District 3 representative Kshama Sawant found no support from her fellow City Council members Tuesday in her fight for increased spending for affordable housing as Seattle City Hall plods to a conclusion of the 2019-2020 budget process.
“What is not acceptable to me or the movement that is fighting for this is to do nothing or do very little,” the frustrated councilor said.
During Tuesday’s session, none of Sawant’s fellow council members were willing to join the Socialist Alternative firebrand in pushing a series of budget amendment proposals born of the “People’s Budget” process.
CHS reported here on the People’s Budget session held earlier this month in what has become an annual rally for Sawant and supporters to address inequities in the city’s budgeting process. Sawant’s proposals distilled this year’s People’s Budget talks into $48 million in line items she said should be reallocated to creating affordable housing in the city. Proposals including reallocating money used to clean out unsanctioned homeless camps and cutting budget earmarked for “new computers in cop cars” drew the ire of many Sawant critics in the city.
Me: One way to fund $48M/yr for affordable housing is to end homeless sweeps and slow new police hiring.
Media: Won't slowing police hiring be dramatic threat to public safety?
Me: Most dramatic threat to public safety is inequality. Build affordable housing for public safety. pic.twitter.com/tNpXniYtG7
— Kshama Sawant (@cmkshama) October 25, 2018
Sawant’s push follows the summer reversal that found Seattle backing off its plan for a head tax on the city’s largest employers including Amazon. Tuesday, Sawant said she also supported revisiting the tax.
“What is a bigger priority right now than affordable housing?” Sawant asked during Tuesday’s session. Still, none of her proposals were moved forward.
Teresa Mosqueda, while not joining Sawant in support of the proposals, thanked her fellow council member for “pushing the envelope on what’s possible.”
“Today, I presented the Seattle City Council three legal and viable policy measures from the People;s Budget movement to expand social housing to address Seattle’s acute affordability crisis,” Sawant said in a statement to social media later in the day. “Not one Councilmember (all Democrats) supported them. This is the same Council that repealed the Amazon tax.”
Sawant will host a rally for affordable housing November 7th at the Yesler Community Center.