The incoming city attorney took issue with an ordinance from the City Council that would require quarterly reporting on diversion programs and earmarks a part of the office’s budget for diversion, PubliCola reported.
City Attorney-elect Ann Davison sent an email to all members of the City Council noting that no male predecessor to the office had faced such requirements. The version of the ordinance that passed out of committee on Dec. 9 was weaker than that which was originally proposed, which would have required the City Attorney’s Office to use funds for prefiling diversion programs.
“Prefiling diversion” avoids actually charging a person with a crime, therefore keeping their criminal record clean. Instead, they agree to other, less onerous measures, such as check-ins or workshops. The City Attorney’s Office has worked with Choose 180, a local nonprofit, on prefiling diversion for people aged 18 to 24 since September 2017.
In her email, Davison listed unfiled criminal cases and noted her plans to “re-center the victims in our city’s public safety conversation.”
Caring for the caregivers
The city of Seattle announced that it would disburse nearly $3 million to childcare workers who worked during the coronavirus pandemic.
More than 3,500 workers will receive up to $835 in one-time payments by the new year, according to a release by the city. The workers belong to 537 programs and served as many as 20,000 children. The majority of these workers identify as Black, Indigenous and/or people of color.
“Childcare workers are among our city’s frontline heroes that have kept families moving throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. When school shifted online and vaccines were not yet available, workers kept their doors open to children so parents could work,” said Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan.
Loaning out the future
Millions of Americans with federally backed student loans will have to resume payments in February 2022 unless President Joe Biden or Congress take action.
Loan payments were suspended in March 2020 through the CARES Act passed under former President Donald Trump. Interest was also set, temporarily, at 0 percent. Both Trump and Biden extended the moratorium on payments, although that is set to expire at the end of January 2022.
Biden promised to cancel at least $10,000 in student loans on the campaign trail. That hasn’t happened yet, although the Biden administration has shored up other existing programs that forgive debt for people who are permanently disabled or spend at least a decade in public service.
According to Studentdebtcrisis.org, 89 percent of fully employed student borrowers say that they are not ready to resume student loan payments as of Feb. 1, 2022.
Read more of the Dec. 15-21, 2021 issue.