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Tammy Morales, a freshly crowned hygiene maven. LESTER BLACK
“Think you’ve had the worst year ever? Trying [sic] living in Washington state in 2020,” that’s how a funny and insufferable post from the New York Post starts today. The article overviews our first COVID-19 case, then murder hornets, CHOP, wildfires, etc., and includes “a round-up of the bizarre misfortune and heartbreaking loss that’s plagued [our] pocket of the Pacific Northwest during this year from hell.” I laughed while reading it, but come on. There are so many shittier states.
Trump will open almost half of Alaska’s Tongass National Forest up for logging and other development, according to a notice posted today. “As of Thursday, it will be legal for logging companies to build roads and cut and remove timber throughout more than 9.3 million acres of forest — featuring old-growth stands of red and yellow cedar, Sitka spruce and Western hemlock,” writes the Washington Post. This “is one of the most sweeping public lands rollbacks Trump has enacted.” The White House declined to comment. This is all very very serious, but can I just say I always see “Tongue Ass Forest” when I read Tongass Forest. Would love to visit.
Something to look forward to: A new katsu place is expected to open up in Capitol Hill in February 2021. Please, let me just go to sleep and wake up in February. Regardless of this election’s outcome, I’d love to leapfrog over the next few months and awake with my face in a bowl of Japanese fried chicken and gravy.
We now know the identity of the insider who wrote the 2018 anonymous op-ed that was critical of Trump, published in the New York Times, and then later a book titled “A Warning”: It’s Miles Taylor, a former chief of staff to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen.
Donald Trump is a man without character. It’s why I wrote “A Warning”…and it’s why me & my colleagues have spoken out against him (in our own names) for months. It’s time for everyone to step out of the shadows. My statement: https://t.co/yuhTgZ4bkq
— Miles Taylor (@MilesTaylorUSA) October 28, 2020
Amazon says you don’t own titles you purchase on Amazon Prime Video: What you’re getting is a limited license for “on-demand viewing over an indefinite period of time.” There’s a lawsuit going on, per The Hollywood Reporter:
Amanda Caudel in April sued Amazon for unfair competition and false advertising. She claims the company “secretly reserves the right” to end consumers’ access to content purchased through its Prime Video service. She filed her putative class action on behalf of herself and any California residents who purchased video content from the service from April 25, 2016 to present.
On Monday, Amazon filed a motion to dismiss her complaint arguing that she lacks standing to sue because she hasn’t been injured—and noting that she’s purchased 13 titles on Prime since filing her complaint.
With prices that match the cost of physical copies, why not just, uh, pull out that old DVD player?
Hold the phone: I’ve got Stranger staffer Nathalie Graham on the line with some updates on the Seattle City Council’s budgeting process. Take it away, Nat.
Welcome to the next phase of the budget: The Seattle City Council is spending the week identifying which issues they want to stick in the final 2021 budget. Each issue item brought forward this week had to have support from at least three council members. At this stage, other council members can sign on as co-sponsors of bills they like. Today, the council went through issues related to several city departments. I was going to list them all, but there are too many. The council will discuss even more issues tomorrow and Friday.
Although it wasn’t scheduled for discussion, Sawant brought up Green New Deal funding today: Mayor Jenny Durkan’s proposed budget hit the Seattle Green New Deal where it hurts (its funding and staffing). Today, Councilmember Kshama Sawant proposed a $20 million budget commitment to weatherize homes, get them off gas hook-ups, and to work to electrify buildings, as per Green New Deal goals. However, Sawant didn’t identify a clear source of funding. She proposed increasing the JumpStart Seattle tax rate (well, she said “Amazon Tax” tax rate, but Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda’s JumpStart Seattle tax is the bill that passed), using money from defunding the police by 50%, or anything else council members proposed that was “progressive.”
The Night Mayor might come back from the dead: Councilmember Andrew Lewis won’t stand idly by and let Durkan metaphorically slit the throat of her nighttime competition, AKA defund his position. Lewis and co-sponsors Herbold, Strauss, Morales, Sawant, and Pedersen supported restoring funding to the Office of Economic Development (OED) to keep the “strategic advisor for nightlife advocate” (or Night Mayor) around since the nightlife industry has been impacted the hardest by COVID-19.
Significant support for street sinks: This grassroots DIY sink program addresses the dearth of hygiene access across the city for the unhoused. The budget measure, sponsored by Morales, will cost an estimated $58,000 to install 63 sinks citywide. Mosqueda remarked how impressed she was by the relatively low cost for a critical hygiene solution. Herbold called herself the council’s former “hygiene maven” and said she was proud to see Morales take up her mantle. Congrats on the new title, Morales. Herbold, Sawant, Lewis, Gonzalez, and Strauss will co-sponsor.
The hygiene maven strikes again: Morales also sponsored funding to expand the city’s purple bag program, otherwise known as homeless encampment trash pick-up, by $286,000, which will expand it to 30 sites. The program will begin focused on areas in South Seattle.
Gonzalez is backing full funding of the deportation defense fund:
Right now, we are discussing fully funding the City’s Deportation Legal Defense Fund. This item is one of my top priorities in this budget cycle, keeping Seattle’s commitment to funding deportation legal defense at what we have committed to since I passed this leg in 2017
— Council President M. Lorena González (Seattle) (@CMLGonzalez) October 28, 2020
Potpourri: Finally, two quickies. Strauss wants to add an advocate for farmers markets to the OED and expand the city’s tree ambassador program. Morales is trying to create a little chess-focused park (little chess tables, a giant chess board on the ground) on an “on underutilized right-of-way” in the Rainier Beach Neighborhood.
Okay, that’s it. See you tomorrow.
Minneapolis’s long-running alt-weekly City Pages is dead: The abrupt closure comes after owner Star Tribune Media Co. said it couldn’t sustain the costs of running the paper, citing a sharp decline in advertising revenue due to coronavirus-related business closures. A staff of 30 people will lose their jobs, reports the Star Tribune. The closure is immediate. The paper has been around since 1979 when it started as a monthly music newspaper called Sweet Potato. City Pages was also the first publication I ever worked at, where I got assignments to cover queer nightlife. This news really sucks.
Support your local
paper blog today, please and thank you: Just like Ann tweeted.
Election time is a reminder I wouldn’t be nearly as informed a voter, if not for @TheStranger . Breaking up the teeth grinding (sometimes tears) with laughs at the same time: Invaluable.
What in the fucking hell, from the Star Tribune:
The Minneapolis police union put out a call this week for retired officers to help serve as “eyes and ears” at polling sites in “problem” areas across Minneapolis on Election Day, at the behest of an attorney for President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign.
The request was made by William Willingham, whose e-mail signature identifies him as a senior legal adviser and director of Election Day operations for the Trump campaign.
The Trump campaign’s strategy sure seems to rest on voter intimidation and disputing results. The email mentioned above wrote that “Poll Challengers do not ‘stop’ people, per se, but act as our eyes and ears in the field and call our hotline to document fraud.” Combine this activity with the Trump campaign’s recent alleged voter intimidation in Pennsylvania, and it seems like the campaign is working up its own fake news to discredit election results in key states.
Philadelpiha MUST HAVE POLLWATCHERS!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 27, 2020
Fun Fact: Earlier this year, we sketched out an entire week’s worth of Slog features devoted to clouds. We were ready to roll out “Cloud Week” right at the beginning of June, but then, well, CHOP happened. And then the world kept being on fire. And now we live under a fall-winter omnicloud. But we talk about Cloud Week nearly every day. It’ll happen… eventually… I swear it’s Slog’s Infrastructure Week. Anyhow, look, a cloud:
Anybody else see these fun Lenticular clouds over Mt. Rainier yesterday? 😍
Keeping up with the last week of the Psychotronic Challenge: Doing a little throwback here, but on Sunday the challenge was “HEY BABY, CAN YOU DANCE TO IT?,” and I had to pick a psychotronic movie that had “at least one substantial dancing scene in it.” I chose The Rage: Carrie 2, directed by the craptastic Poison Ivy director Katt Shea, and, wow, that final sequence is something else… [embedded content]