SPD’s response to accidents
On July 10, 2015, as I was riding my bicycle downhill on Northeast 65th Street, a car on my left did a U-turn in front of me. I slammed into the car and immediately lost consciousness. When I woke up, a police officer was leaning over me and saying, “Don’t move! Don’t move!” Seconds later, two medics from Seattle Fire Department were holding my head and encasing me in a hard plastic shell to prevent any bodily movement.
As the Seattle City Council ponders emasculating the Seattle Police Department budget, I challenge them to explain how their revised budget would maintain police officers’ ability to respond immediately to accidents. That officer, and a civilian who was assisting him, calmed me and, not knowing how badly I was injured, acted to prevent potentially crippling spinal damage.
Slashing the SPD budget without a sensible plan is utterly irresponsible. While changes in some policies are clearly needed, we must insist that officers’ ability to assist quickly in critical situations is not diminished.
Michael W. Shurgot, Seattle
Follow city charter
As a legislative authority, the Seattle City Council currently seems dominated by a narrow, irresponsible approach to addressing the complex needs of Seattle’s communities. Solutions to dire issues seem driven by uncompromising ideology. Impact studies, needs assessments, funding sources and proven best practices for success should drive legislation.
This was not done in their recent legislative initiatives to address police reform. Some council members are failing to follow the Charter of The City of Seattle. The council did not “enable municipal government to provide services and meet the needs of the people” and “allow fair and equitable participation” to Mayor Jenny Durkan and Chief Carmen Best. An open apology to these leaders of our community and a pledge for future collaboration is in order.
Robin McQuinn, Seattle
What’s happening, Seattle? Have moderate Democrats here become as frightened of offending the far left as moderate Republicans are of angering President Donald Trump? It’s dismaying to see what the council did to Police Chief Carmen Best and enlightening to read the columns by Tim Burgess [“6 steps to real, enduring police reform,” Aug. 14 Opinion] and Danny Westneat [Police chief’s decision to quit may have just saved Seattle from itself [Aug. 15, Northwest].
As a new resident of West Seattle, I was heartened to see in Westneat’s piece that Lisa Herbold has apologized for her vote that helped Best decide to retire and, apparently, that a council majority might realize it acted in untoward haste. Burgess laid out how police reform could be done well, as opposed to the meat-axe approach.
Let’s hope our council members learn to avoid the Kool-Aid and look before they leap. I, and I imagine most of the city, don’t want Trumper-like lemmings following Councilmember Kshama Sawant off the deep end.
Bob Anderson, Seattle
‘Out of touch’
The activists and protesters did their part to advocate for change, but the City Council’s role is to take those inputs and work with stakeholders — the mayor, departments, business, nonprofits and community — to implement changes in a way that is best for the city and its citizens. Instead, the council has done the opposite by ignoring stakeholders, facts and even reality itself.
The icing on the cake — at least so far — is how effectively over the past few weeks council members conveyed to Police Chief Carmen Best that they had no use for her expertise, track record, leadership or input. When this is done to the very-qualified Black woman in the room, it is called racism.
I find statements of sadness and surprise by some council members to be completely insincere and more evidence — as if we needed it — of how out of touch they are with the impact of their actions.
I urge the council to learn from this event by recognizing what it takes to make true, lasting progressive change and to uphold their sworn duty to the city of Seattle.
Kim Gould, Seattle
Invest in entire community
As implausible as it may seem, I hope that the Seattle City Council’s negotiations over the Seattle Police Department’s budget will result in everyone winning something. That includes me, my neighbors and the homeless youths outside my condo.
Getting to walk around First Hill, thanks to my caregiver, is the highlight of my day. How fortunate to be ambulatory at 88. Recently, as we rounded a corner, we passed three tents perched on the curbside, visible reminders of important social-justice issues, but also of the need for holistic solutions. On an immediate level, it would be important to establish whether the tents compromise the safety and sanitation of everyone, including their young occupants.
More broadly, it is essential to ask the deeper questions — and then answer them with concrete solutions — about how the young occupants of those tents find themselves in this position. I have volunteered for YouthCare for years and have seen firsthand what educational therapeutic, and skill-based programs can do for young people like this.
I ask the city council to consider taking investments in the entire community seriously. There needs to be a way in which everyone wins.
Helen Donnelly Goehring, Seattle
Council members should cut their salaries
If the members of the Seattle City Council wish to show leadership in these difficult times, they should immediately vote to reduce their salaries by the same percentage as their shameful meddling vote to reduce Police Chief Carmen Best’s salary. It should be immediate and veto-proof.
Further, the council members may wish to reduce their staffs by as much as they voted to reduce SPD officers.
Thomas Weingarten, Seattle
‘I can’t wait
for the next election’
Why is it that so many are now complaining about the very city council into which many just voted incumbents back into office including some of the same players who are leading the charge for irresponsible decisions?
We need new views and fresh ideas brought forth to expand our city’s safety and well being for all. That includes high paying taxpayers who pay our taxes on time, every time. I do not believe in unlimited terms for entitled government servants.
I can’t wait for the next election.
John Hargarten, Seattle
‘Who would want to live here?’
Have you walked or driven through Seattle recently? Garbage, debris, junk and tents litter our parks, sidewalks and streets. Who would want to live here?
Several council members are in their second terms. Do we have them to thank for these conditions? Are they trying to make Seattle another Detroit, a ghost town where residents have left for the suburbs and businesses have followed. There are vacant buildings left in disrepair, and crime is prevalent — a sad end to a once thriving community. Is this what council members want for Seattle?
Eyvonne Liebel, Seattle
Big change requires collaboration, consensus and compromise, combined with analysis of the numbers. I am very familiar with this from my 37 years in a major corporation.
This latest racial-justice movement has brought us to a point of great change in Seattle and a huge opportunity to be a leader in the world. However, we are squandering this moment with the City of Seattle Council going it alone. It is ramrodding down our throats a pre-defined cut to the Seattle Police Department.
I have asked repeatedly for the numbers and the facts. Council members have ignored me, and I have to assume it is because I told them up front how I did not agree with making this big decision by working backward into a number. My experience in a labor-heavy industry (live events, conventions, trade shows) is that when we made this kind of knee-jerk decision, in a few years we had to go back to where we started. Along that road, we found failure to serve customers, disillusionment of employees and financial failure.
I pray that the council listens to the voices of reason and gets into the hard work.
Robin Adams, Seattle
Please Seattleites, recall the Seattle City Council for dereliction of duty in failing to denounce the violence that has led to the demise of Seattle’s downtown, and for failing to remedy the homeless problem, drug activity and gun danger. Recall them for not supporting the police in keeping downtown residents safe.
I live on the edge of downtown. I can no longer walk in any direction safely. And there will soon be a homeless-caused public health issue that will make the pandemic seem like child’s play. Do any of the council members have homeless encampments in their backyards or neighborhoods?
Council members act the way they do under the guise of being “liberal.” Their words and acts have nothing to do with being liberal. Their behavior has everything to do with being dangerous and without common sense. Please get rid of this ship of fools.
Marilyn Monks Page, Seattle