From paving to parks, West Seattle notes from Mayor Durkan’s last budget proposal

One last time before leaving office in a few months, Mayor Jenny Durkan gave her annual budget speech tonight.

But what she chose to mention is only a fraction of what’s in the 768-page “budget book.” We read through key department sections of the $7.1 billion budget, as well as the accompanying Capital Improvement Program that spans into 2023 and beyond. Here are notes of (mostly) local interest:

SDOT: Of course the agency’s $718 million plan has all the money expected to be needed to fix and reopen the West Seattle Bridge. It also has $5 million for maintenance on three movable bridges, including the West Seattle low bridge, and the 4th Avenue South bridge. But the most eyecatching West Seattle item is in the Capital Improvement Program – penciling in 35th Avenue SW repaving for 2023, Morgan to Roxbury. Where the $35 million would come from, they haven’t decided yet.

PARKS & REC: West Seattle’s three landbanked park sites – 48th and Charlestown, 40th SW in The Junction, and the addition in Morgan Junction – were put on hold for the pandemic. But the $283 million Parks budget for next year includes money to get them going again. Other named West Seattle projects would include energy-efficiency woork at Hiawatha (which is already closed for renovations) and some money to support closing-time security at Alki Beach.

POLICE: The $365 million plan is slightly more than last year. Here’s what the mayor said about it in her speech:

We’ll also continue to address public safety challenges. Like many of you, I believe it’s a false choice to say we must choose between investing in effective community alternatives OR investing in having enough well trained police officers.

We need both.

This budget ensures we have enough police officers AND alternatives to police interventions, particularly for people in crisis. Like HealthOne, a program I launched before the pandemic that sends medics and social workers instead of police to certain 911 calls.

My budget also adds 125 new officers and one million dollars for officer hiring incentives, and new resources for training and oversight. I hope the City Council joins me to support this approach for true community safety, and not buy into false choices.

The alternatives would include adding six Community Service Officers as well as moving money to “specialized triage” and a Regional Peacekeepers Collective.

Those are just a few sections of the many in the budget – you can browse them section by section by going here. Some departments have started publishing their own summaries – including Parks, SDOT; watch for others here.

WHAT’S NEXT: The City Council, meeting as the Select Budget Committee, will review and amend the mayor’s plan over the next two months. Meetings start Wednesday, with individual department presentations; here’s the agenda for that day (watch for subsequent meetings’ agendas here). Three public hearings are planned – 5:30 pm October 12 and November 10, 9:30 am November 18, all online, so you can comment from wherever you are – go here for more info on how to attend/participate. You can also email councilmembers any time – here’s how.

24 Replies to "From paving to parks, West Seattle notes from Mayor Durkan's last budget proposal"

  • Jeff September 28, 2021 (7:32 am)

    Jenny please get out of here. The cop budget is insane. We said DEFUND. 

    • Adam September 28, 2021 (9:04 am)

      No, some people said “defund.” Others, including myself, understand that we need a reformed PD, which includes training new officers.  We don’t need militarized police, I totally support that, but we need law enforcement and prevention in this city, I’m tired of reading about shootings, robberies, vandalism, arson…. This list goes on.  Durian is right, it’s a false to say we can either have “law and order” or “defund.” That’s exactly the biopic thinking that gets us into trouble. 

      • Justind September 28, 2021 (10:10 am)

        Well put, Adam. 

    • Peter September 28, 2021 (9:57 am)

      No we do not. Just because mental health, drug treatment, and housing are severely under funded does not mean the police are over funded. There is plenty to legitimately criticize the police for, but gutting their funding won’t address those. 

    • Mel September 28, 2021 (10:12 am)

      Yeah speak for yourself. This member of the BIPOC community is for MORE police.

    • Also John September 28, 2021 (11:03 am)

      A 2nd No!   I never said I want to defund police.  We need police now more than ever. Crime is on the rise and you want to remove police because of some bad apples?   We need to support our police.

      • heartless September 28, 2021 (12:54 pm)

        Crime is on the rise and you want to remove police because of some bad apples?”

        Just as an aside, if I may: I see this acorn mentioned often as of late, the one about only a few bad apples.  I think it’s important to remember the entire aphorism: a few bad apples spoil the bunch

        The meaning is that when you have a few bad actors… pretty soon everyone is complicit.  That is, there is in truth no such thing as only a few bad apples, because those few ruin all.

        As somewhat of a fan of language, it pains me to see people use this proverb to argue its opposite (although the irony is delectable, so there’s that).

        That’s all, please carry on.

        • CuriousQuestioner September 28, 2021 (2:54 pm)

          I suppose this means that *you* are now spoiled, correct? I mean, the police live in this community, and you are part of this community. By your logic, you are now as much a part of the problem as they are. 

          • heartless September 28, 2021 (6:07 pm)

            Well, no, because I am not an apple.

            But I do appreciate your continued efforts at punching up–please keep at it.

          • Curioisquestioner September 28, 2021 (10:17 pm)

            I didn’t realize you had to be an actual apple for this to work. My apologies, I thought this was a metaphor. 

    • wscommuter September 28, 2021 (11:09 am)

      A vocal but small minority said “defund”.  Just because they screamed loudly doesn’t – at all – mean that the idea is remotely sound public policy.  Indeed, most serious critics of policing practices now acknowledge that “defund the police” was never a good idea nor was it effective messaging.  Most reasonable folks want to see police reform – eliminating racial profiling and abuse of power by officers … but they also recognize that police are an essential part of a civil society necessary to deter and stop crime.  My own two cents – we need to increase funding for training for our police to address the legitimate criticism of racial bias and its abuses, while we look for those areas where we can also divert some resources to mental health/crisis intervention.   Simultaneously, we need to hire more police officers so that we can address the epidemic of property crimes that are affecting every area of Seattle, but especially victimizing our poorest neighborhoods.  In other words – spend more on public safety – not less.  

    • SlimJim September 28, 2021 (3:03 pm)

      No Jeff, you and some other people said defund. Not “we” as in all the people of Seattle. Opinions around social and political issues are never unanimous, and we have a better, more peaceful society when we work together to settle these differences. Just yelling at politicians because they didn’t do what you wanted is not the way forward.

    • ~Hockeywitch~ September 28, 2021 (9:47 pm)

      I have NEVER EVER said Defund the Police.. We need the police.. We need MORE police. There weren’t enough of them to begin with, and then so many of them left, leaving us needing even more.

  • Brian September 28, 2021 (7:39 am)

    Excellent write-up. It’ll be an easy quick reference when folks try to trot out the tired lie regarding how we “defunded the police”.

    • ACG September 28, 2021 (9:17 am)

      Your statement makes no sense. This is Durkan’s plan. Now it will be gutted and changed  by the city council before being voted on and enacted.

      • Brian October 5, 2021 (4:37 pm)

        Whoa it’s cool that you live in an alternate reality where our city council ever does the correct thing. 

  • Jay September 28, 2021 (8:37 am)

    The city needs to dissolve the department to get rid of SPOG and the corrupt cops and rebuild the department. Just from eliminating the overtime fraud we’d save a ridiculous amount of money and would create a less attractive department for corrupt cops to work for.

  • Mel September 28, 2021 (10:14 am)

    Is this 125 officers on top of the backfilling that needs to take place for those who have left? Or is this 125 on top of what we have at this moment? Big difference.

    • Scubafrog September 28, 2021 (7:46 pm)

      There’s a budget for hiring new recruits, currently.  The SPD simply hasn’t.  Why throw good money after bad, if the SPD won’t hire more officers.  So far, their excuse is “we don’t have enough police, we were defunded, wahhh”, yet they have funds – their own officers left due to political ideology (Or were fired).  You and others blame rising crime on the city council and Seattle’ politicians — But not the SPD for not enough police officers.   However, the SPD’s made no hires with their current budget (which again provides for more officers).   So the “defund” argument holds no water, when the SPD’s currently funded.  Moreover, it should be made clear that the vast majority of the SPD don’t live in city.  That’s been discussed for years – another poster noted “all SPD live in Seattle”, which is patently inaccurate.  Not even Carmen Best lived in Seattle during her tenure.

  • Paul September 28, 2021 (12:57 pm)

    Thank you Mayor Durkan. The vast majority of us support safe, vibrant communities and that requires MORE police, not less. Defund the police may be a catchy slogan, but it is not a responsible governing strategy. 

  • Millie September 28, 2021 (2:07 pm)

     WSCommuter is “spot on”.    My sentiments exactly!

  • Ugh September 28, 2021 (2:15 pm)

    Weird that she doesn’t mention her plan includes robbing funds from JumpStart to pay for other, unrelated programs.  Did she learn nothing from the soda tax debacle in 2018?  What’s sad is she probably did, and is using her last budget as a petty “gotcha” she knows isn’t going to pass muster with anyone.  Can’t wait to see her go.

  • Scubafrog September 28, 2021 (5:59 pm)

    It would be interesting to see how many people want “more police” V funding for mental health and different approaches to policing.  There are a lot of claims that “Seattle wants more police”, with no proof to that end (and thus an emotional cry via virtue-signaling).  There’s proof that Seattle and the US want police reform, via polling in the firm majority.   Regardless,  thankfully Durkan will be gone soon.  Durkan’s abysmal polling and atrocious mayorship  scarred the city.  Her budget will not stand.  Seattle’s excited for a new Mayor, durkan’s unpopularity holds that as a fact.

  • Dunno September 29, 2021 (5:35 am)

    FUND!  Jeff and his friends are dead wrong!   Look at statistics.  Many more are planning to retire ASAP.

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