Tuesday morning's headlines

Jan 25, 2011

Making headlines this morning: 

  • Feds Begin Seattle Police Review
  • Details Emerge in Port Orchard Shooting
  • Business Push Back on Seattle Parking Rate Hike
  • Most Painful Education Cuts Yet


Justice Department Looks at Seattle Police

Recent high profile cases involving questions of excessive force involving Seattle police are under review by the Justice Department. U.S. Attorney Jenny Durkan is meeting with city leaders following a request by the ACLU and 34 groups to investigate the incidents, many involving ethnic minorities. The Seattle Times' Mike Carter reports civil rights investigators will begin their work next month :

The review will be broad and include Justice Department scrutiny of instances of alleged criminal civil-rights violations by individual officers as well as a "global" look at the department to determine whether, as the ACLU and others allege, there exists a "pattern and practice" of civil-rights violations by officers.

Durkan tells the Times, "Smoke does not always mean there is fire. Our obligation is to determine whether there is a fire."


More Details in Port Orchard Shooting

The man killed in a shootout with Kitsap County Sheriff's deputies in a Port Orchard parking lot on Sunday was from Salt Lake City, and had been charged in with child abduction. The Kitsap Sun's Josh Farley and Brynn Grimley report today the man is identified as Anthony A. Martinez:

Martinez previously had been linked to Astrid Valdivia, a 13-year-old girl who had been listed as missing and endangered by authorities in Utah on Friday.  

The young woman who was killed has not yet been identified. According to the  Sun, Valdivia was in a Salt Lake foster care facility until January 18th, the day an electronic monitoring device was removed and her personal possessions disappeared.

One of the two deputies shot was released from the hospital yesterday. Both are expected to recover from their wounds.


Pain of Education Cuts Increases

Calls to school leaders around Pierce County by the News Tribune's Debbie Cafazzo show a startling similarity: they're about to make the most painful budget cuts their careers.  Tacoma Superintendent Art Jarvis tells Cafazzo:

“I don’t have a good way to nickel-and-dime the system any more. That’s what we have done the last three years to cut $26 million.”

Bethel, Sumner and Puyallup district officials relate similar stories. Cafazzo reports legislative action yesterday dealt another budget blow:

On Monday, the House passed a budget proposal that would retroactively cut $42 million for smaller class sizes in the early grades – effectively taking back money the state had already promised local districts for this school year. To finish out the year, districts will have to tap their savings accounts again.


Businesses to Seattle: Don't Raise Parking Fees

Seattle business groups have asked the City Council to put off plans to hike parking meter rates. They say the increase to 4 dollars an hour, plus extending metered hours to 8 p.m. in some city neighborhoods, will hurt small businesses by discouraging shoppers and diners.

In a letter to the council, groups - including the Greater Seattle Chamber of Commerce - say the increase will give Seattle some of the highest parking rates in the country. According to the Seattlepi.com, the groups say the pricing plan is flawed:  

"Setting all-day rates based on the one hour of the day when demand is greatest is the equivalent of the Seattle Seahawks charging Super Bowl ticket prices for regular season games."  

The council approved the change in rates to boost city revenue, as well as to encourage more frequent parking turnover.

The letter urges the city council to look at the empty spaces in the city-owned Pacific Place garage, where rates have increased, and drivers are parking elsewhere. 

Rates could go up in March in nine Seattle neighborhoods.