Councilmember Tim Burgess
Councilmembers to revisit Communities United Rainier Beach decision
Seattle – Four members of the City Council said this afternoon they would revisit their decision to defund the Communities United Rainier Beach (CURB) crime prevention program when final budget legislation comes before the Council on November 19.
"At today's meeting of the City Council's Budget Committee, I heard poignant personal testimony expressing concerns about a proposed funding cut to the Communities United Rainier Beach (CURB) program," said Councilmember Tim Burgess, chair of the Committee. "This budget action arose late in the Council's budget process, which meant that the public had little time to provide feedback to Council members. As Committee Chair, I am responsible for managing the process and acknowledge that this proposed action did not go through our normal schedule of review. I will ask my colleagues to postpone action on the CURB program so that the City's Human Services Department can report in the first quarter of next year on CURB's performance to the Council's Committee on Housing, Human Services, Health and Culture."
Councilmember Nick Licata added, "In 2005, I worked with the Council to design a new program to link law enforcement and human services for those involved in street level illegal activity. The goal was to improve the lives of young people as well as improve the public safety in Rainier Valley. In 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2009 I led the Council in restoring funding when then Mayor Nickels proposed cutting it as well as providing funding for an evaluation of this program. I'm glad that we are restoring CURB funding with the agreement from HSD to evaluate the program outcomes upon both the lives of program participants and upon the public safety of the Rainier Valley community."
"The Council added more than $2.5 million to hire new police officers and funding to focus on proactive policing emphasis patrols," said Councilmember Bruce Harrell, Chair of the Public Safety, Civil Rights and Technology Committee. "A key component of an effective proactive policing ecosystem are programs like the CURB program. The program's core mission is to divert young people in the Rainier Valley away from the criminal justice system. Seattle has made a unique investment with CURB. After listening to today's testimony about the lives that have been positively impacted, I support the Council's decision to restore funding to CURB. It is critical, however, for Council to examine all crime prevention programs and their effectiveness in preventing crime, poverty and inequity in Seattle."
"I believe programs aimed at preventing people from entering or re-entering the criminal justice system are important to public safety and economic stability for many families in our city, so I am grateful to my Council colleagues for slowing down this decision and giving CURB a chance to fully participate in the budget review process," said Councilmember Mike O'Brien. "Today, we are buying a little time to better understand if CURB is helping to meet our goals and see if there are other diversion and crime prevention programs around the country that should be brought to Seattle."
More information about the Council's budget actions is available here.
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