Seattle Courant

Peter Holmes Drops out of City Council Race to Challenge City Attorney Carr

Peter Holmes
By Celeste Gracey
March 26, 2009 07:03PM

"We have a fine police force. It is so good that the lack of transparency is astounding. What are they afraid of?" Holmes said. "To me suppressing information is an insult to good officers."

Holmes decided to run for City Council to change the government's focus on crime, but soon realized the city attorney’s office could be more effective, he said.

He's criticized Carrs' programs focused on cleaning up Seattle's nightlife, such as the underage drinking raid called Operation Sobering Thought. He said Carr brought charges against about 15 nightclubs, all of which were dismissed.

Carr's priorities are "completely misguided," Holmes said. Carr focuses too much on drug abuse and misdemeanors, he said. "We're having to build brand new jails, while we're closing schools."

Earlier this year the Seattle School Board announced the closure of five schools. Opponents are quick to point out that the shuttered schools come at the same time the city is considering building a $200 million jail and the state, according to the Washington State Institute for Public Policy, will have to build at least two more prisons by 2020 at $250 million each if incarceration rates continue to climb.

In terms of crime, Seattle faces an alarming rise in youth violence. In 2008, about nine gang members died, and four of them were juveniles. Though there were plenty of witnesses, police struggled to get information about the shooters.

It's because people don't trust the police, Holmes said. Openness and transparency, he said, are needed to repair that relationship between police and citizens.

"When our reports about police misconduct were suppressed, how do you think the average citizen thinks about his or her ability to report misconduct?" Holmes asked.

So far this week, Holmes is among three candidates who’ve announced their run for an elected office in Seattle. Wednesday night, former NBA Sonics basketball player James Donaldson announced in a press release his candidacy to challenge two-term Mayor Greg Nickels. On Tuesday former Sierra Club Chairman Michael McGinn's, at a Capitol Hill pizzeria, said he too is running for mayor.

Former Seattle City Councilmember Peter Steinbrueck has been spurred by public pleadings to consider challenging Nickels; he's yet to make a decision.

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Peter Holmes city attorney campaign Web site HolmesForSeattle.com.