Wednesday news roundup

This will be the last news roundup for the week. Happy Thanksgiving to all; stay safe and healthy, keep your gatherings small, wear a mask, and be thankful for all of the front-line healthcare workers who will spend the next two days caring for COVID patients in our hospitals. Here’s the news.

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Juarez gives a blunt assessment of police reform, Council dynamics, city politics

This morning during the final budget committee meeting for the year as the City Council debated one last trim to the SPD budget, Council member Debora Juarez delivered a blunt, unexpected and surprising five-minute speech, in which she touched on the expectations and pace for police reform, the current adversarial political culture, and her hopes that we can come together as a city and nation and start healing. Video and full transcript are below.

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SPD budget changes, revisited: some corrections, a better explanation, and a last-minute change in the works

Last Friday I posted a summary of the Council’s budget deliberations last week, including where they landed on SPD’s 2021 budget. Since then I’ve had several email exchanges with the Council’s staff, as they pointed out some inaccuracies in the numbers I posted (and they humbly admitted that they didn’t really explain it all very well). The Council’s unwillingness to try to impose a hiring freeze on SPD in 2021 was widely (but not always accurately) reported over the past few days, and it has created blowback from advocacy groups over the notion that SPD might actually grow in size …

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Mayor Durkan decides on repairing West Seattle Bridge instead of immediate replacement

This morning Mayor Durkan announced that the city will move forward with repairing the cracked main span of the West Seattle Bridge, with the expectation that it will reopen by mid-2022, restore the bridge to its original expected lifetime, and push out building a replacement for up to 40 years. However, she also said that SDOT will start studying an eventual replacement strategy now, and it will approach Sound Transit about jointly building a third span to West Seattle that could incorporate light rail, bicycles and pedestrians.

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