Tag Archives: Seattle City Council

Does the City Council Want to “Fire Half the Police Department Overnight”? Fact-Checking the Mayor and Police Chief’s Claims

by Erica C. Barnett


After announcing proposals to shift 911 dispatch, the Office of Emergency Management, parking enforcement, and the Office of Police Accountability away from the Seattle Police Department Monday morning, Mayor Jenny Durkan delivered a fiery broadside against the city council, accusing them of proposing an ill-considered plan to slash police spending without giving any consideration to what comes next. Durkan, up for reelection next year, was in full campaign-speech mode, positioning herself as the lone adult among squalling children. Continue reading Does the City Council Want to “Fire Half the Police Department Overnight”? Fact-Checking the Mayor and Police Chief’s Claims

Veto-Proof Majority of Seattle City Council Pledges Support for #DefundSPD Effort

by JSeattle

(This article was originally published on The Capitol Hill Seattle Blog and has been reprinted under an agreement)


Seven of the nine Seattle City Council members say they will support the effort to reduce the Seattle Police budget by 50%, the key component of demands from activists and community groups after weeks of Black Lives Matter protests, marches, and rallies in the Pacific Northwest.

The important threshold would represent a veto-proof majority on any council action as the representatives shape major changes to the city’s budget in the face of predictions of a significant downturn in revenue due to the COVID-19 crisis — a rebalancing process planned to be finalized and voted on in the next two weeks. Continue reading Veto-Proof Majority of Seattle City Council Pledges Support for #DefundSPD Effort

OPINION: Domestic Workers Continue to Deserve Better

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

FBI Says There Was Specific Threat Against East Precinct; Durkan Letter Dodges Protesters’ Three Demands

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

Seattle City Council Passes “Historic” Big Business Tax

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

Seattle Council Big Business Tax Will Move Forward After Passing Budget Committee

by Chetanya Robinson


A tax on big businesses that would raise over $200 million dollars per year and pay for COVID-19 relief and affordable housing is on the City Council’s agenda after sailing through the budget committee with a 7-2 vote. Continue reading Seattle Council Big Business Tax Will Move Forward After Passing Budget Committee

Seattle Council Bans Use of Chokeholds and “Less-Lethal” Weapons by Police

Erica C. Barnett


The Seattle City Council voted unanimously today to ban the Seattle Police Department from owning or using so-called “less lethal” weapons such as blast balls, tear gas, and pepper spray for any purpose, and, in separate legislation, to ban the use of “chokeholds,” a term that includes various methods of restraining a person by cutting off their air supply or blood flow to their brain. Continue reading Seattle Council Bans Use of Chokeholds and “Less-Lethal” Weapons by Police

“You Can’t Fix What’s Fundamentally Broken.” Seattle City Council Considers Defunding Police Department

by Erica C. Barnett


As the Seattle Police Department announced it was removing all “sensitive items” from the East Precinct building on Capitol Hill in anticipation of another long night of protests, the Seattle City Council adopted a number of strongly worded resolutions demanding action earlier Monday afternoon.

Among other actions, the council unanimously signed two letters calling, respectively, for the demilitarization of SPD and for Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes to withdraw the city’s lawsuit against inquest reforms adopted by King County in 2019. Continue reading “You Can’t Fix What’s Fundamentally Broken.” Seattle City Council Considers Defunding Police Department

Mayor’s Office Refuses to Budge on Encampment Removals as Nearly Six-Hour Meeting Ends in Stalemate

by Erica C. Barnett 

(This article was previously published on The C is for Crank and has been reprinted with permission.) 


If you’re looking for a takeaway from last Wednesday’s nearly six-hour hearing on legislation that would place some limits on the city’s authority to displace homeless people from encampments during the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s this: Nothing is going to change. Representatives from Mayor Jenny Durkan’s administration made it abundantly clear, loudly and repeatedly, that the mayor does not consider policies governing encampment sweeps to be a matter that can be legislated under any circumstance, and that now is also not the time for discussing non-legislative solutions, such as changes to the administrative rules governing encampment sweeps in general.

Continue reading Mayor’s Office Refuses to Budge on Encampment Removals as Nearly Six-Hour Meeting Ends in Stalemate

OPINION: Mayor Durkan, if You Care about Public Health, Stop the Sweeps

by Julianna Alson, Omid Bagheri Garakani, Miranda Vargas


Dear Mayor Durkan,

We are Seattle-based public health practitioners and homeless service providers imploring you to stop the removals of homeless encampments. We also endorse Councilmember Morales’ Council Bill 119796 to limit encampment removals during the state of emergency. Seattle is under the national spotlight of pandemic response. You have the choice to set an example for the country with evidence-based public health strategies that truly protect public health and safety.

Continue reading OPINION: Mayor Durkan, if You Care about Public Health, Stop the Sweeps