Category Archives: legal

Robart approves briefing schedule change, but asks for more details

This morning Judge James Robart, who presides over the city’s consent decree with the DOJ over biased policing, issued an order granting the DOJ more time to file its brief. But he also ordered the city to hand over several additional documents that dive into the details of the SPD disciplinary/appeals process and the recently-signed Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) with the police officers’ union.

Continue reading Robart approves briefing schedule change, but asks for more details

DOJ asks Robart to amend briefing schedule

In the aftermath of Judge James Robart’s bombshell order earlier this week asking the City of Seattle and the DOJ to explain why he shouldn’t find that the city has fallen out of compliance with the Consent Decree, today both parties jointly asked Robart to amend his order and allow more time for briefings to be filed. the DOJ asked Robart, with the city’s assent, to allow more time for it to file its briefing.

Read morE

State Supreme Court rules that Initiative 27 can’t go on the ballot

Today the Washington State Supreme Court handed down a ruling on a legal challenge to King County Initiative 27, which would have prohibited county funding for supervised consumption sites and enacted civil penalties for violating that prohibition or for operating a supervised consumption site.  The court found that the content of I-27 was outside the scope of local initiative power.

Continue reading State Supreme Court rules that Initiative 27 can’t go on the ballot

Local reporters and editors request City Auditor to investigate city officials’ use of private email accounts

Today, several local reporters and editors, including myself, sent a joint letter to the City Auditor requesting an investigation into city officials’ practices of using private email accounts and other private electronic media to conduct city business. Below is the letter we sent, along with the attachments demonstrating the extent of the issue.

The City Auditor reports to the City Council, an arrangement that usually is well-suited to the Council’s oversight responsibilities over the executive branch. In this case, however, the issue implicates several (if not all) City Council members and their staff, as well as the Mayor’s office. Since there is a pending lawsuit that addresses the issue of city officials conducting business through private channels, it is unlikely that the Council or the Mayor will weigh in on the issue or request the Auditor to spend time investigating this. However, the Auditor’s Office is empowered to conduct its own self-directed investigations, so it can decide to do this on its own.

I’m going to make an unusual request here: if you believe this is an important issue, please send an email to City Auditor David Jones, davidg.jones@seattle.gov, asking him to conduct an investigation.

Continue reading Local reporters and editors request City Auditor to investigate city officials’ use of private email accounts

Robart threatens to find SPD out of compliance with Consent Decree

Last Friday, the City of Seattle filed an official notice with the U.S. District Court that it had negotiated and ratified a new labor agreement with Seattle’s police officers. Judge James Robart, who oversees the Consent Decree, had previously signaled that he would not weigh in on the merits of the new contract until it was properly before his court. But now that it is, he wasted no time in making his thoughts known: this morning he issued an “Order to Show Cause” why he should not find that the city has failed to maintain full and effective compliance with the Consent Decree.

Continue reading Robart threatens to find SPD out of compliance with Consent Decree

Council considers revising ordinance allowing Uber/Lyft drivers to unionize

On Tuesday, the Council’s Governance, Equity and Technology Committee will take up an ordinance making a big change to its 2015 ordinance granting Uber and Lyft drivers the right to unionize — and in the process cutting the heart out of the ordinance.

Continue reading Council considers revising ordinance allowing Uber/Lyft drivers to unionize

Hearing Examiner issues decision on MHA EIS appeal, largely rules for the city

Last Wednesday, the Hearing Examiner for the City of Seattle released his ruling on the appeal of the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for the city’s Mandatory Housing Affordability (MHA) plan to upzone neighborhoods in exchange for required contributions to affordable housing.  The ruling finds that the FEIS is adequate on nearly all grounds, except for its analysis of historic sites.

Continue reading Hearing Examiner issues decision on MHA EIS appeal, largely rules for the city

Robart clarifies path forward for SPOG contract

This afternoon Judge James Robart held a status conference with the parties in the consent decree between the city and the Department of Justice over police misconduct. The issue at hand: now that the city has negotiated a new police contract, how and when to put that in front of Robart for his blessing.

Continue reading Robart clarifies path forward for SPOG contract

Municipal bank feasibility study says “theoretically yes, but realistically no”

At the beginning of 2018 the City of Seattle commissioned a study to look at the feasibility of creating a municipal bank. Those study results were released yesterday.  It says that in theory the city could create its own bank, but there are significant legal, logistical, regulatory and financial challenges to doing so.

Continue reading Municipal bank feasibility study says “theoretically yes, but realistically no”