Bill de Blasio to NYC Cops: Stop Arresting for Pot

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Getty Images / Janifest

If there's a city screaming out for cannabis legalization, it's New York. Thanks to the draconian cannabis regulations they have on the books—part of the legacy of the state's Rockefeller Drug Laws—getting popped smoking in public virtually guaranteed you a one-way ticket to central booking. (Which isn't as highly sought after as Hamilton tickets, as far as tourist experiences go.)

That's finally about to change, with 11-foot-tall NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio instructing the police to cease arresting people for public cannabis consumption, and to instead begin issuing them citations and a summons to appear in court. CNN reports this new policy will begin August 1, so those in the Big Apple might want to hold off on burning one down in public till then. The change is part of a broader undertaking by the mayor, who said:

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Three Identical Strangers Tells the Incredible and Sometimes Shocking Story of Triplets Separated at Birth

The reunited triplets of Three Identical Strangers
The reunited triplets of Three Identical Strangers NEON

What starts off looking like a standard issue Netflix doc about a zany family—replete with insulting reenactments and that creeping sense that you’ve just signed on for two hours with people who only think their story is worth telling—rapidly becomes one of the most complex, even shocking adoption stories you’ll ever hear.

Short version: Within the space of a couple of days in 1980, three 19-year-old triplets who have never even heard of one another’s existence, meet and become brothers, friends, and NYC media darlings. But the story of why they had never met—why, in fact, their existence was intentionally kept a secret—involves a conspiracy worthy of a psychological thriller. The ramifications of that conspiracy proved devastating, and continue to reverberate. As the story of Three Identical Strangers unravels (with perhaps one notch more manipulation than is required, but that’s a nit not everyone would pick), you become astonished by the layers of complexity and injustice these three guys have experienced. And it doesn’t take long before your initial impressions are totally forgotten: These guys aren’t just lovable doofballs telling well-rehearsed chestnuts about their kooky life. They’re people who have suffered unimaginable hardship and now bravely submit it to further public scrutiny in the hopes of solving the mystery at the center of their lives.

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Sawant Socializes the Means of Rally Poster Production

Seattle City Council Member Kshama Sawant is not apologizing for making 4,000 copies on the City of Seattle photocopier as her office geared up for a recent Tax Amazon rally.
Seattle City Council Member Kshama Sawant is not apologizing for making 4,000 copies on the City of Seattle photocopier as her office geared up for a recent "Tax Amazon" rally. Getty Images

I should confess upfront my deep fascination with a spat over photocopier usage that's currently raging on the second floor of Seattle's City Hall. (And has been rumbling beneath the surface for years.) It's like an episode of The Office gone very, very wrong.

So I was thrilled to see that Erica C. Barnett has now used public record requests to assess the validity of an allegation—aired most recently and publicly by Council Member Sally Bagshaw—that charges Council Member Kshama Sawant and her staff with using the taxpayer-funded office copier to print up signs for events such as their recent "Tax Amazon" rally.

The verdict:

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Advocates Call For Changes to Seattle Housing Authority Evictions

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ROB DOBI

Tenants and advocates spoke during a Seattle Housing Authority board meeting Monday to demand the agency reform its eviction practices.

Public housing authorities like SHA "are trusted by the community to provide affordable housing to people with low incomes," reads a letter the groups delivered to the SHA Board of Commissioners. "When, instead, housing authorities are pushing their tenants onto the streets through eviction, our overall community is impacted."

The Stranger reported in April that five years of eviction records show the Seattle Housing Authority sometimes evicts tenants over missed rent of less than $100. The agency's practices face criticism from legal and tenant advocates, who say SHA is too eager to kick people out of housing and too willing to saddle them with extra debt. SHA defends its practices, saying it offers tenants payment plans and other assistance if they fall behind on the rent. The agency says evictions represent a small fraction of the total number of people it houses.

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Gay Teens Harassed at Oregon Public High School

They were bullied by other students and harassed by administrators when they complained. RawStory:

A gay teenager who is graduating from the North Bend High School in Oregon has written an account of vicious bullying she received at school — along with the school administration’s total indifference to how she was being treated. Writing over at the ACLU’s website, graduating senior Liv Funk chronicles being called homophobic slurs by her classmates, as well as one male student who physically abused her by hitting her with his skateboard.

The bullying got so bad that she finally went to her school’s resource officer—but she found to her horror that he wasn’t about to do anything to help her. “He said that if I’m going to be an open member of the LGBT community that I should prepare for things like this,” she writes. “The officer said that being gay was a choice, and it was against his religion. He said that he had homosexual friends, but because I was an open homosexual, I was going to hell.”

My husband was brutally bullied in high school. When his parents complained his school's administrators blamed my husband for the violence: "If your son is going to walk like that and dress like that and talk like that, that's what he's going to get." When we spoke at his old high school in decades later, in 2011, his old high school's current principal offered a formal and public apology to my husband—and my big, tall, opinionated, take-no-shit husband was overcome.

While anti-LGBT bullying remains a huge problem (and getting worse under Trump), I'd like to think some progress has been made. I'd like think that fewer public school administrators are complacent or complicit in anti-LGBT bullying—and that fewer would blame the victims of anti-LGBT bullying for the taunts and violence they're enduring. That obviously wasn't the case at North Bend High School. But I'm happy to report (or relay) that story has a happy ending:

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Filmmaker Paul Schrader Transforms a Crisis of Faith Into an Intense Thriller in First Reformed

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A24

Don’t make the mistake I made at the Telluride Film Festival when I skipped this unexpected magnum opus from the writer of Taxi Driver and Raging Bull. Paul Schrader’s latest film is a return to form. Infused with elements from his Calvinist upbringing and 1950s art-house cinema (check out his newly reissued book Transcendental Style in Film on Bresson, Ozu, and Dreyer), First Reformed revolves around the Reverend Ernst Toller (portrayed with devastating restraint by Ethan Hawke). He is a former military chaplain ministering to a tiny congregation in upstate New York, and he can’t get past the deep grief and spiritual isolation caused by the ill-fated death of his enlisted son. When congregant Mary (Amanda Seyfried) asks him to counsel her troubled (and radical environmentalist) husband, Toller discovers his church’s distinguished financial savior is an amoral corporate polluter, and he becomes obsessed with saving a world he believes is destroying itself. The film also stars Cedric the Entertainer as a mega-church pastor and Toller’s overseer.

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Slog AM: Firefighters At One Seattle Fire Station Keep Getting Cancer, New Waterfront Will Cost Around $700 Million

More serious than a backdraft.
More serious than a backdraft. ArishaRay / Getty Images

City intends to pass local improvement district to raise funds for new waterfront: The LID “would raise $200 million from nearby property owners to help build a new park promenade along the downtown waterfront,” reports the Seattle Times. The waterfront improvement construction will cost somewhere around $700 million. That money will come from the LID, the state, local philanthropists, and the city. The LID is crucial and waterfront property owners are already displeased. The amount they have to pay varies on how close they are to the waterfront and whether the property is commercial or residential. The resolution passed the council 8-0. Council member Sally Bagshaw wasn't able to vote since she owns a condo on the waterfront.

Fire Station 31 known as the “Cancer House”: One Seattle fire station has a terrible reputation. From when it opened in 1975 to 2003, there have been 119 employees and former employees diagnosed with cancer. Investigations yielded no answers and the problem persists to this day. Firefighters who work at Station 31 get cancer. In just the last year, three people have gotten sick. The Seattle Fire Department is partnering up with Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center to conduct a comprehensive study comparing Station 31 and the rest of Seattle firefighters from the early 70s until now. The study will cost $400,000. Maybe that Grey's Anatomy spin-off about the Seattle firefighters will steal this as a plot line.

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NewsGuns

UW Police Detained Joey Gibson and Other Far-Right Activists For Possessing Guns On Campus

Joey Gibson (left, in sunglasses) was among the six men detained by UW police. Here, he is pictured on May Day.
Joey Gibson (left, in sunglasses) was among the six men detained by UW police. Here, he is pictured on May Day. SH

University of Washington police briefly detained six far-right activists, including a U.S. Senate candidate, after they brought firearms to campus as a display of gun rights, according to a UW police spokesperson.

Major Steven Rittereiser said the department received a report at 12:37 p.m. of a “man with a rifle” and dispatched officers to a parking garage, where they encountered six men standing around two cars. At least one of the men was openly carrying a rifle, Rittereiser said. Police also identified five handguns belonging to the men.

"What we learned is they were going to do some kind of open carry kind of thing on the campus. We simply informed them you can’t do that on campus,” Rittereiser said.

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What Happened the Last Time Seattle Businesses Tried to Overturn a New Law Through a Referendum? It Got Weird.

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Getty

Now that the campaign to overturn the head tax is in full swing, you may be wondering what happened the last time Seattleites tried to nix a new law through the referendum process.

The year was 2014. The City Council had just passed an ordinance bumping Seattle’s minimum wage to $15. Some business owners were pissed, and they started a group called Forward Seattle to collect signatures for a ballot referendum.

The 2014 campaign was marred by allegations that signature gatherers weren’t being honest about what the petition sought to do. Working Washington, a labor group, posted a recording on YouTube that purported to show a petitioner falsely telling someone the campaign would raise the minimum wage to $15. That would have been a lie since council members had already passed the minimum wage ordinance and Forward Seattle’s referendum sought to overturn it.

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The 56 Best Things To Do in Seattle This Week: May 21-27, 2018

The Seattle Reps Familiar, written by Danai Gurira from Black Panther, closes this weekend—dont miss it.
The Seattle Rep's Familiar, written by Danai Gurira from Black Panther, closes this weekend—don't miss it. Navid Baraty

Our music critics have already chosen the 31 best music shows this week, but now it's our arts critics' turn. Here are their picks for the best events in every genre—from the Converge Dance Festival to the closing of Clyde Petersen and Ellen Forney: Exhale, and from the first full week of SIFF to the Northwest Folklife Festival. See them all below, and find even more events on our complete Things To Do calendar.

Stay in the know! Get all this and more on the free Stranger Things To Do mobile app (available for iOS and Android), or delivered to your inbox. Plus,
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MONDAY

FOOD & DRINK
Focus Menu: Beefsteak
At this ultra-carnal, all-you-can-eat event, Eric Rivera's addo pop-up will riff on the early 1900s concept of the "beefsteak" dinner, "a blue collar dinner meant to have people in large groups eat with reckless abandon." They advise, "Come hungry for the meats. Keeping with tradition we will be eating with our hands, socializing, and engaging in the meat sweats."

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The 38 Best Movies To See At SIFF This Week: May 21-27, 2018

The Miseducation of Cameron Post won the Grand Jury Prize at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival. Catch it this weekend at SIFF Uptown.
The Miseducation of Cameron Post won the Grand Jury Prize at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival. Catch it this weekend at SIFF Uptown.

The first full week of the Seattle International Film Festival is coming in hot. We've already compiled a list of all of the picks for the full festival that you absolutely shouldn't miss, but, below, we've rounded up the movies for the week that our critics think are worth watching, like Rasmus Dinesen's Michelin Stars: Tales from the Kitchen, Claire Denis's Let The Sunshine In, and Desiree Akhavan's The Miseducation of Cameron Post. Follow the links below for showtimes, trailers, and ticket links, and check out our SIFF Guide for the full schedule, including Highlander with a live soundtrack by DJ NicFit, a party following Won't You Be My Neighbor?, and An Afternoon with Melanie Lynskey.

MONDAY ONLY
Beast
A perfect thriller has to have the right balance of suspense, threat of danger, lust and sex, and melodrama. Beast wonderfully has all of these things and a great cast. At the center of the plot is Moll, who lives at home with her controlling mother. While celebrating her birthday, which her family doesn’t seem to care about at all, she drifts into town, has a wild night of partying, and finds herself being rescued by the piercing-blue-eyed Pascal. The inexplicable attraction between these two damaged souls is immediate and palpable. Their euphoric rush of first love and sexual attraction is uncontrollable. Meanwhile, a string of murders across the island has the locals looking for a suspect, and Moll and Pascal both already have black marks against them. Beast utilizes a cinematic canvas that recalls the works of Jane Campion and Lynne Ramsay to create an intoxicating psychosexual journey unlike any other. (CARL SPENCE)
AMC Pacific Place

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CityTech

Sneaky Digital Influence Campaign from Seattle Chamber of Commerce Was Totally Fine, According to Current City Rules

This Facebook ad, which appeared during Seattles contentious head tax debate, was part of a online Seattle campaign that anonymously bankrolled by the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce.
This Facebook ad, which appeared during Seattle's contentious head tax debate, was part of an anonymous online campaign quietly bankrolled by the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce. SCREENSHOT BY STRANGER READER

Last week, after putting out a call to Stranger readers, we learned that the hidden force behind an online campaign to influence debate over Seattle's head tax and homelessness funding was none other than the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce.

Although it was the Chamber that belatedly came forward to claim responsibility for this campaign—which decried the Seattle City Council's head tax plan and urged people to contact council members—the Chamber has declined to answer questions about how much it spent on this anonymous effort or whether it views the campaign as the kind of paid, politically-motivated communication that needs to be publicly reported by the purchaser.

But Wayne Barnett, director of the Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission, has an answer.

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NewsGuns

Rich Guys Pour Money into Latest Washington Gun Safety Initiative

A 2016 vigil in Mukilteo, where a 19-year-old used an AR-15-style rifle to kill three people at a house party.
A 2016 vigil in Mukilteo, where a 19-year-old used an AR-15-style rifle to kill three people at a house party. HG

Two Washington billionaires say they have each donated $1 million in support of getting a gun safety measure on the November ballot.

The measure, Initiative 1639, would expand background checks, raise the purchase age for semiautomatic assault rifles to 21, and require people purchasing semiautomatic assault rifles to have completed a safety training program.

The organization backing the initiative, the Alliance for Gun Responsibility, was also behind recent successful ballot measures to expand background checks and create extreme risk protection orders.

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Interview Magazine Is Folding

Jodie Foster in 1977, Marky Mark in 1992, Madonna in 1990, Michael Jackson in 1982
Jodie Foster in 1977, Marky Mark in 1992, Madonna in 1990, Michael Jackson in 1982

Interview Magazine, the publication started by Andy Warhol in 1969, has published its last issue. According to a report in The Guardian today, the magazine has had a tumultuous year, "including staff being locked out as part of rent dispute, a lawsuit brought by a former editorial director over back pay and the resignation of a fashion director accused of sexual misconduct."

Aside from Warhol's active involvement until his death in 1987, Interview was primarily noteworthy for its fantastic cover designs, the serious attention it paid to LGBTQ culture in art and fashion, and for giving rise to the writing career of the great Fran Lebowitz.


Teen Who Started Eagle Creek Fire Ordered to Pay $36.6 Million

Monkey see?
Monkey see? f00sion/gettyimages.com

Of course, the kid who sparked the wildfire that destroyed huge sections of the Columbia River Valley in September can't pay all of that money back! Many Americans don't make a mill after a whole lifetime of work. And you must be at the very top of the one percent for that kind of money, $36 million, to impact you in the way $3,600 would impact an ordinary American.

The itemized charges that add up to the total cost of the fire are as follows:

$5,000 to Iris Schenk
$8,111 to Allstate Insurance
$31,551 to Oregon State Parks
$100,000 to Heuker Properties
$168,000 to Trail Club of Oregon
$1,048,878 to Union Pacific Railroad
$1,643,035 to Oregon State Fire Marshall
$12,500,000 to ODOT
$21,113,755 to US Forest Service

Clearly, the court that ordered this restitution from the boy is not trying to get the money back but to make a point. But it's a very dumb one. First of all, the lesson of price value is empty because the destruction is in essence not calculable in dollar terms. It is pure madness to imagine that it is. Only neoclassical economics believes, and therefore mainstream reasoning at all levels transmits the belief, that a price tag can be fixed on all things. This is the core of the lesson. There is a price. Recognize the price. But this is a fantasy that has its reflection in the unfortunate young man, Jia Rui, who, in the Chinese 18th century masterpiece by Cao Xueqin, Hung Lou Meng (Dream of the Red Chamber), enters a magic mirror and thinks he is having endless sex with a beautiful woman, Wang Xifeng, but, in reality, is passed out on the floor and just ejaculating in his pants.

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