Members of the King County Council condemned their colleague Councilmember Kathy Lambert for circulating a racist flyer that depicted her opponent as a puppet controlled by three politicians of color including South End County Councilmember Girmay Zahilay.
The flyer refers to Zahilay as a “Seattle socialist leader” and says that candidate Sarah Perry would push socialist policies on the Eastside, specifically defunding the police. Also appearing on the flyer were Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant, Vice President Kamala Harris and Sen. Bernie Sanders, none of whom have a direct bearing on the actions of the King County Council.
Zahilay took to Twitter, writing, “Given that every police-related policy I’ve supported has had majority Council approval, I wonder why she singled out and used her only Black colleague’s face for fear mongering on the East Side.”
Lambert defended the flyer up until the afternoon of Oct. 8, according to the Seattle Times. She initially attempted to defend herself against charges of racism by pointing to work she had done in Africa.
The Seattle Times Editorial Board rescinded its endorsement of Lambert, writing that she “showed a disturbing lack of contrition” to board members and that she had refused a Times reporter’s initial request for an interview.
Messing with Texas
The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals reinstated a Texas law that banned the majority of abortions in the state days after a federal district court judge in Austin paused its enforcement.
According to the New York Times, district court Judge Robert Pitman used harsh language to criticize Senate Bill 8, which allows private citizens to sue people for $10,000 that they suspect of “abetting” an abortion if a fetal heartbeat can be detected. That threshold occurs roughly six weeks into the pregnancy, before most people even realize they’re pregnant.
The law defines “abetting” broadly. It could encompass the abortion provider, the pregnant person’s loved ones and even the driver that brought the person to the clinic.
The unusual enforcement mechanism made it difficult to challenge in federal court, which critics say was by design.
Texas officials immediately announced their plan to appeal, according to the New York Times.
Hundreds of people gathered in Olympia and Seattle on Oct. 2 to speak out against the law and in defense of reproductive rights, as seen in the Oct. 6 issue of Real Change. Though the law has no bearing in Washington State, which has worked to protect reproductive health care and the right to an abortion, it has already had an impact elsewhere — lawmakers in Florida have already drafted a copycat bill.
Ashley Archibald is a freelance journalist and former Real Change staff reporter. Her work can be found in the South Seattle Emerald, KNKX and the Urbanist.
Read more of the Oct. 13-19, 2021 issue.