Murray: 'It is often said that nothing stops a bullet like a job'
SEATTLE -- Mayor Ed Murray believes the city needs to end the fingerpointing regarding the rising violence and begin working together to make the community safer.
Murray delivered the message Wednesday at a special session of the city council, where he openly faulted Seattle's ongoing failures at public safety.
"Instead of responsibility and accountability, our city has seen fingerpointing and blame-shifting," Murray said.
Murray wants to move the conversation beyond police reform and focus on offering better mental health services, fostering neighborhood involvement, and creating new opportunities through jobs for youth.
"It is often said that nothing stops a bullet like a job," he said.
While the mayor has a list of long-range goals, his plan kicks-off with a "summer of safety" to offer more activities for teens, and to sponsor community events like block patrols. However, not all neighborhood activists like what they heard.
"I sort of felt like we were left out, the Central Area, the east precinct," said Stephanie Tschida, who heads the East Precinct Advisory Council, a crime prevention group.
The mayor was clear his vision involves more than just policing. The city's newly confirmed police chief said she's on board to fight crime at the grass-roots level.
"Once we identify the three to five biggest concerns in each neighborhood, we'll address a strategy to address those," said Chief Kathleen O'Toole.
The mayor ended his remarks with a personal reflection on the double homicide in Leschi, paying special attention to victim Dwone Anderson-Young, a young man who had everything to live for. Instead, he lost his life for reasons still unclear.
"This is someone Seattle nurtured," the mayor said. "This bright, young African-American man was someone that we raised, and we lost him through senseless violence."
The mayor's proposals won't come cheap, and his staff has been scrubbing budgets to find extra funds. The priorities for that money include hiring a police liaison to work with the East African community, and matching 20 female police officers with 20 young women from immigrant and refugee neighborhoods.