A U.S. apology
Four years after his unlawful arrest and detention at the hands of border patrol agents, Abdulameer Yousef Habeeb finally got an apology and financial compensation from the U.S. government.
On April 1, 2003, Habeeb, a political refugee from Iraq who had been twice imprisoned and tortured by the Hussein regime, was on a train from Seattle en route to a new newspaper job in Washington, D.C. border patrol agents stopped him in Havre, Montana demanding to know if he had been fingerprinted and photographed as part of the National Security Entry/Exit Registration System. Habeeb's refugee status exempted him, but that didn't much matter in Havre. The agents arrested and detained him for eight days while the deportation process was set into motion.
By the time he was released and the deportation proceedings were formally terminated on May 16, 2003, Habeeb had lost his job at the D.C. newspaper.
It was 4 o’clock on Friday afternoon when a press release arrived from the Mayor’s Office. Given that the 25-year-old State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) is old and outdated, the press release said, Mayor Nickels has submitted legislation to the City Council to update it.
The translation, on page 2: The mayor wants to drop environmental review for larger residential projects. Today, projects of 20 units or more must undergo SEPA review downtown. The mayor wants that to be 80 units or more. In “urban villages,” the threshold for review would move from 20 to 30 units.
“These changes will encourage more growth where it is most appropriate,” the mayor’s press release says, “and reduce development pressures on fragile natural environments and low-density, single-family areas.”
Votes and money
It’s a new round for candidates for city and county races, as finalists from the Aug. 21 primary face off Nov. 6. Candidate Joe Szwaja took second in a four-way race against incumbent Jean Godden and hopes to amass other primary opponents’ votes to take her seat.
Vote counting aside, Szwaja would still have to contend with Godden’s fundraising acumen — what he termed in a post-primary statement her “big dollar corporate donors.” Godden has accrued more than $185,000 for the campaign. Szwaja, by contrast, has just $44,000.
Godden is just shy of this season’s high scorer so far, Tom Rasmussen, with $195,000. Rasmussen is running unopposed for his second term.
Primary survivors Bruce Harrell and Venus Velazquez, who are targeting outgoing councilmember Peter Steinbrueck’s seat, have tallied up campaign chests of $156,000 and $124,000, respectively.