Opinion

Editorial: A painful budget

The King County Council passed a $627.8 million budget on Monday, closing an unprecedented $93.4 million shortfall the only way budget writers knew how — by making a number of cuts. To read the news releases councilmembers issued after their unanimous vote, it was clearly a painful process.

County employees will face a first-ever unpaid 10-day furlough. While the council restored some of the cuts to the Sheriff’s Office that were initially proposed in County Executive Ron Sims’ budget, public safety — from the Sheriff’s Office to the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office — will see a decline in spending. And in an effort to create a “lifeboat” for services in the hope that the Legislature can turn things around, the county council agreed to provide six months — but only six months — of funding to several critical public health programs.

Some people will no doubt feel the impact of these cuts on Vashon.

Though it didn’t make headlines in the dailies or get even a footnote in the press releases, one program to take a hit from this tough financial situation was the Domestic Abuse Women’s Network (DAWN), a Tukwila-based organization that stepped in after Vashon’s homegrown domestic violence program unraveled four years ago.

The result is that Vashon will lose Joanna, an advocate (her last name is not used for safety reasons) who has singlehandedly rebuilt an Island-based program. She has developed a weekly support group, helped survivors find the resources they need to get out of abusive situations and worked with the community to raise awareness and support.

As she points out in the accompanying column, DAWN will still be available to Islanders. But it won’t be the same. A support group in Tukwila or Burien or Federal Way will be much harder for an Islander — especially one living in an abusive situation — to attend.

There are many pieces of this county budget that are difficult. Here on Vashon, we’re especially sorry to see Joanna go.

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