Gee and Ursula: 3 things you need to know on Thursday, June 30

Jun 30, 2022, 10:45 AM
Dr. Faisal Khan (King County)...
Dr. Faisal Khan (King County)
(King County)

KIRO Newsradio’s Gee Scott and Ursula Reutin bring you their top stories on the day of June 30:

King County appoints a health director, formerly the head of St. Louis’ health department, who has acknowledged “using their middle finger” towards a crowd of anti-mask protestors.

Seattle’s Office of Police Accountability launches an inquest into the source of a leaked memo that described the Seattle Police Department’s handling of sexual assault investigations.

The Kraken’s ownership group looks to bring down ticket prices.

1. King County’s newly-appointed health director

A doctor who clashed with an anti-mask crowd in Missouri has just been selected as Seattle and King County Public Health’s new director.

Dr. Faisal Khan was the interim head of the St Louis Public Health Department and got national attention last year when he was shouted down by protesters who were angry about a mask mandate that he recommended the county keep in place.

In a video of that meeting, you can see Dr. Khan standing alone at a podium, facing a seemingly hostile council, with an unmasked crowd behind him holding signs with slogans such as, “We Will Not Comply!” and “End the Tyranny!”

Khan–who is originally from Pakistan– later wrote a letter to the council chair, accusing the protesters of racist, xenophobic, and threatening behavior.

Although media reports said video did not show any physical contact, Khan tells the Seattle Times he stands by what he wrote in that letter. He says, “it’s unacceptable for a public servant to be subjected to that form of abuse… and for the worst public health emergency in a century to be turned into a political spectacle to score cheap political points.” A few months later, the St. Louis County Council decided not to give him the permanent job.

Dr. Khan plans to move to the Seattle area later this summer and starts Sept. 6. The position requires the approval of the King County Council. Khan said he plans no major changes to the department, calling it one of the best in the country.

“From navigating through this stage of the pandemic to addressing public health crises like the disparate impacts of gun violence, Dr. Khan’s decades of public health leadership will enhance the good work our strong team at Seattle-King County Public Health is doing to support vulnerable communities,” Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell said in a statement.

“I am glad that King County has someone who took the pandemic seriously,” host Gee Scott said.

2. OPA’s investigation into leaked sexual assault memo

Who leaked it?

That’s what Seattle’s Office of Police Accountability wants to know.

OPA has launched an investigation over allegations that an employee of the police department gave a memo to the media which detailed the severe understaffing of SPD’s sexual assault and child abuse unit.

It is a violation of department policy to release information to the media without approval from the Chain of Command. Sergeant Pamela St John wrote the memo in April, and in it, she detailed how her unit was so understaffed that she had to stop assigning adult sexual assault cases to detectives. The Seattle Times and KUOW published a copy of that memo earlier this month. Investigations into leaks to the media don’t happen often. In 2011, the department spent $12,000 to find out who gave a TV station information about discipline involving an officer who used a racial slur.

“Instead of trying to find out who the leak was about, why don’t you spend the money to ensure this doesn’t happen again?” Gee asked.

3. The Kraken look to bring down ticket prices

If you’re a hockey fan, but can’t afford going to Kraken games, here’s some good news…

After monthly “listening sessions” with groups of fans, the Kraken has decided to make more single seats available at $40 and lower.

The issue of high ticket prices has been an issue across the National Hockey League. Since the NHL lacks revenues that compare with the NFL and NBA, prices for major league hockey are some of the highest in sports.

In the case of the Kraken, they sell about 1,500 to 1,800 seats per match. This season, about a third of those seats will be priced between $20 and $50.

To make sure the tickets go to fans and not resellers, you will need to register for a Verified Fan Pre-Sale program by July 5.

Listen to the Gee and Ursula Show weekday mornings from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. on KIRO Newsradio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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Gee and Ursula: 3 things you need to know on Thursday, June 30