Dear Seattle City Leadership,
My name is [YOUR NAME] and I am a resident of [YOUR DISTRICT]. I am writing to demand that the City Council adopt a People’s Budget that prioritizes community wellbeing and redirects funding away from the police.
We are in the midst of widespread upheaval over the systemic violence of policing, embodied by the SPD’s well documented history of murdering Black people. I will no longer accept empty gestures and suggestions of “reform.” I am demanding that my voice be heard now, and that real change be made to the way this city allocates its resources.
Rather than prioritize the quality of life for all of Seattle with a proportional housing and development budget, Mayor Durkan chooses to prioritize the SPD. In the 2019-2020 proposed budget, the funding for the Office of Housing, which provides grants for affordable housing, remained unchanged at only $69.1 million. In comparison, the SPD was allocated a budget of $363 million, representing a 9.7% increase in funds.
This pandemic has had severe economic consequences including high unemployment causing many people to be unable to pay rent. Prior to the pandemic, 60k people were unhoused; the evictions and economic insecurity caused by COVID-19 will bring that number even higher. Support for communities in need is necessary now, more than ever. But instead, out of all departments, the Mayor has proposed an increase in funding to the SPD. The SPD has seen a rise in overtime pay which, more often than not, is paid out to officers responsible for harassing people who are unhoused, Black, Indigenous, and people of color. This money can be spent in other ways that are proven to be more effective in improving community safety and wellness.
I demand that the City Council defund the SPD. I join the calls of those across the country to defund the police. I demand a budget that adequately and effectively meets the needs of at-risk Seattleites. I demand a budget that supports community wellbeing, rather than empowers the police forces that tear them apart.
Although City Council has avoided voting or revising Mayor Durkan's draconian budget proposal, the document is back in your hands. It is your duty to represent your constituents. I am urging you to completely revise the Seattle budget for 2020-2021 fiscal year. You need to adopt a People’s Budget. Public opinion is with me.
Thank you for your time,
[YOUR NAME][YOUR ADDRESS]
[YOUR EMAIL][YOUR PHONE NUMBER]