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.


Appointment Packet

Letter of Expectations

High Resolution Photo of Chief Carmen Best

Confirmation Hearing Videos


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.”


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.


Select Committee on Families, Education, Preschool and Promise Move $637.8 Million Education Levy to Full Council

The Select Committee on Families, Education, Preschool and Promise Levy unanimously voted to advance to Full Council a proposed ordinance to continue the City of Seattle’s investments across the education spectrum. If approved, the levy will expand quality preschool classrooms, continue investments in K-12, and establish tuition subsidies and support for college or post-secondary job training. In addition, it sets aside funds for wraparound education and health services, such as four new student health centers, dedicated resources for students experiencing homelessness, and funding to grow teacher diversity in our classrooms.

The proposed ordinance will go before the full City Council on Monday, June 18 at 2:00 p.m.

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

  • 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;
  • Continue K-12 and community-based investments, including funding four new student health centers, students experiencing homelessness and increasing teacher diversity in our classrooms; and,
  • Create the Seattle Promise to allow public high school graduates to attend Seattle Colleges to obtain a college or postsecondary degree.

The proposed levy, totaling $637.8 million over seven years, dedicates 54 percent of the dollars toward preschool and early learning. Expanding access to high quality early learning is a research-proven strategy to help close the school-readiness gap. Over the span of the 7-year levy, Seattle will have served 15,000 children in preschool classrooms.

“The renewal and expansion of the education levy is an unrelenting commitment to ensure all of our children receive a quality education, have the resources to succeed, and graduate from high school with opportunities for college and career,” said Council President Bruce Harrell (District 2, South Seattle). “I want to thank our residents for their support in closing the opportunity gap in Seattle schools and creating more equitable communities. When our students succeed, our communities thrive, and our economy prospers.”

“Supporting the educational achievement of all children is one of the single most important investments the City of Seattle can make. This renewed and enhanced levy represents critical and strategic investments that will transform the lives of Seattle’s children beginning with quality preschool and ending with college access and support. This levy also recognizes the impacts of our affordability challenges by providing resources to support the estimated 4,280 students in Seattle Public Schools experiencing homelessness or housing insecurity,” said Councilmember M. Lorena González (Position 9, Citywide), and co-chair of the FEPP Committee. “Our past levy investments have made a measurable difference in reducing the readiness and opportunity gap. This proposed levy continues many of those evidence-based investments, which means more of our kids will graduate and be prepared for post-secondary education with the skills necessary to take advantage of the jobs of tomorrow.”

Nearly 29 percent of the levy would go toward K-12 investments, improving graduation rates, especially for students who are impacted by the opportunity gap.

“As a father of three school-aged children, I know first-hand the importance of investments in early education and grade school classrooms” said Councilmember Rob Johnson (District 4, Northeast Seattle) and co-chair of the FEPP Committee. “I feel proud that this levy represents a strong continuum for our students, from preschool through their 14th year, that it reflects feedback we heard from community members, and that it continues this levy’s history of investing in research and evidence based strategies to help our students succeed.”

“Investing in our earliest of learners — and the workforce that cares for them and teaches them — ensures we have a resilient economy, encourages equity through closing opportunity gaps and promotes healthy communities,” said Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda (Position 8, Citywide). “Families across this City are experiencing long waitlists, long commute times and increasingly expensive childcare.  Through this levy, we increase the number of better trained educators for our children ages 0-3, investing in the long-term health and stability of our community.”

Health programs would account for 11 percent. The final six percent would go to the Seattle Promise, which proposes tuition assistance to graduating Seattle students attending local community colleges for the first two years.

Seattle first passed a seven-year education levy in 1990. It was renewed again in 1997, 2004 and 2011. In 2014, voters also approved a four-year preschool program levy. History of education levies in Seattle. The Families, Education, Preschool and Promise Levy combines the traditional education levy with the preschool levy, and expands it.

Seattle residents living in a median-priced home pay $136 per year for the two existing levies. With this new levy, those same residents will pay $248 per year.  Low-income seniors, people with disabilities and veterans will be eligible for exemptions.

The passage of this levy follows robust community engagement. The levy was first considered in the Gender Equity, Safe Communities, New Americans and Education Committee in February. Following, the Select Committee on FEPP held six committee meetings, beginning on March 26, and two public hearings.

To download a full resolution PDF of the infographic, click here.