Just a geek who lives in Olympia, WA with my wife, son, and animals. In my free time I play board games, write fiction, and make stuff.
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‘Unique in the world’: why does America have such terrible public transit?


A new book looks back at the mass transit histories of 23 major cities in both the US and Canada, detailing the routes to where we are today

“North America really is unique in the world in the lack of good public transit,” the author Jake Berman told me while discussing his new book, The Lost Subways of North America. The oversize, map-laden volume is a slickly designed deep dive into the mass transit stories of 23 major cities in the US and Canada. Packed with fascinating histories and tons of absorbing information – ever wonder why elevated trains went out of style, or why monorails just don’t work? – the book is a lively and compelling examination of how mass transit has succeeded and failed across the continent.

“European cities never decided to build the kind of copy-and-paste suburbs that we built in North America,” said Berman, explaining why transit has fared so much better across the Atlantic. “The other part of that is, American cities do not make particularly good use of the land near their transit systems. For instance, many stops on [the Bay Area’s Bay Area Rapid Transit] Bart is surrounded mostly by strip malls, or single-family homes or gigantic parking lots.”

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Our House Is a Very Very Very Molly House

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Wehrlegig already has two color-coded titles, red and purple. What tone will this one have?

I often joke that I’m a class-four prude. Like many jokes, this one hides a kernel of truthfulness. For reasons that are far beyond the purposes of today’s discussion, sexuality is not something I discuss easily or often. When I do, it’s often behind a veil of playfulness. In laughter and mirth, the untouchable is momentarily set free.

Although the comparison is an imperfect one, that also seems true of molly houses, gathering places such as coffee houses or taverns where homosexual men in 18th-century England could socialize freely, veiled from the gaze of polite society. In some ways, their idea of queerness was different from ours. Indeed, they lacked terms like “queerness” at all. The laws of the time lumped homosexuality and bestiality together, and those who were arrested could be pilloried or even hanged.

Despite these penalties, men risked shame and death to create places where they could become more fully themselves. That’s the topic of Molly House by Jo Kelly and Cole Wehrle. Molly House was one of the finalists of the first Zenobia Award. Now it’s nearly here, and I can safely say there’s nothing quite like it.

I am always the Knight. Because it's yellow. Being a horse is secondary.

Strolling the lanes.

If Molly House has a single watchword, it would probably be “consent.” In the positive sense, that players adopt the role of homosexual men looking for companionship in a time and place hostile to their existence, and must therefore navigate the gardens and arcades of London carefully and considerately. But also in the negative sense. Because you are a gay man in the 18th century, there is a very real possibility that your agency will someday be stripped away. And, at a more meta level, that question of consent transcends the table and poses itself to the players themselves. What is consent? What does it mean when it’s offered from one person to another? What does it mean when it’s stolen? One doesn’t need to have lived under the radar to grasp the implications of these questions. Anyone who’s tried to make new friends as an adult will know the anxiety well enough.

To allow the game to center that anxiety, it befits Molly House that the turns are straightforward. In nearly every case, you travel to a new space and take an action. There are limitations. You can only travel so far, a terrible imposition when you need to reach the other side of the map but don’t have adequate range to do so. Further, the black pawn denoting the presence of the Society for the Reformation of Manners, self-appointed constables bent on suppressing everything from brothels to profanity, are best avoided.

And then there are the actions themselves. Every single action will call upon you to draw from the deck. For the most part, the deck proffers a jumble of opportunities, full of cards across four suits that represent your budding friendships, items that might be appreciated in the festivities at the nearby molly house, perhaps even a molly for hosting such a good time. But there are perils as well. These appear in the form of constables, eight of the spit-shined bastards, two per suit, ready to spoil your draw.

Expect those draws to be spoiled. Often. There is no such thing as a safe moment. One minute you’re confessing in church, or perusing the Covent Garden Market, or announcing yourself at the Axe Hotel and Coffeehouse. No matter what you do, there’s an element of exposure. Literally: You place certain cards face-up in front of you, showing them to the table. This is the peril of trying to find people like yourself. You must reveal a portion of who you are. It’s an apprehension we all know too well, risked every time we step out of our comfort zone to announce ourselves to the wider world.

Here, though, those apprehensions may have acute consequences. The next minute, when you draw, it’s entirely possible a constable will appear. This halts the draw immediately, no matter how many cards would otherwise be peeled off the deck. And then the constable pores over the things you’ve exposed. Depending on whether this is the first or second constable of their suit — and depending on the version, because Molly House is very much still in development and every one of my four plays has been slightly different from the others — the constable subjects everyone else at the table to scrutiny as well. Then your agency is stripped. Cards are lost. Maybe you’re deemed for the pillory. Chits are drawn from a bag and concealed in front of you. These speak of shames that may one day be made public. In game terms, negative victory points. Even, if you’re bold or terrified or both, another way to win.

There are quibbles, but it seems silly to discuss them when they keep disappearing with each iteration of the prototype. This is a problem with nearly every prototype I play, but the problem is especially acute when Wehrle is involved. That kid likes to break his games' bones until they fit the proper shape.

Preparing for the upcoming festivities.

It’s important to first establish the penalty for your search. There is no moment in Molly House when you don’t feel hunted. Whether you’re cruising the arcade in search of a lover or revealing your identity to the local priest under seal of confession, it’s never possible to shrug off the fear entirely. There’s a constant note that runs throughout the game, like the sound of a horn just below the pitch of hearing that nevertheless lays a cold hand on your breastbone. At all times, you risk discovery and punishment.

This draws the game’s objective into stark contrast. Your goal may be abstract, but it’s also more… not tangible, but whole than anything as airy as a “victory point.” Here the points are called “joy,” and they are an objective as solemn as any other. In respectable society, every season the ton convenes in London to find suitable matches for their scions. Their goal, stated frankly, is to arrange the proper mates for themselves and their offspring. Without joy, what a sterile and sorrowful pursuit this might be. Most who sought refuge in molly houses were workingmen, but perhaps your character is one of the few who once took part in that annual ritual. Either way, here they are, searching for joy and companionship despite the dangers such a search presents.

In this search, all roads lead to Mother Clap’s Molly House, the centermost location on the map and the appointed destination for the cards you’ve gathered. Here players may take part in festivities, the game’s most involved but also most rewarding action. These are multi-step affairs. The host must bring a molly, who sets the terms for the engagement. Historically, activities in molly houses were wide-ranging. There was sex, of course, but also feminine-coded rituals such as cross-dressing, cuddling, speaking to one another in women’s voices and with women’s vocabularies, and the conducting of marriages and mock births. I don’t list these rituals in the spirit of gawking; as I noted earlier, 18th-century ideas of queerness were different from ours, and these were but one manifestation of queer identities. Beyond the abstracted suits of the cards, Kelly and Wehrle don’t go into specifics. It’s enough to know that a festivity is when everyone at the table comes together in their shared pursuit of joy. Pun intended? I’ll never tell.

In game terms, the aforementioned molly sets the objective for the festivity via a hand of cards. Aunt England declares a four-card flush; Orange Deb insists on a six-card run; Queen Irons prepares for a full house. Because of the scattershot way that cards are gained — and the very real possibility that they will be confiscated — it’s nearly impossible to fulfill these objectives alone. So everyone pitches in. Everybody has the opportunity to present an item that alters the rules: a dress that makes certain cards more valuable, a fiddle that attunes a shared suit anybody can chase for extra points, gin that provides a wild and joyous night but also risks attracting the local constabulary. Then everyone goes around the table and adds cards, one at a time. If the right cards are played, joy is scored and the contributing cards become part of their character’s reputation, potentially scoring further points later. Otherwise the festivity fails and everybody picks up their cards for a later attempt. Either way, everybody holds their breath while a few cards are drawn to see if the Society for the Reformation of Manners crashes the party.

It’s a little bit wondrous, these festivities. Despite being a contest at heart, the camaraderie is genuine. Everybody may contribute, everybody may benefit. Together, perhaps something worthwhile and vibrant emerges. In one sense, Molly House is not all that far off from the many games about rebels and insurgents who meet under cover of darkness, each bringing their own scrounged equipment and intelligence together in an effort to throw off their shackles. Except in this case, the objective isn’t revolution. It’s living well and honestly.

Lame hats. Buncha dorks.

Here come the constables, all in a row.

Like most other rebellions, this is a war its participants would rather not wage at all. Life is hard enough and dangerous enough — love, too — that there’s no need for prowling vigilantes and hanging laws to make the pursuit of joy worthwhile. Nobody wants to be betrayed by their closest confederates.

Because that’s a very real possibility in Molly House. Whenever you’re caught by a constable, you’re forced to draw one or more chips. These mostly slap you with negative points, representing the impugning of your reputation and perhaps dangers to your livelihood and wellbeing. Mixed in with the other chips are informer tokens. In fitting with the game’s engagement with consent, it’s always optional to take these. In fact, drawing informer tokens can be beneficial. You show the table what you’ve drawn and chuck them back into the bag. Somehow you’ve escaped this brush with the law unscathed.

But as the game progresses, the pressures of living on the fringe of society may become too much. You’ve become a target for harassment by the constables. Mother Clap’s is ever closer to being raided and shut down. Maybe even petty jealousy plays its part as rival participants eclipse your own pursuit of happiness. Regardless of the reason, there are sufficient advantages to becoming an informer that the temptation is always close at hand. When it comes to constable checks, informers are permitted to lie. Now you can show any card rather than your highest of that suit — or even withhold playing a card at all. Of course, given this game’s emphasis on revealing your hand to the table, there are some risks. If you pretend that your highest sun-suited card is a four when everybody saw you reveal an eight just last round, well, the world is full of terrible snitches. But if you can pull it off, it’s possible to evade detection. You can bring the best cards to Mother Clap’s festivities without running the risk of having them confiscated.

Further, informers gain some leeway with the law. Near the end of each round, everybody contributes half of their cards to a single gossip pile. This functions much like the skill check in a hidden traitor game like Battlestar Galactica. The gossip deck is shuffled and revealed, at which point its contents will affect the molly house’s notoriety. Harsher penalties may be added to the bag. Worse, if the scrutiny grows too intense, Mother Clap’s will be shut down entirely. When this happens, everybody loses — apart from the table’s informers. Lest you become an informer too cavalierly, however, the inverse is also true. If outed as a rat by a fellow player, an informer may even be barred from future festivities, becoming an outcast among their community of outcasts.

There is a precedent to such a harsh endgame. The historical Mother Clap’s was shut down in part thanks to the efforts of a “thief-taker” and member of the Society for the Reformation of Manners who used his position to blackmail and extort those he caught — and who, it turns out, was pilloried and imprisoned for sodomy. The possibility of betrayal is crucial to what Kelly and Wehrle have crafted. Molly House not only shares in the joys of its protagonists, the relief they feel upon finding people like themselves, the necessity of companionship, even the joys of sexual expression. But it also carries their anxieties, fears, pettinesses, even their potential self-loathing. When one lives in a society that detests them, it’s impossible not to stay up nights thinking about why. After a while, maybe those reasons ring in the ears.

I very nearly wrote more about how this game speaks to the transmission of a particular sexual ethic into our own time, but... look, there'll be time for that later.

Becoming an informant is always a choice.

Far from producing a simple lionization, the result is a game that celebrates queer joy while also acknowledging the dangers and tolls posed to those who pursued it in the not-as-distant-as-it-should-be past. It centers people who have traditionally gone overlooked, and does so in a way that demands empathy and consideration. It shares in their apprehensions and terrors, joys and triumphs, loyalties and betrayals. It contemplates a moral question without indulging in petty moralizing, and certainly without the drab policing of its constables.

Even in its incomplete form, it has no parallel. Where so many games place necessary distance between themselves and their subject matter, Molly House bridges the divide. There will doubtless be many ways to discuss it: the visibility of its inhabitants, their victimhood, the systems and morals and individuals that isolated them from one another, the roots of our own modern puritanism. These are all valid, and I can’t wait to see them investigated and discussed.

For my part, however, my gratitude is more immediate. I’m glad to have played a game that makes love and sex as viable a thing to contemplate as war and murder and economic optimization. Not in a pornographic sense. Recall, I’m a class-four prude. Rather, in how it affirms that the hidden portions of ourselves are the bedrock of our tenacity, for they are the parts that must be shared to forge the tightest bonds. In accentuating that sharing — and in permitting its abuse — Molly House speaks to the tenderness that resides in all of us, and does so in the way that games are so uniquely capable of accomplishing within the magical sandbox of play.

Molly House is funding on BackerKit right now. You can find it here.


(If what I’m doing at Space-Biff! is valuable to you in some way, please consider dropping by my Patreon campaign or Ko-fi.)

A prototype copy was provided.

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To the Waters and the Wild

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The game's artwork was partially done by Meg Lemieur, who has done work with the Beehive Collective, the agitprop art collective. So that's suitable and cool.

It’s a rare game that saturates itself with a sense of loss. Defenders of the Wild is one such title. Both a lament for the natural wonders we so readily pave over and a defiant yawp in the face of automation and progress, there’s an optimistic romanticism to the whole thing.

Perhaps that shouldn’t be surprising. T.L. Simons previously designed Bloc by Bloc, another supernal game about staring down systemic oppression. Now he’s joined by Henry Audubon to take the fight to the fields. It’s not as great a jump as one might assume. Put them together and the combination produces a rallying cry: Bloc by Bloc for the urban populace, Defenders of the Wild for those who see their way of life being swallowed up by enclosures. The whole thing has the tone of a fable. A fable about slagging robots.

These hot lead cylinders poking holes in me are also sus.

I am suspicious of that nearby murder factory.

I couldn’t tell you who assembled the robots that are now chewing through the woodland, but the scars they stitch into the landscape will take lifetimes to mend. There’s a stark contrast between this game’s two halves, and it’s the robots who draw it.

The game dawns on a near-pristine woodland. The map is divided into colorful hexes that nonetheless merge into coherent swaths of terrain. These generate paths for your protagonists. While playing as the motley band of animals that constitute the yellow team, for instance, you can glide along and through grasslands like a highway; likewise for purple’s mountains, teal’s wetlands, and orange’s autumnal glades. The feel is naturalistic, sometimes producing wide trackways for your animals to traverse, while at other times tucking away little valleys or lakes in hard-to-reach corners. There are textures to this geography, essential imbalances that define the places you can or cannot easily reach, which regions will be tougher to defend, and the routes that will sting when broken apart.

Because that’s what the robots do. They break. They see this landscape the way a broken serger might see a wrinkled tablecloth. The artificial opponent Simons and Audubon have produced is a horrible wonder, a simple system of only six repeating cards that nevertheless pursues its objectives with impressive violence and a mechanical disinterest in your wellbeing. The first harbingers of that process are two towering engines. You cannot pass through these any more than a squirrel could pass under a running lawnmower. Worse, they deposit steel barricades in their wake, crisscrossing the landscape like a terrible zipper. You also cannot pass through these. Until you blow a hole in them, anyway.

From there, the machines gradually zip up entire hexes. These are transformed into factories. Like the machines’ original starting place in the center of the map, these produce further robots and pollution. The first exist to snipe at your passing wildlife or pursue them to the fringes, while trash piles together until it poisons anybody nearby. Before long, entire segments of this once-bounteous wild have been transformed into a tangle of impassable walls, heaps of toxic slurry, and patrolling drones.

BEAR WITH A FRYING PAN oh you robos are done

Getting the band together.

There are so many ways to lose in Defenders of the Wild. Pollution, factories, injury — all threaten to scuttle your uprising before it can fully organize. This is one element of the game’s fable, a cautionary tale about the many risks posed to activists who face a machine with centuries of practice under its belt.

Much like Bloc by Bloc, however, this fable also contains a step-by-step guide to fighting back. It begins with organization. Each player begins with a single camp on the map, a power base for producing items and to which they can flee in times of need. It will take many more such camps, all pitched in friendly terrain, and only after amassing enough support. This is built by blowing up robots, cutting through walls, sweeping up trash — in effect, matching your talk with walk.

As games go, this is all straightforward stuff. Running the resistance is an exercise in managing risk and resources. Each turn opens with everybody at the table selecting a single card, which spells out how many actions you can take and which special ability you’ll have at your disposal. In one round, you might be immune to sniper attacks, letting you skirt the edges of a factory without putting yourself in harm’s way. The next, maybe you’ll begin by giving everybody at the table an item or claiming the first player token.

Those items, by the way, are this game’s equivalent to mutual aid. Each team offers its own item, which is shared and gifted between factions. The creatures of the wetlands produce healing salves, while the mountain-dwellers assemble rockets for busting robots from afar. Cooperative games have always walked a tightrope between too much collaboration and too little, and Defenders of the Wild strikes a delicate balance. Your cards are your own, preventing any one player from commanding too much authority over everyone else. At the same time, your advantages tend to be mutualistic, doling out bread and maps and other perks to your fellow resistance members.

There are only six cards, with only three unique options. So it's a breeze to learn what the robots will do on any given turn. Outmaneuvering them, on the other hand...

The A.I. system is elegant and compelling.

Either way, collaboration is essential. Your ultimate goal is to deploy all your camps and then smash the enemy’s factories. This is usually a painstaking process, not to mention a painful one. Such an endeavor requires that the factory walls be breached and the robots and pollution within cleared away. All the while, you’ll be taking hits and dodging hunters. So it behooves you to divide duties with your allies. One team moves in and breaches the wall and clears away any nearby hunters. Someone else goes in and ensures the toxic spills are cleared. Finally, a third squad delivers the killing blow, returning the factory to nature and capping the venom leaking into the soil. There’s plenty of wiggle room here, but it’s a process that requires both adaptability and coordination. The alternative is a slow choking death under a mountain of trash or the heel of a hunter-killer.

Sometimes, anyway. If I had one complaint with Defenders of the Wild — or with the prototype version I’ve been playing — it’s that there’s a wide difference between too tough, too easy, and just-hard-enough, and the game’s artificial opponent doesn’t always find that sweet middle spot. T.L. Simons and Greg Loring-Albright previously confronted that problem in the third edition of Bloc by Bloc by positing that one of your allies might be an opportunist looking to capitalize on the city’s unrest to propel their faction to sole power. If the city’s defenders didn’t put up much of a fight, perhaps your so-called friends would.

By contrast, Defenders of the Wild plays its cards straight. This eases the game’s cognitive load and produces a statement that’s more singular, not to mention entirely friendly to outsiders who don’t know (or don’t want to know) anything about the Tragedy/Fallacy of the Commons or how enclosure steals from the public to enrich the few. Here the fable is principally procedural. To succeed, you must politick and pound pavement, both metaphorically and literally. You’re shown point-blank how open terrain can be sewn up, preventing free movement and leading to urban flight. In one sense, both games combine to generate a single argument, demonstrating how one crisis leads to another, the troubles in Defenders of the Wild sparking the troubles in Bloc by Bloc.

You’re also shown that the answer to systemic problems cannot always be systemic. How could it be, when the system is arbitrated by those who benefit from its imbalances? The machine simply will not listen, no matter how eloquently your animals chirp and chitter. Sometimes the only solution is to violate a hedgerow and torch a manor. Pardon me; the solution is to blast a robot and rewild a factory. Although these days, those statements are equivalently political.


Putting our heads together.

But those are hefty discussion points. Like I noted earlier, Defenders of the Wild is entirely happy to let its messaging operate at the level of fable. The result is a charming but razor-toothed game, one that slaps a sterner face on the anthropomorphic woodland creatures craze that’s been going around. Its highs are considerable, letting players revel in the vicious comeuppance of woodland creatures against their mechanical oppressors. Whether playing with my nine-year-old or a group of adults, I’ve been having a heck of a time smashing the machine.

Defenders of the Wild will be on Kickstarter tomorrow. Here it is.


(If what I’m doing at Space-Biff! is valuable to you in some way, please consider dropping by my Patreon campaign or Ko-fi.)

A prototype copy was provided.

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Urban Planning Opinion Progression

If they're going to make people ride bikes and scooters in traffic, then it should at LEAST be legal to do the Snow Crash thing where you use a hook-shot-style harpoon to catch free rides from cars.
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"Write a Check for $11,000. She Was 26, She Had Limited Value." SPD Officer Jokes with Police Union Leader About Killing of Pedestrian by Fellow Cop - PubliCola


By Erica C. Barnett

In a conversation with Mike Solan, the head of the Seattle Police Officers’ Guild, Seattle Police Department officer and SPOG vice president Daniel Auderer minimized the killing of 23-year-old student Jaahnavi Kandula by police officer Kevin Dave and joked that she had “limited value” as a “regular person” who was only 26 years old.

In the video, taken in the early morning after Dave hit Kandula in a crosswalk while speeding to respond to a call from a man who believed he had taken too much cocaine, Auderer says he has talked to Dave and he is “good,” adding that ” it does not seem like there’s a criminal investigation going on” because Dave was “going 50 [mph]—that’s not out of control” and because Kandula may not have even been in a crosswalk. Auderer added that Dave had “lights and sirens” on, which video confirmed was not true.

In fact, as we reported exclusively, Dave was driving 74 miles an hour in a 25 mile per hour zone and struck Kandula while she was attempting to cross the street in a marked and well-lighted crosswalk.

“I think she went up on the hood, hit the windshield, then when he hit the brakes, she flew off the car. But she is dead. No, it’s a regular person. Yeah, just write a check. Yeah, $11,000. She was 26 anyway, she had limited value.”—Seattle police officer Daniel Auderer, joking with police union president Mike Solan about the death of pedestrian Jaahnavi Kandula earlier that night.

“I don’t think she was thrown 40 feet either,” Auderer told Solan. “I think she went up on the hood, hit the windshield, then when he hit the brakes, she flew off the car. But she is dead.” Then Auderer laughed loudly at something Solan said. “No, it’s a regular person. Yeah.”

We have asked SPOG via email what Solan asked that made Auderer clarify that Kandula was a “regular” person, as opposed to another type of person Dave might have hit.

“Yeah, just write a check,” Auderer continued. Then he laughed again for several seconds. “Yeah, $11,000. She was 26 anyway, she had limited value.” At this point, Auderer turned off his body camera and the recording stops.

Joel Merkel, the co-chair of Seattle’s Community Police Commission, called the video “shockingly insensitive.

“I was just really struck by the casual laughter and attitude—this was moments after she was killed,” Merkel said. “You have the vice president of SPOG on the telephone with the president of SPOG essentially laughing and joking about the pedestrian’s death and putting a dollar value on her head, and that alone is just disgusting and inhumane,” Merkel said.

Right-wing commentator Jason Rantz attempted to pre-spin the video as an empathetic response that included a bit of “gallows humor,” saying the comment was “being described as a ‘leak’ of the content to media members who are hypercritical of police.”

Rantz also claimed the two police union officials’ comments were meant to “mock city lawyers” who work on cases in which police officers kill or harm civilians, which, Merkel says, “doesn’t make it any better and possibly even makes it worse! Because [in that case] you have SPOG complaining or mocking or joking about police accountability, which is really at the heart of the consent decree.”

Last week, US District Judge James Robart lifted the majority of a federal consent degree over SPD that has been in place since 2012, finding the department in full compliance with the portions of the agreement that dealt with use of force and bias-free policing, while maintaining federal oversight of the departments crowd-control and accountability policies. The city is currently locked in contract negotiations with SPOG. The city’s most recent contract with SPOG erased or neutralized reforms the city council, which included now-Mayor Bruce Harrell, passed in 2017.

Although Robart has said he has no authority to get involved in SPOG negotiations, Merkel said he was encouraged that he also said he “felt he had the jurisdiction to impact the contract to the extent that it affects accountability” during last week’s court hearing in which the judge largely terminated the agreement.

PubliCola requested videos and documents related to the collision through the ordinary public disclosure process several months ago and has been receiving installments through the regular public disclosure process.

SPD did not respond to a request for comment. Half an hour after this post went up, the department posted the video on its website, along with a statement. According to the post, an SPD employee “identified” the video “in the routine course of business” and alerted their supervisor; when the video made its way to Police Chief Adrian Diaz’s office, the post says, his office sent it to the Office of Police Accountability (OPA) for investigation.

This suggests a different sequence of events than the one Rantz outlined in his piece attempting to exonerate Auderer before the video became public today. We have reached out to OPA and will update this post when we hear back.

“As others in the accountability system proceed with their work, we again extend our deepest sympathy for this tragic collision,” SPD’s blog post says.

Auderer has been on the police force for 12 years and has been investigated by OPA for dozens of incidents, including several that involved violence against members of the public. In many cases, OPA has sustained, or upheld, the complaints.

In one incident, Auderer and his brother—a police officer for another jurisdiction—pulled a person out of their apartment without identifying himself as a police officer, failed to inform him of his Miranda rights, and did not report the incident to his bosses. Auderer was suspended for four days for that incident. In another, he chased down someone who was urinating in public and tackled him onto the concrete, injuring him. (Auderer later claimed he was trying to keep the man from running into traffic, which the investigator called “a logical stretch.”

“Indeed, this is not the first time that OPA has had such concerns. [Auderer] had numerous cases over the last two years in which it was alleged that he was unprofessional.”—Office of Police Accountability investigator

Many other complaints about Auderer involved alleged lack of professionalism. In one case, he threatened to break a person’s arm if he reached for his keys, asked if he was mentally ill, and failed to put a seat belt on him while he was handcuffed in the back of Auderer’s patrol car. Although OPA effectively dismissed the complaints in that case by giving Auderer a training referral, the investigator expressed concern with Auderer’s “general approach to this incident, his demeanor, and the way he interacted with the Complainant. Indeed, this is not the first time that OPA has had such concerns. [Auderer] had numerous cases over the last two years in which it was alleged that he was unprofessional.”

In another case, which was sustained, Auderer appeared to mock a woman who said she was developmentally disabled and had cognitive challenges that made it difficult for her to remember specific instructions during a DUI test. He then accused her of lying about being a veterinary nurse, suggesting she wasn’t capable of holding such a complicated job. “I know you usually get a reaction out of people, but you’re not going to get a reaction out of me,” Auderer told the woman, who appeared to be responding calmly and reasonably. He then informed another officer that she was “220,” code for mentally ill, in her presence, and said, “You also need to go see your mental health professional and I think you know that.”

Several other complaints against Auderer involved what appeared to be overzealous investigations of driving under the influence, such as a case in which he “effectuated an arrest” by another officer of a dead-sober man who briefly swerved his car because he was eating a hot dog. “I very much empathize with the subject who suffered through a Kafkaesque experience,” the OPA investigator wrote.

The King County Prosecutor’s Office has not yet decided whether to prosecute Dave in the case, which is under criminal investigation.

This is a developing story and will be updated.

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Tree Keepers: Where Sustaining the Forest Is a Tribal Tradition


The Menominee tribe of Wisconsin has sustainably harvested its woods for nearly 170 years, providing a model for foresters worldwide. Amid climate change and other threats to the forest, the tribe continues to follow a traditional code: Let the healthy trees keep growing.

Read more on E360 →

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