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It's just so Larry Craig.
She didn't believe she was impaired
& wants us to know she only had two drinks with friends over dinner.

That would be easier to believe if she hadn't refused a to let her breath/blood tested. The one thing that would have backed her up, but it probably wouldn't.

If she lies about this, she'll lie about the rest.

Posted by DJSauvage | October 18, 2007 9:41 PM

This isn't the case of someone slightly over the limit driving home who just happened to get caught, but someone who was driving 50mph down Market Street swerving across the center line multiple times. In other words, not just legally drunk but driving in an extremely unsafe manner.

Posted by mrobvious | October 18, 2007 9:50 PM

People don't like to hear it but depending on your tolerance .08 is not as much as you may think. If she only had two drinks it is strange that she would not want to take a test unless she was pretty loaded. Just about the worst timing on earth since ballots were received today. Did the "friends" she was drinking with work for her opponent?

Posted by Touring | October 18, 2007 9:54 PM

I'm questioning whether or not she's all that bright. Especially with her history of citations. And saying "I don't even have a speeding ticket" -- well, obviously anybody can look that up and find out it isn't true. Not even a clever lie.

Seems like someone who blithely makes messes and then runs around in circles cleaning them up.

And what about endangering her passenger? The campaign staffer? Not baby killing, but still. And who wants to say to your boss you think their too drunk to ride with?

Posted by elenchos | October 18, 2007 9:57 PM

ECB, how drunk do you have to be to get *caught* DUI? Pretty fucking drunk.

Posted by Big Sven | October 18, 2007 10:02 PM

Wow. ECB, welcome to the world of spin. You are wrong for so many reasons. 1. How can you believe her claim of only having 2 drinks? She refused to take the breath test that could have proven her claim. Instead, all we are left with is her denial and her documented lame attempt at cover up with a breath mint. 2. Call me crazy but I'd like something a little bit more than a "non-apology apology" that showed she actually understand how dangerous it is to drive drunk. 3. What about her dishonest claims of never having received a speeding ticket when in fact she has one on her record? Not only that but the PI is reporting Velazquez has been ticketed by Seattle police at least 11 other times in the past 13 years. Something tells me she seems to have a pattern of bad, irresponsible behavior and thinks she's above the law. A dangerous personality flaw for an elected official. 4. Not only do her actions show she's an idiot but it also shows that she surrounds herself with idiots that allowed their candidate to drive drunk and most likely these same idiots would end up with jobs on her staff if she's elected. Those are just 4 points. I am sure as this story develops and real reporters dig for more info vs. spit out her press statement to protect their endorsements, you'll feel differently.

Posted by I am switching my vote | October 18, 2007 10:03 PM

i only vote drunk. everybody wins.

Posted by adrian | October 18, 2007 10:04 PM

What a bunch of bullshit. You don't decide when you are impaired by alcohol. She was all over the news giving statements of "I decided I was not impaired" she's already dead on arrival now. When you get caught, you admit it and honestly try to never do it again. You can't dictate to alcohol how it affects you.


Posted by seattle98104 | October 18, 2007 10:05 PM

Oh and don't ever bitch about drivers again if you're not going to seriously chide her over this ridiculous spin.

Posted by seattle98104 | October 18, 2007 10:06 PM

If this were Bruce Harrell, you'd have crucified him.

Bullshit on all counts, ECB. She couldn't stay in her lane, stick to the speed limit, be honest with the officer who pulled her over, or even remember to bring her driver's license with her. She really, really fucked up.

There are some families who have lost loved ones to drunk drivers who would probably be really, really pissed that you don't consider this a dealbreaker.

The Stranger shows its true colors in standing by such a classy character.

Posted by Gomez | October 18, 2007 10:07 PM

ECB - you're right if she just had two drinks with dinner which can be checked and I'm sure you're on it already - but it does seem that the fact that she is a she makes you judge her differently - have you given the men that erred the same kind of slack? I don't think so -

Posted by whatever | October 18, 2007 10:08 PM

The thing is, driving is such an oddly social activity. We're in our little private environments, shielded somewhat from one another, but at the same time hugely dependent on one another, since (as the cyclists among us will point out) we're all driving these one to two ton death machines, that easily mangle not just cyclists and pedestrians, but more often other drivers. When we're on the road, each of us is dependant on the others around us for our lives, and for the most part, the system of laws we've agreed on to protect this shared space works.

I think Velasquez has done the right thing by owning up to what happened, though she of course hasn't gone all the way--blah blah blah it was just two drinks--blah blah blah I thought it was okay to drive. It sounds to me, based on the sobriety tests and her pattern of driving, that she was in fact somewhat impaired, and yes, while sometimes we all do things that impair our driving--talking on the cell phone, putting on mascara (I saw a woman doing that the other day, crazy, eh?), fiddling with the radio, or allowing rage to get the better of us, this is someone we're asking to represent us in the public sphere, one of the spaces in which public contracts are sorted out and arranged, and so I think it's not unreasonable to judge her observed behavior in a public space to gauge whether or not she's a fit candidate for public office.

That said, yes, people in public office make mistakes like the rest of us, and part of the package is what they do after the mistake. We're fortunate that we the recent example of Jane Hague as a point of comparison. So far, Ms. Velasquez seems to be responding much more responsibly. And yes, I think her license should be suspended, and then we should probably vote for her because she'll be highly motivated to advocate for better public transit and bike lanes, since she'll be panting up the hills along with the rest of us.

Posted by Emily | October 18, 2007 10:13 PM

If you can't put the life and safely of your constituents ahead of your own ephemeral desires/habits/preferences, can we really believe you will do so with the interests of your costituents. Sorry. If she blew impaired that's it.

Posted by kinaidos | October 18, 2007 10:19 PM

"I doubt any drinker who reads this blog can say categorically that they’ve NEVER gotten behind the wheel after a celebratory night, or two drinks with dinner..."

What's up with this?

The Stranger is always down with cars-up with bikes/walking/public transport, but EVERYBODY, at some point, drinks and drives?! Uh, no.

Not even after one beer. Not even after a half a beer. If I want to drink, I make arrangements. I have a DD, or I take a cab, or I take the bus, or I *gasp* walk home. (One of the benefits of living in the big city is the ability to stumble home drunkenly after last call...)

I, for one, never ever no matter what NEVER have gotten behind the wheel after even ONE drink. NEVER. I would never put myself, my friends, or innocent people on the street in that kind of senseless danger. And I know many people who feel the same way.

There is no excuse, none at all, for drinking and driving. Whether she had one drink or fifteen, it shows an inexcusable lack of responsibility and utter disregard for her, or my, or your safety and well-being. Not the kind of person we would want to represent us, no matter where she stands on other issues.

Yes, we all make mistakes. But driving while under the influence is NOT a mistake. It is a choice, a stupid, arrogant, and potentially lethal choice.

Posted by Beg to Differ | October 18, 2007 10:19 PM

The mere fact that she was caught driving drunk wouldn't necessarily bother me. The way she's handled it and her subsequent flailing (e.g. the speeding ticket flub elenchos mentions) are what I find a little disturbing. She doesn't exactly come off as a model of composure and discipline.

Posted by tsm | October 18, 2007 10:21 PM

@ 11: If by "the men that erred" you're referring to Richard McIver, which I assume you are:

a) I HAVE given him the benefit of the doubt. You will not find me anywhere in the paper or on Slog declaring him guilty or saying he needs to resign. I'm waiting to hear all the facts.

b) Let's assume both are guilty--i.e., Venus was driving drunk, and McIver assaulted his wife. If you're actually equating drunk driving with strangling your spouse, that's just despicable.

Posted by ECB | October 18, 2007 10:25 PM

ECB... Standing by women all the way... even when they are wrong. You and Venus are both jokes! She's toast and I'll never take a word you write seriously after tonight. I know people who have lost friends due to drunk driving why don't you give them your b.s. reasoning.


Posted by midnight rider | October 18, 2007 10:25 PM

I don't think that she should be drawn and quartered, but you have to take what she's saying with a grain of salt. Ask any cop, and they'll tell you that the majority of people investigated for dui claim to have had 2 drinks. She's still entitled to a presumption of innocence, but the facts don't look good--she didn't do well on the sobriety tests and refused the breath test (which is a per se violation of the law). It may have been an error in judgement, but if she had only 2 drinks, she would have been much better off taking the test.

Posted by Gidge | October 18, 2007 10:29 PM

@16 - "If you're actually equating drunk driving with strangling your spouse, that's just despicable."

What if she hit and killed a pedestrian?

Posted by tsm | October 18, 2007 10:31 PM

Getting drunk and hurting your wife once in 33 years is about equal to driving drunk once. Habitually assaulting your spouse -- well, again, about equal to being a habitual drunk driver.

McIver stood little chance of killing his wife that night though. Velazquez actually had a fair probability of killing somebody with her Volvo, however.

Someday ECB will sit down to write a story about a drunk in a car who kills a bicyclist. She will then see things much differently, but I doubt she will feel like a hypocrite.

It never ceases to amaze me how anybody can be this unreflective.

Posted by elenchos | October 18, 2007 10:35 PM

I don't know why she refused the breath test. That in itself was pretty stupid of her.

At the same time, alcohol does impair your judgment too, not just your coordination. How many of those who've never ever drank and drove done something else just as stupid while drunk?

Posted by Andy | October 18, 2007 10:39 PM

ECB, drunk driving is not only dangerous, Venus showed no judgment whatsoever doing it the night absentee ballots were mailed out. She's asking to lose the election.

Now, if the police report was wrong and she was driving smoothly and around the speed limit, then that'd be one thing. Her bad driving, however, begged for police intervention. And if she only had two drinks, why didn't she take the breathalyzer?

Posted by Ebenezer | October 18, 2007 10:39 PM

@16 - "If you're actually equating drunk driving with strangling your spouse, that's just despicable."

Personally, I think driving drunk 50 mph down NW Market and swerving is worse than the charges against McIver. The worst possible outcome for him would have been one death. With Venus, she could have killed herself, her passenger, not to mention other people on the road.

I think you should attend the next anti-drunk driving presentation held at any local high school to learn a little bit. Drunk driving kills. Period.

Posted by give up the defense | October 18, 2007 10:41 PM

The difference is that none of us (presumably) are running for public office. It's bad enough to toss down some drinks and get behind the wheel as a regular civilian. That's already inexcusable, hypocrisy notwithstanding. If someone is actively running or even pondering running for office, it would behoove them to THINK and PLAN AHEAD if they are going to undertake such behavior. Esp. if they are not a Bush, Kennedy, or even a Blethen or Freeman (not accusing anyone in those families of such irresponsibility, just sayin').

Posted by laterite | October 18, 2007 10:44 PM


Thats the thing that bothers me. If I found out she was close to the legal limit, I doubt it would matter but the fact that she didn't take the tests and then said, "I only had two drinks" seems like bullshit to me.

Posted by Clint | October 18, 2007 10:47 PM

22 said: She's asking to lose the election.

I agree. At best, this paints Venus as extremely arrogant. At worst, she's an out of control alcoholic. Either way, to go out and drive drunk the night the ballots were mailed is a really, really bad sign. She's a human, yes, but this shit is little league.

Regarding The Stranger sticking by her...whatever. You were going to be damned either way. Venus has not only embarrassed herself but she's embarrassed everybody who has supported her. It's understandable that you would continue to endorse her because of her stances on the issues but it strikes me as odd that you don't seem personally upset by what she did. Her irresponsible behavior has put you in a very awkward position. That shit would piss me off.

Posted by Ryan | October 18, 2007 10:50 PM

"I respect the system that will ultimately make that judgment"

She must mean the system in which, by operating a vehicle, she is deemed to have given consent to a breathalyzer? The system designed to assist officers in making the judgment she so eagerly awaits?

"she'll be panting up the hills along with the rest of us"

We to believe she will be deterred by having her license suspended? She's already demonstrated she's willing to drive recklessly, 50mph, *without* a license, and do everything she can to cover her ass. Now it's "I do not believe I was impaired." She knew she was guilty. Why the mints? Why defer the test? Why refuse the test once you get to the station?

Face it, she was intoxicated. #5 basically nailed it. If you actually read the police report it becomes painfully clear. She was going 50mph and crossing the center line. She failed the field sobriety test!

"I would never intentionally put myself in the situation of putting others at risk"

Can someone explain how one might "unintentionally" go 50mph for SIX BLOCKS on this stretch of Market? Is it a HUGE hill? Still, 50mph?

One could go on and on dissecting this bullshit.

Posted by Jon | October 18, 2007 10:59 PM

MADD needs to picket her campaign offices. Ask her to stop her campaign.

Erica is just not from Seattle. She does not understand the progressive communities which were the first to say to each other, many years ago, NO driving while drunk. Period. NO tolerance on that point. New social conduct theory from the 1970's and 80's.

I drink any booze rarely, coffee and juice. And I have had fist fights with drunks to take their keys away from them. So they would not kill themselves or OTHERS.

Venus cannot win. She heeds to fold her campaign. She insults her supporters from this point forward.

Seems there are more ticket in the records, she lied as well as she said something about never getting tickets.

Erica, your dog/pony has lost the race.
Now your own reporter rep. is on the line. Don't be a Venus hack.

By the way, JUST what would you all be braying if this was Mr. Dave Della? Oh God, the howls would echo.

And the silly twits from her campaign should have taken her keys, and then got in a cab with her until she got home. Bad, bad, bad.

Yes, Harrell has my vote. Repudiate Venus, burned toast. And, all her own fault.

Posted by Essex | October 18, 2007 11:01 PM

Erica, you are such an asshole.

Hey, too bad Venus didn't take out somebody on a fixed-gear bike during her drunken rampage. Then you'd double endorse her.

Posted by tree | October 18, 2007 11:03 PM

HELL, no ECB...I too regularly read Slog and I can categorically say that I have NEVER gotten behind the wheel after drinking (at all).

Fuck that assumption...that's bullshit. I can't believe you wrote that. Obviously, a lot of people drive impaired, but that doesn't mean EVERYONE does at some point OR that it's okay once in a while.

Almost 2x the speed limit, swerving over center lane...yeah, that's great. Thanks, supposed road safety advocate.

Please don't drive under the influence and don't be an apologist for those who do. Okay? Thanks.

Posted by Morgan | October 18, 2007 11:05 PM

2 glasses of wine is not going to get you .08, especially over a period of hours. According to this calc, 2 drinks for a 100 pound person in 0 hours won't even get them .08.

She was driving erratically, 20 mph over the speed limit, and failed field sobriety tests. It seems unlikely she did all that becasue of two drinks.

The fact that she refused to take the breath test, despite the mandatory one year suspension of her license shows that either she was trying (poorly) to hide something, or she was too drunk to make a good decision.

Posted by Giffy | October 18, 2007 11:09 PM

Venus definitely made a mistake. At the very least for speeding. If she was drunk that isn't cool, but it's not something that by itself should disqualify her from office. I can't believe so many stranger readers actually are so prudish as to think this one mistake makes a politician unqualified for office. Are we living in freaking Utah?!

Venus is the better candidate on every issue. she made a mistake, bummer, I don't think she'll make it again. If she does there is a problem. In the meantime, she is still the best candidate and anyone who would change their vote over this one incident should reevaluate why they were choosing to vote for Venus in the first place.

I take it most of the people here ranking on Venus are Harrell supporters and campaign workers.

ECB - good post, nice to hear from someone being reasonable after all these crazy posts.

Posted by Meinert | October 18, 2007 11:11 PM

I guess Meinert drives drunk, too.

Posted by Ryan | October 18, 2007 11:14 PM

Jesus, what a lynch mob you people are.

Posted by ECB | October 18, 2007 11:21 PM

Everyone here should read Joel Connelly's take on all this at

He's pretty dead on.

Bottom line, Venus has my vote because she is going to be better for Seattle. Everyone I have spoken to today about this agrees that they are still voting Venus regardless of her being human and making a mistake (I bet she's even made others).

If you don't agree, don't vilify me, show you have a brain and talk some policy...if you can. Tell us which issue you disagree with Venus on and agree with Harrell on (if you can find an issue Harrell actually takes a position on).

Venus is still going to win. Vote Venus.

Posted by Meinert | October 18, 2007 11:23 PM

Meinert - is it booze you speak for - or - music?

You sound really off your mark. Defending drunk drivers in this day and age is not possible. Many people would advocate jailing her for a couple of years.

Get with the changed attitudes on this topic. NO tolerance with drunk driving, none.The mayhem and death toll for drinking and driving is astonishing - there is no case made for lax enforcement or lack of self control.
Never, one standard for all.

Posted by Barnes | October 18, 2007 11:26 PM

On the flip side, ECB and Meinert are supporting a known drunk driver for city council.

Without any ad hominem whatsoever, this statement speaks way more volumes.

Posted by Gomez | October 18, 2007 11:27 PM

The mayor of my hometown got pulled over for driving erratically, blew a .15 or somesuch, and claimed he was out that night "inspecting the city." After that, "inspecting the city" became a hometown euphemism.

Politics is ugly. If I lived in Massachusetts I'd probably vote for Ted Kennedy, because I agree with his policies more than his opponents'. It ain't right, but there it is.

That said, this probably ruins her chances coming so close to the election.

Posted by flamingbanjo | October 18, 2007 11:27 PM

Erica, I'm glad you added the full disclosure to your post: that you were out sick today.

Drink some tea, wake up in the morning and retract your hemming and hawing about 'drunk driving ain't the WORST thang ever' and stick it to her. I forgive you for being so apologetic for drunk driving. Being sick affects my judgment sometimes too.

And guess what? If you really want to, you can STILL support her as a candidate, even while you totally criticize her actions and behavior, which I know you will do when you get over your illness and come to your senses.

Don't be a hypocrite, please. Drunk driving is awful and apologists for it really ain't no better. Get well soon, honey!

Posted by Liz | October 18, 2007 11:30 PM

ECB- "lynch mob"?!? This just 100% proves you don't understand DUI or personal responsibility. The whole world disagrees with you, ECB- ergo, the whole world must be wrong. Bush league journalism.

Posted by Big Sven | October 18, 2007 11:35 PM

So if Bill Clinton got busted for having two drinks with dinner would you all have wanted to kick him out of office and put in say, Bob Dole?

I am not defending Venus' DUI. IF she is guilty, she deserves the punishment the judge gives her. But, first, she hasn't yet been found guilty, and even if she is, it doesn't in my mind disqualify her from office, any more than Clinton getting a blowjob disqualified him from office.

Grow the hell up. Politicians aren't perfect, and if we want perfect squeaky clean people only running for office we're going to have a council made up of a bunch of lame folks. I'll guarantee you this, if you are going to hold every politician in this town to the standard you are holding Venus to, I don't think there are going to be any politicians left. For real.

Posted by Meinert | October 18, 2007 11:36 PM

The measure of someone who deserves our trust isn't purity, it's grace. When you get caught in the act of being a flawed human, your character is exposed. Some try to cover up, make it go away, others face it head on, own it, and use it to strengthen themselves. So far, I see Venus taking the not-so-admirable path, but she does have a chance to turn this around. If she can't then maybe she doesn't deserve our trust. I'm going to wait and see before damning her to political hell.

Posted by thalia | October 18, 2007 11:37 PM

I was joking about Meinert.

That said, as long as you're reading the comments, I'd be curious to know why you don't seem to be taking this very seriously. There are some really good reasons both from a societal standpoint and a personal standpoint that you should be pissed off. Mostly it has to do with Venus putting you in the freakishly awkward position of endorsing somebody who made a terribly irresponsible decision and ended up endangering lives because of it.

Endorse her. Fine. You agree with her on the issues and you feel the issues are more important than this one transgression. I get that. That's cool. But you're also making excuses for her by claiming everybody drives drunk...? Heh. I don't know you, Erica. I'm sure you're smart and nice and all sorts of good things. But you should've left out the part where you accuse everybody who reads this blog of having driven while drunk. That was really ill advised.

Posted by Ryan | October 18, 2007 11:37 PM

Drunk Driving = Deadly Bad Pollution

Every poster here of thought and reason knows they are only alive by chance - since they were not in the unwelcome crashes that kill and injure so many.

I have driven for years, never drunk, but I know from having seen them on the road and having seen the accidents, it is sheer luck or the grace of a generous God that it was not me or my family.

To snicker and deride at no tolerance for drinking and driving is not reason or intelligent. Fact are facts. With impaired driving, the auto become a massive weapon and innocent lives are taken.

Venus is so lucky. And so are the people she might have killed. Glad the cops did their difficult duty and apprehended the dirty pig.

Erica, I was going to vote for her, not now. No way. Two drinks, she is also a liar.

Posted by Al | October 18, 2007 11:52 PM

@ 43: I didn't say everybody drives drunk. I don't drive drunk (and I am sometimes a designated driver - in my Flexcar - so that isn't a copout; I don't bike drunk either because that's really dangerous too). That said, I have driven after having a couple of drinks with dinner in the past. I totally agree that it's completely stupid and dangerous; all I'm saying is that it doesn't disqualify her for public office, in my opinion... and that it might be a good idea to wait until the facts come out before condemning her.

Posted by ECB | October 19, 2007 12:02 AM

Meinert, you are confusing. Which WJC comparison are you proposing? That this is like Bill getting a DUI, or like Bill "getting a blowjob", by which I assume you mean committing perjury in his testimony about said blowjob (since getting a blowjob isn't actually illegal.) I ask because you mention both in your post.

If it's the former, of course you don't impeach a president over a DUI. But if he had gotten a DUI before the 1996 election, then yes I would have considered it in evaluating him vs. Bob Dole (the last of the sane Republicans). For all Bill's human weaknesses, he hadn't committed any crimes before either the 1992 or 1996 election.

If it's the latter, then I don't give a fuck because I (as a voter feel) Bill was totally justified in lying about a personal matter in a politically-motivated witchhunt by a right wing independent counsel.

Bottom line: if you don't think what Velazquez did should discredit her from holding a city council seat, by all means vote for her. But 90% of the people on this Slog (and, I suspect, 90% of Seattle voters) disagree with you.

Posted by Big Sven | October 19, 2007 12:10 AM

Not to split hairs but this is what you wrote:

"I doubt any drinker who reads this blog can say categorically that they’ve NEVER gotten behind the wheel after a celebratory night..."

Not sure how else that could be interpreted.

Your continued endorsement is totally understandable. I just don't think rationalizing drinking and driving is the best way to explain it.

Posted by Ryan | October 19, 2007 12:10 AM

ECB, what a copout. If you think we should "wait until the facts come out before condemning her" (hypothetically, what facts might exonorate her?), how about you wait until the facts come out before choosing whether to withdraw your endorsement?

Posted by Big Sven | October 19, 2007 12:12 AM

Hey, "not even a speeding ticket" and "11 citations over 13 years", what's the difference!

Put aside the DUI, she should lose the election just based on her dishonesty and being stupid enough to lie to a newspaper when those facts would obviously come out.

Posted by mrobvious | October 19, 2007 12:24 AM

shit ECB--you're letting us down.

vv has had 11 tickets in 13 years. she's been cited repeatedly for driving without insurance and without her license. each time her husband gets her off.

now she's drunk on the eve of her election and is acting beligerant. isn't she able to see that we voters know the truth?

you and dave mienert have blinders on. while he's probaly just another white man she's duped, as a supposedly objective journalist you should knwo better. you should retract your endorsement and switch it to harrell or don't endorse at all--you'd have more credibility if you did.

and by the way, i'm a harrell supporter and this is the best thing that could have ever happened for him and Seattle.

harrell is the real deal. a good man and he'll be a great councilmember and eventual mayor. he has'nt cheated with
Forward Seattle PAC money and has earned his endorsements the old fashioned way.

the facts are just getting worse on vv and i'm glad we're now seeing the real venus in time to make the right choice.

Posted by Righton | October 19, 2007 12:24 AM

it’s not like she’s out there killing babies

I went to my cousin's funeral in August after he died in a car accident. The driver was drunk, as was Andy and his friend. Only the driver survived, and now faces 30 years in jail for negligent homicide and drunk driving.

So the only difference between these two situations is that nobody died here. Because Venus was lucky. Nothing else. She was lucky. As is everyone who drives drunk, rides with someone who is drunk, or is on the road when a drunk is around.

If you're actually equating drunk driving with strangling your spouse, that's just despicable.

Drunk driving is worse than beating your spouse. Drunk driving is as bad as beating your spouse to death, but more insidious, because it is more socially acceptable. As you so disgustingly demonstrate.

Posted by how many funerals has ECB been to? | October 19, 2007 12:26 AM

I'd also like to know how she managed to get so many citations dismissed, there's got to be a story there. I love how the police drove her home from the police station, think they'd be willing to do that for you if you got a DUI?

Posted by dave | October 19, 2007 12:30 AM

@ 52,

Seriously, I thought you were supposed to at least spend the night in jail when you get a DUI.

Posted by Patrick | October 19, 2007 12:34 AM

vv's husband's partner was the former city attorney so they've probably bent the rules for her. too bad maybe she'd have learned her lesson if she'd had to pay like the rest of us schmucks.

she got special treatment with the drive home and not spending the night in jail.

she's arrogant and mean-spirited and it's caught up to her and i'm so very glad we all see the real venus.

Posted by Righton | October 19, 2007 12:42 AM

ECB: thanks for confirming that your endorsement process is a sham. Poor harrell never had a chance.

you slammed him unfairly in the primary right before the election and you should have endorsed him this time.

oh well, the truth comes to the light--you're biased and you'll pay the price becaise now we see that you're a sham. you need to retract your endorsement which is rapidly losing value.

Go harrell--venus just gave you the ball and i hope you make the touchdown. to think--you didn't even have to tackle her!

Posted by Pinglslee | October 19, 2007 12:47 AM

Erica - You are a party aparatchik when Steinbrueck is involved. Venus fucked up big time, not just by drunk driving, but by lying through her teeth. (Do you really think someone who had two drinks with dinner goes speeding and weaving through the streets to the point that they get pulled over by the cops?
I guess you also believe Larry Craig just has a wide stance?)
Nobody here is calling for her to be lynched, you asshole. We just don't think she deserves our vote. You really can't see the distinction?
You claim you are a cyclist. I don't know any cyclist who dismisses drunk driving in such an offhand manner as you do. People like Venus Velasquez are a threat to our lives.

Posted by tree | October 19, 2007 1:16 AM

ah. Yes. I am an asshole. Thank you so much for contributing to the clarity of this discussion.

Posted by ECB | October 19, 2007 1:26 AM

She's forked.

Posted by NapoleonXIV | October 19, 2007 1:31 AM

From the facts that are in no way in dispute, (her lies about past tickets, the whole "two drink" BS) at the very least your endorsement should be called into question... but defending her drunk driving?

And coming from an avid bicyclist??

Let's hope karma doesn't catch up to you, Erica- because karma is a bitch, and that bitch is drunk off her ass behind the wheel of her Volvo during your bike ride home.

Posted by ECBullshit | October 19, 2007 1:44 AM

this is all very unfortunate. she is a good candidate and now has very little chance of getting elected.

and, you know, EVERYONE says they had "two drinks" when they get popped. come on. two drinks? please.

Posted by kerri harrop | October 19, 2007 1:45 AM

It's not about what I would do. I am not a politician. I am subject to laws I don't vote on or if I do, are not necessarily laws I would vote in favor of.

She is a politician who we expect to hold to the standard of law we are subjected to. Enough with this humanizing politicos. They want to be the cog between big contracts and their network from college? Here's what we demand: Don't shit the bed.

Posted by What's A Couple Felnoies Between Constituents And Reps? | October 19, 2007 1:54 AM

Should we judge Venus' fitness to hold an office on a single DUI incident? That might be debatable. But we SHOULD judge her based on what this event says about her character. A little dissecting of her statements is in order.

From her polished, wordsmithed apology from The Stranger’s Slog:

“I have devoted much of my life to public service…” You bet, as long as she was paid for the service, or saw a near-future payoff to justify any volunteer work.

“I do not believe I was impaired…but I respect the system that will ultimately make that judgment.” Does she mean to say crossing into an oncoming traffic lane, drifting from side to side, and going 66% above the posted speed limit was not due to being impaired? It must have been instead, a manifestation of her typical ‘I’m the only the one that really matters around here’ attitude.

“Last night was a very stressful time for me.” Then go home at 8 p.m. and relax with your children to unwind. Preferable to the stress-reducing choice you made instead.

From a variety of sources:

“…I remain hopeful…I hope…I hope people…I just hope…” Reminiscent of Bush when he’s not reading from a script and can’t think of anything to say so he begins to repeat himself.

Was she or wasn’t she? “I do not believe I was impaired…I believed I was fine…until I believed I was not impaired… I was not impaired…legally – I was impaired…I do not believe I was impaired…My own judgment of myself not being impaired…” “…but did not believe she was impaired.” Her politics will be equally slippery.

From the P.I.:

"And this wouldn't have made it in the paper if it would have happened last year.” So the timing is the real issue, not the drunk driving?!?

“I don't even have a speeding ticket." Liar, liar, pants on fire. Go to PI story: to read about her stellar (NOT!) driving record.

In conclusion:

Venus, we believe you truly regret getting caught, particularly so close to the election – what we don’t believe is that you truly regret driving under the influence and putting Seattle residents’ lives at risk. NEVER ONCE did you tell the truth and say “I should NOT have been driving. I clearly had too much to drink. I was wrong!” (Saying I made the “wrong” “judgment call” just doesn’t cut it.)

Posted by Integrity Needed | October 19, 2007 2:01 AM

So here's what we can judge her on folks...

She's able to weasel out of tickets, which means she has the wrong kind of connections.

Her lack of respect for the law - driving without her license with her, speeding, driving while inebriated, among others. It would be nice if she'd publish a list of which laws it's okay for all of us to break - or does that privilege only apply to her?

She's linked to the Mayor and so beholding to developers (Forward Seattle PAC $$$ for one) that it is laughable to suggest she would mitigate the effects of rapid growth.

Failure as a consultant. She's failed to get her clients' position to prevail in three high-profile cases (People's Lodge, Aquarium and Casa Latina - see the Seattle Weekly article by Aimee Curl). Do we want similar mishandling of City Council matters?

Fiscal irresponsibility. Spending her campaign into the red going into the general election can in no way be judge as being fiscally prudent. Do we want her working on our city budget?

"Is she too brassy and divisive, or just the aggressive go-getter the outfit needs?" Yes, she is too brassy and divisive - she'll do as she pleases and won't seek input from those she's supposed to serve, the voters of Seattle. And no - she's not what the outfit needs because we need council members who will serve as a check and balance to the Mayor, not someone who will do Nickels' bidding.

Let's count her mistakes on Wednesday night: not knowing her limitations or level of functionality; drinking while inebriated; not having her license while driving; not knowing how fast she was going; speeding; crossing the double yellow line; drifting from side to side; parking in a bus zone; using breath mints in an attempt to coverup her drunkenness; not following the officer's instructions to hang up; not submitting to a breath test; and the worst mistake and lack of judgment of them all - drinking in public while under the public microscope of a political candidacy. Even my middle schooler observed that "She made just about every mistake possible, except carrying a concealed weapon and have illegal drugs in her car."

If this is as good as her judgment gets it will be a travesty if she's elected.

Posted by Integrity Needed | October 19, 2007 2:20 AM

Erica, you don't bike drunk? Biking drunk - on empty, nighttime backstreets - is one of the greatest experiences available. I do it ALL THE TIME. Driving drunk is like waving a loaded gun at a crowd; biking drunk is like flashing a water pistol in a half- empty theater. No risk to anyone but yourself.

Drunk driving is just ineradicable human behavior, and crusaders (rightly) opposed to it would do far better to work to make this a less car-dependent society. Most people - honestly, please - have gotten behind the wheel when they probably shouldn't have. Such is the kind of situation forced on us by a drive-everywhere culture. Still: a week before the election? Swerving? 50 mph on Market? Driving drunk is one thing, driving drunk BADLY is another.

As a pedestrian, running for a bus, I was once hit full-on by a cyclist riding on the sidewalk. He went over the handlebars; my hip was bruised. Water pistols, people.

Posted by Grant Cogswell | October 19, 2007 2:30 AM

"I respect the system that will ultimately make that judgment." Well of course she does when she's able to dodge so many tickets.

I can attest to her bad driving. I was driving behind her after a meeting during which she had George Griffin call me a racist (she's a fan of social terrorism) for paraphrasing what Hiliary Stern of CASA Latina had just said but George didn't fault Hiliary. Ludicrous. Then I witnessed her speed on a residential street and zip past pedestrians trying to cross the street properly at a corner. I stopped for the pedestrians, who interestingly enough, were Latinos. Hypocrite doesn't describe her adequately.

The Stranger needs to reverse her endorsement. Do you keep rowing a leaking canoe across Lake Washington when you're only out from shore a few hundred feet or keep rowing across knowing you'll sink before reaching the far shore? I guess you'll stay the course like Bush in Iraq.

Did Rupert buy The Stranger and we just didn't hear about it?

Posted by pmura | October 19, 2007 2:38 AM

The Stranger won't take back its endorsement of Venus. But the Stranger flipped on Szwaja, endorsed Godden without even criticizing her. Even the Seattle Times, the conservative, pro-business newspaper that used to employ her, criticized her for supporting the tunnel and the streetcar to nowhere. Oh yeah, the TUNNEL! Did the Stranger forget? All the Stranger could say is she "has been impressive in her first four-year term." Oh, and she "stood up for cyclists." Just amazing. Who cares whether you flip on Venus or not? Just don't tell us it's based on principle.

Posted by Trevor | October 19, 2007 3:09 AM

Seriously, I think the anti-ECB prejudice and hate on the Slog is very rude, but on this subject, GIMME A FUCKIN BREAK, ECB! My homies don't drive drunk. If they know they're driving later, they drink ONE drink wiht food and wait three hours at least (might blow hot by WA state standards, but not gonna be 50mph and swerving over the line).
And her past violations plus this? And this at a time when a drunk driver killing a lady and fucking up her man is one of the big recent news stories? I used to like Venus, but this is Dogshit. Fuck that crazy broad. I don't care for Harrell either so I'm not even voting on that race, at this point.
Like the Della/Burgess match-up, it's Shit vs. Poop. Sometimes democracy sucks ass.

Posted by christopher | October 19, 2007 3:10 AM

Here's a bright idea...maybe if Seattle had an adequate public transportation system, we could cut down on DUIs? Hmmm...

Posted by patrick | October 19, 2007 4:22 AM

Most of the serious problems with drunk drivers occur with people who have double the alcohol limit, not people who've only had a couple. BUT people who've only had a couple get tagged all the time. The same thing happened to me about 10 years ago. Two beers on an empty stomach. I was doing 40 in a 25 (it was downhill -- everyone sped), so I got pulled over. The cop smelled beer, and he had me outside walking a straight line etc. I'm sure if he'd taken my BAC, I'd've been over 0.08, but I passed the tests so he didn't. I asked him what he thought my BAC was when he let me go and he said 0.05. There's a lot to be said for tolerance. Someone else who wasn't used to drinking could have had one beer and been arrested in the same situation.

A couple years ago, I did a "buzz with the fuzz" thing in which the cops get people to get drunk so they can test other cops on their drunk-noting skills. Of five people, I had the second highest BAC when we went in to test the cops, at 0.135 (I definitely felt drunk!). But I did my best to confound the buggers, and two of the five groups of cops doing the roadside tests on me let me go.

The laws need to be rewritten to address functional drunkeness rather than an arbitrary BAC level. This is just all part of the failing drug war.

Posted by idaho | October 19, 2007 5:08 AM

this is such bullshit. people have 2 drinks with dinner all the time.
The more important point is that Bruce Harrell is a thug and meathead. If he's so responsible why does he have 2 kids at Lakeside and one kid from a previous relationship dependent on welfare? why isn't anyone calling into question his judgement when he takes credit for a class- action lawsuit against Boeing when in fact that case was overturned by the supreme court because he overcharged the clients he claimed to represent?

Seattle city voters, you will regret it if Bruce Harrell is elected. Venus isn't perfect, but at least she has some intellectual depth.

Posted by stick with the facts | October 19, 2007 8:04 AM

I'm sorry, but 40 or 50 in a 25mph is not cool. Please do us all a favor and jump off of the aroura bridge.

I don't have a problem with Venus having a few drinks with dinner, but I do have a problem with her apparent inability to own up to her own misdeeds, her failing to pass a field sobriety test on said "two drinks" (puh-leeze) and her poor decision making process in refusing to take a breathalyser test - not to mention the worse than ass PR spin she's been giving to the whole situation.

Talk about lackluster.

Posted by seattle98104 | October 19, 2007 8:18 AM

People routinely drive down arterials at speeds around 50 mph.
People who are on no drug other than coffee, anger, or "I'm important, get the fuck out of my way.'
Drivers everywhere are almost ALL, speeding or not, driving with their ear glued to a phone which has been proven to be as detrimental to driving ability as an alcoholic drink.

So, she screwed up.
She's still smart and she's got good energy toward our City.

I filled in her dot on my absentee ballot this A.M.,
after watching this story on last night's TV.

Posted by old timer | October 19, 2007 8:25 AM

"She's still smart"

but a major fuck up?

Posted by seattle98104 | October 19, 2007 8:31 AM

I was still planning to vote for her after I'd heard about the DUI. While driving drunk is irresponsible and dangerous, and the timing of the incident was especially bad, I figured it wouldn't be a deal-breaker for me.

But, Erica, here's what killed it for me. Her apology lacked the genuine humility of someone who fucked up, got caught, and owned up to it. The sense of it is more, "Oh no, this thing happened to me and I'm sorry that it's so inconvenient for my supporters." This is exactly the kind of spineless retreat from difficulty that we don't need on city council.

So, Venus: Remember that when you find yourself in a hole, you should stop digging.

Posted by Greg | October 19, 2007 8:41 AM

I just want to add that I for one am not disappointed in ECB at all.

If for some reason you didn't expect her to dig her heels in and stubbornly defend the indefensible, put Erica and Venus' driving records side by side. There's a simple reason why ECB thinks being a crappy driver with no basic common sense is not a disqualification.

And it's time to stop being surprised when ECB agrees with Joel Connelly.

Posted by elenchos | October 19, 2007 8:50 AM

2 drinks won't get anyone who weighs more than 100 pounds over .08. There is just not enough alcohol in two drinks to get the blood levels that high even if take it intravenously. It might get you close .07 or .06, but it won't make you illegal.

The reason I'm not supporting Venus is not becasue she made a mistake, but becasue she thinks people will buy her bullshit. Though it looks like ECB has, which is unfortunate, I sure as hell am not.

There is zero chance she only had 2 drinks over a few hours, zero. She would have needed 4 or 5 over a 2-3 hour period to get over the limit.

Instead of coming clean and admitting it, she refuses the breathalyser and continue to maintain a clearly false story.

Posted by giffy | October 19, 2007 8:55 AM

I'll say it again - most people in her slamming Venus are folks who already weren't voting for her or actually actively support Harrell in some way.

Drunk driving is a bad choice. In no way do I think it should be excused. But, she hasn't been convicted, and from what we know she had some wine with dinner. She wasn't 'out drinking', and then wasted, got behind the wheel. She had dinner, and some wine, and then drove. And there IS a difference. Was she speeding, yes, apparently. I've done 50 on that street many times, big deal.

Only in America would people care so much about so little while overlooking the important issues of how our government should be run. Sex scandals, drug scandals, etc, in other parts of the western world just don't play out like this. All you Harrell supporters sound like a bunch of hypocritical, puritanical nannies. Is this how Harrell is going govern? If so, he will bring more of the Mayor's nanny state crap to the council. You make me want to support Venus even more actively.

Look at the issues. On the issues, Venus is the better choice. She'll be the better council person. Vote for her.

@70 - don't expect too much response to your facts about Harrell. His supporters here have been looking for something to distract voters from them. Prior to this they had to resort to the "bitch" and "uppity female" shit. Now they have something they hope will stick. It's their only chance, because Venus is the better candidate, a true progressive backed by activists, progressives, public safety officials, and business leaders all at once.

Posted by Meinert | October 19, 2007 8:56 AM

Meinert said nobody was killing babies here?

Posted by killing babies | October 19, 2007 8:57 AM

Meinert said nobody was killing babies here?

Posted by killing babies | October 19, 2007 8:58 AM

Nobody believes her claim to have had only 2 drinks, since she then refused multiple times to take a breathalyzer. Either Erica is very gullible, or she thinks her readers are and is helping spin this out of loyalty. Either way not a great quality in a journalist.

Posted by DJSauvage | October 19, 2007 8:58 AM

Meinert said nobody was killing babies here?

Posted by killing babies | October 19, 2007 8:58 AM

Meinert said nobody was killing babies here?

Posted by killing babies | October 19, 2007 8:58 AM

Meinert said nobody was killing babies here?

Posted by killing babies | October 19, 2007 8:59 AM

Meinert, did you really compare Venus to Bill Clinton??!!!


You have a career in politics.

Posted by Clint | October 19, 2007 9:01 AM

hey giffy. READ THE ARTICLES. From the Seattle Times: "He gave her a field sobriety test, including a balance test, eye test and breath test."

Your whole rant about there being a zero chance she had 2 drinks with dinner- which I know for a fact she did- is just that: a rant.

Posted by throwing stones | October 19, 2007 9:01 AM

You don't have to be a Harrell supporter to rag on Venus actin' a fool.

Just like you don't have to be a Bush supporter to call the Dems a bunch of spineless dumbfucks.

Posted by seattle98104 | October 19, 2007 9:07 AM

Erica- good post. But I think Connelly was referring to Josh when he said "written her off" Josh did say that she was done in one of his first posts on this.

Posted by SeMe | October 19, 2007 9:07 AM

When I read this post my eyes actually clouded over red I was so angry. I know I'm not the first to say this, but I read slog everyday, drink often and have never gotten behind a wheel after even one. It's a personal rule, and very strict, but proof that it is possible to be responsible. Erica, I'm sorry, but drinking and driving is really, really serious. That it happens all the time, or that people can misjudge their ability to get behind a wheel, or even if every slog reader drove drunk everynight do not substantiate any kind of defense of that action. So Erica, in your defense of Venus, please reconsider these excuses.

The real question is whether or not Venus' terrible, irresponsible decision reflects on a bad personality (a good personality is not a requirement of holding office) or on an inability to do the job (full disclosure: I would NEVER have voted for her in the first place). I actually do think that her decision shows that she is not thoughtful enough to lead, and her remorseless apology sounds as though she is angry that law even found her. Pure and simple, she broke a law (a law designed to protect harmless other people, might I add), she got caught. I don't think that a person who does that is suited, right now, to be a leader. She endangered other lives. But to some extent that is a judgement call--you may not have a problem with voting for soemone who just got a DUI. I happen to.

Posted by INORIGHT? | October 19, 2007 9:11 AM

ECB - you proved my point when you compared driving drunk with strangling a spouse. McIver's wife said he grabbed her by the arm and the neck - translating that into strangling would be the equivalent of saying that Venus been caught drunken driving after having an accident injuring someone. The police report on McIver said there were no visable marks or injuries something you have totally ignored or underplayed for sure.

And McIver is not the only example of you being a sexist.

Posted by whatever | October 19, 2007 9:11 AM

@85, but she didn't take the one thats matters, at the station. Thats kind of suspicious.

And the 2 drinks is not a rant its a fact. Theres just not enough alcohol in 2 glasses of wine to put someone over the limit. While not 100% accurate, I went to a few BAC calculators and put in 100 pounds, female, two glasses of red wine, over 0 or 1 hours and not one was over .08. I would guess that Venus ways more, and she claimed it was over a few hours, but I wanted to give her the complete benefit of the doubt.

Combine that with 11 tickets in the past 13 years and it shows someone with a bit of a contempt for the laws and rules we all follow. I don't think you'll find many people with that many tickets over that length of time.

She's lost my vote. I'm not a big fan of Harrell either and might just sit this race out.

God we need better candidates for the city council (and mayor). A drunk, a jesus freak, a layabout, Jean Godden, and a wife beater (and McIver whose already there).

Posted by Giffy | October 19, 2007 9:11 AM

@76 - You are incorrect. 2 glasses of wine even an hour after the second glass can make someone blow over .08.

There is no exact answer to determine how much you have to drink to reach the legal limit for driving.

If you are around 100 lbs., you can generally only have about one serving of alcohol before being over 0.08, and only two servings before being above 0.1

However, a person is closer to 160 lbs. can have about 3 servings of alcohol and still be below the legal limit for driving

Many factors can alter this, eating being one for sure, as is time. It's not unreasonable for a person two have two to three drinks with dinner over 3 hours to think they are sober when they would still blow over .08.

Posted by Meinert | October 19, 2007 9:16 AM

Great. What were the results from that breath test? Were they published? My guess is that if it were REALLY two drinks, it probably wouldn't have been enough to get her carted down to the station where she declined any further testing.

Posted by Clint | October 19, 2007 9:16 AM

Harrell is wrong for this city. Yes, Venus made a stupid mistake, but we do not want 4 years of a stupid man.

Posted by pixiescure | October 19, 2007 9:17 AM

Um, also, really this has NOTHING to do with Harrell. It has to do with whether or not Venus can lead. If you don't think so you get to 1) Vote for Harrell if you support him, 2) Leave the position blank on your ballot, 3) Write in someone else

And FINALLY, Meinert, I don't think this is a 'puritanical' issue. It would be puritanical if we were condemning her for drinking. No one is. Just for endangering others while taking part of what is a personal choice. it isn't our business if Venus drinks, unless she does something that forces it into the public sphere, like hurtle down Market street with a few drinks under belt.

Posted by INORIGHT? | October 19, 2007 9:20 AM

@85 "she had 2 drinks with dinner- which I know for a fact she did."

Maybe she really did only have 2 drinks with dinner. What I want to know is how many did she have before her meal arrived at the table and how many did she have after she had finished her meal.

Posted by I switched my vote | October 19, 2007 9:32 AM

Once I was pulled over and given the field sobriety test. I was then ordered to do the BT right there on the spot. The cop took the cartridge to his car and popped right back and said it wasn't going anywhere and I was free to go. My point is the field test isn't always proof that one is over the limit, but in this case it would appear that she was driving badly sober or drunk.

Posted by whatever | October 19, 2007 9:34 AM

Consider this... In AA circles, the conventional wisdom is that if you get caught DUI, then chances are that you've driven drunk at least 10 times prior, given that only about 1 in 10 drunk drivers is ever pulled over.

If you take Venus' flip comments (or lies, if you will) about her prior traffic infractions and combine that with her flip comment about her level of impairment, one coud conclude that she makes the decision to drive drunk on MANY OCCASSIONS beause she "doesn't think she's impaired."

That shows a pretty blatant level of arrogance. I bet she figured if she ever DID get caught DUI, then she'd just be able to get it dismissed like she has all those other traffic citations over the years. The only reason she won't get THIS DUI dismissed is the fact that she's running for office and the media blew her cover (an alcoholic's worst nightmare, btw). Otherwise I'm sure this dirty little incident would have just "fallen through the cracks" of our court system.

And ECB....Shame on you, girl.

Posted by Friend of Bill's | October 19, 2007 9:39 AM

"I just had two drinks with dinner"
"I sent the check last week"
"I just have a wide stance"
"I have coke at home"
"Its only a cold sore"

Posted by Clint | October 19, 2007 9:45 AM

Venus should fire her campaign manager - for (1) being stupid and inattentive enough to let the candidate get drunk, and (2) getting too drunk herself to drive the candidate home. It's so hard to find good help nowadays.

Posted by mike | October 19, 2007 9:47 AM

when you say "I doubt any drinker who reads this blog can say categorically that they’ve NEVER gotten behind the wheel after a celebratory night, or two drinks with dinner..." The response to that statement is: How many of us drinkers are running for office??????? when your in the public eye...get your drinks and kicks after election day, not a couple weeks before...

Posted by Who me? | October 19, 2007 9:49 AM

Why is the Stranger still endorsing this person???????????

Posted by BillyBob | October 19, 2007 9:51 AM

If we had rapid public transit that was easy to use at any given time I bet we'd have less drunks driving!
And who is gonna be the next City Council Member to show their true colors?

Posted by orangekrush | October 19, 2007 9:52 AM

According to this June 10, 2004 article, "anyone who wants to drive after a DUI arrest, a DUI conviction or after opting for deferred prosecution must have an ignition-interlock device installed in his or her vehicle." Wonder if she'll have one of those?

Speaking of, does anyone know if she got booked? I'd love to see her mel gibson-eque mugshot a la the smoking gun. I doubt ECB would do it, but if someone could get it I think we could all judge a lot about VV's state by the glassy-eyed stare DUI mug shots often portray.

Posted by ignition-interlock device | October 19, 2007 9:55 AM

@101 - because on the specific issues that matter, Velazquez is the better candidate for City Council. If you want a conservative ex-Jock corporate attorney who switches his position based on who they are talking to and won't take many positions at all, vote Harrell. If you want a pro-environment, pro-density, strong advocate for a good business and living environment in Seattle and a leader on education, support Valazquez. It's a simple choice.

Posted by Frank | October 19, 2007 9:59 AM

To paraphrase an old saw, a PR person who represents herself has a fool for a client.

Posted by Mr. X | October 19, 2007 9:59 AM

Hear! Hear! Let's see that mugshot! And by the way you can go to Venus' website, and send her a personalized e-mail. I bet she's getting a lot of those right now. Time wounds all heels indeed!

Posted by BillyBob | October 19, 2007 9:59 AM

Frank @104: Alcoholic?

Posted by BillyBob | October 19, 2007 10:03 AM
I doubt any drinker who reads this blog can say categorically that they’ve NEVER gotten behind the wheel after a celebratory night, or two drinks with dinner

Yeah, okay, I'll say it. I have NEVER gotten behind the wheel after a celebratory night or two drinks with dinner.

I'm 35 years old. I'm a chronic binge drinker who's had more blackouts than I can count. I've had alcohol poisoning bad enough to cause convulsions at least three times. And I have never once in my entire life gotten behind the wheel of a car within 24 hours of having a drink.

I have terrible judgment when it comes to alcohol, but there are some mistakes I simply refuse to make.

Posted by Judah | October 19, 2007 10:03 AM

And BTW, I agree with the people here accusing ECB of being a hypocrite on this issue.

Posted by Judah | October 19, 2007 10:08 AM

Yah! I thought ECB was so cool up 'till now...

Posted by BillyBob | October 19, 2007 10:12 AM

If this were anyone other than the person the stranger chose to endorse, we would have a mugshot already, and all her past infractions would be nit picked to death by now, but this wont happen. Guess we'll be going to the old world papers for that info.

Posted by seattle98104 | October 19, 2007 10:13 AM

41. I love how Meinert plays the 'Grow up' defense, because he's got nothing else.

My respect for Meinert nosedives the more he battles to defend these horrible, damning lapses in judgment by Venus... especially as he busts out the character fallacies to attack anyone who dares call a spade a spade.

I don't want someone stupid enough to drive drunk, let alone speed and swerve between lanes in the process, serving on the city council. It's an illustration of flakiness, disrespect for the law and for others, and terrible personal judgment.

Posted by Gomez | October 19, 2007 10:16 AM

Also the police report states the arrest was audio/video recorded, so, again, if this were any other candidate than the one the stranger endorsed, we would already have that up on youtube.

Posted by seattle98104 | October 19, 2007 10:19 AM

For sure, Judah. My one alcoholic friend doesn't even own a car, and not because it was taken from him - because he never got one in the first place. And people saying Venus-slammers are all Harrell supporters anyhow? At least 2 or 3 people posting on here have let you know that isn't true, and I'll add my 2 cents as well. I would have voted for Venus but now I won't. Even if she wasn't toasted, she was driving like a maniac. I'm a pedestrian. "Everyone was doing it" is only an excuse for that level of speeding in broad daylight in California, where you'll get run off the road for driving the speed limit. It doesn't hold water in Seattle at night. She may have principles, in theory, but when the she hits the road she throws them all out the window in favor of driving like a homicidal maniac. She can fuck the hell off. I ain't voting for her or Bruce.
Driving like that, especially if she was drunk (her actions that night scream that she knew exactly how inebriated she was), is the sign of someone so arrogant they don't consider the possibility (strong likelihood) they'll end up killing someone. Just because you've made the same asshat mistake doesn't mean WE should be judged by that standard. Fuck Velasquez. This isn't an extramarital blowjob: It's life and death.
Is she the best qualified for the job? Could be. But she's given us a huge fat reason to think she isn't. Even if I was a drunky asshole driver, if I was running for office, I'd be playing it safe. This was extremely bad judgment. Arrogance. Who is to say she wouldn't have gotten the job, then gotten busted like this on the eve of passing some significant ordinance, and thereby fucked up its chances for passing with certain voters?
Fact is we don't have ANY worthy candidates for that position. We'll get Harrell now, thanks to her actions. Thanks for handing him the election, V! Hope he isn't as bad as everyone says he is, you fucking idiot!

Posted by christopher | October 19, 2007 10:28 AM


I just read this week's edition of The Stranger, and about fell off my chair choking when I read the headline of Erica's article on page 20.

It reads, "On the Rocks: Richard McIver's Arrest for Domestic Violence Highlights a Taboo Issue--His Drinking"

So Erica, will we see a similar article in next week's Stranger that is titled:
"On the Roads: Venus Velazquez's Arrest for DUI Highlights a Taboo Issue--Her Drinking" ?

I also note that Joel Connelly indicated in his article that Venus was having dinner at the Matador restaurant, yet Venus stated that she was arrested after leaving the BalMar bar, across the street. Maybe she did have two drinks at DINNER at Matador. But how many did she have after dinner at the BAR across the street?

As others have said....totally irresponsible of her AND her campaign staff, especially knowing how much a microscope a candidate is under these days. Like I said earlier, it's more a mindset of arrogance and priveledge that leads to those kinds of "judgement" calls.

Posted by Friend of Bill's | October 19, 2007 10:28 AM

Look, I'm still voting for her.

But, I should say, any woman who is not at least 5'10" should realize that they are likely to be considered drunk after only ONE drink in this state.

If you are 5'4" or less, you are probably drunk after HALF A DRINK.

Is it fair? Probably not. But you're still drunk.

Also, women metabolize alcohol more slowly then men, so they remain drunk longer.

Fair? No.

Now, do I want women not to drink when they go out to dinner? Nah. Cause it's much easier for us guys to form a relationship when you're slightly soused and your defenses are a bit down.

But take a taxi or metro. You'll be glad you did!

Posted by Will in Seattle | October 19, 2007 10:43 AM

Also, it's funny how ECB even goes as far to agree with the asinine Joel Connelly, only because he happens to have a take that ECB personally wants to believe in.

Posted by Gomez | October 19, 2007 10:47 AM

if it were Bruce Harrell, he wouldn't be drunk. With his height and body mass, plus being male, he could legally drink four drinks with dinner and still be legal. But he'd probably only drink three, just to be safe.

BAC - Blood Alcohol Content - the reason why vodka watermelons are so much fun!

Posted by Will in Seattle | October 19, 2007 10:49 AM

The great thing about not taking that bloodtest is that here we are talking about the difference between 1 and 3 drinks in a little itty bitty lady. If we knew as a matter of fact that she blew .081 that would be one thing, but we don't know if it was that or .15 - BECAUSE she didn't take the test.

I am not a supporter of the other guy - I don't even know who she is running against. I don't know any of the REAL issues in this race. I am just a simple voter. The only thing I know for sure is that this lady is lying about something. Its just a matter of to what degree.

The only thing that really interests me here is the way that it has been covered and defended. If the Stranger hadn't just endorsed her (like a day or two ago), I doubt this would have even been a blip on my radar.

Posted by Clint | October 19, 2007 10:53 AM

I haven't paid any attention to this particular race up til now, but I gotta say as a cyclist I'm utterly appalled at Ms. Velasquez's behavior. Drunk drivers are a plague on cyclists - drunk drivers in denial doubly so.

And for what it's worth Cascade Cycle endorsed Harrell - so I don't see how he'd be bad for bikers:

I admire Steinbrueck and all, but weaving at 50 on a dark night on MARKET? Yikes! We've lost enough cyclist and peds already this year.

I'm reluctant to vote for someone whose trying to kill me :-)

Posted by bakfiets | October 19, 2007 10:54 AM

@52, A lot of people get driven home from the police station after being arrested for suspicion of DUI. It's very common.

Posted by Andy | October 19, 2007 10:54 AM

"Maybe she really did only have 2 drinks with dinner. What I want to know is how many did she have before her meal arrived at the table and how many did she have after she had finished her meal."

What I want to know is what her definition of a "drink" is. I have plenty of friends who would refer to a long island ice tea as "a drink."

Posted by Jo | October 19, 2007 10:55 AM

I had a pint of sake the other night...

thats a drink right?

Posted by seattle98104 | October 19, 2007 10:59 AM

I'll admit it. There was one time that I got behind the wheel after drinking four glasses of wine. However, since I knew I was over the legal limit, I was extremely careful when driving back to my hotel. I drove at exactly the speed limit. I paid very close attention to what was going on around me, and I certainly didn't swerve into any other lanes. I wasn't going to risk getting pulled over or getting into an accident.

So, what the fuck was Venus doing driving 50 mph on Market Street? If her judgment was that impaired, then she was too drunk to drive.

Posted by keshmeshi | October 19, 2007 11:04 AM

@117, Yes, sometimes we will agree with people we usually disagree with. It happens. I don't know what you're trying to point out with that.

Posted by Andy | October 19, 2007 11:07 AM

How about this all you self-righteous Harrell supporters - let's hear from Harrell that he NEVER has had more than two drinks and then driven. He should go on record. Of course he won't, because tons of people would come out and say otherwise. So let's see, if we hold both to this crazy standard, who do we vote for?

No one should drive drunk. I bet Venus never will again. This is a non-issue in this race. Let's stop being distracted by the "perfection" issue, and get back to the important issues in front of us as a city that is rapidly changing/ decaying/ growing/ etc.

Posted by Meinert | October 19, 2007 11:11 AM

Believe it or not, the D.U.I. doesn't bother me as much as the lying & apology/non-apology. Enough to lose my vote.

Posted by BillyBob | October 19, 2007 11:18 AM

US drunk driving deaths in 2006: 17,602
US war deaths in Iraq, 2006: 820

Congratulations drunk drivers, you're committing TWENTY ONE Iraq wars! In perpetuity. Nicely done.

(And yes, for comparison, the UN says that 34,452 Iraqis died in 2006 as a result of the war. Party hearty, drunk drivers, if you want to catch this metric!)

Posted by Big Sven | October 19, 2007 11:21 AM

@124: Your rationalizations about your behavior are disappointing. So you tried to be careful. So what? It was still dangerous and irresponsible, especially because the most dangerous part was something you couldn't sense: your reaction time was slower than normal. You got lucky.

Posted by Greg | October 19, 2007 11:21 AM

126. Harrell probably never did 50 in a 30 mph zone, swerved between lanes, took a mint in a futile attempt to cover his breath once he was pulled over, and then refused a breath test, then came back and refused to own up to it later.

Again, this is an illustration of terrible personal judgment by your pet candidate. And you want us to vote this person into city council.

Posted by Gomez | October 19, 2007 11:27 AM

@126 - I am not a Harrell supporter. I know NOTHING about the guy. The only thing I really know about Venus are the controversial quotes I read published and the fact that she seems to be lying here.

Why should this now make it the other guys responsibility to say that he has never driven drunk?

I am still open about who to vote for though, so school me here dave... Why should I vote for a liar over somebody I know nothing about? What makes the other guy worse than a liar? Being a politician, I am guessing he is a liar too, but I just don't have the evidence so help us out instead just using Red State bully tactics.

Posted by Clint | October 19, 2007 11:29 AM


I'm not trying to rationalize it. I made a dumb decision, but it wasn't nearly as dumb as Venus' behavior. She didn't even try to be careful which seems to indicate that she was a lot drunker than she claims.

Posted by keshmeshi | October 19, 2007 11:32 AM

Chrikey, Meinert. Why should Harrell have to address his drinking just because Venus made a bad decision?

Drinking and Driving is one of the most serious crimes for me. Maybe when you know someone who dies because someone like Venus is too irresonsible you will understand how serious her 'mistake' is.

She's an adult. SHe should know better.

Posted by INORIGHT? | October 19, 2007 11:33 AM

Meinert & ECB: Taunting me as self-righteous or prude would probably have some influence if I were an insecure 18 year old. But people that age won't vote anyway. If you're saying all the cool kids drink and drive, then I guess I'm just not cool enough to be in your club.

Posted by elenchos | October 19, 2007 11:34 AM

Yeah, I know nothing of the two candidates yet (haven't made it to that section of the pamphlet yet and just got my ballot yesterday), but calling potential Venus voters shills of Harrell isn't going to win any votes.

And since when did all of Meinert's posts sound like the rants of a giant douche?

Posted by seattle98104 | October 19, 2007 11:35 AM

Meinhart - I'm not a Harrell supporter. There is a difference between doing something and getting caught at it. As Grant pointed out it wasn't that she drank and drove but that she drank and drove badly. I'm surprised that the papers that have exposed behaviour by other candidates that goes back decades never (did I miss it) did a story on VV's driving record. She has all these weird tickets for no insurance and no litter bag, just no insurance, and just no seat belts - how do get these tickets w/o some other violation? Anyway it seems from her record that she has a disregard for following the rules - one or two expired license plates (I can see how ECB relates), like five no insurance, two stop signs, two speeding.

BTW Harrell has four tickets dating back to 1989 - two speeding and two display of plates (whatever that means)

Would this event have caused me to vote for Bush over Clinton in 1992 - no way, but she's no Bill J Clinton.

Posted by whatever | October 19, 2007 11:38 AM

Meinert you are a complete idiot out of touch with the rest of us. GO AHEAD AND VOTE FOR VENUS! WE DON'T GIVE A SHIT BECAUSE SHE'S GOING TO LOSE ANYWAY!

I've known Bruce Harrell most of my life and can tell you he's a good guy--not perfect but a good, highly intelligent man who was getting a bum deal from FORWARD SEATTLE.

Venus is toast and Bruce even had the decency to pray for her and her family and stick to his platform.

Someone told me that Venus would screw herself because she's compulsive and obsessive--and she did so!

Bruce will win and he'll be a great Council member--for all of Seattle.

ECB and the STranger screwed up by not endorsing him and let their credidlbity erode with every statement defending Venus.

Posted by Angela Morganton | October 19, 2007 11:47 AM

Yeah Bruce prayed for her and her family. But he did make the phone call to the times to report he heard a rumor that Venus had been arrested and wanted to know if it was true! So he's not so innocent!!!

Posted by really | October 19, 2007 12:18 PM

Yes, anyone can make a mistake and think they are under the alcohol limit and be over it. But that's not theproblem here.

Venus V.:

drove FIFTY MILES PER HOUR on Market street in Ballard, wavering over the center line.

She REFUSED to take the breathalyzer test.

She let her campaign staffer get too drunk to drive.

She has 11 citations in 13 years.

She did not have her license with her.

Previous citations include multiple failures to have proof of insurance, running stop signs, etc.

Here statements that she did not think she was impaired are bs since she was going 50 mph, in other words, she tried to spin the facts in a dishonest way.
She sai ge whiz sh never even had a traffic ticket. Not.

This is a pattern.

Together with the fact that the developer group wants to buy her soul with $100K of independent expenditures, what more does it take for the Stranger to withdraw an endorsement?

Posted by Ballard club goer | October 19, 2007 12:42 PM

I have to agree with many of the previous posters on the "2 Drink" defense. That's basically code words to anyone who's ever gone out drinking and had to explain to anyone, cop or otherwise, that they hadn't had much.

If she really did have exactly two drinks, why not claim one instead, right?

And, as Keshmeshi notes, why drive like that if you're not impaired?

Posted by Lloyd Clydesdale | October 19, 2007 12:55 PM

139. They won't withdraw their endorsement because she shares their values.

... apparently in more ways than the usual, political ways.

Posted by Gomez | October 19, 2007 1:27 PM

1) Women can blow impaired after ONE DRINK. Not every woman, but many of us, and anyone who doesn't know that is a FUCKING MORON.

2) I predict a Stranger backpedal a la Oprah/Frey. It sucks when the person you backed turns out to suck. But once the shock wears off, you gotta suck it up and DTMFA.

3) How likely is it that the police were tipped to watch out for her in case they could find something to pull her over for?

Posted by Vannat | October 19, 2007 5:32 PM

Erica, I don't know if you're on the right side of this one. Sure, I don't like Harrell's politics, but I haven't seen a lot to convince me that Velazquez is fitted for office. What really sticks in my craw here is that she refused the BAC test at the station. As the form that she was given explains, driving on the roads of Washington implies that you consent to a BAC test. It's like an oath that you take with the state when you get into a car. Velazquez broke that oath. Sure, the state tells you that you have a right to refuse. But just because you may have a right to do it, doesn't mean that you have good character. Velasquez tried to hide her BAC, from the police, from the jury, and from the voters. She broke a promise that she made by getting into her car. And the reason she did this is because it suited her personal interests. Do we really need more politicians who break their promises and hide the truth from voters when it's in their best interests to do so? For years and years I've swallowed my reservations about national democratic candidates who seemed to be only pale imitations of what a democrat should be. Do I really have to compromise my standards so much for a local election too? I will not be casting a vote for either Harrell or Velazquez.

Posted by Allsburg | October 19, 2007 6:39 PM

Hey folks,

Guess what? It's possible to have two drinks with dinner and arrested for a DUI. Because it recently happened to me. Im glad it has now happened to someone else in a higher position, because Im hoping after she see's all the lies on the police report she might have some sort of power to put a stop to these cops thinking they are God and are given power to run around destroying peoples lives rather than getting out there and stopping the real criminals. I DID have two drinks with dinner and was stopped for something I didnt even do, throwing a cigg butt out the window which I NEVER do. I blew a .111, yes over the limit for all you who want to fuss about that but the alchohal limit is so low that if you have one drink you are in trouble if you blow. I was not DRUNK and the lies in the report make me sound like a horrible person. I have not had even a speeding ticket in 25 years, now they act like Im a criminal. And before all you squak about the dangers of drinking and driving. My dad was killed by a drunk driver. But the guy was actually DRUNK. Two drinks with dinner does not justify what they do to you and how they treat you. If that is the case then they need to shut down any place that sell booze, oh but they wont do that, the government makes to much money off of it, oh thats right! hypocrites to say the least. come on VENUS quit trying to play off so nice and call it as it is,,,, BULL SHIT what they did to you and me. Its the money maker for the country and they could care less the lives they destroy in getting it. Cannot imagine you wanting to be a part of the democracy in the first place.

Posted by Tammy | October 20, 2007 12:58 PM

Hey folks,

Guess what? It's possible to have two drinks with dinner and arrested for a DUI. Because it recently happened to me. Im glad it has now happened to someone else in a higher position, because Im hoping after she see's all the lies on the police report she might have some sort of power to put a stop to these cops thinking they are God and are given power to run around destroying peoples lives rather than getting out there and stopping the real criminals. I DID have two drinks with dinner and was stopped for something I didnt even do, throwing a cigg butt out the window which I NEVER do. I blew a .111, yes over the limit for all you who want to fuss about that but the alchohal limit is so low that if you have one drink you are in trouble if you blow. I was not DRUNK and the lies in the report make me sound like a horrible person. I have not had even a speeding ticket in 25 years, now they act like Im a criminal. And before all you squak about the dangers of drinking and driving. My dad was killed by a drunk driver. But the guy was actually DRUNK. Two drinks with dinner does not justify what they do to you and how they treat you. If that is the case then they need to shut down any place that sell booze, oh but they wont do that, the government makes to much money off of it, oh thats right! hypocrites to say the least. come on VENUS quit trying to play off so nice and call it as it is,,,, BULL SHIT what they did to you and me. Its the money maker for the country and they could care less the lives they destroy in getting it. Cannot imagine you wanting to be a part of the democracy in the first place.

Posted by Tammy | October 20, 2007 12:59 PM

Hey folks,

Guess what? It's possible to have two drinks with dinner and arrested for a DUI. Because it recently happened to me. Im glad it has now happened to someone else in a higher position, because Im hoping after she see's all the lies on the police report she might have some sort of power to put a stop to these cops thinking they are God and are given power to run around destroying peoples lives rather than getting out there and stopping the real criminals. I DID have two drinks with dinner and was stopped for something I didnt even do, throwing a cigg butt out the window which I NEVER do. I blew a .111, yes over the limit for all you who want to fuss about that but the alchohal limit is so low that if you have one drink you are in trouble if you blow. I was not DRUNK and the lies in the report make me sound like a horrible person. I have not had even a speeding ticket in 25 years, now they act like Im a criminal. And before all you squak about the dangers of drinking and driving. My dad was killed by a drunk driver. But the guy was actually DRUNK. Two drinks with dinner does not justify what they do to you and how they treat you. If that is the case then they need to shut down any place that sell booze, oh but they wont do that, the government makes to much money off of it, oh thats right! hypocrites to say the least. come on VENUS quit trying to play off so nice and call it as it is,,,, BULL SHIT what they did to you and me. Its the money maker for the country and they could care less the lives they destroy in getting it. Cannot imagine you wanting to be a part of the democracy in the first place.

Posted by Tammy | October 20, 2007 12:59 PM

There seems to be a lot of talk about how many drinks it really takes a woman to get legally drunk. The Stranger should consider doing a story featuring of course women (and men) of various weights drinking and testing their blood alcohol. Would not only be an interesting story but would be a great public service and guide for people to know just how much they can safely drink.

Posted by mrobvious | October 20, 2007 8:54 PM

One behavior which I have never equated with The Stranger was that of being foolhardy. The decision to continued to endorse Ms. Velazquez is a poor decision -- but it is one the editorial board still has time to reverse. With the accurate revelations of Ms. Velazquez's vehicular past, you simply are drastically undermining your journalistic abilities and more importantly, you editorial integrity. While your continued endorsement of the candidate will not influence the trouncing she will experience at the polls, that is not the issue. What is at stake is your ability to continue to be a relevant player in contributions to the debate of area politics.

Posted by reonn | October 22, 2007 1:19 PM

I'm sorry, but if you have one drink with dinner and drive you SHOULD be drawn and quartered. This is attempted murder, black and white. Don't drink alcohol and drive, period. Driving is a privelege not a right. The law does not require you to be drunk, only impaired. And going 50mph and swerving in a 30 mph zone is attempted murder as well!

Venus needs to go away. She is a menace to this community, send her back to NYC!

Posted by Richard Boswell | October 22, 2007 9:09 PM

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