Deploy the troops
Gov. Jay Inslee announced that he would deploy the National Guard to support hospitals that are overrun with coronavirus patients.
The governor also urged a pause on “non-urgent medical procedures.” The order will send nearly 100 guardspeople to alleviate the pressure on health care workers. The people tasked for this will not be medically trained.
The order comes at a time when medical professionals are struggling to keep up with the influx of patients. The Omicron variant of the coronavirus is more transmissible than other strains, including the Delta variant that dominated cases in the summer of 2021. Vaccines and boosters continue to be the best protection against the virus, but we are still seeing breakthrough infections and people should exercise caution.
Right to repair
More than two-thirds of likely voters support legislation that would make it easier to fix broken electronics like cell phones, according to a new poll by the Northwest Progressive Institute (NPI).
A bill in front of the Washington state legislature would require original equipment manufacturers to make documentation, parts and tools “available to device owners” and other repair shops “on fair and reasonable terms.” It would also allow licensed Washington-owned businesses to be certified as manufacturer-approved repair locations.
“When support is this high — in the high sixties, seventies, or above — it’s evidence that the idea we’re researching enjoys robust and broad support across many different groups of voters,” said Andrew Villeneuve, executive director of NPI.
New admin, same faces
Mayor Bruce Harrell appointed Andrew Myerberg, the current director of the Office of Police Accountability (OPA), to the position of director of public safety.
The announcement came a day before Harrell hosted a press conference in which he addressed the deception by Seattle police officers meant to convince protesters that a band of potentially violent extremists were coming their way on June 8. OPA held that the ruse was improper, but did not hold any individual officers or supervisors to account.
“Working with Senior Deputy Mayor Monisha Harrell, Myerberg will play a key role in developing new models of public safety, working collaboratively with Seattle Police and Fire Departments, and helping guide oversight and reform efforts,” according to a release from the Mayor’s Office.
Myerberg has led OPA since 2017. He formerly served in the city attorney’s office where he was the lead attorney overseeing the 2011 federal consent decree after the Department of Justice found that SPD had exercised excessive use of force and had engaged in potentially biased policing.
Myerberg will have a lot on his plate — in the announcement, Harrell said that Myerberg will be involved in the negotiation of a new police contract and the creation of a team of unarmed public safety officers.
Ashley Archibald is the editor of Real Change News.
Read more of the Jan. 19-25, 2022 issue.