Study blasts Snohomish County jail
An outside review today urged Snohomish County to make immediate changes at its jail in Everett. The Herald reports that outside experts working on the Justice Department's National Institute of Corrections found particular problems with the handling of mentally ill inmates. While the experts were visiting, they came across one mentally ill person who had been left for days in the booking area, awaiting assignment to a special housing area. "This should never occur," the report concluded. In response to repeated deaths at the jail, the county sheriff's office requested the federal review earlier this year. The county has already begun to implement changes recommended in another study, done by the Pierce County sheriff's office. — J.C.
Bad water = no food service
Some restaurants south of Seattle remained shut down after authorities found E. Coli in the area’s drinking water on Sunday. Residents of King County Water District 54 are being told to boil water for drinking, toothbrushing, cooking and dishwashing for a full minute to purify it.
District 54, which has about 5,000 customers, includes parts of Des Moines and Normandy Park. The district stretches north to south from South 212th Street to the Kent-Des Moines Road. East to west, it spans the area between Puget Sound and 14th Avenue South and includes parts of Des Moines and Normandy Park.
Officials found the bacteria during routine tests on Sunday. They told Crosscut that they hope to have drinking water back onboard sometime today after a meeting with the State Department of Health. — B.A.
Budget proposals fly
Both King County Executive Dow Constantine and Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn today unveiled their budget proposals for next year. Constantine said the budget continues his push for efficiencies and savings, including a consolidation of office space and computers, while launching a search for new ideas in mental health services. McGinn is asking the city council to set aside an additional $4.3 million in reserves (the so-called rainy day fund), while promoting new efforts on downtown safety, domestic violence and gender-equality in pay, all hot topics in his tough re-election contest with state Sen. Ed Murray. Crosscut's Bill Lucia will file a report on the city budget later. — J.C.
GMO debate heating up
It's just six weeks until state voters decide on Initiative 522, and the airwaves are filling with ads on both sides of the inititiative to require labeling of foods made with genetically modified foods. And it looks like the studies — both ways — are following. The Washington Research Council released a study last week (sponsored by No on 522) that concluded (surprise, surprise) that 522’s implementation would have an adverse affect on Washington shopper’s wallets.
The WRC looked initially at the EU’s genetically engineered food law, which bears a striking similarity to 522. It requires labeling any food where GE ingredients make up more than 0.9 percent of the total food mass. As with 522, there are exemptions, but the basic law remains similar. When the European Commission looked at the implementation of the law in 2010, their report concluded, “The introduction of the current labeling provisions coincided with a general withdrawal of products which would have had to be labeled,” as producers, fearful of a stigma that might be imposed by the labeling, switched inputs. GMO food is now scarce in the EU, though where it is available it tends to be cheaper than similar, non-GMO food. If a similar transformation were to occur in Washington state (as the result of a similar law), the WRC expects to see an increase of $360 per year to feed a family of four, and $490 after 2019 when the final parts of 522 would be implemented.
Like what you just read? Support high quality local journalism. Become a member of Crosscut today!