Texas - The Austin City Council voted today to purchase one hotel and turn it into 60 units of permanent supportive housing for people experiencing chronic homelessness. The vote to purchase a second hotel has been postponed to next week after a city council member asked for more time to gather feedback from her constituents. Under the measure, the city will spend approximately $6.7 million from its Housing and Planning Department’s general obligation bonds to acquire one hotel and use some money from a recurring $6.5 million fund taken from the police department’s budget to provide services to the residents of the hotel.
Last month, the New York Times ran an article by Astead Herndon about politics and police in Minneapolis. By ignoring important context and details, Herndon painted a misleading picture of what happened and what’s likely to happen in the near future. He wrote that the Minneapolis City Council’s idealistic attempt to change public safety, spurred by young and progressive activists, were thwarted by public opposition and legislative processes. In truth, most of the City Council members, who ran and won by pledging to advance racial equity, tried to do the right—and popular—thing, but were stalled by an unelected, unrepresentative commission that overstepped its authority.
According to the Vera Institute of Justice, Philadelphia City Council unanimously voted to end cash bail on Thursday—a system that overwhelmingly punishes poor offenders by forcing them to stay in jail while they await trial after an arrest. Recently elected District Attorney Larry Krasner has been leading the council on pressing issues of criminal justice reform, along with council member Curtis Jones Jr. According to The Philadelphia Tribune, Jones said during the council session last week, “I’m calling for an end to the cash bail system in the city of Philadelphia.” Jones continued: Mr. President [Darrell Clarke] in our research we found out that a cash bail system came from a 1,000 year old medieval system that was created to make sure that they knew, even then, that jails were too costly. And so we should let the accuser go if they were not a danger to themselves or society.
NEARLY A year after the Seattle City Council passed a $15 an hour ordinance, thousands of Seattle workers got a raise on April 1. According to the ordinance, which passed after a grassroots campaign of actions demanding a $15 an hour minimum wage, Seattle workers will now get a minimum of $10 an hour. This is part of a long phase-in until all workers get at least $15 an hour by 2021. With a built-in cost-of-living clause, all workers are expected to make $18 per hour by 2025. The state minimum wage is currently $9.47. Businesses employing fewer than 500 workers and providing health care or tips have to pay $10 an hour. Businesses employing more than 500 workers nationwide and smaller businesses that don't provide tips or health care must pay $11.