First up, the Seattle Times ran a piece from their editorial board yesterday resoundingly in favor of removing police disciplinary issues from collective bargaining, as would have been achieved by SB5134 this session had it been able to move forward. This piece of reform is one of the key measures needed in order to negotiate a more favorable contract with SPOG that could, among other things, finally implement Seattle’s 2017 accountability legislation. The importance of this editorial running in Seattle’s official paper of record cannot be overstated; at best, it could represent a shift in thinking as people become more educated about these issues.
Meanwhile, CM Sawant was able to stall her recall by another three weeks, but the campaign to recall her is now able to start collecting signatures towards that effort. The article reports the recall campaign backers don’t want the recall to appear on the November ballot, so if they have their way, there may be a special election sometime after that date.
Some excellent reporting by Paul Kiefer shows the difficulties inherent with having most of the OPA’s investigative force (9 out of 11) be sworn officers. One of those investigators had complaints lodged against him after he’d transferred into OPA from his time in SPD before the transfer, showcasing the difficulty of truly knowing a sworn officer’s record when allowing them to hold an OPA position. Luckily in this case the officer voluntarily transferred out of the OPA, but there is also an open question of what would happen should an officer shown to have past misconduct refused to do so.
Another article in Publicola brings up another weakness in the proposed city charter amendment about homelessness: namely, that it focuses solely on housing for homeless individuals instead of focusing on the larger problem, a dearth of affordable housing in the Seattle area.
In their meeting minutes from April 16, the Equitable Communities Initiative anticipates the earliest date they could present the task force’s recommendations on the expenditure of their allocated $30m to the City Council would be May 21, with anticipated City Council action in mid to late June.
Other News of Note
The Washington state legislative session ends on Sunday, April 25. Work is still being done on a bill to address the Blake decision, and it looks like it will go right down to the wire.
This week Time Magazine ran an article comparing the effort to defund the police with the previous movement towards psychiatric deinstitutionalization in the 1960s. If you want a dash of hope that large change is possible, this is a great read to take you into the weekend.
I’ll be on vacation next week, so we’ll catch up on all the news at the beginning of May. In addition to finding out what happens with the Blake decision bills, the Seattle Public Safety committee meeting on April 27 has a busy agenda, including a briefing and discussion from the Interdepartmental Team on Policing and Community Safety, the SPD quarterly finance and staffing report, and an update from HSD on Safe and Thriving Communities and the Victim Advocate Transfer. Hopefully we’ll also have a rescheduled Seattle Community Economic Development committee meeting with a presentation on participatory budgeting in the near future.
Other News of Note