Council struggles with proposed SPD budget cut

Usually when the City Council gives itself sufficient time to research and deliberate on policy questions, the issues eventually become clear and in many cases work themselves out. But in the current case of a proposed $5.4 million cut to the Seattle Police Department budget, things have become messier as the weeks and months have passed. The path forward is now murky, and the Councilmembers are deeply divided on what action to take.

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City budget office updates its economic and revenue forecast, and City Hall misses the message

The City Budget Office delivers an economic and revenue forecast to the Mayor and City Council three times a year: in August, at the beginning of the annual budget process; in November, for a last-minute budget update before it’s passed; and in April as a check-in to see how things are going. Today City Budget Director Ben Noble delivered the April update, which he will present in person to the City Council’s Finance and Housing Committee tomorrow. The Mayor and two Councilmembers immediately issued press releases remarking positively on the economic recovery, highlighting $40 million in additional revenues, and salivating …

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Herbold proposes smaller SPD budget cut, but police monitor still has questions – UPDATED

(update at bottom of article) Tomorrow morning Councilmember Herbold’s Public Safety and Human Services Committee will once again take up a proposed $5.4 million cut to the Seattle Police Department budget. But after SPD’s blunt assessment two weeks ago of what the budget cuts have done to department operations, Herbold is proposing an alternative version of the bill that would allow SPD to keep most of the money to mitigate aspects of the budget cuts and attrition.

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SPD pushes back hard on Council’s proposed budget cut, declares “staffing crisis.”

“SPD is in a staffing crisis.” That is how Deputy Mayor Mike Fong kicked off a Council hearing this morning on a proposed $5.4 million cut to SPD’s 2021 budget. According to Fong, SPD has lost more than 200 officers over the past thirteen months, leaving patrol shortages in nearly every precinct and jeopardizing the city’s compliance with the 2012 Consent Decree. “We are not budgeted or staffed to sustain an acceptable level of community safety services in the city,” he stated, requesting that the City Council give careful consideration to SPD Chief Adrian Diaz’s plea to hold onto the …

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Black Brilliance Research final report delivered; attention turns to rolling out Participatory Budgeting

Last Friday the final report of the Black Brilliance Research Project was delivered to the Seattle City Council. As with the preliminary report delivered a few weeks ago (from which there are only a few substantive changes), it contains some interesting insights and has several shortcomings. It does, however, fill out more details in the project organizers’ recommendations for launching the next phase: a $30 million “participatory budgeting” program for the city.

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JustCare program faces fiscal cliff next month, scrambles for new funding

The JustCare program, which takes a compassionate and constructive approach to bringing off the streets 130 of downtown Seattle’s homeless individuals causing the greatest issues, is set to run out of money next month. That has left organizers and some local officials scrambling to find additional funds to keep the program running through September.

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Black Brilliance Research Project releases its preliminary report

(updates below re: rescheduling the second half of the presentation — it will now be on February 26 instead of next Monday) Over the weekend the City Council published the preliminary report of the Black Brilliance Research Project, a $3 million effort commissioned by the City Council and led by King County Equity Now. The contract calls for KCEN to do research in advance of a community-led “participatory budgeting” program to invest $30 million of public funds in creating community safety. The 1045-page report, originally submitted to the city on December 21, has spent a month being hammered into shape …

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