Midday Scan: Are guns really the only problem?

After another violence flare-up this morning, the SPD's "guns not gangs" rhetoric is put to the test. Meanwhile, is Snohomish Co. Executive Aaron Reardon playing a shell game with budget cutting measures? Will Rob McKenna's lawsuit win bolster his popularity among healthcare activists?
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Snohomish County Executive Aaron Reardon

After another violence flare-up this morning, the SPD's "guns not gangs" rhetoric is put to the test. Meanwhile, is Snohomish Co. Executive Aaron Reardon playing a shell game with budget cutting measures? Will Rob McKenna's lawsuit win bolster his popularity among healthcare activists?

People don't kill people, rather people with guns (not to be confused per se with gang members toting guns) kill people. The uptick-in-violence syllogism (including this morning's Roosevelt shooting) means that Seattle's rising tide of gun violence has less to do with gang activity than the availability of (mostly stolen) firearms. Presupposing this is correct (and logic professors are the only ones who understand syllogisms) what can be done to address the bloodletting? More community patrols and an enhanced neighborhood-watch program? Perhaps, but as Ernest Hemingway warned, "Never mistake motion for action." 

"Seattle police officials Tuesday told the City Council that the outbreak of violence through Memorial Day weekend and since the beginning of the year has more to do with guns than with gangs," the Seattle Times' Lynn Thompson writes. "Deputy Police Chief Nick Metz and Assistant Chief for Operations Paul McDonagh said that while gang activity has played a role in the 20 percent jump in homicides this year, the common denominator is guns."  

William Butler Yeats should be Snohomish County's patron poet. As Yeats wrote in The Second Coming, "Turning and turning in the widening gyre/The Falcon cannot hear the falconer/Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold." The widening gyre is being midwifed by Snohomish County Executive Aaron Reardon, who is currently under criminal investigation for misuse of county resources. Is this an appropriate time to play budget games?  

As Komo News' Michelle Esteban reports, "A showdown is unfolding in Snohomish County as superior court judges take aim at embattled County Executive Aaron Reardon's budget plan. The judges are just the latest county leaders to blast Reardon's plan to reduce the county budget. The controversy is centered around a proposal to fill a projected $5.5 million budget hole in 2013. 'I think if it's just backfilling a hole you just created. I think that's a shell game,' said Snohomish County Prosecutor Mark Roe. Roe isn't the only leader speaking out against Reardon's plan. The county council, Snohomish County Sheriff, clerk, assessor and treasurer have also put the plan in their crosshairs."   

Responding to Roe, Reardon offers a hilariously patronizing retort. "I think he's misunderstanding how taxes work and how costs work in government," Reardon said. Hence, the patron poet. "The best lack all conviction, while the worst," Yeats wrote. "Are full of passionate intensity."

The Seattle City Council has decided to weigh in on the brewing coal-port controversy. The overarching question is whether a city council resolution bolsters the cause of port opponents or simply feeds blowback from rural, job-hungry Washingtonians (consider, for example, the response to the council's infamous dam-breaching resolution in 2000.

The Seattlepi.com reports, "The Seattle City Council has declared its opposition to a coal export terminal on northern Puget Sound, in a statement almost as long as the coal trains that would pass through Seattle en route to the port. The Emerald City became part of the coal port fight last year, when Mayor Mike McGinn joined mayors of other coastal towns in a letter of opposition. The Council’s joined, its resolution containing nine 'Whereas' clauses, eight sections, and four subsets to Section Seven."   

Washington Attorney General and Republican gubernatorial candidate Rob McKenna picked up a win (sort of) when a King County judge nixed a proposed injunction to his health care lawsuit. The lawsuit, however, foreshadows a wider political debate on healthcare during this fall's gubernatorial race. For a campaign that will be won at the margins, Obamacare could be determinative.

"The order was released Tuesday, but was signed by King County Superior Court Judge Sharon Armstrong on Friday, in which she denied the preliminary injunction sought by dozens of women and the liberal advocacy group Fuse Washington," the AP reports. "McKenna, a GOP candidate for governor, joined other GOP attorneys general in the federal health care lawsuit more than two years ago. He objected to a provision that required people to buy private health insurance or face a fine. He said that mandate was unconstitutional, though he supported other parts of the federal overhaul. The women's lawsuit targeted his efforts to overturn the whole law — not just the part he disagrees with."  

Lastly, the alleged excesses of the Border Patrol in Washington have again made national news. Reporting from the Olympic Peninsula, the New York Times' William Yardley writes, "Here on this remote peninsula over the past six years, the number of Border Patrol agents has risen tenfold, from 4 in 2006 to about 40. This month, the agency is completing construction of a $10 million office in Port Angeles, a city of 19,000. The one-story building, surrounded by a spiked security fence, can house as many as 50 officers." 


Link Summary

Seattle Times, "Guns more than gangs are fueling city's violence, police say"

Komo 4, "Snohomish County leaders blast Reardon's budget plan"

Seattlepi.com, "No new coal port: Seattle city council"

The News Tribune, "King County judge denies injunction in health-care lawsuit"

New York Times, "In far Northwest, a new border focus on Latinos"





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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