Mayor Durkan sends letter to City Council, calls for investigation into Councilmember Sawant

SEATTLE — Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan sent a letter to the City Council requesting it exercise its duties and investigate Councilmember Kshama Sawant.

In the letter, Durkan says that she has "deep concerns about the continued actions of a Councilmember" and asks the Council to investigate Sawant's actions and determine if any action should be taken.

“Policy disagreements do not justify a Councilmember who potentially uses their position in violation of law or who recklessly undermines the safety of others, all for political theatre,” Durkan wrote.

The letter lists several alleged actions that Durkan believes are grounds for an investigation and potential expulsion from the council, under Article IV, Section 4 of the charter.

The list of allegations from Durkan includes:

  • Potentially delegating decisions regarding hiring to an outside political organization.
  • Allowing hundreds of protesters into City Hall after hours, against the city’s COVID-19 protections and risking the safety of workers.
  • Encouraging protesters to occupy the East Precinct, using her position as a Councilmember.
  • Leading a protest to Durkan’s home despite the address being protected from her work as a U.S. Attorney.

Durkan also attached a photo to the letter which showed obscenities spray painted on a fence.

KIRO 7 caught up with Sawant at a Tax Amazon event moments after she became aware of the Mayor’s letter. She  slammed the Mayor’s response to the protests against police brutality. She was asked if she owed the Mayor an apology for the march on her home which later led to vandalism on her property.

“I was not the organizer of the march, but for as far as I know, and I was there for hours, there was no vandalism,” Sawant answered.  

But this march isn't the only issue the Mayor wants investigated.

Sawant has openly called for Mayor Durkan to be impeached over her handling of protestors and today called for the mayor's resignation.

“And now she is going after the rare political representation that we have for our movement and for our marginalized communities in City Hall. I will call this a stunning example of political gaslighting from the ruling class and their establishment and our movement needs to understand this is not an attack on one individual, this is an attack on the black lives matter movement,” Sawant said.

KIRO 7 reached out to the Mayor’s office for an interview, but never heard back. The rest of the Council never responded to requests for comments either.

Sawant released a statement responding to Durkan’s allegations around 3 p.m. Tuesday. Read it in full below.

“Mayor Jenny Durkan’s establishment has utterly failed working people and communities of color in this city. She bears responsibility for a torrent of violence by Seattle police, including the use of brutal weapons like tear gas and rubber bullets against the Black Lives Matter protest movement. Under her watch, eight community members have been killed at the hands of Seattle police, with zero officers prosecuted.

Bankrolled by corporate cash in her election campaign, Durkan has used her position to doggedly protect Amazon’s corporate tax haven while working people shoulder the overwhelming burden of society. She has just declared budget cuts of nearly $300 million, which will only exacerbate human suffering, especially in communities of color, dishonestly claiming that the cuts are “unavoidable.”

This Mayor has no standing whatsoever to now disingenuously call for “the urgent need for government to work together.”

Socialist Alternative and my Council office are proud to have marched, rallied, and organized with thousands of community members and activists in recent weeks to demand #JusticeForGeorgeFloyd, #BlackLivesMatter. Our movement is demanding racial and economic justice, long withheld by a pro-corporate political establishment, whose leader currently is Mayor Durkan.

As a measure of outrage ordinary people feel at Durkan and the rotten status quo over which she presides, more than 20,000 Seattleites have signed petitions calling on her to resign or be impeached. That is why Mayor Durkan’s shameful attack today is not surprising.

I am proud to work with young people of color to demand that the City #DefundPolice, and redirect at least half of the bloated $409 million police budget – which Mayor Durkan championed – to urgent community needs as decided by community organizations and coalitions. I stand with the movement in demanding that all protestors be released and all charges dropped.

I am proud to stand with African-American clergy in the Central Area, who are demanding that the city reverse its policies of racist gentrification, which have only intensified under Durkan’s watch, and fund the construction of at least 1,000 new, affordable homes in the neighborhood to allow Black people to return, as part of the Amazon Tax legislation in City Council.

I am proud to unite with environmental justice activists of all backgrounds, to demand that the city establishment make good on its promise to fund the Green New Deal, instead of the empty gestures we have seen from the Durkan administration.

Durkan’s attack on my office is an attack on the grassroots campaigns we’ve participated in and helped lead alongside many others, and the progressive victories we have all won together. While her words are directed at me and my elected office, I don’t take it personally. In reality, this is an attack on working people’s movements, and everything we are fighting for, by a corporate politician desperately looking to distract from her failures of leadership and politically bankrupt administration. Our movement will respond accordingly: we will fight with even greater unity and determination.”

Comments on this article