Last week, the Seattle City Council confirmed Kathleen O’Toole as the city’s next police chief in an 8-1 vote with Socialist Councilmember Kshama Sawant voting NO. Sawant delivered a speech prior to casting her NO vote that—like so many of her speeches—lasted much longer than necessary and largely failed to explain her decision.
By all indications, Sawant’s problem with O’Toole stems from the future police chief’s “stated intention of running the department like an efficient business.” The prospect of the Seattle Police Department running like an efficient business doesn’t appear to sit well with the socialist councilmember. Businesses—according to Sawant—are not accountable to people.
“Ms. O’Toole has said that she would like to run SPD like a business. By that she means she wants SPD to be efficient and accountable. While I don’t doubt her sincerity at all, that is troubling to me, since private businesses and corporations are NOT accountable to working people, they are accountable to the profits of a few. Private businesses keep their affairs closed and secret. The opposite is needed for a public service, for policing in alliance with the communities, for accountability, for transparency…”
Interesting way to interpret O’Toole’s comments—which were meant, quite obviously, as an analogy of efficiency, not to be taken literally. However, the apparent misunderstanding does bring up a pressing question. We can’t help but wonder if Sawant’s “concern” for O’Toole’s appointment is really just another example of Sawanticrats/Democrats saying they want transparency and accountability for the people, except when it comes to rewarding their friends.
Currently, government officials appointed by Jay Inslee are conducting closed contract negotiations with union bosses from Washington’s state employee union, Washington Federation of State Employees (WFSE). Despite the fact that such negotiations directly impact taxpayers, Washington State does not require state/local employment contract negotiations to be public—all members of the public, the media, and state lawmakers are not allowed access to the negotiations. Meanwhile, according to the Office of Fiscal Management, the taxpayers’ stake in the negotiations amounts to nearly $1 billion dollars in new costs.
Granted, Sawant is a local government leader. But, given her past willingness to express her opinion on subjects beyond the realm of city government, one question should be asked. Does Sawant’s—and Democrats’ for that matter—concern for openness extend to government negotiations with public sector (local and state) employee unions?