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Everett Police Gets a Boost from Andy Ngo
Known fascist collaborator Andy Ngo, along with other right wing commentators, have shined a spotlight on an attempt by EPOA to intimidate a lawmaker supportive of police budget cuts.
Welcome back to Local Crank, a rambling newsletter on politics in Everett, Washington. Apologies for my tardiness this week! Agendas for Week 40—
City Council’s First Review of the Sequoia Norton Site
On Wednesday, the City Council will have their first chance to discuss Housing Hope’s revised plans for their supportive housing development called the Sequoia Norton Site. Last week, I recapped the Planning Commission’s 3–3 split vote and the flood of negative public comments they received during their last meeting. For some of the comments, they appeared to have been generated from a template passed around by anti-housing activists, suggesting that there is an organized opposition effort.
I have no doubts that at some point during the City Council’s review process, possibly even during this meeting, we’ll see fierce opposition to the badly needed supportive housing from organized opponents.
Interestingly, unlike other agenda items the recommendation for this isn’t “adopt”—it’s “adopt or reject”. I assume this language is a consequence of the denials by the Planning and Historical commissions.
The City Council’s first chance to review the ordinance and speak publicly on the matter should provide a lot of insight on how they view Housing Hope’s second attempt at this. We need to pay attention to how much consideration councilmembers give housing opponents and their lines. At every level in this process we’ve seen an organized group of anti-housing activists push hateful and prejudiced criticism of the supportive housing meant for Everett Public Schools students. Any councilmember willing to give credence to arguments of “neighborhood character” or “quality of life” during this housing crisis is—knowingly or not—buying into the same vitriolic rhetoric.
“Better With Boeing” Campaign Gives Opportunity for Locals to Show Their Fealty to Boeing
Criminally negligent (allegedly) aerospace manufacturer, and local feudal lord, Boeing is once again thinking about relocating thousands of jobs out of Snohomish County and to the union-busting state of South Carolina. After flatly rejecting a bailout in exchange for partial public ownership, Boeing has decided that it's path to greater profits during this crisis will be mass layoffs and shuttering production of the 787 jetliner in Everett. Boeing’s stranglehold on the county’s economy means it controls the fate of tens of thousands of jobs, and in the past has been awarded lucrative (and illegal) tax breaks in order to maintain those workers in our community. So, what have our leaders planned for now?
A $25,000 public relations campaign to, realistically, capture the attention of perhaps five executives who are responsible for decision-making at this level.
Officials from all over the county, including our own Mayor Cassie Franklin, took to social media to deliver high praise to the multibillion dollar corporation using the hashtag #BetterWithBoeing. I’m unsure how this differs from their past behavior considering they were already dedicating lots of time to giving Boeing compliments. In 2018, Mayor Franklin used her inaugural State of the City speech to pitch new airliner production in Everett by showering Boeing with praise. After years of statements and gestures like this, we’re still left with threats of economic devastation wrought by exactly one giant company.
Organized labor, on the other hand, struck a different tone with Boeing. “We must stand together, united for a stronger future,” said IAM 751 president Jon Holden, “In typical Boeing fashion, they are talking to everyone else but the Union. It is what they do in these situations. They are attempting to align the politicians and the media in order to exert maximum pressure”.
I have little hope that a hashtag campaign is going to sway Boeing’s opinion considering their long list of past betrayals to Washington state. As others have pointed out: Boeing’s ruthless and cruel profiteering make the move to South Carolina all but inevitable. I don’t think this will do much to help with the thousands of workers facing layoffs or re-engineer our economy away from producing fossil fuel guzzling machines like aircraft.
Everett Police Association is Justifying Brutality
It has become a badge of honor to get blocked by the Everett Police Officers Association on Twitter. The notoriously thin-skinned social media manager running their account seems to block anybody who dares challenge them. Or, hilariously, merely interacting with content critical of them. This has become an increasingly easy achievement to attain considering the rapidly escalating attention their account has received over the last couple of weeks.
After using their account last year to boost the campaigns of Republicans like Adam Fortney for Sheriff, Anna Rohrbough for County Council, and Scott Bader for Everett City Council, they have returned to push the pro-cop propaganda response to the Black Lives Matter movement.
This isn’t the first time that they’ve dabbled in pushing this type of rhetoric, however. Not long after registering their Twitter account, EPOA’s fifth tweet pushed a study from a NRA-backed think tank called the “Crime Prevention Research Center” that claimed cops did not shoot Black victims any more than white ones. Keeping the propaganda machine local, their endorsement of Democrat Brian Sullivan for mayor in 2017 was connected with (debunked) perceptions of increases in crime. One way they reinforced this connection was by boosting the hateful message of local small business tyrant Gary Watts.
We may remember Gary Watts from his 2017 write-in mayoral campaign that drew (conservative) local media attention. He was catapulted into the limelight after using his business’s sign to display pejoratives towards unsheltered people. His message? End all housing and addiction assistance services.
So, it should come as no surprise that EPOA has seized this sensationalized moment to build an audience around countering the Black Lives Matter movement. On September 22nd, they shared a screenshot of a post from Snohomish County Councilmember Megan Dunn’s personal Facebook account. In it, Dunn shared a photo of someone else’s cross stitch project of a Molotov cocktail with the phrase “be the light you want to see in the world”. While objectively a cool cross stitch, the cops didn’t take to it too kindly and demanded an apology from her.
Two days later, Jason Rantz picked up the story and then it really took off. In a matter of hours, EPOA’s post was shared by Andy Ngo. For those that don’t know, Andy Ngo is a dangerous threat to our community masquerading as a journalist. He’s provided kill lists to the neo-Nazi group Atomwaffen, who is responsible for at least five murders. Predictably, the replies to both of these posts are filled with violent threats against Dunn from unhinged right-wing goons.
Only two weeks ago, Dunn voted in support of a resolution supporting police, which passed unanimously. The resolution’s passage was then quickly fed into the same propaganda machine that has now turned against her. I think what this demonstrates is that any concession made towards their agenda will provide no protection from their wrath later on. The police and their supporters are a highly organized reactionary political coalition hellbent on intimidating critics through violent threats.
My concern is that with this increased attention from fascist agitators like Ngo will only inspire EPOA to commit to a more confrontational approach. We’ve already seen them dismiss Black Lives Matter protests as illegitimate, as well as a leniency towards violence committed against protestors locally. Cops in our area are eagerly awaiting the chance they’ll get to harass protestors like how SPD has, and given the intimidation faced by protestors in Snohomish, I fear it could get ugly.
Furthermore, in the years that I’ve followed Cassie Franklin, I cannot recall a single moment where she put out a statement critical of police actions—even after examples of excessive force. Will this cross a line for her? How far will it have to go before she recognizes the toxic role police can have in our communities? Will EPD face any form of oversight or accountability?
One June 1st, shortly following the murder of George Floyd, Mayor Franklin issued a statement warning of “civil unrest”. The police is “actively monitoring potential events linked to Everett,” she explained followed by a reassurance that “officers have been trained in de-escalation and crisis intervention”. Seattle Police also has had de-escalation training, but it didn’t stop them from gassing neighborhoods. Why should we expect anything different from Everett Police?
Thank you for reading!
As we head into a pivotal election year following an unprecedented crisis, scrutiny of our city’s leadership is more important than ever. If you’re interested in following Everett’s city leadership and politics more closely, please consider subscribing, sharing, and following me on Twitter.