Forced to decide between profits and ethical business practices, the University of Washington picked profits.
The UW administration has refused to join the Worker Rights Consortium (WRC), a group that monitors Third World garment factories and discourages the growth of sweatshops. Student activists say the primary reason the university won't join the WRC is that the UW is worried about losing its $3 million shoe contract with Nike, which suffers an image problem for its ties to Asian sweatshops. Nike has already withdrawn financial support from the University of Michigan and Brown University, both of which joined the WRC. PHIL CAMPBELL
Last year, the Washington State Legislature passed a law prohibiting prison guards from having sex with inmates. The rule was primarily intended to prevent male guards from sexually assaulting female inmates.
But how many people anticipated female guards having sex with male inmates? Last February, the first person to plead guilty to violating the law was Monica Sukert, a 38-year-old guard at Clallam Bay Corrections Center. Sukert and her inmate boyfriend were caught in a darkened supply room with their pants around their ankles. (Sukert resigned as a result of the scandal.) Sukert, though, hasn't been the only one to spend some time in the proverbial hole with her charges, according to one source intimately familiar with the issue. At Clallam Bay, it happens more often than you might think.
"We've had probably close to 50 female staff 'compromised' in the 14 years that this place has been open," says Harry George, a Clallam Bay prison guard. Favorite places in the prison to have sex include the laundry room and darkened closets, George says. PHIL CAMPBELL
The military is in Seattle schools again. Or at least it'll have guaranteed access if the U.S. Congress gets its way. A measure headed to the Senate would make it illegal for public high schools to bar military recruiters. Many schools around the country, including Seattle, can currently restrict the military's access to students. The new bill would change that, forcing schools to give the military the same access to students that universities have.
The military is facing record-low recruitment numbers these days, and has responded in force with sophisticated advertising and Congressional lobbying ["Military Zone", Pat Kearney, April 20]. The lobbying effort appears to be working. The bill is expected to pass the SSenate this year. The legislation is opposed by the National School Boards Association and other groups who believe that recruitment in schools is a local issue, not a federal one. But the schools are up against a well-armed and determined foe. One of the bill's proponents, Senator Tim Hutchinson (R-Ark.), actually wanted to deny federal funds to schools who barred recruiters. He says, " I would be extremely surprised if a school board wants to publicly vote to maintain a policy that is biased against the very institutions that guarantee America's freedom". PAT KEARNEY
Earlier this year, on behalf of eager commercial real estate developers, Seattle-based public relations firm Gogerty Stark Marriott Inc. leaned on city council members to loosen up building codes in the Duwamish industrial corridor to make way for white-collar office parks ["Strong-arming the City," Allie Holly-Gottlieb, February 24]. In their effort to subvert the neighborhood plan that was offered up by local industrial businesses who wanted to maintain the blue-collar job base in the corridor, Gogerty Stark took council members like Richard Conlin and Heidi Wills on tours of the Duwamish to map out where high-tech companies could move in. It turns out that's not all the lobbyists did. They also cut some hefty checks. In a move that single-handedly explains why citizens are cynical about government, newly elected Council Member Wills (carrying a campaign debt approaching $9,000 when she took office in January) pocketed a total of $550 from Gogerty Stark lobbyist/tour guide George Griffin, Gogerty Stark lobbyist Victor Kucera, and Kucera's wife Linda. JOSH FEIT
Keep Your Laws off My Body
"I may have one fucking eye, but I can see clearly through the shit," says Kurtis Kirk, owner of Golden Body Rings piercing in Capitol Hill. Kirk is fired up over recent efforts by the state legislature to regulate his industry. Kirk feels current King County Department of Health standards, which only set age requirements, are currently not enforced--so why should new standards and permit fees be created?
However, not all of Kirk's industry colleagues feel oppressed by the prospect of regulation. Al D, owner of New Millennium Body Art, says the tattoo and piercing industry is poorly regulated, contributing to staph infections and other problems like the spread of hepatitis. "The industry is horribly regulated. We just want some standards," he says.
Current laws in Seattle hearken back to the 1950s, when tattoo shops were simply told to get sailor IDs from customers and "have a spittoon at the door and a bar of soap," explains Dr. Marilyn Christensen of the King County Department of Health. Senator Pam Roach (R-Auburn), the main backer of tattoo and piercing standards, says she will continue her efforts despite the latest legislative session's failure to produce any new standards. PAT KEARNEY
Punks or Condos
Punk rockers have taken over the former Central Co-op building on 12th and Denny! Well, sort of. The punk rockers are the Seattle Young People's Project (SYPP), a nonprofit youth group that's staying on the property with the okay of owner Carol Bennet. Bennet is eventually planning to put in three condominiums at the Denny spot (just what Capitol Hill needs--more yuppies), but she's obviously doing something pretty cool in the meantime. While the finishing touches of the condo plan are being hashed out, Bennet's giving SYPP free rent at the Denny space so the kids can put on art shows and hold political meetings. SYPP says they'd love to keep the space permanently, but treasurer Corey Hook admits that condos bring "a lot more money". She's right: The proposed condominiums cost between $200-300,000 a pop. PAT KEARNEY
Could Samis Land Co.'s plans for yuppie-use development on Second and James have something to do with the bass-ackwards plan that the Seattle Housing Authority (SHA) is floating for the Morrison Hotel and the Downtown Emergency Services Center (DESC)? The two SHA spaces provide housing and emergency shelter for the homeless. According to recent SHA documents (specifically, an April 14 "Request for Proposal," sent out to potential new building managers), SHA is considering the "option" of "reducing the number of housing units and shelter beds at the Morrison."
SHA spokesperson Virginia Felton says any plan to reduce the number of shelter beds or units must come with another plan to replace the lost services at other sites.
The phrase "other sites" is surely music to Samis Land Co.'s ears, whose blueprints for Second Avenue probably don't include a room for the indigent. NANCY DREW & JOSH FEIT