Council overrides veto of COVID-19 relief bill, then immediately adjusts it to new fiscal reality (updated)

This afternoon in a special meeting, the City Council overrode Mayor Durkan’s veto of a bill that authorizes the spending of $86 million from the city’s two reserve fund to pay for COVID-19 relief programs. Then it immediately passed a new bill that reduced the amount to $57 million, reflecting the most recent news about the city’s increasing revenue shortfall this year.

Continue reading

Council approves amendments to force layoffs in SPD, disband Navigation Team, and more

Today the City Council marched through about two dozen amendments to the 2020 budget intended to address calls to partially defund and re-organize the Seattle Police Department. Along the way, they also achieved another long-time goal of progressive advocates: eliminating the Navigation Team. After the vote this afternoon, I recorded an hour-long debrief with Omari Salisbury of Converge Media and Marcus Green of the South Seattle Emerald. It was a great, far-ranging conversation, and I think you’ll enjoy watching it.

Continue reading

“Defunding SPD” is going to be a lot harder than anyone thinks

Yesterday’s acknowledgement by the city that the Council’s ban on “less lethal” weapons violated the terms of the 2012 Consent Decree points to a much larger issue: efforts to “defund” and re-imagine the Seattle Police Department will face a complex web of legal, labor, and contractual impediments that will drag out the process for several months or possibly years.

Continue reading

Understanding the Seattle Police Department Budget

The past month has brought calls for dramatic reductions to police departments budgets, including here in Seattle. In order to make sense of those demands, it’s important for us to understand how police departments request and spend their budgets. Here is a deep dive of the SPD budget, with a historical perspective, breakdowns from a number of different angles, a look at Mayor Durkan’s proposed 2020 cuts (as well as her early thoughts on next year’s budget), and some of the principles behinds calls to “defund the police.”

Continue reading