Slog AM: SECB Endorsements Hot Off the Presses, Bill Gates Donates Billions, and New Poll Shows Murray Leading

Time to vote, again: I have it on good authority that defying the Stranger Election Control Board guarantees your next landlord will be an enormous, self-entitled douchebag. Nobody wants that. Sift through the anachronistic pile of paper advertising in your mailbox, grab that ballot, and vote the SECB ticket.

Pass a wealth tax, already: Bill Gates made headlines yesterday for promising to donate $20 billion to his foundation. No one should applaud this. When the ultra-wealthy make gifts like this, it’s not an expression of generosity. It’s an effort to extend their control over how we solve collective problems from beyond the grave. Will the foundation bearing his name spend this money on things the average person would consider good? Almost certainly. The better question to ask is whether we would need that spending if we had taxed people like Gates sufficiently so he never accumulated such an immoral hoard of resources in the first place.

Thanks, Hannah: I know Jas linked to her piece in PM yesterday, but in case you betrayed your oath as a Slog reader and ignored Jas, take a few minutes to check out Hannah’s piece on the Mayor’s latest attempt to waste more money on cops. I’m still getting over the last remnants of COVID, but even my mildly foggy brain can grasp that spending money on a solution research has told us won’t work seems like a bad idea.

Some data visualization on cop spending: A hat tip to our friends at Axios who put together this helpful chart showing how much we’re already shoveling into local police budgets:

Washington’s gun laws working as designed: Police have released the man accused of threatening to kill Congresswoman Jayapal from custody, but not before obtaining an Extreme Risk Protection Order (ERPO) against him. The ERPO law, also known as a “red flag” law, allows the government to get a judge’s order authorizing them to remove any firearms from the man’s possession while they investigate him. 

Cold comfort on the road to fascism: At least when we’re all huddled around dumpster fires squabbling for the latest drop of fresh water, we’ll know that the Democrats played fair and square until the end.

Rumors of Congressional Dems growing a spine: According to Axios, House Democrats are considering finally completing some overdue homework from the 1970s. They’re working on a package of bills to codify the rights that rest on the same Constitutional framework as Roe, just in case Justice Alito doesn’t abide by his pinky swear that the Court will leave them alone. The Dems hope to enshrine protections for contraception access, marriage equality, and interracial marriage — or at least put 20 cowardly Republican Senators on the record since they refused to take positions on the issues when asked by Axios.

Local Congressional Dem in good shape: The latest polling from Washington’s Senate race shows 30-year incumbent Patty Murray with an 18-point lead. Even a red wave nationally would have a hard time unseating Washington’s most beloved mom, so these findings aren’t terribly surprising. But down-ballot Dems don’t have Murray’s millions in campaign cash and decades of name recognition to fall back on, so make sure you fill out your whole ballot!

How is this so hard? If you’re a powerful government actor who recklessly throws millions of people’s lives into chaos, it might be hard to dine out for a while. If you’re walking to your job (or just existing anywhere), people should generally not harass you for your race or gender:

We’re really gonna use the legal system to fix everything, huh? Since nothing else has generated the level of urgency from the American government necessary to avert the worst of the climate crisis, maybe a new report totaling up our climate liability will work. Scientists from Dartmouth quantified each country’s impact on climate change, resulting in what they say is a scientific basis for climate liability claims against carbon polluting nations. The US’s share of the tab totals $1,800,000,000,000.

End single-family zoning already: If the government is going to spend $240 million on a light rail station, dense housing shouldn’t be negotiable. And yet, it looks like the Sound Transit board just wrote a quarter of a billion dollar check on nothing more than a hope that Seattle will finally upzone around a planned Northeast 130th Street Station.

Experts frustrated at US COVID response: Researchers and public health officials expressed frustration yesterday at the US’s lack of preparation for the BA.5 surge underway. The new omicron subvariant, BA.5, accounts for 65% of new cases and evades immunity from vaccination and prior infection better than its predecessors, experts warn. That data should lead to a renewed round of indoor mask mandates, according to those same experts, but government officials remain skeptical that people would listen due to “pandemic fatigue.” I’m personally still dealing with fatigue from my latest encounter with the pandemic, but I get it, masks are itchy.

Uber faces lawsuit over failure to provide safety: Yesterday, lawyers for 550 women who claim they suffered sexual assault while using Uber filed a lawsuit against the company in California. The women claim Uber misled customers about the safety of its service, saying in their suit that the company became aware its drivers were sexually assaulting and raping female passengers as far back as 2014. Uber did not comment on the pending litigation.

A poem for our time:

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