Mayor Jenny Durkan and police Chief Carmen Best toured West Seattle in advance of a crucial City Council vote on a new labor contract with Seattle police officers. If passed it would give Seattle police their first pay raise in 4 ½ years which is key, they believe, to keeping and attracting more police officers.
When the mayor got to the West 5 Restaurant, co-owner Dave Montoure gave it to her straight.
“I'm a lifelong west Seattle resident and I actually sold my home in west Seattle last year. The chronic disorder that I see in the city has actually been disturbing to me. I don't think the money has been used wisely,” Montoure said.
Asked if that was hard to hear, Durkan said, “It is. I think that we've got to show the commitment to the city, to the businesses and residents that are here to make sure people know that there's home for them in Seattle. and I think public safety is at the top of everyone's mind.”
But critics say the new contract backtracks on hard won police reforms.
“We have come too far and worked so hard for police reform. So, for the good of our entire city we cannot let community confidence be damaged with the rollback of police reform,” said Estella Ortega, executive director of El Centro de la Raza.
As former U.S. attorney for Western Washington, Durkan filed the lawsuit that led to a federal consent decree requiring police reform in Seattle
“I've been working on police reform for over two decades in this city. We lock in some critical important reforms and move reforms forward. We did it with agreement of the Police Officers Guild and we're going to get our police officers paid,” Durkan said.
Approval requires that seven of the nine City Council members vote yes.
Councilwoman Lorena Gonzalez is leading the effort to pass the contract. Asked if she is confident of a majority, she responded. “I'm working really hard to make sure that all of the questions that my colleagues have are answered so that they feel comfortable voting yes tomorrow.”
Montoure told the mayor, “Get us those officers, get us more officers. How many does this new contract call for. Double it, triple it. I don't care. Give Carmen Best what she needs to run this city and to support our citizens.”
The council expected to vote in its 2 p.m. meeting Tuesday.
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