Durkan beats recall
Mayor Jenny Durkan will not face a recall vote, the Washington State Supreme Court ruled on Oct. 8, despite finding the allegations against her were “deeply troubling.”
The justices reversed a lower court finding that the recall effort, launched by six Seattleites, could go forward on one of the original seven charges: specifically, that Durkan did not act to stop the use of chemical agents on protesters.
For a recall effort to move forward, justices had to find that the charge against Durkan was “legally and factually sufficient,” meaning that such a charge would have to clearly show an act that amounted “to misfeasance, malfeasance or violation of the oath of office” and demonstrate that to the electorate.
The justices were not charged with determining whether or not the allegations against the mayor were true, only that they fit those limited criteria. The allegations did not clear that bar, the justices wrote in an order.
The order released on Oct. 8 does not include significant detail about the justices’ decision-making process. A full opinion will be “filed in due course,” according to the order.
The recall effort against Durkan was brought to the court in June after a night of protesting in which Seattle police officers teargassed protesters and used other munitions to break up the crowd. The Seattle City Council then voted to ban tear gas. A federal judge later blocked the ban.
Still in play is a recall effort against Councilmember Kshama Sawant. A judge OK’d four charges against Sawant spanning several issues, including the alleged use of city resources for an outside campaign and the influence of Socialist Alternative, Sawant’s political party, on hiring and firing decisions in her office.
Gov. Jay Inslee and challenger Police Chief Loren Culp squared off on Oct. 7 in a socially distanced debate in which the candidates showed they could not be farther apart on issues from the coronavirus response to the role of government in everyday life.
The debate, moderated by four local news reporters, took place in the TVW nonprofit studio in two different rooms — a fact that Culp lamented. Culp, who is a small-town police chief and conservative politician, took stances against mandatory mask mandates. He believes people should be allowed to choose whether to wear a mask, despite science indicating that face masks prevent the spread of the deadly coronavirus. When questioned about climate change and its impact on forest fires, Culp focused on forest management.
Inslee, meanwhile, defended his record on mental health and education and pushed the climate message that was the hallmark of his unsuccessful presidential bid.
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.
Read more in the Oct. 14-20, 2020 issue.