Monday, January 30, 2023

Seattle City Council, Mayor, and Mayor-elect quarreled over proposed $ 10 million police cut

Seattle City Council is mulling a $ 10 million cut in the Seattle Police Department’s budget to offset the decline in revenue, which has prompted criticism from the city’s mayor and mayor-elect as being at odds with public safety.

Budget Committee Chair Teresa Mosquea presented her proposed balanced budget package on Tuesday afternoon, inviting the council to make cuts to the budget proposed by Mayor Jenny Durcan in September.

“Over the past seven weeks, we have worked diligently to address many of the issues highlighted by community members and councilors to make sure we are meeting growing needs across our city and investing in a fairer and fairer Seattle,” Moskeda said in his presentation on Tuesday.

“As we publish today’s budget, we hope you see significant investment and a vision for a fairer, fairer, safer, healthier and more welcoming Seattle.”

Since Durcan proposed its initial budget of $ 7.1 billion in September, the city’s projected revenues for 2022 have dropped $ 15 million as major employers announced they will continue teleworking until early 2022, exempting employees from the city’s payroll tax. JumpStart.

“This proposed budget has been balanced against the city’s budgetary revenue forecast for August, which implied a near full return to work for major employers this fall,” said Esther Handy, director of the Council’s Central Headquarters, during the presentation. By September, she said, it looked “perhaps overly optimistic given the ongoing pandemic.”

City Budget Director Ben Noble said on Tuesday that the August estimate cannot predict the impact of the COVID-19 delta variant on the JumpStart tax, which will be levied for the first time in early 2022 on businesses with Seattle employees that earn at least $ 150,000 a year. … …

To offset the impact of lower incomes, Moskeda focused on cuts in the police budget to maintain the council’s priorities related to affordable housing, homelessness, and criminal justice reform.

Durcan criticized Moskeda’s proposal, blaming the council for recent staffing problems in the SPD. She said the proposal did not prioritize public safety.

“The city council’s previous pledge to pay SPD 50%, their attitude towards the boss (Carmen) Best and their previous layoff budget have resulted in the exodus of 325 SPD officers in the past two years,” Durcan said. “The multiple recruitment and retention plans put forward by Chief (Adrian) Diaz and myself have been repeatedly turned down by a majority of the council.”

“And just yesterday, another board member offered to block my emergency job offer, which has already led to a tenfold increase in the number of applications for emergency dispatches in Seattle,” she said. “The continued downsizing of the SPD and the underfunding of the emergency center is not a blueprint for true public safety.”

“We need alternatives to the armed police response, and we have significantly strengthened those alternatives,” Durcan said. “But when someone calls 911 in a dangerous, potentially life-threatening situation, we need enough police to respond.”

Mayor-elect Bruce Harrell also criticized the proposal in a separate statement, saying last week’s election results, in which Harrell was elected over Progressive City Council President M. Lorena Gonzalez, show the city’s commitment to public safety.

“Last Tuesday, Seattle voters strongly and unequivocally rejected the police’s refusal of funding,” Harrell said. “Our campaign expresses a clear message and commitment: we must ensure genuine public safety, ensure impartial policing and shorten response times through better training, hiring more and better officers, creating unarmed and alternative responses, and changing the culture within the SPD. This vision and these improvement and reform goals cannot be met with the proposed $ 10 million cut. ”

The Council will be informed of Moskeda’s proposal at 9:00 am on Wednesday and will hear the views of members of the public at a hearing at 5:30 pm. All council meetings are currently held remotely and can be viewed at

The final vote on the budget is expected on November 22.

Nation World News Desk
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