The opposition just keeps growing.
Last night, the 46th District Democrats resoundingly voted to oppose an aggressive solicitation bill that the Seattle City Council plans to consider on Monday. This comes on the heels of the 34th District Democrats, 36th District Democrats, and 37th District Democrats all passing—unanimously or by overwhelming margins—similar resolutions this week.
Chad Lupkes, chair of the 46th District Democrats, says, "People spoke on both sides, but the body voted pretty heavily in favor of the resolution." By voice vote, he estimates, the group voted to opposed the bill being pushed by City Council Member Tim Burgess by a margin of roughly eight to one.
"Most of the people ... did not see that the ordinance was necessary, and there was also stated concern that the ambiguities in the language put too much into the hands of the police officers," Lupkes says. "People were saying this is unnecessary and we have the tools that we need."
Burgess's proposal would create a $50 fine for aggressive solicitation, even though the city already has a criminal aggressive begging law on the books. To justify the bill, Burgess has misrepresented police data, ignored surveys that show panhandling problems are the number-one area of improvement, and dismissed a human rights commission report that shows the bill creates problems with due process.
Despite a renewed Astroturf campaign launched yesterday by the Downtown Seattle Association—pressuring its business and property owners to call a handful of perceived swing votes on the council—city leaders are amassing to oppose the bill.
In addition to the four district Democratic organizations (which represent most of the geographic area of Seattle), opposition now includes a federation of all the city's community councils, the city-appointed human rights commission, State Senator Joe McDermott (D-34), State Senator Jeanne Kohl-Welles (D-36), King County Council Member Larry Gossett, City Council Member Nick Licata, former city council member and superior court judge Jim Street, the ACLU of Washington, Seattle NAACP, Real Change Newspaper, the Seattle King County Coalition on Homelessness, Interfaith Taskforce on Homelessness, Seattle Displacement Coalition, El Centro de la Raza, Minority Executive Directors Coalition of King County, Lutheran Public Policy Office, Statewide Poverty Action Network, Asian Counseling and Referral Services, Urban Rest Stop, Roots, and the Church Council of Greater Seattle.