Who you gonna call?
Communities across the United States got an unwelcome surprise the night of Dec. 27 when CenturyLink, one of the nation’s largest telecommunications companies, revealed that a “malfunction” had taken out emergency service calls in many communities.
The outage, which continued in King County until almost noon the next day, made it uncertain whether calls for emergency service would get through to dispatchers. CenturyLink tweeted that people should use wireless phones to call 9-1-1 “or drive to the nearest fire station or emergency facility.”
King County provided local numbers for emergency responders in the interim, which was considerably better advice.
The shutdown of the federal government, which began at midnight on Dec. 22, has been bad news for furloughed workers with bills to pay and attorneys with cases in federal courts.
The Seattle Times reported that federal attorneys have asked the judge overseeing the Seattle Police Department reforms for an extension on a filing deadline. According to a motion, the attorneys aren’t allowed to work except for “emergencies involving the safety of human life or the protection of property.”
The request comes after Judge James Robart asked for new information in early December after an officer who punched a restrained woman in the face was reinstated.
Across the country, Politico reported, attorneys for President Donald Trump asked an appeals court for an indefinite delay on filings in a case alleging that the president violated a constitutional ban on “foreign emoluments,” or inappropriate gifts or payments to the president by a foreign government.
To the delight of civics teachers everywhere, the once-unrecognizable term was forced into the popular lexicon when the president refused to dissolve his businesses. Representatives of foreign governments have reportedly spent a great deal of time at Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C.
Univeral bus fare
As the region rushes toward the “period of maximum constraint” — or whatever euphemism you prefer for crushing traffic caused by the closure of the viaduct — advocates are pushing to make transit free throughout the region.
In a letter to Mayor Jenny Durkan and County Executive Dow Constantine, Councilmember Kshama Sawant urged leadership to make transit free at least through the “Seattle Squeeze,” the three weeks between the demolition of the viaduct and the opening of the new tunnel.
“ … Metro’s 2017 Annual Report states that only 27.3% of its costs were covered by fare revenues,” Sawant wrote, noting that to make transit free during that time would cost $10 million.
While Metro has encouraged people to avoid traveling during peak hours, Sawant argued that wouldn’t work for people working service jobs.
Ashley Archibald is a Staff Reporter covering local government, policy and equity. Have a story idea? She can be can reached at ashleya (at) realchangenews (dot) org. Follow Ashley on Twitter @AshleyA_RC
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