New county directives and labor council endorsements, this week
Bill Radke reviews the week's news with KUOW reporter David Hyde, South Seattle Emerald publisher and Seattle Times columnist Marcus Harrison Green, and Q13 correspondent Brandi Kruse.
On Thursday King County Health Officer Jeff Duchin released a health directive “strongly urging all residents” to continue wearing face coverings in indoor spaces open to the public, even if a person is fully vaccinated. The directive says everyone age 5 and older in King County “should continue to wear face coverings indoors, unless a state-approved method is used to assure that all people allowed inside have been fully vaccinated.” That’s a big about face from the CDC’s recommendation that vaccinated individuals can stop wearing masks most places. Is King County being overly cautious?
Plus, on Wednesday Seattle’s MLK Labor Council held their mayoral candidate forum. Six of the race’s 17 candidates participated, and current Seattle city council president Lorena Gonzalez received the council’s endorsement. How important is that endorsement? Does the Labor Council play a big role in Seattle politics?
Also, this week Governor Inslee signed a package of 12 police reform bills into law. The bills included outright bans on police use of chokeholds, neck restraints and no-knock warrants. Republican state Senator Mike Padden called the package of bills “hostile to law enforcement”, and said that restraints on vehicle pursuits and neck restraints went too far. Inslee said the package was a “moral mandate” and that "These bills are all going to work in coordination with one another to create a system of accountability and integrity stronger than anywhere else in the nation." Is that a fair statement?
And speaking of Governor Inslee, this week a group filed five charges against the governor in an attempt to recall him. Inslee isn’t the only Washington politician people are attempting to recall right now - Seattle city council member Kshama Sawant is facing a recall campaign, and calls for Mayor Durkan to resign or be recalled have sprung back up following a series of missing text messages from last year. The Seattle Times reports that there were 434 attempted recalls across the nation last year - up 26% from the year before. What's led to this rise in recall attempts?
Additionally, last week Bill and Melinda Gates announced they were divorcing. This week we got some more information on why that might be. According to the Wall Street Journal, in 2020 Bill Gates stepped down from Microsoft’s board of directors as they “pursued an investigation into the billionaire’s prior romantic relationship with a female Microsoft employee that was deemed inappropriate.” The New York Times has reported that Gates also “developed a reputation for questionable conduct in work-related settings”, and was involved with Jeffrey Epstein in 2011, three years after Epstein pleaded guilty to soliciting prostitution from a minor. A spokesperson for Gates has denied most of these allegations. What will this mean for Bill Gates, or the Gates Foundation?
Finally, an attempt to remove the Snake River dams has been blocked by some big names in Washington’s democratic party. Governor Inslee, along with US Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell have said they won’t support the proposal put forth by Idaho Republican Representative Mike Simpson. Simpson's plan had the support of Oregon Governor Kate Brown, Oregon representative Earl Blumenauer, and many local tribes. Why did top Democrats, including Inslee and Senator Murray, break with NW tribes and the Democratic governor of Oregon?