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Seattle City Council Resolutions

Information retrieved on August 19, 2019 0:56 AM

Resolution Number: 31337


Title
A RESOLUTION recognizing and supporting the peaceful and lawful exercise of the First Amendment as a cherished and fundamental right in the effort to seek solutions for economically distressed Americans at the federal and local levels.


Status: Adopted as Amended
Date adopted by Full Council: November 14, 2011
Vote: 9-0

Date introduced/referred to committee: November 7, 2011
Committee: Full Council
Sponsor: LICATA; CO-SPONSOR: O'BRIEN
Committee Recommendation:
Date of Committee Recommendation:
Committee Vote:

(No indexing available for this document)

Fiscal Note: Fiscal Note to Resolution 31337

Scan of signed legislation: PDF scan of Resolution No. 31337



Text

WHEREAS, Seattle community members, like others across the United States, are frustrated by the continuing economic crisis that threatens individual, family and City finances, and our community's quality of life, and are participating in Occupy protests in the streets to make their voices heard; and

WHEREAS, the roots of these protests are varied, including sustained unemployment, growing income disparity, banking system failures, stalled earning power, unjust tax systems, and corporate influence in politics that all contribute to ongoing wealth disparities; and

WHEREAS the causes and consequences of the current economic crisis erode confidence in the social contract upon which the Constitution of the United States of America is based; namely, the ability of Americans to come together and form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty for all, allowing every American to strive for and share in our nation's prosperity through cooperation and hard work; and

WHEREAS, this prolonged economic downturn has hurt nearly all Americans, in the areas of wealth loss, unemployment, and housing access, it has taken an even greater toll on people of color and women. Women are 29% more likely to be poor than men. The poverty rate for single mother families has increased to 40.7%. Economic gains made by people of color since the Civil Rights Movement have been substantially reduced by the Great Recession; and Caucasian Americans experienced a net wealth loss of 16 percent from 2005 to 2009. African Americans lost about half of their wealth and Latinos lost two-thirds of their wealth in this same period; and

WHEREAS, more than 25 million Americans are unemployed and seeking work; more than 50 million Americans are living without health insurance; and, more than one in five American children are growing up in households living in poverty without sufficient resources to meet basic survival needs, such as food, clothing, and shelter; and

WHEREAS, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), in its report, a "CDC Health Disparities & Inequalities Report United States, 2011" documents that income inequality in the United States is the highest among advanced industrialized nations, with wide-spread inequities in U.S. health outcomes by income, race, and gender; and

WHEREAS, over the past 30 years, gains in our economy have accrued largely to the top 1% income earners, who now control 40% of the wealth in the United States due in part to public policies that can be changed; and

WHEREAS, one of the largest problems dragging down our economy is the foreclosure crisis, with many owners struggling to obtain loan adjustments and too many banks with flawed review procedures; and

WHEREAS, Washington State has been particularly hard-hit by the foreclosure crisis, ranking 17th in the nation in number of foreclosures, with a projected 132,000 mortgages foreclosed between 2009 and 2012 and 30,000 families in Washington losing their homes to foreclosure in 2010, an increase of 70% over the previous year; and

WHEREAS, in Washington State, from the third quarter of 2006 to the first quarter of 2010 foreclosure starts increased by 316% and 3 of every 100 homes is in some phase of the foreclosure process, with King, Pierce, Snohomish, Clark and Spokane counties experiencing the highest rates of new foreclosure starts. In September 2011 alone, 1 of every 910 housing units in Washington State received foreclosure filing and 1 of every 897 housing units received foreclosure filing in King County; and

WHEREAS, between 2009-2012 the foreclosure crisis is projected to cost Washington communities, homeowners and local governments approximately $3.7 billion and the high number of foreclosures in neighborhoods is projected to cause an estimated $19.5 billion drop in total home equity wealth; and

WHEREAS, local governments are straining under the increasing weight of responsibility to provide for basic support services at a time of declining tax revenues and as a result of budget reductions by the state and federal government; and

WHEREAS, Americans can and must resolve the divisive economic and social realities facing our nation in a peaceful way that honors our commitment to democracy, equality and justice;

NOW THEREFORE,

BE IT RESOLVED BY THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF SEATTLE, THE MAYOR CONCURRING:

Section 1. By adoption of this Resolution, the City of Seattle recognizes the peaceful and lawful exercise of First Amendment Rights by "Occupy Seattle" and others. The City does not condone actions that infringe upon the lawful rights of others, obstruct or interfere with the efforts of law enforcement officers to protect such rights, or cause personal injury or property destruction.

Section 2. The structural causes of the economic crisis facing our society require decisive and sustained action at the national and state levels. Cities are harmed by the crisis and must play an important role in the development of public policy to address it. By adoption of this resolution, the City Council commits to the following steps to minimize economic insecurity and destructive disparities:

1. The City will review its banking and investment practices to ensure that public funds are invested in responsible financial institutions that support our community. The Council may also consider future legislation to promote responsible banking and provide an incentive for banking institutions to invest more in our City, particularly with regard to stabilizing the housing market and supporting the creation of new businesses. This review should include evaluating City policies on responsible depositing and management of City funds.

2. The City will examine the number of home foreclosures in Seattle, the geographic neighborhoods in which the foreclosures are occurring, and lender information on homes involved in the foreclosure process, including real estate owned homes. Furthermore, the Office of Housing will work with the Seattle-King County Asset Building Collaborative's Foreclosure Prevention Action Team to gather qualitative data on the circumstances and causes of foreclosures and the foreclosure methods and practices of lenders, including reviewing apparent inequities many people in Seattle face when lender foreclosure proceedings occur.

3. The City will continue to address economic inequality and wealth disparities by race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and gender. Through the City's Race and Social Justice Initiative and 2012 City Council committee work programs, the Council will continue to identify effective approaches to asset building, job training, access to banking and other financial services, educational attainment, family support, access to health care and other ways to address historic trends in disparities.

4. The Council will request a report from the Department of Finance and Administrative Services on all exemptions or waivers allowed for City taxes to examine the impact of both tax shifts and lost revenue to the City against the economic and social benefits the exemptions are intended to bring to the City.

5. The Council will consult with advocates of tax reform and experts on equitable taxation and review past tax reform efforts in order to work effectively with the State Legislature toward a more equitable tax structure.

6. The Council will analyze how city election campaigns are currently financed and explore alternatives.

7. As federal and state assistance dwindles, the City resolves to continue to use available resources to provide assistance for the most vulnerable people in Seattle.

8. The City recognizes that reforms in education and career preparation are essential for building a viable future and that the disparities in these areas begin very early in life and they continue through adulthood. The Council will seek maximum possible funding for Early Learning and Basic Education in the State Legislative Agenda. During challenging times, it is also critically important to support community colleges, technical colleges, and state universities as they provide access to retraining and workforce development opportunities.

Section 3. The City of Seattle requests our Congressional leaders to generate solutions for economically distressed Americans, specifically to:

1. Support job creation, substantial investments in the nation's critical physical and technological infrastructure and deficit reduction by adopting fiscal policies with equitable corporate and individual taxation and by allowing the 2010 extension of President Bush's tax cuts to expire in 2012 as the law currently requires.

2. Tighten regulation of the banking and financial sector, including adoption of new rules and vigorous investigation and prosecution of individuals and corporations that violate the fraud, theft, and securities laws.

3. Retain or increase community-building block grants for local schools and social services and protect public education from devastating cuts and prevent tuition levels that block fair access to higher education.

Section 4. The Council and the Mayor recognize and support the important responsibility the Seattle Police Department exercises in protecting for everyone our First Amendment rights to freedom of speech and assembly while, at the same time, appropriately enforcing City laws and regulations.

Adopted by the City Council the _____ day of _____________, 2011, and signed by me in open session in authentication of its adoption this _____ day of ________________, 2011.

________________________________________

President __________ of the City Council

THE MAYOR CONCURRING:

______________________________

Mayor

Filed by me this ______ day of _________________, 2011.

________________________________________

City Clerk

(Seal)

Lisa Herbold ResoOccupy 11/14/11 Version #12

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