The Stranger, Seattle's Only Newspaper: Slog: Visual Art - Seite 2

Homepage  Xml - Vorschau mit Bildern

Big Business Wants a Three-Year Tax Break
The City projects JumpStart will raise $290 million in 2023 and $311 million in 2024. That would all be lost under the proposed holiday. by Hannah Krieg As the City discusses how to bring in more progressive revenue to fill its ever-growing budget hole, Seattle’s biggest business players proposed a way to protect their profits: suspend the JumpStart payroll tax for three years and, for new businesses, suspend the city’s Business and Occupation tax (B&O). In a letter to the Mayor and his executive leadership, the Downtown Seattle Association, the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, and the Commercial Real Estate Development Association called on the City to “do no harm” by promoting a “robust economic recovery downtown,” which they predict will continue a downward spiral over the next couple of years.  The letter framed business interest as that of the public. If the City doesn’t pause JumpStart—allowing big business time to recover, or reactivate, or revitalize, or whatever—Seattle will face a cliff in funding in the coming years since downtown brings in almost half of the City’s tax revenue. There’s one small (read: glaring) flaw to their proposal—if the City cuts JumpStart and B&O to prevent the budget gap business is apparently so concerned about, Seattle would lose out on hundreds of millions of dollars in progressive revenue creating, you guessed it, a budget gap. JumpStart Is Good, Actually JumpStart raised an impressive $231 million in 2021, the first year big businesses started paying the tax. Council Member Teresa Mosqueda, who championed the tax, said JumpStart enabled Seattle to “preserve and deepen much-needed investments in childcare, housing stability, and climate resilience,” while other cities across the country struggled with layoffs and cuts to city services.  The City projects JumpStart will raise $290 million in 2023 and $311 million in 2024. That would all be lost under the proposed holiday. Additionally, B&O taxes account for 21% of the total general fund revenue. The City forecasted B&O will bring in $335 million in 2023. As Mosqueda said in an email to The Stranger, the City could pay for the entire annual Police Budget with that money.  Mosqueda does not think now is the time to raise less and spend less money. After all, local governments that increased government spending during the 2008 Great Recession saw “swifter economic recoveries and lower unemployment,” she said.  Business Doin’ Business Even with Mosqueda defending the taxes, the suggestion could point to trouble for the future of progressive revenue.  The chamber’s CEO and weird letter signatory Rachel Smith currently sits on the Progressive Revenue Stabilization Work Group. The Mayor’s Office and Mosqueda designed the work group, which convened in October, to find new progressive revenue streams to make up for a huge budget shortfall and avoid a future of total austerity. When the task force initially started the discussion, Mosqueda and others expressed relief to have business on board. The cooperation felt like a good omen after the sector refused a seat on the 2018 progressive revenue task force and eventually hammered in the nail on the head tax’s coffin. The letter could be a hit to that initial optimism.  Katie Wilson, General Secretary of the Transit Riders Union and work group member, called the proposal “bad policy.” It's so obviously bad that Wilson chalks it up to a “disappointing political move,” to stake out an extreme bargaining position for when the task force releases its recommendations and the real decision-making starts later this spring. By starting out so anti-tax, business interest can try to force a “compromise” that would funnel JumpStart revenue into the general fund to make up for the shortfall instead of raising new progressive revenue, Wilson speculated. Again, while that’s good for profits, Wilson said that proposal also sucks because it would cut funding to JumpStart’s intended targets, including affordable housing, Green New Deal investments, and small business development. Wilson may not be far off. In an email to The Stranger, Smith said she’s focused on “how we use the City’s current revenues” and “budgeting practices.” Sounds a lot like putting JumpStart into the general fund and looking for inefficiencies to avoid more taxes.   The letter also asked the City not to establish transportation impact fees or building emissions performance standards, ideas the council is currently toying with. As a powerful lobby, business and real estate interests will likely influence those conversations.  Separating the Business Candidates from the Less Business Candidates Business interest planted its flag in the far edge of the sandbox, which will give clueless business candidates running for City Council a better idea of what policies they should promote. In interviews with The Stranger, many candidates got super fucking weird about anything related to taxes. District 1 candidates Rob Saka and Preston Anderson, District 3 candidates Alex Hudson and Joy Hollingsworth, and District 2 candidate Tanya Woo avoided signaling support for any new progressive taxes or increases to JumpStart. Saka and Hudson specifically deferred to the promised recommendations of the work group.  I asked all the candidates who gave wishy-washy answers about progressive taxation if they support granting businesses a three-year holiday on JumpStart.  D3's Hudson said bussiness' proposal does not make sense for a “viable, equitable, or prosperous city,” that desperately needs to invest in “transformative solutions,” particularly in affordable housing, which JumpStart is supposed to fund.  “We need to stay the course on JumpStart, which was settled years ago. I think this is a non-starter that if adopted would result in worse outcomes for everyday Seattleites,” Hudson said in a text.  After initial publication, D3's Hollingsworth told The Stranger that pausing JumpStart "would actually hurt our city's recovery, and make the fluctuations of the current economy even worse for our community."  D1's Anderson said the current tax structure is "imperfect," but should JumpStart should be protected and funneled to its intended areas. In a change of tone from an earlier interview with The Stranger, Anderson said he wants to work with the state to adopt more progressive taxes. Saka and Woo did not respond to request for comment.  This story has been updated since its original publication.

PNB's Boundless Delivers on Its Promise
Watch three ballets push the boundaries of dance in wildly different ways. by Rich Smith Pacific Northwest Ballet's Boundless, which opened on Friday and runs through the weekend, featured three different contemporary choreographers premiering different ballets that all pushed the boundaries of the form in wildly different ways. In my unhumble opinion, to varying degrees, a couple of the pieces could have used a liiiiittle more time in the shop. But watching the company's dancers breathe life into new roles for the first time made for an exciting evening that's well worth your time—especially if you take advantage of the pay-what-you-can Thursday deal I keep screaming about. But first, a gripe. I'm tired of seeing every piece of art through the lens of the pandemic—just as I was tired of seeing every piece of art through the lens of the Trump administration even before the country elected him—but some stuff is so big that it's inescapable, as evidenced by the fact that I literally contracted COVID while writing this review. (Consider this your exposure notification, Friday's audience. Sorry!!! For what it's worth, I didn't start experiencing symptoms until Monday. And I could have picked it up anywhere—I've been a bad kid all month.)  Anyway, all of that is to say that I couldn't stop myself from noticing the theme of a kind of Janus-faced renewal winding through these new pieces from Penny Saunders, Jessica Lang, and Alejandro Cerrudo. Each ballet looked back even as it leapt forward, and each featured characters questioning their place in the world in this moment when we're past the peak but still recovering, still trying to reconnect or find new connections. PNB, for instance, has been up and running for a while now, but it's still at nowhere near pre-pandemic attendance levels, according to a letter from Executive Director Ellen Walker in the program.  That idea resonated most strongly in Saunders's Wonderland, but how could it not? The piece first premiered digitally during PNB's 2020 plague season, and for this performance, she adapted it for the stage. In the show, dancers in Melanie Burgess's sleek, circusy costumes bust through the 4th wall. They pop out of the orchestra pit, hand-jive beneath the curtain, float up the aisle, and dance in the box seats. It's a free-for-all, a performer's rumspringa. Even principal dancer Dylan Wald, who's been out with an injury, made his return with a fun bit in the first section.  But in that box-seat-dancing moment, lights threw the dancers' shadows onto the stage curtain as weepy music from Jean-Philippe Goude played. The passage recalled the pandemic's many shades—the dances not danced or else danced alone, the friends not made, and, of course, the COVID dead themselves.  In another scene, dancers wheeled around spotlights onstage, shining them at one another and at the audience, underscoring the anxiety of returning to the work of performance and the work of being in the audience.   All eyes on you. Angela Sterling But just because I couldn't get the pandemic out of my head while watching Wonderland doesn't mean everyone else will suffer the same affliction. This stage version also works wonderfully as a ballet about the uncertainty, loneliness, and otherworldly beauty that attends the life of a performer. Though the piece was enthralling, I did miss some of the spectacle and surprise contained in the digital production, but, luckily for us all, that version still exists.  The evening's second show, Cerrudo's new Black on Black on Black, leads me to another gripe: I resent social media platforms and their influence on life in general, but I couldn't help seeing this ballet as a particularly elegant TikTok feed.  Cerrudo breaks the bounds of the art form by literally shifting the stage's borders. Curtains, scrims, and rigs fly up and down and left and right, as if some invisible thumb were swiping up for the next post. (Kudos to the stagehands, who executed the quick transitions flawlessly.) Like TikTok, the content inside the frames was both connected and disjointed. And, like TikTok, I had no idea what was going on but I loved every second of it. The piece began with approximately 10 or 15 dancers in black Matrix outfits sprinting all over the stage. Then the borders started to shift, and we started witnessing classic Cerrudo scenes, with women in colorful costumes and men in black melting all over each other in hopelessly romantic, super-fluid duets. He also tossed in a couple surreal set-pieces, including one where a bunch of dancers lined up across the stage and then slid corps de ballet dancer Yuki Takahashi in between their legs. In the last three minutes or so, the vibe fully shifted from sensual fluidity to a sexy-goofy springtime hoedown as Timber Timbre's "Demon Host" played.  Noah Martzall, pictured here on the right, turned in an incredible performance on Friday. KRISTEN MARIE PARKER On opening night, it was easy to pick a standout: Corps de ballet dancer Noah Martzall captivated with an athletic, vulnerable, funny, nervous solo in the spotlight toward the end. He only danced for 15 seconds or so, but he packed so much dynamic movement into it. Stunning, perfectly executed acrobatic duets from Christopher D'Ariano and Leah Terada, and also Luther DeMyer and Elizabeth Murphy punctuated the night as well.  The abrupt tonal shift at the end followed by a sudden closure made Cerrudo's ballet feel unfinished to me, but even that made sense within the TikTok framing. TikTok never ends, you just shut it down and accidentally drop your phone on your face when the dopamine hits drop off.  Jessica Lang's Let Me Mingle Tears with Thee looked like a church full of those big, velvety Renaissance paintings brought to life.  See what I mean? Angela Sterling The ballet emerged from an 18th-century treatment of a 13th-century Latin hymn called "Stabat Mater." The first half told the story of Mary mourning her son on the cross, and the second half sprang to life with the joyous celebration of Christ our Lord.  A buttoned-up religious piece featuring a giant cross felt like a real sharp turn after the sensual frenzy of Black on Black on Black and the dark, introspective magic of Wonderland, and so it probably would have hit me harder on a different night. After all, choral music and hymns crack open my heathen soul, and Soprano/PNB piano player Christina Siemens sang like a mountain thrush.   But programming choices aside, the ballet felt like the most complete premiere onstage that evening, and some of the scenes were just jaw-droppingly gorgeous. The decision to cast all the dancers as both Mary and Jesus drove home the idea of radical empathy that wove throughout the dance, and it broke boundaries in the sense that it disrupted the expectation of single dancers playing single characters onstage. In this way, everyone onstage and in the hall shared Mary's grief and Christ's pain—and their joy, albeit one haunted by sacrifice. 

Stranger Suggests: Cherry Blossom Festival, Spelling Bee 2023, 'The Apple,' Hear Me Talkin' to You: Womxn & Blues, Algiers and Party Dozen
One really great thing to do every day of the week. by Charles Mudede Wednesday 3/22 Douglas Smith with Marcie Sillman (BOOKS) Douglas Smith, a historian and translator who lives in Seattle, will discuss tonight his translation of the first three volumes of Konstantin Paustovsky's six-volume autobiography, The Story of a Life, which was published in Russian in 1943. According to Smith, the massive "work moves forward less by the dictates of chronology and more by the power of memory." What this means is it's a work of literature rather than a simple (or straightforward) document of a life that experienced the Russian revolution of 1905, the revolution of 1917, the First World War, multiple jobs, and the emergence of society that claimed one of the two key political legacies of the 19th century: the labor movement that began in England. Konstantin Paustovsky was nominated for a Nobel Prize for Literature in 1965. All of this is fascinating and worth checking out. (Elliott Bay Book Company, 1521 10th Ave, 7 pm, free) CHARLES MUDEDE Thursday 3/23 WNDR Museum           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Andy Arkley (@andy_arkley) (VISUAL ART) The Seattle outpost of the WNDR Museum opened its doors this week, bringing to Seattle more than 20 interactive, technology-as-art installations. The almost 13,000-square-foot space on Alaskan Way has Yayoi Kusama's oversized and sparkly yellow and black Starry Pumpkin, an immersive light and sound exhibit by Leigh Sachwitz that uses light and sound to replicate a passing thunderstorm, and an interactive infinity room called Hyper Mirror. There's also a new piece from Seattle's own Andy Arkley. Titled "You Can Do Most Anything," the large installation is a vibrant display of colorful shapes—flowers, squiggly lines, eyes, a cat—all dotted with lightbulbs, which visitors can make flash and dance to music via a control panel. Will there likely be droves of tourists battling their way through the space to take millions of videos for social media? Yes. Is it worth checking out anyway? Absolutely. Take a deep breath. Take your time. You'll be fine. (WNDR Museum, 904 Alaskan Way, daily noon-9 pm, $22-$50, all ages) Friday 3/24 Linoleum (FILM) If you’ve ever wanted to see a goofy Jim Gaffigan act in his own version of Donnie Darko alongside the great Rhea Seehorn, then you’re in luck—that is what is in store in Linoleum. Placing us fully in the mind of Gaffigan’s Cameron, we discover how he has always wanted to do something more with his life. He tried to make a go of it as a children's science show host but has little to show for it. Following some strange occurrences, Cameron decides to build a rocket in his garage. As he throws himself headlong into this dream, this surprisingly reflective film becomes utterly unbound from any and all expectations to drift into something more expansive. It is one of those works that takes some mighty big swings and, when all is revealed, the visually striking conclusion taps into a wavelength that transcends time itself. (SIFF Cinema Uptown, 511 Queen Anne Ave N, various showtimes March 24-27, $14) CHASE HUTCHINSON Saturday 3/25 Cherry Blossom Festival (SPRING) In Thursday's Stranger Suggest, I told you about the WNDR Museum, the new space on Alaskan Way that's stocked with nearly 20 interactive and Instagrammable art installations. Well, here's another immersive experience from the OG artist herself, Mother Nature. (Sorry, couldn't resist.) For decades The University of Washington's cherry blossom trees have been Seattle's sweetest signal of spring. Go see them! Even if you have before! Something happens in the brain when you look up at the delicate, blush-colored petals. They kickstart your synapses and shake your sense awake from winter's harsh hibernation. Dozens of U District businesses are offering specials to celebrate the season, too, so when you're done basking in the beauty of the trees, wander down to the Ave and its surrounding blocks for pink custard croissant taiyaki at Oh Bear Cafe & Teahouse or a Cherry Milk Tea from Xi'an Noodles. The UW's tree experts predict the blossoms will reach their peak bloom in early April—you can keep an eye on their status via Instagram and even a campus livestream. (Various locations in the U District through April 2) MEGAN SELING Sunday 3/26 King/Snohomish County Regional Spelling Bee 2023 (SPELLING) I love freaks. And some of the best freaks in the world are children who can spell not only regular words but very, very hard ones, words composed of letters that tell you next to nothing about how the word sounds. This gift recalls in my mind that spooky child who, in Andrei Tarkovsky's Stalker, can move and bend a spoon on a dinner table just with the power of their child mind. Where did this incredible power to spell so bloody well come from? Certainly not from the classroom. It can only be supernatural. This spelling bee will involve the best wee sorcerers attending schools in King and Snohomish Counties. (Town Hall, 1119 Eighth Ave, 1 pm, free) CHARLES MUDEDE Algiers with Party Dozen (MUSIC) Atlanta quartet Algiers fuse bombastic, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds-style rock with equally bombastic, gospel-adjacent vocals by Franklin James Fisher. Their intensity nearly always pushes the needle into the red, but the music can sometimes descend into ponderousness. However, on Algiers' best early tracks (“The Underside of Power,” “Animals”), they hit like a heavyweight Northern soul band with a degree in political science. On the new Shook LP, Algiers imbue their songs with more electronic embellishments and energy, making it their most exciting record yet. As agitational and critically acclaimed as Algiers are, they may get upstaged by Australian duo Party Dozen. Saxophonist Kirsty Tickle and percussionist/sampler-manipulator Jonathan Boulet chisel rock into jagged electronic sculptures that smack you upside the head with invigorating impact. Party Dozen's sonic DNA can partially be traced to arty Oz brutalists such as feedtime and Birthday Party, but with hardly any vocals, a stronger instinct for abstraction, and more powerful technology behind them, Tickle and Boulet have become their own gravitational force. Get to the club early. (Madame Lou's, 2505 First Ave, 7:30 pm, $18, 21+) DAVE SEGAL Monday 3/27 The Apple (FILM) When I watched The Apple for the first time, I went into the experience without prior knowledge of the plotline, aside from hearing this cult classic was wonderfully fucked up. Naturally, I was in. It’s like The Rocky Horror Picture Show was impregnated by Jesus Christ Superstar and gave birth to Xanadu. The disco-musical tickled my senses with flamboyant dance fantasies, '70s glam rock, and plenty of kaleidoscope effects. It initially began as a musical take on George Orwell’s 1984 (in Hebrew), but producer Menahem Golan transformed the script into an overwhelmingly excessive rock opera. Why? I don’t know! At its core, The Apple is a biblical analogy about good versus evil, but it hasn’t always been viewed that way. The musical has been likened to a Christian scare film and is actually pretty problematic in 2023 terms. Good thing it came out in 1980 so we can still laugh! It’s giving drama. It’s giving sci-fi. It’s giving me spicy thoughts about Catherine Mary Stewart! Love it or hate it, The Apple is a fever dream that never really goes away. (Central Cinema, 1411 21st Ave, various showtimes March 24-29, $12) BRITTNE LUNNISS Tuesday 3/28 Hear Me Talkin' to You: Womxn & Blues (MUSIC) Hear Me Talkin’ To You is a five-part showcase that aims to amplify the stories, songs, and voices of womxn and non-binary artists through blues and blues-influenced music. Tuesday’s Royal Room show will feature powerhouses Julia Francis, Shaina Shepherd, and Maya Marie. If you’re familiar with any of these names, you already recognize the magic of this lineup. Francis’s music is deeply rooted in the blues legacies of women like Billie Holiday and Bonnie Raitt. She identifies as a healing practitioner, and this energy radiates through her music. Inspired by Nina Simone’s lyricism and activism, Shepherd belts heartfelt stories of love, loss, and personal power. Her hit “Harambee” (which means “put all together” in Swahili), is just one example of the intention Shepherd uses to shape her music. A Seattle blues icon, Maya Marie has an unforgettable ambiance whose soulful voice will kick a beat into your heart. Can the Royal Room possibly contain this much power? Find out Tuesday! (The Royal Room, 5000 Rainier Ave S, 7:30 pm, $20/$25, all ages) BRITTNE LUNNISS

Solaris Is About a Black Woman
'Solaris' runs June 14 through July 9 at Book-It Repertory Theatre. by Charles Mudede The astronaut arrives at a space station above an ocean that almost entirely covers a planet called Solaris. The ocean, which was discovered 100 years before, might be one giant organism that has some form of consciousness, and the space station that orbits it houses three scientists. The arriving astronaut is Kris Kelvin, a psychologist. His journey from Earth to So laris took 16 months. He needs a shower. But the space station is a mess, and one of the researchers, his mentor Dr. Gibarian, committed suicide just hours before he docked. One of the remaining two scientists, Snaut, appears to have gone mad; the other, Sartorius, is locked up in his cabin. A window provides a view of the extraterrestrial sea. The novel, Solaris, is by Stanisław Lem, a Polish science fiction writer who lived long enough to express an opinion of Steven Soderbergh’s Hollywood 2002 adaptation of it. He did not like the movie, nor did he much care for the 1972 Soviet, but art-house, version by Andrei Tarkovsky. (He called the greatest director of the 20th century a durak—idiot.) It seems both directors missed what the author thought to be the deepest point of the novel. For the majority of the novel’s professional commentators it’s expressed in this exchange between Snaut and Kelvin, whose mind has been sent spinning by the presence of his dead wife, Hari (or Harey), on the space station—she died young on Earth; she committed suicide because Kelvin no longer loved her: We head out into space, ready for anything, which is to say, for solitude, arduous work, self-sacrifice, and death. Out of modesty we don’t say it aloud, but from time to time we think about how magnificent we are. In the meantime—in the meantime, we’re not trying to conquer the universe; all we want is to expand Earth to its limits. Some planets are said to be as hot and dry as the Sahara, others as icy as the poles or tropical as the Brazilian jungle. We’re humanitarian and noble, we’ve no intention of subjugating other races, we only want to impart our values to them and in return, to appropriate their heritage. We see ourselves as Knights of the Holy Contact. That’s another falsity. We’re not searching for anything except people. We don’t need other worlds. We need mirrors. The ocean—or whatever that living, turning, rising, and falling thing is—is unknowable because all humans can really know is a human universe. We do not explore the stars. We can explore only ourselves. We did not land on the moon; we landed on our words, dreams, and passions. And our belief that mathematics is the language of the universe is nothing but foolish. Newton or Einstein or Hawking didn’t have access to a form of knowledge that’s nonhuman, that’s truly out there, that will continue to be true long after the sun expands and sterilizes earth. Numbers—like language, like the passions—don’t transcend the limits of our form or manner of thinking, which, as the German philosopher Kant pointed out long ago, is shaped by the way the human (and animal) mind is fixed to order events in space and time. Solaris’s living sea appears to have a mathematical system (if it can be called that) that humans, who have been visiting and writing about the strange planet for generations, cannot crack. This is the standard reading of Solaris, and aspects of it can be found in both movies, which represent the sea as mysterious. Are humans experimenting on the alien, or is it the other way around? Why do the dead among the scientists appear on the ship? Tarkovsky certainly goes as far to see the space station’s specters (or “guests”) as projections of human memories. In this way, he returns to a key theme in his most important work, Zerkalo (Mirror). Soderbergh’s version emphasizes the beloved Holly wood trope of the broken family (think Close Encounters of the Third Kind). His Solaris is about the sea mysteriously reuniting Kelvin with Hari—and he grants them a child, but all of this in an alien form (think A.I. Artificial Intelligence). But the heart of Lem’s novel is not found in the famous declaration, “We don’t need other worlds,” but in the elucidation (or clarification) of the passage it concludes, which is the description of the first “guest” who Kelvin sees in the space station. I stood rooted to the ground. From the far end of the side passage, a huge Black woman was coming toward me with an unhurried waddling gait. I saw the whites of her eyes glinting, and at almost exactly the same moment, I heard the soft slap of her bare feet. She had nothing on but a skirt that glistened yellow, as if it were made of straw.  She had massive pendulous breasts, and her black arms were as thick as a normal person’s thighs. She passed three feet from me without so much as a glance and walked off, her elephantine rump swaying like one of those steatopygic Stone Age sculptures found in anthropological museums. At the place where the corridor curved, she turned to the side and disappeared into Gibarian’s cabin. This Black woman does not appear in Tarkovsky’s movie (she is replaced by a young and white woman in a dainty night- ie) or in Soderbergh’s, though the latter does have a Black woman on the space station (she is played by Viola Davis; she is a scientist, Dr. Gordon). The Black woman in the novel has two appearances: the one in the passage, and one next to the corpse of her host, Kelvin’s mentor Gibarian. Very little is written about this striking figure, the steatopygic Black African. Most scholars, like the directors, want nothing to do with her. But without her, the novel and mirror passage (which is really not about mirrors) makes little sense. All meaning is found in her sudden and brief appearance.  What she makes clear is the guests on the station are not tied to their hosts romantically or directly. Gibarian has certainly never had a romance with the kind of woman exhibited in anthropological museums. Some have speculated that she is Gibarian’s dark sexual fantasy. The old white scientist really wants to fuck a large Black woman, the ur-female. Another interpretation reads her as a spook—meaning the function of her largeness and Blackness and distinct un-Europeaness is to give white readers a jolt of fear. But these interpretations miss the mark. Lem was not, on both accounts, so vulgar; his goal as an artist was to create works that stood high above pulp science fiction. Reread the mirror passage carefully and fit it with the first description of the Black guest and this becomes clear: the novel is about the science of colonialism.  What do humans really want on Solaris? Is it something as metaphysical as mirroring human Dasein or even to do with God, who Kelvin goes on and on about when his reason finally collapses? No. The scientists are there because their discipline is not about accumulating knowledge for knowledge’s sake. Another aspect of the novel missing from both movies (though it is hinted at in Soderbergh’s) is the cost of the station and the endless experiments on Solaris. Indeed, humans are losing interest in the planet because it’s busting the budgets of several space agencies. This connection of colonization with scientific research is indeed the subject of a 1979 book, Science and Colonial Expansion: The Role of the British Royal Botanic Gardens, by Lucile Brockway. As I have written before, Britain’s Kew Gardens wasn’t just about the accumulation of knowledge; it was, at its core, about “the commodification of the powers and properties of plants.” To better understand steatopygic Black women, one should not turn to the stars or look in mirrors but instead read Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness. Kelvin is that novella’s Captain Marlow, and Gibarian is its Kurtz, the ivory trader whose mistress is, significantly, a nameless “savage and superb, wild-eyed and magnificent” Black woman.  And this finally gets me to the point of the article. Will Book-It Repertory Theatre’s adaptation of Solaris, written by David Greig, follow the films and exclude Gibarian’s Black woman and focus on the metaphysical mirrors mumbo jumbo? Or will it be true to the real-word substance of the novel, the colonization of space, and the imperialism of science? I do not want to find out until the curtains open. See Solaris June 14 through July 9 at Book-It Repertory Theatre.

End Washington’s Racist ‘Superpredator’ Laws
The law was based on a since-debunked myth about "super-predators," and it perpetuated systemic racism in the courts. by Judge Theresa Doyle (Ret.) I am a retired King County Superior Court judge, writing in support of Engrossed House Bill 1324, now being considered by the Washington State Senate. The proposal would end the practice of automatically sentencing people to longer prison terms because of crimes they committed as children.  The current law is based on the 1990s myth of the irredeemably violent “superpredator” child, a term applied disproportionately to Black kids and to other persons of color. Brain science showing that juveniles tend to have less judgment and maturity than adults has since debunked the myth. As a long-serving former superior court judge, I have seen firsthand the racial disproportionality and deleterious, unjust effects of automatically lengthening a person’s sentence because of crimes committed as a youth. Here’s how the current law played out in one of my cases. There were young men, 19 and 20, whose struggling, hardworking but overwhelmed immigrant parents were unable to keep them out of the gangs that dominated their neighborhood. They stupidly got into a dangerous shootout with another gang, resulting in an opposing gang member getting shot in the leg. By then, the two had racked up many prior offenses as teenagers, and their gang activities had understandably caught the attention of law enforcement. The prosecutor in my case charged each with multiple offenses and sentencing enhancements which, together with their juvenile criminal records, resulted in mandatory 43-year and 50-year prison sentences. Recognizing the injustice and senselessness of these nearly life sentences, I was able to later revisit their cases (because of an anomaly in the law) and reduce their prison terms to 20 years each. But the vast majority of those similarly situated are stuck serving sentences that were automatically lengthened because of offenses committed as youths. Teens and young adults, as we know from recent brain science, tend to make poor decisions because of impulsivity, peer pressure, and difficulty appreciating consequences. Gang involvement, as in the case of my two young men, is the quintessential juvenile criminal conduct. Gang activity is largely driven by peer influence and the desire to belong; as well as by poverty, lack of social services, and the effects of racism and disinvestment in minority neighborhoods. Courts recognize the reality that “children are different,” with malleable minds that are not yet developed, making them less culpable for their behavior. What adult doesn’t know that teenagers are immature, poor at making choices, and will likely “grow out of it?” The Minority and Justice Commission strongly supports ESB 1324. The Washington Supreme Court created the Commission to address racial disparities and inequities in our legal system, jails, and prisons. The Department of Corrections reports that relative to the overall prison population, Black and American Indian and Alaska Native people are significantly overrepresented among those with a juvenile felony record. These racial disparities should be a concern to all Washingtonians, especially judges. In the wake of George Floyd’s death, in 2020 the Superior Court Judges Association joined the Washington Supreme Court justices in acknowledging the role of courts and judges in creating systemic racial injustice. Judges collectively committed to dismantling systemic racism. ESB 1324 is a step toward making good on that promise. No doubt, ESB 1324 will result in resentencing hearings, estimated in number between 800 and 1,500. The associated costs to our superior courts would warrant an additional legislative appropriation. But these small administrative concerns should not outweigh the moral imperative of correcting past injustices and fixing a broken system. Theresa Doyle is a retired King County Superior Court Judge and Co-chair of the Washington Minority and Justice Commission Legislation and Rules Committee.

Splitting the Savings
Instead of being ashamed of Daylight Saving Time, let's celebrate it. by Anonymous I’m tired of everyone complaining about Daylight Saving Time and having to change the clock on their dumb old microwave ovens.* If we’re going to continue using a standardized, clock-based scheduling system, the LEAST we can do is acknowledge that nature does not adhere to that system.  The Earth rotates on a tilted axis, OK? Unless you live on the equator, winter days are shorter than summer days. Changing our clocks twice a year to reflect reality seems only reasonable. Think of it as a compromise with the Sun. MEANWHILE, why don’t we make it a special occasion? Rather than burying the time change at 2 am on a mid-month Sunday morning—like we’re ashamed of it—let’s CELEBRATE Daylight Saving Time every vernal and autumnal equinox. We can change our clocks at sunrise in the spring, and sunset in the fall.  *We don’t even have to change the clocks we use most: our phones. How lazy can you get? Do you need to get something off your chest? Submit an I, Anonymous and we'll illustrate it! Send your unsigned rant, love letter, confession, or accusation to Please remember to change the names of the innocent and the guilty.

Slog AM: Boats Burn in Lake Union Blaze, a Frothy Starbucks Union Rally, Japan Beats US in Important Baseball Game
The Stranger's morning news roundup. by Nathalie Graham Ship Canal blaze destroys about 30 boats: At around 2 am, a fire started at a Lake Union boat-storage facility. Flames climbed nearly 70 feet in the air. Over 80 firefighter units sprang into action. After about three hours, they controlled the fire. Lots of boats did not make it. Someone found one "approximately 40-year-old man" in a nearby boat, and paramedics took him to the hospital. Police say they'll investigate him. Check out these otherworldly pictures:  BREAKING: 40+ boats are damaged or destroyed after a massive fire in Seattle.The fire near the I-5 Ship Canal Bridge is under control.Gas/oil may be leaking into South Lake Union.@FarahJadran is LIVE on @KING5Seattle with updates. — Jake Whittenberg 🎥📺✌️ (@jwhittenbergK5) March 22, 2023 Starbucks workers plan venti-sized demonstration: According to a press release from Starbucks Workers United, workers plan to rally outside of Starbucks HQ to demand livable wages, respectful workplaces, and the right to organize without getting (allegedly and actually) union-busted by their coffee overlords. The protest comes a day before the local coffee chain's annual shareholder meeting and right as new CEO Laxman Narasimhan takes the wheel from Howard Schultz, who will be busy next week in the Senate HELP Committee testifying against union-busting accusations. Landlords can look at tenant criminal history: The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued a mixed ruling in a landlord-led lawsuit against 2017's "Fair Chance Housing” ordinance. The law sought to reduce housing discrimination by preventing landlords from checking the criminal records of prospective tenants. Now they can look up your record, but they cannot refuse to rent to you once they find whatever they find. A lower court will now suss out things further. Thank you, spring gods: The weather will abide by the calendar for today, with temps reaching a balmy 60 degrees. Tomorrow, however, you can get fucked, says the weather, which will yank us back into the 40s and 30s and make our seasonal affective disorders short circuit.  Another nice day in store today with highs near 60. BIG changes by tomorrow with rain, heavy mountain snow, a few thunderstorms, and lowering snow levels. High temps fall to the 40s for the next few days with lows in the 30s. #wawx — NWS Seattle (@NWSSeattle) March 22, 2023 Two dead in West Seattle bridge crash: An 18-year-old man and woman died early Wednesday morning in a car crash after a pickup truck reportedly drove the wrong way on the West Seattle Bridge.  Oof, it's a violent morning in the Puget Sound area: One man is dead and another is injured after a shooting at Gasworks Park last night. One person is dead and a cop is injured after a shooting outside an Everett Fred Meyer. A fire in Everett seriously injured three people.  Is this biblical? Someone tell me if the Book of Revelations mentions anything about a pod of dolphins washing ashore in New Jersey and dying. This happened to eight dolphins this week, and it doesn't sit right with me. No one, let alone a majestic dolphin, should have to die in New Jersey. Update in the Ballard shooting: The King County Medical examiner ruled that the woman who died during a shooting involving three sheriff's deputies died by suicide. The woman, who went by the name Eucytus (Eucy for short), died from a gunshot to the head. Eucy was in the midst of a months-long battle with her landlord and allegedly owed over $6,000 in back rent. The Stranger's Ashley Nerbovig has more context on the shooting here.  Inmates flee Virginia jail: Two prisoners dug their way out of a Virginia jail using primitive tools such as a toothbrush to chip away at their cell wall. After the hole was big enough, the escaped. Authorities found and apprehended them shortly after at an IHOP. Hopefully they at least got to tuck into a Cinnestack or two before the sun set on their escape.  Bomb cyclone slams California: In the latest insane weather event to hit California this winter, a bomb cyclone is wreaking havoc up and down the entire state. Intense wind and rain buffeted San Francisco to the point of overwhelming 911 lines. Santa Cruz County is a mess. Snow keeps falling in the Sierra Nevadas. Southern California doesn't know what to do with all this rain. My brother texted me yesterday asking how we deal with this type of shit constantly in the northwest. They're losing their minds without the sun down there. But, also, I can't minimize these storms. One meteorologist described the winds as "a scorpion’s tail descending from the sky." From a meteorological standpoint, this is one of the most impressive radar images of the decade in my opinion. Landfall of a powerful extra tropical cyclone in San Francisco, complete with an eye wall (that had lightning in it before). Crazy! #CAwx #wxtwitter — Michael Steinberg (@MichaelWX18) March 21, 2023 Oklahoma wants to out trans teens: The Oklahoma State Legislature is close to passing a bill that would require schools to alert parents of any "gender identity changes" in students, thus potentially outing students to their parents and whittling away one of their last safe spaces in a world that is increasingly hostile to their existence. Laws like this are already in place in Florida and Alabama. It's bad out here in the "land of the free." In other Oklahoma news: The state's supreme court walked back part of Oklahoma's near total abortion ban today. The court ruled abortion could be okay if the pregnancy risks a pregnant person's health. Previously, the ban only allowed abortions in the event of medical emergencies.  Our story begins where all good stories must: A mix-up in a Dutch warehouse. JPMorgan Chase believed it had purchased $1.3 million worth of nickel from the London Metal Exchange. Unfortunately, these bags of nickel were simply bags of stone. If JPMorgan had a nickel for every time this happened, well, at least it would have some nickel.  World Baseball Classic ends in dramatic fashion: Japan beat the U.S. 3-2 in the World Baseball Classic final yesterday. The craziest part was that the game was decided by Shohei Ohtani, a dual-threat pitcher and hitter on par with the likes of Babe Ruth, striking out all-time great Mike Trout on a full count. This is particularly fun not only because both these guys are powerhouses, but because they're teammates on the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (but also fuck the Angels). Anyway, sports is poetry, and here's what this moment sounded like on the Japanese broadcast:  AS CALLED ON JAPANESE TV: — Timothy Burke (@bubbaprog) March 22, 2023  

The Greatness of Queen Latifah's The Equalizer Is Its Unapologetic Wokeness
You must never ask what "woke" means. The word has no meaning in a specific sense; it is better understood as a general feeling. by Charles Mudede President Joe Biden issued his first veto yesterday. Here's what CNN said about it: President Joe Biden issued the first veto of his presidency Monday on a resolution to overturn a retirement investment rule that allows managers of retirement funds to consider the impact of climate change and other environmental, social and governance factors when picking investments.  This is what the Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy had to say: In his first veto, Biden just sided with woke Wall Street over workers. Tells you exactly where his priorities lie.Now—despite a bipartisan vote to block his ESG agenda—it’s clear Biden wants Wall Street to use your retirement savings to fund his far-left political causes. — Kevin McCarthy (@SpeakerMcCarthy) March 20, 2023 As you can see, "woke," which began as an attack on Black Americans (the source of the expression), now also includes Wall Street portfolio managers who appreciate the hard science of climate change. Consuming fossil fuels without the end of our (human and only) world in sight is, apparently, not woke. The elasticity of this word is so extraordinary that a conservative commentator, Bethany Mandel—who makes a living (hard cash money) from describing the evils of wokenness culture on our impressionable children—collapsed into incoherence when asked on Rising, a show streaming on news website The Hill, what exactly is "woke"? For conservatives, "woke" is one of those sneaky, snaky, snobby "gotcha questions." You must never ask what it means. The word has no meaning in a specific sense; it is better understood as a general feeling. Woke was a positive term used by folks (mostly black) who wanted to be aware of things larger and more important than themselves and their own experiences but is clearly just a slur when used by Bethany Mandel and others. There's no reason to pretend otherwise. — @ijbailey (@ijbailey) March 15, 2023 But an answer to the question the host of Rising, Briahna Joy Gray, asked the author of the money-making Stolen Youth: How Radicals Are Erasing Innocence and Indoctrinating a Generation can actually be found on CBS's popular TV show The Equalizer, which is now in its third season. Queen Latifah is the star of the show. She plays a former US intelligence warrior who now offers her services to New York City's powerless citizens. Latifah's is the third incarnation of a character, McCall, introduced in the mid-80s, though it was clearly inspired by a TV show, Callan. In the 1970s Callan made the first McCall, Edward Woodward, a huge star in the United Kingdom and its former colonies. Denzel Washington took the second McCall to the big screen in 2014. As for woke? One only needs to watch episodes 10 ("Do No Harm") and 11 ("Never Again") of The Equalizer's third and current season. Episode 10 has two stories. One story is about a mother whose child has a rare medical condition that her insurance is unwilling to cover, and she cannot afford. Her daughter will die because the richest capitalist society in the world has imposed a scarcity of cash on almost all of its population. The second story is about an aunt (McCall's sister-in-law) who decides to show her niece (McCall's daughter) the rich tradition of gumbo. The desperate mother grabs the gun of an absentminded hospital security officer, takes hostages, and demands a surgeon operate on her dying daughter. The aunt introduces her niece to a Black restaurant that has, to her shock, forgotten how to make authentic ki ngombo for two reasons: the death of a Black matriarch and gentrification.  Episode 11, "Never Again," is about a neo-Nazi group that, along with churning out comic books, is planning an attack on a synagogue. In this episode, we learn about the background of one of the show's key characters, a hacker named Harry Keshegian (Adam Goldberg), from a Rabbi who nearly had the life beaten out of him by neo-Nazis.   As you can see, all of this is very woke stuff. "Do No Harm" is woke about the US's obviously broken health care system; woke on the importance of preserving Black traditions in a whitening city; and also woke about the plight of Muslim immigrants (watch the episode to see this bit of wokeness for yourself). As if matters weren't woke enough, the aunt at the center of the McCall family is a lesbian. The episode "Never Again" is woke about the persecution of Jews, and points directly to Charlottesville (“Jews will not replace us!”). And there are at least two exchanges between key characters that attempt to make one cause of the historical struggles of Black Americans and Jewish Americans. (This unification is, by the way, the true essence of Spike Lee's 2018 film BlacKkKlansman.)  As you can see, this and much, much more in Latifah's The Equalizer is what is meant by woke. And the right's appropriation and reevaluation of the phrase must be taken seriously. Until the late 1970s, the word "Black" was as negative as woke is today. Black magic, blacklist, black sheep, and so on. A whole political and arts movement (Black is Beautiful) was needed to reclaim Blackness from the dark of white supremacy. As Black recedes, woke (a Black English expression) emerges. And so for the GOP (or America's right), everything that's positive in The Equalizer (LGBTQ rights, universal health care, racial harmony, multi-culturalism), simply becomes Black again.

The Parents Don’t Want Shelter. They Want Sweeps.
Parents from the nearby John Stanford International School call for an immediate sweep, regardless of shelter availability. by Hannah Krieg The King County Regional Homelessness Authority (KCRHA) has assured concerned community members that the agency is working to shelter residents of the ship canal bridge encampment, but parents from the nearby John Stanford International School no longer give a fuck about getting the camp residents into housing.  In a protest on Friday, parents said the homelessness that landed people in tents under a bridge in the first place wasn’t the issue. The issue was gun violence, fire, and drug use at the encampment (which exists because people can’t afford a home, just saying). Some parents used that framing to argue that KCRHA must sweep the encampment immediately and treat residents like “any other criminal '' by jailing them for using drugs and firearms. KCRHA’s encampment “resolutions” take much longer than one morning of cops and City employees ripping away belongings from unhoused people, busting up their community and their sense of stability, and kicking encampments around the city in a demented, unyielding game of Whack-A-Mole.  While the City certainly still conducts daily sweeps without much in the way of outreach or shelter referral, the KCRHA has been trying to push the conversation forward on sweep reform. But the continued political pressure from neighborhood-watch types could hamper efforts to move away from sweeps, especially under the looming threat from the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) to eventually issue a trespass order against unhoused people who refuse shelter referrals.  In the case of the ship canal bridge encampment, there’s not much room for KCRHA to make concessions to the parents. A rule attached to the state funds the authority receives for removing “right-of-way encampments” like the one near the school requires outreach workers to refer all residents to non-congregate shelters.  But the authority is working under a deadline. According to a letter from WSDOT, the site will close by the end of March. That deadline gives KCRHA and outreach workers another week-and-a-half to make offers to all of the remaining 14 residents. An outreach worker familiar with the site said that’s a realistic deadline–so long as units become available.  On Friday, the spokesperson for the KCRHA painted a clear picture of the lack of shelter. Outreach workers had no tiny home spots, only three non-congregate shelter options, a handful of spaces specific to women and families, and 8 congregate beds available for referrals in all of King County. As you can imagine, there’s more than one site competing for these spots, and outreach workers have told The Stranger in the past that the sweep-of-the-day typically gets dibs on whatever shelter space is freed up for that day.  One of the few counter-protesters on the bridge showed up to make an important announcement. HK Still, the population at the camp has dropped from 30 to 14 since November. One outreach worker said he knows of two people who left the site because of a shelter referral; the rest just went somewhere else on their own volition. The timeline on a proper “resolution” entirely depends on when shelter space opens up, which happens either when someone exits homelessness, gets kicked out of their spot, or just decides to go back outside. The outreach worker said there’s no clear average for how many shelter beds crop up each day. He said, unfortunately, the only way to set a hard deadline is to order a sweep. The KCRHA has repeated time and time again that they don’t “sweep,” they “resolve” encampments. The authority’s insistence pisses off anti-sweep advocates, who still see cops regularly carrying out sweeps, and it pisses off the people like the parents at the Friday protest, who don’t see cops chasing out homeless people often enough. “It should have happened yesterday,” Emily Houston, a protester and parent to a kindergartner, said of the removal. She and other parents called for an immediate sweep, regardless of shelter availability.  But pushing people from their encampments does not actually get unhoused people off the streets. They don’t just disappear, as much as some of the protesters may wish they would.  Without adequate shelter referrals, authorities often sweep encampments a block or two away from their original spot, so it's unclear if the parent advocates would even be satisfied with the location of the next inevitable nearby camp.  With this in mind, I asked another parent, Phil Klatte, where the residents should go. He said that his gripe with the homeless encampment has nothing to do with homelessness, but rather crime. If someone has a gun a block from a school, he said the conversation should be about arresting that person, not referring them to shelter. A small counter-protester presence stood along the bridge Friday morning. One sign read, “sweeps kill.” The counter-protester declined to comment, but other housing advocates reacted online to the parents’ demonstration.  This is a photo of wealthy people who DGAF about the survival needs of people in their community. We shouldn’t accept people living in tents. And the solution is NOT “not by me” but demanding Housing+ Services+ Progressive Taxation. That’s how people with humanity would respond — Paul "Why are golf courses valued ₵ on the $?" (@PoulChapman) March 17, 2023 The KCHRA spokesperson seemed to have some hope for more shelter opening up. In a Friday morning email, she said the authority has nearly finalized contracts to open up 113 units of emergency housing. One of those buildings is expected to open its doors to clients this week.

Floating on a Sea of Vapors
Sea of Vapors opens at Museum of Museums June 2. by Jas Keimig When I first saw Emily Counts’s work, it hit me like a tidal wave. I remember the moment clearly—I went to studio e gallery during the vaccine-less summer of 2020. The gallery was hosting a joint show by Ko Kirk Yamahira and Counts and there were so many beautiful pieces to take in. But what caught—and kept—my eye were two of her ceramic vases in the back of the space. One was painted a lacquered chocolate color and the other a matte pink. Both had round handles on one side and golden symbols sprinkled all over. Their handles intertwined as if the vessels were bravely holding on to one another, facing the future. Titled “Making Love,” the work’s simplicity is exactly what made these two objects feel alive. Not only alive but in love. I wanted to cry.  Immense excitement flooded back to me as Counts welcomed me into her studio, a low-ceilinged space on the bottom floor of another artist’s hilltop Fremont home. Light streamed in through the space’s only window, making her vibrant ceramic apples, flowers, arms, and heads scattered around the workroom pulsate with life. These bits and pieces of sculptures will fit together to form the bulk of her upcoming show, and her largest exhibition to date, Sea of Vapors. The show is an ambitious exploration of time, decay, self, and the women in her life, but it also marks a truly impressive expansion of Counts’s already intricate and incredible art practice, a mark of an artist on the grind to grow and traverse new areas of creativity. “Lately, a lot of artwork that I’m making is about transformation—growth and decay—within the natural world and how I see that process within our bodies reflected back in nature, so I’m working with wilting flower forms and these sort of bitten or decaying fruits,” she said. “I’m thinking about beauty and the process of aging, both in nature and within human bodies and within my own body.”  Brooke Fitts Born and raised in Seattle, Counts left the soft mosses of the Pacific Northwest for the mists of the Bay Area to attend California College of Arts and Crafts. There, she picked up a degree in painting but soon found herself limited by the form. She began experimenting with other materials like wood and foam when one idea led her back to ceramics, and slowly, the medium became her primary focus. After spending some time in Portland, Counts eventually made her way back to Seattle, where her ceramic practice has grown to one that consistently exceeds expectations of what the medium can do. “[Counts] just keeps expanding and developing,” said Dawna Holloway, director of studio e and Counts’s representation in Seattle for the past several years. “She is voracious in her ability to have an idea to get excited about, exploring that idea, and then producing an extremely bountiful amount of work.”  Brooke Fitts Counts’s work consists of references to childhood, the natural world, and her own personal life. Her compositions are surreal, yet playful—nothing is quite as it seems. Looking at her creations reminds of me reading tarot cards. With both, there’s a divination and magic inherent to each card or sculpture. Counts’s spindly spiders and cobwebs? The duality of childhood joy (Charlotte’s Web) and fear (fangs!). The droopy, larger-than-life flowers? A subtle hint at her past life as a florist. Phones, chains, interlinked vessels? Connection or disconnect. She undeniably has her own codex of symbols that appear throughout her work that won’t inhibit your understanding, but add to it.  For example, witches—or wizards, as Counts sometimes likes to call them— consistently pop up. They are dressed in cozy-looking sweaters, decorated with colorful flowers, and sometimes donning intricate crowns. She often nestles tinted light bulbs into these powerful figures, giving them a lamp-like glow that extends their bodies onto the walls and table, but their faces are all rearranged—a nose where a mouth should be, eyes stacked on top of one another. “It’s just me trying to find something that’s beautiful,” she explained. “It’s my search for an aesthetic positioning of the features that are more interesting.”  Brooke Fitts Though her femme figures are fantastical, they are all directly inspired by the women in Counts’s life—her mother, her grandmother, her great-grandmother, her late best friend, herself. She integrates her loved ones’ hairstyles into her work, like her great-grandma’s tight curly perm or her own blunt bangs. But more broadly, Counts sees these witches as specific women in her life who are magical and artistic, qualities they’ve passed down to her.  “It filtered down to me both in an emotional and genetic way to create the identity I have as an artist, my passions, my abilities,” she said.  These illuminated witchy, wizard figures served as a major inspiration for her upcoming show. Counts has been working on this exhibition for the past year and it’s an ambitious vision, incorporating not only ceramics but soft sculpture and video art. It’s also Counts’s largest—and most immersive—show to date. A challenge she’s ready to take head-on.  Brooke Fitts The True Space at Museum of Museums will be divided into two rooms. In the exhibition’s main room will be an enormous boat carrying 10 passengers who are on a journey through time outside of time. Each of these passengers is nearly life-sized—directly inspired by the same women in Counts’s life—with bodies made of ceramic, wood, colored acrylic, and tinted light bulbs. Some have vampire fangs for eyes, others are seated and holding flickering candles. Some have wooden, geometric, leg-shaped pedestals for their ceramic torsos, others are draped in hand-dyed velveteen cloaks that make them appear all the more impressive. With them are their possessions, like soft sculpture fruits and flowers, as well as other objects like oversized ceramic lipsticks.  The boat is aimed toward a smaller room where a grandmother wizard queen is waiting for her visitors. From a sketch Counts shared with me—Counts meticulously sketches her projects before making them—this sculpture will be double life-size with a massive flowing dress, a giant crown made of flowers, and thorns with a spider emblazoned on her abdomen. The loose narrative, she told me, is that these 10 figures are on a journey to see this queen who “embodies a great wisdom, as if they’re going to meet a part of themselves.” While it’s not really the afterlife, it’s not not the afterlife. Boats are symbols of eternal voyages, after all. Brooke Fitts “There is a matter-of-factness [to her pieces]—a look inside her world, her brain, and her experience that is immediately communicated to the viewer,” MoM director and fellow artist Mary Anne Carter wrote to me over email about Counts’s work in Sea of Vapors. “Visual art is almost always an attempt to relay something that words fail, and she manages to deliver that message in a way that feels both immanent and expansive.”  Looking at these figures in Counts’s studio left me in a quiet, reflective state; there’s a strange, attractive power to the way she’s shaped the figures’ hands and bodies, a specificity to their faces and hairstyles. And the color! Sea of Vapors is colored in shades of deep yellow, peach, mauve, lavender, bright orange, gold luster, and hints of denim blue. It’s a dreamy combo. Brooke Fitts “One of my least favorite words is whimsical,” said Counts as we examined her Sea of Vapors figures. It’s a word that’s often used to describe her work and, at first glance, one could mistake her sculptures—brightly colored, adorned with flowers, feminine—as put together with whimsy. But look closer and you’ll see it’s just the opposite: thoughtful, curious, grounded in memory with a sense of place. There’s a real heft to Counts’s work that’s thrilling to take in. “[Sea of Vapors] is really about this composite figure that holds myself and holds these other women that are so meaningful to me,” she said. “I always hope, despite it being so personal and about my own experience, that there’s a lot of places people can attach to or connect with.” See Sea of Vapors at Museum of Museums June 2 through December 31.  Brooke Fitts

Preserve Chinatown or Fuck Over Transit Riders Forever?
Should we preserve Chinatown in the face of white supremacy or fuck over transit riders forever in the face of deadly car culture? by Hannah Krieg Sound Transit board members only have two days left to weigh the importance of convenient regional transit in the face of climate catastrophe against the health of the last active Chinatown in the Pacific Northwest. On Thursday they vote on a measure to lay out the way to bring light rail to Ballard and West Seattle, which will either involve plopping a major transit hub on 4th Avenue in the Chinatown International District (CID) or building stations farther outside the historic neighborhood. Though conflict over the best route to take led to a delay on the decision last year, King County Executive Dow Constantine said he’s not interested in delaying the once-in-a-civilization decision again, as any dithering would cost the agency millions. As discussions continue, elected officials keep coming out in support of routes that delete the promised Midtown station in First Hill and skip over the CID, a neighborhood that seemed all but destined to host the huge transfer station following voter approval of the light rail extension in 2016.  At first, Constantine, who holds a powerful role as chair of Sound Transit’s board, signaled his approval for a relatively new proposal to build the light rail station near the County jail downtown instead of in the CID. In an email to The Stranger, his spokesperson said he prefers a different placement that would see one station north of the CID and another to the south of the historic neighborhood. Then, last Thursday, Seattle City Council Member Tammy Morales, who represents the CID and South Seattle, sided with cultural preservation groups such as Puget Sound Sage and CID Coalition, who support those north-and-south locations.  Transit enthusiasts and some CID community groups said they feel “hoodwinked” by the seemingly sudden approval of plans that would make for a worse transit experience, while others sighed in relief at the thought of sparing a vital neighborhood from further gentrification, displacement, and a decade of construction.  So, uh, who’s right?  A History  After Sound Transit’s board ruled out the idea of placing the station on 5th Avenue over concerns of wrecking Chinatown with construction, last July they delayed a decision on the issue in favor of continuing study and seeking community feedback on a “4th Avenue shallow” plan and other, unspecified concepts to “maximize benefits while minimizing costs and impacts.” The board did not consider those “unspecified concepts” in earnest until January, during the fourth and final Sound Transit workshop on the matter. At that meeting, the agency introduced three additional new ideas from the community that cut the Midtown station and placed the station outside of the CID. They dubbed those ideas the “North & South placement,” the “North of CID alternative,” and the “South of CID alternative.” On Thursday, the board votes to decide which of these “preferred alternatives” to advance to the next phase of study and review. The public will have a better idea of where the board members stand based on the amendments they propose in the agenda that will come out ahead of the meeting. 4th Ave Shallow Unlike the other plans, the 4th Avenue shallow route includes a station in First Hill, which would end up being one of the busiest stations. Sound Transit Urbanists on Twitter lost their collective shit when both Constantine and Morales endorsed paths that skip the CID. Transit advocates argue that the North & South placement and the North of CID plan will make for a much worse transit experience compared to the 4th Avenue proposal. As Stephen Fesler wrote in the Urbanist, snubbing the 4th Ave proposal would constitute a “serious blow to the transit system and forever punish transit riders.” In their eyes, Sound Transit should do right by riders instead of building in predictable inconveniences. We only have one shot to get it right.  Here’s their argument for putting a major transit hub on 4th Avenue: South Sounder and Amtrak: Urbanists argue that casting aside a plan to put a light rail station right next to the South Sounder and Amtrak would be a huge missed opportunity for integrating those networks.  South and east: Skipping CID complicates travel from anywhere south of SODO to the east side. For example, if a rider wanted to go from a southern station such as Sea-Tac Airport to an eastern station such as Redmond, they would head north on the 1 line to the “North of CID” station, and then walk to Pioneer Station to catch a train on the 2 line, backtracking south and then east. No direct path to CID: Urbanists pointed out that the “North of CID” and “North & South” placements would sever the direct connection riders currently enjoy between South Seattle and the CID because Sound Transit would need to split the spine of the existing Link. If the agency approves a South of CID station, that would drop off riders closer to the stadiums, about a 10-minute walk away from the existing CID station. It's even worse in the scenario where Sound Transit builds only the North CID station. Riders coming from the south would have to ride past the CID to the North station and then transfer to the Pioneer Square station, which would be a six-minute walk, according to Google Maps. Then the rider would hop on the train again to backtrack south to the existing CID station.  Connecting Midtown: The other plans do not include a Midtown station. According to Sound Transit, that station would serve an estimated 15,500 daily riders, making it one of the most-used stations in the system. It would finally connect First Hill residents, and also make it easier to reach hospitals by light rail.  The environment: To boil down the issue to “convenience” over community sort of underplays the stakes, said Amy Chen Lozano of Transit Equity for All. Poorly connected transit will push people into cars despite the dangers they present to drivers, passengers, pedestrians, wildlife, and the environment.  Public benefit: Moreover, Lozano argued that Sound Transit is poised to continue its legacy of systemic racism by investing in an “empty” downtown and depriving a transit-dependent community of color of vital infrastructure. She and others speculate that the light rail station would bring more people to the CID to support the neighborhood's economy. North and South Circled the north and south placements in orange because there's a lot going on in these maps. Sound Transit But neighborhood preservation groups, who support the North & South placement with the powerful endorsements of Morales and Constantine, have concerns: Displacement: Neighborhood preservation groups fear that a new regional hub would raise property values, drive up rents, and price commercial and residential tenants out of the neighborhood. Plus, there’s no plan for affordable housing on the 4th Avenue site, especially without first putting a lid over the station. By contrast, the North & South station would give the County the opportunity to develop nearby public land for affordable residential or mixed-use transit-oriented development. The extent of the disruption: For the first two years, we'd see a partial closure of 4th Ave and a full closure of a little of Seattle Blvd. Bus routes would be affected, and traffic will spill out into Chinatown. Sound Transit Disruption: According to Sound Transit, building the 4th Ave station would increase congestion on 1st Avenue South, 6th Avenue South, and Maynard Avenue South. Neighborhood groups worry that traffic would drive down business and make it more difficult for emergency vehicles to respond to calls from the CID. This would also affect 100 active bus routes and the streetcar, according to the agency.  “Benefits”: Christina Shimizu, the Executive Director of Puget Sound Sage, called the argument that the light rail would bring more business to the CID upon completion “capitalist and cynical.” She continued: “The CID is more than boba chains and businesses on a lease. It is a network of relationships and community that has stayed connected and intact in a neighborhood over generations. And if you displace that, you can't replace it. It can't come back.”  Mitigation is tough: Morales said the City, the County, and Sound transit could pump as much public benefit into disruptive infrastructure projects as it can, but she does not believe the government can “mitigate displacement.” State law prohibits cities from enacting rent control and gifting public funds that could help businesses and neighbors keep up with lost profits and rising costs. That said, the City could set up some sort of means-tested grant program to work around the public funds rule. Overstating design flaws: Shimizu disputes claims that the North & South placement would cut off access to the CID for South End riders. She argues those riders could still get to the CID by hopping off at the station to the south of the CID, though she acknowledged that the North & South placement would not grant such easy access to Amtrak and the Sounder. White supremacy: Shimizu acknowledged the convenience of the plan to drop a big new station on the CID, but she said the unwillingness to “make trade-offs” on the ease of transit for the sake of preserving a historic, minority neighborhood amounts to white supremacy. Money: This isn’t really a concern from those neighborhood groups, but it's worth noting that the 4th Avenue shallow plan is the most expensive proposal at an estimated $3.1 billion. About $700 million of additional cost would fall on "third-party funders," which probably means the City of Seattle. The City would only have to cough up $160 million for the North & South placement. I asked the Mayor’s office about Mayor Bruce Harrell’s preference and his budget for the project. His spokesperson responded, but he did not answer my questions. Harrell's on ST board so I asked how he will vote, how much money he's willing to make the City pay (the 4th Ave would require more from Seattle), and if he would support delaying the vote for further discussion. Here's the response: — Hannah Krieg (@hannahkrieg) March 16, 2023 HOWEVER: The board can decide how much third parties must contribute to the project simply by changing the baseline cost they’re starting with. Right now, the board is using the estimated cost of the long-forgotten 5th Avenue alternative as its baseline, and any cost above that line falls onto third-party funders. King County Council Member and Sound Transit board member Claudia Balducci wants to reconsider that starting point. Sound Transit should commit to paying for a “buildable” option at minimum, and everyone agrees that “culturally and historically and equitably” the 5th Avenue option was “not buildable,” she said. If the board adjusts the baseline, then it can save some costs for a third party such as Seattle. The Vote Sound Transit board members don’t have much time left to parse through all the arguments before the vote. As of last Wednesday afternoon, just a week ahead of the region-altering decision, Balducci said she did not feel ready to pick a preferred alternative because she sees both sides the argument: 4th Avenue shallow makes for more convenient transit, but the CID has “unique neighborhood concerns” that “probably outweighs all of this.” But even with the new proposals throwing her for a loop, Balducci said she has not heard any plans to kick the vote down the line again.  “We do reach for the delay lever very readily when it's time to make a hard decision. I feel that it's important to get it right, but it's also important not to get stuck in the paralysis of analysis,” Balducci said. “There is a real appetite on the board to move forward.”

Slog AM: Another WA City Criminalizes Homelessness, Apple Health Members Could Lose Coverage, and Is Trump Getting Indicted or What?
The Stranger's morning news roundup. by Hannah Krieg The majesty of spring: Enjoying the weather, Seattle? We’ve got another nice day ahead of us, according to the Weather Channel. Temperatures will inch up from the upper 40s to the low 50s throughout a mostly cloudy morning, but come 3 pm you can expect mostly sunny skies and temperatures peaking in the mid 50s. Oh, and the sun will set at approximately 7:23 pm. Today’s the day! Former president Donald Trump expects a New York grand jury to indict him today. If he’s right and the grand jury decides he broke campaign finance law when he paid out porn star Sormy Daniels, then Trump would be the first U.S. president ever to face a criminal charge, which is wild. Like, the first one? Really?? Stay tuned! Jan 6 Two: Electric Boogaloo: Trump called his supporters to spring into protest should he be indicted. He's got cred from sparking an insurrection following the 2020 election, so cops in major U.S. cities are preparing for potential mass mobilization of right-wingers. New York City has ordered every single NYPD cop to suit up and standby, Capitol police in Washington, D.C. declared a state of emergency, and Los Angeles cops expect a protest outside the city’s federal building. So far, not much to report of ACTUAL action. The AP sort of called that earlier this week as Rich noted in Slog AM yesterday, but maybe they’re all sleeping in for the big day ahead or something! Wow! It's a beautiful morning. It's always been my dream to sip coffee on my farm porch and watch my gorgeous horse graze. Anything exciting going on today?— Stormy Daniels (@StormyDaniels) March 21, 2023 Silver lining: In the aftermath of the failures of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank, Seattle homebuyers wonder how the economic flop will affect their loans. According to the Seattle Times, it's too early to know, but there’s a few theories. Some speculate the failures could slow down interest rate hikes while others say the economic instability will scare off homebuyers and further cool down the housing market.  Camping ban: Lakewood City Council joined Kent, Tacoma, and Edmonds in banning public camping and drug use in a meeting last night. The Mayor of Lakewood said the ordinances are not meant to criminalize poverty... even though people who get busted for sleeping or for using outside could get thrown in jail for 90 days or pay a fine of $1,000.  I cannot resist: KOMO published a poll asking its readers if they would support a camping ban in their town. After 24 hours, 90% of KOMO readers voted “yes,” 5% said “no,” and 4% said “depends on how it is written.” Eviction shooting update: The Stranger has been keeping track of an eviction that left a tenant dead and a cop injured. One additional update I’ll add here: A friend of the victim told KING 5 that she barricaded herself in her apartment because she faced eviction over $13,000 in back rent. (Court records show she owed about $6,300.) I can’t help but wonder how much money the County and the City paid in equipment and labor to attempt an eviction that would ultimately cost the tenant her life.  Very nice! Young artists designed limited edition Orca cards to celebrate the new RapidRide H line, which improves transit to downtown from Burien, White Center, and Delridge. The designs look pretty friggin’ sweet, and you can grab yours at the King Street Center Pass Sales Office. One last hurrah: Check out the latest and last Seattle Sticker Patrol video on Instagram.  The final episode of #SeattleStickerPatrol just dropped and we checked out some bars around Seattle 💘 Thx to everyone for following along these couple of years—it’s meant so much. Watch the full thing over on @TheStranger’s IG 😙 — jas keimig (@jaskeimig) March 20, 2023 PSA: Thousands of Apple Health (aka Medicaid) members could lose coverage if they don’t reconfirm their income and household size for the first time in three years after the feds let renewal requirements slide during the pandemic. Check here to see if your info is up-to-date, and then wait for a reply email or letter, which will give you a renewal date and next steps to keep your coverage.  Fox News mad: Fox News wants a restraining order to keep one of the network’s producers quiet because they’re afraid she’ll leak attorney-client privileged information about a $1.6 billion defamation suit against the outlet for spreading fake news after the election. Read NPR’s full story here. Speaking of: A Delaware judge will consider arguments from Dominion Voting Systems and FOX News in the massive defamation case. The judge may rule on parts of the case today in what’s called a “summary judgment” since both parties are convinced their arguments are soooo airtight that the judge can just go ahead and make a ruling without a jury’s input. Whatever the judge decides will be a big fucking deal in deciding which questions the future jury will answer. Baby's first veto: President Joe Biden vetoed a Republican effort to repeal a new rule that lets big business consider environmental and social impacts of their investment decisions.  Crossover episode: Yesterday, Russian President Vladmir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping met up to start a three-day discussion. Xi intends to “play peacemaker” and attempt to broker a resolution for its ally’s yearlong war in Ukraine, according to Bloomberg.  I demand love, healing, and a fat check for emotional damages for Amanda Bynes: Amanda Show star Amanda Bynes checked in to a 72-hour psychiatric hold after roaming LA streets naked. Fans took to Twitter yesterday speculating that she, like many other child stars, may be dealing with the lasting affects of trauma. The fans noted her close relationship with Nickelodeon producer Dan Schneider, who has been accused of sexualizing children on his TV shows, including Bynes in a controversial hot tub scene.  Have you heard this? I think I made some empty promise a while back to cool it with Taylor Swift at the end of the Slog, but she released a song that didn’t make the cut for her 2019 album, Lover. It's fun and all, but it sorta sounds like a Meghan Trainor song imo. 

Savage Love
Size Peace by Dan Savage I’m a 41-year-old lesbian. Back when I was 26, I weighed 125 pounds and had a girlfriend. Sex with “Amy” was mind-blowing. Amy was exactly my type from head to toe, and she had more experience than me, so she really opened me up sexually. Our physical chemistry was off the charts. Unfortunately, Amy and I broke up (dysfunctional relationship issues), and then I moved to the West Coast. Fast-forward to age 31. I weighed 165 pounds, but I carried it well. Then I fell into a severe depression and had to live with my parents for a while. Amy lived about two hours away from me at that time. She’d seen me at my new weight and was still interested in me. Amy called me every night for months. After months of talking, we decided to meet up in person. However, because of depression meds and “mom's cooking” and… [ Read more ]

Where Angels Hover
Robyn Hitchcock's performance included an appearance from local guitar hero Kurt Bloch. by Dave Segal You have to love a 70-year-old musician who keeps you guessing by changing up the setlist every night of a tour. That's just one reason why Nashville-based British rock legend Robyn Hitchcock rules. At an age and stature when most musicians play it safe, the former Soft Boys leader still keeps it (sur)real. On Friday night at the Neptune Theatre, Hitchcock plucked 20 songs from his vast and rich catalog, dating back to 1980, and while he and his crack pickup band may not have played all of your and my faves, they did cover a lot of fertile psych-rock and twisted-folk ground in three different configurations.  Wearing his trademark blue-and-white polka-dot shirt, Hitchcock began the set by himself on acoustic guitar, getting down to business without any preamble. As he strummed the gorgeous, poignant ballad “Raymond Chandler Evening,” a girl of about 7 planted herself in front of me. She stood there rapt for several tunes, a refreshing contrast to all the middle-aged folks in the 85% full venue—plus a testament to Hitchcock's generation-spanning appeal. The buoyant, college radio hit “Balloon Man” and the cheerfully morbid “My Wife and My Dead Wife” concluded the solo segment. Before the latter, Hitchcock commented on his recent 70th birthday and, noticing the advanced age of most of the audience, quipped, “If you ever see me again, you'll probably be on stretchers.” Emma Swift and Robyn Hitchcock at the Neptune March 17. JP Martin Photography Then Robyn's very live wife, Emma Swift, walked onstage and resolved a nastily buzzing amp issue that her husband somehow hadn't clocked during the previous three songs. (Maybe this was a bit?) The scenario led to some cheeky bickering between the couple, their cozily confrontational chemistry reminiscent of Sonny and Cher's on their '70s TV show. Moving on, Swift lent her lovely voice to “Glass Hotel” and “The Man Who Loves the Rain,” with the latter containing the cogent line, “Respect the dead / You'll be joining them soon.” Then the full-band segment of the evening commenced, with local guitar hero Kurt Bloch, drummer and former Sub Pop artist Kelley Stoltz, and bassist Bart Davenport kicking into “The Shuffle Man,” a rollicking rocker that spilled over with the ebullience at which Hitchcock excels, complete with Yardbirds-y rave-up. Then came the first Soft Boys song of the night, “Queen of Eyes” from the 1980 classic LP, Underwater Moonlight; it's one of the purest expressions of jangly joy that Robyn's ever produced.  Kelley Stoltz at the Neptune with Robyn Hitchcock, March 17. JP Martin Photography After the psychedelic slink of “Autumn Sunglasses” and before the R.E.M.-ish rambler “Sally Was a Legend,” Hitchcock got off one of his funniest observations of the night, comparing the righting two out-of-tune guitar strings with separating squabbling parents. And while his stage banter wasn't as verbose as in years past, he did get more talkative as the show progressed. He introduced the low-key, seething jangler “Goodnight Oslo” as a murder ballad in which nobody gets killed and then veered off on a tangent about how “Venmo is an anagram of venom, but it's not that dangerous.” Describing the Soft Boys' stone classic “I Wanna Destroy You” as “a protest song against human nature,” Hitch proved yet again the paradox of such bilious lyrics being sung to such a maniacally effusive melody. After that nihilistic rush, Robyn said, “We'll leave you with a benediction,” which was the exquisitely wrought “Airscape” (from Element of Light), one of the man's—and, hell, rock's—most beautiful songs. It's safe to say that, were he alive, John Lennon—one of Hitchcock's heroes—would've loved this tune. Kurt Bloch, Kelley Stoltz, and Robyn Hitchcock at the Neptune March 17. JP MARTIN PHOTOGRAPHY The highlight of the encore was a gem from the not-very-popular 1982 solo album, Groovy Decay, “Grooving on an Inner Plane.” Stoltz proved he could get funky as hell, and the leader allowed every player to really stretch out and solo. It was a magnanimous gesture in more ways than one, and it epitomized Hitchcock's instinct for surprises. Most artists in his position would've closed with the most popular track from the newest album (Shufflemania!, in this case), but Robyn's wired differently, thank Syd. Sporting electric guitars and occasionally relying on a drum-machine effects box, Stoltz and Davenport offered a solid set of distinguished, middle-aged-man rock in their opening slot. Stoltz prefaced their spangly, midtempo-rock-heavy set by admitting, “It's hard opening for a genius like Robyn Hitchcock. It's like Bob Ross opening for Van Gogh.” It may have been the truest—and funniest—utterance of the night... which is amazing when you're competing against the master of between-song witticisms. Robyn Hitchcock at the Neptune, March 17. JP Martin Photography Robyn Hitchcock setlist  01 Raymond Chandler Evening [Robyn Hitchcock and the Egyptians song] 02 Balloon Man [Robyn Hitchcock and the Egyptians song] 03 My Wife and My Dead Wife [Robyn Hitchcock and the Egyptians song] 04 Glass Hotel [with Emma Swift on vocals] 05 The Man Who Loves the Rain [with Emma Swift on vocals] 06 The Shuffle Man  07 The Queen of Eyes [Soft Boys song] 08 Sounds Great When You're Dead 09 The Sir Tommy Shovel 10 Virginia Woolf 11 Autumn Sunglasses 12 Sally Was a Legend 13 Goodnight Oslo 14 Viva! Sea-Tac [Robyn Hitchcock & the Venus 3 song] 15 Madonna of the Wasps [Robyn Hitchcock and the Egyptians song] 16 I Wanna Destroy You [Soft Boys song] 17 Airscape [Robyn Hitchcock and the Egyptians song] 18 Queen Elvis [with Emma Swift on vocals] 19 Oceanside [Robyn Hitchcock and the Egyptians song] 20 Grooving on an Inner Plane

The Downtown Jail Is Overflowing
The county council will take up the matter on Tuesday. by Ashley Nerbovig The King County Council is set to consider a bill Tuesday to transfer about 50 people confined in the county jails to a regional jail in Des Moines, as correctional officer staffing shortages cause a “crisis situation” at the two county jails.  “The downtown jail, and our other jails, are not safe places because of the staffing crisis,” said Council Member Girmay Zahilay in an interview with the Stranger Thursday.  Shuffling 50 people to the South Correctional Entity, also known as SCORE, would cost the county about $3.5 million over two years. In its 2023-2024 budget, the county included $3.5 million to fund jail capacity mitigation. The proposal comes as staffing shortages and a rising daily jail population coincided with a sharp increase in people dying while in King County jails. The ACLU of Washington filed a lawsuit at the end of February alleging the county was not providing people incarcerated at the jail adequate access to court and medical care.  King County operates two jails; one in Seattle, and one in Kent. About a fifth of the correctional officer positions were vacant as of March 16, according to the King County Department of Adult and Juvenile Detention. This leaves about 400 people to manage a population of just under 1,500 people, according to a jail population report from March 18. Since August 2021, the suicide rate at the downtown jail has exceeded national averages, according to a Seattle Times article from September. Five people died by suicide in 12 months. Easing some of the problems by moving people to another space makes sense, Zahilay said. The idea, he added, is to send people who do not have regular court appearances. People with significant medical or mental health needs would not be considered for transfer, either, he said.  But the county's Department of Public Defense expresses concern that the move may also reduce access to justice.  According to Zahilay, defenders want to maintain 24/7 walk-in access to clients, private interview rooms, internet, and overall not to lose any of the basic accommodations provided by the King County jails. Defenders also want regular reporting on the jail contract and on justice access conditions.  SCORE also does not have in-person visitations, while King County jails resumed visitation in November. Zahilay doesn’t like that. To address those issues, he plans to introduce two amendments. One would take on the access-to-justice concerns brought by public defenders, and the other would ensure the King County Executive cannot decide to extend the contract without the approval of the council. Sending people to Des Moines is a temporary solution, Zahilay said. “The long-term solution is closing down an obsolete jail,” he added. In February, after the ACLU of Washington filed its lawsuit, activists called on King County Executive Dow Constantine to follow through on his promise to close the downtown facility. The county has not released details of this plan, though Constantine mentioned the “1980s jail” in his March State of the County address. The county did include an additional million dollars in its budget for hiring incentives for correctional officers, as well as about $4 million to add 15 correctional officer positions to handle the rise in jail population.  In August, King County signed a $150,000 contract for CGL Companies LLC to study best practices for staffing the jail. Noah Haglund, spokesperson for the Department of Adult and Juvenile Detention, expects the report at the end of April. In September, both correctional officers and public defenders said King County should stop jailing nonviolent felony offenders to reduce jail populations. The county did not embrace that approach. Instead, in his State of the County address, Constantine talked about the state’s failure to move people out of the jail and into treatment after the court deems them not competent to stand trial. State law requires this transfer to take place within seven days. A February 7 report from the King County Prosecutor’s office showed about 80 people waiting for competency restoration services, with the state failing to provide treatment to some of the people in the jail for more than a year, according to Casey McNerthney, spokesperson for the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office. The King County Council is scheduled to discuss the contract with SCORE at its meeting at 1:30 pm on Tuesday, March 21 in room 1001 at the King County Courthouse. People can attend the meeting in person or virtually. The council will hear public comment, and people can also submit public comment by email before 10 am on Tuesday. That said, the council may end up waiting another week to vote on the bill.

1 2 3 4