Seattle city councilmember Kshama Sawant attends a Feb. 12 rally in support of her proposal for a tax on large businesses. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, file)

Seattle city councilmember Kshama Sawant attends a Feb. 12 rally in support of her proposal for a tax on large businesses. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, file)

Recall petition against Seattle council member can proceed

The effort stems from Kshama Sawant’s actions amid mass protests against police violence.

Associated Press

SEATTLE — A King County Superior Court judge ruled Wednesday that a recall petition seeking to remove Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant from office can proceed.

Judge Jim Rogers found four of the six charges leveled against Sawant to be both specific enough and sufficient to permit the process to continue, The Seattle Times reported. It’s the second politically charged recall effort against a Seattle elected official amid mass protests against police violence and systemic racism.

“The petitioner has shown actual knowledge of facts indicating that the Councilmember intended to commit an unlawful act,” Rogers wrote in his order.

A group of Seattle residents is pushing for the Sawant recall, alleging violations including when she allowed demonstrators into City Hall during a nighttime protest in June and spoke at a protest in front of Mayor Jenny Durkan’s house. They also say she encouraged protesters to occupy Seattle Police’s East Precinct, “helped create the Capitol Hill Occupation Protest Zone,” used city resources to promote a ballot initiative and delegated employment decisions in her office to her political party.

Rogers dismissed the charges related to the East Precinct and the CHOP.

Rogers’ role is to assume the charges against Sawant are true and to determine whether they are specific and serious enough to merit a recall.

Dmitri Iglitzin, Sawant’s attorney, said in arguments that Sawant has been elected three times, most recently less than a year ago, and said the recall petitioners were trying to redo those elections because they disagree with her politics.

John McKay, an attorney representing recall petitioner Ernest Lou, said Sawant needed to be held accountable for her actions.

If Rogers’ decision survives a possible appeal, petitioners would need to collect more than 10,000 signatures from residents of Sawant’s Capitol Hill-based district in order to send the recall to voters.

The Seattle City Council voted on Tuesday, at Sawant’s request, to fund Sawant’s legal defense in the matter.

A King County judge earlier this summer allowed a recall effort against the mayor to move forward. The recall alleges that Durkan failed to institute policies after police used tear gas on protesters. Durkan is appealing the judge’s decision to the state Supreme Court, which is scheduled to consider the case in October.

Talk to us

More in Northwest

Washington State Climatologist Nick Bond. (University of Washington)
UW climate expert: We are moving into uncharted territory

State climatologist says the declining snowpack threatens water supplies as population grows.

Health care workers and other staff walk out of Harborview Medical Center, a part of UW Medicine, during a noon hour break in a demonstration asking management to do more to protect staff, patients and the public amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Thursday, May 14, 2020, in Seattle.  (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Harborview: COVID outbreak killed a patient, infected staff

Ten staffers at the Seattle hospital have tested positive for COVID-19 and are isolating.

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan, right, speaks, Monday, July 13, 2020, during a news conference at City Hall in Seattle. Durkan and Police Chief Carmen Best, looking on at left, were critical of a plan backed by several city council members that seeks to cut the police department's budget by 50 percent. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Police investigate threats, messages against Seattle mayor

Homophobic slurs and hateful messages were left outside the home of Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan.

Seattle police depart at highest numbers in years

The 110 officers leaving marks the highest total since at least 2012.

Washington Supreme Court reverses 1960 cemetery decision

The old, already illegal rule allowed cemeteries to discriminate on the basis of race.

Seattle-area man is 3rd in U.S. with 2nd confirmed COVID case

The patient, in his 60s, tested positive in early March and got sick against nearly 5 months later.

Washington unemployment rate drops to 7.8%

Most job growth occurred in leisure and hospitality, construction and other services.

Mountlake Terrace woman accused of hiring men to kill her ex

Police say there may be a financial motive behind the murder-for-hire plan involving “quite a bit of money.”

REMOVES REFERENCE TO NUMBER OF PEOPLE WHO DIED FROM COVID-19 - State Health Officer Dr. Kathy Lofy speaks to the media about the coronavirus outbreak, as Insurance Commissioner Mike Kriedler looks on, Thursday, March 5, 2020, in Olympia, Wash.  Kriedler has issued an order requiring health insurers in the state to not charge copays or deductibles for people who require testing for the coronavirus. (AP Photo/Rachel La Corte)
Washington’s top public health officer to leave position

Dr. Kathy Lofy says she plans to focus on her own health and to connect with friends and family.

Inslee: 5 Washington counties can relax virus restrictions

There has been a “leveling out” of coronavirus risk between the five counties and the rest of the state.

Washington Lt. Gov.-elect Cyrus Habib, right, holds the gavel as he stands at the Senate chamber dais next to Senate Counsel Jeannie Gorrell, left, Thursday, Jan. 5, 2017, during a practice session to test technical equipment in Olympia, Wash. Habib, who will preside over the Senate, will be Washington's first blind lieutenant governor, and the Senate has undergone a makeover that incorporates Braille into that chamber's floor sessions that will allow Habib to know by the touch of his finger which lawmaker is seeking to be recognized to speak. Habib is replacing Lt. Gov. Brad Owen, who is retiring. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Lt. Gov. Habib has moved to California, isn’t drawing salary

He has been attending seminary school to become a priest. His term expires after this year.

FILE - In this Feb. 8, 2018, file photo, the logo for Twitter is displayed above a trading post on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.  Twitter is imposing new rules, Friday, Oct. 9, 2020,  ahead of the U.S. presidential election, prohibiting people,  including candidates, from claiming an election win before it is called by either state election officials or two authoritative, national news outlets. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)
Twitter to pay $100,000 over Washington campaign violations

The company failed to maintain records related to ads that ran from 2012 through 2019.