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Protest march, Sawant take #defundSPD budget fight to Durkan’s doorstep

Hundreds of Seattle Black Lives Matters activists and supporters marched through Mayor Jenny Durkan’s Northeast Seattle neighborhood Sunday night to push for a major cut to the Seattle Police Department’s budget and to take their demands to the mayor’s doorstep after weeks of protest in Seattle following the killing of George Floyd by police in Minnesota.

The decision by the Seattle Democratic Socialists of America and organizers speakers including Socialist Alternative leader Kshama Sawant to target the mayor’s home and neighborhood struck a personal blow and also flouted Durkan’s efforts to conceal the location of her residence due to concerns about security after her years as a federal prosecutor. UPDATE: Sawant was invited to speak but was not a listed organizer of the event.

From atop a stage set up in front of Durkan’s home in what she called the mayor’s “Richie Rich” neighborhood, Sawant lashed out at Durkan for not moving quickly enough on BLM demands.


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“We demand action now,” Sawant said. “Because the delaying tactic that is often used by big business type political establishment is far too common under capitalism. They tell the movement, we will get what we want later. Let’s have more studies, stakeholder groups, presentations by experts. Let’s do it right. Let’s not be hasty like those impetuous socialists.”

“This is how the establishment intends to tire a movement out,” she said.

Earlier, organizer and former city council candidate Shaun Scott broke down the political battle this week to deepen planned budget cuts to SPD.

“We’re at a point right now where when it comes to meeting that demand for defunding the Seattle Police Department by 50%, we know that we have about four votes — four votes from our current city council,” Scott said. “Council members Sawant, council members Mosqueda, Council members Gonzalez and Morales, have all committed to defunding the Seattle Police Department by 50%. They do deserve that round of applause.”

“So when we’re doing the math legislatively, we want to get to five votes, we need a majority,” Scott said. “And so we need to identify which council members we’re apply pressure to, which council members we’re going to be calling into, which council members we are going to be pressuring to makes sure that demand is met.”

The Seattle City Council’s budget committee is set to meet Wednesday to continue hashing out Durkan’s proposed cutbacks to most elements of city spending in the face of a major expected downturn in revenue for the city due to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. Durkan has proposed to cut the city’s police budget by about $20 million — a 5% reduction.

With gun violence and deadly shootings creating a major safety issue around the camp, the Capitol Hill protest zone continues to play a role in pushing for changes even as community groups and activists focus efforts away from the area of 12th and Pine. Sunday, Sawant said it was time for Durkan to negotiate with a broader consortium of BLM representatives — “not negotiations by a few establishment chosen leaders in back rooms.”

During the march to Durkan’s home, the crowds also marked the killing of Charleena Lyles in Northeast Seattle in 2017 and celebrated recent victories including the vote to expel the Seattle Police Officer Guild from the King County Labor Council, an early political blow in the union’s fight for its next contract.

In a statement, the mayor’s office said Durkan wasn’t home during the protest. “Instead of working to make true change, Councilmember Sawant continues to choose political stunts. Tonight she did so without regard for the safety of the Mayor and her family,” it reads. “The Mayor was not even home – she was working at City Hall.”

“Seattle can and should peacefully demonstrate but should not put families and children at risk,” the statement concluded, a reference to the mayor’s attempts to keep her address secret.

The demonstration’s approach has been taken before. In 2016, youth jail protesters targeted then Mayor Ed Murray’s North Capitol Hill home.

BLM leaders continue to call for a broad slate of funding changes and investments in the Black community. Africatown and the King County Equity Now effort are calling for officials to accept proposals from “Black-led, community-based organizations to maximize” the use of “underutilized public land for community benefit” at a roster of Central Seattle properties:

  • Decommissioned Fire Station 6 on 23rd and Yesler to become William Grose Center for Enterprise as designated in the City of Seattle Equitable Development Plan
  • Vacant Sound Transit lot on Martin Luther King Jr. Way S. and S. Angeline St. to become Youth Achievement Center
  • Formally Black-owned Paramount Nursing Home recently acquired by Washington State to revert to Black-community ownership.
  • Seattle Housing Authority Operations Site (Martin Luther King Jr. Way S. & Dearborn) to become affordable housing.
  • Halt development at the King County Records Site project on 13th and Yesler to allow for equitable participation by a Black-led, community-based organization
  • Halt the corrupt Priority Development Area proposal for the Seattle Vocational Institute (“SVI”) put forward by the Washington State Department of Commerce to conduct and start a new RFP process that is truly open, transparent and accountable to the community in which SVI is located

The city says it is working to meet the first of those property demands by putting the 23rd and Yesler fire station property into Africatown’s hands.

The King County Equity Now initiatives announced Friday also added new layers to calls from the “#defundSPD” movement for a 50% reduction in the Seattle Police Department’s budget:

The SPD budget question sits at the center. Durkan’s office says that she has asked SPD to prepare models for what budget cuts up to 50% next year would mean for staffing. A 20% cut would equal a reduction of 406 full-time equivalents — 50% would mean more than a thousand cut, her office says.

There were no arrests and minimal police presence at Sunday night’s demonstration was reported.


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50 thoughts on “Protest march, Sawant take #defundSPD budget fight to Durkan’s doorstep

  1. Another elitist faux socialist who thinks it will work when it hasn’t worked anywhere. Hope she is enjoying her nice house(s).

    • One has to wonder if – like many miserable leftists – Sawant is really just fighting against herself most of the time.

    • She has fought for the working class throughout her entire tenure as a city councilmember. Thanks to her, Seattle has the highest minimum wage in the nation plus a whole host of tenants’ rights and is on the verge of winning an exploiters’ tax to fund affordable housing.

      • Haha. Expoiters tax. You people are such throw back totalitarians it is almost amusing, if it wasn’t so disturbing. Look at the words used here to dehumanize political opponents. “Scum” “Expoiters”. All classic ways to make those you oppose less than human. What a world we live in here.

  2. Kind of rich to call Durkan’s neighborhood Rich-E-Rich when Kshama lives in Leschi, not exactly a prole neighborhood. (And on big tech money earned by her ex husband, no less!)

    Someone has benefited a lot from capitalism, and that person is Ms. Sawant.

  3. “From atop a stage set up in front of Durkan’s home in what she called the mayor’s “Rich E. Rich” neighborhood,”

    Sawant lives in a $700-$800k house in heavily gentrified Leschi.

    The source of Durkan’s wealth is her partner. Sawant rode into town on the Microsoft money machine, where her ex worked.

    Maybe BLM should take the march to Sawant’s house next.

    • I would gladly go to Sawants house. Has anyone heard from her today? Oh! Right people dying in her district has nothing to do with her movement or big business propaganda.

      • I’d show up at Sawant’s house. Another thing we could add to this is to recruit 10 or 15 homeless campers to her street. RV’s would be best but tents will work too. I’ll pay for proper groundsheets for the tents to sit on. Sawant won’t be able to move them legally. I’ll need some help with the recruitment effort but I’ll head it up.

    • I will start taking her seriously when she donates her house and all assets from her divorce to BLM or equally deserving non-profits. Otherwise she is basically playing monopoly with the city’s money to further her own agenda and taking no responsibilities for the lives of her constituents. She wants defund police but then when shootings happen, they blame the fire department and the police department for not doing their jobs. She wants to have the cake and eat it, too. And stupid voters in her district, many of whom profit from capitalism, are too blind to see through the illusions.

      • She used to work in tech and earned her money. She doesn’t want or need anything from her ex-husband. Get over it, misogynist.

      • SNS – I totally agree with you. It’s ironic that her intent is to abolish capitalism yet she’d be poor, homeless, and living in a slum if not for the income/assets she earned through capitalism. Every time she speaks she utters hypocrisy. Note that the socialists who comment here in support of Swampish, only have money due to capitalism. Anti-capitalist either has a job or is living high off the largess of the state unemployment program. He/she ought to move to China or Cuba and see what that’s like. Much easier to criticize people like us who have common sense.

  4. Sawant has been in the city government for nearly four more years than Durkan. Maybe she should take some more responsibility for the state of the city, too.

    Then again, it’s easier to lead a political rally than it is to actually govern and get anything done for our district. If she really cared about D3, she’d he partnering with the mayor as closely as possible to end this violence. Instead, she’s leaking the mayors address to protesters to lead a march and threatening to file articles of impeachment.

    • Exactly. I voted for her, twice. I saw her widely criticized online but I brushed it off because I believe in some of the causes she champions. However, I am shocked how she has ignored the concerns of those in her district during this occupation and abandoned us to complete lawlessness.

      I now realize that for all of her talk, for all of her speeches, for all of her rhetoric that she is a fraud and full of shit. She doesn’t care about people, she doesn’t care about her constituents, she only cares about ideals and her “movement”. As her constituents, some of us are the very people she pretends to fight for (the poor, the elderly, workers, the disabled etc.) and yet she has allowed our community to be traumatized for weeks on end.

      The only conclusion I can make now is that she is a phony, a blowhard and morally bankrupt. (I haven’t even touched on her tweeting out after the first shooting that it was the result of a far-right attack, which turned out to be false.)

      She needs to be held accountable for completely abdicating her responsibility to D3.

      • Do you remember when a Muslim teen fell to his death from a balcony and she claimed it was an anti-Muslim murder before the body was even cold? No one should be surprised that she doesn’t show up for D3 – she never shows up unless it’s to scream click-bait worthy crap through the bullhorn or taking credit for work done by the community (like the 23rd and Union post office) or the community councils. I invited her office to a community council meeting where people were going to express approval or disapproval of an overnight shelter at Bailey Boushay (the nation’s first AIDS hospice) and neither she nor her staff ever responded and of course didn’t show up. Luckily the Richie Rich neighbors of Bailey Boushay were overwhelmingly in favor of the shelter. I’ve NEVER received an email response from her office about any city matter. I voted for her once and have regretted it ever since.

      • I wouldn’t be surprised about how she ignores D3. I know several people in the African American community who have tried to schedule time with her and have been roundly ignored.

    • I voted for her before, but voted for Orion (“anyone but Sawant”) this last election. Despite her multi-year tenure, she’s accomplished basically nothing. Most of the issues she claims to care about are worse now. Great activist (possibly), but ineffective politician.

      But the Amazon came along with that sweet contribution to Orion’s campaign, and Sawant made it the focus and sole issue of her campaign, and that was that :-/.

  5. +1 I’m a liberal D3 resident who is mortified to have her as my rep. She lives for and incites chaos/conflict — I’ve been watching for years as she hijacks every cause for her agendas. I hope this wakes up my neighbors who thought her benign. She is playing an especially dangerous game right now w/r/t 1) letting protesters into City Hall, 2) leaking mayor’s address, 3) blaming first fatal shooting on right-wing drive-by.

  6. Just a reminder to always look at things from the opposite perspective. What if a bunch of Republicans marched and rallied in front of a Democrat politician’s personal house like this, and demanded action to be taken? It would be called out as intimidation, non-Democratic, a show of force, an act of terror, etc, and would be condemned as evil and hateful. But the left is allowed to do whatever the fuck they want.

    • Where’s the threat? Do you see these protesters carrying assault rifles like those Proud Boys, White nationalists, and other far right scum?

      • Uh – yes….. there’s a bunch of self appointed ‘camp protectors’ down there carrying around AK’s…. I don’t care which way the wing nut turns – left or right, assault rifle wielding cuckoos are not my idea of good neighbors.

        It’s pretty rich that people who have been protesting because they don’t like what they believe to be armed people without enough accountability or training in their neighborhoods have replaced those people with different armed people who have zero accountability and likely zero training….

  7. I would love to see Durkan lead a procession to Kshama’s house.I also wish more people would call out the inappropriateness of this extortion. The community groups who are demanding funding are already getting an enormous amount of city and county funding. There is a small group of activist organizations who are super militant and extremely disrespectful to the general population who seems to exist simply to find a way to divert more funds to their community and their organization. There are people being short changed but the Kshama/Africatown crowd isn’t it. I hope this leads to a larger discussion over the fact that most of Seattle is ignored due to the constant outrage from the activist industrythat demands we always center our attention on what they are outraged about at the moment. There are plenty of wrongs affecting other communities that get absolutely no attention. The self-centeredness and lack of regard for the vast majority of Seattle makes me want to puke

  8. I’m a D3 resident and a student of history. This is where hard core socialism always ends up…with tyranny and violence.

    First come the threats and intimidation. Anyone who who even mildly opposes the socialists’ economic or social positions is branded an enemy. Then to enforce their unpopular positions, they resort to the only recourse remaining to impose their will…violence. This has played out time and again in Soviet Russia, Mao’s China, Cuba, Cambodia, North Korea, Venezuela, etc. The socialist ideologues ally with the thugs in the society (ie, criminal gangs) to achieve their means.

    Liberals (like me) better wake up. Progressive policies to better humanity, yes! But uncompromising, lawless violence, never.

    • Well, then you should really look at who you vote for for city council. Lorena Gonzalez will be mayor if this shit show goes on long enough that the mayor has to step down or be impeached. She tweeted today what someone on Twitter called “whataboutisms” regarding CHOP and the shootings. A coup would serve Lorena Gonzalez quite well. She’d get to be mayor until the next election, where she’d have the incumbent advantage and the ability to blame the shamed Durkan for this mess. This mess SERVES the socialists in office who have stated, all during the 2018 and 2019 budget cycles, support of “dismantling” the justice system. Seriously. People need to pay attention because our “progressives” are playing us. And I’m a life long liberal, so it has taken much for me to see this, admit it, and then be horrified by it.

      • There are three people on this thread who are on the exact same wavelength I am. Somebody who is liberal but is disgusted at the totalitarian rule that is being pushed by using whatever social cause of the day helps them to make the population subservient to them. The horrors over the death of George Floyd has been exploited by people like Kshama because when they do this under the guise of fighting against anti-black racism and police brutality against people of color you can’t agree with them without making it seem like you’re fighting in favor of racism. It’s very manipulative. We need to see people in D3 get organized and saying no to these folks. Isn’t there a way we can band together?

      • Honestly Chun, I would be shocked if Sawant won again. I think she is digging her own political grave with CHOP. Too optimistic?

  9. The mayor, as so many are championing here, has used the police forces to terrorize and brutalize people that have NO shelter here in Seattle. She has done this since she got in office. Day after day. She has made matters worse by having people forced out of what little shelter they have to be subject to the cold and rain and street danger with little or no options provided. Many have died.

    We are not even talking about police brutality of the many Black people in this country.

    So the mayor who lives in luxury, has sent the police out to terrorize homeless persons who have nothing, time and time again and the ranters are so upset that people are protesting.

    Have you no sense of decency? So you are inconvenienced?
    How pathetic.

    • If you’re talking about the navigation team, the city council holds those purse strings. But since we’re blaming people for the homeless dying, how about REACH that worked hand in glove with the Navigation team…until they realized that most people refuse shelter when offered, and that made REACH look useless so they bagged out. And what about LEAD? 8.5 million dollars yearly and counting (that could have been used for housing) and they still can’t produce any solid stats that they are effective despite advertising themselves as a national model (If we say it enough, people will believe it! Nationalmodelnationalmodel!) There are many homeless-related tax money recipients that are not actually actively helping the homeless, and the city council fights the mayor each time she says “Hey Share/Wheel etc. Please produce some stats to show you’re effective before I give you more money ‘for the homeless.'” So really, there’s plenty of blame to go around but let’s only lay it at the feet of the mayor and give the council a pass. Again.

    • It’s more than an inconvenience when there are multiple break-in attempts to your home and you have to chase one person who got in away with a baseball bat because the police won’t come to your house since you live too close to CHOP. That happened.

      It’s more than an inconvenience when four out of ten nights gunfire rings out where you live and you have to lay on the ground in your home because you don’t know if bullets will come through your windows. It’s more than an inconvenience when night after night you area awake, unable to sleep, filled with anxiety as reaction to the repeated trauma in your neighborhood. That all happened too.

      Those of us that live here are not the enemy. We are people who are against systemic racism and believe police reform is desperately needed. We are not sacrificial lambs.

      Where’s your decency? If you have to terrorize your allies while trying to achieve justice, you are doing it wrong.

    • So letting street addicts and the severely mentally ill live in filth and squaller in run down tents and rusting RVs is somehow humane? This sort of “free range” approach to the homeless may fit a particular narrative but does nothing for them or for the residents impacted by them.

    • Thank you! And of course she’s also used the police to gas peaceful protesters, including children. She needs to resign!

      • Okay, John. Wake up, moron. The police only use gas when necessary and the ‘children’ you refer to were brought by the irresponsible parent(s) into a very risky situation. It’s simple. Don’t break the law. Break the law and suffer the consequence. It’s tiring and infuriating that people like you support, encourage, and enable irresponsible imbeciles. The children that were gassed should have been removed and handed over to Child Protective Services and the parents charged with negligence. If it makes you feel any better about your poor choices, I do agree with you on one single point – she does need to resign.

  10. We keep talking about the homeless problem and that is not what we have in Seattle. We have a drug problem, that leads people to refuse services so they can continue to use. since our services provide nearly everything they need – except the actual drugs- they then commit crimes against individuals and businesses to buy the drugs. Their are mentally ill, but don’t fool yourself this is 90% the result of drugs. Seattle leaders have made it impossible for police to do anything about controlling the sale of drugs- so what is left? We can throw all the money in the world at the problem, but it won’t matter if we make it so easy to get the drugs.
    There is no way for us to solve Seattle’s problems if we don’t openly admit what it is.

  11. How many residents in the city of Seattle still use Illegal Drugs that fund the same Wars fought domestically,Internationally in official capacity by the U.S.A Government, NATO nations for numerous administrations ? Unfortunately far too many in the USA population fund the exact same Wars fought domestically, internationally in official capacity by the U.S.A Government, NATO nations for numerous administrations with more accurate mapping such as cellular, atomic mapping of the Illegal drugs, Illegal money flow only magnifying the increasing, codependent trend of the USA being the both the point of origin, focal point of most official current USA, NATO Wars.

  12. Can’t imagine what the council meetings will be like after this. Seems like leading a mass march to you non public home address might strain things a little further. I guess at least the mayor didn’t come out with a handgun and wave off the protestors, but then again I guess the cops would protect her home..

  13. Since 80% of the police budget goes to salaries, defunding by 50% would significantly cut the number of officers. The answer to police brutality is NOT fewer officers…it is to find ways to weed out the bad apples, such as curtailing the power of the police union. Camden, N.J., where crime was rampant, totally restructured their police department (in the process, hiring MORE officers than they had), and crime has gone down significantly there.

    Meanwhile, last night there were two separate incidents of gunfire, somewhere near or in the CHOP. I don’t know the details, but I bet CHS will be on it soon. The whole mess there, including the radicals occupying right next to the precinct, needs to end NOW.

  14. I’ve lived in District 7 for decades and every time election or re-election for Sawant approaches, she’s got hired goons from out of state doorbelling in LQA and tearing down posters for anybody or anything that’s not her. It’s not legal for her team to promote her election like that outside of her district. Morale-wise its worse than dealing with Poster Giant tearing everything that’s not a Poster Giant poster off public poles. Sawant’s team that visits my neighborhood at electiontime is all people from out of state who could care less what’s happening on my street and only want to further their special interests. I’m so freaking tired of it and don’t even live near her district. So let me know when y’all get that march to her house organized and in the words of one Michael McDonald, “Yah mo be there.”

  15. The Sonic Attacks being used are with the intent to destroy the timpanic membrane in torturous, Genocidal,seditious,Concentration Camps, Gas Chambers, Nuclear Warmongering international fame in the U.S.A.

  16. The water in the CHOP Zone is causing rampant hair loss. Forensic Analysis of the Water Supply proves the different new composition and additives are detrimental to health. Bottle distilled water has now become the norm for any safe use of water while all major media organizations refuse to publish due to corruption.