Tag Archives: Reprint

SPD’s 2022 Budget Proposal Relies on Optimistic Hiring Projections

by Paul Faruq Kiefer

(This article originally appeared on PubliCola and has been reprinted under an agreement.)


The Seattle Police Department’s (SPD) staffing goals for 2022 are extremely ambitious and could leave the department with millions in unspent salaries, according to a staff presentation to the City Council’s Budget Committee on Friday, Oct. 15.

More than 300 sworn officers have left the department since January 2020. In 2022, SPD hopes to begin replenishing its ranks, starting with the restoration of 31 paid positions that the council eliminated last year. That proposal would leave SPD with a total of 1,357 funded officer positions, but the department can’t realistically fill all of those positions in a year; instead, SPD estimates that it would end 2022 with 134 vacancies.

Continue reading SPD’s 2022 Budget Proposal Relies on Optimistic Hiring Projections

The Native History of Indigenous Peoples’ Day

by Malinda Maynor Lowery

(This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.)


Increasingly, Columbus Day is giving people pause.

More and more towns and cities across the country are electing to celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day as an alternative to — or in addition to — the day intended to honor Columbus’ voyages.

Critics of the change see it as just another example of political correctness run amok — another flashpoint of the culture wars.

As a scholar of Native American history — and a member of the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina — I know the story is more complex than that.

The growing recognition and celebration of Indigenous Peoples’ Day actually represents the fruits of a concerted, decades-long effort to recognize the role of Indigenous people in the nation’s history.

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Durkan Budget Would Gut JumpStart Spending Plan, Increase Funding for Encampment Response

by Erica C. Barnett

(This article originally appeared on PubliCola and has been reprinted with permission.)


Mayor Jenny Durkan released the final budget of her term yesterday, Sept. 27, outlining the proposal at a very high level in a six-minute speech from North Seattle College. In the coming weeks, the proposal will be debated, analyzed, and rewritten by the Seattle City Council (the addition of 35 net new police officers is an obvious target for their red pens), and PubliCola will be covering every aspect of those upcoming discussions. For now, though, here are a few initial notes on the plan, which reflects better-than-expected revenues and incorporates a lot of ongoing federal funding for COVID-19 relief.

Continue reading Durkan Budget Would Gut JumpStart Spending Plan, Increase Funding for Encampment Response

City Reaches Agreement With Unions on Vaccine Mandates; SPOG Agreement Still to Come

by Paul Faruq Kiefer

(This article originally appeared on PubliCola and has been reprinted under an agreement.)


On the evening of Thursday, Sept. 23, a coalition of Seattle City employee unions reached a tentative agreement with the City of Seattle about the enforcement of the City’s new mandatory vaccination policy. The agreement, which outlines rules for vaccination exemptions and offers paid time off for vaccinated employees, now needs the approval of both the unions’ membership and the City Council. Union members will vote on the agreement this weekend.

On Friday, Sept. 24, both Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan and City labor leadership heralded the agreement as a key victory in the City’s fight to control the spread of COVID-19. Karen Estevenin, the executive director of PROTEC17, which represents employees across multiple City departments, told PubliCola the union coalition didn’t object to the vaccine mandate itself but wanted to give City employees a hand in shaping how the mandate will play out in their workplace.

“One of the key benefits of having a union is that workers have a voice on policy changes that affect their workplaces and their livelihoods,” she said. “By negotiating the terms of the vaccine mandate, we wanted to ensure that this was a fair, transparent, and equitable policy for all City employees.”

Continue reading City Reaches Agreement With Unions on Vaccine Mandates; SPOG Agreement Still to Come

As COVID Cases at Shelters Rise, Many Are Reluctant to Enter County Quarantine Sites

by Erica C. Barnett

(This article originally appeared on PubliCola and has been reprinted under an agreement.)


An alarming increase in COVID-19 cases among people experiencing homelessness has been exacerbated in recent weeks, homeless service providers say, by rumors that if people enter a County-run isolation and quarantine site, they won’t be allowed to leave.

And even before these rumors began circulating widely, many unhoused people who tested positive for COVID-19 were reluctant to enter isolation and quarantine, for reasons that ranged from active substance use to the fear that if they left an encampment, they would lose everything they had — a not unreasonable assumption, given the recent uptick in encampment sweeps.

“The resistance, in my experience, has been across the board,” Dr. Cyn Kotarski, medical director for the Public Defender Association (PDA), said. “I haven’t met anyone so far who doesn’t have some fear and some resistance to go, and that’s mostly just because it’s overwhelming. It can feel pretty scary to think that you don’t know where you’re going or why, especially when you’re taking someone out of their own environment and their own community,” Kotarski said. The PDA is a partner on several efforts, including Co-LEAD and JustCAREare, to move unsheltered people into hotels during the pandemic.

Continue reading As COVID Cases at Shelters Rise, Many Are Reluctant to Enter County Quarantine Sites

With Future of Tiny Houses Up in the Air, Advocates Push for Action This Year

by Erica C. Barnett

(This article originally appeared on PubliCola and has been reprinted under an agreement.)


Advocates and city councilmembers are putting pressure on Mayor Jenny Durkan and the City’s Human Services Department (HSD) to move forward with three new tiny house villages — groups of small shed-like shelters for people experiencing homelessness — this year, before the King County Regional Homelessness Authority (KCRHA) takes over the City’s homelessness-related contracts in 2022.

The short-term (and at this point, probably quixotic) goal is to convince Durkan and HSD’s short-staffed homelessness division to commit to moving forward with all three villages before the City’s homelessness contracts move to the KCRHA at the end of the year. The long-term goal, which may be equally quixotic, is to demonstrate strong community support for tiny house villages in the face of strong opposition at the new authority, whose leader, Marc Dones, has no allegiance to what has become conventional wisdom at the City.

Earlier this year, the Seattle City Council adopted (and the mayor signed) legislation accepting $2 million in state COVID-19 relief funding to stand up three new tiny house villages and setting aside an additional $400,000 to operate the villages once they open — the Seattle Rescue Plan. Since then, HSD has declined to issue a request for proposals to build the villages, arguing that the council doesn’t have a long-term plan to operate the villages after this year. The longer HSD waits, the more likely it is that the job of deciding whether to stand up additional tiny house villages will fall to the regional authority.

Continue reading With Future of Tiny Houses Up in the Air, Advocates Push for Action This Year

Last-Minute Push for SPD Hiring Incentives Fails

by Paul Faruq Kiefer

(This article originally appeared on PubliCola and has been reprinted with permission.)


The Seattle City Council voted on Monday, Sept. 13, to shore up several of its own priorities for rethinking public safety using $15 million in savings from salaries left unspent by the Seattle Police Department (SPD) after another year of abnormally high attrition.

The council left almost two-thirds of the $15 million in the department’s budget, allowing SPD to cover the costs of downsizing — updates to timekeeping software to help deploy a smaller number of officers more efficiently, for example. Additionally, the council lifted a trio of provisos on the department’s budget, releasing roughly $8 million for the department to use as it wants.

Of the $5.2 million the council shifted out of SPD’s budget, $3 million will go to the Human Services Department (HSD) to fund grants to nonprofits specializing in alternatives to policing. The council set aside another $700,000 to stand up a new civilian crisis-response unit tentatively called Triage One.

Continue reading Last-Minute Push for SPD Hiring Incentives Fails

Durkan Won’t Sign Crowd-Control Weapons Bill, Raises Specter of Court Challenge

by Paul Faruq Kiefer

(This article originally appeared on PubliCola and has been reprinted under an agreement.)


Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan refused to sign the City Council’s recent ordinance restricting the Seattle Police Department’s (SPD) use of crowd-control weapons, allowing the bill to become law while the City awaits a federal district court’s go-ahead to implement changes to SPD’s tactics and arsenal.

In a letter to the council during their August recess, Durkan heaped criticism on the bill and the yearlong process that produced it, calling it a “knee-jerk reaction” to last year’s protests that overstepped the council’s authority, undercut SPD policy change procedures enshrined in the City’s agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), and made promises that the City can’t keep.

Durkan has routinely allowed legislation to take effect without her signature, though not always because of a difference of opinion: Certain land use ordinances, for instance, don’t necessarily go to the mayor for a signature before becoming law. The mayor can also return legislation to the council unsigned when she has concerns about a bill’s impact or legality but believes that the council would vote to override a veto.

Continue reading Durkan Won’t Sign Crowd-Control Weapons Bill, Raises Specter of Court Challenge

How Racial Perceptions Can Dictate Success of Seattle’s Radical Candidates

by Hannah Krieg

(This article was originally published by Real Change News and has been reprinted with permission.)


“I think I’m going to do this,” Nicole Thomas-Kennedy said to public defender Sadé Smith, a friend and former colleague, when she decided to run for Seattle city attorney as an abolitionist. “Are you sure you don’t want to do it?”

Thomas-Kennedy, who is white, wanted to double-check. She later told Real Change, “If there was a BIPOC abolitionist running for city attorney, I probably would never have entered the race.”

It was the day of the filing deadline for the 2021 primary when political newcomer Thomas-Kennedy decided to challenge 12-year incumbent Pete Holmes.

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State Plans Overhaul of Guidelines for Attorneys Who Represent Kids in Foster Care Cases

by Paul Faruq Kiefer

(This article originally appeared on PubliCola and has been reprinted under an agreement.)


In July, a new state law took effect that will guarantee legal representation for children facing dependency hearings, in which a judge considers whether they should remain with their family or go to foster care. For more than a decade, Washington lagged behind much of the rest of the country in expanding children’s access to attorneys during foster care cases, so when the State Legislature passed the law in April, most children’s rights advocates across Washington lauded the change as a step in the right direction.

Access to an attorney can make a significant difference in the outcome of foster care cases. A study conducted between 2017 and 2019 by Washington’s Office of Civil Legal Aid (OCLA), which provides financial support to low-income Washington residents in civil cases, found that children represented by attorneys in dependency cases are much more likely to reunite with their families. The study found that having a lawyer made an especially notable difference for older children and Kids of Color, who are also the least likely to be adopted if left in foster care.

Continue reading State Plans Overhaul of Guidelines for Attorneys Who Represent Kids in Foster Care Cases