Is the tension easing between Seattle City Council and Mayor Durkan?

Aug 13, 2020, 6:57 AM
Protesters rally outside City Hall in support of defunding police on August 5, 2020 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by David Ryder/Getty Images)
(Photo by David Ryder/Getty Images)

Is there a glimmer of compromise inside Seattle City Hall? The council finally appears to be willing to work with the mayor on emergency COVID-19 funding, while not emptying the emergency bank accounts.

Seattle and beyond react to Chief Best’s retirement announcement

As you have probably noticed, things have been very nasty between the Seattle City Council and the mayor recently, whether it’s over police reform, the police chief, or the budget. But a small ray of sunshine appeared on Wednesday as the council appeared willing to work with Mayor Jenny Durkan on COVID funding.

To reset the stage, the council voted unanimously to spend $86 million in emergency funds for COVID relief. The money would be paid back by a new big business payroll tax. Durkan vetoed the bill, calling it irresponsible to spend almost all of the city’s reserves during a global pandemic and recession.

Councilmember Andrew Lewis spelled out the toxic relationship inside city hall.

“I don’t think I am personally shocking anyone from the viewing public or anyone on this council by saying there is very real friction between this virtual second floor and the virtual seventh floor in the running of this city, and that is spilling over into everything we are doing as a city government,” he said.

Lewis told the virtual meeting that he is not happy working with this kind of relationship. He was one of two councilmembers to vote against the overriding of Mayor Durkan’s veto of the spending plan. The override passed 6-2, with Councilmember Debra Juarez absent.

This procedural move allowed the council to immediately amend the earlier legislation, which the council did. It will no longer spend $86 million in emergency funds. It has lowered that number to $57 million.

Seattle council approves plan for spending on COVID relief, big business tax

“Given the crisis that we are in, we understand the realities of the changing revenue forecast, the trying times that we are in,” said Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda.

The city found out Monday that the revenue forecast took another $26 million hit. Mosqueda said lowering the emergency spending reflects that new reality.

“All of this is in our joint interest,” she said. “That we work together to provide immediate relief and to close this revenue gap.”

The vote to pass the reduced spending plan was 7-1, with only Councilmember Kshama Sawant voting no. She wanted to fill the revenue gap with more taxes on businesses.

Mayor Durkan has not decided what to do with this latest plan, and she could issue another veto. She issued a statement after the council’s action.

“For weeks, I have been asking to collaborate with the City Council to provide relief, acknowledge our worsening financial situation, and ensure we had an honest and transparent spending plan of resources that we could actually deliver in the weeks and months to come. To date, the needed collaboration has not occurred, though I was grateful Council reached out to explore compromises this week.”

Local News

Bill Kaczaraba

Lovable radio host Frasier returns, but not to Seattle

Frasier, the lovable but loveless radio host who put Seattle on the map will not be returning to the Emerald City.
13 hours ago
Capitol Hill shooting...
KIRO 7 News Staff

Investigation underway after man shot in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood

Police are investigating after a man was shot in the hip in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood on Saturday morning.
2 days ago
(Photo from KIRO 7)...
Julia Dallas, KIRO 7 News and Bridget Chavez, KIRO 7 News

Redmond police using vehicle-mounted GPS tracking system to track down fleeing suspects

The Redmond Police Department started using StarChase Pursuit in January to safely pursue fleeing suspects.
2 days ago
Deedee Sun, KIRO 7 News

Murder of Kent teacher calls attention to mental health crisis in Washington

A Tacoma mom stabbed and killed on Wednesday has been identified as 66-year-old Gail Gese, a teacher at Cedar Heights Middle School in Kent.
2 days ago
In this photo provided by the U.S. Coast Guard Pacific Northwest, a Coast Guard rescue swimmer reac...
Associated Press

Man rescued by Coast Guard wanted in ‘Goonies’ fish incident

A man who was saved by a Coast Guard rescue swimmer at the mouth of the Columbia River as a massive wave rolled the yacht he was piloting Friday was wanted for a bizarre incident in which police said he left a dead fish at the Astoria, Oregon, home featured in the classic 1985 film, "The Goonies."
2 days ago
FILE - An Amazon company logo on the company's building in Schoenefeld near Berlin, Germany, March ...
Associated Press

Amazon violated labor law with delivery app

A Spanish court has ruled that Amazon broke labor laws by forcing more than 2,000 delivery drivers to use an app that the company controlled for scheduling work and payments and requiring them to use their own cars and cellphones on the job.
2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.
Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Is the tension easing between Seattle City Council and Mayor Durkan?