And here in Seattle, several City Council members have signed on to the idea that at least some of SPD’s $400-million annual budget should be reallocated to social service programs.
Why defund the police? Why now?
City leaders tried to cross the consent decree off their to-do list a month ago, with Mayor Durkan saying “the Seattle Police Department has transformed itself.”
Then the protests started.
Over the past several days, video of officers tackling protesters, firing flash-bang grenades, and going over the edge because of a pink umbrella has convinced many Seattleites that slow-moving reforms will never be enough to address the violence and racism that’s “embedded” in our city’s police force.
So we cut the budget. Then what?
Activists who met with Durkan last week demanded the city allocate more money for public health and community safety programs. Black Lives Matter Seattle-King County has echoed that refrain, calling specifically for the city to redirect $100 million from SPD to social services.
The idea is that investing in solutions to widespread problems like mental health, homelessness, and substance abuse will be a more effective strategy than paying for police to address the symptoms of these problems as they surface.
Will this actually happen?
City budgets are messy, and defunding the police isn’t as simple as taking money from Column A and moving it to Column B.
But the idea is picking up political steam. Council member Teresa Mosqueda promised an “inquest” into the SPD budget and has committed — along with two of her colleagues — to reducing department spending by 50 percent.
Even council members who lean more toward the middle have agreed to consider major reductions and reallocations.
“It’s just not a healthy tree,” Debora Juarez said during a briefing yesterday. “We need to plant a new tree.”
Durkan, meanwhile, has agreed to a “divestment that is reinvested in our community needs” but has not cited specific amounts or issued any sort of detailed plan.
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🍺 Washington’s first Black-owned brewery needs your help. Métier Brewing Co. has launched a kickstarter campaign to make up for lost revenue during the pandemic, and it’s also offering pickup and delivery out of its Woodinville taproom. (Thanks to member Bridget M. for the tip!)
😷 Free COVID-19 testing sites are popping up all over King County. Here’s a list of what’s currently available.
💻 Another way to get connected: Anyone with a Seattle library card can check out a mobile HotSpot for free, and a new grant from the Seattle Public Library Foundation is supplying an additional 75 HotSpots for homeless shelters, tiny home villages, and other community partner organizations.
🍽️ Wondering what’s open near you? The Infatuation has a list of restaurants now offering dine-in service, organized by neighborhood.
🎨 More relief for arts and culture: King County’s 4 Culture program is awarding another round of $2,000 grants to local arts and culture workers. The application deadline is June 15.
🌽 Looking for a new gig? The West Seattle Food Bank is hiring a new volunteer coordinator. The pay isn’t great, but it includes benefits.
Know of something else we should include here? Send an email to [email protected] with the subject line “bulletin board,” and we’ll add it to a future newsletter.
💻 Join KUOW for a talk about misinformation on social media (Online)
🏙️ Listen in on a conversation with political activist Shaun Scott and The Urbanist (Online)
🍓 Swing by the Renton Farmers Market for opening day (Renton)
📖 Learn about the history of fascism in the Pacific Northwest (Online)
🕯️ Participate in a vigil for Black lives (Beacon Hill)
✊ March with your neighbors for Black Lives Matter (White Center)
🏫 Take part in a town hall meeting for SPS students (Online)
⚖️ Hear how COVID-19 is impacting local immigrant communities (Online)
🌈 Join Seattle's LGBTQ business alliance for a conversation about white allyship (Online)
🎸 Tune in to a virtual concert in support of the DIY Community Relief Fund (Online)
✊ Join a silent march led by Black Lives Matter Seattle-King County (Judkins Park)