Show me the money
The City Council and Mayor Jenny Durkan squared off over the use of money raised by a tax on sugary sodas after councilmembers raised objections to the mayor’s plan to use money from the tax on the homelessness crisis. In a 7-1 vote Seattle City Council passed restrictions to where revenue from the Sweetened Beverage Tax could be used, limiting it to the communities funding it. The tax was originally meant to fund a variety of services focused on delivering healthy food to underserved communities and education, among other goals. However, the tax raised more money than originally expected and Mayor Durkan used the extra cash to plug other budget holes.
Leading up to the vote on Monday, July 22, Durkan expressed disappointment that the Council would deprive necessary programs of $6.3 million. The City Council fired back, accusing the mayor of using “alarmist and inaccurate rhetoric,” refuting the idea that programs originally intended to be funded under the Sweetened Beverage Tax would suffer from their legislation.
In a statement Durkan wrote, “Because Council has refused to fund these vital programs or put forward a balanced plan, I will veto this bill.”
Calling for compassion
The first undocumented immigrant to take sanctuary in a Seattle church marched with a crowd of supporters to the local headquarters of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on July 17 hoping to return home to Lakewood.
He was detained.
Jose Robles had lived at Gethsemane Lutheran Church for more than a year after becoming victim of a violent crime. He applied for a U visa, which would have allowed him to stay in the country, but the city of Lakewood denied it. Pierce County granted Robles a U visa, but the federal government has yet to approve it, according to a press release.
Robles’ detention comes at a time of a widespread crackdown by the federal government against lawful asylum seekers from mainly Central American countries seeking refuge from the horrific violence in their homes.
Rather than follow asylum procedures, the Trump administration has chosen to forcibly separate children from their parents in an attempt to dissuade migrants.
Most recently, the Trump administration announced a new rule that would effectively end asylum for people from Central America by requiring that they first request asylum in neighboring countries that, according to NPR, do not have the resources to process such claims.
Robles is not the only person to have taken sanctuary within Seattle’s religious community. Jaime Rubio Sulficio took sanctuary in St. Mark’s Cathedral in April.
Ashley Archibald is a Staff Reporter covering local government, policy and equity. Have a story idea? She can be can reached at ashleya (at) realchangenews (dot) org. Follow Ashley on Twitter @AshleyA_RC
Read the full July 24 - 30 issue.
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