When voters passed Sound Transit's second phase in 2008, the package (known as "Sound Transit 2") included funds meant to study future light rail extensions. Just this September, Mayor-elect Mike McGinn said during the campaign that he wants to put light rail extensions on the ballot within two years. Seattle voters are big transit supporters; they're willing to support just about anything transit-related. If McGinn wants to get light rail to West Seattle and Ballard on the ballot within two years, Sound Transit will have to start these studies soon. The bad news? More than a year after voters unleashed the funds, the Sound Transit board hasn't made a decision on when these studies will start.
According to Sound Transit spokesman Geoff Patrick from, "The board is in a process to identify the timelines for implementing the different elements of Sound Transit 2, and they haven't established a timeframe for doing that study."
Are they considering whether to study these new light rail lines? "[That] would be a significant policy question that would need to go before the board as an item for discussion, and that hasn't occurred yet."
Sound Transit allows the their board—comprised of elected officials—to take the lead. Which is why the Sound Transit board is so important when it comes to pushing the agency to study new light rail lines other than those included in ST2. If Mayor-elect McGinn and City Council President Richard Conlin want to put light rail on the ballot city-wide within two years, it will take tremendous leadership, not unlike that shown by outgoing Mayor Greg Nickels when Hizzoner fought to put light rail on the ballot after it had failed the previous year.
Investigators searching for the suspected killer of four Seattle-area police officers have rounded up several of his relatives and friends to keep them from helping him escape, a sheriff's spokesman said Monday.
Police have brought in five or six relatives and other acquaintances of Maurice Clemmons, "and we expect that number to grow," Pierce County Sheriff's Department spokesman Ed Troyer said. ...
"What we're going to do is eliminate those people, so he'll have no place to go," Troyer told CNN. A raid in the southern Seattle suburb of Renton late Monday was aimed at cutting off Clemmons from that support network, he said.
The Seattle Times reports that the search for Maurice Clemmons is creating unease for black men:
[Oscar] Eason, chairman of Washington's African American Affairs Commission, came to one painful conclusion: For African-American males between ages 20 and 50, he said, "I would caution them to be very careful and only travel when necessary."
While expressing condolences to those affected by the slayings, African-American leaders nonetheless are concerned that the furious manhunt for Maurice Clemmons, 37, the man believed responsible for the crime, could raise the potential for racial profiling.
Multiple news sources are reporting on Twitter—follow here—that Clemmons was not in the Renton home that police have held under siege for over an hour. Clemmons, we gather, remains at large. I'm beginning to suspect he has one of these.
About 300 people are at the Northgate Community Center, where mayor-elect Mike McGinn is announcing staffers for the incoming administration at the first of three town halls, reports news intern Sarah Lloyd.
McGinn's deputy mayors will be Phil Fujii, the community relations manager at Vulcan, and Darryl Smith, a Windermere realtor and former city council candidate. Julie McCoy (no, not this Julie McCoy), the managing director of the Mercury Group, which conducted strategy for McGinn's campaign, will be McGinn's chief of staff.
Smith moderated most of the discussion, which centered around the three questions that 70 mayoral transition ambassadors asked communities and neighborhoods over the past several weeks. The questions were (1) How do we build the strongest possible team, (2) how do we build public trust in the new administration, and (3) what do you see as the greatest challenge for the incoming administration? To summarize the answers, Smith projected word clouds onto a screen (the words that came up more often by the people interviewed were larger; those that came up less often were smaller).
The largest words were: (question 1) diversity, people, and experience; (question 2) accessibility, transparency, and listening; and (question 3) jobs, transportaiton, housing, budget, and public safety. And then the Grateful Dead sung Kumbaya.
When the crowd—a mix of folks, but mostly middle aged—discussed their concerns, they focused on Nickelsville, youth outreach, and transportation. And they talked about the tunnel (they hated the tunnel).
McGinn will also host town halls tomorrow and Wednesday for tunnel-lovers and tunnel-haters alike:
Tuesday, December 1
7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Langston Hughes Performing Arts Center
104 17th Ave South (17th Ave. & E. Yesler Way)
Wednesday, December 2
7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Paul Robeson Performing Arts Center at Rainier Beach High School
8815 Seward Park Ave S. (Located at the S. end of the Building near the gym off S. Henderson St.)
Attempting to deflect blame away from former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, O'Reilly said tonight of Maurice Clemmons:
Just a week ago this guy was released on $15,000 bail, an incredibly low number for the kind of crimes he's accused of. Altogether he had a total of eight felony charges pending against him, but Judge John McCarthy set the bail, and Judge Thomas Felnagle signed off on the bail amount and let him out. We contacted the judges but they did not return our phone calls, which is not very smart. They will be held accountable.
The actual amount of bail that Judge Felnagle signed off on earlier this month? That would be $150,000. (Click to enlarge.)
Now, it's true, Clemmons himself only had to pay $15,000 to get out of jail. But why was that? (Click to enlarge.)
Because of operations like Jail Sucks Bail Bonds, which—operating on free market principles I'm sure O'Reilly would otherwise venerate—happily spring guys like "this guy" from jail for a modest down payment and a certain amount of collateral.
Sure, you could argue that the bail amount—which all totaled reached $190,000—was still too low. That would be an honest argument.
But you can't argue, as O'Reilly did, that Clemmons was "released on $15,000 bail." In fact, he was released on more than ten times that amount of bail—thanks to Jail Sucks Bail Bonds, the power of the bail bonds lobby, and, of course, the unfailing wisdom of the free market.
Says the Seattle Times:
A SWAT team has arrested a relative of Clemmons who is believed to be helping him. Police are at a location near Renton but have asked media not to disclose the address.
A short video clip of the scene in Renton from KOMO:
UPDATE 8:15: On Twitter, the Times' David Boardman, who's been posting excellent updates all day, says, "Police: Friends, kin lied to mislead cops. 'If they are going to impede our investigation then they become a part of the investigation.'"
Mike Huckabee on Fox News a few minutes ago said that commuting Maurice Clemmons's sentence, resulting in his release from prison, is "not something I'm happy about at this particular moment,"
But Bill O'Reilly responds, "It's not your fault, governor... I'm not saying it's your fault. I don't think anybody watching thinks it's your fault."
No doubt, this is exactly what O'Reilly would tell a Democratic Governor who commuted the sentence of man suspected of killing four police officers.
The light show that preceded this shot was much more impressive. It's been a long day.
Earlier Dominic wondered if that's really Marice Clemmons over there on Twitter. (Also wondered by everyone who checked out the feed: Who is "Reginald Robinson man of God" and why would Clemmons be Tweeting about him?)
A court document related to the child rape charge against Clemmons may provide some answers. (Click to enlarge.)
Once in the interview room, I had Mr. Clemmons have a seat... I identified myself to Mr. Clemmons and I advised him that he was under arrest for the rape of [redacted]. I asked him if he would be willing to talk about the investigation. He told me no, that there was nothing to talk about. He told me that he had an attorney... He told me that he was meeting his attorney at the courtroom. I began filling out the booking form. He told me that he had come with his wife and his minister... I asked him who his minister was and he told me Reggie Robinson from the Universal Church. He told me that he had been in New York becoming ordained as a minister for the church. He told me that he had been back home for about four days... I had been filling out the booking form as we chatted. I asked him if he had a middle name. He told me, "in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ." I did not write this on the form, so that he became irritated with me and demanded that I put it down. I told him no, that I could only put his legal name on the form. He told me that I was not a believer. I asked him if he had any medical conditions and he told me no. I asked him if he had any mental health issues and he told me no. I asked him if he was suicidal and he told me no, that life was precious. I agreed.
The sources said they suspect Maurice Clemmons' friends and family are trying to throw investigators off his trail as the 37-year-old tries to avoid capture.
Ever since Clemmons was named as a suspect in the fatal shooting of the Lakewood officers, police agencies have been inundated with calls and tips. Detectives said they now believe some false leads came from people trying to buy Clemmons time by keep search teams busy.
UPDATE 5:54 PM: The Seattle Times has a more authoritative report:
Maurice Clemmons has been getting help and shelter from friends and relatives since shortly after the Sunday morning shooting deaths of four Lakewood police officers, authorities have concluded.
"Basically, there's no way that he could be doing this by himself; he was shot in the abdomen," said Sheri Badger, Pierce County spokeswoman at the incident command center.
Also frustrating to law-enforcement officers is that Clemmons reportedly told acquaintances the night before the attack to "watch the news" because he was going to "kill cops.""
No links on Drudge to any of the stories being written about Mike Huckabee and the police shooting here in Washington state. No links to this or this or this or this or this or this. But Drudge has Tiger Woods covered.
Police have surrounded a home believed to be housing the suspect in the Lakewood police shooting.
A SWAT team has surrounded a home in the 13000 block of Renton Avenue South, and a police source has confirmed the incident is connected to the Lakewood murders.
I just stumbled across a picture while looking for Strangercrombie material, and it reminded me how awesome these ads were.
Now it doesn't even live in the Northwest.
Apparently Maurice Clemmons, the suspect in yesterday's shootings, and Nicole Smith, his wife, have a landscaping and pressure-washing business registered with the state, associated with an address in
Kent Federal Way, Washington. On Twitter, @888hero points us to a copy of the business license:
It appears to check out on the state's Department of Licensing website, assuming it's the same Maurice Clemmons (who happens to work with a Nicole Smith).
He was sober and smart and big-picture and long-term. Maybe he'll still find a way to check in more than once a week? Maybe I should interview him about what he's learned as a critic by blogging (maybe I could learn a few things)...
Timothy Egan in the New York Times:
If this case does not sink the presidential aspirations of Huckabee, a leading Republican candidate, it should. By the standards that Republicans launched almost 20 years ago, Huckabee will be Willie Hortonized. But this case also shows, as with an earlier episode in Arkansas, that Huckabee’s judgment is seriously flawed.
If Huckabee were a liberal and a Democrat, he would be a punching bag for right wing blowhards an example of clueless, soft-on-crime politicians at their worst. Fox News would be stalking him, as they have others responsible for letting criminals out early.
Instead, he’s been allowed to get away with issuing a passive, blame-shifting statement. ...
Huckabee says this “horrible and tragic event” should not be politicized. But it is his party that has honed such attacks into a dark art.
Last week, just before Thanksgiving, I met Tim Detweiler at Woodside/Braseth Gallery to walk through The Spirit in the Stone: A Centennial Celebration & Exhibition Honoring James W. Washington, Jr. Detweiler was practically breathless. He talked for a half-hour before I got a word in, and before we even looked at the late Washington's art. The reason why: Detweiler has been buried in a mountain of fascinating stuff for the last year or so, and it's like he traveled to an undiscovered land and must. get. the. stories. out.
The exhibition does a solid job of starting things off for him, and it's a generous act by Woodside/Braseth, considering that much of the work on display is not for sale but instead either owned by the James and Janie Washington Foundation (open by appointment at 1816 26th Avenue) or owned by private collectors.
Detweiler is the first first full-time, permanent director of the foundation—housed at the Washington home and studio, where there are still piles of granite awaiting carving—and he and a small team of helpers have been making discoveries in the archives. They found a letter from Diego Rivera and David Alfaro Siqueiros inviting him to dinner (he accepted). In the crawl space below the studio they found memos from Washington's work with the Congress of Racial Equality in Seattle in 1960 (they'd demand parity, and if bosses didn't make at least a good-faith effort, they'd picket).
In 1968, Washington was commissioned by Leon Sullivan to do a series of six busts of African Americans for the rotunda of a black-owned mall in Philadelphia. (The picture above shows Washington working on the MLK bust.) The busts were vandalized by whites—actually given white-face—until they were finally removed, and then lost. Until now!
...let's all keep our eyes peeled for white guys with handlebar mustaches who stink of gasoline:
Bainbridge Island police said they are looking for a man who they said threatened to kill a 39-year-old and her 12-year-old son early Sunday morning. Police said the woman's ex-boyfriend broke into her home, poured gasoline on the woman and her son, and threatened to ignite it. The victims managed to escape. The suspect is Edward Mark Olsen, 49, who was released from prison in California in October after serving time for assaulting the victim, police said. Olsen found the victim living on Bainbridge and assaulted her two weeks ago in her home, officers said. Police said Olsen should be considered a threat to the community and that anyone who sees him or knows where he is should call 911 immediately.
Police are saying on the scanner that they are pursuing someone or something at 13th Ave S and S Lander St. They have a K-9 out there.
Well, never mind. "SPD says search at 13th Ave. S./S. Lander St. was NOT connected. It was for attempted home break-in by Asian suspect," says @seattletimes.
Meanwhile, police are planning to canvass the Leschi neighborhood, where they surrounded a house last night, but no one was found.
Regrade: Rediscovering Seattle’s Artificial Roots
Just as early entrepreneurs sliced up and regraded the land of Seattle, a group of artists are re-working conventional Seattle attitudes toward the land. In her article, Jen Graves suggests that artificial, self-conscious landscapes are proliferating. Artist trio SuttonBeresCuller are reinventing a heavily polluted former gas station into a new city park that will also be a sculpture, a tiny hill, and a cultural center. Artist-architect Jerry Garcia proposed a nature preserve sixty feet in the air, accessible only by elevator. In the Olympic Sculpture Park, Mark Dion built a vivarium for a nurse log that will naturally and, if let alone, violently outgrow its glass house. Graves will link these artists and others (Alex Schweder, Lead Pencil Studio, Mandy Greer) with the major 1970s works in Seattle by Michael Heizer, Robert Morris, and Herbert Bayer, and also with classic artist-created landscapes, particularly Heizer’s Double Negative and City and James Turrell’s Roden Crater.
The story will run in The Stranger in 2010. (Currently everyone in the office is begging for the position of research assistant on the trip to the crater.) Hooray for Jen Graves!
Police have dropped their hunt for a 1997 Mazda Millenia with Washington license plate 208-SSX. "WSP Trooper Brandy Kessler says it was sold 2 months ago," reports @KIRO7Seattle.
"Nicholas Francisco updated his Facebook page with his new name," writes Slog tipper page Janna. "He had this page when he disappeared and there was no activity since he went missing but he just updated it with his new name! WTF!"
His relationship status? "It's complicated." You don't say.
It seems to me that Francisco/Martin's Facepage could've been hacked and that someone out there is attempting to out him. His page used to be set to private, but now it's public—strange move for a man who went to such great lengths to disappear. And the only new picture uploaded to his page also happens to be the only currently circulating photo of Francisco/Martin, and it's not a particularly flattering one at that. Gee, I wonder if his ex-wife had his password?
The family of Seattle Police Officer Timothy Brenton, who was shot dead on Halloween, has issued a statement about the Lakewood murder: "Our hearts ache for the families of Sergeant Mark Renninger, Officer Tina Griswold, Officer Ronald Owens and Officer Gregory Richards. We pray that they will be granted strength during this time of unbearable grief... We remain hopeful for the swift capture of the monster who robbed them of their husband, wife, father, mother, son and daughter." More.
Back in July, as Maruice Clemmons was awaiting trial on charges of child rape and assaulting a sheriff's deputy, he informed a Pierce County court that he intended to pursue a defense in which he would claim "insanity and/or temporarily experiencing diminished mental capacity at the time of the offense." (Click to enlarge.)
That was July 30 of this year.
In response, Pierce County prosecutors asked that Clemmons be evaluated by Western State Hospital.
On November 6, Pierce County Superior Court Judge Kitty-Ann van Doorninck, relying on a report from two Western State psychiatrists, found Clemmons "competent to understand the present criminal proceedings against him, and to assist in his own defense."
However, Clemmons and his lawyer still believed he was seriously troubled. (Click to enlarge.)
That same day, Nov. 6, they told the court that Clemmons needed "additional time for insanity/diminished capacity defense evaluations."
In other words, even as Western State and a Pierce County judge were deeming him "competent," Clemmons was arguing that he was—or had recently been—criminally insane.
In response, Judge van Doorninck ordered Clemmons back down to Western State for an additional 15-day examination. Whatever the result, he must not have been deemed too dangerous to let back out into society; Clemmons was released on bail a couple of weeks later.
As we look at the trail of events that led to the shootings Clemmons is now wanted for, it's worth keeping in mind that he told authorities—twice—that he believed he was (or had recently been) criminally insane.
UPDATE: I've modified this post slightly to take into account the good points made by several commenters about the distinctions between competency, insanity, and diminished capacity in criminal proceedings.
Also, I should add that the court record suggests Clemmons was ordered to Western State at different times for different things.
On August 5, Judge Ronald Culpepper ordered Clemmons to be evaluated for his relative competency (at present) as well as for his potential insanity and/or diminished capacity (at the time of his alleged crimes). On September 29, a judge—whose name is unclear in the court record—ordered Western State to test Clemmons for competency alone. And then, on Nov. 6, Judge van Doorninck ordered Clemmons tested for potential insanity and diminished capacity alone.
I think the safest thing to take away from all of this is that Clemmons was, at the very least, claiming repeated recent lapses into criminal instability after a long history of trouble with the law—and yet ended up back out on the street.
Meanwhile, Maurice Clemmons's derelict Twitter account (if it's even the same Maurice Clemmons and isn't a prank, etc.) appears to be gaining followers.
In non-Twitter news, Seattlepi.com reports that State Patrol Trooper Cliff Pratt says, "We have officers on alert at every exit route out of Washington and through the mountain passes," he said.
Officers on the police scanner say that a would-be vigilante flagged down a cop near Cowen Park. The man was carrying a handgun and wearing body armor. He apparently wanted to help flush out the suspect from the park.
Rick Moody is posting a short story on Twitter today and for the next two days. He'll post a new 140-character chunk every hour. Here's the beginning:
And here's an interview with the Wall Street Journal about the story. When Moody is good, he's very, very good. (Demonology is a great collection of short stories.) When he's bad, he's very, very bad. (The Black Veil is an awful, awful memoir.) Right now, this project is looking more good than bad.
Washington State's Child Protective Services confirmed that the agency had "founded" - or substantiated - a complaint of child sexual abuse in October against Maurice Clemmons, the suspect in the fatal shooting of four Lakewood Police officers.
DSHS spokeswoman Sherry Hill said the agency received a complaint from police about Clemmons on May 26, 2009, two weeks after the Pierce County Sheriff began a child rape investigation involving a 12 year-old female relative. CPS began investigating the next day, Hill said. [...]
After reviewing the police records and doing interviews of its own, CPS finished the investigation and issued it's "founded" conclusion on Oct. 23, 2009.