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.

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Marathon Council meeting on encampment removals ends in impasse, but hints at a better path

The City Council met for five and a half hours this afternoon. The official topic was a proposed bill that would codify restrictions on the removal of unsanctioned homeless encampments, and from time to time the bill garnered a mention or two.  In the end there were no votes today on amendments or on the bill itself, and for the most part things concluded right where they began. But there were the occasional nuggets of wisdom shared, and if you squinted you could see hints of a path to get the city to a better place in its attempts to …

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Editorial: here’s what the city should do about the Navigation Team

Yesterday afternoon’s Council committee hearing to review the most recent quarterly report for the Navigation Team was nothing short of a bloodbath. You can watch the video here, if you are so inclined, and read Erica Barnett’s summary. In a nutshell: the Human Services Department tried to put lipstick on a pig, obscuring the struggles that the Navigation Team faces. And the Council was having none of it. Prior to yesterday’s meeting, there were already some vocal critics of the Navigation Team, including Council members Sawant and Mosqueda, but the rest of the Council appeared to see the team as …

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Council hears quarterly report on the Navigation Team

This morning, the Human Services Department delivered its second-quarter report to the City Council on the Navigation Team. Last fall the Council placed a proviso on the team’s 2019 budget so that it must deliver a report each quarter in order to get the next quarter’s budget released and available to be spent. The Nav Team has been increasing the amount of metrics it tracks and produces, though quite frankly most of the numbers in the report (for January – March) are not terribly insightful — especially since its regular work was suspended for two weeks during the February winter …

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