Seattle will work to deescalate, dismantle ‘CHOP’ autonomous zone, mayor says

first_imgToby Scott/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty ImagesBy MORGAN WINSOR, ABC News(SEATTLE) — Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan announced Monday that officials will work with community leaders and Black-led organizations to amicably dismantle the protester-occupied streets near Cal Anderson Park in the city’s Capitol Hill neighborhood. Community resources, rather than law enforcement, will be deployed to deescalate the so-called Capitol Hill Organized Protest zone, known as CHOP, as well as encourage people to leave voluntarily and move individuals experiencing homeless to services as needed, according to Durkan. “It’s time for people to go home. It is time for us to restore Cal Anderson and Capitol Hill so it can be a vibrant part of the community,” the mayor said at a press conference Monday. “We can still accommodate people who want to protest peacefully, come there and gather. But the impacts on the businesses and residents and community are now too much.”The Seattle Police Department will also return to the East Precinct building within the boundaries of the CHOP zone, which officers were forced to abandon earlier this month after violent clashes with protesters. Durkan said officers will do so “peacefully and in the near future,” but did not provide a specific date on their return. The announcement follows a weekend of gun violence in the area, in which three people were shot within a 48-hour period. One of the victims, a 19-year-old, died from his wounds, according to police. “As a mother of a 19-year-old boy, I cannot imagine the pain of his mother and his family,” Durkan said. “We must do better.”While the mayor noted that a vast majority of the demonstrations have been peaceful and powerful, she said “the cumulative impacts of the gatherings and protests and the nighttime atmosphere and violence has led to increasingly difficult circumstances for our businesses and residents.” “The gun violence unfolding at night is not only wrong, it also is undermining and distracting from the message for change that we are hearing in the street and in so many of the peaceful protests,” she said. “We cannot let acts of violence define this movement for change.”Durkan said she has met with community leaders, local organizations, protesters, businesses and residents in recent weeks, and there will be continued dialogue on how to reimagine policing itself as well as “every other component of our society.” “Racism is a living, breathing organism,” she said. “It permeates our society in so many ways, and we can only undo racism and begin to undo the trauma and injustice by really centering the voices of the people who are affected.”Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best agreed that “the entire structure and mission of the Seattle Police Department has to be reimagined and reenvisioned.” “It will be done with direct community guidance,” Best said during Monday’s press conference.Despite calls from protesters to transform the East Precinct building into a community center, the police chief said her officers “need to get back” in there. Officers were met with a “hostile crowd” within the CHOP zone on Saturday night that prevented them from getting to gunshot victims, according to Best. “Because we couldn’t guarantee the safety for the first responders to enter,” she said, “neither officers nor medics were able to get there and treat the wounded.”In addition to shootings, the police chief said there has also been reports of rape, assault, burglary, arson and property destruction. “I have the police reports right here,” Best said, holding up papers. “We cannot walk away from the truth of what is happening there.”Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.last_img read more

Overland Park considers overhauling regulations for business, residential signs

first_imgOverland Park officials are considering a slew of changes to the rules governing all kinds of signs – from digital displays to real estate and political signs.The city’s planning staff presented the results of over three years of work overhauling the city’s sign ordinance on Monday to a joint meeting of city council and planning commission members.The most noticeable change involves a new category of “incidental signs” that would include the ubiquitous leasing signs at apartment complexes. The proposed ordinance requires a permit for those types of signs and allows them to be 20 square feet, building or ground mounted and non-illuminated.Existing signs that don’t meet the new requirements would have to be removed by Jan. 1, 2022, under the proposed new rules.Governing digital signsThe rule is meant to give some uniformity to a type of sign that may have started out as temporary but ends up staying on display, said city planner Danielle Hollrah.“We’re seeing some of these year after year. They are permanent but not necessarily maintained,” she said. The new rule would put some design standards on those types of signs.Other rules under consideration would address the evolution of technology and the law. For example, the city would not categorize sign rules based on content and would no longer restrict the content or message on signs.Changes in sign technology also were a factor. Over the past three years, council members and planners have struggled to decide what types of digital light displays should be allowed, since that technology didn’t exist when the current ordinance was written.The proposed change would allow residents to have up to three stake signs, like the ones used for political candidates or garage sales.The brightly lit drive-thru menu boards at fast food restaurants, digital monument signs at the BluHawk development and the large light displays atop the City Place buildings were all subjects of prolonged debate before being approved.The new proposed ordinance codifies those types of signs, with some restrictions. Building-mounted displays like those at City Place require permits, a setback from the highway and are limited to 10 percent of the façade, with other restrictions on movement and brightness.Monument signs like those at BluHawk also would require permits, spacing and restrictions on the brightness and hold times.Other proposed changesGas stations and residential developments also would have some new rules. The monument signs at gas stations would become a thing of the past, but they could be replaced by incidental signs, or a digital display on the canopy. Residential developments would no longer be able to have subdivision signs in entry medians.Existing signs at gas stations and residential developments wouldn’t have to come down, though. Under the proposal, they could stay as “nonconforming” signs that must be maintained, but could not be replaced.Other proposed changes:Residents could have up to three “stake signs” (like a garage sale or political sign) for a total of nine square feet, with an additional sign possible for corner lots and a for sale or lease sign.Commercial and office buildings could have more signs on their façades, with more flexibility for whether the building is multi-story or multi-tenant.Billboards would get longer special use permits, going from the current three years to five. Overland Park has fewer than ten billboards, Hollrah said.The meeting Monday was informational only. The Planning Commission is set to discuss the ordinance Nov. 9 and the full City Council is scheduled to take it up Dec. 7.last_img read more

Governor Offers Mediator to Legislature, Sends State Worker Notices

first_imgWalker said the offer has been extended to legislative leaders although they had not heard back as of 1:30 pm. Matt Peterson said he was called early this morning and has cleared his schedule this week in an effort to help reach an agreement. He added that there is no other choice than to find a way to fund the budget because otherwise it is “a check that bounces.” Gov. Walker: “We hope that this process works and we also hope that this process isn’t necessary because they come to a resolution very quickly.” Notices have begun being mailed to around 10,000 state workers and if the state goes through with the layoffs, Alaska’s unemployment could hit 9%, the worst in the nation.center_img Peterson: “I have a plan as to how I would like to proceed, I’ve cleared my calendar for the rest of this week and I’m prepared, starting this afternoon, to meet with the House leadership and the Senate leadership as the governor has asked me to make myself available to do whatever I can to help the process of helping negotiations between the sides so that we can come up with a final budget that we can move forward with our finances this year. Beyond that I can’t really discuss any specifics.” Fees for the mediation from Peterson would be out of the governor’s budget. FacebookTwitterEmailPrintFriendly分享Governor Bill Walker has called in a mediator to offer services to the legislature as around 10,000 layoff notices are sent out and the budget standoff continues.last_img read more