Seattle City Council Confirms Carmen Best as Seattle Police Chief

Today the Seattle City Council – by a unanimous vote – confirmed Carmen Best as Chief of Police for the Seattle Police Department during its regularly scheduled City Council meeting.

Councilmember M. Lorena González (Pos. 9, Citywide), chair of the Gender Equity, Safe Communities, New Americans & Education Committee, oversaw the confirmation process during the course of three committee meetings, including one public comment hearing. Through the Council’s confirmation process, Chief Best underwent an extensive examination of her experience and credentials, which included a thorough written questionnaire and several hours of questioning from councilmembers during public committee hearings.

The committee unanimously voted to recommend the appointment of Best as Seattle’s permanent Police Chief on August 8.

“Congratulations to Chief Carmen Best on her confirmation as the next Seattle Police Department’s Chief of Police,” said Councilmember González. “I want to thank Chief Best for her thoughtful and open engagement with community members and the City Council throughout the confirmation process. Her responses reaffirmed what many in the community already know about Chief Best: she is the right leader for the job of Chief of Police at this critical juncture of the police department’s reform process. Chief Best also has the experience necessary to meet the evolving public safety needs of the community and the Department’s police officers in a growing city facing big-city issues. I look forward to continuing to work with Chief Best on these complex issues.”

Mayor Jenny Durkan announced the nomination of Interim Chief Best on July 17, following a series of more than three dozen community meetings. More than 60 candidates applied to be Seattle’s Chief of Police.

“I have seen firsthand the love and compassion that Chief Best shows for both the community and the Seattle Police Department,” said Mayor Jenny Durkan. “Throughout her 26 years with the SPD, she has worked her way up the ranks gaining the respect of the community and rank-and-file officers. Without a doubt, I know that with her leadership SPD will continue to address the public safety challenges facing our City, implement meaningful and lasting reforms, and further establishing trust within all of Seattle’s communities.”

Best has worked in the Seattle Police Department for 26 years. She has been Seattle’s Interim Chief of Police since January 1, 2018. She previously served as the Deputy Chief, where she oversaw the Patrol Operations, Investigations and Special Operations Bureaus, and the Community Outreach section.

Resources:

Appointment Packet

Letter of Expectations

High Resolution Photo of Chief Carmen Best

Confirmation Hearing Videos

Website: seattle.gov/council/issues/police-chief

González’s Statement on SCOTUS Ruling on Pregnancy Crisis Centers’ Free Speech Case

Councilmember M. Lorena González (Citywide, Pos. 9), Chair of the City Council’s Gender Equity, Safe Communities, New Americans and Education Committee, issued the following statement on the U.S. Supreme Court ruling on crisis pregnancy centers, which overturned a state law that required those centers to post notices that free or low-cost abortion, contraception and prenatal care is available to low-income women through public programs, and to provide additional contact information for those services.

“Women deserve full and medically accurate information when making major life decisions, especially a decision as personal as abortion. When a woman walks through a door labeled as a clinic, she expects medical services to be provided, not rhetoric designed to dissuade her from choosing that option. It’s shameful that an unlicensed “fake clinic” is able to mislead women, not provide additional information as to where a woman is able to access the medical services she seeks, and delay women’s personal decisions until it’s too late to schedule an abortion.  All women deserve the truth and full access to the reproductive health services she seeks, including information about abortion.”

González’s Statement on SCOTUS Ruling to Uphold Travel Ban

Councilmember M. Lorena González (Citywide, Pos. 9), Chair of the City Council’s Gender Equity, Safe Communities, New Americans and Education Committee, issued the following statement in response to today’s ruling by the Supreme Court to uphold Trump’s travel ban:

“Seattle was ground zero when the first travel ban went into effect, being the second city in the country to get an order from a judge to stop the deportation of two detainees, one from Sudan and another from Yemen.

“Seattle was successful in stopping that deportation, literally receiving the judge’s order as the boarding ramp pulled away from the plane. Following chaos at airports across the country when the travel ban went into effect, I introduced a resolution declaring Seattle a Welcoming City to all immigrants and refugees.

“Today, I stand by that resolution and our values.  As a constitutional and civil rights lawyer, I am horrified that a majority of the U.S. Supreme Court has affirmed President Trump’s Muslim travel ban.  This legal opinion fails to recognize President Trump’s true intention, which is to allow legal discrimination against an entire population of people based solely on their religion.

“Today is a dark and shameful  moment in our history and an aberration of the Country we must aspire to be.”

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NOTE:  Councilmember Gonzalez will #StandWithMuslims on Tuesday (June 26) at 1:00 p.m. (PST) for a Day of Action at the U.S. Court House (LOCATION:  1010 5th Avenue in Seattle.)

Councilmember González’s Resolution ‘Affirming the Human Right to Family Unity’ Passes Council Unanimously

SEATTLE – The Seattle City Council voted unanimously in favor of Resolution 31822, Affirming the Human Right to Family Unity, today during a meeting of the Full Council.

The Resolution, sponsored by Councilmember M. Lorena González  (Pos. 9 – Citywide), who chairs the Council’s Gender Equity, Safe Communities, New Americans and Education Committee, states clear opposition to the Trump Administration’s practices separating children as young as eight months old from their parents and/or detaining migrants seeking asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border.

“This is part of a pattern by the Trump Administration to disregard the rule of law in order to target immigrant communities and antagonize migrant communities. The City reaffirms its commitment to keeping families together, and stands in solidarity with immigrant communities, including a significant population of Central American immigrants who call Seattle home. We have an obligation as civic leaders in our community to call out unjust, immoral actions, and it is immoral and inhumane to separate children from their parents or guardians,” said Councilmember González.

In addition, González reaffirmed the City’s commitment to the immigrant community (Sec. 4), and invited the community to signal support for keeping families together by participating in a National Day of Action (Sec. 7) and supporting immigrant rights organizations such as One America, Northwest Immigrant Rights Project (NWIRP), Colectiva Legal del Pueblo, Kids in Need of Defense, RAICES, and others working on behalf of families seeking asylum.

Selected highlights from the Resolution:

(T)he Trump Administration’s lack of family reunification plans for over 2,300 children and their parents or guardians and ongoing detention camps at the U.S.-Mexico border (is) in violation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the applicable international human rights framework.

WHEREAS, The City of Seattle (“City”) condemns separation of migrant children from their families at the U.S.-Mexico border as an egregious violation of human rights and an immoral act of violence and trauma targeting migrants and immigrants seeking safety and asylum; and

WHEREAS, the separation of children and their families is a continuation of historical practices by the U.S. government, both federal and local, that primarily harmed children of color through forced migration and enslavement, detainment, internment, and boarding schools that erased language and culture; and

WHEREAS, research has proven the psychological impact of separation of children from their parents and families has led to irreversible, intergenerational trauma that manifests itself through violence, addiction, and other negative behaviors that harm both the children and their loved ones; and

WHEREAS, the Trump Administration has targeted migrant and immigrant families through policies and proposals including Executive Order 13767: Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements; Executive Order 13768: Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States; the proposed federal 2017 RAISE Act seeking to limit legal immigration; the proposed “border wall” between the U.S. and Mexico; and threats to withhold federal resources from “sanctuary cities”; and

WHEREAS, the Trump Administration’s “zero tolerance” policy of prosecuting border crossings along the U.S.-Mexico border has separated thousands of children from as young as eight months old to the age of 18 from their parents and guardians, creating conditions that are a departure from international human rights and migrant rights, leading to worldwide outcry; and

WHEREAS, the State of Washington’s Attorney General, joined by California, Illinois, Iowa, Massachusetts, Maryland, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia, and the District of Columbia, announced a lawsuit against the Trump Administration on June 21, 2018[PWS1] , challenging its “zero tolerance” policy that resulted in the separation of immigrant children from their parents during border crossings; and

WHEREAS, the City adopted Resolution 31730 affirming Seattle’s commitment as a Welcoming City by unanimous vote on January 30, 2017, and Resolution 31420 affirming Seattle to be a Human Rights City on December 10, 2012; and

WHEREAS, the City adopted Ordinance 125296 in April 2017, creating and funding the City’s first Immigrant Legal Defense Network, which provides, in partnership with King County, legal representation, guidance, and/or referral to indigent immigrants who live or work in Seattle and King County; and

WHEREAS, the City recommits to its policy to be a Welcoming City, and considers detainment of children to be harmful to their growth and welfare.

 

Education Levy, Summer Lunch Program, and Goodbye to a Member of our Team

Families, Education, Preschool, and Promise Levy Ordinance

On Monday, June 11, the Seattle City Council unanimously passed revised CB 119258 out of the Select Committee for Families, Education, Preschool, and Promise Levy. The revised package proposed by my committee co-chair, Councilmember Rob Johnson (District 4, Northeast Seattle) and I, reflects a proposal that investment in preschool, K-12, and postsecondary education.  These education investments,build a strong pipeline to help Seattle’s kids get onto and stay on a path of academic success and achievement.

At a Glance: The proposed Families, Education, Preschool and Promise Levy would:

  1. Expand access to preschool by nearly 1,000 children per year by the 2025-26 school year to serve a total of 15,000 three and four year olds;
  2. Continue K-12 and community-based investments, including funding four new student health centers, supports for students experiencing homelessness and increasing teacher diversity in our classrooms;
  3. Create the Seattle Promise to allow public high school graduates to attend Seattle Colleges to obtain a college or postsecondary degree; and

We have created an infographic to help you learn more about Council’s Revised FEPP levy proposal. The Full Council will take a final vote on this legislation on Monday, June 18th at 2:00 pm.

Team Lorena Bids Farewell to Brianna Thomas

It is true: all good things must come to an end. This week Team Lorena is saying farewell to our Senior Legislative Aide, Brianna Thomas! A few months ago, we received the wonderful news that Brianna was accepted into the prestigious Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government graduate program.  After deciding to take a year deferral, Brianna will be leaving our office to further sharpen her skills and talents as the Chief of Staff at the new Office of Inspector General for Public Safety.

The work of my office would be impossible to accomplish without dedicated public servants, like Brianna.  She has been a core member of #TeamLorena for my entire time in office (2 ½ years!).  Her contributions to the work of my office and the residents of Seattle have been remarkable and steadfast.

Brianna was the lead legislative aide on secure scheduling, which provides thousands of minimum-wage restaurant and retail workers relief from unpredictable scheduling practices.  Brianna also worked countless hours on the community-driven Police Accountability Ordinance that established a historic civilian accountability framework to continue our city’s ongoing police reform efforts.

Schools Out, but Summer Meals aren’t!

Every summer, The City of Seattle funds a summer meal program, providing no-cost breakfasts, lunches, and snacks for kids and teens ages 1-18 years old at locations throughout the entire city. This year’s summer meals program runs from Tuesday, June 26, 2018, through August 24, 2018.

Click here to find the summer meals site nearest you!