Seattle’s State of the City 2017: $55M homelessness levy, soda tax for schools, Trump immigration push-back

At Northgate’s Idris Mosque Tuesday morning, Mayor Ed Murray gave his 2017 State of the City address, announcing plans to increase investments to further address homelessness and education disparities, and to continue to support immigrants and refugees in Seattle. Included in the speech were plans to activate a city emergency system usually reserved for bad weather and protests to provide more resources for helping the area’s homeless, a proposal for a $55 million property levy to fund homelessness services, and the floating of a possible Seattle soda tax to help fund schools. Video and the full text of Murray’s speech is below.

For Seattle, the biggest news of the speech will likely be the homeless levy proposal. The plan will go to city voters this August to ask them to approve an increase in the commercial and residential property tax of around $13 per month for the median household, according to the mayor’s office. Murray said that a coalition including entrepreneur Nick Hanauer, Downtown Emergency Services Center executive director Daniel Malone, and City Council members Debora Juarez and Sally Bagshaw will lead an advisory group to create the funding package for the proposal.

The mayor also announced a new offensive to push back on Trump administration immigration policies. Murray said the city will send Freedom of Information Act requests to multiple federal departments, including the Department of Homeland Security, in response to President Donald Trump’s actions affecting immigrants and refugees. Murray is seeking to determine potential enforcement actions the federal government may take against Seattle and other sanctuary cities and details about changes to travel and immigration policy.

“We believe that the rule of law is on our side,” Murray said, adding that Seattle will take legal action if the federal departments do not provide timely responses.

Murray’s State of the City announcements:

Murray said he also plans to meet with other regional mayors to about remaining safe sanctuary cities.

“Remaining open to all is a fundamental value of the city,” Murray said. “Seattle is a great city because of immigrants and refugees.” Continue reading

‘We will fight’ — Seattle leaders respond to Trump’s immigration order

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Facebook emoji were flying as González, Chief O’Toole, Mayor Murray, and others spoke in an address from City Hall’s steps broadcast to an audience of around 1,000 on Facebook

screen-shot-2017-01-25-at-1-58-16-pm screen-shot-2017-01-25-at-1-50-54-pmNobody punched a Nazi but Seattle City Council member and the daughter of a family of immigrants Lorena González vowed Wednesday to help lead her city to push back on President Donald Trump’s executive order on immigration.

“We will fight,” González said Wednesday afternoon on the steps of Seattle’s City Hall.

Earlier in the day, Trump unleashed the new executive order setting the groundwork for his pet Mexican border wall project and for cutting federal grants to so-called sanctuary cities, his latest blast in a first week in office marked by preliminary attacks on undocumented immigrants, civil rights, women’s health, the Affordable Care Act, and the environment.

Mayor Ed Murray Wednesday called the order the “darkest day of immigration history in America” since the Japanese internment during World War II.

“The executive orders are counter to our constitution and a threat to this city’s values,” Murray said. Continue reading

‘Fight for Your Rights’ say organizers of 33rd annual MLK Day festival and march

2014's march had a decided focus on economic justice the push for a $15 minimum wage gained steam (Image: CHS)

2014’s march had a decided focus on economic justice the push for a $15 minimum wage gained steam (Image: CHS)

Monday’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day will bring a 33rd annual march and festival to the Central District to mark the great works of the civil rights leader.

This year’s theme? Fight for Your Rights in 2015! A list of the day’s workshops can be found here (PDF).

Information on the day of workshops and rallies and the noontime march from Garfield High School to the Federal Courhouse at 7th and Stewart is below. Last year’s march included thousands of participants. Continue reading

Share the Dream 2014

This annual Share the Dream event celebrates the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The event will feature performances by the Total Experience Gospel Choir and a keynote address by the Rev. Dr. Samuel B. McKinney.

Free Admission. A freewill offering will benefit the Emergency Feeding Program of Seattle & King County. For more information contact the Emergency Feeding Program at 206-329-0300 or outreach@emergencyfeeding.org.