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Thursday, October 18, 2007

Velazquez Arrested for DUI

posted by on October 18 at 11:43 AM

The Seattle Times reports that city council candidate Venus Velazquez was arrested for drunk driving last night.

Erica’s on the story. So, we’ll have an update soon. But suffice it to say, in light of the recent Ricard McIver news, I think Velazquez just lost her bid for City Council.

The bad news for her campaign certainly resounds off Erica’s article on McIver’s drinking in this week’s paper. The article was titled “On the Rocks” which now seems more appropriate for Velazquez.

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Sweet. The city council race is full of belligerent alchis.

Posted by seattle98104 | October 18, 2007 11:46 AM

That settles it. Now I'm definitely voting for her.

Posted by Brendan | October 18, 2007 11:47 AM



Posted by Bad Day | October 18, 2007 11:49 AM

uh oh

she must have been coming back from the SECB meeting.

Posted by kinkos | October 18, 2007 11:49 AM

Is there a secret bar for city council folks (and wannabes) that over serves that the regular public doesn't know about?

Maybe it's like Grenarnia, the country in Europe that only the rich people know about?

Posted by Dr. Gonzo | October 18, 2007 11:50 AM

Hope she spends two nights in jail and is charged in court next week. Full Stranger coverage. Is she taking interviews? Think she was just celebrating the Stranger endorsement.

Posted by whatever | October 18, 2007 11:53 AM

She needs rehab, obviously. We'll also want ECB to give her a call. Just the facts, Jack. Just the facts.

Posted by Bad Day | October 18, 2007 11:55 AM

Huh. Pity she couldn't take some convenient form of mass transit home.

Posted by tsm | October 18, 2007 11:56 AM

So, with Della, McIver, and Velazquez self-destructing, let's start a pool and choose the next council member/candidate to do something stupid.

Posted by who is next? | October 18, 2007 11:57 AM

I'm sure it was just racial profiling. I can already hear the excuses...

Posted by Bill | October 18, 2007 11:59 AM

It will surely be Steinbrueck who is next

Posted by Guess on next | October 18, 2007 12:01 PM

Bill: Yeah, minorities are always complaining about racial profiling when they get caught driving drunk. Why can't minorities be more like rich white men?

Posted by jamier | October 18, 2007 12:02 PM

How stupid is that? "Hmm, the election's in just a few weeks. I think I'll get sauced then take a drive."

Posted by keshmeshi | October 18, 2007 12:06 PM

This wouldn't be a problem if every one of the candidates didn't insist on driving everywhere... all while alleging to understand the needs of public transit.

Oh, and while I'm surprised, I'm not REALLY surprised, if you get my drift.

Posted by Gomez | October 18, 2007 12:07 PM

seriously? you guys are backing this one. seriously?

Posted by wtf mate? | October 18, 2007 12:09 PM

fall from grace - and a drunk driver is a deadly weapon

shame on her and all others who still, after all the warnings and community anger, drive while drunk

should be some jail time here

Posted by Sergio Arau | October 18, 2007 12:09 PM

It's a darn good thing she wasn't riding a bicycle without a helmet or there would be some serious outrage.

Posted by Phew! | October 18, 2007 12:10 PM

Didn't she learn anything from Paris Hilton?! Why do we even have Paris as a role model if nobody's going to pay attention?

Posted by Ziggity | October 18, 2007 12:13 PM

Wait a minute - who tested the breathalyzer?

Posted by whatever | October 18, 2007 12:17 PM

LOL. I love this snippet from the latest version of the Times article:

"I was not impaired, I had drinks at dinner as many of us do," Velázquez said. "I don't even have a speeding ticket."

Velázquez, 41, was cited for speeding in Seattle in 1995, according to Seattle Municipal Court records.

"Well that was a long time ago," she said.

Will she dig herself in further?

Posted by tsm | October 18, 2007 12:21 PM

Whoops - that last line shouldn't have been blockquoted.

Posted by tsm | October 18, 2007 12:22 PM

Oh, poor, poor self-righteous Venus. Honestly, the woman is so tiny that it would only take 1/2 a glass of vino to put her over the limit. But, get this, she was driving her campaign staffer? Does that mean the campaign staffer was MORE drunk than Venus?

Lights out, chica. Take Forward Seattle and their filthy money with you.

Posted by Nota Dime | October 18, 2007 12:24 PM

Also, the Harrell/Venus race is one where the top two primary completely failed us.


Posted by Gomez | October 18, 2007 12:27 PM

@23 why not stan lippman while we are at it

Posted by vooodooo84 | October 18, 2007 12:34 PM

@16 - Have you ever made an honest mistake? An honest mistake that might have been potentially harmful to yourself or someone else? No? Well, you must be Jesus fuckin' Christ then. Lay off and wait for more of the facts, 'tard.

Posted by Hernandez | October 18, 2007 12:36 PM

She's got my vote!

Hot, spicy, mom who likes to have a drink with a meal after a Dem panel on city council contenders in Ballard!

P.S.: Email me if you're headed to Santa Barbara, Venus, we'll invite you to the Luna and Fretz holiday celebrations!

Posted by Will in Seattle | October 18, 2007 12:37 PM

Must have been a late dinner for Venus last night...

She was at a Candidates' Forum at the Sunset Hill Community Club in Ballard until around 8. And no, no alcohol was served there.

Posted by emerson | October 18, 2007 12:41 PM

My point aside, Harrell practically doesn't need to life a finger between now and election day. That seat's as good as his.

:( but a benign rich man whose vote has been bought is probably the best of the two crappy options at this point.

Posted by Gomez | October 18, 2007 12:47 PM

I just found out Gomez is a member of the cult of Al Runte. HAHAHAHA!

I thought Gomez might be a dolt, but I took him seriously most of the time anyway. Now I have confirmation that he is nuts!

Posted by GOMEZ, OMGLOLWTF | October 18, 2007 12:51 PM

In England your not drunk until your unconscious. She was just merry, that's all.

Posted by Sally Struthers Lawnchair | October 18, 2007 12:52 PM

Al Runte has endorsed Bruce Harrell.

Forward Seattle has just wasted $100k on her.

No way will she win now.

Glad we see the real Venus now.

Posted by pingslee | October 18, 2007 12:53 PM

Hernandez- with all that anger, you have *got* to be a Velazquez campaign worker, yes? Or just a chronic DUIer?

DUI kills almost 17,000 people per year, more than ten times as many as die in Iraq over the same time.

Posted by Big Sven | October 18, 2007 12:53 PM


Posted by James | October 18, 2007 12:54 PM

Word is the dear lady blew a 1.1
Seriously---driving drunk is one thing: DUMB. If she can't responsibly make that decision, she isn't adult enough to hold a position of responsibility.

Posted by INORIGHT? | October 18, 2007 1:02 PM

Am I the only one who read On the Rocks, paused, and said "So what the fuck was the point of that?"

No? Everyone else thought it was quality journalism? All right. My bad.

Posted by Nick | October 18, 2007 1:06 PM

Bis Sven, I assume you are only counting the Americans who die Iraq each year, no?

I certainly agree that DUI is a huge problem, but no need to erase the status of actual Iraqis as people in order to show it.

Posted by Ben | October 18, 2007 1:11 PM

34, not only is it dumb at any time, but especially dumb to do it last night, the same day absentee ballots were mailed out. If you fill out your ballot today, do you vote for someone with such poor judgment and timing? I was voting for her, but I don't trust her now.

Perhaps Venus has the same self-destruction gene as Gary Hart and Charles Foster Kane.

Posted by Ebenezer | October 18, 2007 1:12 PM

DUI laws are crafted by the worst lobby ever, MADD, they will only be happy when booze is illegal. first link I found on the subject That being said? Throw the book at her, interlock, jail time all of it. It isn't until everyone has to deal with less than ideal laws that will change occur.

Seriously the legal limit is so low, if you have ever driven after two drinks you are a potential felon.

Posted by meanie | October 18, 2007 1:13 PM

Stranger needs to re do the endorsement - people will not vote for a drunk driver.

Were there any hints of an alcholic at the interviews?

Dan, is this a drinking buddy?

Venus = toast. I feel no sorrow, she seemed flakey to me from the beginning.

Posted by earle lee bogart | October 18, 2007 1:18 PM

@34- get your facts- or at least your decimal points- right before you go off on people. She blew a .11, NOT a 1.1

Posted by stick to the facts | October 18, 2007 1:21 PM

@29: Um, I don't think he was being serious, and after proving yourself too dense for sarcasm, I don't think anyone will take you seriously now.

Posted by juris | October 18, 2007 1:22 PM

Venus Quote #1 (in the Seattle Times): "It's a bad judgment call. It doesn't negate what I've been running on for nine months."
My response: Uhh, I'm no campaign operative, but I assume you've been running as a candidate who has "good judgment". As a parent and a citizen, I will state that you do NOT have good judgment.
Venus Quote #2 (paraphrase from minority forum): "Do the candidates on stage look like you? If yes, then vote for them."
Well, I am a person of color and I typically look for good judgment in candidates I support. I do not like race baiting and I certainly don't look like an agressive and difficult drunk who like to her herself talk.
Venus has lost my vote.

Posted by Marco | October 18, 2007 1:23 PM

if she loses, every time she is faced with the choice of drinking she will have that pang of regret about last night

and for the rest of her life

Posted by Lake | October 18, 2007 1:26 PM


Posted by INORIGHT? | October 18, 2007 1:27 PM

It seems pretty easy to go over the legal limit if you drink at all. However, two drinks in the course of a leisurely dinner is not likley to get someone over the limit so I wonder about that claim. With that said everyone is different: body weight, metabolism and food all play a factor in BAL.

The dumb thing for Venus is that running for office she should have been 100% careful about this. I think her hope at a council seat are now over.

What we thought we all knew about City Hall in 2008 has certainly shifter quickly. Two weeks ago I thought Richard McIver would be elected president of the Council in 08 and Venus would join the City Council. Now neither of those scenarios seem likely.

Posted by City Beat | October 18, 2007 1:28 PM

Is it too late to ask Councilmember Steinbrueck to stay?

Posted by NapoleonXIV | October 18, 2007 1:31 PM

Latest details say she was driving 50mph and crossing double yellow center lines. And she refused a breath test at the station. Yeah, sure you only had 2 drinks.

Posted by girls just wanna have fun | October 18, 2007 1:31 PM

this just in: Jean Godden arrested at Cowgirls for gross indecencies with a mechanical bull...more to come!!

kidding...of course...

Posted by Strangeways | October 18, 2007 1:33 PM

this just in: Jean Godden arrested at Cowgirls for gross indecencies with a mechanical bull...more to come!!

kidding...of course...

Posted by Strangeways | October 18, 2007 1:33 PM

What are these fucking newbies thinking? Don't they understand politics?

Posted by Gitai | October 18, 2007 1:37 PM

Pooor Pooor Venus. She expects us to feel sorry for her?

No way lady--there is no excuse for this behavior. You need to stop spending money on your campaign now because you're throwing money down the drain.

I'm just glad we found about about your lack of judgement now.

Posted by okayokay | October 18, 2007 1:43 PM

From the PI Story:
"We made the decision that I was not impaired," Velazquez said. "I was more concerned that she was impaired. (We) did not want her driving."

How many times have you seen people have that "Gimme your keys, I'm less drunk than you are" conversation.


Posted by I'm totally fine to drive dude! | October 18, 2007 1:48 PM

@47 The only difference between VV and your standard-issue Seattleite looking for a parking spot is 45mph,

Posted by Lloyd Clydesdale | October 18, 2007 1:48 PM

I find it hard to believe she is getting so attacked here. She wasn't killing babies, she drove after a reported two glasses of wine with dinner. I'll give her, or Harrell for that matter, the benefit of the doubt on this. She's not the first person to be accused of a DUI, which she hasn't been found guilty on btw, and she won't be the last. While people definitely shouldn't drive drunk, it doesn't seem like this is a habit for Venus, and looks to be her first time. This should blow over, whether it is her or Harrell.

This is also a casting the first stone sort of thing - any of you ever drive after two drinks in an hour? If you did, you were probably legally drunk and could have gotten a DUI.

The issues on council are bigger than this charge. Venus will be a good progressive council person. I'm sure all the conservative Dems in Seattle are excited their man Harrell might get his campaign on track because of this, because him getting traction with it is the only way he's going to win.

Posted by Meinert | October 18, 2007 1:51 PM

What ever happened to presumed innocence, folks? Geesh.

And, FYI, there was no breathalyzer, which means no one knows what her BAC was.

Posted by Presumed Innocence? | October 18, 2007 1:51 PM

See the police report link below and you'll see she also did not have her drivers license with her.

No way would I ever vote for her. She does not deserve to even be a candidate. Too bad for all those people who supported her.

Posted by Angela Sims | October 18, 2007 1:53 PM

Look on the bright side - in this race, we have the alternative of voting for Bruce Harrell. I'd rather he have some more concrete proposals, but he does have a solid resume, so there's hope he will do well in the job.

If I lived in King County Council District 6, my non-DUI choice would be Richard Pope. He doesn't have Harrell's resume, although Pope would probably be a more entertaining councilmember. Of course, at least Hague has the good (?) judgment to know the higher ups at the King County Prosecutor's Office and keep things quiet until the Primary election day.

Instead of the Green or Libertarian Parties, perhaps the most likely third party with a chance of success is the DUI Party.

Posted by Ebenezer | October 18, 2007 1:58 PM

Strangeways @48/49:

I really DIDN'T need to have that image put into my head!

Get it out! GET IT OUT - NOW!

Posted by COMTE | October 18, 2007 2:03 PM

@54: No, she didn't kill babies. She just endangered them and their families and pets. I guess I'm just splitting hairs, though.

Posted by Ziggity | October 18, 2007 2:13 PM

41. is astute.

29. is not.

Yeah, not a ringing endorsement... just frustrated with the end result: a choice between two bad but well-connected candidates, one of which has no problem going out for a spin after getting liquored up.

Also, Meinert, for shame that you condone drunk driving in any way, especially given Seattle's multiple transport alternatives to driving (not including the more personal option of 'having a sober friend, family member or colleague drive you home').

Posted by Gomez | October 18, 2007 2:18 PM

@59 - so you've NEVER driven after two drinks in an hour? If you have and you're casting stones you're a hypocrite. You're also assuming she's guilty, which isn't the case yet. This really doesn't seem to be that big a deal. Might become one, but I bet Venus handles it properly and comes out of it to regain the momentum she had yesterday.

Posted by Meinert | October 18, 2007 2:19 PM

55. The following information, from that link, isn't exactly a ringing endorsement for acquittal. Bolding is my own:

A Seattle police officer pulled Velázquez over at 11:30 p.m., police said, for speeding and failing to keep her car in the lane.

According to the police report, Velazquez's car was caught on radar going 50 mph in a 30 mph zone on Northwest Market Street. An officer saw her car cross the center yellow line, then drift side to side in her lane. When the officer stopped the car, he noticed alcohol on Velázquez's breath. She did not have her driver's license with her, but the officer verified she was licensed to drive.

When the officer returned to Velazquez's car, he noticed a "strong minty smell" on her breath, which made him suspect she was trying to cover up the smell of alcohol. He gave her a field sobriety test, then arrested her and took her to the West Precinct. The police cited her for DUI and two traffic violations. She refused to take a breath test.

Yeah, going 50 in a 30 and failing to stay in your lane... but we should totally wait until we have all the facts before judging her. Right.

Posted by Gomez | October 18, 2007 2:24 PM

How fucking dumb.

Asshole dumb

Jesus H Christ,
how fucking DUMB

Posted by old timer | October 18, 2007 2:26 PM

concur, Venus = burnt toast

Good thing hubby has bucks.

I hope she does not not go on TV crying.

Over, so very over. Venus, bye bye.

And I hear, Bruce Harrell is having some drinks right now, WILL not drive.

Posted by Mary | October 18, 2007 2:31 PM

"but we should totally wait until we have all the facts before judging her. Right."

That's just not how Gomez rolls...

Posted by Bison | October 18, 2007 2:32 PM

@55 She blew a .11 according to inside police 'reports'

Meinert: Doesn't matter if you had half a drink or 40 drinks. Whatever gets you over the legal limit means you broke the law. Some of us understand that and no problem complying. 0 sympathy for you or Venus

Posted by INORIGHT? | October 18, 2007 2:33 PM

Why would one drive a car without bringing a driver's license along? Why would one be exceeding the posted speed limit in an urban area by at least 50%?

Posted by confused | October 18, 2007 2:34 PM

That's it.

I'm writing in Stan Lippman.

Or Richard Lee.

Posted by NapoleonXIV | October 18, 2007 2:35 PM

No, really! It's called common fucking sense and it costs $1.25 (and you get a free transfer).

Posted by Ziggity | October 18, 2007 2:37 PM

@55 -- it also means she will likely lose her license for a year under the DoL's administrative authority. It's automatic suspension if you refuse the BAC (hence the Implied Consent warning). She'll get a hearing, but she won't win.

BTW, you *can* refuse the field sobreity tests without penalty, but it will usually result in getting hauled in and booked (as in held in jail overnight).

And oh yeah, there's also no need necessarily for a BAC test in a successful prosecution. It routinely gets kicked for one reason or the other. The only real factual issue under the statute is impairment. That can be established by the actions of the driver as observed by the officer. Unfortunately for Venus, the cop who popped her is on the DUI Emphasis team which gives his testimony substantially more credibility.

Maybe Harrell will shiv someone before the election.

Posted by so goddamn stupid | October 18, 2007 2:40 PM

I was on a jury for a DUI that hadn't taken the test who was eventually convicted but it was close - the cop had done the field test and found a near empty 40 oz. malt liquor - and had the attorney asked the cop how often he had made someone take the BT based on the field test and they passed the BT he probably would have walked.

Posted by whatever | October 18, 2007 2:47 PM

@66 what are these "inside police reports"? she takes a breathalyzer test for the "insiders" but refuses one for the record? so she can get her license automatically suspended for a year? huh??

Posted by kk | October 18, 2007 2:55 PM

You don't have to be over the legal limit (0.08) to be charged with impaired driving. If the cop thinks you are impaired, or smells alcohol, that's enough to make things miserable for you.

That's why I'm against checkpoints. But Ms. V was speeding and weaving. Drunk or not, you deserve to get stopped for that. Sucks for her.

Posted by abracapocus | October 18, 2007 3:06 PM

You know, back in the day when I lived in Ballard, this was pretty typical driving.

I seem to recall we left our seatbelts dragging on the pavement too.

Good thing they didn't check her for too much Lutefisk.

Posted by Will in Seattle | October 18, 2007 3:19 PM

@61 -

I've never gotten behind the wheel after having even one drink within two or three hours. However, having said that, doing so would not preclude me from criticizing others for doing the same. Do you honestly believe that if I'd driven while slightly tipsy, even once, that it would be wrong of me to point out the error in doing so? Do you believe that making a stupid mistake should bar me from trying to hold others accountable for making the same stupid mistake? Given that drunk driving is deadly not only for the person who is stupid enough to be doing it, but potentially for anybody who happens to be in the vicinity, I think it's pretty goddamn rich that you're automatically decrying the critics as being hypocrites, while ignoring the magnitude of driving while intoxicated. Fuck off.

Posted by John | October 18, 2007 3:38 PM

Check out the EVENTS page of her website:


Nightlife bash!
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
6:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Music and nightlife fans are throwing a party for Venus. This is one you don't want to miss.
Spitfire in Belltown (2219 Fourth Avenue)

I think THAT one will be rescheduled.

Posted by PickleDeeDee | October 18, 2007 3:46 PM

I don't get it. Drag queens are usually drunk, but most of them don't have cars....

Posted by Drunk drag queens | October 18, 2007 4:14 PM

If this means she's out - good. I like her politics but fricking hate the way she plays the mom card in her campaign ("I would be the only councilmember with school-age children blah blah"). I hate when people make their kids into political propaganda, as if just having children was somehow a qualification for office. It's the same reason I can't stand candidates parading their spouse, their dog, their photo-op with a hospitalized baby, their religion, etc. It dumbs down the electoral process even more than it has been already. We should be talking about the issues, not implying that we should vote for someone because she's a mother. I was prepared not to vote for her just for that reason. But now I have another reason not to vote for her.

Posted by roughrider | October 18, 2007 4:21 PM

Apparently, orange jumpsuits are the new black at City Hall.

Posted by zander | October 18, 2007 4:28 PM

#54 - Meinert - some practical advice

It is unseemly for you to play ordinary political hack and schill.

Her political career is dead.

I thought you were smarter than your post.

She will be lucky to avoid jail time.

The VOTING public will have no sympathy on this issue. Not to her.

Over for Venus, your loyalty is mis placed completely.

Any public leader who tries to play apologist for drunk drivers is dumb and dumber. Don't.

Posted by adam and partner named steve | October 18, 2007 5:18 PM

Dave Meinert's opinion doesn't count anyway because he's got blinders on about Venus and is one of her best friends.

He Dave--we're sick of you masquerading as an objective person when your're carrying her water.

Buddy, this time you need to just back away because she's toast and she needs to roast FOR DRIVING WHILE DRUNK!

Come-0n Bruce--WIN THIS RACE!

Posted by okayokay | October 18, 2007 7:30 PM

What I learned in my OP treatment for my 2 drinks with dinner was that on average DDs have driven ~400 times impaired before being caught. Of course its a bell curve and she could be one of the few who have not, it is unlikely. If this is a rare event she can't go for deferred prosecution and will be charged with Driving Impaired. She'll get the same punishment as others if found guilty ranging from probation and counseling to a blow box installed in her car. If she admits she has a problem with drugs and alcohol she could ask for and probably get deferred prosecution. If only she had taken the breath test. Then we could hasve been better informed. As we see it now, she is hiding something.

Posted by Ben There | October 19, 2007 10:25 AM

Let's see, Venus has a Masters in Social Work --- yet not licensed in the area. Bruce Harrell is an attorney and licensed to practice law. Looks like he finishes what he starts. Think with her background, she can lie her way through a drug and alcohol test rather well. Her husband is an attorney ... she may get off but I hope Seattle does not forget the lies that she spewed while attemptin to 'serve' in this highly paid position.

Posted by MaryNotRhoda | October 21, 2007 8:24 AM

I know this is awful, but I'm so tired of Seattle hippies, I was actually considering not voting for her because of her loopy name.

But since I've driven drunk -- one-eyed, praying to god on I-5 drunk -- I'm not going to slam her for this.

And spare me the flames for my driving...I don't do it anymore and I know it was wrong.

Posted by Jubilation T. Cornball | October 22, 2007 5:02 PM

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