Seattle Mayor Ed Murray, would-be sports-arena builder Chris Hansen and others Wednesday condemned attacks lobbed by some angry basketball fans against City Council members who voted against the sale of a street for Hansen’s proposed Sodo project.
Seattle Mayor Ed Murray, would-be sports-arena builder Chris Hansen and others spoke out Wednesday to condemn nasty and gender-based attacks lobbed by some angry basketball fans against the five City Council members who voted against the sale of a street for Hansen’s proposed Sodo project.
“Deeply disappointed to see some supporters of Sodo street vacation lash out w/ misogynistic sexist vitriol toward members of @SeattleCouncil,” Murray wrote on Twitter. “Regardless of how you felt about the proposal, there is no place for this kind of hateful rhetoric.”
Councilmembers Sally Bagshaw, Debora Juarez, Kshama Sawant, Lisa Herbold and M. Lorena González have been targeted on social media and in emails since the council’s 5-4 decision Monday. They opposed giving Hansen part of Occidental Avenue South for his proposal to build a new arena and bring professional basketball back to Seattle.
The five cited various reasons for voting against the street sale, including concerns about Hansen not yet owning a team and about traffic related to the proposed arena disrupting Port of Seattle operations. But some fans zeroed in on gender after seeing the council’s five women overrule its four men.
“So the women bonded together and voted NO?” a Facebook commenter wrote, according to a post on the blog The C is For Crank.
“And people want a woman to be president,” a Twitter user added, the blog Seattlish reported.
“I think someone should smash Kshama Sawant’s head into a brick wall,” another Twitter user wrote.
One email to each of the women began, “As women, I understand that you spend a lot of your time trying to please others (mostly on your knees) but I can only hope that you each find ways to quickly and painfully end yourselves.”
That email, which appeared to have come from Lynnwood lawyer Jason Feldman, prompted Seattle pot activist Ben Livingston to file a grievance against Feldman with the Washington State Bar Association, Livingston said.
Feldman, who’s facing a two-and-a-half year suspension from the bar association for a separate complaint involving alleged sexual relations with a client, didn’t return requests for comment. The lawyer is appealing the bar association’s findings against him in that case.
A reporter for The Stranger reached Feldman by phone Wednesday, she wrote on Twitter. Feldman wouldn’t confirm he sent the email but said, “Make sure that you understand the level of scrutiny that is afforded political speech under the First Amendment.”
The five council members who voted against the street sale offered no comment Wednesday.
But the mayor wasn’t alone in speaking out, as Hansen released a statement to supporters of his arena proposal.
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“As I’m sure you are all aware, there have been a number of highly inappropriate and offensive comments in emails to City Council members and on social media about the street-vacation vote,” he wrote.
“While we are all naturally frustrated with the outcome, I know that the vast majority of our passionate and dedicated supporters agree with me that such comments have absolutely no place in our community.”
Hansen added, “While we may not agree with the council’s vote, misogynistic insults, vile comments and threats are unacceptable and need to stop. We should all show respect for our elected officials and the legislative process, even if we disagree with their decision.”
Councilmember Rob Johnson, who voted for the street sale, also weighed in.
“As a father, brother, son and husband, I know that these attacks have no place in our civic discourse,” he wrote in an email to constituents.
The National Women’s Political Caucus of Washington launched an online petition sending support to the women council members. It had more than 500 signatures as of Wednesday afternoon.
Sonics Rising writer and Hansen backer Brian Robinson denounced the inappropriate remarks in a blog post, attributing them to “a very small percentage of fans.”