Gov. Jay Inslee calls for a special session in Olympia for May 16: Washington Republicans and Democrats will have a second chance to figure out what they want to do about drugs. On the final night of this year’s thrilling, yet disappointing legislative sesh, a “compromise bill” (Senate Bill 5536) to re-criminalize drug possession and resurrect the War on Drugs rusting in our backyard totally failed. Drug law would have been the only law of the land when state law lapsed in July.
If a patchwork of local laws sounds bad, it kind of is. But the ACLU of Washington says it couldn’t be any worse than the harsh penalties that were on the table with SB 5536. Ashley explains the details better than I can, or time will allow.
KIRO 7 is posting hole: Sorry, West Seattle.
The view from the ground as crews assess the damage from a massive pothole on a West Seattle Bridge offramp. The latest: https://t.co/188oqcHgxZ pic.twitter.com/Xh5XseT9ph— KIRO 7 (@KIRO7Seattle) May 3, 2023
Man accused of killing family in Texas arrested: Authorities say 38-year-old Francisco Oropesa is responsible for shooting and killing five people in Cleveland, Texas last Friday night. They say Oropesa opened fire on his neighbors with an AR-15 style rifle after Wilson Garcia asked him to shoot his gun farther from his sleeping six-week-old son. Oropesa didn’t move, so Garcia’s family called the police. Five times.
Then Oropesa allegedly started shooting. A dozen people were in the house. Wilson’s wife, 25-year-old Sonia Argentina Guzman, died first. Then his 9-year-old son, Daniel Enrique Laso, died. Diana Velazquez Alvarado, 21, Julisa Molina Rivera, 31, and 18-year-old Jose Jonathan Casarez also died. The family were originally from Honduras. Texas Governor Greg Abbott had this to say over the weekend.
I’ve announced a $50K reward for info on the criminal who killed 5 illegal immigrants Friday. Also directed #OperationLoneStar to be on the lookout.— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) April 30, 2023
I continue working with state & local officials to ensure all available resources are deployed to respond. pic.twitter.com/SpkUgKqKGe
Derek Chauvin’s partner convicted for aiding George Floyd’s murder. A judge found ex-Minneapolis Police Officer Tou Thao guilty of aiding and abetting manslaughter. On May 25, 2020 Thao kept bystanders back as Derek Chauvin knelt on a handcuffed Floyd’s neck for nine minutes, killing him. Thao asked for a bench trial, allowing a judge to determine his guilt or innocence. Thao will remain in custody before his August 7 sentencing. Last month, the Minnesota Court of Appeals upheld former MPD officer Chauvin’s second-degree murder conviction for killing Floyd.
NYC subway rider kills man with chokehold. A video shows the man struggled to free himself before he died. Freelance journalist Juan Alberto Vazquez took the video and says the 30-year-old Black man yelled that he didn’t have food or water and that he was “fed up” and “ready to die.” Soon after the victim threw his jacket on the ground, a white 24-year-old passenger grabbed him and held him down for at least 50 seconds after he stopped moving. Police released the white man without charges. The victim was pronounced dead at Lenox Health hospital in Greenwich Village.
Putting aside the obvious that being mentally ill is not a crime, there is no such thing as a safe chokehold and im tired of these MMA wannabes and police unions pretending there is. Anything that restricts oxygen or blood flow *or* can do so with erratic motion is deadly, period https://t.co/tgTWoqBuy3— Darrell Owens (@IDoTheThinking) May 3, 2023
A judge rejects Montana Rep. Zooey Zephyr’s reinstatement: A judge ruled against her request to return to the Montana House floor. Republican lawmakers threw her out last week for telling them they’d have “blood on their hands” if they passed a state ban on gender-affirming care for minors–just one of the anti-trans laws they’re trying to pass. The ACLU and two private law firms then filed suit on behalf of Zephyr and four of her constituents. They argued Republicans had silenced her and the 11,000 people she represents. Judge Mike Menahan, a former Democratic lawmaker, said he didn’t have the authority to intervene in this legislative dispute.
The court's decision not to reinstate me undermines the democratic principles our country was founded on.— Rep. Zooey Zephyr (@ZoAndBehold) May 2, 2023
I vow to continue standing for my constituents & community to fight for our democratic institutions. If we can't get justice in the courts, we will get it in the ballot box. pic.twitter.com/cBgXOnIX8K
The writers' strike continues. Television is going to suck for a while, and that's good. The first Hollywood strike in 15 years began yesterday with picketing outside major studios that sought to screw over writers who had the gall to ask for a living wage. There’s no indication of how long this is going to last. If the 100-day strike in 2007 is any indication, it could be awhile.
Late-night hosts will air reruns all week, except for Fox’s Greg Gutfeld. Writers say they’re paid too little, writer’s rooms have shrunk too much, and old rules around residual payments need to be re-negotiated. They also asked studios to regulate the use of AI on MBA-covered projects. Studios rejected that. Yikes.
May 2, 2023
Two local churches hit with anti-trans hate campaigns hold vigil: Someone dumped garish fliers with far-right groomer memes, election lies, trans hate, and calls for violence against sitting Democrats on cars outside two very pro-LGBTQ churches in Edmonds and Kirkland during Sunday services last month. This targeted harassment angered church leaders, who held a “We Side With Love” vigil at Edmonds United Methodist Church last night, which was attended by elected leaders and LGBTQ advocates. Check out my story this morning for more.
The Comeback came down: The short-lived SoDo gay bar abruptly closed its doors Sunday with a last dance and a blowout liquor sale. We last wrote about the then-new queer sports bar before its February 2022 opening. Owner Floyd Lovelady billed The Comeback as the spiritual successor to R Place because he'd managed that Capitol Hill institution for years. But instead of being in the gay beating heart of Seattle, his bar would be a short jaunt from the stadiums, situated between a sandwich shop and a dispensary. I’d love to tell you more, but we haven’t heard back from Lovelady. Call me!
Famously affordable New York rent could go up. Millions of New Yorkers living in rent-stabilized apartments could see two to five percent increases to their monthly payments after the Rent Guidelines Board preliminarily approved one of the largest hikes in years. Tenant advocates, including several left-leaning members of city council, charged the stage at a meeting today and led the audience in chants. This is the second consecutive year the board has endorsed raising rent.
@NYCRGB DO YOU HEAR US ? New York City needs a RENT ROLLBACK!!! pic.twitter.com/gnBtnprz8P— RentJusticeCoalition (@RentJustice) May 2, 2023
Pirates leak new Zelda game. Tears of the Kingdom, which is without question the biggest game of the year, drops on May 12. But some pirates are playing it early after it leaked online. Polygon reports that at first, new footage was limited to short clips and screenshots from private Discord streams, but more is continuing to spill out–including the game’s opening.
Nintendo doesn’t mess around when it comes to piracy. It is likely to sue whoever did this. Nintendo is already looking to sue the person who leaked an art book for Tears of the Kingdom and has subpoenaed Discord for their identity. That legal process is still ongoing. Nintendo’s American arm is based in Redmond.
About 4,200 people lost power in Capitol Hill yesterday. Sources say the outage near Miller Park and Stevens forced one writer for The Stranger to take a horrible ice-cold shower and race to the office to finish a story because the WiFi was out. Seattle City Light has since restored the power, attributing the outage to a failed cable. She wasn’t the only one who suffered.
I am trying to make tacos— Robgar (@Robghar) May 2, 2023
A retired Seattle doctor died climbing Mount Everest. Jonathan Sugarman, 69, was the fourth person and first American to die climbing the world’s tallest peak this year. The US Embassy in Nepal confirmed he died at Camp 2, which is about 8,000 feet from the summit. Sugarman was an experienced climber. He began to feel unwell before his death. But what exactly killed him is unknown. He was part of an expedition led by Pierce County-based International Mountain Guides.
A man known as “The Italian Stallion” by his drug contacts pled guilty in hitman case: I thought that nickname was taken. Michael Scott (also very original) pled guilty to trying to hire a hitman. He was trying to kill a man that was working with police when Scott sold drugs to him. Police arrested Scott on the way to that deal. Scott didn’t appreciate that. So he paid an associate $2,000 to hire a hitman that would kill the witness who sold OUT him and that witness' associate. The FBI learned of this scheme and arranged for an agent to pose as a hitman, who took a downpayment for the planned murders. Prosectors are recommending 20 years in prison. The defense is arguing for "not less than 10."