The Seattle City Council Is Stuck in Budget Limbo




I know that people don't like to talk about this, but it really doesn't matter at what level you fund the police. As long as the protests are going on, there's going to be cops at them. The cops have to be paid. The SPD budget will over over-budget, so they'll go to the council, who will give them more money, because they can't not pay employees. That money has to come from somewhere. Where do you think it will come from?

I'm not anti-protest, but people need to understand the reality of the budget. Frankly, I don't think a lot of the council does.


If there is a Venn diagram that has one circle saying, "Disband the police and use the budget to form an organization that catches criminals and other groups dedicated to helping people with mental health, drug addiction, and homelessness," and a second circle that says, "I don't trust the mayor or anyone on the city council to do the first part competently," then I'm in both circles.


In a sign of how fully enveloped the council is in their idealogical bubble even Al Sharpton is speaking out against defunding the police. Here's a pro tip, collaboration also means talking with people who don't agree with you instead of "centering" your entire budget around a small, vocal group of activists. I would be ok if they council wanted to continue their recess for the remainder of the year.


More funding for the police. More officers on the street.


Fine, fund them. Use those funds to teach them deescalation and problem-solving without guns. Use those funds to hire people who aren't white supremacists.


I am glad the Mayor finally got a spine to stand up to the zealots on the Council.



Let's get real.

Cut the SPD budget by 65% (it keeps getting more and more the longer we "bargain").

And use automatic traffic cameras and parking fines for cars to pay for the car-subsidizing West Seattle Bridge.

Double the traffic fines and parking fines.

There's your bridge money.

But if you can't provide police to stop thousands of maskless people from endangering Wallingford and Fremont, you're not getting police funds.

Oh, and cancel all overtime for police.

Do your paperwork during regular work hours.


We the People on the whole see our police forces underperforming in a crucial area that by design refuses self-correction and militant resistance. Why the hell would we pay them overtime to beat us up if they won't enforce the law with equal respect and restraint? Why would we send the people who we depend on for our mutual protection to fight with rebels without a cause and arsonists? Is there a Nash equilibrium to this shit?


council is out of touch and most problems in city politics are because of them, not in spite of them.


We need to increase funding for the police (I guess 50% is a good round number) to increase training, hire more officers for foot patrol, hire additional BIPOC officers, regain control of the city, and cover the overtime for babysitting the “protesters” that trash the city nightly.


The city council doesn't want to be responsible for the decision to reduce police funding. They could override the mayor's veto, but if they do, the decision is all on them. They want to hide behind the mayor and not take responsibility for their own policy preference. That's what this is about, and it's completely obvious.

Mosqueda wants to run for mayor, but not have to defend this decision. Gonzalez wants to run for AG, but not have to defend this decision. It's hilarious, but not at all surprising, how actually being responsible for something besides a slogan suddenly causes them to slam on the brakes.


@8 I agree. If I were on the council, I would negotiate with Durkan by slashing more of the police budget. And if she vetoes that, slash more. Let’s see how far we can actually cut.

Durkan is a latte liberal who rode in on Obama’s coattails and we don’t need her anymore.

On top of that, the city council should ban SPOG and permanently ban all police from unionizing. Police unions are a source of criminality and they need to be broken.


TheMisanthrope dear, the council can't "ban" SPOG unless the members vote to disband.

What they CAN do is put forth really awful contracts (pay cuts, cutting benefits, etc) and stand their ground on that, to the point where the rank and file are fed up with the union, but you will never see that from the City of Seattle's Labor Relations department.


You assessment is correct, Bax. Thank you for shining a light on Council’s failed leadership, grand-standing and cowardice.


@14 Yes we can ban collective bargaining for police. We just have to borrow and modify from Virginia’s ban on collective bargaining for public employees.

Here is Virginia’s law:

§ 40.1-57.2. (Effective until May 1, 2021) Prohibition against collective bargaining.
No state, county, municipal, or like governmental officer, agent or governing body is vested with or possesses any authority to recognize any labor union or other employee association as a bargaining agent of any public officers or employees, or to collectively bargain or enter into any collective bargaining contract with any such union or association or its agents with respect to any matter relating to them or their employment or service.

1993, cc. 868, 879.

Basically, what I’m saying is, add in a clause restricting this law to law enforcement agencies.

Voila. Police unions are banned.


@2 The police are entirely responsible for the ongoing protests. They have the power to stop it by changing their union contract. @13 is correct. As long as the cops want to behave as if they're above the law and cover for, misrepresent, and outright lie to protect the other members of their gang the protests have to continue. It is entirely their responsibility, and withing their power to fix this.


@19 Self-cleaning trash? I guess that’s a possibility.


The Misanthrope, we're not the state of Virginia. We're WA state. WA state would have to adopt that law. (Good luck with that). If Seattle wants to fix this particular problem, I think my course of action is much wiser. It takes two parties to enter into a contract - management and labor. Management doesn't have to participate. Keep leaving them without a contract until the union caves. The city has done it before. I'll kindly direct you to the City Light IBEW strikes of the mid 1970's.

You_can't_stop_us, why would the cops want to change their contract? They're making crazy money off of these protests. Would you willingly cut your wages? Maybe the better course of action would be for the resistance to come into the new century and find a way of protesting that doesn't enrich their nemesis?


@21 That's some high quality victim blaming you got going on there.
I'd counter that it's up to our elected officials to lead the resistance. But instead we have mayor tear gas and the good people on both sides bunch.
The fact that the police are unwilling to change their contract is the reason you should be supporting the protesters.


@21 Yes, we would have to adopt that law.

That’s why we have a city council to adopt that law on a local level. Then we can put pressure to move that up to the state level.

And if nobody wants to do it, we vote them out.


Idealism aside, 22 dear, by “supporting the protesters” you are enriching the police. At the end of the day, the only people getting ahead in this scenario are the cops.

So why not start pressuring the council, or working for a new council instead of making it so that the cops are taking home six figures? Again, you can defund the cops until the cows come home, but if they keep racking up the OT, the city’s going to find the money to pay them.

Of course, flipping the council takes hard work and focus. A lot of the council members are in with the neighborhood activists, who are the only one who dependably vote.


@22, maybe back in early June, when the protesters had broad public support, this law could have been passed. Instead, people went for defunding by 50%. Most of the city council supported defunding, although they seem to be hoping people won't remember. I'd actually say banning the union would have been a much better approach, police unions fight against reform every step of the way and getting rid of them could provide meaningful reform. This is what they did in Camden and it worked pretty well.


I wonder how much Nelson Mandela worried about the salaries of the foot soldiers enforcing apartheid?


Fight the police union any way that it
can be done.

Demand that the police stop killing people and brutalizing people Catalina dear. And keep on cutting their budget every time it comes up. The money won goes to humane solutions instead of murdering and sweeping and brutalizing the poor and the people of color.

Never say never that’s because empires fall eventually and people will only put up with so much bs from politicians and their enablers. Get a backbone. I mean really.

Support the protestors because its the right side of history.


Thank you Will, Misanthrope, you can’t stop us, Bax - Keep it up.


23 Thank you for that early morning chuckle. Yes, this is just like Apartheid South Africa. Except we're one city, with a collapsed tax base, and no Nelson Mandela in sight.

Ivy dear, I support the BLM movement, but it is cutting of its nose to spite its face. If you can't grasp the basics of how budgets work, you're never going to get anywhere. When they start furloughing employees, cutting library hours, hiking up utility rates, closing community and senior centers, but still paying out huge amounts of OT to cops, you'll at least have your self-righteousness - and nobody's going to blame the cops for all that, outside of a little circle of self-congratulatory activists.

I would think that a group of young people would be tired of these baby boomer tactics and would have figured out how to really jack the system - not just do what Grandma and grandpa, or their equally elderly poly sci prof, told them worked in Vietnam. The protests have given this movement a seat at the table of power, but no one wants to sit down.


@23 I agree with pressuring councilmembers. That’s why I’m writing to my city council members weekly.

But, as we can tell, Catalina, my dear, you’ve been anti-protest from the start, and we’ve all seen it. Now, to top it off, you’re being hypocritical.

Take this comment from June during the heyday of CHAZ:


But this is just a shit show. Another iteration of The Jungle, masquerading as some grand struggle. It's time to close it down, reopen the precinct, and go about restructuring how we deal with public safety issues.

Step number one: The city should decertify SPOG.
Step number two: Make everyone in SPD reapply for their job.
Step number three: Create a plan for how to provide more public safety resources than just people with guns - and back it up with money and legislation
Step number four: completely revamp 911 dispatching.

But that's hard work. It's much more fun to play revolutionary. Until people start getting shot or raped.


Here, you even agree with decertifying and banning SPOG. Now that we’re starting to demand it, suddenly you’re against it.

It’s almost as if you just hate the protests out of spite (or, maybe there’s another reason).


@29 Happy to bring a little joy to your morning.
It is a bit concerning that people demanding and risking jail time and possibly limbs and lives while demanding equality under an oppressive regime vary in their legitimacy based on geographical location and severity of discrimination in your view.
No we are not apartheid South Africa. Nor our we Ireland. Heck, it's not even as bad as the Jim Crow south. Why weren't any of those civil rights protesters concerned with the negative financial impacts of their actions?


The Misanthrope dear, believe it or not, you can support a movement without supporting its non-productive tactics - like the shitshow that CHOP devolved into.

If you would actually read that comment of mine you posted, instead of being outraged because I am challenging your catechism, you might see that I put forth a semi-realistic agenda (I was fuzzy on the whole “decertify” thing. That can’t be done without legislative changes. I am now proposing that the city just stonewall the union until the rank-and-file lose confidence). I’m not seeing that happen anyplace else.

I have always advocated that the next step in this process - if one really wants change - is for leaders of the movement to step into the power vacuum with real proposals, not meaningless “demands”, or arbitrary numbers for budget cuts.

The current tactics might be more effective if COVID hadn’t crippled our economy, but the fact is - and what the council is afraid to talk about - is that the city is very nearly broke, at a time when there is an acute need for public health measures and social services, in addition to our critical infrastructure issues. All of this comes at the expense of low-income people and people of color, and to the benefit of both the police and SPOG - After all, the officer’s wages are what fund the union.

The real problem here is the council and the Mayor. They’re the ones on the other side of the bargaining table from SPOG. They’re the ones who control the budget. Next year we’ll be coming up on council and mayoral elections, as well as the start of a new biennial budget process. It’s the perfect time to start fielding serious candidates with serious proposals about reforming law enforcement while preserving public safety. This issue needs to be taken from the streets to the council - and not just the city council, but also the county council, and the statehouse.


$4 million worth of gun control? Lol, just lol, what the hell does that even mean? You can drive 5 minutes to Bellevue and buy a gun, you can drive 5 minutes to Everett and buy a gun. You can drive 5 minutes to FIFE and buy a gun.
True or not the council gave off the impression of not giving a shit about their constituents and being completely beholden to their money hungry activist allies.


"With the across-the-board budget veto,"

Wrong. Mayor Durkan actually approved most of the budget package, as SCC Insight explains:

"The budget package is actually fifteen bills; Durkan signed ten, returned two unsigned, and vetoed three."


So, she actually signed twice as many bills as she refused to sign, and signed more than three times as many as she vetoed. Rather than portraying this as the partial conciliation that it was, The Stranger simply repeated the Council's (inaccurate) party line:

'"In my mind," Morales said, "this frequent use of the veto represents a really insidious pattern that the winner takes all in a democracy and that power can only be distributed by force."'

"Insidious" actually means, "proceeding in a gradual, subtle way, but with harmful effects." While we're left wondering what was "subtle" about Mayor Durkan's veto of the Council's de-funding of the Navigation Team, we at least get to chuckle at CM Morales' use of "liberal" in a negative sense. She ran away from her socialist background immediately after Mayor Durkan called her on it, but she still believes "liberal" to be a bad word.

The only person here who could be accused of "proceeding in a gradual, subtle way, but with harmful effects," would be CM Morales, who implies elections should not matter -- unless she wins, of course! -- and may well be the only person in Seattle who uses "liberal" in a negative manner.


Your one black friend, Al Sharpton the FBI Informants, said “Police are good?”


I'm very amused watching the far left debate itself about whether to outlaw a public sector union. Grover Norquist is eyeing this with tented fingers.


herrbrahms dear, there really isn't a "far left" in the United States. I'm sorry that your parents were so negligent in your education Did they have substance abuse issues, or was this worldview something you acquired from a fraternity?