Midday Scan: Mayor McGinn to DOJ: We don't need your help

Mayor McGinn's response to the DOJ refuses to acknowledge any problem with biased policing. Instead the SPD is taking matters into their own hands. Meanwhile, Ore. bans Native American mascots and Wash. gets serious about immunizations.
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Mayor Mike McGinn, seen in mid-2011 with police discussing increased nighttime patrols, is now dealing with a federal report on police practices.

Mayor McGinn's response to the DOJ refuses to acknowledge any problem with biased policing. Instead the SPD is taking matters into their own hands. Meanwhile, Ore. bans Native American mascots and Wash. gets serious about immunizations.

Political consultants earn wheelbarrows of cash for repeating aphorisms such as, "Don't answer the question you were asked, answer the question you wish you were asked." (It's sin of ommission meets the art of rhetoric.) In Seattle's pas de deux with the U.S. Department of Justice over questions of excessive force by the Seattle Police Department, Mayor Mike McGinn is avoiding the broader issue of police bias. It may be a shrewd legal maneuver to leverage a compromise with the feds. (And it just happens to align with the consultant rule to not directly answer the question you were asked.)     

"Because no pattern of biased policing was found, Mayor Mike McGinn opted not to address the issue in the city's confidential response delivered to the Justice Department on Wednesday, according to sources who spoke on condition of anonymity," the Seattle Times' Steve Miletich and Mike Carter write. "The Police Department already has launched its own reform plan, called '20/20,' for 20 changes in 20 months. Along with steps to deal with excessive force, it lists measures to curb biased policing, including improved training and data collection sought by the Justice Department."  

Native American mascots have been banned by the Oregon Board of Education. The Oregonian reports that the new policy, one of the toughest in the nation, will impact 15 or more schools (The ubiquitous "Warriors" are safe, but they'll need to change their mascots.) 

"The change has been years in the making. Back in 2006, Che Butler, a former Taft High School student, brought the issue before the school board. He told The Oregonian at the time that he was motivated to push the issues after his school played the Molalla High Indians. During the game he saw a student dressed in buckskin and fake feathers performing Native American dance moves,"  the Oregonian's Ryan Kost writes. "That sort of conduct no longer happens at the games, according to Molalla administrators. But the Indian mascot is present throughout the school." 

The U.S. Department of Defense has yet to ban Native American names attached to weapons' systems (Apache helicopters and Tomahawk cruise missiles, for example), but this Midday Scan author's campaign for a fighter jet named in honor of the Tulalip Tribes was DOA (It sounds too much like "Tulip," he was told.)

With a whooping cough epidemic, do Washingtonians require a law to force (er, encourage) immunization compliance? It seems so, especially with often highly educated parents believing immunizations dangerous or unnecessary (sorry, conspiracy theorists, what is unsafe for public health is not getting immunized.) 

"A state law that makes it tougher for parents to opt out of having their kids receive the immunizations required to attend school seems to have had an effect," the Herald's Sharon Salyer writes. "Exemption rates have dropped significantly since the law was passed last year, according to the state Department of Health."  

The ruckus over Nick Hanauer's banned TED talk is officially over. As originally reported by John Cook in GeekWire, Hanauer's focus on taxing the rich was apparently too hot for TED. As the Stranger's Dominic Holden writes, "TED head Chris Anderson says, more or less, that the talk wasn't banned — it just wasn't good enough to be chosen — and accuses Hanauer of blowing up the controversy." Ouch. 

Lastly, as the Herald's Bill Sheets reports, there is a chance that Ebey Slough will get renamed (and Marysville would prefer "estuary.") The slough's (or estuary's) namesake, Isaac Ebey, was something of a bad guy. As Tulalip tribal elder Stan Jones, Sr. observes, "Col. Isaac Ebey was a tyrant who slaughtered Native men, women, and children; fighting with guns against bow and arrows for the greed of land."  

So why not take a page from King County and preserve the name but change the namesake? King County went from a county named in honor of a lackluster U.S. Vice President from the South to a county named for the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Perhaps there is a good Ebey out there (or his mom could be the default pick.) 

Link Summary

Seattle Times"Seattle's response to DOJ doesn't address biased policing"

Oregonian, "With one of nation's strictest rules, State Board of Education bans Native American mascots"

The Herald, "New state law helps with immunization compliance"  

The Stranger "Nick Hanauer's TED talk now on YouTube"

The Herald, "Should Ebey Slough be renamed? Some say yes"



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About the Authors & Contributors

Peter Jackson

Peter Jackson

Peter Jackson is the former editorial-page editor of the Everett Herald. Follow him on Twitter @phardinjackson