September 23, 2020
The Seattle City Council voted to override Mayor Jenny Durkan’s three vetos of bills to divert funds from the police department into social programs.
The council voted 7-2 in a vote on Tuesday after three hours of discussion that included the consideration of a compromise bill that was ultimately rejected.
Durkan vetoed the police budget bill in August but said in
statement that she did so because the city council had not consulted with her office to arrive at a defunding bill they could agree on.
“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,” she said at the time.
The proposal cuts about $3.4 million from the department’s $400 million budget. Seattle has about 1,400 police officers and the bill would cause 100 police positions to be cut by attrition.
The cut to the police department’s funding falls far short of the demands from Black Lives Matter protesters, who have called for 50% of the funds to be diverted to social programs.
Kshama Sawant, the far left socialist member of the city council, had voted against the bill because it didn’t go far enough to meet the demands of the BLM protesters.
“Seattle Mayor Durkan remains hostile to defunding police,” said Sawant in a tweet. “Democratic Councilmembers completely failed to keep their public promises of 50% defunding in the Summer budget vote, furthermore, approved an austerity budget after having promised anti-austerity.”
The previous vote of the city council to cut police funding also led to the resignation of former Police Chief Carmen Best, who said she felt as if the measures were motivated by “animus toward me specifically.”
While many supporters of the protester praised the modest cuts to the police department, some like local conservative talk show host Jason Rantz condemned the move.
“Seattle City Council voted to override the Mayor’s veto of their dangerous defund police bill,” tweeted Rantz.
“This Council will *always* side with socialists and criminal activists,” he added. “They are the enemy of sane constituents because they don’t respect us.”
Here’s a local news report about the decision:
Seattle City Council overrides Durkan’s budget vetoes over police funds