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Seattle City Council Backs Occupy Seattle

In a lengthy resolution that borrows language from the Declaration of Independence — it has 14 “Whereas” clauses — the Seattle City Council on Monday gave its blessing to the Occupy Seattle protest.

Demonstrators, police and Seattle Parks and Rec officials fight over a tent during the ‘Occupy Seattle’ protest at Westlake Park last week. (Joshua Trujillo / SEATTLEPI.COM) The resolution, which passed on a 9-0 vote, was sponsored by activist Council members Nick Licata and Mike O’Brien.

The Council “recognizes the peaceful and lawful exercise of First Amendment rights by Occupy Seattle and others,” said the resolution, which goes on to demand multiple cures to the nation’s social ills.

“Our resolution does not endorse any group or movement,” Councilman Tim Burgess said in an interview.

But the Seattle City Council wants action by legislative bodies in Washington, D.C. and Olympia. “The structural causes of the economic crisis facing our society require decisive and sustained action at the national and state levels,” declared the resolution.

The sweeping resolution covers everything from a review of Seattle’s banking and investment practices, to a demand that Bush-era cuts in federal income taxes be allowed to expire.

The resolution’s broad wording suggests that the nation’s economic ills go back to the Reagan era, declaring:

“WHEREAS, over the past 30 years, gains in our economy have accrued largely to the top 1 percent income earners, who now control 40 percent of the wealth in the United States due in part to public policies that can be changed . . .”

While the resolution condemns societal ills, Burgess stressed in an interview: “We condemn violence and activities that interfere with or restrict our police officers.”

Dominic Holden, writing Monday in The Stranger, noted that several of the Occupy Seattle protesters present in the Council chambers were the same people who tried to shout down Nick Licata during a chaotic Town Hall forum on Saturday.

The resolution, while thinking globally, commits the Council to act locally on several fronts, which include:

– “The City will review its banking and investment practices to ensure that public funds are invested in responsible financial institutions that support our community,” the resolution stated.

The resolution said the Council may consider “future legislation to promote responsible banking and provide an incentive for banking institutions to invest more in our city, particularly with regard to stabilizing the housing markets and supporting the creation of new businesses.”

– “The City will continue to address economic inequality and wealth disparities by race, ethnicity, sexual orientation and gender,” said the resolution. It discussed a wide range of ways “to address historic trends in disparities.”

– “The Council will request a report from the Department of Finance and Administrative Services on all exemptions or waivers allowed for City taxes, to examine the impact of both tax shifts and lost revenue to the City against the economic and social benefits the exemptions are intended to bring . . .”

The Council will also analyze how city election campaigns are currently financed “and explore alternatives.”

The city will also urge Congressional leaders to “support job creation, substantial investments in the nation’s critical physical and technological infrastructure and deficit reduction by adopting fiscal policies with equitable corporate and individual taxation and by allowing the 2010 extension of President Bush’s tax cuts to expire in 2012 . . .”

Only in its last section does the resolution give backing to Seattle’s finest. It states:

“The Council and the Mayor recognize and support the important responsibility of the Seattle Police Department exercises in protecting for everyone our First Amendment rights to freedom of speech and assembly while, at the same time, appropriately enforcing city laws and regulations.”

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