I join the working people and community members of Seattle who are understandably relieved at Mayor Ed Murray’s resignation. I had made clear in my July 31 Editorial that while no one should be tried in the court of public opinion, Murray had failed as an elected leader by repeatedly attacking the character of his accusers, and shifting the focus to their troubled backgrounds to suggest they cannot be trusted.
I commend all individuals and organizations – including Danni Askini of the Gender Justice League, the City of Seattle’s LGBTQ Commission and Human Rights Commission, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), and Councilmember Gonzalez – who showed courage and leadership in calling on Murray to resign. Unfortunately, the majority of the City Council failed to show any such leadership.
As we head into the 2018 City budget discussions, the City Council has another opportunity to stand in solidarity with sexual violence survivors. Councilmembers need to do everything in our power to support survivors and adopt social policies that can help reduce sexual assault, molestation, and rape, which tragically occur all too often in our city and society. This includes fully funding vitally needed social services, such as shelters for domestic violence survivors and programs for LGBTQ youth. But helping sexual assault survivors also includes addressing the root causes of abuse: poverty, social isolation, and the immense power disparities that plague this highly unequal and deeply oppressive capitalist society.
A business-as-usual budget that yet again favors big developers, big corporations, and a bloated police department, while falling short in funding human services, would be totally unacceptable. The people of Seattle should demand that whoever is Mayor this fall will work instead to ensure the budget itself is a moral document which reflects the real priorities and needs of the people of Seattle, especially its most vulnerable.