SPD responds to Council’s questions on death of Charleena Lyles

The Seattle Times has published a 45-page memo from SPD to the City Council, responding to the 34 questions they submitted following the death of Charleena Lyles at the hands of two SPD officers.

The answers are lengthy, and for the most part defy quick summaries as they dive into the nuances and complexities of the situation. SPD also refuses in many cases to speculate on what the outcome of the ongoing investigation will be. But the memo is an interesting and informative read.

Here’s why the city pension fund won’t divest from fossil fuels

This morning, the usually sleepy Seattle City Employees Retirement System (SCERS) board meeting had its moment in the spotlight, as a large number of activists and a handful of local politicians showed up to urge the board to divest the city’s pension fund from fossil fuel companies.

It was a thoughtful, respectful, and long conversation. A lot of listening happened, and much appreciation was extended in both directions for the depth of thought and energy that went into analysis and remarks. It was exactly the kind of conversation you wish every activists-meet-government conversation could be.

But at the end of the day, the city won’t divest out of fossil fuels anytime soon. Here’s why.

Continue reading Here’s why the city pension fund won’t divest from fossil fuels

Council continues discussion of surveillance technologies

The City of Seattle’s parking enforcement division uses automated license plate readers to identify cars (and drivers) with multiple parking tickets so they can boot or impound the vehicles as necessary. SPD uses that same data to identify stolen cars, as well as those wanted in relation to specific criminal activities. Back in 2012, New York City took it further: they used cameras on street light poles to track people coming and going from mosques — an act that most people think stepped over the line of acceptable surveillance.

How the City of Seattle acquires and uses surveillance technology — and the data gleaned from it — was the topic of a Council hearing this morning, one of a series in the ongoing process of updating the city’s laws on surveillance.

Continue reading Council continues discussion of surveillance technologies

Independent news and analysis of the Seattle City Council