Thank you to all of the activists who packed Council Chambers on August 10, 2016, to support the “Block the Bunker” campaign demanding Council vote against spending an astronomical $160 million (or $149 million) to build a new North Police Precinct. Their testimony can be seen in the video below.
With an affordable housing crisis, ballooning homelessness, underdeveloped mass transit, underfunded education, and neglected social services, a fancy new precinct building is not the highest priority for city funding. To give just one example, based on figures the Office of Housing has provided my office, $160 million could build approximately 1,000 units of affordable housing.
Even if reducing crime was the only consideration, expanding social services or housing 1,000 families would be a far more effective way to reduce crime than providing officers in the North Precinct with a more modern and spacious building to work out of. My office has asked the Mayor’s office and SPD to explain the reasons they believe this project is necessary, and I will share their response with the public when they arrive.
During this year’s budget process, Council will have the opportunity to vote on how to prioritize our City’s resources. Every year, I along with activists, human services, social justice organizations, and labor unions organize the People’s Budget movement to fight to make our city’s budget fund the urgent needs of Seattle’s working people.
Among other things, this year, the People’s Budget movement will be discussing what $160 million should pay for instead of a new North Precinct. Councilmembers will have a clear choice on how to prioritize that funding. In November, that crucial decision will come to a vote, and our movement will be there.
Unlike during the movement against the youth jail, which I was the only Councilmember to oppose, my fellow Councilmembers should heed the overwhelming public testimony from August 10th, and vote against building a new north precinct.
Watch that inspiring testimony of activists in the Seattle Channel video below! And please stay in touch with my office if you would like to help build the movement for a People’s Budget, and against a New North Precinct. You can email or call my office at 206-684-8016.