Bill Radke reviews the week’s news with Converge Media founder Omari Salisbury, Kiro-7 TV political reporter Essex Porter, and KUOW reporter David Hyde.
Juneteenth started early this year, with a CHOP art celebration at Cal Anderson last weekend. It wasn’t clear if the event would actually happen until that Friday, as the city initially refused to issue the event a permit (before reversing that decision). The city said that they had denied the permit because they were holding the park to “higher-than-usual safety and security standards”, due to the protests and two homicides that occurred last summer. And there has been a rise in gun violence in the city since last year, as there has been throughout most of the country. Just last week two men were killed and two others injured in a shooting in White Center. One of the people shot was Horace Anderson, the father of 19 year old Horace Lorenzo Anderson, who was shot and killed near the CHOP last summer. King County Councilmember Joe McDermott has proposed an emergency budget amendment that would include $1.47 million in investments for curbing gun violence.
In other news this week, the events of the January 6 Capitol Insurrection caused many a company to pause political spending as responses from congressional members became a political minefield. Boeing was one such company. After a brief pause, however, they’ve recommitted donations to a number of Republican figures and organizations who have championed efforts to overturn the 2020 election — the so-called “Sedition Caucus.” Boeing’s donations have gone to the Republican Attorney Generals Association and representatives Steve Scalis, Vicky Hartzler, and Jack Bergman. Boeing’s defense is that they’re only investing in their business interests and that they’re also investing in causes supported by their partners and customers. The aerospace giant also gave funds to congress members across both aisles who voted to certify the election (including Nancy Pelosi).
Also, Jeff Bezos thinks you’re lazy. In a recent report from Fintech Zoom, Amazon‘s David Niekerk said that Amazon’s business model is built around Bezos’ philosophy that people are inherently lazy: “What he would say is that our nature as humans is to expend as little energy as possible to get what we want or need,” said Niekerk. But it isn’t just Bezos who believes that people (and workers) are, at this current pandemic moment, ‘lazy.’ 24 Republican governors want to end the $300 a week unemployment stimulus because they believe benefits are making workers lazy, and federal help disincentivizes a return to work. But surveys show that workers are slow to return to work for a bevy of reasons, including a lack of childcare and stagnant wages — in fact, a recent survey even found that boosted unemployment benefits still aren’t enough for many to meet their monthly expenses.
That said, Washington is looking to lift many pandemic norms in the coming future. King County will be ending its mask mandate on June 29th. Having reached the 70% vaccination threshold, King County health officer Jeff Duchin says his mask mandate is now on a two week countdown, after which the county will follow state and federal masking guidelines. That doesn’t mean you can go unmasked anywhere you’d like – State and federal guidance says that unvaccinated people should continue to wear a mask indoors and everyone should continue to wear masks in certain environments – including schools, health care facilities, jails, and public transit. Plus, while King County may be at 70% vaccinated, there’s still plenty of the state that hasn’t neared those numbers. According to the Seattle Times, since last April the divide between the most vaccinated county (San Juan) and the least (Garfield) has grown by 12%. State health secretary Umair Shah has said he doesn’t want to see a “tale of two societies” in our state.
This week also marked the second incentive lottery drawing in Washington, where one person won $250,000, and others a variety of prizes ranging from Xboxes to Mariners tickets. Governor Inslee has also announced a second lottery will be held for Washington military members and veterans, who weren’t part of the state wide lottery because their vaccination records are maintained by the federal government. But the prizes for this second lottery will be a little different – they’ll have three weekly drawings instead of four, with two weeks of a $100,000 grand prize, followed by a final drawing for $250,000.