points to ways to overcome our nation's crime failures.
Sunset Bowl: Revival?
Residents have started moving into a recently completed housing complex in Ballard, on the site of the old Sunset Bowl, which long served as a community hub for the area. Community member Jim Bristow headed the movement to save the establishment. However, as Brian LeBlanc writes in the Ballard News-Tribune today, nearly five years after the development company shut them down, Sunset Bowl still hasn't found a new home.
Developers of the new housing facility did listen to a proposal to reestablish Sunset in the new building. Other sites have been explored by Bristow, but the reminder of the loss (at least so far: LeBlanc is for making something happen) is a good one as the city faces a new building boom.
The Tennessee Titans reportedly released former Seattle Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck today. The Seahawks may well be paying attention. The News Tribune's Eric Williams writes:
No word yet on if Hasselbeck is looking for an opportunity to start, or if he’s comfortable serving as a backup on a championship-caliber team. However, if the Seahawks decide to move Matt Flynn via trade, Hasselbeck would make some sense as a backup for Russell Wilson in Seattle.
I know Hasselbeck can’t run the read option game, but the Seahawks still run a West Coast-based offense, and Seattle offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell could create packages for Hasselbeck to be successful if he had to play.
James Beard finalists
Blaine Wetzel of The Willows Inn on Lummi Island is a finalist for the James Beard Foundation's award as the country's Rising Star Chef of the Year. In the finals for Best Northwest Chef of the Year, Portland has a 3-2 advantage over Seattle. Seattle's two contenders are Jason Franey of Canlis and Ethan Stowell, Staple & Fancy Mercantile. Portland's lineup: Naomi Pomeroy (Beast), Gabriel Rucker (Le Pigeon) and Cathy Whims (Nostrana).
As The Seattle Times' Rebekah Denn notes, three Seattle writers are finalists in various cookbook categories: "The Dahlia Bakery Cookbook: Sweetness in Seattle" by Tom Douglas and Shelley Lance; "Herbivoracious" by Michael Natkin and "Modernist Cuisine at Home" by Nathan Myhrvold and Maxime Bilet.
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