On his blog, city council member (and potential 2013 McGinn opponent) Tim Burgess outlines the elements he hopes to see in Mayor Mike McGinn's 2012 budget. Not surprisingly, the public safety committee chairman's priorities (which read, to editorialize briefly, like a platform for a mayoral campaign) focus on policing and human services for Seattle's most vulnerable citizens. In addition to standard lean-budget-times stuff like increasing efficiency and performance-based budgeting, they include:

• A focus on "quality-of-life" crimes, like "drug trafficking and use violations, car break-ins, prostitution, non-aggravated assault, liquor violations, graffiti and other more petty street disorder offenses." (And panhandling, but Burgess might be understandably reluctant to bring that up). "Specific intervention plans, tied to measurable outcomes, are urgently needed from the Mayor and Police Chief to address these public safety problems. Platitudes about living in an urban environment and “that's just the way life is in the city” won't cut it any longer."

• Concentrating police presence in places where crime is most prevalent and on the most frequent offenders, instead of policing the population as a whole. "Two examples in particular prove my point. First, after the 23rd and East Union "hot spot" intervention by the City last autumn, 911 calls in area fell by over half. Businesses are thriving, and new businesses are opening. The people in an area which has been plagued by crime for decades are rejoicing. Second, after Seattle police focused its efforts on frequent offenders involved in auto theft several years ago, the rate of auto theft dropped by more than half."

• Increasing funding for human services programs with proven records of success like the Nurse Family Partnership, which serves low-income mothers. "We also need to be innovative in how we arrange for or directly deliver social services. For example, many of our immigrant and refugee neighbors—now 17% of our population—already poor, are experiencing increased economic and other hardships which I believe require unique and specialized interventions."

McGinn will deliver his annual budget speech on Monday at 2:00 in city council chambers.
Show Comments