‘JUSTICE FOR ALL’: In 2017 State of the City speech, Mayor vows to ‘keep moving forward,’ with $55 million property tax for homelessness, beverage tax for education/youth

Mayor Murray has just concluded his annual State of the City speech, which made history, for starters, simply by the choice of location – Idris Mosque in North Seattle.

The speech concluded as does the Pledge of Allegiance: Vowing “justice for all.”

There were two West Seattle shoutouts – talking about the city’s vibrancy, he mentioned the “bustling evening sidewalks” of The Junction (scripted as “Alaska Way Junction”). And while talking about education and youth programs, he noted the expansion of the South Seattle College (WSB sponsor) 13th-Year Promise program, which offers a free first year of community college for students from certain high schools (in West Seattle, Chief Sealth International High School [added] and soon WSHS).

The big headlines from the speech will no doubt include the two new taxes Murray proposed:

-A $55 million property tax to double the annual spending on homelessness, likely to go to voters in August

-A two-cents-per-ounce tax on “sugar-sweetened beverages” to raise money for education/youth programs – here’s the city-provided infographic on that:

[More info here.]

The proposed property tax was far from everything he said about homelessness. Murray also announced he will be opening the city’s Emergency Operations Center to deal with what he described as the “homelessness disaster.” [More info here.] And he promised to “dramatically increase the clean-up of discarded debris on our sidewalks and streets.”

In his discussion of the HALA Mandatory Housing Affordability rezoning proposals, Murray echoed City Councilmember Rob Johnson‘s recent suggestion that opposing the upzoning is more in line with supporting the President’s policies: “We cannot be a city where people protest the exclusionary agenda coming from Washington, D.C., while at the same time keeping a zoning code in place that does not allow us to build the affordable housing we need.” [More info here.]

We’re adding a few more toplines shortly, and will add the video when it’s ready.

ADDED 3:34 PM: We’ve added some links above, identified with the phrase “more info here,” with additional details about some of the programs/initiatives the mayor anounced. Here’s another one: He announced “Our Best: Seattle’s Commitment to Young Black Men,” described as “the City of Seattle’s first ever initiative focusing specifically on improving life outcomes for young Black men.” [More info here.] He also talked about ongoing efforts to increase police accountability [more info here],

(back to original report) After the jump, the full text of the mayor’s speech, as sent by his office:

Council President Harrell, members of the Seattle City Council, City Attorney Holmes, Presiding Judge Donahue, department directors, and the people of Seattle.

I am pleased to be here in District 5, home to Councilmember Juarez, and to be here with all of you, to deliver this special presentation of the fourth and final State of the City Address of this term as mayor.

These past three years have been quite a journey.

Over the past month, however, it is the state of our nation that has occupied much of our attention, as each passing day brings a new threat to our civic discourse, our civic values and even the rule of law.

And the state of our nation impacts the state of our city.

As the federal government’s actions serve to stigmatize the Muslim community, we are taking the unprecedented step today of meeting in Idris Mosque, the oldest traditionally-built mosque west of the Mississippi.

We as a city have experienced before the shameful targeting of an entire people.

We have witnessed the expulsion of Chinese immigrants from our city.

We have had Pike Place Market and Japantown emptied out of Japanese-American workers and families.

We have seen anti-Semitism lead to violence.

We are here today for the same reason we have stood up for civil rights in our African American churches.

We are here because as a welcoming city to all, we stand in support and solidarity with the Muslim members of the Seattle community.

I want to thank Hisham Farajallah and the congregation for inviting us here today to talk about the state of the city, and this city’s values.

The new president is governing as an authoritarian, driven by a vision, as described in his Inaugural Address, of “American carnage,” “disaster” and “tombstones across the landscape.”

It is a vision of unrelenting bleakness and fear.

But in this country and in this city, we know that this vision does not reflect the depth of the American experiment, or of our Seattle experience.

Where the president sows division and widespread mistrust, Americans and Seattleites are building unity and community.

Where the president is slamming doors and building walls, Americans and Seattleites are spreading our arms and opening our hearts.

Where the president scapegoats and discriminates, Americans and Seattleites celebrate our differences and draw strength from our diversity.

Where the president withdraws from the global effort to protect future generations, Americans and Seattleites are building alliances to fight climate change.

The next four years in this country will be a battle for the soul of America.

Already, we are seeing a surge of activism across the nation not seen for decades – with the epicenter right here in Seattle, including the 170,000 people at the historic Women’s March in January – offering hope that the people, not the president, will have the final word.

The people, not the president, will decide who we are as a nation.

The people, not the president, will shape our path forward.

Where the president spreads darkness, Seattle will shine a light, and offer a different vision.

We will do so by being – as we have been – a city of action, harnessing our commitment to social justice to improve the lives of our people, our communities and our planet.

In direct contrast to the president’s politics of polarization, we will continue to address our challenges as a city through collaboration and through the lens of equity, the driving forces of my administration.

In many ways, our challenges as a city stem from our success as a city.

Seattle is among the most attractive places to live in the country.

This, of course, has brought tremendous growth in population and dramatic changes in our economy and our demographics.

Over the past twenty years, this growth has occurred exactly where the City planned for it – in our urban villages.

But while the City planned for where we would grow, it did not plan to grow equitably and affordably.

As a result, today we are witnessing a growing gap between those who can afford to live here and those who cannot, between those who are thriving and those being displaced.

My Administration is taking a new approach.

We seek smart, well-designed, equitable growth.

We seek to harness the dynamism of our growing city to create vibrant, livable and affordable neighborhoods for all.

We seek to create a place where, as the city grows, our diversity can grow – a place that welcomes people of all ages, races, religions, genders, sexual orientation, national origins and incomes.

Because a city is both a place where many people live together and a powerful tool to help many people live together better.

Smart and equitable growth is growth designated near parks, schools and opportunities for employment, along with grocery stores, shops, restaurants and bars, art galleries, music venues and other amenities.

Our update to the Comprehensive Plan – grounded in a new commitment to equity – seeks to build upon and maximize the accessibility, walkability and vibrancy of our neighborhoods.

Because Seattle’s transportation infrastructure must be adequate to the scale of our growing population, we passed the largest expansion of bus service since the 1970s.

We passed Move Seattle, the largest infrastructure levy in city history, which this year will fund new greenways, bike trails, road repairs and sidewalks to schools.

And we passed Sound Transit 3, a massive investment in our long-term infrastructure that imagines and plans for our city and our region decades from now, while also making critical transit investments today across our city.

After securing sustainable funding for parks through the city’s first-ever Seattle Parks District, we are keeping our parks and community centers accessible by coordinating with our other key investments, including in transportation and housing.

And, after launching the most aggressive affordable housing plan in city history and doubling the Seattle Housing Levy, we are well on our way to tripling our production of affordable housing units in this city within a decade, with 5,800 units in service or in the pipeline since January 2015.

Our commitment to affordability is matched with new worker protections, backed by a new Office of Labor Standards, and our nation-leading minimum wage, which increased to 15 dollars per hour this year for most minimum wage workers in the city.

And our historic legislation to auto-enroll more than 10,000 low-income households into the Utility Discount Program, thanks to the strong support of Councilmembers Herbold and Sawant, means that we have already surpassed our goal to double enrollments by the end of 2018.

All in all, our comprehensive vision means that, as a given neighborhood in this city grows, it may see:

…parks and open space funded by our Parks District,

…additional bus service funded by our transit benefit district,

…new affordable housing funded by Mandatory Housing Affordability and our Housing Levy, and

…new sidewalks or bike lanes funded by Move Seattle…

…all coordinated into a coherent picture that reflects the needs and experiences of the people who live and work in the neighborhood.

Growth that is smart and purposeful is not just growth that is desirable and vibrant, it is also growth that is sustainable.

Being able to walk to a restaurant or a park is enjoyable and it helps reduce our carbon footprint.

We have shown how growth and environmental sustainability need not be at odds with one another.

In fact, Seattle’s greenhouse emissions have fallen since 2008, even as our population and economy have grown.

Downtown Seattle has added 45,000 jobs since 2010, and 95 percent of those new commutes were absorbed by transit, walking, biking, telecommuting and shared car trips.

And because our two biggest sources of greenhouse emissions in Seattle are buildings and transportation, with the support of Councilmember O’Brien we have committed to electrifying our transportation sector and to increasing our buildings’ energy efficiency.

Despite the federal government’s efforts to roll back environmental progress at the national and even global level, I will continue to reach out to mayors throughout the world to lead on climate change, as I have at conferences in Mexico City, Shenzhen and the Vatican.

These are just some of the many integrated ways we have addressed the challenges Seattle faces as a growing city.

The point is this: our challenges as a city are not unique to us.

Climate change, wage stagnation, income inequality, housing affordability, infrastructure investment: our challenges as a city mirror our challenges as a country.

And our solutions are a model for the country.

The progress we have made for our people defines the daily aspirations not just of residents of Seattle, but of rural and suburban America as well.

Our record investments in infrastructure reflect the dreams of communities everywhere across America.

The posture and politics of the new president should not cause us to despair that progress is not possible: Cities in general – and this city in particular – can be the solution.

Together with our regional partners, we must continue down our same path.

We cannot wait. Seattle must keep moving forward.

Doing so is how we help keep alive the promise of the American project and a hopeful vision of progress, sustainability, equity and opportunity.

After all, Seattle is a model of a thriving city, in so many ways.

When I look at Seattle right now and see commuters moving across the city on our expanded light rail system.

See the new express buses on Aurora.

See the bustling evening sidewalks in Ballard, Columbia City, the Alaska Way Junction, Pioneer Square, and Pike Pine.

When I see the orange and yellow cranes in the South Lake Union skyline.

See the lines around the corner for the Seattle International Film Festival, Town Hall lectures, and shows at Neumos.

See the crowds at our weekend farmers’ markets.

See the fans streaming into SoDo or Uptown to support the Mariners, the Sounders, the Seahawks, and the Storm – and hopefully some day the Sonics.

And when I see the statistics about new jobs that are powering this city’s renaissance, I cannot help but feel energized by our success.

Our median household income of more than 80,000 dollars per year is at an all-time high.

We are one of the most educated cities in America, with over 66 percent of residents holding an associate’s degree or above.

Our unemployment rate has been near or below 4 percent for the past year.

In fact, Seattle businesses and institutions created approximately 90,000 jobs since 2010.

And Seattle’s population continues to grow at an incredible rate, with the city welcoming some 75,000 residents over the last 5 years, a 12 percent increase.

We are a welcoming city for thousands of new Americans, and, together with the other nine largest welcoming cities in America, account for one-third of the country’s gross domestic product.

And, we remain among the safest cities in the country, with residential burglary down 6 percent, street robbery down 7 percent, shots fired down 13 percent, and bike thefts down 28 percent over the past year – and we will continue to build on these positive results.

But for many – in fact, for thousands who are losing hope and witnessing Seattle’s renewed vitality from the sidelines – our city’s success is only a harsh notice that they are living in another Seattle: the “Other Seattle.”

For 3,000 people living unsheltered, our streets have become a default, inadequate and dangerous place to live.

And the impact is felt by all.

The responsibility extends all the way to our federal government. To our state government. To our county government.

And to City Hall as well.

We declared a state of emergency.

We pledged that by the end of this year, we would bring 500 unsheltered families off the streets and indoors.

We budgeted 108 million dollars for homelessness services combined over the last two years, more than under any mayor in Seattle history.

These are big steps.

But as anyone can see from the dystopian scenes on the streets and the disarray on our sidewalks, and as those who are living in unsafe encampments and outside can attest themselves: This has not been enough.

Not enough for those suffering from addiction.

Not enough for those who have been victims of crimes, like the young teenage girls who have been trapped in encampments and trafficked for sex.

Not enough for the three toddlers found without parents under the Spokane Street Viaduct.

We must do more to address the dangers faced by those living in unauthorized encampments.

But we cannot spend money and expect success without having a strategic plan informed by national experts with accountability measures to make sure what we are funding is working.

We have that plan now. It is called Pathways Home. And it mandates this central tenet: Get people into housing.

It is a plan with clear and measurable action steps that reduce barriers between people and the services they need.

It represents a radical shift in our investment strategy.

The facts show that if we are going to make progress, we must provide individualized services. Does a person simply need to be reconnected with their family? Need detox and recovery services? Need mental health care? Or do they simply need housing?

Under Pathways Home, for the first time in a decade, we are rebidding all our homeless service contracts with a commitment to only invest in what works.

One of our most important new contracts follows this principle. The Navigation Center, a 24-hour, low-barrier shelter, will be opening this year.

For the individuals served by the Navigation Center, if they are suffering from addiction, have a partner or have a pet, they are welcome.

For too long, our system has been disjointed. But now, the City, the County, and providers will sit down together and customize a path to housing, person by person, family by family.

Additionally, in an unprecedented move, tomorrow, I will activate our Emergency Operations Center to help the people whose lives have been upended by this homelessness disaster.

The Emergency Operations Center – traditionally activated only during severe storms, major city events and natural disasters – will bring urgency and a laser focus to the humanitarian crisis in our city.

My director of City operations, Fred Podesta, will oversee this all-hands-on-deck collaboration across our City departments.

Our first navigation team is already on the ground to integrate the efforts of the Human Services Department, our social service agencies and the Seattle Police Department to connect unsheltered people with services, safe shelter, and housing.

We will dramatically increase the clean-up of discarded debris on our sidewalks and streets. And these efforts will follow our new, transparent protocols to ensure people’s civil rights are respected.

I am activating the Emergency Operations Center because 15 months ago, I declared a State of Emergency in the hopes of a significant increase in support from the federal government.

Regrettably, little help has come.

We must face reality.

Developing a national housing and homelessness agenda is not a priority for the new president’s administration.

We are the ones who must prioritize the lives of the people struggling in the Other Seattle.

We cannot wait. Seattle must keep moving forward.

This will require new investments on our part.

In fact, I believe we must double the City’s spending on homelessness.

I have asked local entrepreneur and civic activist Nick Hanauer and Daniel Malone, the Executive Director of Downtown Emergency Services Center, along with Councilmembers Juarez and Bagshaw, to lead an advisory group that sends me a funding package within 14 days that achieves this goal.

This package would raise an additional 55 million dollars per year, paid for by an increase in the commercial and residential property tax – around 13 dollars per month for the median household.

Consistent with the best-practices outlined in Pathways Home, this would allow us to invest in mental health treatment, in addiction treatment and in getting more people into housing and off the streets.

This would not be my first choice. We had hoped for a vigorous partnership with the federal government, but we are on our own.

I am inviting Council to join community leaders and me to help qualify this property tax measure for the August ballot.

I believe the residents of Seattle are ready to support such a measure.

And if they do, this considerable public investment must be met with private investments.

Last month, I stood with Starbucks and Dick’s to announce that a coalition of Seattle businesses, including Amazon, helped raise 4.5 million dollars for Mary’s Place.

But more must be done.

Our businesses, who are reaping the rewards of our booming city, must join our new public commitment and help those who are in need.

I am challenging Seattle’s business community to raise 25 million dollars over the next five years focused on disruptive innovations that will get more homeless individuals and families into housing.

All of us must take action to house the thousands who live in doorways, under bridges, and in cars.

In last year’s State of the City address, I identified racial disparities in educational outcomes as another great equity challenge facing this city.

While funding for basic education remains the state’s responsibility, the City currently partners with Seattle Public Schools in a number of ways, including the Families & Education Levy, the Creative Advantage Arts Education program, and the Seattle Preschool Program, which, combined, serve thousands of students each year.

And I want to thank Superintendent Larry Nyland and past Board President Betty Patu for their constructive collaboration with the City – and I look forward to working with new President Sue Peters.

The reality is, the District cannot shoulder alone the burden of disparities in outcomes in Seattle Public Schools. These are all our children and it is all our responsibility.

That is why last April, with parents, teachers, higher education, business, philanthropy, and Seattle Public Schools, we held the first citywide Education Summit in over 25 years – a conversation that continues to this day.

It has been an incredibly substantive dialogue, and we have heard from more than 2,000 community voices, from all parts of Seattle, representing the full diversity of our city.

We have heard loud and clear that we must address the persistent disparities in outcomes in our public schools between white students and Black students and other historically underserved students of color.

And we have embraced a commitment with our community partners to begin collectively addressing these longstanding disparities and partner to support excellence for all of our students.

In my budget speech in September, I announced the first steps to come from the Education Summit process, including more mentoring and summer learning options.

Today, I am announcing a comprehensive vision – and the action plan to implement it.

This action plan knits together and grows the City’s continuum of education support, from early child development to K-12 to higher education.

It includes annual investments in birth-to-five programs, before- and after-school opportunities, family engagement, addressing disproportionality in discipline, summer learning, school-based mentoring, and college and career readiness.

It also includes a significant one-time expansion of the 13th Year program, championed by Chancellor of Seattle Colleges Dr. Pan and Council President Harrell, which pays for a student’s first year at any of our Seattle Colleges.

The goal of the Education Summit has always been to forge a shared vision that education partners could unite around and embrace.

To implement this vision, I am pleased to announce partnership and pledges from Casey Family Programs, Gates Foundation, Seattle Foundation, the Raikes Foundation, and the Greater Seattle Chamber of Commerce.

For the City’s part, I will be proposing to the Council a new dedicated source of revenue: a two-cents per ounce tax on sugar-sweetened beverages.

This proposed tax is expected to raise nearly 16 million dollars per year.

Other cities, including Boulder, San Francisco, Philadelphia and Oakland have passed similar policies both to fund youth services and to achieve positive public health impacts.

This is the right way for Seattle to do the same and fund programs important to the health and success of so many of our underserved students of color.

While these steps represent a significant addition of new resources, they are but a down payment toward our goal of closing racial disparities in education outcomes, which will require future investments.

However, these goals and our commitment to equity will be undermined if lawmakers in Olympia fail to pass a statewide funding plan for basic education that ensures that all students, no matter their zip code or background, have equal opportunities for success.

But we cannot wait. Seattle must keep moving forward.

When it comes to education in Seattle, especially early childhood education, City government will be losing one of its great champions when Tim Burgess leaves the City Council at the end of this year.

Councilmember Burgess has been a progressive leader in education, public safety, and human services, and will be long remembered for the collaborative and evidence-based approach he takes to every issue he tackles.

Councilmember Burgess, we thank you for your dedication to serving the people of Seattle, and I look forward to working with you and the rest of Council to fund our education action plan in the coming months.

Our Education Summit investments are all about recognizing the importance of young people’s education to their success on their journey to adulthood.

And just as important to their success are investments in four other areas as well:

§ their employment,

§ their safety,

§ their health, and

§ their positive connections to a caring adult and to the community.

In my last budget speech, I announced the creation of a new Youth Opportunity Cabinet to coordinate and align the many City programs that invest in those five key areas for youth.

Too often, however, it is young Black men in particular who encounter the greatest barriers to their success.

In my last State of the City address, I talked about the many conversations my Innovation Team had with young Black men, and shared what they wanted to hear from the City: that they were not a problem to be fixed, that they were not the other, that they shared the same aspirations and needs as everyone else in the community.

I said at the time that “I believe when young Black men are at their best, Seattle is at its best.”

Today, I am announcing a new focus on improving the life outcomes of Seattle’s young black men age 14 to 24, which we are calling “Our Best: Seattle’s Commitment to Young Black Men.”

Our Best draws a bright line under those left out of society and removed from enjoying the landscape of opportunities in our very resource- and opportunity-rich city.

It seeks to support them to be engaged and empowered in the city in a way that recognizes and honors their expertise, contributions and insight.

Through our Youth Opportunity Initiative, the City is already committed to several strategies to support Black males to be their best for themselves, their families and their community, including Career Bridge, the Zero Detention Program, My Brother’s Keeper and more.

Today, we are launching a new addition to these focused strategies: a robust new mentoring recruiting and training campaign.

Mentoring has been shown to improve emotional well-being, high-school graduation rates, college enrollment, and other positive long-term outcomes.

In Seattle, there are not enough Black men mentors, leaving many mentor programs ill-equipped to support young Black men in culturally responsive ways.

And, there is significant interest among local organizations to recruit more.

Our goal with this new commitment of the Our Best program is to double the number of black men mentors.

Additionally, we will convene an Advisory Council to advise me and City leaders on a long-term strategy to support young Black male achievement.

I am also creating a new special advisor to the Mayor focused on Black male achievement to work full time across departments, with the Advisory Council and with the many community leaders who have answered this call long before us.

Our Best is all of ours. And the fight for young Black men is a fight for Seattle, and our region.

As we focus on supporting the potential and achievement of young Black men, we must also continue to address the barriers of institutional racism.

The collision between Seattle’s progressive policies and the agenda of the new administration in our nation’s capital threatens one of the most important issues this community has worked on during the last three years: police accountability.

When I took office in 2014, Seattle was under a consent decree.

In December 2010, after a series of tragedies such as the shooting death of Native American wood carver John T. Williams, Seattle’s civil rights community appealed to the Obama Administration for help.

Those bold leaders deserve our thanks for waking this city up.

The Justice Department’s investigation found a pattern of excessive use of force in violation of the Constitution. They also raised concerns about discriminatory policing.

When I took office, I pledged to address this local failure by collaborating with our federal partners to meet the requirements of the consent decree and ensure that Seattle’s police practices are not only constitutional, but live up to our community’s expectations.

I worked in concert with the federal judge, the City Council, the City Attorney, the federal monitor, the Community Police Commission, and Chief Kathleen O’Toole, to achieve this necessary goal.

Thanks to our collaborative efforts, we are now well on our way to a new era of growing positive relationships between the community and the police.

The court-appointed federal monitor has already found the Seattle Police Department in initial compliance on the key consent decree metrics around training, supervision, and use of force, including officer-involved shootings.

U.S. District Court Judge James Robart, who is overseeing the entire process, has praised our work to date.

And I would like to give a word of thanks of my own to the men and women of the Seattle Police Department. They have been a partner in these important efforts.

The data speaks for itself. In more than 9,000 crisis responses in 2015, only 1.6 percent involved any reportable use of force. And only four tenths of one percent involved anything greater than lowest-level use of force.

Our progress is remarkable. And it builds trust.

These numbers also show that our officers have not merely accepted reform. From anti-bias police training, to de-escalation training, to body cameras, Seattle’s officers have embraced change.

I believe compliance with the official consent decree is not enough. We must comply with Seattle’s values.

Last month, with broad Council support, with the federal judge’s initial stamp of approval, and with local civil rights leaders and the Community Police Commission standing beside me, I sent landmark legislation to Council to not only fulfil the key requirements of the consent decree, but to establish civilian oversight of the Seattle Police Department as the premier model of accountability in the country.

This legislation would, for the first time in Seattle history, give civilians an independent, formal, and permanent role in police accountability, complete with subpoena power and the legal authority to review any police policy or practice.

Thanks to the leadership of Councilmember González, this legislation is already moving forward in her committee.

We are too far along. The reactionary undertow in our nation’s capital will not pull us away from justice.

And we are not waiting. Seattle must keep moving forward.

In reviewing our police accountability legislation, Judge Robart proclaimed: “Black Lives Matter.”

And the City of Seattle agrees.

Make no mistake, that succinct mission statement, that basic concept, that aspiration to ensure justice for communities of color is the guiding principle of the work we have done together on police reform.

Our collaborative efforts are helping us tackle another major issue as well – an issue that threatens to undermine the very principle I have been coming back to again and again this morning: inclusiveness.

We will not be a city for working and middle class families – a city for teachers, for artists, for health care workers, for restaurant workers – if we do not make sure all of us can afford to live here.

Right now, we know that too many people who want to live in Seattle, cannot afford to. And too many people who live here now, cannot afford to stay.

Last month, Mercy Othello Plaza, a new affordable housing development near the Othello light rail station, received nearly 2,100 applications in a lottery for just 108 available units.

The choice to live in Seattle should not be decided by a lottery.

We need to build more housing. And we need to build more affordable housing.

All over the city.

Housing connected to transit – that connects people to jobs, connects people to schools, connects people to one another – fits into our holistic strategy for sustainability.

Growth is not the question – growth is here. On average, 67 new people are moving here every day.

If we do not build more housing, we have seen what happens: more and more people compete for the same homes and prices go up, creating an invisible wall around our neighborhoods and locking people out.

Allowing more housing will break down that wall, will create more affordability, more sustainability, and more equity.

We cannot be a city where people protest the exclusionary agenda coming from Washington, D.C., while at the same time keeping a zoning code in place that does not allow us to build the affordable housing we need.

But we have shown we are a welcoming city. A city that breaks down walls.

Social justice groups, housing non-profits, labor, environmental groups and developers came together in an unprecedented show of cooperation, and broke through 20 years of inaction, to establish a Mandatory Housing Affordability plan that will, for the first time in Seattle history, require new developments to contribute to affordable housing.

To make the plan work, we are proposing zoning changes in our urban villages and along transit corridors throughout the city.

This afternoon, under the leadership of Councilmember Johnson, it is my hope the Council will vote to approve a rezone of the University District, making it the first community in our city to put the Mandatory Housing Affordability program in place.

And, as that community grows in the future, it will grow affordably.

Let me reiterate, we have grown, but we have not grown affordably.

There is no other plan to grow affordably.

We cannot repeat the pattern of recent years.

We cannot wait. Seattle must keep moving forward.

Remaining open to all is a fundamental value of this city.

Seattle is a great American city because of immigrants and refugees.

In today’s atmosphere of uncertainty and fear, let me reaffirm my commitment that we will remain a welcoming city for all.

To build on the actions we have taken to support Seattle immigrants and refugees, under my direction, along with City Attorney Pete Holmes, in response to the Administration’s actions and rhetoric regarding immigrants and refugees, today Seattle will send a series of Freedom of Information Requests to multiple federal agencies, including the Department of Homeland Security.

The City must be able to provide accurate information to immigrants and refugees and their families living in Seattle.

We will seek to determine the Administration’s definition of “sanctuary cities” and the enforcement actions the federal government may take against us.

We will also seek detailed information about this Administration’s changes to travel and immigration policy including the DACA program.

We believe that the rule of law is on our side, and we will take legal action if the federal government does not answer our requests in a timely manner.

Additionally, I will be convening a summit of mayors from across the region to explore and share ways that together we can ensure that our cities are safe and welcoming sanctuaries for all.

And we will continue to reach out beyond our borders.

Seattle has established relationships to promote international friendship during difficult times in the past.

Our first and oldest sister city relationship with Kobe, Japan was started just after the normalization of relations in the 1950s.

We started our relationship with Tashkent, Uzbekistan, creating the first U.S. sister city relationship with the Soviet Union, in 1973 during the height of the Cold War.

At this time, when Mexico and Mexicans are being denigrated, I ask Council to affirm our new relationship with Mexico, and establish a new sister city relationship with Mexico City.

When the diplomacy of our elected leaders fail, citizen diplomacy can be a powerful corrective.

I began this speech expressing my hope in the power of the people, and it is how I will conclude it.

After the election, I was in our nation’s capital.

In the late afternoon, Michael and I found ourselves standing at the Lincoln Memorial under the slanting northeast winter sunlight, feeling the weight of the history that is enshrined there, and reflecting upon the fear and disappointment of the election.

And I read engraved in the marble, the conclusion of the Gettysburg Address:

That from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain, that this nation under God shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth.

I was struck by how Lincoln’s words apply to so many more Americans. Not just those who fought and sacrificed in the civil war, but those in the 20th century and today who fought and sacrificed for civil rights, for a woman’s right to vote and choose, for LGBTQ rights, for the rights of immigrants and labor.

Their work is not in vain.

It resounds in the City’s commitment to equity.

Our work is bound with theirs.

The indivisible common thread: justice for all.

127 Replies to "'JUSTICE FOR ALL': In 2017 State of the City speech, Mayor vows to 'keep moving forward,' with $55 million property tax for homelessness, beverage tax for education/youth"

  • Chris February 21, 2017 (10:36 am)

    No more taxes!!!!

  • Kim February 21, 2017 (10:43 am)

    It will be very hard for me to vote in favor of property tax increases to pay for the homeless when our schools don’t have the money they need.  

    • MJ February 21, 2017 (1:28 pm)

      great point, I will be voting no

  • wsres February 21, 2017 (10:52 am)

    i vote no on the property tax. I agree with Kim.

    • TheKing February 21, 2017 (10:06 pm)

      Same here. An emphatic NO. Homeowners have become captive ATM machines to this mayor. 

  • Pauline Aldrich February 21, 2017 (10:53 am)

    any body know what ever happened to lottery benefiting our public school  ?    this is absolutely crazy I work so hard to stay here but it is getting impossible to stay in seattle, I will never vote for anymore new taxes we are already burdened enough , greed at it worst 

  • The Truth February 21, 2017 (10:58 am)

    Come on Mayor!!!  Stop with the property taxes. You are raising the cost of living in a place that is already hard to live in.  I feel for the homeless but you guys have not implemented the ideas from the consultants you brought in and even went against their recommendation of not opening any more sanctioned encampments.  You have an all time funding high for the homeless already,  put that money to use and prove you need more.  We are just throwing money at a problem with zero accountability or accurately measurable results. This is also going to hurt business as most of them pay the property taxes (NNN) of their landlord in their leases.  Small business and property owners needs representation in this city government.  Not in a class warfare way but just in common sense.  How is there no viable candidate running against this guy?  You could have every voucher my family has.  This is nuts! 

    • Anothernerd February 22, 2017 (6:16 am)

      Exactly right. I’m all for helping the homeless, but the mayor’s administration has done a very poor job, and isn’t even following the recommendations of the expert we paid so dearly to hire. 

  • WS Renter February 21, 2017 (11:00 am)

    My husband and I are beginning to think about purchasing a home instead of renting, but the constant rise in property taxes makes me very hesitant to consider purchasing in the Seattle City Limits. Don’t have money to fund a program, raise property taxes! As much as we LOVE West Seattle, we’ll likely look elsewhere to buy.

    • Swede. February 21, 2017 (11:17 am)

      Have been looking and thinking the same myself!

      Moving out of King County is pretty much the only option… 

    • WS Buyer February 21, 2017 (11:22 am)

      If you can afford to, buy the house.  We went from renting to owning and our payment today (same size house, similar neighborhood) is still less in 2017 than we were paying to rent in 2013.  Looking up tax records online, my landlord raised our rent $175 per MONTH to “cover” a $242 per YEAR tax increase for the house.  
      Rents are going up due to supply and demand.  Trust me, owning is WAY cheaper than renting, even with the taxes.  The hardest part financially was coming up with the down payment, given the cost of rent.

    • Wb February 21, 2017 (9:32 pm)

      Good luck with that. I just got outbid on a condo by a buyer with an all cash offer and who waived all inspections. I can’t compete with that with my measly 20% down. 

  • M February 21, 2017 (11:04 am)

    He lost me at “raise your property taxes and continue to waste your money” 

  • Mark Schletty February 21, 2017 (11:08 am)

    Single family zoning is in line with the agenda coming from Washington, DC.? The Mayor’s authoritarian agenda is what’s in line with Trump. The Mayor and City Council need to recognise that their dictatorial imposition of policies opposed by a majority our citizens is exactly the same as Trump’s actions. Seattle and Trump are a perfect example of the far right and the far left closely resembling each other in their authoritarian approach to governing.

    • natinstl February 21, 2017 (12:47 pm)

      I agree, I found that comment offensive.

    • John February 21, 2017 (1:13 pm)

      I also agree!  I was shocked that he would say those of us that oppose the rezone are basically fans of Trumps agenda.  That is uncalled for.

      Unfortunately what that tells me is he’s not going to pay attention to any of our neighborhood meetings or our comments associated with the rezoning plan.

      This really #@&^ me off.  

    • Mike February 21, 2017 (3:08 pm)

      Fully agree, mayor Murray has more in common with Trump than he realizes.  Dictatorships will not stand, the people will take back the city and country.  Politics be damned.

    • Double Dub Resident February 21, 2017 (4:26 pm)

      This seems to be the trend.  It’s either uber liberal to the point of stupidity or uber conservative to the point of stupidity.  

      This neo liberal smugness is getting ridiculous with this elitist “screw you guys,  we know what’s best for you attitude”. 

      Between the mayor with his asinine thinking,  Johnson comparing being critical of HALA as being synonymous with being for building the Mexico Wall,  O’Brien’s statement that just walking down the street was an act of bravery and Sawant’s absolutely delusional idea that the SPD is going to take on ICE on immigration,  hyperbole is running rampant  with our so called leaders.  These people need to go 

    • Mary Anne February 22, 2017 (8:42 pm)

      Well said. Thanks for showing the similarities.

  • Laine February 21, 2017 (11:12 am)

    Please Mayor, no more taxes, it’s already so expensive to live here. The money being generated from legal marijuana could help, I know it’s bringing in tons of money, use that! Just don’t raise property taxes, I don’t want to have to move but I may have to if it goes up anymore.

  • Space Dust February 21, 2017 (11:23 am)

    Sad thing is , the people in Seattle will vote “YES” on this.  They don’t know the term NO!

  • Helga February 21, 2017 (11:27 am)

    We need responsible spending not more taxes.

    I live in Seattle but just outside city limits, and with all the property taxes both city and county; ST3, fire, education etc.  My property tax bill is higher this year than my boss’s who lives in city limits in a home worth twice as much as mine.  And my car tabs literally tripled for ST3 that won’t do any good AND doesn’t actually help my neighborhood…

  • they February 21, 2017 (11:29 am)

    Yea, were a NO over here as well. As a long time landlord of rental property’s in the area we have always kept our rents well below the area average to foster long term tenants. But we always adjust rents to reflect increases or decreases (I know ha! ha! ) in property tax for each unit followed by a itemized invoice for our tenants. We feel this allows our tenants a more informed position when considering request for increased property taxes. Additionally we are very thankful for the good fortune our hard work has provided us with, and will always assist those less fortunate but will never support efforts that attract people to come to the area for resources that are already stretched well over reason.      

  • Kim February 21, 2017 (11:40 am)

    “We cannot be a city where people protest the exclusionary agenda coming from Washington, D.C., while at the same time keeping a zoning code in place that does not allow us to build the affordable housing we need.”

    Does anyone else find it funny/ironic that he bashes home owners for being against affordable housing while he is proposing taxes to make housing less affordable to them?  

    • Hilarious February 24, 2017 (1:18 am)

      Yeah- that’s funny. But not too funny. 

  • Christine February 21, 2017 (11:41 am)

    Rents have to climb for increased property taxes. This will solve NOTHING.

  • Celeste17 February 21, 2017 (11:43 am)

    I am tired of being a piggy bank.  Every time this mayor and or city council want something they 5ax us!  When is this mayors term up?  I want to clean house.  At this time I would vote for good space guy.

    • WSB February 21, 2017 (11:49 am)

      Mayor Murray is running for re-election this year. Four others have registered campaigns with the City of Seattle. The links don’t seem to be working properly on this page right now, caveat, but:

      • Diane February 21, 2017 (2:23 pm)

        yep, we desperately need a different mayor; if you want to know the truth about who is funding Ed Murray’s reelection campaign, look at “employer” list of contributions over $500 each; mostly real estate, land use attorneys, downtown corp interests, and in WS, the landlord who infamously economically evicted tenants from Linda Manor Apts in Morgan junction (PAUL B ANDERSON / WORKHOUSE MEDIA); why would Ed do anything to help homeless and create real affordable housing when he’s funded by the “market rate” real estate, developers, architects, engineers, lawyers, consultants, Airbnb, etc? 


        • Mark Schletty February 22, 2017 (11:14 am)

          Diane– that’s a good start. But, unfortunately, the really big money comes from these people making unlimited contributions to PACs that make huge campaign donations without having to disclose where the money came from. Makes it very hard to assertain who is really giving the big money. The old addage of “follow the money” to understand what is really going on needs to be modified to ” look for who is really benefiting financially”. That will tell you all you will really need to know in todays hide the contribution world.

          • Diane February 22, 2017 (1:42 pm)

            agree it’s also important to watch the PAC’s; and they are usually pretty easy to figure out what special interests are donating to those; but this top list of big donors to the mayor’s campaign, completely transparent, is VERY revealing; sadly, most voters never look at these lists

  • Junctionite February 21, 2017 (11:49 am)

    We own a very modest, by Seattle standards anyways, home in West Seattle. Our property taxes have increased more than  $1000 in the last two years, by more than 20%.  I’m done for awhile.  Maybe we should consider some kind of tax on people who come into the City to work everyday, but don’t live here?

  • T Rex February 21, 2017 (11:52 am)

    I love politicians who are up for re-election and how they are going to fix everything and everyone. All the while trying to grease us up to increase our property taxes.

     Thus the reasons the American People spoke this election and did not elect one of “them”.

     Good luck with you taxes and more than anything good luck with your re-election.  



  • ltfd February 21, 2017 (11:53 am)

    Eddy is loony. 

  • Jethro Marx February 21, 2017 (11:58 am)

    I didn’t really feel like reading all the piffle, but it’s a hard teaching to connect opposition to the President’s policies with support for the upcoming. Anyone who listens to the words coming out of President Trump’s (pause to ponder how crazy that phrase still sounds,) mouth comes away with the sense that he is a madman, while relatively rational people can have myriad opinions about HALA.

    • Jethro Marx February 21, 2017 (12:58 pm)

      Sorry, that should read, “up zoning,” rather than upcoming.

  • tt February 21, 2017 (12:12 pm)

    I am a home owner who has always voted for tax increases. Not this time. I’m tired of being the piggy bank for this city. Time for the developers, who pretty much get to do whatever the hell they want, apparently, to pay more. 

  • local resident February 21, 2017 (12:22 pm)

    I really fail to understand how raising property taxes even more will help with homelessness and high rents. Oxymoron.

    • Sage February 21, 2017 (3:02 pm)

      Because the money will go to services for homeless people.

      • Brent February 21, 2017 (4:42 pm)

        Who, in order to no longer be homeless, will need to be able to rent a place aall while rents continue to increase in order to provide services to the homeless.  Very circular and illogical.

  • Dave February 21, 2017 (12:31 pm)

    Do not re elect Murray. Same goes for most of the city council.

  • skeeter February 21, 2017 (12:51 pm)

    Percentage of WSB commenters who support increased property taxes:  20

    Percentage of non-WSB commenters who support increase property taxes:  90

     Motion passes! 

  • anonyme February 21, 2017 (12:57 pm)

    All of these morons need to go.  Every.single.one.

    Just imagine all of the things that could be done with $55 million: fund schools, repair infrastructure, hire police.  Instead, this mayor wants to punish law abiding citizens so that he can flush millions more down the toilet.  Meanwhile, seniors like myself struggle to survive by doing work that the folks under the bridge turn up their noses at.  Burglarizing homes is MUCH easier work than what I do.

  • plf February 21, 2017 (1:04 pm)

    Did any one have sticker shock when they got this years proptery tax bill

    Mine went up 13%…my social security didn’t go up even one dollar

    I am being forced to move out of my home …shame on you Ed 

    • Diane February 21, 2017 (2:31 pm)

      yep, agree with being displaced due to property taxes; my landlord raised rent $60 per month in Sept “due to property taxes and levies” last year; my SS had zero COL increase last year; this year my SS got a big whopping $1 raise; with the insane new property taxes dropping now, how much with the next rent increase be?  and forcing more folks out of Seattle, and into homelessness

  • Gina February 21, 2017 (1:37 pm)

    HALA upzoning and tearing down older multiplexes that are affordable. But okay according to mayor because the Admiral upzone will provide 30 units altogether that will be affordable to a person making between 38k-100k annually. According to those guidelines, everyone making less than 38k is priced out. But it is okay, because to oppose means bad, bad, naughty. Time to reread Orwell, the altspeak is splatting from all directions.

  • Les February 21, 2017 (1:50 pm)

     When does the sale tax increase for ST3 go into effect?

    • WSB February 21, 2017 (2:08 pm)

      April 1st per http://soundtransit3.org/calculator

    • sb2780 February 21, 2017 (3:36 pm)

      Don’t forget about the new car tab fees that start being assessed for anyone that renews after March 1. I have a used 2013 Nissan that cost $17,000 when I bought it last year. My car tabs went up to $365. Shocked is an understatement. Between the property taxes and car tab fees, it has become really unaffordable to live here, unless you’re making mid 6-figures. I’m tired of being an ATM for the city and county. 

  • CMT February 21, 2017 (2:18 pm)

    The Mayor is a jerk.  Trying to capitalize on people’s horror at Trump’s policies by equating it with opposing His own inequitable, developer funded, ill thought out HALA policy – which, when you take out the A for affordability and L for livability since they won’t be seen in West Seattle leaves you with HA.  About right since it is a bad joke on West Seattle.

    • Diane February 21, 2017 (2:53 pm)

      totally agree

  • dcn February 21, 2017 (2:21 pm)

    An alternative way to finance affordable housing in cities, in today’s NYTimes: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/21/opinion/how-cities-should-take-care-of-their-housing-problems.html?action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=opinion-c-col-left-region&region=opinion-c-col-left-region&WT.nav=opinion-c-col-left-region

    I don’t know enough to know whether this is a good or bad idea, but continually upping property taxes on all homeowners, regardless of income, will slowly squeeze the lower middle class out of home ownership in Seattle.

  • harriet benjamin February 21, 2017 (2:23 pm)

    I will not vote for his $55 MILLION new levy in August. In fact I will work to defeat it. Thee real estate property tax piggy bank is empty.

    Mayor Murray seems to think everyone trying to live in Seattle has a $80,000 or more income but that is not true.

    He and the Council seem to think we citizens have or own printing press.

  • Ed Slope February 21, 2017 (2:25 pm)

    @MayorEdMurray Lost my vote because of HALA and MHA. Lost my respect because of divisive, top down, special interest driven politics.

    • WS Guy February 21, 2017 (6:34 pm)

      Can I +10 this?  I never imagined a Mayor that was so driven by special interests that he’d neglect the basic livability of Seattle’s tax paying residents.  

      He is owned by real estate developers, wraps it in a social justice sales pitch, and lashes out at any criticism.

      This guy has to go – and the Council with him. 

  • Sna February 21, 2017 (2:44 pm)

    For me, the issue with the $55m for homeless spending is that we have zero idea it will do anything to help the situation.  City has zero credibility on addressing this problem.

  • Vanessa February 21, 2017 (3:00 pm)

    read all of our lips, NO MORE TAXES.

  • Josh February 21, 2017 (3:03 pm)

    Sound Transit (car tabs, 2 old cars) and the property tax increase is doing our family in. We can barely make ends meet :( 

  • Diane February 21, 2017 (3:05 pm)

    THANK YOU for full text of the mayor’s speechifying 

  • PW February 21, 2017 (3:42 pm)

    The mayor is so focused on his  personal agenda he has forgotten to do his job. The homeless issue, is a joke, we are simply paying for all the drug issues for many who are coming here from across the country to get free services at the cost of  us the taxpayers. When are you, who live in this  City going to say enough and vote this person out of office and vote no to this tax mess? This mayor has done nothing but to support anyone but himself.

  • gh February 21, 2017 (3:59 pm)

    It’s nice to see the citizens of West Seattle are finally waking up .  I only hope it’s not too late.  Pitiful….

  • flimflam February 21, 2017 (3:59 pm)

    wow. while taking a wild pot-shot at single family homeowners he simultaneously wants more property tax money? that was a very offensive and simplistic statement he made. so, if I continue to enjoy my nice, fairly quiet neighborhood without huge buildings looming over my home i’m just like Trump? nice try. very maddening..


    the city has been throwing money at the homeless problem for ages and has nothing but a bigger homeless population to show for it. the city has ignored high paid consultants that they hired for their input on our situation. this is ridiculous and I will be voting “no” without hesitation.


    where are all the taxes collected from legal marijuana going? 



  • Millie February 21, 2017 (4:32 pm)

    What the “hey” are they smoking in City Hall?

    Last year, he appoints a “Homeless Czar” to  implement the findings of the hired consultant to help alleviate the homeless issue.  City Councilmember Sally Bagshaw introduces legislation to build “mini-houses” with available funding.  Nothing happens!

    Now the Mayor has an “epiphany” – what’s needed are more taxes – property taxes!  That will solve the issue!!!

    Well, guess what?   NO MORE PROPERTY TAX INCREASES!

    City Hall needs to learn  how to budget using available resources.  Learn to live within your means!

    Perhaps, it is time for an organization (such as CHECC) to revamp City Hall by nominating and running for election knowledgeable candidates.    

  • WSB February 21, 2017 (4:39 pm)

    Video of today’s speech has finally just been made available by Seattle Channel, and we’ve added it above.

  • Alkiobserver February 21, 2017 (5:01 pm)

    I am voting no to Murray’s madness and look forward to voting him out of office. Terrible ideas. $108 million for 3000 homeless is not enough? He needs another $55 million?!?!? His ridiculous tax and overspend “solutions” should get him and his administration metaphorically tossed to the curb by their lapels. On top of that, he insults those of us he uses as his wallet when we voice our opposition to his plans for ruining neighborhoods and torpedoing property values.

  • WSMom February 21, 2017 (5:04 pm)

    I think Seattle is getting burned out on new taxes.  Too much.  I really do feel for the homeless and want to help them but when my taxes keep going up and up and up it’s just too much.  In recent years our property taxes went from $5800 a year (2012) to almost $8000 a year (bill came just last week).  Every $150 and $200 adds up and it’s just getting to be too much.  I want to help the homeless, I do but more taxes on homeowners??  How is that going to help affordable housing?  

    • WSMom February 21, 2017 (5:05 pm)

      also adding that from what I understand cities in other areas (California, etc.) actually give their homeless a one way bus ticket to Seattle because we will take care of them.  We don’t want to encourage more to come!  (btw-I do not know if that is true, it’s just what I have heard)

      • Jon Wright February 21, 2017 (6:00 pm)

        Well that is certainly a well-sourced report you have there! You “heard” that but don’t know whether it is true or not. How about if you are going to post something inflammatory like that, you at least make a token effort to fact check?

        • WSMom February 21, 2017 (6:44 pm)

          Here you go Jon.  https://shiftwa.org/cities-buying-one-way-tickets-to-seattle-for-their-own-homeless/

          In November, KIRO 7 spoke to Teman Crawford a
          twice-convicted felon living on the streets of Seattle. He said police
          in Oxnard, California, had gotten him a bus ticket to come to Seattle.

          “It was $116. They said it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Don’t come back,” Crawford said.

          When asked why he picked Seattle, Crawford said his friends had called this the “land of opportunity.

          “There’s a lot of angels up here. A lot of love. People buying people
          brand new tents, giving them blankets, putting food in their stomachs,”
          he said.

          On Friday, a homeless man named Steve told KIRO 7 he was given a bus ticket to come to Seattle from Phoenix.

          He said he told the Phoenix location of St. Vincent de Paul that he
          wanted to come to Seattle where he has relatives. They purchased the
          ticket for him, but he admits now he does not actually have family here.

          Steve said he has a much better chance of surviving in Seattle,
          compared to Phoenix. He said he wanted a change in scenery, and he
          preferred the weather here.

          He added, “You can never starve in this town, everyone feeds you.”

          • Jon Wright February 21, 2017 (8:24 pm)

            A source! Thank you for posting that (although the link from SHIFT you posted sources the same KIRO story that CMT also posted). The anecdote from the Oxnard guy does sound like they bought him a bus ticket to go “anywhere but here.” However, the rest of the stories sounded like they were about helping people get to where they had family or friends. The article does make it sound like we have a reputation as a better place to be homeless and so perhaps people try really hard to get here–and lie about having family here. But I don’t think that is the same thing as homeless people being shipped here en masse.

          • WSMom February 21, 2017 (9:10 pm)

            Yes Jon. I realized that after I posted the link. I did not realize someone else had answered your question. 

          • Michael Taylor-Judd February 22, 2017 (12:24 pm)

            For the record, Seattle also has resources to purchase a bus ticket for people who want to go somewhere else that they say they have relatives. As far as I know, there has to be some way to verify that, but I don’t know that one can work against someone just lying. At any rate, the point is that we also send people OUT of the city in the same fashion. The whole point is to try to get people to a place where they have a support network that can help them stabilize.

  • pagefive February 21, 2017 (5:07 pm)

    I agree with most of the posters here. I’ve always supported increasing property taxes to support schools, etc. but there’s a limit. Working class families can no longer afford to live in this city.  Teachers are priced out of the neighborhoods they serve. This regressive tax system requires an overhaul. Asking homeowners (and renters via increased rent) to continue to shoulder the burden is simply unsustainable.

    • Brent February 21, 2017 (6:21 pm)

      I agree with you, and acknowledge that many of these increases are, in effect, paid by renters, although the cost is hidden to them.  Maybe having a monthly renters tax, as opposed to property tax, would serve to highlight the costs to those so eager to vote yes on these tax increases.  Facee it, property-owning Seattle-ites are far outnumbered by renters, particularly those who have come here recently for tech jobs, etc.

  • Chuck February 21, 2017 (5:12 pm)

    More taxes? I can’t stand it. And I sure as hell can’t afford it. But what I CAN do is vote, and will be casting a No vote for this incompetent mayor and the city council.  I mean seriously. We don’t even adequately fund our police departments, but now we’re going to tax the citizenry to address a problem that in large part is due to not enforcing the laws we do have in place? I went to Greenlake yesterday, and saw a few tents right off Hwy 99 in the park. One of the most cherished parks in the city, and it would to be turned into a cesspool if our leaders had their way. I’m sorry, but cops should be moving these unfortunate people to more immediate locations. Instead, I’m sure they’re being told to look the other way.

    Look, I get that you can’t solve the homeless issue with sweeps and the like. But our police don’t have the resources or impetus to safeguard our living spaces as it is now. I’m just saying that more money in the hands of THIS administration will be wasted, no doubt. This mayor is too quick to try and solve every social issue on the backs of the homeowner. Enough!

  • Mike February 21, 2017 (5:28 pm)

    How about instead of taxing current homeowners who live here, the city should start implementing the foreign buyers tax and vacancy tax that Vancouver, Canada started last year?  Foreign buyers should not be able to buy up our real estate without any consequences.  http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-02-15/bc-government%E2%80%99s-foreign-home-buyers-tax-impact-vancouver-home-prices   This would bring the double benefit of more tax revenue and lowered home prices, since the ultimate goal is affordable housing. 

    • Mike February 21, 2017 (11:27 pm)

      We have a mayor serving Chinese development companies and a president serving Putin.  Lovely.

  • flimflam February 21, 2017 (5:40 pm)

    it shouldn’t take 100million dollars a year to assist 4000 people.

    • H February 21, 2017 (7:51 pm)

      I thought I must have misread that number. $110M for 3,000-4,000 homeless? That’s $27,500 per person per year. Ironically, I rent out a 2bdrm home for $2k/mo or $24k a year.

      • Erithan February 22, 2017 (11:18 am)

        That’s over double what Somone on ssi/ssdi gets in a year even! =/

  • Dale February 21, 2017 (5:45 pm)

    You would assume that the Mayor has approached the Gates Foundation, Paul Allen, or the many other philanthropists locally to offer ideas and resources to help solve the homeless crisis.  Gates has done much more than that, worldwide.

    Oh, those folks like a plan and accountability before they release funds to a cause.

    Never mind.

    • WSB February 21, 2017 (5:53 pm)

      If you look a little further down the story, he cites some of those groups as collaborators relating to the education/youth issues. They’re on the infographic we republished.

  • Mr E February 21, 2017 (6:06 pm)

    Ah yes, the armchair pundits with all the answers are ready to chime in. I can almost set my watch to you.

    Just curious as to how many of you participate in local politics or have taken the time to work in local, state, or federal government. Or for that matter, how many of you have used a service that was made available because taxpayers collectively contributed to said service.

    Honestly, you cut off your to spite your face. It was okay for you, a family member, or a friend to use a service that was made possible by taxes, but heaven forbid we pay it forward.

    I had no idea I lived among so many good Samaritans.

    • CMT February 21, 2017 (6:56 pm)

      What does that even mean?  Just because a Seattle resident hasn’t worked in government doesn’t mean he/she can’t call a wasteful, special-interest backed spade a spade.  

      In reality, our government is supposed to represent the interests of its constituents not waste our resources on a personal agenda.

    • Double Dub Resident February 21, 2017 (8:40 pm)

      Says the armchair sanctimonious critic 

    • Mike February 21, 2017 (11:31 pm)

      You flush your toilet or use ANY local waterways? You can thank my dad.  Too bad for all of us he retired over a decade ago.  He and his co-workers fought moronic politicians and development goons for decades, giving us world renowned resources and clean water.

    • BMC February 23, 2017 (6:31 am)

      Do you pay property taxes? Car tabs? Are you over 50 and not making over 60k a year? Just curious.

  • John February 21, 2017 (6:20 pm)

    The homeless problem needs to be addressed on many levels.  One is an appropriate location, immediate accountability for money spent by the taxpayers to fix the problem.  Homeless people need to be held accountable for their actions and behavior!  Sorry, no drugs, no alcohol, no trespassing, no crimes, no littering.  Ive watched the jungle get cleaned up, homeless moved out and next week they’re basaaaack and the problem starts over except the money is gone.  Are you really going to tell me these people cant work?  Get a job! Help them get a job, teach them to contribute to society and play by the rules or go to jail. Its cheaper to house them there than throw money out the door.  E force the laws, no Sancuary nothing.  You dont give burglars sanctuary! Dump out dum dum mayor and the circus.

  • Denis February 21, 2017 (6:33 pm)

    It’s interesting that Ed’s single-family zoned home on Capitol Hill escapes the zone by one block.   Also, not a single city Council person with single-family zoning on their house will be upzoned to the new multi family or residential small lot designation. This is interestingly convenient for the city Council. 

  • ernieusafret February 21, 2017 (6:41 pm)

    Time for Murray to go.

    I got a whopping .85 cents a month raise this year.

    NO more taxes

    Time to get a tent and become homeless. They get more than I do.

    Is there room to pitch a tent in front of murray’s house.



  • Jeffrey Gilbert February 21, 2017 (6:45 pm)

    Totally agree with Mike’s comment:

    How about instead of taxing current homeowners who live here, the city should start implementing the foreign buyers tax and vacancy tax that Vancouver, Canada started last year?  Foreign buyers should not be able to buy up our real estate without any consequences.  http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-02-15/bc-government%E2%80%99s-foreign-home-buyers-tax-impact-vancouver-home-prices   This would bring the double benefit of more tax revenue and lowered home prices, since the ultimate goal is affordable housing. 

    But I will be sure to vote the NO on the Mayor’s plan as it proposed.


  • Scarlett February 21, 2017 (6:46 pm)

    City Mayor Murray believes standing up for single-family homes is like supporting Donald Trump’s wall.


    Perhaps he didn’t read West Seattle JuNO’s position paper, the one that made clear they support density, open space, transit, and infrastructure. Maybe he doesn’t remember they also want the City to also preserve the character and integrity of single-family areas, as promised under the West Seattle Junction neighborhood plan and Seattle 2035 comprehensive plan. Or maybe he’s just never thought you can support two ideas at the same time.


    That’s why we’ve started the Make Murray Smart Again campaign – and you can help. Just print out a copy this comment and pop it in the mail, and highlight any sections you think Murray needs to read. His address: Make Murray Smart Again, ℅  Mayor Ed Murray, City of Seattle, PO Box 94749 Seattle, WA 98124-4749. HIs mind needs your brain more than ever – do it today!


  • CanDo February 21, 2017 (7:06 pm)

    Mr. Mayor – You lay out a specific plan to house the homeless, provide exacting budget numbers for that plan and tell us precisely how/when you will implement this plan and then we’ll consider voting for yet another tax increase.   Your vague, emotional rhetoric about helping the homeless is becoming tiresome because we’ve heard this before, we’ve given you our hard earned money to help with this problem because we care about helping and every day we only see more and more homeless on our streets.  The  problem increases day by day and I see NO VIABLE SOLUTIONS!  I have NEVER seen Seattle like I see it every day now.  I have never seen hoards of tents, campers and sleeping bags under every bridge, overpass, green belt or parking area and I’ve lived here for years.   PRESENT A PLAN TO US FIRST and yes I AM yelling.  You are pricing us out of the city, turning valuable properties over to developers for condos or apartments, increasing the shortage of affordable housing without solving ANY of the homeless problems as far as we can tell and we darned well resent it!

  • steve February 21, 2017 (7:09 pm)

    Buy a $500k house? Cheaper than renting? Your payment is $2,364. PMI will probably add $200 a month. Property taxes will add approx $500 a month. Then there’s insurance $100. Add it up. Renting is still cheaper.  Also, there is no such thing as a $500k house in Seattle. If there is, it’s gone.  My landlord showed me how 1/3 of my rent is property taxes,  and it went up another 10 percent this year. Murry proposes more? Good grief! He is going to sell because he is fed up. Another rental gone.

    • WS Guy February 21, 2017 (8:11 pm)

      I hate to say it, but the City has landlords in their crosshairs so you’re not likely to see many new rental homes on the market.  Aside from the new taxes, landlords have to take on a lot of risk now.  They can’t interview tenants, can’t ask for an up front security deposit, may have to pay relocation assistance, and eviction is very difficult.  

      Risk is a bit lower when the tenant is side-by-side in a building unit, but I would be nervous about entrusting a $500k home to the first applicant.

    • Mike February 21, 2017 (11:55 pm)

      Nah, real estate tax on a half million dollar home would only be $300 / month.  Add on the $600 in car tabs I’ll pay this year, $300 in Seattle fuel tax I’ll pay, $1600 for Orca pass fees, that already $6k and change in government fees, then add on sales tax for items I’ll buy…  the Mayor can go to hell.

  • MayorGottaGoBye February 21, 2017 (8:11 pm)

    No more TAXES – find the money elsewhere or put the homeless people to work making license plates and clothes in Prison.   Clean up the camps, not just posting signs they take down.  Show up and tell them they have one hour to get their “stuff” most of which is refuse or stolen property!  VOTE Out the entire council and the Mayor.  Are you listening Lisa Herbold???  West Seattle is sick of it.

  • trevor February 21, 2017 (8:38 pm)

    Let’s get the Sonics back!

    They are Homeless too!!!

  • New Thinking Needed February 21, 2017 (9:26 pm)

    Dear Mr Mayor,

    try living on $58,000 gross annual income raising a child, a house payment of $1200, add on all the necessary comforts of living in the first world such as Utility bill, Electric bill, Gas bill, basic phone & internet service, insurance and license fees for a car….and you will understand why working people earning under $60,000 a year are struggling and feel punished with the voter approved taxes that voters don’t really seem to understand….For instance, the Tesla owner whose license tab fee tripled ($560 to $1560) due to ST3, he said on TV he voted yes for ST3 but admits he didn’t really understand what would happen for the next 30 years. Why are you planning to punish us further by raising property taxes for a few thousand people who mostly refuse the services they are already offered and don’t seem to have a concern in the world for all the filth they create in their camping areas. We do understand $55 million in property taxes to be raised for the homeless…Maybe Mr Mayor you should ask the top 3% of earners in the area for funds to help create a homeless village. 

    • BMC February 23, 2017 (6:26 am)


  • Chris February 21, 2017 (9:40 pm)

    Raising taxes in an election year?  That’s different.

  • Seattlite February 21, 2017 (10:38 pm)

    Vote NO to new taxes.  KingCounty/Seattle is in a quandary with both a weak mayor and weak council.  Could things get any worse?  Murray is certainly consistent in asking for higher and higher taxes to squander on problems that never ever get solved.  Inslee needs to step up with a plan for the mentally ill homeless.  Criminal homeless need to go to jail.  Addicted homeless need to find it hard to find drugs in Seattle.  Is that asking too much of Seattle’s and WA state’s leadership?

  • Josh February 21, 2017 (11:49 pm)

    and don’t forget part of our property taxes go to the Port of Seattle, giving away our money as bonuses. 

  • bolo February 22, 2017 (12:07 am)

    The tax on “sugar-sweetened beverages” could be even more than 2 cents in my opinion.

    • TheKing February 22, 2017 (5:40 am)

      It’s 2 cents per ounce. The price of a 2 liter bottle of soda practically doubles. 

    • West Seattle since 1979 February 22, 2017 (8:46 am)

      They’re not a necessity, and they’re bad for us.  And I say that as someone who drinks more of them than I should.  

      • TheKing February 22, 2017 (9:39 am)

        It’s going to be like the prohibition days, instead of moonshine it will be Pepsi 

        • West Seattle since 1979 February 22, 2017 (11:46 am)

          People will brew bathtub Pepsi, and we’ll have Pepsi speakeasies where we have to give the password to enter! :)

  • anonymous February 22, 2017 (1:39 am)

    Decided a few years back to buy in W Seattle for the short commute and beaches nearby. I really should have moved to Bellevue. Clean streets, high prices but the roads are in great shape, good schools, and I haven’t drug usage in their parks. One more family sick of the taxes. 

  • Duwamesque February 22, 2017 (8:31 am)

    Sad tear for the million-dollar homeowners who would have to pay FIFTEEN DOLLARS a month more in taxes so that others can have shelter.

    But Murray is Hitler right? Boy nobody complains louder than rich white folks asked to modestly pitch in.

    • CMT February 22, 2017 (10:23 am)

      Really?  That’s your takeaway from these comments?  It is clear that people have a problem with their money being utterly wasted by an incompetent mayor who talks a good game but fails to deliver.  His stupid policies will result in wealthy people and homeless people being the only ones able to live in this city.  Ridiculous.  But everyone is supposed to mindlessly say OK?

    • Double Dub Resident February 22, 2017 (10:28 am)

      How absurdly presumptuous of you to imply that everyone complaining is “rich white people”.   And it only shows your own bigoted attitude. Had this been said about any other race the community college social justice warriors would be up in arms screaming racism. 

      But to you I guess my Asian wife,  black,  Filipino,  and Mexican neighbors don’t count in their complaints and criticisms of this asinine tax? 

    • WSMom February 22, 2017 (11:54 am)

      Duwamesque, it is not the $15 a month that is the problem.  The problem is that they keep asking for more and more and more from homeowners!  Every year the taxes keep going up and they keep asking for more.  Enough is enough.  In the past I always vote yes for the tax increases but unfortunately I don’t think I can keep affording to do that, and I don’t think my neighbors can too.  The average homeowner in Seattle do not have unlimited funds to pay for all these taxes that keep coming our way.

  • William February 22, 2017 (9:21 am)

    NO NO NO!!!!! More Taxes? Are u kidding me Mr. Mayor ?!?!?! Really are u serious? Take your social engineering experiments somewhere else can’t wait to VOTE him out of office!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • GRGardner February 22, 2017 (10:47 am)

    I moved out of West Seattle last fall to Palm Springs — got out while the getting is good.  I miss my neighborhood and my friends, but couldn’t afford the property tax and car tabs anymore…glad I got out when I could.  I’m fortunate, I retired and don’t have to stay. Funny thing is that everyone thinks California is a high-tax state but my property taxes and vehicle car tabs are far less here than in Washington.  Seattle always wanted to be SanFrancisco and now it’s turned itself into it.  Good luck fighting this — renters don’t care about property tax, and non drivers don’t care about car tab taxes — so as long as they are in the majority you are going to be paying for it.

  • old timer February 22, 2017 (12:09 pm)

    Unintended consequences:

    There comes today a story about the effect in Philadelphia of a “soda tax”.

    Philadelphia Soda Tax Leads To 30-50% Plunge In Sales, Mass Layoffs

    Hope the link carries thru:


    • WSB February 22, 2017 (2:02 pm)

      The “soda tax” is certainly worth a robust discussion too. But anyone interested should read the story and not just the headline. The “mass layoffs” are currently “threatened” … they have yet to happen. The tax in Philadelphia went into effect less than two months ago. Interestingly, the story talks about people driving outside the city to buy beverages without the new tax; here in West Seattle, that could be a boon for just-over-the-line Roxbury Safeway (“home of the plastic shopping bag”) … TR

  • wetone February 22, 2017 (12:14 pm)

      Murray has shown zero positive results from his $50mil budget he is spending today on the homeless issue and in fact from what I see (tents, tarps, garbage, drug dealings, panhandlers ) things are getting worse everyday, now he wants $105mil.  I vote no for most all these days as I have seen zero improvements for the blue collar and limited income people of Seattle with Murray and current city council in office. In fact most people I know are slowly slipping backwards, giving serious thought of moving from area due to cost and commute times. Most I know don’t work downtown and have to drive a vehicle for work and family. Don’t forget more tolls coming soon to many roads and how is Seattle roads being maintained. Murray is running a pyramid type scheme with tax payers dollars, that will collapse at some point leaving Seattle in a very bad place.  Interesting how Murray has and is doing little to go after people bringing heroin and other drugs into area and why is that ? does the race card come into play ? think about it…. To me Murray is worse than Trump, just a different card game he’s playing.  One would be irresponsible to give Seattle gov any more money till there are positive improvements for all. Now he is up for reelection he will make a lot of new promises and we  will see temporary clean up’s of homeless camps ; )   Where’s all the money going ?     tripled  quadruped layered  government wages ? waterfront projects, fancy painted sidewalks, road diet and design projects that impact 98% of city’s population in their daily lives  ? the list goes on and on. How’s Seattle’s infrastructure doing ?  what happened to state lotto earnings and all the tax dollars from pot business sales ? Murray’s priority’s are really screwed up………… Seattle is more torn than ever before and I blame those in office today…………    vote if you don’t like what’s happening…….

  • Jeff February 22, 2017 (12:39 pm)

    I have emailed CM Herbold before regarding homeless spending accountability and found her staff to be receptive. After the city hired the consultant the mayor stated “we were spending enough money on homelessness and that we just needed to streamline and hold accountable the many homeless services the city contracts with.” This has not happened, nor has the “Homeless Czar” position resulted in any progress towards this goal.

    The only way we will be heard is through numbers. Please email me if you would like to join my email group to CM Herbold @ nohomelesstax@gmail.com.  We must let our elected representatives know that we demand compassion and accountability.

  • Mary Anne February 22, 2017 (8:43 pm)

    The Mayor is completely out of touch with the people he thinks he’s representing. 

  • Jeannie February 22, 2017 (9:09 pm)

    It always amazes me when the vast majority of Seattleites vote for new taxes. I am all for taxes for improving schools, emergency services and parks, but the mayor’s latest request is a bridge too far. Plus, are they really accountable for all those taxes we pay? Too often, they are misappropriated due to incompetence or self-serving greed.

  • New Thinking Needed February 22, 2017 (9:21 pm)

    Dear Duwamesque,

    I am a white folk but I am not rich & never will be – who really cares what my skin color is anyway?!? My house isn’t worth a million bucks & never will be. I have been paying my mortgage & property taxes since 1994. For your info, I do need that $15 a month so I can pay the increased taxes from all the other voter approved levies that seem to increase as the value of my home increases. I do need that $15 a month to pay the increased car license tab fees…my income is not increasing as fast as these property taxes which for me have jumped $600 last year and again $600 in 2017!   I have to live within my means or else I may end up without my home that I have been dutifully paying off for many years….

  • Born on Alki 59 February 23, 2017 (11:18 am)

    Taxing people out of their homes to prevent homelessness….brilliant mayor y’all have there in Seattle. This is why we moved away from Seattle, incompetent leadership is destroying a once beautiful city.

    Socialism only works until you run out of other people’s money Ed.

  • Chris Cowman February 23, 2017 (12:04 pm)

    And people wonder why Trump won.

    Is is just the start please look at Inslee’s new budget…

  • T Rex February 23, 2017 (2:17 pm)

    You are correct Chris Cowman, and this could be the beginning of a new movement in this country and who we elect to public office. I for one am sick of politicians making their own rules. And it happens on both sides of the fence, Democrats and Republicans alike. However the Republicans will eventually have to get together and sing Kumbaya  and I am confident they will. However, Dem’s are still going completely sideways with no end in sight. The more sideways they go, the more Trump has a chance of reelection in 2020. Keep up with the riots, violence and hate speeches towards him and his supporters Especially you Sawant;  your time is coming to an end. And I predict that will be soon after May Day. Unless we get you out of there before that.   

     Our mayor was right out there with the rest of those yahoo’s lighting candles and being everyone’s little buddy. All the while knowing he was going to drop this BOMB shell in the coming weeks. Nice try little Eddie, you are not fooling me one bit.  No one is going to vote for more taxes despite you staying out after dark with your friends. And hopefully someone will step up to the plate and give you a run for your money come election time.



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