Mike Weisman on 26 Aug 2000 17:15:34 -0000

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<nettime> WTO after action report: Second report now public

          Urban Politics #91 - WTO PANEL II REPORT
          Fri, 25 Aug 2000 13:27:48 -0700
          "Nick Licata" <Nick.Licata@ci.seattle.wa.us>

Urban Politics #91 with Nick Licata, 8/25/00 WTO PANEL II REPORT

Urban Politics (UP) blends my insights and information on current public
policy developments with the intent of helping citizens shape Seattle's

Instructions on subscribing or unsubscribing to the Urban Politics mailing
list are at the bottom of the UP. 




        Panel II was a citizens panel created by the City Council to look
into the planning and preparation of the WTO Conference that was held in
Seattle last fall. I was the Council Member charged with over sight of
that panel. The findings and recommendations of Panel II are those of its
citizen members and are not necessarily mine.

        The following selections only highlight some of the information
contained in the 64 page report. The full text of the report will be
posted the on web at www.cityofseattle.net/wtocommittee


        Seattle City Council members Nick Licata, Jan Drago, and Jim
Compton led the efforts of the Seattle Council to examine what went wrong
during the WTO Ministerial in order to prevent a similar outcome in the
future.  Through the leadership of these councilmembers, the city council
passed Seattle City Council Resolution 30100.  This resolution established
an Accountability Review Committee (ARC) to "review events surrounding the
1999 World Trade Organization (WTO)  Ministerial Conference in Seattle."

        The Committee appointed the Preparations and Planning Panel II to
"determine what planning and decisions by city employees, including police
and elected officials, and by other community members and organizations,
preceded the City's hosting of the WTO Conference." The goal was to
establish a factual record and to assist in future policy making by the
Seattle City Council.

        I selected the persons listed below as participants on the panel
because they represent various perspectives and interests within the
community.  They are as follows: 

Norma Kelsey
Sister Kathleen Pruitt
Carl Livingston
Clark Pickett
Angela Toussaint
Beth Wojick
Kay Godefroy

        The Panel met on a biweekly basis from February through August,
2000.  Carl Livingston was named as chair.  Three members, Wojick, Pruitt
and Godefroy, were unable to continue attending when the panel extended
its work into the summer.  Starting in April, Dian Ferguson aided the
group by facilitating meetings.  Biographical information on the panel
members is included in Appendix B. 

        The Panel decided to allow the public to attend meetings and
participate in them.  During the course of the meetings and interviews a
number of citizens attended and helped shape the Panel's work. 


        The ARC Staff coded, processed, and prepared more than 18,000
pages of documents, from correspondence and facsimile transmittals to
memoranda and reports.  To avoid overwhelming panel members with the sheer
volume of materials, the staff identified hundreds of relevant documents
for the panel members to study.  Any panel member was free to review any
document in staff possession at any time and several did. 

        The document catalog is available through the WTO ARC website,
www.cityofseattle.net/wtocommittee, as are several of the reports issued
by various observers and participants. All of the documents were made
available to the public through the City Clerk's Office.  What follows is
a list of the most important reports the Panel reviewed: 

- Odenthal, Richard (LA Sheriff's Office) "The Battle in Seattle"
- Seattle Police Department After Action Report
- McCarthy & Associates, "An Independent Review of the World Trade
Organization Conference
Disruptions in Seattle, Washington November 29 - December 3, 1999.
- King County Sheriff's Office Draft After Action Report 
- ACLU of Washington, "Out of Control: Seattle's Flawed Response to
Protests Against the World
Trade Organization."
- National Lawyers' Guild - Seattle Chapter, "Bringing in an
Undemocratic Institution Brings an
Undemocratic Response."


        The panel has found that planning for the World Trade Organization
Third Ministerial was badly flawed. The planning process for the
conference was inadequate, and, in particular, the security planning for
the event was woefully inadequate to the challenges faced by the City of
Seattle. The planning failed in large part because several of the agencies
involved did not realistically assess what would be required in order to
have the conference and the city run smoothly during the week of the

        In the actual report each of the following findings are followed
by longer, explanatory texts as well as documentation in the appendix. 

A. Overall Conference Planning and Preparation

A-1.  The planning model was inappropriate to this event because it
divided hosting and security considerations between the private and public
sector with inadequate coordination. 

A-2.  The planning model failed because public and private sector planners
did not develop a comprehensive, written plan uniting hosting, security,
and constitutional rights considerations. 

A-3.  Given that this event was as complex as past international events
hosted in Seattle, not enough time was available to re-evaluate the plan
and deploy adequate resources to address any changes.

A-4 The Seattle Host Organization and the City of Seattle Executive
Office, in their eagerness to host the WTO at all costs, became advocates
for the meeting instead of watching out for the city's interests. 

B.  Security Planning and Preparation

B-1.  The City of Seattle intelligence ordinance DID NOT materially affect
the Seattle Police Department's ability to effectively identify and plan
for possible protest activity. 

B-2.  The Seattle Police Department, despite the clear evidence that it
would need assistance, was unwilling to guarantee payment for additional
police resources from other agencies. 

B-3.  Security planners planned more extensively for extreme terrorist
activity, such as detonation of a weapon of mass destruction, than for the
more likely and predictable mass civil disobedience and disturbances. 

B-4.  The failure to plan adequately led to the exposure of individuals
exercising their constitutional rights and of bystanders to the effects of
chemical agents, including "tear gas,"  and the denial of the
constitutional rights of all citizens within the emergency curfew areas. 

B-5.  The public safety plan failed to adequately address clearly
foreseeable management, logistics and communications problems. 

B-6.  All members of the WTO Public Safety Executive Committee share
responsibility for the plan because they reviewed the plan and did not
raise strong enough nor formal objections. 

B-7.  In failing to plan adequately for mass arrests, SPD violated its
prior understanding with protest groups to conduct scripted mass arrests. 

B-8.  SPD was aware that the Sandpoint facility was inadequate for
detaining arrestees and failed to act. 

B-9.  The department made no effort to develop comprehensive demonstration
management training with other law enforcement agencies. 

C.  Agency and Organizational Failures

C-1.  The Seattle Police Department

C-1a.  Police chief Norm Stamper abdicated his responsibilities in hosting
the WTO Ministerial. 

C-1b.  While the mayor and the police chief are clearly responsible for
overseeing an event of this type, Assistant Chief Ed Joiner's planning
failures contributed significantly to the overall failure of the planning

C-2.  The Seattle Host Organization's greatest failure was in not raising
adequate funds for the conference. 

C-3.  City of Seattle Executive

C-3a.  Seattle Mayor Paul Schell should have taken an active leadership
role in the decision making and coordination of staff overseeing the

C-3b.  Mayor Schell was clearly aware of the potential for disruptions. 

C-3c.  The Executive sought only to inform the city council and not to
engage them. 

C-3d.  Seattle Mayor Paul Schell was less than forthright to business and
retail owners about both the potential for large demonstrations and the
amount of revenue that the Ministerial was expected to generate for

C-3e.  Personnel in the Office of Intergovernmental Relations, the city
department most responsible for the overall organizing effort, seem to
have concentrated on serving as boosters for the conference rather than as
public servants looking out for the welfare of the citizens of Seattle. 

C-4.  The Seattle City Council should have insisted on greater involvement
and fiscal oversight. 


        This report finds that the city was unprepared to host the WTO and
that planning for the event was insufficient. We recommend several changes
in the process to ensure that similar failures do not occur in the future.

1. The city council should adopt an ordinance stipulating that any large
event requiring a significant commitment of city resources be approved by
the city council. Approval may be granted following a review that includes
a cost/benefit analysis and an opportunity to comment from independent
experts, city leaders and departments, and the public. This ordinance
would establish the template for evaluating future events. 

        In the case of large events, the review process should include an
independent analysis of the fiscal impact to the City, not just the hard
costs of police and fire, but the management costs associated with the

2. In the case of events with a private sponsor, there should be
assurances that the taxpayers of the city are protected from unplanned
costs. That protection could take the form of a contract with the private
sponsor, or a requirement for a bond or some other financial guarantee. 

3. The City must develop a new planning model, which includes a
comprehensive oversight structure that has a clear delineation and
hierarchy of responsibilities. This new model must have stronger
coordination between security planning and host planning.  The new model
must also incorporate security planning that allows for the changing
nature of events and establish a system of incremental contingencies in
response to those events. 

4. This committee does not recommend repealing or changing the City of
Seattle Intelligence Ordinance.  We do, however, recommend that the new
planning model for intelligence gathering use an approach that makes the
most of available resources under the ordinance. 

5. The mayor should meet with the chiefs of the various security forces
making up the mutual aid network 120 and 60 days out from the event, in
order to make sure preparations are on schedule.  If all key members of
the mutual aid network cannot guarantee 60 days before that the planning
and training have been integrated and are on schedule, then serious
remedies need to be required to resolve those deficiencies. 

6. Protection of constitutional rights of demonstrators must receive the
same emphasis as other topics in SPD training courses. Constitutional
rights (civil liberties)  concerns should be addressed like other security
issues. The planning model for a controversial event should assume mass
civil disobedience and plan and train accordingly. Tactics of protesters
should be planned for and respected. 

Please respond to:
Mike Weisman

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