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Seattle City Council wrapping up business ahead of budget season

Notes from the Emerald City
Seattle City Council wrapping up business ahead of budget season
By Amy Sundberg • Issue #31 • View online

Seattle News
Amy Sundberg
Good morning, and welcome to Seattle's Council Briefing! One week till the official start of budget season.
This morning’s Seattle Council Briefing was all over the place in terms of protocol and order of speakers, as the Council races to get as much done as possible before Budget Season begins next week. There is also a special meeting of the Public Safety and Human Services committee this Friday morning at 9:30am, where they will hear a presentation about the LEAD scale study report and the Office of Civil Rights Community Task Force report on the realignment of the criminal legal system. CM Herbold says she hopes the City can take the original strategic plan as well as this community task force report and use them to create a resolution to endorse a path forward to realignment. However, we probably won’t see such a resolution until December at the earliest because of budget work.
Certain CMs (notably CM Lewis and CP González) received a letter recently from a coalition of behavioral health providers requesting an emergency summit with local government leaders to discuss implementation of HB1310, the state bill about permissible uses of force by law enforcement that passed earlier this year. Specifically, the letter asks for:
  • a legal analysis of the bill and how it pertains to law enforcement helping with behavioral crisis events
  • clarification about what instructions have been provided to law enforcement officers regarding this law
  • identification and immediate implementation of alternate non-law enforcement interventions that can be deployed for behavioral crises, including scaling up existing resources and establishing new ones as needed
Expect more news about this after the summit has been convened.
This afternoon the Council voted on CM Sawant’s bill to ban SPD from training with countries that have a track record of human rights abuses, and the debate became VERY heated. In the end, the bill failed, with CM Sawant, Herbold, Morales, and Mosqueda voting in favor and CM Strauss, Juarez, Lewis, Pedersen, and CP González voting against.
Finally, in Seattle election news, there has been a flurry of polls, particularly for the mayoral election. I’m not going to dedicate much space to them, as most of them don’t seem to be overly reliable and more engaged with testing various messaging possibilities for the next month and a half of campaigning. One message being tested? Bruce Harrell’s failure to call for Ed Murray’s resignation as Seattle Mayor after the latter was accused of sexual abuse in 2017, which is apparently a fairly effective message when it comes to fostering support of CP González.
Upcoming Events in Seattle
This year’s Solidarity Budget is hosting their virtual kick-off summit this Saturday, September 25 from noon to 2pm. You can sign up for this event here, or it will be live streaming on Facebook from the Decriminalize Seattle and Black Action Coalition pages.
The Seattle Times is hosting virtual candidate debates on homelessness; the mayoral debate is on Wednesday, September 29 from 7-8pm and debates for Seattle City Attorney, Seattle City Council Position 9, and King County Council District 3 are on Thursday, September 30 from 5:30-7pm.
Recent Headlines
Bonney Lake council member broke law in his job as a cop, probe finds | Crosscut
King County moves toward repealing bicycle helmet law | Crosscut
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Amy Sundberg

This newsletter covers Seattle politics and policy with a particular focus on police accountability and criminal legal reform, while also referencing relevant news in Washington State and beyond.

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