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City of Seattle
Ed Murray, Mayor

SUBJECT: City Attorney's Inaugural Address

1/8/2014  9:00:00 AM
Kimberly Mills  (206) 684-8602

Thank you, Council President Burgess, Councilmembers and Mayor Murray; thank you, Ann; and thank you, the People of Seattle, for entrusting leadership of your City Attorney’s Office to this public servant for another four years. Today is about looking ahead, but it’s helpful to reflect briefly on the last four years to better imagine the possibilities before us now.

In case you haven’t heard, we’ve legalized marijuana in Washington state. We’ve successfully advocated for legislation reducing prosecutions for “driving while poor,” equalizing the treatment of citizens and noncitizens in misdemeanor cases, and passing the Vulnerable Users Bill (all with assistance from former Senator Murray). We’ve saved the City money and reasserted control over our police litigation by ending a longstanding no-bid contract and bringing our police defense work in-house.

I’m proud of the work my office has done advising and representing the City in civil matters. I’m proud of the work our criminal prosecutors do in the quest for justice. Thank you to the City Council for working with me to reboot the Precinct Liaison Program and put lawyers on the ground in each of our police precincts to work directly with line officers and community members.

Looking ahead, this amazing city is already leading what the Brookings Institution calls The Metropolitan Revolution: “…places [that] have labored to improve the delivery of core services such as education and public safety to ensure good schools, safe streets, and a high quality of life. Now [we] are innovating in the service of a grander ambition and necessary purpose: a local economy that generates wealth and shares prosperity.”

Local prosperity depends on public safety and police reform. I pledge, Mr. Mayor, to stand by you, our Commander-in-Chief, to help bring Seattle the safe, effective and efficient police department we all want and need. Public safety and accountable, constitutional policing are not mutually exclusive. One, in fact, cannot exist without the other.

We must continue to reform drug policy and implement I-502 to finally end marijuana prohibition. I’m proud to have partnered with our City Council to make marijuana legalization work in Seattle, and that means making I-502’s regulation and taxation work, too: keeping marijuana away from minors, keeping impaired drivers off the road—but ensuring that patients retain safe access.

The law is a tool for promoting fairness and equality—shared prosperity. Seattle’s Race & Social Justice Initiative must live up to promises made to our disadvantaged communities. We strengthen all of Seattle when we make affordable payment plans available to struggling debtors, and hold slumlords accountable. And the City Attorney’s Office will enthusiastically assist and guide the Mayor and City Council in navigating the legal issues as we consider and address Seattle’s own minimum wage standards.

While Seattle is enjoying signs of economic recovery, our future is ultimately what we will make of it. The nearly 160 servant leaders of the City Attorney’s Office—including some 95 Assistant City Attorneys and Prosecutors and 60 legal support professionals—will support our new Mayor and our City Council with excellent legal advice, counsel and representation as they map out Seattle’s course on the issues facing us now and in the coming years. I am proud to be a part of this Metropolitan Revolution for another four years. Thank you.

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