by Erica C. Barnett
The Seattle City Council adopted a 2021 budget today that reduces the Seattle Police Department’s budget while funding investments in alternatives to policing; repurposes most of Mayor Jenny Durkan’s proposed $100 million “equitable investment fund” to Council priorities; and replaces the encampment-removing Navigation Team with a new program intended to help outreach workers move unsheltered people into shelter and permanent housing.
Continue reading City’s Recession-Era Budget Includes Modest Cuts to Police, Promises of Future Investments in Community Safety
by Carolyn Bick
Though officials say this year’s expanded flu vaccination clinic offerings are specifically meant to serve uninsured and underinsured communities of color and people experiencing homelessness, many of whom live in South Seattle, most of the clinics available in South Seattle appear to have relatively few open clinic slots.
Continue reading City Touts Free Vaccination Sites for Uninsured in South Seattle, but Limited Dates Available
by Paul Kiefer
(This article previously appeared on PubliCola and has been reprinted under an agreement.)
On Friday morning, Mayor Jenny Durkan’s office released a new report from the City’s Budget Office and the Seattle Police Department showing a record-breaking number of officer separations from SPD in September. In that month alone, 39 officers and officers in training left the department — double the number of officers leaving in the next-highest month on record. Without an end to the ongoing hiring freeze (a part of the City’s COVID-related austerity), SPD and the Budget Office project the department to continue hemorrhaging sworn staff well into 2021, potentially exceeding the staffing cuts proposed by the City Council during the summer.
The pending staff shortage places the department at risk of falling further out of compliance with the conditions of the Federal consent decree, increasing the likelihood that SPD will remain under the supervision of the Department of Justice for years to come. (Federal District Court Judge James Robart, responsible for overseeing Seattle’s consent decree for the Department of Justice, already ruled the City partially out of compliance in 2019).
Continue reading Seattle Police Department Announces Record-Breaking Attrition
by Ben Adlin
Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan announced Wednesday the initial members of a new City taskforce to recommend ways to spend a proposed $100 million in funding aimed at benefiting Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) communities.
Coming in response to energetic Black Lives Matter protests throughout the spring and summer, Durkan first made the $100 million proposal last month as part of her budget plan for the coming year.
The mayor said the 28-member task force addresses “deep disparities caused by systemic racism and institutionalized oppression.” But some racial justice organizers say her plan overshadows demands made by protesters and could ultimately turn communities of color against one another.
Continue reading Durkan Announces Members of Proposed $100 Million BIPOC Task Force, Drawing Criticism From Activists
by Elizabeth Turnbull
On Thursday, Mayor Jenny Durkan unveiled part of her 2021 budget plan, which would allocate close to $34 million toward providing new housing for individuals who are living without a home, in addition to continued support for existing shelters and basic hygiene resources.
Continue reading Mayor Durkan Announces Plans to Provide Increased Housing for Individuals Without Homes in 2021
by Carolyn Bick
Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan has released an Executive Order meant to “create an accountable and transparent timeline to evaluate Seattle Police Department (SPD) functions and identify areas of SPD response that can be transitioned to civilian and community-based responses,” according to a press release from her office on Oct. 1. According to the order, the first public deliverable — a work plan and community engagement timeline — will be available in October, while the last one — a final analysis report that examines several factors, including current SPD practices and functions, as well as community input on community policing — will be available in March 2021.
Continue reading Durkan Releases Executive Order Outlining Methods To Begin Transitioning Areas of SPD to Civilian, Community Response
by Sean Goode
When I was 16 years old, I bought a fake Rolex. I remember the evening clearly: the gas station where I was, the man who approached, and the $50 I gave him in exchange for what I thought was a priceless timepiece. I also remember the shame I felt when I brought it to the jeweler, who, much to their credit, held back a smile as they saw the disappointment on my face when they told me it wasn’t real. I desperately wanted to believe that the watch was real and the story that man told me was true.
Continue reading OPINION: Beware the Bootleg Rolex (A Response to Mayor Durkan’s $100 Million Proposal for BIPOC Communities)
by Erica C. Barnett
On Tuesday evening, The Seattle City Council voted 7-2 to override Mayor Jenny Durkan’s veto of the 2020 midyear “rebalancing” budget package they adopted in August, setting the stage for a showdown with the mayor in the upcoming 2021 budget discussions, which kick off formally next Tuesday.
Continue reading Seattle City Council Overrides Mayor’s 2020 Budget Veto, Leaving In Place Cuts to SPD and Navigation Team
by Carolyn Bick
Lance Randall, a South Seattleite who currently serves as SEED Seattle’s Director of Economic Development and Interim Executive Director, has thrown his hat into the ring to run for mayor against incumbent Mayor Jenny Durkan in 2021.
Continue reading SEED Seattle’s Lance Randall Running for Mayor Against Incumbent Durkan in 2021
by Paul Faruq Kiefer
In a Friday afternoon press conference, Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan pivoted from an explanation of her veto of the City Council’s midyear budget rebalancing package to address an ongoing rise in gun violence in both Seattle and King County. To explain the scale of that rise, Durkan pointed to a 55% increase in the number of shots-fired incidents since June 1 in Seattle as compared to the same period last year (an increase from 75 to 116). “These incidents have resulted in 33 injuries and 6 deaths,” Durkan added. “That cannot continue.” Continue reading After Vetoing City Council Budget, Durkan Addresses Uptick in Gun Violence at Press Conference