Slog PM: COVID-19 Cases Surge, Seattle City Council Passes Sawant's Right-to-Counsel Law, a Suitcase Full of Baby Tortoises

by Nathalie Graham
Sawants bill will grant legal protection for every tenant who faces eviction.
Sawant's bill will grant legal protection for every tenant who faces eviction. Courtesy of Seattle City Counsel

90% of U.S. adults will be vaccine-eligible by April 19: Back in March, President Joe Biden said every U.S. adult would be eligible for the COVID-19 jab as of May 1. The U.S. is ahead of that schedule, Biden announced today. However, vaccination rollout speed is still dependent on vaccine supply.

All New York adults can get the vaccine on April 6: The state announced that vaccine eligibility will open up to all adult residents next week. Starting tomorrow, anyone over 30 will be eligible.

Meanwhile, in New Orleans: Anyone can grab a jab at the Convention Center:

And yet, "impending doom" could be on the horizon: Centers for Disease Control Director Rochelle Walensky shared data that the vaccines were 90% effective at reducing infections two or more weeks after a person receives their second dose. However, COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths are climbing. Walensky said she felt "impending doom" about what this means for the U.S. Biden urged people to wear their masks. Please remember that the pandemic is not over just because you're over it.

A reminder from Public Health — Seattle & King County's Dr. Jeff Duchin: COVID-19 is rising in Seattle, especially in North Seattle zip codes around the University District and Wallingford. Duchin warned that this would happen when the state started rolling back COVID-19 restrictions.

A Western Washington University outbreak: WWU is reporting around 30 COVID-19 cases in on-campus dorms. According to contract tracing reports, the cases spread through off-campus parties and other social gatherings.

Washington state prisoners with cancer aren't receiving the care they need: A new report from the Office of the Corrections Ombuds details 11 cases where prisoners with cancer in Washington state didn't receive the care they needed as quickly as they needed it. In one case, the Seattle Times reported, an inmate noticed a lesion on his back. Doctors said it was benign. They determined the lesion was malignant when they finally remove it four months later. Still, despite a surgeon's recommendations for "urgent action," the Department of Corrections delayed the inmate's treatment. Nine months later, the inmate underwent his first chemotherapy treatment, but it was too late. Doctors said he was terminal. He died a month later.

Biden extended the federal eviction moratorium: Until June 30. That's when Washington state's and Seattle's newly extended moratoriums will end, too.

The Seattle City Council voted unanimously to grant tenants a right to counsel: The council voted 9-0 to grant Seattle tenants facing eviction a right to free legal representation. Councilmember Kshama Sawant brought forward the legislation, which was co-sponsored by Councilmembers Andrew Lewis and Tammy Morales. With the passage of this eviction protection, Seattle joins cities like New York, San Francisco, and Philadelphia that already have right-to-counsel laws in place. This law is estimated to cost the city around $750,000 annually. Currently, Seattle pays over $300,000 for eviction-related legal services a year.

The council was originally supposed to vote on the bill two weeks ago, but Councilmember Alex Pedersen moved to delay the vote after Mayor Jenny Durkan extended Seattle's eviction moratorium. Pedersen wanted to take more time considering the legislation, which he voted against in Sawant's Sustainability & Renters' Rights Committee. During those two weeks, council members cooked up some amendments to make the legislation "stronger" against legal challenges. The most significant change was that Council President Lorena Gonzalez added an amendment so tenants facing eviction would need to self-certify that they were "indigent" or in need of counsel. Sawant claimed this was a means test, but the rest of the council opposed that characterization. Gonzalez's amendment passed 8-1 with Sawant voting no.

Mafia fugitive caught after six years on the run: The Italian mob member lived quietly and anonymously in the Caribbean. But, police caught wind of his whereabouts after he appeared in a YouTube cooking video. While he didn't show his face, his unique tattoos on his hands and arms gave away his identity.

Want to make Seattle greener? You can apply to be a part of Seattle's Green New Deal oversight board.

Attempted tortoise-knapping foiled: Some assholes had the gall to steal 185 Galápagos tortoise babies. Airport security busted them when the smugglers tried to sneak their suitcase filled with 185 BABY GALAPAGOS TORTOISES through an x-ray, reports the BBC. Smugglers wrapped each baby tortoise in plastic to immobilize them. Ten babies died. Charles Darwin's ghost is plotting his revenge right now.

Okay, so scratch that theory: "Renowned Egyptologist Zahi Hawass denies 'curse of the pharaohs' caused Suez Canal crisis"

Remember the Biden vs. Trump fridge quiz? Instead of sussing out which way a person voted based on what kind of milk is in their fridge, the New York Times wants to know if you can tell which neighborhood voted for whom in the 2020 election. I've had some success making my guesses based on which neighborhoods have sidewalks, American flags, and how far apart the houses are from each other.

Biden wants to harness the wind: The new administration is setting its sites on expanding renewable energy. First up? Building 30,000 megawatts of offshore wind turbines in a zone between Long Island and New Jersey.

New charges for Ghislaine Maxwell: Federal prosecutors filed a new, more serious indictment against Jeffrey Epstein's long-time associate. Maxwell is now accused of grooming and trafficking a 14-year-old girl. Prior indictments against Maxwell accused her of helping Epstein. This new indictment goes further.

Nike sues over Satan shoes: Rapper Lil Nas X's "Satan Shoes" that are decorated in pentagrams and have human blood in the soles sold out in minutes on Monday. The shoes are Nike Air Max '97s modified by streetwear company MSCHF, but Nike is not vibing with the shoes from Hell. They're suing on the basis of trademark infringement.

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Slog PM: COVID-19 Cases Surge, Seattle City Council Passes Sawant's Right-to-Counsel Law, a Suitcase Full of Baby Tortoises