With a City Council now filled with allies on the second floor of City Hall, Mayor Bruce Harrell talked with David Kroman of The Seattle Times about his priorities for the next two years.
Not surprisingly, the Mayor discussed the need to address public safety as a top focus. However, progress is not easy. Seattle was one of the few big cities that saw an increase in its homicide rate over the first half of last year.
The Mayor has spent about $2 million on recruiting new officers, but the Seattle Police Department still saw a net decline of 27 officers in 2023 (73 new officers hired and 100 who departed). The Mayor’s response was blunt: “I’m gonna say this to you, and I’ll say it to the council: if recruiting officers and retaining officers were easy, it would be done by now, by not only me as the Mayor of Seattle, but by the Mayor of other major cities.”
Will the Mayor be able to make progress on public safety, homelessness, revitalizing downtown, tackling the fentanyl crisis, and other challenges facing the city with a more friendly Council? Tammy Morales, the lone non-ally left on the Council, put the question this way:
“Will he deliver now on the things that are promised? Because the council is no longer an excuse for not achieving things.”
Mayor Harrell responds to those questions by saying, “I read about the expectations, that people will say, ‘Now, Harrell, you have this council, and you worked hard to have this council, you have no excuses,’ And my response is what I said earlier: I’ve never made any excuses to begin with.”