The City of Seattle has a law on the books requiring The City Council to approve any department’s acquisition of surveillance equipment. The law is old and badly in need of updating, as last year’s Geofeedia incident made clear. Yesterday the Council started its formal consideration of a refreshed version more in keeping with today’s technology.
Yesterday Mayor Ed Murray, Council President Bruce Harrell, and Council Budget Chair Tim Burgess replied to Wells Fargo, officially giving notice that the city will not renew their banking services contract. They also noted that they will not be taking up the bank’s offer to terminate the contract before its termination at the end of 2018.
Yesterday Wells Fargo Bank sent a letter to the City of Seattle in response to the Council’s action to cut its business ties with the bank. In the letter, Wells Fargo’s Head of Government and Institutional Banking expresses its disappointment with the decision, invokes some concern trolling over the resulting “unintended consequences for taxpayers,” and defends its investment in the Dakota Access Pipeline project.
Council member Kshama Sawant, her staff, her Socialist Alternative party, and their partner organizations have done some incredible work over the past several weeks in organizing rallies and protests to give voice to opposition to President Trump’s most abhorrent executive orders and policies. But last week she turned the rhetoric knob to 11, and in so doing argued for some actions that are not just ill-conceived but illegal, dangerous to public safety, and a threat to one of the most important foundations of our democracy. And that places her in clear and direct violation of her duties and responsibilities as a City Council member.
This afternoon the City Council ratified an ordinance that sets up the city to cut its ties to Wells Fargo Bank.
In a well-attended meeting of the Affordable Housing, Neighborhoods and Finance Committee this morning, the Council amended and passed out of committee a bill to cut ties with Wells Fargo and strengthen the city’s rules on socially responsible banking and fair business practices. But things got testy along the way.
The big news this morning is yesterday’s Council resolution affirming Seattle as a “welcoming city.”
Earlier this month, Council member Tim Burgess let it be known that he was working on an alternative version of a bill, introduced by Council member Kshama Sawant, that cuts the city’s ties with Wells Fargo and raises the bar for the “social responsible business practices” of the city’s banking services vendors. This morning he shared his version with his fellow Council members and the public. And in a surprise move, Sawant embraced it.
On Monday, Council member Sawant introduced a draft ordinance in response to recent unsavory acts by Well Fargo Bank. Let’s look at the details of that bill, as well as the recent back-and-forth communications between the city and the bank.
Tim Burgess’s announcement that he will not be running for re-election tops the news this morning.