October 4, 2010; Source: Real Change News | The new columnist for Real Change News in Seattle, Sable Verity, was fired from her day job last month—a nonprofit city contractor called Tabor 100—because of frequent critical comments she made in her blog against Seattle’s mayor, Mike McGinn. According to this complaint to the Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission [PDF] the Deputy Mayor of Communities, Daryl Smith, complained to Ollie Garrett, the CEO of Tabor 100 that he “might not be comfortable” speaking freely in meetings with Tabor 100 when Verity was present. When Garrett assured Smith that the organization’s relationship to the city was important, Smith said, of course he was not recommending any course of action. However, he then placed a call to the City’s Purchasing and Contracting Director (nice choice), Nancy Locke, warning her to be aware when she speaks at Tabor 100 “that there is a blogger in the room.” Locke then called Garrett to express concerns about speaking in front of a “hostile” audience.
It makes one wonder what there is in Seattle that needs to be so protected from critical view. According to the article, Garrett told the Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission that Verity was terminated because she had not revealed her blogging prior to starting the job. Tabor 100, by the way, has all of $10,000 in a city contract. It is unclear why Verity (real name, Sakara Remmu) also left her post at Real Change but it is clear that these city officials are not particularly fond of scrutiny and free speech and this—ironically—invites further scrutiny.—Ruth McCambridge