by Paul Kiefer
(This article previously appeared on PubliCola and has been reprinted under an agreement.)
PubliCola has obtained a copy of the King County Equity Now (KCEN) work plan for their public safety research project that’s intended to lay the groundwork for a participatory budgeting process next year. About $30 million of the $1.5 billion general fund budget is supposed to be allocated using participatory budgeting — a process that enables the public to vote on which projects and priorities they want to fund — next year.
The Seattle City Council finalized a $3 million contract with Freedom Project Washington, a nonprofit that offers programs inside and outside prisons to help with reentry and prevent re-incarceration, to fiscally sponsor and oversee KCEN’s research last week. With the contract finalized and the work plan submitted, Freedom Project Washington now has access to the first $1,250,000 of that total. Freedom Project Washington is allowed to subcontract with other groups to conduct parallel research. Currently, though, KCEN is the group’s only subcontractor.
Continue reading More Details Emerge About Black Brilliance Project’s Research Plan
by Jack Russillo
After Seattle City Council voted yesterday on the 2021 City budget, partners in the Solidarity Budget coalition hosted a live Facebook-streamed teach-in event to share perspectives and analyses of the close-to-official City budget. Mayor Jenny Durkan has said she will sign the budget into law next week.
Solidarity Budget is a platform endorsed by more than 200 community organizations who have been calling for a 2021 City budget that is anti-racist, pro-Black, and that works toward a healthy future for all. Among representatives from King County Equity Now (KCEN), Decriminalize Seattle, Transit Riders Union, Got Green, Puget Sound Sage, and other Solidarity-Budget-supporting organizations, political activist Nikkita Oliver helped facilitate the 77 minutes of virtual conversations.
Continue reading After Council Vote, Solidarity Budget Celebrates Victories but Battle Against SPD’s “Hugely Bloated Budget” Continues
by Elizabeth Turnbull
At least 50 cars and 200 people formed a city-wide protest and caravan on Labor Day to press City Council members to override Mayor Jenny Durkan’s veto of council-approved reductions to the Seattle Police Department’s (SPD) 2020 budget.
Continue reading Labor Day Caravan and Protest Pushes for City Council to Override Mayor’s Veto
by Paul Faruq Kiefer
(This article was originally published on The C Is for Crank and is reprinted under an agreement.)
When Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan announced her decision to veto the City Council’s midyear budget rebalancing package on Friday, she specifically called out an ordinance appropriating $3 million for the council to contract with community-based groups to create a “roadmap for future equitable participatory budget processes related to public safety” by gathering public input to shape the City’s public safety budget priorities.
Council member Tammy Morales, the sponsor of that ordinance, has said that the research would be the first step toward “participatory budgeting,” a process some cities use to guide public spending, often by allowing residents to vote on how to spend a designated pot of money (a federal grant, for instance).
Continue reading What Is Participatory Budgeting, and How Could It Shape the City’s Approach to Public Safety?
by Elizabeth Turnbull
On Friday the King County Equity Now and Decriminalize Seattle coalitions demanded that the funds from Mayor Durkan’s commitment to channel $100 million dollars of the city’s 2021 budget to BIPOC communities, go through a participatory budget process to ensure BIPOC communities control where this money goes. Continue reading King County Equity Now and Decriminalize Seattle Coalitions Direct New Demand to Durkan
by M. Anthony Davis
About 200 people gathered in the Rainier Beach Community Center Plaza Friday afternoon for the Black Education Now Rally. Coordinated by Garfield High School teacher Jesse Hagopian and local activist and parent Emijah Smith, in collaboration with King County Equity Now and Decriminalize Seattle, the rally partnered with local youth to demand funding for community-based schooling with an anti-racist approach to education. Continue reading Rally Demands Funding for Anti-Racist Community Based Schooling
by Carmen Rivera
I am the daughter of the first Puerto Rican police officer in the Seattle Police Department (SPD). He was hired when law enforcement organizations began fully implementing affirmative action hiring during the early 1970s, shortly after SPD did away with their height requirement. His police academy class was the first to train alongside women, all three of them. I was raised around Seattle Police officers and do not believe all cops are bad, and as an adjunct professor for the Criminal Justice Department for Seattle University, I know the institution of policing is problematic.
Continue reading OPINION: To Protect and Serve, Defund Police
by Tammy Morales
When we talk about “public safety” many people imagine law enforcement officers. Police respond to calls for assistance, the thinking goes. They investigate crimes and protect property. But public safety means so much more. And a law enforcement system that is rooted in white supremacy can’t keep the public safe.
The community conditions that keep us all safe don’t rely on the police. Those conditions rely on a shared ability to thrive. Community safety means greater housing stability, affordable medical care, food security, opportunities for good-paying jobs, high-quality childcare.
When communities of color endure generational poverty, it’s because our patterns of neighborhood investment are also rooted in white supremacy. It’s time to end these patterns.
Continue reading OPINION: We Need to Divest From Police to Improve Public Safety