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New Youth Jail Numbers With activist Nikkita Oliver now in the Seattle mayoral race, we can expect juvenile incarceration to become a major talking point. And the conversation just got a little more complex late last week when King County officials released some new findings on the county’s juvenile detention population. “The average daily population in 2016 was 51 juveniles, a 16% drop from 2015, and an even steeper drop from 1998 when it was 157,” writes Capitol Hill Seattle Blog in a thorough overview of the new findings published this morning. “In 2016, the proportion of black youth in jail decline from 58.5% to 49.9%.” The reason for the decline: the kinds of intervention programs that are being promoted by those who oppose incarceration as a solution to youth crime. And so, we have the local government doing a better job of keeping kids out of jail by using some of the methods promoted by those who are fighting the government tooth-and-nail to keep kids out of jail. Whatever the end result of this debate, we should all be able to agree that it is making a positive difference.
Reichert’s Empty Threats Heidi Groover over at The Stranger did the difficult work of trying to find cause for Rep. Dave Reichert’s claims late last month that he was refusing to take part in any town halls because, “We’ve had experiences already where people have shoved their way into our office, pushed our staff up against the wall. We’ve had to call the police. We’ve had people arrested. We’ve had people placed into a mental institution. I don’t want to do that.” Turns out, that isn’t really true. Says who? The police departments in the two towns where he has offices. Reichert was, at best, conflating the actions of Trump-era activists with some public safety issues that occurred long before our president was elected and this whole nightmare began. At worst, he was straight-up lying. Whatever the reason, Reichert needs to admit that there is no threat and schedule a town hall already.
The Dreamer Speaks Out Daniel Ramirez Medina, the Des Moines man arrested by immigration agents last month despite his enrollment in the Deferred Action of Childhood Arrivals program, has written an op-ed defending himself as a hard-working American and dedicated father. In the piece, published yesterday by the Washington Post, Ramirez says the government knows he’s not part of a gang, despite what immigration officials have said in court filings. “Like all ‘dreamers,’ I gave all of my personal information and fingerprints to the government to qualify for DACA,” he writes. “I’ve been checked against every state and federal database. They verified twice that I have no criminal history, was never affiliated with any gang and was not a threat to public safety.” Ramirez is being held at the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma. Sara Bernard yesterday published a profile of a local organization that is working to help those detained at the center. You can read it here.
The Price Tag on Health Care As promised, the Congressional Budget Office came out with its analysis of the proposed American Health Care Act, and the findings were not good for the few people who actually like this bill. The non-partisan office found that it’s implementation would result in 14 million Americans losing health insurance in the next year, with that number climbing to 24 million over the course of 10 years. Ouch. “It is worse than what any of us had anticipated,” Washington Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler told Seattle Weekly. “Presuming that the mandate will go away and that we have a share of the 14 million of people losing health insurance by 2018, the numbers of people affected here are going to be significant.” The office also found that the bill would save the government $337 billion over that same 10 years. As a point of reference, $337 billion is enough to fund the U.S. Military for about six-and-a-half month.
Also … Uber and Lyft drivers are suing the city … A leading critic of ST3 is sponsoring a new tax to help fund car trips to a South Sound island … The Huskies women’s basketball team will be kicking off the NCAA tournament as a 3 seed, playing their first game in Seattle … Men’s basketball coach Cameron Dollar got the boot from Seattle University … and Pearl Jam is honoring all five of its drummers on the eve of its hall of fame induction.