by Carolyn Bick
With the exception of Councilmember Kshama Sawant, the Seattle City Council almost unanimously passed its $5.9 billion 2019-20 budget.
The nine-member council voted 8-to-1 in favor of passing a budget that included increases in funding for police and the city’s homelessness outreach program, as well as funding for a new program aimed at low-acuity mental health response. The budget largely reflected what Mayor Jenny Durkan originally proposed, with minor changes.
Continue reading Seattle City Council $6 Billion Budget Reflects Incremental Change
by Aaron Burkhalter
Councilmember Mike O’Brien took a stroll through a new solution to homelessness and the city’s lack of affordable housing.
It was a short walk — the length of a long trailer. At just a couple hundred square feet, the tiny cottage has enough room for a small table for two — maybe three — people, a downstairs queen-sized bed and an upstairs loft where children could sleep. It has a kitchen, indoor plumbing, and electricity, but it sits on a trailer hook up that is secured to the ground in the backyard of a home in Kent.
Continue reading From Pilot Projects to Systemic Change: Seattle City Council Mulls Solutions to Homelessness in Biennial Budget
by Geov Parrish
Sept. 23, hundreds packed Seattle City Council chambers and an overflow room for their first chance to offer public testimony on Mayor Jenny Durkan’s proposed 2019-20 budget, and potential council amendments to it. Some 140 people and groups signed up to offer testimony in what turned out to be a frequently emotional four-hour marathon that hopefully left council members — at least those who weren’t looking at their phones all evening — a lot to think about. To her credit, Councilmember Sally Bagshaw chaired the hearing with a notably fairer and more restrained hand than council President Bruce Harrell employs in contentious council meetings.
Continue reading OPINION: Passionate Testimony Brightens a Bleak Seattle Budget
Four months after the abrupt repeal of the Employee Hours Tax, subsequent developments are underscoring just how hard it will be for local governments to find money to seriously address our region’s affordable housing and homelessness crises.
by Geov Parrish
It’s been four months since Seattle City Council, in apparent violation of the state’s Open Public Meetings Act, abruptly decided behind closed doors to repeal the compromise Employee Hours Tax (EHT) it had unanimously passed only a month before. Since then, a lot has happened on the homelessness front locally — almost none of it positive, from the standpoints of saving lives or getting people off Seattle’s streets.
Continue reading The City of Seattle Spiked a Progressive Revenue Source, and We’re Stuck Watching the Fallout
by Aaron Burkhalter
See below for a statement Kshama Sawant issued in response to news that many Amazon employees are losing other benefits as their wages are raised.
Amazon Founder and CEO Jeff Bezos announced Oct. 2 that the retail giant would pay all its workers a minimum wage of $15 an hour beginning Nov. 1. Activists working to raise the minimum wages across the United States credited the ongoing movement for forcing Amazon to up compensation to its workers.
Continue reading Q&A: Councilmember Kshama Sawant Celebrates Amazon’s Concession to a $15-an-Hour Minimum Wage while Pushing for Further Action
by Kshama Sawant, Violet Lavatai, Zoe Schurman, David Parsons, Nickelsville Central Committee, Matt Remle, Juan Jose Bocanegra, Tim Harris, Shaun Scott, and Kailyn Nicholson
The notice on her door was jolting: You have to move because the apartment building is being demolished to make way for more a profitable housing development. It was the fourth time that Esther “Little Dove” John, a retired psychology professor and long-time Beacon Hill resident, has been “demovicted” in Seattle — forced out of her home by big developers.
Continue reading Fighting for the City We Need
by Brett Hamil
Yesterday morning I went on a tour of the North Seattle police precinct station with a group of journalists, activists and community leaders organized by city councilmember Kshama Sawant.
The purpose of the outing was, of course, to see whether the current precinct is so outdated and overcrowded as to warrant the construction of a $149 million new facility (i.e. the Bunker). Continue reading Touring the North Seattle Police Station