Re-imagining Public Safety Survey - CM Alex Pedersen Survey

posted Jul 29, 2020, 9:28 PM by PRCC Webmaster
From: Councilmember Alex Pedersen <alex.pedersen@seattle.gov>
Sent: Tuesday, July 28, 2020 6:25 PM
To: avpoggi@hotmail.com <avpoggi@hotmail.com>
Subject: Reimagining Safety / SPD Survey
 
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Friends and Neighbors,

This week your City Council passed two major pieces of legislation our office worked diligently to advance:

  • TRANSIT: the November ballot measure giving voters the option to renew funding for our Seattle Transportation Benefit District to support transit and
  • INTERNET: the “Internet for All” Resolution to address the social justice imperative of overcoming the digital divide to achieve digital equity for Seattle.  

As we struggle with what appears to be a new wave of COVID cases and strive to close our city government’s budget deficit, the primary issue we still must tackle in the aftermath of the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis and countless other victims of law enforcement misconduct is Justice. We have this historic moment to address decades of systemic racism by creating a new paradigm for how we deliver public safety and achieve healthy communities. Please take my quick Public Safety Survey below and, for more information about all of these timely topics, please read on. For more frequent updates, you can always check my website. Thank you.

Re-imagining Public Safety Survey

Camden County, New Jersey police march WITH protesters. Photo published by NBC.
 

TELL US WHAT YOU THINK: Fill out our survey

To take the survey, CLICK HERE. The survey is just two questions: (1) In which neighborhood do you reside? and (2) the following question on re-imagining public safety / reallocating significant dollars from our Seattle Police Department (SPD) to other community safety programs:

Pick the ONE statement that best describes your current views on the proposals:

  1. Defund SPD by at least 50%!  (Note: “Defund” typically means to reallocate dollars to non-police programs that would address safety, crime prevention, and healthy communities. A popular example is to dispatch a mental health professional to a Seattle neighbor having a mental health crisis rather than sending an armed police officer.) In addition to the need to re-imagine public safety, the $400 million police budget has grown to a bloated amount with excessive overtime, military grade weapons, and/or specialty units that are too expensive. It’s okay to lay off some police officers. Seven of the nine Councilmembers have already agreed to this and it’s time to get on board now. (For more information on the “defunding” concept, see my website by CLICKING HERE.)
  2. Do NOT Defund. Support Our Police Department: Do not “defund” our police department because we need their response times to be faster, rather than slower. Our officers also need an ample training budget to complete the accountability reforms of the consent decree.  We already lose police officers to other cities at a rapid rate and we need to provide them with support so they stay here. Our Police Chief Carmen Best is doing a decent job, considering the challenges she is facing.
  3. Let's See Details First and Be Thoughtful. I want our elected officials to address institutional racism and I’m open to them working to reimagine public safety. We often ask our police officers to do the impossible by responding to too many types of complex emergencies. But prematurely pledging to cut our police budget by 50% without a plan and without sufficient capacity today to transfer their duties to community groups is hasty. We need to make sure the programs we reallocate money to are effective and measure results, so we actually achieve the positive outcomes we all want. Let’s do this right the first time by getting a detailed plan from our Mayor, soliciting a wide range of community feedback, debating respectfully during the City Council’s fall budget process, and phasing in a thoughtful, detailed plan that truly increases safety and community wellness.
  4. Undecided: I need to learn more before deciding.
Take the Public Safety Survey
Caveats on surveys: Please be assured that occasional surveys are just one way to gather feedback. We understand that subscribers to this e-newsletter do not include every individual and small business in District 4. We also review thousands of e-mails and phone calls from constituents and hear public comment at the City Council meetings every week.  
 
MORE WAYS TO ENGAGE ON SPD’S BUDGET:  
 
Our City Council Budget Chair, Public Safety Chair, and Council President are signaling that much of the important work to fully re-imagine public safety will require ample time and will, therefore, likely occur during our more thorough Fall budget process. While our Council office has already received countless phone calls and over 30,000 e-mails (including 2,000 from our District 4 residents), we wanted to provide the survey above as yet another way to communicate with us. In addition -- when input will have the MOST impact on our 2021 budget -- I plan to organize a robust budget panel in District 4, which will include our City Budget Office and other officials so that District 4 residents can ask their thoughtful questions about the city budget and public safety. Please look forward to that in a few weeks.

Seattle Transportation Benefit District (STBD)

On Monday, July 27 -- after a lengthy debate on several amendments -- your City Council unanimously approved a 6-year transit measure with a 0.15% sales tax to send to the November ballot, giving voters the option to renew funding for our Transportation Benefit District. The current measure is funded by a 0.1% sales tax (the 0.1% of the 10.1% total sales tax in Seattle). To keep the promises I previously made about not increasing the sales tax, I voted against the amendments to increase the prudent rate the Mayor originally proposed. But, in the spirit of compromise and unity that City Hall so desperately needs during these tumultuous times, I joined all my colleagues to make sure we put this transit measure on the ballot for voters to decide. For the Seattle Times article on the City Council’s action, CLICK HERE.  

As chair of the Committee that shepherded this transit legislation through the City Council on a tight schedule, I believe it was healthy for our city government to have a robust, yet respectful debate on the tradeoffs of the various details and then move it forward for voters to decide.

My comments at the conclusion of the City Council debate:  

“This is a good day for public transit. Many were concerned that, with the turmoil and uncertainty of the COVID pandemic and economic recession, we might not be able to complete the funding option for the Transportation Benefit District. In fact, our colleagues at King County had to abandon a regional measure as they shifted their attention to the public health crisis. It was up to us, here in Seattle, to beat the clock before the money for transit expired. Fortunately, my colleagues and I share common ground in believing that public transit is an essential and affordable option to move the most people in our region, as we look forward to a vibrant economy and a healthy planet.

"Despite the divisions and conflicts that many people see reported in the media, the Mayor and the City Council can pull together and row in the same positive direction when we focus our energy on the hard responsibility of governing.”

 
My statement as Council adopted the measure for voter consideration:  

"Because I believe public transit is an essential and affordable option to move the most people in the most environmentally friendly way as our economy recovers, I’m thankful the Mayor and a unanimous City Council agreed to provide Seattle voters with the option this November to renew funding for the successful Seattle Transportation Benefit District during these challenging and uncertain times.”


For more information:
  • My website blog, CLICK HERE.
  • Website for the Seattle Transportation Benefit District, CLICK HERE.
  • Mayor Durkan’s joint statement with Council President González, CLICK HERE.

Internet for All Resolution Unanimously Approved

On Monday, July 27th, the Seattle City Council passed the Internet for All resolution sponsored by me, Council President González, and Councilmember Juarez. If you called into the Council meeting to comment, emailed Councilmembers, or participated in our preliminary, yet extensive stakeholder engagement process, we thank you for your time and efforts. Your feedback and input are reasons for this successful passage.

My statement on the passage of the resolution:

Seattle is a city that rightfully prides itself on world-class technology, but the COVID crisis has laid bare the inequities and injustices of the Digital DivideWe can no longer afford to allow limited access to the internet to prevent learning, to impede our workers, or to hinder our small businesses. It’s time to provide reliable and affordable access to the internet as part of our city’s vital infrastructure for social justice, for education, and for economic development. Passing our resolution today amps up Seattle’s long-term efforts to achieve Internet for All.” 

We know this is just the first step, but it is a significant one, and we look forward to partnering with stakeholders and our City’s Information Technology Department as we craft solutions to address the disparities in tech exacerbated by this COVID crisis.

To read our entire press release and for my blog post on Internet for AllCLICK HERE. To view the Resolution, CLICK HERE.

NEXT STEPS:  As the chair of the City Council Committee that includes technology, I’m having our Seattle Department of Information Technology present an initial report this Fall.

Updates on COVID Pandemic

Governor’s latest orders:
  • On July 25, the Washington State Secretary of Health expanded face mask requirements to any indoor setting outside your home, as well as any outdoor setting where maintaining six feet of distance is not possible. Please continue to wear a mask in public and practice social distancing.
  • The Governor also extended the eviction moratorium through October 15.
  • CLICK HERE to learn more. 
More Action at City Council: Consistent with my support of COVID relief and recovery legislation and budgets, I joined my colleagues to vote in favor of this COVID relief bill: Council Bill 119812. This legislation taps larger amounts from our Emergency Fund and Revenue Stabilization Fund. While a strong advocate for building up and preserving “rainy day” funds, I believe the COVID pandemic is a sufficiently severe crisis justifying the use of these emergency funds. These funds will be replenished with future revenues.
 
Information for small businesses:
  • You can learn about your temporary permit options for outdoor spaces by clicking HERE. You can find information about applying for a temporary outdoor café permit HERE and a temporary merchandise display permit HERE. For more support, you can reach Seattle’s Office of Economic Development at oed@seattle.gov and 206-684-8090.
  • CLICK HERE to access reopening toolkits, including safety checklists and other resources.
More COVID updates:

EASTLAKE OPPORTUNITY
 

Seattle Parks and Recreation
invites community to help re-design Terry Pettus Park

As announced earlier this month, Seattle Parks and Recreation (SPR) asked us to remind District 4 residents of this opportunity: 
 
“SPR invites the community to provide input on four concept designs for Terry Pettus Park. Please register for the online Zoom meeting at https://bit.ly/pettusparkmeeting1 and join us online July 29 at 4 p.m. Once registered, you will receive a confirmation email with a link to join the meeting. While we cannot meet in person right now, your input is important to us!
 
“SPR is excited to announce that we acquired additional land to the south of the existing park, allowing for a new expanded park design. Thank you to all who participated in our online survey in the spring. When asked, what features would enhance your enjoyment of the park, the community's top priorities were habitat enhancement, native plants and trees, shoreline restoration, more seating, better dock and launch area for kayaks and canoes, and better access to the water. We also heard that better visibility into the park was desired. 
 
“The online meeting on July 29 is an opportunity for the community to meet the design team from Jones and Jones Architects and Landscape Architects, ask questions about the design and provide input.” For more info, CLICK HERE.

WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU AT CITY HALL

City Council Meetings on the Internet:

 
Listening: Even though City Council is not currently holding meetings in person in order to follow public health guidelines, you can still follow along by listening on your computer or phone by CLICKING HERE. You can also listen on your phone by calling 206-684-8566.
 
Commenting: You can also submit public comment by sending an e-mail to me at Alex.Pedersen@seattle.gov or to all 9 Councilmembers at council@seattle.gov. Please remember to add “For City Council Meeting” in the comments. Now you can also phone into the meeting to speak directly to the Council live. For the instructions on how to register and call in, CLICK HERE. Sign up begins two hours prior to the meeting start time.
 
As I mentioned earlier, we received over 30,000 e-mails– an unheard-of volume– in June/July, so I ask for your patience as we try to respond to those District 4 constituents who asked for a response. Either way, we read your e-mails and they have an impact. Thank you for taking the time to contact me.

Virtual Meetings with Your Councilmember Pedersen: I continue to schedule virtual in-district office hours, so we can chat by telephone or via Skype. Please continue to sign up through my website or by CLICKING HERE so I can hear your ideas, concerns, and requests. Due to their popularity, we are behind on scheduling these meetings, so thank you in advance for your patience. To get your comments to me right away, simply send an e-mail to alex.pedersen@seattle.gov

 
For previous e-newsletters, visit my blog by CLICKING HERE.
 
We will get through this together, Seattle.
 
 
With gratitude,
Councilmember Alex Pedersen
Seattle City Council, District 4

Email: Alex.Pedersen@seattle.gov
Phone: (206) 684-8804
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