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Issue 17: SPD’s Slush Fund
The Mayor has proposed a budget that is padded with an extra $65.3M million for the police. The SPD’s budget should have gone down in 2022 because Parking Enforcement and the 911 Communications Center were transferred out of the SPD part-way through 2021, and there were staffing reductions in other units.
Where are they hiding it?
Here’s the budget shell-game that the Mayor and interim SPD Chief are playing. Unless otherwise specified, page numbers refer to the Mayor’s proposed budget.
They reduce the number of full-time employees in Special Operations from 292 to 172 but only reduce the program’s budget from $45.9M to $43.5M [Page 385]. To be proportional, the budget should be reduced an additional $16.5M.
They reduce the number of full-time employees in Administrative Operations from 170 to 30 but only reduce the program’s budget from $28.7M to $20.8M [Pages 390-391]. To be proportional, the budget should be reduced an additional $15.8M.
They fund 134 more officer positions than they intend to fill, even with SPD’s optimistic hiring and retention projections. Council’s Central Staff estimates this excess salary funding to be $19M [Page 9 of the October 15 Central Staff memo regarding the Seattle Police Department].
They add a $14M “Adjustment for One-Time Budget Changes” [page 374] to make up for the $13.1M loss of 911 and Parking Enforcement. They are trying to offload duties while keeping the funding.
Note: salary-related savings may also be realized if the SPD does not meet its rosy hiring and retention expectations in the coming year. Those salary savings would be in addition to the numbers outlined above.
Thus, a total of at least $65.3M of the SPD’s budget operates with no clear purpose or accountability and is beyond the department’s capacity to use productively. City council could remove those dollars without affecting true, budgeted operations.
If Council doesn't repurpose those dollars, budget accountability will backslide, and the SPD will continue to use their excess resources to harm.
-Peter Condit (he/him)
This is a pivotal election that could have an enormous impact on our path towards abolition, and the right-wing donors and corporate interests know it. They are pouring millions of dollars into ads that incite fear and attack our progressive candidates like Nikkita Oliver, candidate for City Council Position 9, and Nicole Thomas-Kennedy, candidate for City Attorney. These are age-old tactics used to maintain police power and budgets and uphold the status quo.
How can you show up?
Vote early - last day to return ballots is November 2!
Go through your phonebook and/or DMs and send messages to your friends, neighbors and community members and ask if they’ve received their ballot and if they have a plan to vote by Nov 2nd.
Have conversations with your community and post on social media.
Have questions about your ballot or registration? Most can be answered on the King County Elections page. Not sure what candidate you support? Ask around and/or check out the Stranger’s voting guide to learn more.
Mutual Aid Exchange
Join Black Action Coalition for a Community Care Day Mutual Aid Event on Tuesday, November 2, 2021, from 2:00 PM - 6:00 PM at Washington Hall 153 14th Ave Seattle, WA 98122. We are hosting a mutual aid exchange and asking for your help four helping our unhoused community.
Items To Share:
First Aid Kids
New Coats and Socks
There will be free haircuts, food, music, and performances!
We will also have a free legal clinic to help with your legal questions.
Tell your friends to pull up and let’s help the community!
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