MYNORTHWEST NEWS

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

Aug 13, 2020, 6:57 AM

council...

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.”

MyNorthwest News

Juanita Beach Kirkland...

Kathy McCormack and Nick Perry, The Associated Press

‘Tis the season for swimming and bacteria alerts in lakes, rivers

With summer about to start, many people flocking to their favorite swimming holes may also want to read up on bacteria warnings.

4 hours ago

Image: A Bellingham Police Department vehicle is seen on a city street in 2015....

Julia Dallas

Bellingham sixth grader allegedly punched by man in racist attack

A Bellingham 6th-grader was allegedly attacked by a man who was spewing racist comments during a school field trip on Wednesday.

5 hours ago

Photo: Starting this fall, students at Seattle's Hamilton International Middle School will have to ...

Julia Dallas

Seattle school to say goodbye to cell phones in the fall

Starting this fall, students at Seattle's Hamilton International Middle School will have to lock up their cell phones during school hours.

8 hours ago

Image: A dose of the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine is displayed at the Neighborcare Health cli...

Sam Campbell and Steve Coogan

Measles case reported at West Seattle clinic; know the symptoms

A child, now confirmed to have measles, went to the Franciscan Health Urgent Care clinic in West Seattle, officials said in a release Friday.

9 hours ago

Image: The Supreme Court building can be seen from a distance on Thursday, June 13, 2024, in Washin...

Associated Press

Supreme Court strikes down Trump-era ban on bump stocks, gun accessory

The Supreme Court has struck down a ban on bump stocks, an accessory that allows semi-automatic weapons to fire rapidly like machine guns.

15 hours ago

Image: A multi-vehicle collision including a semitruck on Interstate 5 in Fife slowed down traffic ...

Steve Coogan

1 killed in multi-vehicle crash on I-5 south in Fife; morning traffic affected

The Washington State Patrol is on the scene of a deadly multi-vehicle crash that occurred on I-5 south in Pierce County early Friday.

16 hours ago

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