Transparency, civic engagement, logistics considerations as Legislature goes virtual

Implications for public safety, business community in 5th District Senate race

Discussions in recent months regarding law enforcement funding have also highlighted the role public safety professionals play in fostering and protecting a healthy business environment. Economic analysts have noted that one of the most critical ways to promote development within an area is by ensuring public safety.

This week Snohomish County Councilmember Megan Dunn sparked a rebuke from local law enforcement after publishing a now-deleted Facebook post containing an image of a Molotov cocktail, calling it a “good reminder.”

The effect public safety has on economic development throughout the region is a consideration that could play out for voters in the 5th Legislative District when making a choice between incumbent Sen. Mark Mullet and challenger Ingrid Anderson, as the winner may well have opportunity to shape policy on these issues in future legislative sessions.

In May, Anderson shared on her campaign Facebook page a Google document that included a link to an article that states: “riots or uprisings or revolutions, or… or… or… have led to some of the most important advances in justice that this country has ever known.” It continues: “You’ve been socialized to think that police ‘protect and serve’ and are a necessary presence for our common life together.”

A nurse at Overlake Hospital in Bellevue, Anderson in May hired an aid who she called a “rockstar” whose “experience as an advocate … will be an invaluable asset…”

In numerous social media posts, the aid posted “ACAB” – an acronym for “All Cops Are Bastards” – which has its origins in the anarchist community and has often been found as graffiti at the scenes of recent protests and riots in Seattle and Portland. One such post includes a photo of a vehicle on fire in front of a Nordstrom storefront.

In Seattle, numerous business owners have cited local riots as among the primary reasons they are struggling, arguing their customers do not want to take the personal risk of entering these areas. Washington Policy Center Small Business Director Mark Harmsworth recently told Lens that “there’s no protection anymore.”

On Aug. 20 the aid added a cover photo to her Facebook page featuring cartoon characters with the word “Antifa” at the bottom, which denotes activists who describe themselves as “anti-fascist” and who have protested and rioted in Seattle which ultimately led to the formation of a quasi-autonomous zone known as CHAZ, later CHOP (Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone), before being dismantled by Seattle Police following numerous shootings inside the zone.

In Portland, the police union headquarters were broken into, and on Aug. 20, protestors there also attacked the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) building. Last week Oregon Gov. Kate Brown declared a state of emergency in the city.

Update 9/30: Anderson contacted Lens following publication of this story, sharing that the aid is no longer working with her campaign and that “…I do not believe all cops are bastards. As an emergency room and psychiatric nurse, with a special certification to work with victims of sexual assault and violence, I have worked closely with first responders and law enforcement to keep our communities healthy and restore lives. These men and women are good people who chose their profession because they — like me — want to save lives. That being said, systemic racism is a very real public health concern and must be addressed. I am committed to advancing legislation that advances equity and opportunity.”

TJ Martinell is a native Washingtonian and award-winning journalist. Born and raised in Bellevue, he’s been involved in the news industry since working at his high school newspaper.

His investigative reporting for various community newspapers in the Puget Sound region has been recognized by the Washington Newspaper Publishers Association and the Society for Professional Journalists.

A graduate of Eastern Washington University, he has a B.A. in journalism and was the news editor of EWU’s student university newspaper.

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