Seattle's leftist mayor vetos police defunding bill

After Seattle city council voted to substantially defund the police, a move which led to the resignation of the chief of police, Mayor Jenny Durkan vetoed bill.

Ari Hoffman Seattle WA

After Seattle city council voted to substantially defund the police, a move which led to the resignation of the chief of police, Mayor Jenny Durkan vetoed bill. The city council had passed a 2020 revised budget including the controversial cuts to the police department, but Durkan declined to allow it to become law. Her action followed pushback from leaders of faith groups and minorities against the council's cuts.

During a press conference Friday, the Mayor said that the budget "…did not look at the concerns of public safety. We need to know what those cuts do to public safety."

The cuts to the Seattle Police Department (SPD) defunded the Navigation Team which provides outreach to people living on the streets of Seattle. Mayor Durkan addressed this specifically saying "…there's no plan for example for how the city will address encampments" after outreach initiatives "were cut by this budget."

Mayor Durkan might have taken note that public support is not on the side of defunding the police. According to a new poll, over 45 percent of Seattlites oppose defunding SPD. The same poll showed that Chief Best had higher favorability than Mayor Durkan, the Defund SPD movement or the Seattle City Council. The majority of those surveyed feel that the cuts proposed by city council would make Seattle less safe.

Prior to the council's defunding vote, the Mayor and Chief Best laid out their own plan for cuts and reallocation of SPD resources. That plan was rejected by council in favor of drastic cuts of over 100 officer positions, the cutting the salaries of Chief Best and other SPD brass with no plan to mitigate the safety concerns of residents.

Mayor Durkan was near tears at the press conference where Chief Best announced her resignation. Best was the popular pick for the Chief position, even though the Mayor originally omitted Best from the list of finalists. Best and Durkan appear to have grown very close since Best was hired, with the Mayor even comparing the duo to "Thelma and Louise" at a press conference in July.

Seattle's mayor has had a rocky summer, gaining national attention for initially backing demonstrations and the armed Capitol Hill Occupied Protest (CHOP), calling it the "summer of love" on CNN until rioters showed up at and vandalized her home, the address of which was removed from public record because of the Mayor’s previous position as a US Attorney.

The Mayor had even spent over 1 million dollars securing barriers for the armed occupiers of a Seattle neighborhood. Following the incidents at the mayor's home, Durkan ordered SPD to take back control of the CHOP from the armed militants. The City Council also refused to consider the Mayor's complaint that Marxist affiliated city councilmember Kshama Sawant had organized the event at her home and given out her address to the vandals.

Mayor Durkan was also named in lawsuits regarding the CHOP and was blamed for SPD abandonment of the East Precinct. The departure of SPD from their precinct building led to the occupation as well as the spike in violence and the effect the lawless occupation had on residents and businesses as well as wrongful death suits for the murders that occupied in the CHOP.

Durkan has also been criticized by the rioters for allowing SPD to use crowd dispersal methods such as tear gas and flash bangs. Sympathizers have filed a recall effort against the Mayor.

"Mayor Jenny" appears to have been trying to play both sides, while forgetting that it was the political center, center right and business friendly voters that pushed her to victory in her election against her contender, radical socialist activist Cary Moon.

Now with no support from the radicals and rioters, Durkan, a major critic of republicans and President Trump, is at risk of a recall. Durkan is also facing likely challenge from Antifa-supporting, socialist councilmember Teresa Mosqueda in 2021, as she looks to the center and the right to shore up support for her re-election.

Mayor Durkan also vetoed the city council's COVID-19 relief package in July as she was concerned that it spent too much cash too quickly on an issue that has no end date in sight and would empty Seattle's "Rainy Day" Fund while the city faces a 326 million dollar shortfall. The Mayor did announce at Friday's presser that she had reached a compromise with the council on the COVID relief package

The mayor said at the press conference that "…to have concerns about council decisions to make cuts before they have a plan." Durkan added that she does "not believe the 2020 budget in its current form moves us closer to those shared goals. I truly believe we can, and must, find common ground for the vision of SPD."

Durkan also said that said "This veto was because the bills, as passed, did not have the type of collaboration that I think we will have going forward, and that I'm hopeful we will have going forward, there's some flaws in each of these bill) that I hope the council can correct, or with discussions, we can find a path forward together."


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