Risen from the ashes of defunct Seattle Rape Relief three years ago, Communities Against Rape and Abuse (CARA) has survived an attempted gutting by Seattle City Council members Richard Conlin and Jim Compton. Of the seven domestic-violence groups whose funding was slashed in Mayor Greg Nickels’ stripped-down budget, only one—CARA—would not have seen its funding restored under the two council members’ proposed budget amendment. Instead, CARA would be cut an additional $100,000, for a total of $150,000—three-quarters of the fledgling group’s $200,000 budget. CARA spokesperson Alisa Bierria says neither Conlin nor Compton called to warn the group. Asked for his justification, Conlin said he would rather see the budget ax “fall on this new group [because] we know the established ones were working.” He also takes issue with CARA’s assertion that some members of “marginalized groups,” like the disabled and minorities, won’t use traditional services like hospitals, police departments, and rape hot lines. But the phrase in CARA’s literature that really frosted Conlin was “rape culture,” which Bierria says describes “the ways in which sexual violence exists in our culture. Perhaps they think that term is too radical,” she says. You’re damn right, Conlin says. “This is a culture that has had the courage to confront these problems directly, unlike many other cultures,” he retorts. Ultimately, both sides gave a little: Conlin and Compton got $75,000 restored for six other domestic- violence groups, and CARA made it through with a 25 percent reduction, the same amount called for in the mayor’s budget. . . .
Last Friday, Seattle Times publisher Frank Blethen appeared on “Serious Money” on KCTS-TV and revealed what most in medialand already knew—that the paper plans to launch a weekly, youth-oriented editorial page early next year. The Times is calling it NEXT and is recruiting 17- to 25-year-olds to write and serve on its Gen-Y editorial board; writing skills, a Times classified ad notes nonchalantly, are “a plus,” but having something to say is “more important.” R鳵m鳠are supposed to include “for fun” interests and two lists of 10 to 20 issues “you and your friends are talking about.” Says a memo to potential writers: “Here’s what NEXT won’t be: a teen page, where to get the best drink after work, or a spin-off of Seattle weeklies.” Frank, we’re very relieved to hear that. . . .
Six weeks after the county’s winter response shelter was scheduled to open, it finally got funding—but only thanks to an emergency appropriation that leaves its long-term fate in question. A unanimous King County Council vote gave the shelter, which will be located in one of two county-owned buildings, $19,500 to operate through the end of the year. But unless the County Council restores the $79,000 it costs annually to run the shelter in its revision to County Executive Ron Sims’ 2003 budget, the shelter will disappear Jan. 1—and leave about 50 homeless men and women out in the cold. “I can assure you that the [council’s] changes to the executive’s proposed budget will include funds for the winter response shelter for next year,” says the council’s budget chair, Larry Phillips.
Erica C. Barnett, with staff reports