Slog AM: Voting Ends at 8 pm Today, Biden Weighs Sanctions Against Russia, Time to Check Out the Best Christmas Displays in Town

If you havent voted NO on the recall yet, then you only have until 8 pm this evening to do so.

If you haven’t voted NO on the recall yet, then you only have until 8 pm this evening to do so. RS

Today’s the day: At 8:15 pm, King County Elections will release the first round of results in the election to retain or recall Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant. As ever, the Stranger Election Control Board will cover the ballot drop right here on Slog, as well as any election night parties we can find. Members of the Sawant camp who aren’t in the streets gathering last-minute votes plan to collect themselves at Chop Suey on Capitol Hill at 6:45 pm to warm up and watch the return. Recall campaign manager Henry Bridger II continues to ignore emails from The Stranger, so we don’t know where they plan to party if they indeed plan to. If you do know the location, then shoot me an email so we can cover it.

The deadline to vote is 8 pm today: If you live in District 3 — which includes Capitol Hill, First Hill, the Central District, Madison Park, Madrona, Leschi, Little Saigon, and parts of surrounding neighborhoods — and you have not yet voted, then do not put your ballot in the mail; put it in any of the drop boxes around town.

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If you live in those neighborhoods but have not registered to vote, then register / vote in person at a voting center. You’ll find the center in the west room of the Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute, and it’s open from 8:30 am to 8 pm.

As I wrote yesterday afternoon, the current ballot return stats portend success for the recall campaign. In 2019, Sawant beat Egan Orion by 2,200 votes with a turnout of 59%. Right now, turnout is only around 38.5%.

Since this election is unprecedented in a number of ways, it’s hard to say for sure, but to beat the real estate moguls, developers, billionaires, Trump donors, Republican donors, and their giddy pawns, the solidarity campaign will need more renters in the district’s core to return their ballots. To quote a wise sticker: Your boss and your landlord vote. And they really don’t want Sawant in office, where she will continue to pass legislation that protects renters from the people who seek to exploit them for high profits. If she’s not there, it’s unclear if her replacement or other council members will work as diligently on behalf of tenants in this increasingly unaffordable city.

Sawant’s defeat is by no means inevitable. Though Ed Murray, Jenny Durkan, and Bruce Harrell won the district in the mayoral races, Sawant also won in the district during those years, and she knows the turf. The Kshama Solidarity campaign managed to raise nearly $940,000, and it has used that money in part to mobilize an impressive GOTV campaign. If they lose, it won’t be for a lack of trying to overcome the structural barriers presented by an election that has me writing about a goddamned campaign two weeks before Christmas.

Speaking of Christmas: Looking to scope out the neighborhoods that go hard for the holidays? The Seattle PI has a list of the best light displays in the region, including a few neighborhoods and the Woodland Park Zoo.

Meanwhile, in West Seattle, the West Seattle Blog is highlighting a holiday display each night thanks to reader tips.

The city that allegedly never sweeps is sweeping Ballard Commons: Follow Hannah for more, and look for her update on Slog later.

Learning more about how a former state employee stole $300K from state unemployment: A state audit released Monday found “internal controls were weak at the Washington Employment Security Department, allowing Reyes De La Cruz to allegedly falsify claims, take bribes and demand payments “from people he was able to approve benefits for,” KING 5 reports. That’s in addition to $280 million lost to scammers.

Inslee seeks FEMA aid for flooding: Gov. Jay Inslee sent a letter Friday to FEMA asking for financial help for areas of the state damaged in recent flooding, landslides and mudslides, KIRO reports.

A change is coming to your takeout food next year: The state will no longer allow Washington businesses to automatically include straws and throwaway utensils in your bag, though customers can still request them. The state Department of Ecology tells the Seattle Times that single-use food service items “are a major contaminant in the state’s recycling systems.”

Facebook leases more space in Bellevue: Sorry, “Meta” is pre-leasing its fifth building in Bellevue’s Spring District, according to the Puget Sound Business Journal.

The silence from the “Harper’s letter” cancel culture freaks is deafening: The Washington Post reports on the story of Tennessee high school teacher Matthew Hawn, who told his mostly white students that white privilege is “a fact” and then later assigned a Ta-Nehisi Coates essay plus a poetry performance called “White Privilege.” He was fired less than a month after showing the poetry video, and the Tennessee Legislature passed a law forbidding educators from teaching that anyone is “inherently privileged, racist, sexist or oppressive.”

Ditto in Florida: University of Florida administrators attempted to censor graduate instructors from teaching anything they think is related to “critical race theory” allegedly in deference to the state Legislature, The Alligator reports:

Ditto Wisconsin: The state’s Assembly passed the bill in September.

Biden’s White House Press Secretary mocks the idea of offering free rapid testing: Other countries have figured it out or plan to figure it out, but universal programs don’t pass the sniff test for Biden’s spin master.

ICYMI: More than half of Afghanistan’s population could face life-threatening food insecurity this winter, the New York Times reports. About four months after the Taliban took control of the country, billions of dollars in Western aid have dried up and U.S. sanctions have “isolated the country from the global financial system.” Many people are going without steady incomes at the same time as food prices are rising. A drought is starving farm animals, and freezing winter weather is now setting in. Humanitarian groups are “warning that a million children could die.”

Mortgage firm lays off 900 people via Zoom: The chief executive of Better.com told employees, “If you’re on this call you’re part of the unlucky group being laid off,” the BBC reports. “He didn’t mention the $750m (£565m) cash infusion Better.com received from investors last week.”

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If Russia invades Ukraine, then Biden might impose “sanctions targeting Russia’s biggest banks and the country’s ability to convert rubles for dollars and other foreign currencies,” according to Bloomberg.

I leave you with a bit of transit criticism from the Kingston Trio:

Article Source: https://www.thestranger.com/slog/2021/12/07/63419916/slog-am-voting-ends-at-8-pm-today-biden-weighs-sanctions-against-russia-time-to-check-out-the-best-christmas-displays-in-town