Tag Archives: Seattle City Budget

OPINION: Which Side Are You On?

by JM Wong

The Solidarity Budget, proposed by a coalition of more than 200 organizations in the city, has a vision of Seattle that matches the times we face — from the climate crisis and calls for Indigenous sovereignty to the collective need for more resources dedicated to child care, digital equity, and more. The Solidarity Budget reminds us that a city’s budget — in deciding which issues are worth investing in — becomes a moral document of its people’s priorities, a document that attempts to concretize the values and visions that brought us protesting into the streets not too long ago. As the Seattle City Council concluded budget season last week, with a councilmember majority that last year publicly pledged to invest in community over police, it is crucial to uplift and support the Solidarity Budget’s timely demands.

Which side are you on?

Continue reading OPINION: Which Side Are You On?

Seattle’s Divide on Public Safety Is Fueling a Fight Over Next Year’s Police Budget

by Ben Adlin

After an election that largely snubbed progressive candidates, advocates calling for cuts to police budgets are working to convince Seattle leaders to follow through with promises to reform law enforcement and fund alternatives to dealing with the city’s problems.

A revised budget proposal out of the Seattle City Council this week would make about $10.8 million in cuts to Mayor Jenny Durkan’s proposed 2022 funding increases to the Seattle Police Department (SPD). Projected revenue for Seattle’s general fund has fallen by about $15 million since Durkan released her proposed $7.1 billion City budget in September.

Durkan has said the investment in police is needed to address higher-than-normal officer departures in recent years and ensure fast response times to emergencies. But councilmembers and community advocates have challenged that idea, arguing that investments in services such as housing and education do more to improve public safety and improve the resiliency of vulnerable communities.

A rebalanced budget package introduced last Tuesday, Nov. 9, by City Council Select Budget Committee Chair Teresa Mosqueda would reduce Durkan’s proposed $365.4 million police budget to $354.6 million. Overall, Mosqueda’s budget would amount to an $8.3 million (2.3%) cut to SPD funding compared to this year’s budget, while Durkan’s plan would expand police spending by $2.5 million (0.7%).

Meanwhile, the Seattle Solidarity Budget coalition, which represents a number of local groups focused on improving public services and investing in Seattle’s BIPOC communities, is calling for an additional $29 million to be cut from next year’s police budget. The group sees the final weeks of the budget process as a chance to cement popular calls for police reform that took center stage during widespread community protests last year, following the police murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

Continue reading Seattle’s Divide on Public Safety Is Fueling a Fight Over Next Year’s Police Budget

OPINION: Homelessness, Poverty, and the City Budget

by Jay Sygiel, Isaac Litwak, and Sawyer Hanners

Walking down the streets of Seattle, tents, tarps, and sleeping bags have become a familiar sight. The state of homelessness in our city can only be described as a human services emergency. To solve this dilemma, we must look at where it stems from. The primary cause of homelessness can be boiled down to two things: the cost of living and the income gap that plagues the city.

In recent years, 77,300 Seattleites (5,000 more than the seating capacity of Lumen Field) reside below the poverty rate. Of these people, more than 11,000 of them are homeless and half of those are unsheltered. But this statistic is not representative of the amount of people not having their needs met due to low/unstable incomes. The national poverty line is set much lower than what is considered livable in Seattle. For one person to live comfortably here, you must make around $72,092, which is over five times the national poverty line.

Over the past six years, rents in Seattle have increased 57% while the average salary has not scaled to compensate for that increase. Thus, the income gap is only getting larger, leaving the people of Seattle in the dust.

Continue reading OPINION: Homelessness, Poverty, and the City Budget

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

Q&A: Nikkita Oliver Focuses on Mutual Aid, Community in Campaign for City Council

by Chamidae Ford

Nikkita Oliver has made a name for themselves in Seattle and beyond. The lawyer, artist, professor, and abolitionist is bringing their many skills to the race for Position 9, one of two at-large seats on the Seattle City Council.

On Mar. 10, Oliver announced their candidacy, a grassroots campaign centered around mutual aid that prioritizes providing community members with basic needs. This is not Oliver’s first attempt at a bid for public office — in 2017 they began their political career with a run for mayor, narrowly missing out on the general election.

Oliver is currently the executive director of Creative Justice, an organization that focuses on providing art therapy as an alternative to incarceration. They are also deeply involved in Seattle’s Black Lives Matter movement and have worked closely with organizations to serve marginalized communities.

Continue reading Q&A: Nikkita Oliver Focuses on Mutual Aid, Community in Campaign for City Council

The Morning Update Show — 11/11/20

The Morning Update Show — hosted by Trae Holiday and The Big O (Omari Salisbury) — is the only weekday news and information livestream that delivers culturally relevant content to the Pacific Northwest’s urban audience. Omari and Trae analyze the day’s local and national headlines as well as melanin magic in our community. Watch live every weekday at 11 a.m. on any of the following channels, hosted by Converge Media: YouTube, Twitch, Facebook, Periscope, and whereweconverge.com.

We’ll also post the Morning Update Show here on the Emerald each day after it airs, so you can catch up any time of day while you peruse our latest posts.

Morning Update Show — Wednesday, Nov. 11

Today on the show:

Veterans Day; Happy Birthday Washington State; Shaina Shepherd — LIVE; City Budget Recap; Solidarity Budget; SABJ — Black Voices Matter.

Continue reading The Morning Update Show — 11/11/20

City Council Members Discuss Defunding Police in 2020 Budget — but Not by 50 Percent

By Chetanya Robinson

Seattle City Council members outlined specific plans for slashing the Seattle Police Department (SPD) budget in 2020 and reimagining how the city provides public safety, weeks after a veto-proof majority first committed to defunding the police by 50%.

The new proposals do not cut the department’s budget by 50% in 2020, falling short of demands from prominent community organizations after the the murder of George Floyd and city-wide demonstrations against systemic racism and police brutality. 

Continue reading City Council Members Discuss Defunding Police in 2020 Budget — but Not by 50 Percent

Fighting for the City We Need

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