Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan (D) must wonder where all this is going.
The city council voted 7-1 this month to slash its police budget. The one vote against was not in defense of police; that council member voted against the cuts because they did not go far enough. The anti-police activist groups, who by and large have the media’s ear in Seattle as they do in every major city, slammed the cuts as not going far enough. Media never turn and ask any real questions of those activist groups, such as “When crime inevitably spikes and people die because the city council did what you want them to do, will you apologize to the mothers of those victims?”
Police Chief Carmen Best resigned after that vote, effective Sept. 2, not because the cuts slashed her pay (which they did), but because the city council’s vote reflected its disrespect for Seattle’s police (which it does). Best has been the lone adult in the city government during most of the crisis.
Durkan was fully on board with the antifa/BLM left, even handing them a slice of downtown Seattle for a while. That slice included both public and private property. When that got out of control, as Chief Best warned and any adult would have expected, Durkan defied reason and declared her hope that it would become a “summer of love.” Instead, the CHOP became a crime story. That’s what forced her to shut it down. The daily violations of Americans’ private property rights, free speech and free press in the “autonomous zone” were not enough.
Durkan’s own love affair with the riots and protests ended when they showed up to protest her on her lawn. You’ve heard of “not in my back yard,” the notion by which the Kennedys, who claim to favor all sorts of alternative energy, nevertheless vetoed windmills when they spoiled the family’s ocean view. Durkan took a “not in my front yard” view of the protesters when they turned up in hers. That was back at the end of June.
Since that time she has faced fast-rising crime on the streets she allegedly governs, a hard left city council that still demands to defund the police, street protests both opposing and supporting the police, and riots that still spring up, though not with quite the same gusto Portland sees night after night.
On Friday Durkan vetoed the city council’s police budget cuts. But she says she still wants to cut their budget. Just, not by as much as city council wants to. And she wants to see a plan.
The cuts would have totaled around $23 million of the remaining $127 million in the budget, KOMO News reported.
“This veto was because the bills, as passed, did not have the type of collaboration that I think we will have going forward, and that I’m hopeful we will have going forward,” Durkan said during a news conference. “There’s some flaws in each of these (bills) that I hope the council can correct, or with discussions, we can find a path forward together.
“I continue to have concerns about council decisions to make cuts before they have a plan,” she added.
Austin’s city council is guilty of the same. They slashed the police budget by a third, with no real plan for what’s next. What’s next is a boatload of police officer departures, a demoralized police department, emboldened criminals, and rising crime everywhere. Stores are increasingly being broken into and robbed across Austin. Police investigators, stretched to their limits, are taking longer to respond. The volume of crime is becoming more than they can keep up with. There was another homicide this weekend. Austin and Seattle are heading down the same path.
These city councils are bowing to hard left pressure groups — well, those city council members who don’t come directly from those groups are bowing to them — and slashing police budgets despite the fact that majorities everywhere oppose it. The hard left activists now control most of our large cities and they are hollowing them out. More than two decades of progress against crime is being undone in a few months. New York may take a decade to recover from Bill de Blasio, if it recovers at all.
Durkan vetoed these police budget cuts but she is no hero in this. She is beginning to behave somewhat responsibly, but it’s probably too late. She already lost her police chief to the mob. Her judgement was abysmal when CHOP sprung up. She only began to see reason when that turned into a crime-ridden abscess in the middle of the city, and when the rioters protested her directly. She’s still trying to appease the leftist activists on the one hand, and the police-supporting majority on the other. She’ll likely face a veto override on this vote, and a challenge from the left in the next election. That’s next year. She won in 2017 thanks to a scandal on the part of the incumbent, and a divided left-tilted vote in the primary. The second-place finisher in that primary was, you guessed it, another hard left local activist. As was the third-place finisher. Remove one and another just takes their place.