THE MAYOR SEVERS TIES WITH DISTRICT COUNCILS IMPACTING EASTPAC'S ABILITY TO COMMUNICATE TO OUR CONSTITUENTS

Reprinted from Squire Park Community Council Newsletter

EastPAC is dependent on both the Central Area District Council (CANDC) and East District Councils to communicate to our constituents. The East District Council in particular is at risk due to the Mayor's actions as reported in the Capitol Hill Seattle Blog

Citing a lack of equity, Mayor Murray has chosen to preempt the city council by attempting to flatten and replace the existing district council system.  This was just days before a response was due from the Department of Neighborhoods (DoN) on the council’s statement of legislative intent. For years the city has failed to address or implement even one of the twelve recommendations of the City Auditor’s 2009 report that sought to address the lack of engagement and inequity in the system, and to top the disgust off, the mayor’s press conference displayed an appalling and shocking lack of diversity.  Many in the community described being “blinded by the white” (click here or on the photo at the right ro enlarge it) by the group of supporters who appeared on the stage with Mayor Murray.  The City Neighborhood Council and the district councils have long been frustrated by a lack of action by the city to improve equity and engagement and now are feeling disenfranchised in what has been characterized as retaliation for not supporting the mayor's pet projects.  Blaming volunteers for the city’s failure to engage is certainly not going to bring more people to the table.  Rather than being an effort to increase engagement and voice, it appears to be an effort to divide and conquer communities who might question the mayor's proposals.

The only thing we really know for sure at this point is the Mayor wants to replace a bottom-up, grass roots, small-d democratic process with yet another hand-picked commission, with appointees, that are supportive of the Mayor’s efforts. Even with no formal announcements, rumors and allegations of a quid pro quo system are rampant.

Despite the Mayor’s stated intentions, many in the Central Area are concerned that his actions will result in additional disparity for those most at risk in our community. Please contact Councilmembers Sawant, Burgess, and González. Tell them this process is happening too fast and with no transparency or community input.

Follow this story on the Squire Park Community Council website here <http://squireparkcc.org> to keep tabs on what this means for our community.

Community Police Commission: RENEWS REQUEST THAT CITY NOT IMPLEMENT A BODY-WORN CAMERA PROGRAM UNTIL STATE LAWS ARE MODIFIED TO PROTECT THE SAFETY & DIGNITY OF COMMUNITY MEMBERS

(Seattle) – While many members of the Community Police Commission generally agree that body cameras can be a useful tool in enhancing police accountability, the CPC unanimously believes it is premature to implement a police body camera program in Seattle until and unless state public disclosure laws are modified to address complex privacy and safety concerns. We do not believe there has yet been sufficient public engagement in these issues to inform the necessary legislative modifications, which implicate important and competing values of public transparency, safety, and officer and civilian privacy. Specifically, our concerns include that the dignity and privacy of witnesses, victims and suspects will be invaded; that individuals who are recorded providing information to officers may be viewed as “snitches” and endangered; that willingness to provide information to the police may be chilled in some communities by concern about being caught “snitching;” and that willingness to ask for police assistance through 911 or otherwise may be chilled in communities with undocumented immigrants. All of these concerns are potentially resolved by changes in public disclosure law, but it is important to understand that at present, almost all video captured by police cameras will be subject to public disclosure without redaction.

The CPC therefore reiterates its request that the City of Seattle push pause and approach this topic after further deliberation and community dialogue, and only implement a camera program after state public disclosure law has been modified. The CPC offers to lead the effort to coordinate City advocacy in the legislature on this point in the 2016 legislative session