06 26 2016
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  • ST. LOUIS (AP) — A draft of the Democratic Party's policy positions reflects the influence of Bernie Sanders' presidential campaign: endorsing steps to break up large Wall Street banks, advocating a $15 hourly wage, urging an end to the death penalty. Hillary Clinton's supporters turned back efforts by Sanders' allies to promote a Medicare-for-all single-payer health care system and a carbon tax to address climate change, and freeze hydraulic fracking. While the platform does not bind the Democratic nominee to the stated positions, it serves as a guidepost for the party moving forward. Party officials approved the draft early Saturday. The Democratic National Convention's full Platform Committee will discuss the draft at a meeting next month in Orlando, Florida, with a vote at the convention in Philadelphia in late July. Sanders said Friday he would vote for Clinton, the presumptive nominee, in the fall election, but so far has stopped short of fully endorsing the former secretary of state or encouraging his millions of voters to back her candidacy. The Vermont senator has said he wants the platform to reflect his goals — and those representing him at a St. Louis hotel said they had made progress. "We lost some but we won some," said James Zogby, a Sanders supporter on the committee. "We got some great stuff in the platform that has never been in there before." Added Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., a Sanders ally: "We've made some substantial moves forward." Deliberating late into Friday, the group considered language on the Israel-Palestinian conflict, an issue that has divided Democrats. The committee defeated an amendment led by Zogby that would have called for providing Palestinians with "an end to occupation and illegal settlements" and urged an international effort to rebuild Gaza. The draft reflects Clinton's views and advocates working toward a "two-state solution of the Israel-Palestinian conflict" that guarantees Israel's security with recognized borders "and provides the Palestinians with independence, sovereignty, and dignity." In many cases, Clinton's side gave ground to Sanders. The document calls for the expansion of Social Security and says Americans should earn at least $15 an hour, referring to the current minimum wage of $7.25 an hour as a "starvation wage," a term often used by Sanders. Sanders has pushed for a $15-an-hour minimum wage. Clinton has supported efforts to raise the minimum wage to that level but has said states and cities should raise the bar as high as possible. Sanders' allies wanted the draft to specify calls for a $15 per hour minimum wage indexed with inflation. Clinton's side struck down a direct link, noting the document elsewhere included a call to "raise and index the minimum wage." The committee also adopted language that said it supports ways to prevent banks from gambling with taxpayers' bank deposits, "including an updated and modernized version of Glass-Steagall." Sanders wants to reinstate the Depression-era Glass-Steagall Act, which prohibited commercial banks from engaging in investment banking activities. Clinton does not, but says her proposed financial changes would cast a wider net by regulating the banking system. Also in the draft is a call for the abolition of the death penalty. Clinton said during a debate this year that capital punishment should only be used in limited cases involving "heinous crimes." Sanders said the government should not use it. Sanders, a vociferous opponent of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, was unable to get language into the document opposing the trade deal. As a result, the party avoided an awkward scenario that would have put the platform at odds with President Barack Obama. Clinton and Sanders have opposed the deal. Committee members backed a measure that said "there are a diversity of views in the party" on the pact and reaffirmed that Democrats contend any trade deal "must protect workers and the environment." In a setback for Sanders, the panel narrowly rejected amendments that would have imposed a tax on carbon and imposed a national freeze on fracking. The panel deliberated for about nine hours following several late nights and long hours of policy exchanges between the two campaigns and the Democratic National Committee. Sanders, in a statement, said he was "disappointed and dismayed" that the group voted down the measure opposing the TPP. But he was pleased with the proposals on Glass-Steagall and the death penalty — and vowed to fight on. "Our job is to pass the most progressive platform in the history of the Democratic Party," he said.
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SEATTLE—By day, the historic Pioneer Square district is a vibrant cross-section of art galleries, toy shops and high-end restaurants that attract shoppers and tourists from around the world.

By night, it can reveal a not-so-chichi alter ego.

Last month's attack on a Seattle Seahawks player near a popular night club recently prompted the team's coach to bar his players from the area, even though it's just blocks from their home field.

"It's a place that probably has more diversity, in terms of both an economic and an ethnic sense, than any other neighborhood" in the city, said Peter Aaron, owner of the independent Elliott Bay Book Co.

The 35-year-old bookstore — a place where you're more likely to be shushed than shoved — shares block space with bars and hip-hop nightclubs that have a sometimes rougher mix of characters.

As daylight dwindles, body-thumping bass spills out into the night air and the area morphs into another creature.

On a recent Saturday night, free admission and cheap drinks boosted the crowd at Larry's Nightclub. Seattle Seahawks safety Ken Hamlin was severely beaten in a fight outside the club on Oct. 17. The bar was a favorite haunt for some of the team's players, but the Hamlin incident, along with an unrelated fight nearby a few weeks earlier, prompted coach Mike Holmgren to issue his edict.

"I mainly want the guys to think about where they go," Holmgren said. "It's an organizational guideline and I presented it to the players. I think common sense plays a role."

The spate of violence hasn't stopped crowds from gathering inside Larry's.

Music from Kanye West, the Black Eyed Peas and Chris Brown pull customers onto the dance floor as the DJ gives a shout out to go-go dancers on tables along the walls. Wearing pink or blue tinsel-like wigs, clunky black boots and more makeup than clothes, they're a visual draw for those not already occupied with a partner.

If you're not dancing or drinking, there's little interest in conversation, especially with a reporter.

Larry's and other nearby bars have drawn neighbors' ire because of after-bar fights, reports of underage drinking and fire-code violations.

Owner Larry Culp says his club is being unfairly targeted because he caters primarily to Blacks.
"It's a cultural issue here," said Culp, who has owned the bar since 1986.

To try and keep the peace, Culp employs at least seven security guards in and around the bar. On Saturday, some calmly escorted several people out of the nightclub.

Culp has also tried rolling closures, cutting off music and alcohol early and now is considering increasing lighting around the area.

"My response to any and all accusations is to try and do the right thing," he said.

However, residents worry newspaper headlines about the disturbances are feeding the public's negative image of Pioneer Square as an unsafe area.

"I think it creates a perception that is not at all accurate and probably makes people think twice about coming into the neighborhood at any time of day or night," Aaron says. "Based on what I've read, I wouldn't come down here at two o'clock in the morning."

Pioneer Square's Jekyll-and-Hyde nature is nothing new to the city.

Settled in 1852, the neighborhood was the nation's first Skid Row, so named for the logs that slid down toward the docks, and has always attracted people from both sides of the economic divide.

Early on, timber, salmon and coal helped build the economy and the district prospered and development soared.
In the 20th century, after sawmills were gone and downtown businesses moved north, the down-and-out urban area was frequented by street drunks and transients.

"The district has been schizophrenic since the late 1960s," said Walt Crowley, a Seattle historian and director of HistoryLink.org, a state historical Web site.

Buildings were restored after the Pioneer Square Historic District was established around 1970 and the neighborhood was transformed with music clubs, loft apartments and upscale taverns.

The Kingdome, built in 1976, periodically flooded the district with tens of thousands of sometimes rowdy baseball and football fans. The Dome's gone, but fans still flock to the stadiums that replaced it.

The most serious incident in the area's modern incarnation came in 2001, when Mardi Gras celebrations turned violent. Several thousand revelers jammed the streets, fighting, throwing beer bottles and smashing windows as police stood by. A 20-year-old man was killed by a blindside punch as he tried to help a woman who had fallen.

Worried that the district may again be disintegrating, community leaders and local law enforcement hope to put more of a nighttime shine on the neighborhood.

This past week, Mayor Greg Nickels responded to the Hamlin assault by calling for a task force of club owners, residents and business owners and an ongoing assessment program of nightclubs throughout the city.
"A vibrant night life shouldn't mean a violent night life," Nickels said.

— The Associated Press

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