Police Body Cams, Dash Cams, and A Camera on Every Street Corner: Invasion of Privacy or a Necessary Step Toward Safety and Accountability?
The Washington Coalition for Open Government is proud to present “Police Body Cams, Dash Cams, and A Camera on Every Street Corner: Invasion of Privacy or a Necessary Step Toward Safety and Accountability?” a panel discussion before Seattle 4 Rotary on Wednesday, March 16. The panel comes from a variety of organizations and represents diverse opinions on the issue. Moderator Juli Bunting (right) is a communications consultant and author with a background in journalism and state government and she is a former member of Seattle 4. Her late husband, Kenneth F. Bunting, was the former Associate Publisher of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer and a founding board member of the Washington Coalition for Open Government where she now serves as Communications Director.
The participants on the panel are:
Eric Stahl is a media/intellectual property partner with Davis Wright Tremaine. He represents news organizations, journalists and others in public records, First Amendment and intellectual property matters and spent 5 years as a newspaper reporter before attending UW School of Law, where he graduated in 1997. Eric is a member of the WCOG Board of Directors.
Josias Flynn is a trial attorney who represents clients in a wide range of civil matters. He partners with the ACLU to defend and promote the civil rights of Washington citizens and also advocates to promote the effective use of police body cameras in a way that balances concerns about police accountability and citizen privacy.
Mary Perry is the Director of Transparency and Privacy for the Seattle Police Department. This is a new position with SPD as part of its re-organization of public disclosure response and enhanced compliance processes. Perry directs the department’s efforts to proactively provide data and information to the public.
Rick Steves on travel: ‘Get to know the real people’
Reporter: John Hamer
President Sue Nixon opened the meeting with the sad news of Past President John Iverson’s death. The Rotary Rogues, which John helped form in the 1970s, gathered onstage to sing “Amazing Grace,” one of his favorite songs. Linda Rough gave a moving tribute to him, quoting Marli Iverson saying: “My John has the voice of an angel.” Tom Mesaros delivered the invocation, followed by a moment of silence.
Steve Crandall was supposed to introduce our main speaker, Rick Steves, in person. But he was in Vancouver, B.C., so he did the introduction by video. Steves’ travel company, which started in the mid-1970s, now has 100-plus employees and sponsors over 900 tours a year. He produces 50 guidebooks, writes a weekly column, hosts a website, and does programs on PBS and NPR. He lives and works in Edmonds, where his office overlooks his old junior-high school. Steves’ talk, “Reports From the Road,” covered travel safety, terrorism, refugees, drug policy, Iran, the Holy Land and Cuba.
SAFETY: Steves said it’s actually safer to travel abroad than it is to stay at home. Statistically, the risks of crime are higher in many American cities than in Europe. He urged Rotarians to “get to know the real people” when traveling overseas. “That’s what ‘carbonates your experience. The real challenge is to get out of our comfort zone. We don’t have to agree with them, but we can learn their perspective. We need a mindset where we’re more likely to build bridges and less likely to build walls.”
TERRORISM: “What are people nervous about?” he asked. “We’ve lost only 20 people overseas since 9/11 to terrorists,” he noted. “Fear is for people who don’t get out very much.” He strongly criticized the news media for exaggerating the dangers. “They’ve got to make money on the news. Whoever is most bombastic gets the coverage.” He added: “Please, don’t let terrorism make you stay home. If you really understand the statistics, you’d take your family to Europe tomorrow.”
REFUGEES: “What is their impact on tourists in Europe? Nothing.” At worst, there may be a delay at a border, he said. “There’s no risk, but a remote possibility of a little inconvenience. If you’re going to ignore them, you’re going to ignore them. But maybe do it in Greece, where you’re going to contribute to the economy that has to take care of them.”
LEGISLATING MORALITY: Steves addressed prostitution, drug addiction and marijuana legalization. He said Americans lock up 10 times more people per capita than most European countries. Their approach is “pragmatic harm reduction.” Regarding prostitution, he said: “Let’s just take the crime, the violence and the pimps out of it. Let’s organize it so the sex workers are safe.”
DRUG ADDICTION: He noted that in Switzerland, there are blue lights in the restrooms, so addicts cannot see their veins and thus can’t shoot up. “We all have the same percentage of addicts, about 1%. The difference is you see them in Europe because they’re still alive and they’re not in jail.” He showed photos of machines that sell syringes on the street, and “Café Fix,” a heroin-maintenance site funded by the government. “In many languages, the word for addiction is the same as enslaved,” he said. “They need counseling and a little bit of love. It’s just a different approach.”
MARIJUANA: Steves was a funder and proponent of Washington’s legalization law, along with John McKay, Pete Holmes, and other civic leaders. “We are not ‘pro pot,’ we are ‘pro civil liberties.’ It’s smart law,” he said. “Marijuana rivals apples as as the biggest cash crop in Washington state. So let’s tax the heck out of it.” He added: “People who want to smoke pot do. But white guys don’t get arrested. Poor people and people of color do.”
IRAN: “I think it’s good to know people before you bomb them,” he joked. He did a PBS series on travel to Iran. In Tehran, “I’ve never been so warmly received on the streets of any city I’ve ever visited.” He said there were large banners on buildings saying: “Down with America” or “Death to America.” “Walking below that on the sidewalk? Awkward!” But he noted that Iranians say “Death to” when they simply dislike something. One man he met said “Death to Traffic.” Another man in the next car asked Steves’ taxi driver to roll down the window and he handed over a bouquet of flowers, saying: “Give this to the foreigner in your back seat and apologize for our traffic.” Steves added: “That never happens on I-5.”
He called Iran a “powerful, complicated, confusing land of 700 million people with a proud heritage.” He noted that they lost 200,000 people in the war with Iraq. “Who invaded them? Saddam Hussein, funded by the U.S. of A. That’s what they believe.” What scares people most? Western incursions. He said on his last trip, a woman told him: “‘We’re united, we’re strong, and we just don’t want our little girls to be raised like Brittney Spears.’ A boy toy, a crass materialist, and a drug addict -- that’s what she fears regime change could turn her daughter into. So we have something in common!”
ISRAEL: If you travel there, “You’ve got to get both narratives,” he said. “You talk to good Jews and good Muslims.” He showed photos of Israeli settlements, which he called “Little Californias, with walls around them,” adding that Palestinians aspire to have their own country as well. He said any Christians going to the Holy Land should spend time in Palestine. “Talk to people on both sides,” he said. “That’s what travel is all about.”
CUBA: He noted it is totally open to American travelers now, flying through Canada or Mexico. “It is very exciting to travel there. But even the best guidebook doesn’t know what’s going on.” He noted that Havana has a 500-year history. He showed photos of the old cars, big cigars, and a diverse mix of people: White, mixed and black, whose race is “on their drivers’ licenses.” He noted: “As a capitalist and a good businessman, I was really frustrated by how things don’t work down there,” he said. “But they have a certain dignity. And it’s safe.” He said there was not a large military or police presence: “Nobody can demonstrate against the government, because it’s a totalitarian dictatorship.” As for food, he said: “If you want good Cuban food, go to Florida! You don’t go there for the food.” He urged travelers to stay in inexpensive B&Bs and get to know the local people. “You can stay in fancy hotels if you want to. The Tropicana has a great Caribbean cabaret.”
In the Q&A session, Todd Summerfelt asked if there were any new “back doors” that Steves recommends today? Steves replied: “That’s a challenge. I find new places and then destroy them” because everyone then goes there, he joked. But he urged people to visit “second cities” such as Marseille and Hamburg. “Think of Tacoma,” he said.
David Woodward asked if Steves would be offering tours to Iran. Steve said he would continue to focus on Europe. “Our business cards say ‘Rick Steves’ Europe.’ I’d have to change all of those.” But he said his website lists American firms that hire Iranian companies to conduct tours.
Rod Waldbaum asked about the changing airline rules for carry-on bags. Steves has used the same small bag for years, and urges people to travel light. “You’re doing yourself a huge favor by being mobile,” he said. “No one ever says: ‘Every year, I pack heavier.’”
In her closing remarks, President Sue said: “I chose not to study abroad in college. I didn’t want to miss out on anything.” But after graduation, she set out with a backpack, a Eurailpass, and “likely one of Rick’s books.” She said: “Travel teaches us to be part of the moment,” adding: “Not to cling in fear, but to savor in gratitude.” That was how John Iverson lived his life, she noted.
Effective April 1, 2016 Seattle Rotary will be implementing new software for sending invoices and receiving payments.
As many of you have noticed, we’ve run into several technical issues with our current system since switching to monthly invoices and recurring payments last July. After much consideration, we’ve come to the conclusion that our old system simply does not work with our new billing practices.
Our objectives in switching from QuickBooks Payments to FreshBooks are:
• Implement an invoicing and online payment solution that is easier to use, more accurate, and more secure.
• Reduce staff time spent troubleshooting technical problems and managing a tedious process.
• Increase functionality and user friendliness of the online payment portal. New features will include the ability to view and pay multiple invoices, view invoice and payment history, and print copies for your records.
We’re very excited for this change and the efficiencies it will bring to our organization. You will soon be receiving an email outlining how this change will affect you personally. The two main things to look out for are:
• Emailed invoices and payment receipts will now be sent from email@example.com. Please add this email address to your safe senders list to ensure that you receive invoices in timely manner.
• Members currently paying by recurring automatic payment will need to re-enter their card information online. To set up automatic payments on the new program, members will need to indicate that on their first emailed invoice. Staff will no longer be able to create automatic payments for you. This is a security measure that eliminates the need to keep authorization forms with credit card information on file in the office.
As we all know however, change is never easy and we appreciate your patience as we work through the transition. Board members will be contacting members who currently have an outstanding balance so we can close out our old system as neatly and promptly as possible. If you have any questions or feedback, please contact President Sue Nixon or Mariah Kimpton in the office.
Wider World of Rotary
Brought to you by the Rotary Relations Committee
Committee Chair: Trent Mummery
Club Secretary: Lisa Mayfield
District 5030 Conference
Join the fun at the annual District conference in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho on April 29-May 1. This is a great way to network with fellow Rotarians, learn from inspiring speakers and feel energized to keep doing good in our community.
NEW "Kids Camp" at Conference What? Will there be drop-off child care at the Kids Camp? Yes, there is drop-off care at the Kids Camp provided by Family Biz Kids during designated hours for ages 5-14 on Sat. and Sun. at the Coeur d’Alene Resort during the conference. There will also be some activities for children of any age with an adult chaperone: kite building, service project with school backpack assembly for Syrian refugees, a kids corner, a movie night, hear from Youth Exchange high schoolers, kids menu, games, prizes, and more. Register your kids at the conference link above. If you’ve been reluctant to bring your children or grandchildren or other future Rotarians to the district conference, hesitate no more! Questions about Kids Camp: contact Jean Thompson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The following Seattle 4 Rotarians have already registered: Cathy Burnell, Daryl Campbell, Corinne Cavanaugh, Ken Colling, Sten Crissey, Jann Curley, Clark Daffern, Mark Davis, Ralph & Lynn Davis, Cathy Gibson, Roberta Greer, Carolyn Hojaboom, Paul Ishii, Mariah Kimpton, Sandra Kemp, Ben Linford, Lisa Mayfield, Barry McConnell, Carma McKay, Virginia McKenzie, Tom Mesaros, Jim Moore, Trent & Alexandra Mummery, Derick Pasternak, Harvey Rubinstein, Mason Sizemore, Jean Thompson, and Kathy Williams. See you there!
Service Above Self
A big thank you to the Seattle 4 crew who joined other District 5030 Rotarians at the monthly Rotary First Harvest food pack at NW Harvest. The group helped to pack 7,775 lbs. of garbanzo beans (5,981 meals) and 5,550 lbs. of rice (4,192 meals) for local food banks. Go team!
The Seattle 4 food packing crew included: Sten Crissey, Jim Duncan, Cathy Gibson, Larry Granat, Einer Handeland, Simone Loban, Connie Miller, Rick Nauman, Allison Parker, David Siebert (with wife Carol), former Rotarian Sarah Horrigan and prospective members Michele Centanni and Lauren Macleod. Save the date for the next food pack on April 9 from 8:30 AM to 11:00 AM. RSVP to Lisa Mayfield if you are interested at email@example.com.
Seattle 4’s Community Service Committee is organizing the First Annual MUG DRIVE for Angeline's Center for Homeless Women on Wednesday, March 16. Bring your new or lightly used mugs to the meeting at Hotel Motif for collection. Company logo and advertising mugs gladly accepted, so dust off that top shelf of your kitchen cabinet ~ a simple way of helping women in need!
Each year, the Rotary Club of Seattle honors high school students who have shown exceptional character in overcoming significant obstacles to remain in school. Poverty, homelessness, substance abuse, domestic violence, teen pregnancy, and language and learning disabilities are just some of the challenges these kids have surmounted. These remarkable students are quietly building bright futures in difficult circumstances. They are our “Winners for Life.”
On Wednesday, March 30, we need 60 Seattle Rotarians to each host a “Winner for Life” at the reception and regular Rotary luncheon. Rotary pays for the reception and meals of the Winner and their guest, and Winners receive a plaque, but YOU make the recognition more personal! Please take a moment to fill out the form (HERE) and host a student. Thank you!
The Seattle 4 Sustainability Committee, along with Student Conservation Association ( SCA), invites you to the 2016 Earth Day work party at the Washington Park Arboretum on Saturday, April 23, 2016, from 9 am to 2 pm.
This has been an exceptional event for Rotarians, family members, friends and High School students needing volunteer hour credits. It is a great way to give back to our community and the Arboretum will be at its spring-bursting best. Sign up on the link below and be sure to note Seattle Rotary as your affiliation. See you there!
The Rotary “Four-Way Test” is a standard
expected of all Rotarians:
1. Is it the Truth?
2. Is it Fair to all concerned?
3. Will it build Goodwill and Better Friendships?
4. Will it be Beneficial to all concerned?