For many here in Seattle, this month probably hasn’t been great. What’s next? The smell of hot plastic, as we load up on material crap for Christmas? Waiting for the ball to drop on New Years, knowing there’s 20 days left until you-know-who gets the keys to the White House?
With that in mind, maybe we should just stick to the present, or at least the last week, which included Thanksgiving; a day where we sit around with family, gnawing on dead bird and saying what we’re thankful for.
If we step away from the nationwide panic for a moment, and get back to home-sweet-home Seattle, one thing we see being thankful for is the City Council’s passage of a 2017-2018 budget.
Sure, we can start rooting around in the paperwork and find line items that could have been plumper, and we can definitely find some things we’d have trimmed. That’s how large municipal budgets work; not everyone gets what they want, but usually the most critical priorities rise to the top, if only for a biennium.
While we sat around our respective family tables over the last few days, let’s be thankful that table exists; that there are four walls and a roof around us; that we have a place to lay our weary heads.
If you’ve been in a coma for a few years, let’s catch you up. Hillary Clinton won the popular vote but Donald Trump is our new president, and Seattle has a big homelessness problem.
After a long #BlocktheBunker movement against a new North Precinct police station, the project was tabled. Without any real money to fund it, Councilmember Kshama Sawant got her posse together to advocate taking that nonexistent money and putting it toward 1,000 affordable housing units. Much to our shock, not every other city councilmember was on board. It’s like, how many times does the council chamber have to be shut down before people get their way? Isn’t that how democracy works?
Instead, the council sat down and managed to make a majority vote in favor of a 30-year, $29 million housing bond, which is far shy of the $160 million Sawant wanted; she voted for it anyway.
It does still take money away from the North Precinct station, so there’s a victory for those Seattleites who straight up dislike authority figures of any kind. And then we can cover the rest of the debt with new construction tax revenue, because rapid growth didn’t have a hand in this crisis; it was all the heroin’s fault. Damn it, we were going to be thankful.
We really are happy that the City Council, while not always in sync, often divided on the details, hashed out a two-year budget they could all agree on; except for Sawant, who hasn’t approved a budget since taking office, because the budget is always “business as usual.”
It’s all good for Sawant to not approve the budget, since everyone else did It allows her to spend the next year, before tweaks are made for 2018, not assuming any responsibility for what isn’t funded or is underfunded in the budget. All she needs to take credit for is that $29 million housing bond.
We’ll be thankful if next year, just for kicks, Sawant finds an issue in District 3 to champion. There has been a large surge in shootings in Capitol Hill and the Central District, and we haven’t heard much of anything from the councilmember about that. Maybe because it’s a police issue, and what would it do to her street cred if she was seen supporting law enforcement?
OK, so Sawant may not be the ideal champion for District 3, but she did get more funding for affordable housing in Seattle as a whole, and we are thankful to her for that. Donald Trump is far from our ideal commander in chief, but .. we’ve got nothing; we can’t find one thing to be thankful about on this one.
If you have any ideas, well, keep them to yourselves or share them with your racist uncle. Thanks.