by Paul Kiefer
(This article was originally published on the C is for Crank and has been reprinted with permission)
In a joint press conference Tuesday afternoon, Mayor Jenny Durkan responded to the City Council’s proposal to cut the Seattle Police Department’s remaining 2020 budget by about $3 million with backhanded praise, saying the council was “looking in the right places but in the wrong year.”
In her remarks, Durkan emphasized that any major reforms to SPD will take a year or more to implement because of the combined challenges of the pandemic, the West Seattle Bridge closure, and (ironically) months of protests. “2020 is not the best playing field to discuss further reductions to SPD and reinvestment in community,” Durkan said. Continue reading Durkan, Best Decry Council’s Proposed SPD Budget Cuts as Too Fast, “Wrong Year”
by Elizabeth Turnbull
Accompanied by at least one light-up tambourine, a few makeshift drums, and as many as two trumpets, a group of roughly 100 protesters marched through the Ravenna neighborhood Thursday night, July 23, chanting, “Every day!” and “Whose lives matter!? Black Lives Matter!”
Consisting of an 8 a.m. march, an afternoon picket, and an evening march, protesters have been taking part in the Everyday March for over a month in a continued effort to get the City to act on their demands. In recent days, the marchers have specifically pushed for defunding the Seattle Police Department (SPD) budget by 50 percent and for those funds to be reallocated to the Black community. Continue reading Amid Various Protests and Marches, One Group has been Taking to the Streets Every Day
by Carolyn Bick
After several days’ worth of confusion, city officials today confirmed that federal agents are here in Seattle — but nobody seems to know exactly where they are, or what they are planning to do.
Continue reading Federal Agents Confirmed in Seattle — But No One Knows Where
by Erica C. Barnett
(This article was originally published on The C is for Crank and has been reprinted under an agreement.)
As calls to defund the Seattle Police Department continue, Mayor Jenny Durkan has proposed moving about $56 million out of the Seattle Police Department’s budget into other parts of the city budget — a ledger swap that could actually cost the city more money than the current system and could, advocates say, actually weaken the accountability system.
When announcing the transfers, Durkan’s office described the changes as “actions to transform the Seattle Police Department and reimagine community safety” by responding to requests from community stakeholders. However, it’s unclear where the impetus for the specific changes the mayor proposed — moving 911 dispatch, the Office of Police Accountability, and the Office of Emergency Management out of SPD — came from.
Continue reading Durkan Proposes Ledger Swap of $56 Million from SPD to Other Parts of City Budget
by Dana Barnett and Silvia Gonzalez
The antiracist roots of Seattle’s Domestic Worker Ordinance, which had its first anniversary on July 1, aren’t immediately obvious nearly a century after most other workers gained basic workplace protections. But there is a deep connection between anti-Black racism, the legacy of slavery, and the long fight for domestic worker protections.
Continue reading OPINION: Domestic Workers Continue to Deserve Better
by Erica C. Barnett
(This article originally appeared on The C is for Crank and has been reprinted under an agreement.)
Monday morning, city council president Lorena González and public safety committee chair Lisa Herbold said they were both briefed last week by police chief Carmen Best on what the chief had previously described as “credible threats” to the Seattle Police Department East Precinct in early June, and that the chief described the threats as generalized threats to government buildings in cities up and down the West Coast rather than a specific threat to bomb, burn down, or otherwise damage the East Precinct. Best cited the alleged threats in June as one of the reasons police needed to keep protesters away from the building using tear gas, pepper spray, and eventually physical barricades in the area that became known as the CHOP.
Continue reading FBI Says There Was Specific Threat Against East Precinct; Durkan Letter Dodges Protesters’ Three Demands
by Chetanya Robinson
Seattle City Council passed a $214 million big business tax proposal Monday to address the damage of the COVID-19 pandemic, invest in affordable housing, and fund City services.
The 7-2 vote, a margin large enough to override a veto from Mayor Jenny Durkan, comes two years after the City Council passed and then walked back the Employee Hours Tax, or Head Tax, which would have raised $47 million per year for housing and homelessness services. Continue reading Seattle City Council Passes “Historic” Big Business Tax
by Erica C. Barnett
Last year, when King County’s “point-in-time count” of the homeless population indicated a slight dip in the number of people counted in the shelters and on the streets, Mayor Jenny Durkan celebrated the news, crediting the city’s work adding shelter and expanding the Navigation Team, among other actions, for the apparent five percent decline in unsheltered homelessness. Three-quarters of that decline was attributed in the report itself to the redefinition of “shelter” to include tiny house village encampments, which moved a number of people from the “unsheltered” to the “sheltered” column even though their living situation stayed the same.
This year’s one-night count showed a slight increase in both sheltered and unsheltered homelessness throughout King County, with the biggest increases in Seattle and Southwest King County. The new total estimate of 11,751 people experiencing homelessness represents a five percent increase over last year. A separate survey, which had fewer participants than in previous years, provided demographic data and information about why people became homeless, information that the county’s “Count Us In” report extrapolates across the entire homeless population.
Continue reading New Report on Homelessness Highlights Inequities, Growth in Chronic Homelessness in King County
by Sarah Stuteville
A few days ago, while walking home from the “CHOP” (also known as the Capitol Hill Organized Protest) I stopped to talk to a neighbor, who in turn introduced me to her Boomer-age mom, who was visiting Seattle from a rural area of Washington State.
“You all gardening?” I asked, sucking air through the thick fabric of my face mask. “Actually … we just got back from the … CHOP. My mom wanted to see it,” my neighbor answered with the halting uncertainty many Seattleites use to describe this anarchic organism of a protest that has drawn fire — literally and figuratively — from everywhere.
I turned to the white, gray-haired woman in her plum-colored fleece and Costco sneakers — looking all the world like the star of the next “Karen” video on Twitter. I braced myself for what I assumed would be her pinched disdain for the grime, the chaos — the unfocused, raw wildness of these four blocks that just a few months ago symbolized ground zero for a gentrifying “new Seattle.” A neighborhood where million-dollar condos and cavernous breweries battled it out with the “old Seattle” of non-profit art spaces, low-lit gay bars, and church-basement AA meetings.
I was glad the lower half of my face was covered when I asked her politely, “What did you think of it?”
Continue reading Bless This (Revolutionary) Mess
by Carolyn Bick
Joined by several community leaders, Mayor Jenny Durkan and Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best addressed two weekend shootings that claimed the life of a 19-year-old Black teen and wounded two others in the Capitol Hill Organized Protest (CHOP).
In the June 22 press conference, Durkan and Best committed to working with different Black-led community organizations, including Community Passageways and Not This Time. Durkan said that she will be introducing a 2020 budget rebalancing plan that will make a point to invest in the Black community, in order to enhance public safety. In the name of both equity and public safety, Durkan also committed $5 million for mentoring and summer learning for Black youth.
She also said that police officers responded to almost 17,000 emergency calls within the last nine months, and that her budget process will examine the police budget. She said that police only respond “because the other systems in society have failed,” and that what the city needs is for certain services, like mental health workers or community-based workers, to be available to respond to some emergency calls.
Continue reading In Press Conference, Durkan, Best Focus on Just Two of Three Shootings That Happened Over the Weekend