An Oct. 2 presentation to the Seattle City Council on a diversion program took a hard turn when the deputy police chief suggested that many sex workers on Aurora Avenue were housed and some were there because they enjoyed the work.
The exchange was sparked by an article in Crosscut that showed that the Seattle Police Department had veered away from arresting only clients and toward arresting sex workers. This was a departure from the “Nordic” model adopted in 2012, which turns law enforcement toward the demand rather than supply side of sex work.
But other methods of diversion that could help the population, namely the Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD), are oversubscribed. Representatives of LEAD were there that day to demonstrate their need for additional funding.
Deputy Chief Marc Garth Green commented that some of the women were there by choice, prompting Councilmembers Sally Bagshaw, Kshama Sawant and Teresa Mosqueda to call him out. Garth Green later apologized for his remarks and the police department took to Twitter to clarify.
Advocates for the sex worker community push for decriminalizing the profession.
A Thurston County Superior Court judge ordered a signature-gathering company to pay more than $1 million in fines for illegally diverting money to initiative filer Tim Eyman.
The court found that Citizen Solutions and its principal, William Agazarm, diverted $308,185 to Eyman as a kickback. Judge James Dixon found that Agazarm had “personally approved” the payment to Eyman with the knowledge that Eyman planned to use the money for his own purposes and for another, unrelated initiative.
“The Court finds that the Citizen Solutions Defendants not only knew the extent of Defendant Eyman’s scheme, but actively assisted with his violations, helping him mislead contributors into believing their contributions would go to support ballot initiatives, when in fact, they were benefiting Defendant Eyman personally,” the judge wrote. The decision is another loss for Eyman, who recently settled a charge of theft after he allegedly walked out of an Office Depot with a display model of a chair without paying.
He is currently running an initiative that would cut all car tab fees to $30. If passed, the measure would obliterate regional funding for public transit initiatives.
What goes up
Last week, The Seattle Times broke the news that a whistleblower within Boeing alleged that, in part due to cost, the airline giant blocked safety upgrades that could have prevented two deadly crashes of the 737 MAX planes.
A U.S. congressional oversight panel now wants to interview the whistleblower, the newspaper reports.
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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