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Watch My Comments During Monday's Council Briefing

On Monday, I announced my intent to launch an inquest into Seattle Police Department's budget, and my commitment to defunding the police by 50 percent ideally and using that money to invest back into communities we've failed -- creating anti-racist low barrier housing, investing in equitable transit, providing permanent supportive housing, and providing housing options for survivors of violence and more.

We must first do a thorough, transparent deep dive into the Seattle Police Department’s funding. The police department’s $400 million-plus budget for too long has been a black box, a lack of information on where that money is going, as often departments will only share details with Mayoral approval.

You can learn more about our budget process below, including how to be part of the conversation. But first, if this seems drastic to you — let’s remember how we have repeatedly defunded public schools and public health over the years. For a take on how this concept of defunding the police is rational, possible and realistic - take a listen to Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio Cortez on Now This Politics!

Across the country and in Seattle people are looking for change. We cannot wait. We need to take bold action now. Defunding the police is the first step, but we need to go further and invest in our communities of color, and follow their directive to reinvest in the community health, housing, economic stability, community-led public safety programs and black-led organizations creating change so that they can continue to hold us accountable.

We are going to begin that process on Wednesday by dissecting SPD's budget, and continue by fighting back against a proposed austerity budget that cuts our city's most essential social services. Join us as we take this first step tomorrow. We are not alone in calling for this action, see examples from the Minneapolis City CouncilCities across the State of CaliforniaCamnden NJ  and a podcast on what defunding police means from The New York Times

We are not alone. We can do this. We can follow the lead of black-led community organizations who have been calling for this action for years.

We’re in the midst of a deadly global pandemic, a possible recession that could reach Great Depression levels, and protests calling for greater police accountability and reinvestments in racial justice policies. These are the overarching themes that Council must seek to address and rectify as we consider the 2020 Rebalancing Budget, and our 2021 and 2022 budgets. The budget is a reflection of the City’s values and priorities, and must be in alignment with our constituents’ needs, not an austerity budget that does not address these unprecedented times.

I promise to hold transparent, inclusive and productive budget sessions over the next six weeks. 

Tomorrow, Wednesday, June 10th, we will have the first  Select Budget Committee at 2:00 PM. We will be discussing the revenue legislation put forward by Councilmember Sawant and Morales; you can review the agenda and presentations here. We will also have an overview of the Seattle Police Department's 2020 adopted budget. We will be taking public comment at the start of the meeting at 2:00 PM. You can pre-register to provide live public comment, the sign-up sheet will be available at 12:00 PM, two hours before the start of the meeting and will continue to stay open until the end of public comment. People will have one minute to provide their comments, we will take public comment until 3:00 PM.   

Here are some additional details about our virtual public comment: 

  • Please register with the same phone number you will be calling from to ensure you are recognized during public comment.   
  • A message will be sent to the registered email address that includes the meeting call-in information and directions.  
  • Please call 15 minutes before public comment begins. 
  • When joining the meeting, each caller will be muted by default.  
  • Speakers will be asked to provide comment in the order of registration. The Chair will call on each speaker by name, at which point they will be unmuted for one minute to give public comment.   
While giving public comment:  
  • Mute other devices you're using to watch the Council meeting to avoid audio feedback.  
  • State your name for the record.  
  • Using speaking points can be helpful.     
Please be aware that the Council's rules about public comment still apply to virtual public comment provided during our remote committee meetings. 

People can also provide comment in writing via email at council@seattle.gov or they can individually call our offices and leave voicemails

 

Elected Leaders of Color Send Unified Message to Seattle Mayor and Chief: De-escalate Now!

I was proud to sing onto this letter - authored by Representative Pramila Jayapal (WA-07) and President Gonzalez, and signed onto by eight other elected city, county and state elected officials of color who represent the Seattle community. We sent this letter to Mayor Jenny Durkan and Police Chief Carmen Best to urge them to enact meaningful and transformative changes to the very nature of policing throughout the city. 
 
The letter was signed by Congresswoman Jayapal and Seattle City Council President Lorena González, State Senators Joe Nguyen, Rebecca Saldaña and Bob Hasegawa, State Representative Cindy Ryu, King County Councilmember Girmay Zahilay and Seattle City Councilmembers Tammy Morales, Kshama Sawant and me! It calls on Mayor Durkan and Chief Best to take three critical and timely actions:
 
First, immediately end law enforcement’s violent response to ongoing demonstrations by ending the use of the National Guard; stopping the use of all forms of chemical substances for crowd control; ending the use of rubber bullets and flash-bangs; and demilitarizing police on the streets who interact with protestors.
 
Second, completely rethink policing to create a model for public safety that truly upholds the safety of all communities and redirect law enforcement spending and investing into essential services.
 
Third, immediately institute serious accountability and transparency measures into police contracts.
 
The elected officials of color full letter is here. This joint message of solidarity, along with this letter from almost all elected officials in the Seattle region - and now signed by ALL Seattle City Council members - sent a unified and sole message: deescalate now, defund the police, and reinvest in what makes our communities safe and healthy.
This is just the beginning,
Teresa Mosqueda
#BlackLivesMatter

Seattle City Council Councilmember, Position 8
teresa.mosqueda@seattle.gov
206-684-8806
Copyright © 2020 Seattle City Council, All rights reserved.


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