Important Public Safety Amendment on the Table Tomorrow for Discussion and Possible Vote

SPD Budget Amendment Vote Tomorrow

Tomorrow at Seattle’s Housing and Finance committee meeting, the SPD’s proposed spending plan for the ~$15m in salary savings for 2021 will be discussed and voted on through an amendment to the supplemental budget. New amendments to this public safety amendment have just been added today, so it is still an evolving situation. You can view the revised amendment here, as well as two amendments to the amendment. (Now there’s a mouthful!)
These amendments will fund most of what SPD asked for in their proposed spending plan, including civilian positions within SPD, the Work Scheduling Timekeeping Project, the NICJR Contract, the SPD Mental Health Provider Program, contract background services, separation pay, deferred compensation, and paid parental leave. It also authorizes $5.4m for new investments: $340k acquisition of a protocol system for the CSCC 911 dispatchers; $3m to HSD for the Community Safety Capacity Building RFP; $500k to HSD for the King County Regional Peacekeepers Collective; $700k to the CSCC to implement a new specialized triage response that will provide an alternative model for some non-criminal 9-1-1 calls and reduce the need for a sworn officer response for some calls; $500k to FAS to address SPD evidence storage capacity issues by leasing additional space; $50K to Seattle IT for a PDR position to perform e-mail searches for SPD; and $50k to SPD for a PDR position in OPA.
The original amendment gave the SPD leeway to spend an additional $3.3m however they saw fit; however, amendment 1 to amendment 8 takes $2.25m of that money to allocate specifically to “Technology Updates” within SPD.
Is this a win for those who are proponents of the divest and reinvest strategy when it comes to policing in Seattle? Not really, but it could be worse. Some of the new investments are promising, but less than $5m of the total $15m of savings is being allocated for projects that could be considered alternates to public safety. It is worth noting the proposed hiring bonuses for new police officers are not approved by this legislation and will require separate action, so that’s something we’ll be looking for in upcoming months.
There will be time for public comment on this amendment tomorrow morning at 9:30am, or you can email your CMs. The final vote on the supplemental budget (including this amendment) won’t be until mid-September because of the summer recess.

Today’s Seattle Council Briefing

Good morning, and welcome to Seattle’s Council Briefing! This is the last one before the summer recess.
At this afternoon’s Seattle Council meeting, the Council had votes scheduled on the bill moving parking enforcement officers from SPD to SDOT and the bill putting limitation on use of less lethal weapons (this second had been put on hold waiting for the consent decree hearing last week, at which the Judge chose not to weigh in on the matter). Last week the Council voted to lift the proviso to allow the $30m spending plan for the Mayor’s Equitable Communities Initiative Task Force (a name I have to look up every time to get correct) to move forward.
This was the last City Council meeting before the summer recess. Because the City Council meeting on September 7 was cancelled due to Rosh Hashanah, the next Council Briefing and Council Meeting will be on Monday, September 13.
CM Mosqueda has announced the dates of this budget season’s three public hearings: October 12 and November 10 in the evening and November 18 in the morning. The Mayor will be bringing her proposed 2022 budget to present to Council on September 27, which is when budget season officially begins. At that point, all other committee meetings are suspended for the duration.

Compassion Seattle Challenged in Court

Last week the ACLU and two advocacy groups filed a lawsuit against the Compassionate Seattle ballot initiative. There will have to be a quick ruling as this initiative is set to be on the ballot in November. Opinions are mixed about the merits of the suit and whether it is likely to succeed.

Seattle Election News

Lastly, in some embarrassing local election news, the top local Trump donor, George Petrie, is also a top donor to an independent expenditure campaign supporting Bruce Harrell for Seattle mayor, as well as a max contributor to Harrell’s campaign. As of July, George Petrie was also one of the top two donors to the Compassion Seattle charter amendment, having donated $50k. This isn’t a great look for either Bruce Harrell or the Compassion Seattle campaign, but it’s a good reminder that following the money continues to be a worthwhile practice.

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