I don’t have a lot of time or energy to write blog posts and I save it for dashing out emails to my elected officials. This morning the mayor of Seattle gave a press conference on what she plans to do in response to the Defund SPD (Seattle police department) movement demand which a super majority of the city council has voiced public support. At this press conference, she made a number of disingenuous claims but I was primarily incensed by the idea that there is “no plan” and the “activists” don’t want anyone responding to 911 calls.
Dear Mayor Durkan and staff (CC city council),
It is utterly disingenuous to claim that activists and supporters of “Defund SPD” have no plan or want to stop response to 911 calls. Like in the 60s and 70s when ambulance services came into being separate from police response – partly due to the work of black activists  – we want the people responding to the kinds of problems that trigger 911 calls to be appropriate and safe for the communities those people having problems are in. We don’t want to call 911 to a domestic violence issue and have the person who arrives brutalize or kill members of their family or neighbors. We don’t want to call 911 to a mental health crisis and have people be shot. We don’t want to call 911 for a person without a home having issues and have them spend time in jail (or worse). We don’t want folks to call “the police” for a “suspicious persons” only for the police to harass and make people feel unwelcome in their own city. The claims about the 2020 budget are just trickery. No one is saying a 50% cut this year including all money already spent. That is absurd.
What we want are 911 services that WORK and do not result in more trauma and inadequate care. Stop this disingenuousness. We can start on this now and continue next year and the years after. The best time to have started this work was decades ago. The next best time is now. People and thinkers have been thinking about what “defund the police” means for literally longer than I’ve been alive (and as long as you have been ). There is a plan generally and we can figure out a path specific for Seattle. Please stop saying there isn’t as if “defund the police” is some radical notion that people only recently came up with and haven’t thought out the implications of it.
To the council members & staff CC-ed on this: I continue to fully support your efforts and support you having to eventually override any threatened mayoral veto.
 Just two names her: Angela Davis in the 1970s and 1980s. James Baldwin in the 50s and 60s wrote on the problems of using police to solve problems of order. There were writers even before that.