Seattle Council to vote on policing change budget vetoes

SEATTLE (AP) — The Seattle City Council will take action Tuesday on Mayor Jenny Durkan’s vetoes of council bills meant to scale back the police department and ramp up community-led programs starting this year.

The mayor may mostly get her way, The Seattle Times reported. With seven votes, the nine-member council on Tuesday could override Durkan’s vetoes and cement 2020 budget adjustments passed in August after months of debate and massive protests against police violence.

That’s what Council President M. Lorena González said Monday she would prefer. However, she said, other council members have indicated they are likely to side with the mayor. Because of that, González has unveiled a substitute budget proposal.

The substitute proposal would nix many of the public safety changes advanced by council members under pressure to redirect mass police dollars to social services. The outcome would be a major departure from the defunding aim that seven council members adopted in July.

The August bills would take only about $3 million from the Police Department’s $400 million budget this year but council members described them as a “down payment” on future reductions.

The substitute proposal, González said, would reflect “our sincere efforts to bridge past divides, to chart a path forward and to turn a page and find a way for the leadership of the city to come together.”

Councilmembers Tammy Morales, Kshama Sawant and Teresa Mosqueda signaled they may vote to override Durkan’s vetoes and remain committed to bills that had nearly unanimous support. None of the other council members stated their intentions.

In a joint statement, two community coalitions that have been pressing City Hall to defund the police described the substitute proposal as “unacceptable” and as “anti-Black.”

“This new bill represents an utter capitulation to the Mayor, who has shamelessly not moved from her anti-Black, pro-police position,” said the statement by King County Equity Now and Decriminalize Seattle.