This weekend brings a bunch of SIFF stuff that the Stranger SIFF Review Board loved, including the Wikileaks documentary We Steal Secrets, Noah Baumbach's and Greta Gerwig's Manhattan-flavored comedy Frances Ha, the dead pet-fetishizing documentary Furever, the French family farm-fetishizing documentary After Winter, Spring, and the modern-day adaptation of Henry James' What Maisie Knew.
And in the non-SIFF world, there's Francois Ozon's In the House, the highly effective Filipino kidnapping thriller Graceland, and the cliche-ridden mob film The Iceman, plus all them StarTrekIronManGreatGatsbyblockbusters.
Full film info here.
There's only two days left in the fundraising campaign to help the Massive Monkees lock down a long-term lease on The Beacon—their temporary studio located in Seattle's International District. These amazing folks aren't just teaching adults and after-school crews of little kids how to breakdance—they're creating community, and turning people into better and more confident humans.
Check out this short video, and please consider donating a dollar or three. Only two days left! Donate, and read so much more right here.
The Seattle contingent's actions reflect a pathological quest—cheered on by politicians and fans—to compensate for their original blunder: Their failure to act until it was too late to stop Seattle's old NBA team, the SuperSonics, from leaving in 2008...
As shortsighted as Seattle was when the future of the Sonics was in jeopardy, that's how manic Seattle is now to rip the Kings jerseys off our players' backs and fit them with Sonics green and gold. Where will it end?
WHERE WILL IT END??? Well, it kinda has ended at this point. Which leaves us with more time to note how, on the way to this end, Breton made suggestions as to the relative size of Chris Hansen's junk and called Seattle "ugly."
I was walking to work this morning up Pike Street, daydreaming about hot coffee and fresh peaches and sun and mole cancer. I see a man coming in the opposite direction, so I automatically scoot over to my side of the sidewalk and then, just as we're passing each other, I hear him whisper:
And I froze. For a second I was confused—did one of them fall out or something?—but no, an automatic check confirmed that my breasts were still firmly tucked away under three layers of clothing. That guy just had the urge to harass and demean me, and so he did. I froze, so he won. By the time my anger kicked in and I turned around to shout something at him—anything to regain a sense of control over the situation—he'd crossed the street and was turning a corner.
Of course, all women have stories of being harassed. All of them. This isn't even a particularly heinous example—my friends and coworkers have stories of having their boobs grabbed on the street, having their asses grabbed, even being followed onto buses and then home. This just sucked because it ruined my day. My brain has been derailed from thinking about important things—milkshakes, work—to replaying a second-long interaction on loop and wishing that I had the perfect response for that anonymous fuck.
The worst part is, I feel like I failed myself. I'm a pretty loud, mouthy woman and it was crippling to have my brains and my mouth both quit on me at such a crucial time. And that's the point of harassment, isn't it? To make someone feel helpless and disempowered?
So how do other women prepare themselves for verbal and physical harassment that could come from anyone, anywhere, at any time? I've been asking around! After the jump one of my female coworkers explains a tactic that's worked for her and her mother: Acting batshit.
At McCaw Hall, tonight brings the opening of the 39th Seattle International Film Festival, which is curated by a board of professionals and commences with Joss Whedon's brand-new Much Ado About Nothing.
And at Central Cinema, tonight brings the opening of the first-ever Black and Beautiful Film Festival, which is curated by Franklin High School senior Mia Roberson and commences with 1971's Shaft.
Depending on how many Seattle-area nonprofit email lists you're on, you may have received between zero and 6 million reminders that today is "GiveBIG"—the day when any money you donate to a nonprofit gets some extra bucks from the fat pockets of the Seattle Foundation.
It's a little confusing: Not all nonprofits are eligible (though a jillion of them are on the list), your donations aren't exactly matched but "stretched," and there are "Golden Tickets" of extra $1,000 gifts doled out throughout the day.
The short version: If you intend to give any money to a Seattle-area nonprofit this year, today is the day to do it.
A few clarifying details from the FAQ:
When does GiveBIG begin and end?
GiveBIG 2013 is a 24-hour period beginning at midnight and running through midnight, Pacific Daylight Time, on Wednesday, May 15, 2013.
How does GiveBIG work?
All donations made through The Seattle Foundation's website on GiveBIG day will receive a percentage of the matching funds (or "stretch") pool. This percentage depends on the size of the stretch pool and how much is raised in total donations on GiveBIG day. For example, if the stretch pool is $500,000 and the total amount raised that day is $2,000,000, then the stretch percentage is 25% (or 25 cents on the dollar). In other words, it is a prorated match.
All donations up to $25,000 per donor, per organization, qualify to receive funds from the GiveBIG stretch pool.
You can also, if you are so inclined, donate to the Stranger Genius Awards—which will, in turn, dole out money to kick-ass artists, by donating to Shunpike and mentioning the Stranger Genius Awards in the comments.
Our editorial staffers' favorite nonprofits are below! (It's like an office litmus test.)
This week, Seattle City Council member Nick Licata is rolling out legislation to allow new homeless encampments on public and private property. The measure, which was hammered out with the help of Council Member Mike O'Brien and Mayor Mike McGinn, is intended to address deteriorating conditions at Nickelsville, the infamous homeless encampment currently residing on city land in Highland Park.
"Conditions at Nickelsville are not the best we should have for people," Licata says. The camp has recently faced flooding, a rat infestation, a spate of crime, and concerns about its self-governing structure after a two-year stint on its current site. The neighborhood group Highland Park Action Committee asked the city to evict the camp last month, saying its "existing management is actually intimidating campers into not seeking help or services, and pressuring residents to not call police." Says Licata: "I don't think we can continue having them there without providing them legal basis to move somewhere else." Mayor McGinn urged the council to support the legislation in a May 13 letter, saying, "The City cannot ignore the health and safety issues at the current Nickelsville site," nor the concerns of neighbors.
This legislation, slated to be formally introduced next week, would allow for new encampments on city or private land for up to a year, under certain management requirements.
Oh. South Seattle. Nice to see that the Seattle Times is so interested in targeting "relevant information" to the residents of Beacon Hill, Rainier Valley, Columbia City, Rainier Beach, Georgetown, South Park, Mount Baker, and Seward Park.
Tomorrow at 4:00 p.m., the King County council will be hearing public testimony at Union Station (401 S Jackson St) on proposed Metro service cuts that would eliminate 65 bus routes in the county and hobble another 86 routes. As Professor Goldy explains, that's "a capacity cut equivalent to about a quarter of I-5's weekday traffic, or more than half of the Viaduct's."
Put another way, if you ride Metro with any regularity, this will likely affect you—Metro estimates the cuts would impact 70 percent of its ridership. So go. Testify, if you can:
I have seen the occasional pile of oranges and bananas at a Walgreens. The sad cafeteria-style pile of unripe fruit makes a kind of sense. But this drugstore's exotic fruit display—pineapples, coconuts, papayas, mangos in between hair dryers and cans of nuts—totally blew my mind. Overhead, they played Joni Mitchell. The wooden display is actually for a brand of "crunch dried® fruit and vegetable snacks" in plastic bags, the kind of food I expect at the drugstore. It was a tropical fluke in the snack aisle. Or is this a new trend?
Back for its eighth year, Translations is a four-day festival of transgender cinema and art, which this year ranges from the Buck Angel film Sexing the Transman to the live multimedia performance piece Gender Failure (as seen in Stranger Suggests) to way beyond, with 33 offerings total. Read reviews of three of them in this week's Festive; for the full schedule, go here.
But this shit really matters. The rules concerning how our city is built decide how it looks, how it functions, how much it costs, and, in this case, how much or how little we contribute to an impending climate apocalypse.
Next month, the newest commercial building codes (residential codes are run by the state) will head to the city council for approval, and in them will be new energy requirements. I started asking around at city hall because at a solar-power-nerd party I went to last month, someone asked city council member Mike O'Brien if it would be possible to change our building codes to make solar power more affordable—a lot of the cost of installing solar panels on a roof has to do with strengthening the roof to hold them, working around poorly placed vents/fans/skylights, and getting at the electrical system to hook it up. That seemed pretty fucking reasonable to O'Brien, who said he'd look into it. Turns out the new codes will address just that.
Duane Jonlin, the city's energy code and energy conservation advisor, says it's all about "phantom design"—adding small requirements to the planning process that don't increase the cost of building, but make future solar projects easier. "As the [solar-power] systems get dramatically less expensive over time," he says, "the cost of moving those bathroom vents and fans and junk out of the way would be an increasingly large portion of the cost" of putting panels on the roof. His new requirements, based on a California solar-ready code, would require that commercial buildings five stories or less make 40 percent of their roof "free of vents and fans and clutter" and relatively unshaded, if possible. There'll also need to be a little extra space for electrical gear solar systems need to hook up to.
He guesses that in a decade or less, "without the need for government subsidies, people will be slathering their buildings in in this stuff." It'll just be too cost-effective not to. But if we don't prepare for that by making the process easier and cheaper, it just pushes further into the future "the day when it becomes an economic no-brainer to put this on your roof."
Another addition to the codes is going to be a mandatory, small amount of renewable energy built in to commercial projects. Currently, according to Jonlin, the city energy code has a "modest" renewable energy requirement—but "very few projects" have actually complied, because there's an exception: Buy renewable energy credits on the open market, and you don't have to put it into your building. That makes sense for City Light, he says, which pays a lot of money over a long period of time—"it does build windmills somewhere." But a one-time customer buying credits out there on the cheap doesn't really get anything done. So he's removing the exception, and as an appeasement, cutting in half how much renewable energy is required.
Will anyone oppose the code changes? "Usually these are non-controversial," he tells me, "because building codes are so boring." Hey, man, it's no nunchuck-twirler arrest, but it still matters.
If you're wondering why that helicopter is circling up there. At the intersection, the scene is this:
Witnesses told me it looked like the van took a right on red and slammed into the bus. Two people were just loaded on stretchers into ambulances.
Collision at Boren Ave & Pike St 2 eastbound lanes blocked, 1 westbound lane blocked
— seattledot (@seattledot) May 9, 2013
Seattle Fire says:
Medics transporting a male driver and female passenger ofa van to HMC in stable condition after Pike & Boren VanVS busAX.
— Seattle Fire Dept (@SeattleFire) May 9, 2013
Buses are backed up down Pike right now.
UPDATE: Slog tipper Derek Erdman says in comments: "The 11 is getting through now. Should start moving soon."
From this week's I, Anonymous:
I saw you steal money out of that wallet. I did. I should have punched you right in the mouth and returned the money to the rightful owner as soon as I saw it happen, but I did not. I saw a lone wallet on the ground when I walked by the heavily grinding couple in the hallway on my way to a good piss, and while I was washing my hands, I saw you, girl, pick up that wallet. I thought you were looking for an ID, but you really just jacked all of the big bills in that other girl's wallet. You left the ones but took the big bills. I approached you and asked how much you scored from the wallet....
Read the whole thing (and berate/defend various parties) here.
Neighborhood groups in Seattle are banding together to stop construction of microhousing—AKA aPodments—and if they succeed, they will have one effect: pushing the poor out of town. But their movement is based on dishonest arguments.
Check out my story on their misguided movement.
Last week, the Seattle Times ran dueling editorials responding to a recent study that showed that Seattle has the worst gender pay gap among major US cities. I didn't link to the editorial at the time because it was mostly unsubstantiated garbage—mostly thanks to Bruce Ramsey—and I didn't have time to respond to its unsubstantiated garbageness point by point. (Sample garbage argument, courtesy of Ramsey: There's no real gender gap, Seattle's job market just disproportionately benefits men. It's not men's fault that Seattle is misogynist! Women are simply fundamentally better suited for poorer paying, "indoor" work like secretarial and nursing duties, which, silver lining "has become better paid because women [have] more alternatives to it." Never mind that male nurses are still paid slightly better than their female counterparts.)
But in a delightful turn of events, today Mayor Mike McGinn published a blog post addressing and debunking Ramsey's garbage arguments with—gasp!—facts and studies:
Leaving “personal choice” aside, even women who follow a man’s playbook and pursue leadership positions in high-paid industries are still paid less than their male counterparts. This gap persists even when you control for education, experience, ambition and choice to start a family. This study from non-profit advocacy group Catalyst surveyed only men and women who graduated from an MBA program and were recruited by top firms across industries. They found that even when they only looked at men and women with similar levels of experience, education and ambition, women were still being paid nearly $5,000 less in their first job out of their MBA program. These findings were consistent even when examining only men and women who did not have children. So when Bruce Ramsey says “the “gap” everyone talks about is not between men and women with the same jobs” he’s just factually incorrect.
Seattle has a problem with gender inequality in pay. Let’s not make excuses and blame women for their “personal choices.” That isn’t going to help the 141,949 households in the Seattle metro area that are headed by women, 23 percent of which are living below the poverty line. For these families, the wage gap isn’t just a matter of fairness – it’s a matter of survival.
McGinn ends his post with a "we have to get our house in order" stump speech by announcing that the city is taking a "hard look" to make sure city employees are paid equitably for their work, and that he'll announce a firmer policy proposal addressing the city's gender pay gap soon.
Which, frankly, McGinn needs after the commanding lead his mayoral challenger Bruce Harrell has taken on this issue.
I guess the better question is, why the fuck are you reading Slog right now?
If you're not a contagious shut-in or an overturned turtle, then you have no excuse not to be outside right now. Go buy a six-pack of wine coolers at your favorite gas station and then head to the nearest park, for fuck's sake.
Posted by news intern Ben Steiner
Karen Hart, the president of the Service Employees International Union Local 925, explained that principal reduction would reduce the payment obligation on underwater mortgage loans to match the market value of the house, thus bringing the mortgage out from underwater. As a result, Seattle's 42,000 underwater homeowners will save an average of $771 per month on their mortgages. Reset Seattle is asking for the Seattle City Council to take action, while others in their ranks expect the legislature to step in.
The risk of foreclosure disproportionately affects people of color, says Pastor Willis, a speaker at yesterday's meeting and a leader in the United Black Clergy of Washington, but he also emphasized the impact of foreclosures on seniors. "We have seniors sleeping in their cars," he said. "We have to do something about this crisis, this epidemic. We need to demand in Olympia, to our mayors and governors, that they do something about this."
Now in its ninth year, STIFF is the Seattle film festival that is loudly and proudly "not SIFF"—which means no endless lines, no boring curtain speeches from dignitaries, and no VIP areas. Instead, STIFF sprays nine days of independent/underground/experimental/zero-budget film all over the University District, with the Grand Illusion Cinema serving as the fest's home base. Of STIFF's avalanche of films, I managed to watch exactly five (two okay, two good, one great). Read these highly condensed reviews in this week's Festive.
The very cool project Pollinator Pathway, a mile-long corridor of pollinator-friendly gardens being planted along Columbia Street, is having a work party this weekend, May 4 and 5, from noon to 4 p.m. Show up to 21st Avenue and Columbia Street in the Central District and get digging and planting.
Whew! It's been an exciting afternoon for SPD, as an allegedly drunk, allegedly assaulty suspect led officers on a merry chase in an allegedly stolen cop car that ended like this:
Details come from the SPD blog:
Police are still trying to sort out the details of this incident, but it appears that just after 12:15 pm, SPD received a report that the 35-year-old suspect had attacked a 50-year-old man on a bus near Aurora Ave and Denny Way, and fled south on foot through the Battery Street tunnel.
Two patrol officers found the man inside the tunnel and attempted to stop him.
The man attacked the officers and then jumped into an SPD patrol car and took off.
Officers pursued the suspect to W. Olympic Place and 8th Ave. W, where the suspect crashed after running over a retaining wall.
Officers then took the 35-year-old suspect—who appeared to be very intoxicated—into custody.
The Downtown Seattle Association (DSA) sent a letter to the city last month asking them to deny Hempfest's permit this year, due to concerns that it has "outgrown Myrtle Edwards Park as a safe and appropriate venue."
"The noise, trash and traffic congestion resulting from an event of this size—over three days—has a direct negative impact on the thousands of residents who live within a 1⁄2 mile radius," says the letter, part of a bulleted list of concerns cosigned by the Belltown Business Association and Uptown Alliance that they want Hempfest and the city to address.
The letter asks the city not to permit Hempfest at Myrtle Edwards Park unless some conditions are met—including limiting Hempfest's attendance, permitting it for only one day, and improving traffic control, police patrols, and trash pickup in the neighborhood. (A PDF of their letter is here.)
But as combative as the letter sounds, DSA spokesman James Sido says it arose only because Hempfest came to them directly asking for feedback about the event—DSA's "sole focus," says Sido, "was to give them any kind of feedback or constructive criticism that we could." He continued, "It's not a letter saying 'Hempfest needs to end now.' It's 'Hey, let's see if a better venue can be found.'" I told him it sounded like a little more than just feedback, and he replied that there's a "chance that it could come off as more critical than intended."
Hempfest director Vivian McPeak, who did not return calls for comment, sent a letter in response to DSA, addressing their points one by one—Hempfest is a boon to the local economy, its participants do clean up after themselves, and, most importantly, they've already "examined all park venues and the Seattle Center repeatedly in past years," as recently as 2012, and they're sure that Myrtle Edwards and its surrounding park areas are the right fit. (PDF of that letter here.)
Essentially: Hempfest asked the neighborhood for feeback, DSA's feedback was "Don't hold it here," and Hempfest counters that there's nowhere else to hold it and they're gonna keep having it there, thank you very much. On the city's part, Keblas told The Stranger by e-mail this week that as long as Hempfest fulfills permit requirements, "it is the City's intention to issue a permit for Hempfest this year by June 1st," and that will include "a cover letter from the City that address concerns from all parties."
But this is a neighborhood fight—over garbage, drugs, free speech—that's been a long time coming, and it's far from over.
I was going to write a definitive piece on what happens next now that the NBA's relocation committee has recommended rejecting Chris Hansen's bid to purchase the Sacramento Kings and move them to Seattle. But really, there's not much to say other than to emphasize that the Sodo arena deal was never predicated on acquiring the Kings per se.
Hansen insists he has a binding purchase agreement, and says he'll continue to fight for the Kings. Hansen can clearly afford some pretty scary lawyers, so there's always that. And there's more than a little speculation that the league might yet award Seattle an expansion franchise. Maybe. The owners are expected to make their final decision on the Kings next week, and presumably that would be a good time to vote on expansion as well.
But whatever the league decides, it's important to remember that the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to build a new arena in Sodo was negotiated and approved long before Hansen struck a deal to purchase the Kings. There was never any expectation that Hansen would secure a team this quickly, and his window for doing so doesn't expire for another five years. Meanwhile, the MOU was always written in a way that the public financial commitment would not come due until after the environmental reviews had been completed and a new team was firmly in hand. Losing the Kings doesn't change that.
I will say that if Hansen's plans ultimately fall through due to lack of a franchise, the NBA will have permanently tarnished its reputation in Seattle. The longer the city goes without the NBA, the less we miss it. And twice burned by the league, it will be twice as hard to garner the political support for any sort of public contribution next time around. Hell, it may already be too late. Sodo arena opponents are determined to kill it, while arena supporters are justly disheartened and insulted by this latest rejection.
Which brings me to my final and most salient point. Which is that the Seattle Times editorial board are fucking idiots:
THE return of the NBA and professional basketball, a desirable goal, will depend on the durable mantra that guides any commercial enterprise: location, location, location.
The right setting and a deal without public money will set the stage for NBA basketball in this competitive pro sports environment.
First of all, the location of the proposed arena in Sodo as opposed to the Seattle Center or Renton or Bellevue had fuck all to do with the relocation committee's decision to reject Hansen's bid. If location was at all an issue, it was only in that Hansen did not propose a location in Sacramento.
Second, by all means, if somebody wants to build an arena entirely with private money, more power to them. But nobody's proposed that. Anywhere. Ever. Not since Sicks' Stadium opened in 1938 has Seattle built a professional sports arena or stadium entirely with private money. So if the Seattle Times is really editorializing in favor of a 100-percent-privately-funded arena, what they're really editorializing for is no arena at all. Which means no NBA. Which is fine by me, because I'm not a basketball fan.
But they should at least be honest about it.
Following two-and-a-half years of radio silence, the Seattle Police Officers Guild suddenly announced today that it has reached a tentative agreement to renew its four-year labor contract with the city. The union also announced that it will drop a contentious lawsuit blocking the city's police reform plan.
The labor union's 1,200 police officer members have been operating without a contract since the last one expired in December 2010. This new contract covers 2011 through, uh, 2014. "Specific details of the contract will be released after ratification, but the contract does include a Cost of Living pay raise and an agreement on DOJ related reforms," states a SPOG press release, which also explains that the membership will be voting on the contract over the next two weeks.
It's a living mystery what held up talks for 2.5 years (although we can assume that lawyer disputes, labor disputes, and public records disputes all played a role) because contract negotiations are closed to the public—and everyone involved is sworn to secrecy—but here are a few clues as to what recently jump-started negotiations in earnest:
• SPOG's recent lawsuit to block the city's police reform plan, which argued that the reform plan violated the union's collective bargaining rights.
• The city's even more recent public campaign to stop paying SPOG president Rich O'Neill's annual $125,000 salary.
The press release SPOG issued today notes that, "The City and SPOG have agreed to reopen the contract when reforms that involve a mandatory subject of bargaining arise." In light of this welcome news, SPOG also announced that it's dropping its lawsuit against the city.
McGinn's office wouldn't directly answer questions regarding whether taxpayers will continue to front O'Neill's $125,000 salary, which leads me to believe that we will be: "My priorities during this work were to ensure that a new contract would support public safety in Seattle, recognize city budget realities and support our work to fully implement the reforms enshrined in our settlement agreement with the Department of Justice," McGinn says in his press statement. "I am pleased that our tentative agreement has achieved all three of these basic priorities.”
Still, if it took sacrificing the smaller issue of O'Neill's salary to get SPOG to drop its lawsuit and climb aboard the reform train (CHOO CHOO, MOTHERFUCKERS!), I suppose that's a small enough (albeit bitter) pill to swallow. For now.
Here's an interview with longtime owner Tim Cannon, including when and why the Viking started selling fresh eggs by the dozen.
And here's an appreciation of both the Viking's barbecue and the place as a Seattle institution by Rachel Kessler from way back in 2001:
There is something about the Viking that reminds me of old Seattle: the lush and green and lonely Seattle of the 1970s, imbued with the infinite sadness of spent resources and industrialized, polluted, then abandoned riverbanks. In the old Seattle, there were weeds, and dogs without leashes. The paint peeled off houses and nobody bothered the city council about it. My grandpa, a lean man who sleeps with a gun under his pillow in his mossy rambler out in Preston, would drink at the Viking if he lived in Ballard. I imagine both my grandparents being very comfortable at the Viking, in fact, with their pair of Dobermans, Acey and Deucy, at attention next to several rib bones picked clean...
The ground upon which the Viking stands will become a development called the Ballard Lofts. Please join me now in a moment of silent hating of the world.
The kind of guy who drinks mint tea instead of coffee in the morning, so his breath always smells like a television ad.
The kind of guy who talks enthusiastically about "lean management" and who, I suspect, would happily tattoo a heart with the word "bureaucracy" on his chest if it wouldn't hurt his chances of being a blood donor.
Carver, a 33-year-old Kindle product director at Amazon.com, is announcing today that he's joining the race to oust four-term Seattle City Council fixture Richard Conlin.
"I'm a new dad and I'm a little younger, so I think I bring a new perspective to the council," Carver explains. "I'd bring in diversity in age, experience with the high-tech industry, and a lean management style."
The Wallingford resident ticks off Conlin's muddy leadership as a two-term council president, his lone "no" vote on Seattle's paid sick leave legislation, and Conlin's lip service environmentalism, which has produced no substantive support for transit, as reason enough to oppose him. "Transit is now just getting into the planning phase, and that's mostly thanks to McGinn," Carver says. "We must do better. We can’t fix every pothole before we start planning the transit infrastructure we need to get us into the 21st century."
Carver hopes to bring a more progressive voting record to the council (he supports apodments!), starting with Seattle's contentious South Lake Union redevelopment. Although Conlin voted in favor of legislation to raise affordable housing rates in the booming neighborhood, Carver says Conlin has been "short sighted" in suggesting the city invest low-income housing revenue in areas where it’s more cost efficient—e.g. poorer neighborhoods, instead of neighborhoods where new jobs are being created, like South Lake Union. "In the long run we want to be building more-equitably distributed neighborhoods in the city, we need to ensure people can afford to live while they work," Carver says.
Carver also thinks the council should be doing more to impact public school education. "We can do more to support early learning and improve our attendance," Carver explains, while neatly sidestepping my questions about policy specifics. "We can work with the school board and the state to find incentives to keep kids in school."
But even Carver admits that in entering this race, he's drawn a short stick.
This afternoon, interim Seattle Police Chief Jim Pugel simultaneously released and apologized for a 27-year-old police training video he participated in that showed a group of officers mocking homeless people in song.
"I regret that I did it and I regret the embarrassment it caused the department and the profession," Chief Pugel said today. "Any person would be offended by it, especially those who work to end homelessness or who are homeless."
The 1986 video, which I've posted below, shows a group of Seattle police officers dressed as homeless people living, drinking, and being comically beaten by officers underneath the viaduct, set to the tune of The Drifters 1964 hit, Under the Boardwalk, but with lyrics such as: Under the Viaduct/Down by the bay/We'll be drinking our T-Bird all through the day...
Pugel is the second homeless man from the right in the opening scene, which starts 25 seconds in:
Pugel says the video was made as a joke to accompany internal training videos that update officers on issues such as how to use pepper spray or updated booking form protocols. The video was only shown internally once, he says, in 1989. At that time, then-acting Police Chief Patrick Fitzsimons saw the video, called the participants into his office, and "gave us a serious reprimand," Pugel says. "He was incredibly upset. He ordered all copies of the video destroyed."
Despite Fitzsimons's order, one master copy of the video continued to exist within the department. When asked what prompted today's whirlwind announcement and apology, SPD spokesman Sean Whitcomb emphasized that there was no threat of the video being leaked to the public. Rather, in light of Pugel's recent ascent to interim Chief of the department, he decided to release it publicly and apologize. It's easy to believe Pugel's apology is sincere—he's built a career on working with advocates for the homeless, including homeless youth on Capitol Hill, the now defunct Q-Safety patrol, the Orion Center, and sexually exploited street youth. But here's how Pugel explains it:
"When I was announced [as interim Chief], someone asked, 'How can we know you'll be honest with us?'" he said this afternoon. "There is that perception that we hide the ball, but I want to be as open as possible even when it's uncomfortable and embarrassing. I will be honest. I will push information out as soon as possible unless I'm legally required not to."
...for Seattle film festivals. This week brings NFFTY, next week brings the Seattle True Independent Film Festival, the week after that brings Translations, and the week after that brings the start of the 39th Seattle International Film Festival. Here's the just-released SIFF 2013 trailer:
Stay tuned for more more more.