Federal Judge OKs Moving Forward on Police Accountability Legislation; Tenants’ Rights Workshop in District 1; Community Benefit Agreements (CBAs)

January 12th, 2017

Federal judge OKs moving forward on police accountability legislation

Late last week a federal judge ruled that Seattle can proceed with police accountability legislation.  This legislation has been developed to comply with the requirements of the 2012 Consent Decree with the US Department of Justice to reform policing in Seattle.   Federal Judge James Robart is responsible for overseeing the implementation of these Consent Decree requirements.

Judge Robart had earlier ruled that he would first need to review the proposed accountability legislation in advance of the Council’s consideration to ensure that it did not conflict with the terms or purpose of the Consent Decree. His ruling notes “The purposes of the Consent Decree are…(1) constitutional policing, (2) effective policing, and (3) policing in which the community can have confidence.

Judge Robart’s ruling approves the draft legislation moving forward, and clarifies issues on terminating officers, the composition of the Community Police Commission, and the role of the Community Police Commissions with respect to a new proposed Office of the Inspector General.

To ensure the judge reviewed and approved alternative legislative possibilities, the reviewed draft legislation included multiple options for some issue areas.  The legislation will now be revised into standard legislative format, and undergo final legal review, and come to the City Council for consideration, and public comment.

The bill should reach the Council in the coming months.

Tenants’ Rights Workshop in District 1

Monday, January 23rd from 6:30-8pm at the Youngstown Cultural Arts Center at 4408 Delridge Way SW, Seattle, WA 98106

In FREE workshop for current and future renters and tenant advocates, Solid Ground Tenant Counselors will cover information to help consumers…

  • Know and assert their rights as tenants
  • Navigate the housing search and landlord screening process
  • Protect themselves from eviction and housing loss
  • Learn how to get deposits back and repairs made

Please note that while Solid Ground’s Tenant Counselors are not attorneys and cannot provide legal advice, they are recognized leaders in tenant education and advocacy.

QUESTIONS? Contact our Tenant Services Workshops & Advocacy Line at 206.694.6748 or
tenantwa@solid-ground.org

https://www.facebook.com/events/581281532071094/

https://www.solid-ground.org/events/rent-smart-tenant-rights-workshop-2/

Community Benefit Agreements (CBAs)

On Wednesday, I attended a Council Lunch and Learn on Community Benefits: Tools of the Trade, hosted by Councilmember O’Brien’s Sustainability and Transportation Committee. Councilmembers, city staff and community members heard presentations from Coalitions, Campaigns and Community BenefitsStrategic Actions for  a Just Economy, and East Bay Alliance for Sustainable Economy about how communities across the country are using CBAs to address exploding property values and displacement.

Engagement with and the community organizing of impacted residents and workers can ensure that CBAs are a tool that maximizes the public benefits received from investments made by the city, employers, and developers. These agreements may require developers to build more affordable housing, improve access to transit, expand affordable childcare options, and/ or increase livable wage employment opportunities. Under the Priority Hire Ordinance the City of Seattle uses a community workforce agreement on all of its public works projects.  Having a citywide requirement enacted by ordinance for these specific kinds of projects means that community members do not have organize and pressure the City on each individual city funded public works project.

People who live and work in the University District have requested the City Council’s help in encouraging large employers and developers to negotiate a CBA in anticipation of future development in the University District resulting from proposed University District Mandatory Housing Affordability Zoning legislation.  I look forward to thinking more about how the City can support the use of CBAs as another tool to further our shared goals to create more affordable housing, decrease displacement of businesses and residents, and improve the overall livability for all Seattle residents.

Share


MHA Citywide Proposal and Future Legislative Process; Arts and Music Commissions presentation on arts space affordability; Sound Transit Busker pilot program survey; Democracy Vouchers; Seattle United for Immigrant and Refugee Families

January 6th, 2017


MHA – Citywide Proposal and Future Legislative Process

The broad public conversation of the Executive’s initial (my emphasis added) proposal to implement the Mandatory Housing Affordability (MHA) program approved by the Council in last year’s MHA framework legislation  began in Fall 2016. Last year’s framework legislation laid out how all developers would have to contribute to new affordable housing in all developments in exchange for additional zoning capacity.  The steps that began this fall include how much developers must contribute and how much as well as where additional zoning capacity is added.

Prior to the development of the Mayor’s initial zoning proposal, the Office of Planning and Community Development (OPCD) and Department of Neighborhoods (DON) selected 160 community members (from a pool of 250+ applicants) to participate in a nine-month facilitated focus group process to develop principles and recommendations for zoning change proposals to enact MHA. A summary of the focus group process may be found here. An additional summary may be found here.

The map of the proposed MHA zoning changes, by urban village, were made available online mid-October 2016, the City issued draft proposed zoning maps for neighborhoods across the city. An interactive website  allows for input to the draft maps.

The City Council allocated $300,000, in 2017, to facilitate its own community charrettes to help answer the question of where additional zoning capacity should be added.

The Executive’s initial proposal for these zoning changes includes where the boundary for urban villages should be drawn and what mix of zones best support the context and conditions of local areas.  These workshops are meant to be an interchange of ideas and opinions on whether these proposals hit the mark for communities or whether – while still adding sufficient addition zoning capacity necessary to require developers to contribute to affordable housing – boundaries should be shifted or a different mix of zoning changes considered.

You can provide input on the proposed draft urban village boundaries, draft zoning changes, and building types here www.seattle.gov/hala/focus-groups.  Additional opportunities for District 1 neighborhoods will be as follows:

To RSVP, click the link above, email Spencer.Williams@Seattle.Gov or call (206) 384-2709.

I’ve heard concerns that the City is moving too fast. We are early in the process.  The City has begun to develop an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to measure benefits and impacts of the MHA citywide zoning proposal.  Here are the opportunities to influence the final Executive proposal, prior to beginning Council deliberations:

  • Residents will have had at least four months (mid-October until mid-February) to review the maps prior to the tentative mid-March release of the Draft EIS.
  • Once the Draft EIS is released, people will have at least 45 days to provide additional public comment.  Depending the sufficiency of the Draft EIS in identifying the issues raised public comment (which the Council has been compiling) I will consider whether there is a need for additional time for public comment on the Draft EIS. 
  • A Final EIS that further incorporates public comment is tentatively scheduled to be released in Summer 2017 with a final legislative proposal for the MHA citywide zoning changes and developer obligations to contribute to affordable housing.
  • The public will then have an additional approximately 6-month opportunity to comment before the City Council begins to consider the MHA citywide zoning legislation in early 2018.

Additional Helpful links:


Arts and Music Commissions presentation on arts space affordability

On December 2nd a tragic fire resulted in the death of 36 people at the Ghost Ship artists’ collective in Oakland. Two weeks later, the Seattle Arts Commission, Music Commission, and leadership of the Central Area Arts & Cultural District and Capitol Hill Arts District sent a letter to the Mayor regarding the future of arts spaces in Seattle, including recommendations.

The letter states concern about displacement, evictions, and disproportionate impact on people of color, mirroring problems facing housing and commercial affordability in Seattle.

Since these commissions relate to the committee I chair, wanted to give them the opportunity to present their recommendations. The recommendations include applying the City’s Race and Social Justice tooklit to enforcement, a grading system for safety, expanding eligibility for arts funding, and an “Arts Events License” similar to one recently adopted in Vancouver, BC.

The Office of Arts & Culture’s 2013 Cultural Space Inventory showed that Native American and African American organizations showed lower stability, and noted that “…an organization’s target audience’s race provides the most dramatic difference in a feeling of stability and security.”

The presentation will take place at the January 10 meeting of the Civil Rights, Utilities, Economic Development and Arts Committee. The meeting will begin at 9:30 a.m.; the meeting agenda will be available soon. You can view the presentation live on the Seattle Channel.


Sound Transit Busker pilot program survey

Sound Transit is taking a survey regarding their Busking (street performer) pilot program at the University of Washington and Capitol Hill light rail stations.

Here’s a link to the survey; the performance policy is here.


Democracy Vouchers

The Seattle Office of Ethics and Elections Commissions (SEEC) is beginning implementation of the Democracy Voucher program, a form of partial public financing of elections. The program results from the passage of citizen-initiated “Honest Elections Seattle” Initiative 122 in 2015, and allows Seattle residents to use the vouchers to support candidate(s) in 2017 City of Seattle elections.

In 2017 Seattle voters can contribute the vouchers to qualifying candidates for the two citywide City Council elections, and the City Attorney’s election. The program will apply to the Mayor’s race in 2021.

SEEC began mailing the vouchers to registered voters earlier this week. Seattle residents 18 years of age and older can apply to receive vouchers if they are a U.S. citizen, U.S. national, or lawful permanent resident.

Background on the program is available here. A multi-lingual webpage has materials here.

Seattle had partial public financing of elections in 1979 and 1981, and 1987-1991. State law prohibited public financing in 1992; in 2008 the state legislature allowed for public financing, if approved by a public vote, and funding comes from local sources only. Initiative 122 amended other sections of the elections code as well, including lowering the maximum contributions, limiting contributions from city contractor or those who have paid lobbyists $5,000 or more in the prior twelve months to lobby the City.


Seattle United for Immigrant and Refugee Families

On Friday, January 20, 2017 at McCaw Hall at Seattle Center obtain FREE legal services and information.

Volunteer registration is now open!
Click here to sign up to help us make this event successful.

Questions about volunteering? Please email citizenship@seattle.gov.

Do you need help applying for citizenship?

Check-in from 12:00 PM to 3:00 PM

Do you need to plan for your family’s safety?

Three Identical Know Your Rights Training Sessions: 3:00 PM, 5:00 PM, and 7:00 PM

  • Learn about what to do if Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents stop you or come to your door.
  • Take steps to protect your children and family.
  • Learn about your rights as an immigrant, regardless of your status.

Do you need legal help?

Check-in from 3:00 PM to 6:00 PM

  • Talk to Immigration attorneys about your options.
  • Fill out forms needed to protect your family: power of attorney, temporary guardianship, and other forms.
  • Get your Mexican citizenship, passport, and birth certificate through Mexican Consulate document services.
  • Bring any immigration documents and court documents if you have them.

City of Seattle representatives will also be available to talk about services:

  • ORCA Lift (discounted public transportation card)
  • Utility Discount Program
  • Information on wage theft and unfair employment practices
  • And more…

To qualify for these City of Seattle programs, you will need a photo ID and proof of income:

  • Paycheck stubs/ Employer statement showing GROSS earnings
  • DSHS award letters (TANF, GAU/GAX)
  • Child support document
  • Social Security/SSI award letter/Survivor benefits
  • Pensions/Annuity/IRA, Interest & Dividends
  • Labor and Industry (L&I) statement
  • Student financial aid and tuition statement
  • Rental/investment property income (Provide a copy of lease/rental agreement.)
  • Self-employed (Most recent full tax return & 3 months’ profit & loss statements)

For more information please go to https://www.seattle.gov/iandraffairs/programs/new-citizen-campaign.

Share


Happy 2017! And a Look Back on Progress in 2016

December 30th, 2016

happy-new-year-2017-look-back-on-2016

Housing Issues

Source of Income Discrimination (SOID) Law

SOID is important new comprehensive tenants’ rights legislation, enacting one of the Mayor’s Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda (HALA) recommendations.  The final bill created a new protected class for people with alternative sources of income, created a new “first in time” requirement to make the housing application process more objective, require that rent assistance be accepted to cure eviction actions, and banned “preferred employer” programs, the sweetheart deals for renters employed by certain employers.

The Council will monitor this legislation and evaluate its impacts. The Seattle Office for Civil Rights (SOCR)  is responsible for enforcing this legislation. SOCR worked with stakeholders including Rental Housing Association of Washington, Washington Multi-Family Housing Association, Urban League, Solid Ground, Tenants Union of Washington and facilitated two community public meetings to draft the Administrative Rules.

HUD guidance for housing

Resolution 31669 provides landlords with information about their obligations under the Fair Housing Act to consider as tenants, people with arrests or criminal records, who have been cleared of a crime or served their time. The resolution clarifies HUD’s guidance to property owners helps people seeking housing, and protects landlords from fair housing complaints and lawsuits. Categorical bans on all people with criminal records actually increase recidivism and make communities less safe.

As Efrem McGaughey, a formerly incarcerated individual and member of the Tenants Union of Washington State, said, “By affording formerly incarcerated people who are working to change their lives a chance to find housing without facing prejudice, we are strengthening our community as a whole. The long-term results will increase contributing members to our society, more filled apartments for property owners, and more stability for people who have faced oppression and homelessness.”

This is an important first step in establishing clear screening rules for Seattle landlords. It’s important that all housing providers understand HUD’s advice.

MHA-R Legislation

The Mandatory Housing Affordability/Residential (MHA/R) Program requires all residential developers to contribute affordable housing by including it in their development or paying into an affordable housing fund. The requirements will apply only after Council adopts future zoning changes, scheduled for Council consideration in 2017 and 2018.

In the legislation, there is a requirement that a displacement risk analysis approximate the number of existing affordable housing units demolished as a result of future upzones. This lays the groundwork to ensure that the mandatory affordability requirement for developers will be adjusted higher over the entire area being up-zoned commensurate with the number of units likely to be demolished.

For the last 30 years, housing advocates have been trying to get the need for housing displacement mitigation recognized. Councilmembers O’Brien and Licata were the first to encourage the city in 2014 to study how development left unregulated without some level of mitigation can impact vulnerable communities.

Between 2005 and 2015 the city permitted the demolition of almost 6,000 units of housing. We don’t for sure know how many of these units were affordable rentals and to be clear, no legislation can stop housing demolition entirely. The May 2015 preliminary Growth and Equity report stated, “If unmitigated, new market-rate development in high-displacement risk areas is likely to lead to displacement of marginalized populations.”

Housing Levy

Since 1986 affordable housing levies in Seattle have helped many households access and maintain their affordable housing. The voters supported the recommendationsof theHousing Affordability and Livability Agenda (HALA) Committee, the Mayor, and the Council in voting to pass the renewal of the housing levy, in the amount of $290 million over the next 7 years. The levy directs spending for: Rental Production and Preservation of 2,150 affordable apartments; Operating and maintenance of 350 affordable apartments; Homelessness prevention for 4,500 families; and Homeownership funds to assist 380 low-income homeowners.

Affordability is a major issue for many District 1 residents as well as residents throughout the City. The average price for a 1 bedroom ranges between $1500 and $1700 per month making it difficult for a household earning less $53,000 per year to find an affordable dwelling unit. I believe a truly comprehensive affordable housing strategy must include new programs to preserve existing affordable housing.

The Council voted to pass my amendments to the Housing Levy ordinance including:

  1. Supporting a new housing preservation program aimed at acquiring multi-family rental buildings at risk of sale and redevelopment to preserve these buildings for long-term affordable rental housing or converted to permanently affordable homeownership units,
  2. Increasing support for land trust models to increase affordability in condominiums, and single family dwellings, as well as tenant ownership models for rental property,
  3. Increasing housing options for LGBTQ seniors. Across every Census division in the U.S. Seattle has the least developed services for LGBTQ older adults and their families. Unlike most large cities, we are also running behind on developing housing for LGBTQ seniors.

 

Budget Issues

2017-2018 City Budget

In November the City Council adopted the 2017 City of Seattle budget and 2017-2022 Capital Improvement Plan, and “endorsed” a 2018 budget that will serve as the base for next year’s budget process. Below are a few of the items I worked on.

The Council adopted my District 1 budget proposals as follows:

    • West Seattle Bridge studies – This will continue work begun by former Councilmember Tom Rasmussen, adding $100,000 to carry out the evaluations called for in the West Seattle Bridge/Duwamish Corridor Whitepaper to improve safety, incident management, and traffic flow on the West Seattle Bridge.
    • South Park Family Service Center – This funding will support health and human services, a leadership program, and an education program in South Park.
    • T-5 Quiet Zone – A statement of Legislative Intent for SDOT supporting work with the Port of Seattle, the Federal Railway Administration, and the railway companies doing business at Terminal 5, to extend the quiet zone from Terminal 5 to the Delridge Way/W Marginal Way intersection.
    • A task force on South Park Public Safety – Supporting recommendations regarding the public safety and vitality of that neighborhood; I co-sponsored this with Councilmember González, who chairs the committee for public safety issues.
    • Fauntleroy Boulevard Project (described in its own section of this newsletter)

$29 million Housing Bond

The Budget Committee approved my proposal to create a $29 million housing bond intended to expand financing for affordable housing in Seattle for 2017.  With a vote in favor of this proposal, the Council signaled our desire to prioritize housing in the budget process, and without pitting Seattle’s housing needs against other citywide priorities. We are in a homelessness state of emergency.  We need to build today to meet the need.  Building today is less expensive than building at future costs, and these funds will continue to benefit the community for the entire period of the bond payment under their 50+ year requirement to be maintained as affordable.

I also sponsored the creation of a Child Care Mitigation Fund, to address the displacement of before-and-after school child care from Seattle School District buildings. The funding would be available for use by the District and child care providers to make arrangements to keep child care on-site at schools or assist in relocating where providers would otherwise be displaced.

Another item I sponsored is an Economic Development Issue – Seattle Legacy Business study funding, for a study to determine the scope and definition of a Seattle Legacy Business program to preserve businesses that contribute to the City’s unique culture and character and are at risk of being lost.

Additional budget information is in the Police and Pronto sections.

A summary of my other budget actions is linked here; here’s a link to the summary of all the changes the Council made; the lead sponsor is listed at the end, though many of the proposals had additional co-sponsors. There are many others for which I was listed as a supporting sponsor.

 

Business Issues

Seattle Legacy Business Project

Seattle is known for its unique neighborhoods, each home to a thriving landscape of locally-owned businesses that occupy an essential role in the stories and rituals that define the city. In my first week as a Councilmember, a District 1 resident brought me the idea of a Seattle Legacy Business Program, modeled after a successful San Francisco effort.  Since I chair the committee with oversight of economic development issues, I was inspired by the effort.

I worked with the Washington Trust for Historic Preservation, Historic Seattle, and 4 Culture to survey community members to identify our most important business establishments; identify elements that contribute to the culture, character, and history of Seattle; and establish tools to protect them. The Mayor’s Commercial Affordability Committeerecommendations supported the conclusion that more work was necessary to determine how a Seattle legacy business might function. During the 2017-18 City budget process, I secured funding to determine the scope and definition of a new Seattle Legacy Business Project.

 

Accountability Issues

East Admiral Tree Cutting

In March we found out over 150 trees had been illegally removed from Parks and SDOT property in the East Admiral neighborhood, west of SW Admiral Way up the hill from the West Seattle Bridge, on a steep slope in a potential landslide zone. This is a public safety threat: SW Admiral Way is a major arterial with 25,000 trips per day.  The City Attorney’s Office and the Seattle Police Department began an investigation. I noted that the sanctions must be significant enough to deter this kind of activity in the future. Penalties need to be strong enough so that those with financial means don’t see illegal tree cutting as a cost-effective way to increase their views and property values.

Trees play a significant role in maintaining soil stability in an environmentally critical area by absorbing water, thus lessening the risk of landslides onto a major arterial. Further, trees maintain air quality by absorbing carbon —an important issue in West Seattle and South Park, which sit adjacent to SODO and the Duwamish industrial area.

In September the City Attorney filed two civil lawsuits for $1.6 million in total damages and fines over the unauthorized cutting of 150 trees on public land in West Seattle. I thanked the City Attorney’s Office for filing two civil lawsuits, and their considerations of the use of a full range of the legal remedies available for civil suits, including timber trespass, which allows for triple damages.

The legal case is ongoing, as is the Seattle Police Department’s criminal investigation.

New Customer Information System (NCIS)

The New Customer Information System (NCIS) is a joint Seattle City Light (SCL) and Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) project which replaced the existing SCL and SPU billing system. The old system supported billing and customer processes for both utilities, but failed to meet current business practices.

In March we learned that the NCIS project was over-budget and off-schedule.  The Council learned that the project budget had increased to $108 million and, whereas the original delivery date was October 2015, the project wasn’t estimated to go-live until the fall of 2016.

Over Labor Day weekend SPU and SCL worked overtime to roll out the new billing system. You may have seen some of the reports regarding privacy issues that were revealed as part of that roll out. However, those were quickly handled by SPU and SCL who took the system offline to ensure customer privacy was maintained. The early wrinkles seem to have been ironed out and the system is working as intended now.

 

Community Safety Issues

Bias Crimes/Hate Crimes Audit

On June 1st Seattle proclaimed June LGBTQ Pride Month. The Council and Mayor recognized that the fight for equality is not over and we must continue to lead the nation in establishing policies to prevent discrimination.

In June, LGBTQ Pride Month in Seattle, the horrible Orlando tragedy took place, as well as a brutal attack on a local LGBTQ leader. The Seattle Times noted, “in 2015, 72 hate crimes and incidents against LGBTQ people were reported to the Seattle Police Department (SPD) — double the number from the previous year.  The number of such crimes against blacks — 67 — more than doubled. There were a total of 208 hate crimes and incidents reported in 2015, up from 126 in 2014.”

Some question whether patterns of gentrification are related to this increase in hate crimes, given the decline in the LGBT population in Capitol Hill, and the reduction in the number of African-Americans in the Central District.

I have worked with the City Auditor to investigate the reporting of hate and bias crimes in Seattle, to determine whether we analyze bias crimes reporting data for trends that eventually influence resource allocation, and whether crimes are investigated and prosecuted as bias crimes. The City Auditor will be carrying out this work in 2017. Given the current national political environment, where we have seen a surge of hate crimes in the wake of the 2016 elections, this work is even more important.

In December I sponsored a resolution noting, “The City Council and Mayor resolve to implement measures to make it easier for people to report incidents of bias-motivated threats, harassment, and violence, such as dedicated hotlines, greater publicity for the Seattle Police Department’s Malicious Harassment/Bias Crimes website, and support to community-based organizations that support the safety of marginalized communities.”

Beach Drive Speed Bumps

I worked to assist residents on Beach Drive SW to address the high incidence of drag racing (see video) and driving that is dangerous to public safety. The racing had been happening in the portion of Beach Drive SW that extends south from the lighthouse. The neighbors had requested the installation of speed bumps in 2015. Earlier this year community members began the process of applying for funds through the Neighborhood Parks and Street Fund. I requested that SDOT consider traffic calming measures to address the drag racing.

SDOT agreed to install three speed bumps, and they were installed in September.

Police Officer Hiring, 911 response times, CSOs

During 2016, the Council voted to add 114 new police officer positions. As representative of District 1 since the start of 2016, I have heard consistent, strong support for hiring additional police officers from both businesses and residents.

I support hiring additional officers: we need additional officers to address 911 response times, to enhance patrol operations, and for proactive policing, all of which are important to a comprehensive public safety approach.

During the City’s 2017-2018 budget, I voted to approve the addition of 72 new officer positions. Earlier this year, in August, I voted to add 42 officers, and fund them through additional use of the City’s General Fund. The first 100 new officer positions were funded without any new tax resources.

In addition, I co-sponsored the re-establishment of a Community Service Officer program with SPD. Community Service officers (CSOs) are unsworn officers who are able to prioritize community services associated with law enforcement, such as crime prevention; CSOs can also help free up SPD officers for 911 response.

I requested data from SPD regarding 911 beat response times in District 1 from 2011-2015; they are listed here. I noted “It’s very concerning to me that the 911 response time to Alki is 12 and a half minutes, a clear outlier from our standards in other SPD beats.”

The 2017-8 budget also increases the number of staff to take 911 calls, which have increased by 13% since 2010, and over 40% for Priority 1 life/safety 911 calls. This will help prevent wait times for people who call 911.

Early in 2017 the City Council will be considering comprehensive police accountability legislation as part of the 2012 Consent Decree with the US Department of Justice to reform policing in Seattle. A federal judge is overseeing this reform process.

 

Transportation Issues

Pronto

In 2015, before I took office, a previous Council set aside $5 million to expand the Pronto bike sharing system, but required that SDOT provide an implementation plan and financial analysis and bring both back to the Council.

Early in 2016 the Council received a proposal to: purchase the Pronto bike-share program for $1.4 million, pay off Pronto’s $1.275 million loan from KeyBank, and plan to expand bike sharing in 2017, which could result in an expansion of Pronto, or an entirely different bike share system.

I didn’t support this purchase, and voted “no.” I favored allowing for a private-sector funded system along the lines of the Car2Go car-sharing business.  Car2Go provides a service many use (myself included), at no public cost.

The legislation passed 7-2. I proposed amendments to redirect the $5 million toward fulfilling the existing Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plans, and allow for a private bike share system, without public costs, as in New York. The amendment failed.

The City purchased Pronto, but ridership is low. The Mayor’s proposed 2017-2018 budget included funding to continue operating the Pronto system. I proposed a passing amendment to remove that funding.

The City received no bids to expand the Pronto system, not even from the company that operated it. The bids for a new system are for electric-assist bikes. A proposal from SDOT is expected in early 2017.  While a new system may not include an operating subsidy, I remain concerned about the cost of replacing equipment with a rapidly evolving technology.

Fauntleroy Boulevard Project

Shortly after taking office this year, community advocates expressed interest in making changes to the Fauntleroy Boulevard Project, to support it as a visual gateway to West Seattle. In response, I organized meetings between community advocates and SDOT and City Light.

At our request, City Light and SDOT provided cost estimates for undergrounding utility wires, which showed a funding gap of $4-5 million; a subsequent meeting revealed additional potential costs for a total gap of at least $5-7 million.

Community advocates proposed a compromise solution involving design modifications for beautification, consolidation and standardization of utility poles, to provide a better overall appearance, in keeping with the aim to create a gateway entrance. The departments agreed.

Upon my request to Mayor Murray, during the budget process City Light revised the project to specifically include $1.5 million for the street light improvements and utility pole relocations that were recommended by community members.

Improvements to Fauntleroy have long been a priority for the community, and were first prioritized in the 1999 West Seattle Junction Hub Neighborhood Plan, and later in the West Seattle Triangle planning process.

SDOT is now working on final design, with construction targeted for late 2017. You can sign up for the project email list for updates here, and contact the SDOT project team at fauntleroyblvd@seattle.gov.

 

Land Use Issues

SODO Arena Street Vacation

Earlier this year the Council considered a “street vacation” to remove a city street for a potential arena in the SODO neighborhood. Under city policy, street vacations are judged by whether they 1) protect the functions of the street right-of way; 2) have any adverse land use impacts, and 3) whether there will be public benefits sufficient to offset the loss of the street.

I heard some support from constituents in District 1, but heard widespread concern from a significantly greater number of West Seattle and South Park residents about access to Downtown. Many in West Seattle feel they already shoulder the greatest share of our City’s burden for professional sports facilities. District 1 is separated from Downtown by SODO, and the stadiums; as the West Seattle Transportation Coalition noted, there’s been a 45% reduction in north/south vehicle lanes over the last 7 years through SODO.

In the end, it seemed the one possible public benefit to meet the requirements of city policy for street vacations was an NBA team. I offered an amendment to require the ArenaCo group obtain ownership rights to an NBA team before the street vacation was granted; it didn’t pass.

My “no” vote was also decided in favor of protecting industrial and maritime jobs that we have now so that we can maintain the diversified economy that has kept our region strong in good economic times as well as the downturns.  Further, the legitimate traffic concerns of commuters and small business owners in West Seattle and South Park played prominently in my decision.

A recent Puget Sound Business Journal article revealed that the operator of Terminal 46 signed a 2012 lease extension only on the condition that they could walk away if business was disrupted by a SODO arena—so the potential loss of jobs appears real.

Since the vote, Mayor Murray has indicated he will issue a request for proposals to re-develop KeyArena at Seattle Center. SODO arena proponents have announced they will re-submit an application for a street vacation.

 

Equity Issues

Secure Scheduling

There are many workers who aren’t on a set schedule – they work in retail, restaurants, and service industry jobs. They often don’t get their schedule until a day or two before they start work for that week – other times they’re on-call and cannot predict when they will be required by their employer to pick up a shift. In a city where affordability is such a challenge that many people need to work two jobs, others juggle childcare responsibilities, or are attending school in order to get a better job, not having advance notice of a schedule can mean forgoing other income earning opportunities.

This isn’t just a workers’ rights issue, it’s a gender and racial equity issue. Check out the op-ed that Councilmembers Gonzalez, Juarez, and I wrote in February.

In March we began a process with the Mayor’s Office of convening stakeholders, they regularly met to discuss individual aspects of the legislation and reported out to my Committee after each of their meetings. In total we had 10 committee meetings and discussed: employer coverage, advance notice of schedules, predictability pay, right to request, right to rest, and access to hours.

On September 19 the Secure Scheduling bill unanimously passed the Full Council and will go into effect on July 1, 2017.

You can read more about the ordinance herehere and in the graphic below.

Secure Scheduling Infographic

Green Pathways

In March I hosted a Lunch & Learn with Got Green. Got Green’s Young Leaders in the Green Movement stepped up and spoke out to call on the City Council to support the creation of internships:

    • that are good for the environment and our communities.
    • that have a racial equity lens in their outreach and ways to retain participants.
    • and that have systems in place to help young adults move into career pathways.

The result of the Lunch & Learn was the Green Pathways Resolution that I worked with and developed in consultation with Got Green and Councilmember O’Brien. It calls for a green jobs strategy. “A green job is one that preserves or enhances environmental health as well as the economic and social well-being of people and communities, centers communities most negatively impacted by climate change, and pays a living wage while providing career pathways.”

The Resolution also requests a green job inventory of internships, apprenticeships, and entry-level jobs offered by the City of Seattle and an outreach and engagement strategy to advance green jobs as a part of the ongoing work to advance careers in the private sector. In Seattle, youth unemployment still tops 13 percent, which disproportionately impacts young people of color and those from low-income communities.

Following on the heels of passing the resolution, we secured funding during budget to identify how City internships, apprenticeships, youth employment, workplace investment, and job training can lead to career paths.

SPU and SCL Delinquent Payment Policy and UDP

Whether because of a layoff at work or an unexpected medical expense, Seattle City Light (SCL) and Seattle Public Utility (SPU) customers sometimes come up short when it’s time to pay their bill and face a shut-off of their utilities. When a customer receives a shut-off notice, SPU charges a minimum of 75% of the balance due to prevent the shut-off, and SCL – up until a couple months ago – charged 50%.

In June I learned that SPU and SCL were intending to make their delinquency policies consistent.  I had no concerns with consistency, but I was concerned that the policy proposed was not for both utilities to require a 50% down payment, thus lowering the barrier for people with SPU shutoff notices, but that the utilities proposed instead to require that both SCL and SPU customers pay at least 75% of the outstanding balance in order to avoid shutoff.

To demonstrate how the 75% down-payment standard acts as a barrier to preventing SPU shutoffs, the West Seattle Helpline provided, and I shared with the utilities, data demonstrating the number of people that they were able to assist avoiding utility shutoffs in 2015.

In response, the utilities agreed to examine the delinquency policies and have since agreed to utilize the 50% down-payment to prevent shut-off. This will be implemented through a Director’s rule, and will be in place by January 1.

Furthermore, a few constituents brought to my attention that Medicare or Medicaid premiums were being counted towards income for consideration for the Utility Discount Program (UDP). Since this income cannot be spent on anything other than medical costs I sought to remove it as a source income for the UDP. Again, I worked with the CEO and General Managers of SPU and SCL and they’ve agreed to remove this provision in the source of income. This will allow customers who otherwise would not have qualified for the UDP due to their Medicare or Medicaid premiums to now apply and qualify for the program.

 

Environmental Issues

Terminal 5

Tucked behind the Chelan Café, Terminal 5 (T5) has sat empty since late 2014 when the Port Commission authorized $4.7 million for modernization of the terminal. A draft environmental impact study (DEIS) which came out last May presented three options with varying costs and improvements that could be made to the terminal.

While attending a Delridge District Council meeting I presented the Port representative in attendance a letteroutlining the concerns that I heard from constituents about the T5 project. Foremost among them is the need to provide shore power. Shore power provides electrical power to a ship when docked so that it does not have to run its diesel engines while at port; this is significantly more environmentally friendly as well as reduces noise. In addition, the letter underscored the need to implement a quiet zone for trains and utilize broadband back-up alarms to help with noise reduction.

The Port chose to proceed with alternative two which represents necessary physical improvements and increased cargo throughput to make efficient and effective use of T5. While these improvements include a commitment to shore power, broadband back-up alarms, and a quiet zone, it will take continued efforts to ensure they are implemented adequately. To that end I submitted a Statement of Legislative Intent (SLI) during the budget process which requires SDOT to report quarterly on the progress of implementing a quiet zone from T5 to the Delridge Way/ W Marginal Way intersection.

Plastic Bag Ban

Seattle implemented the plastic bag ban in 2012, and since then an additional 13 cities in Washington have passed similar ordinances. We have been joined by other large cities such as Austin, Chicago, New York City, Minneapolis, Honolulu, and Boston.

From 2010 to 2014, the amount of plastic bags in residential garbage declined from 262 tons to 136 tons, a nearly 50% decrease. However, there is still non-compliance, specifically at smaller grocery stores and convenience stores. The ordinance allows for a $250 fine, though SPU has not utilized it.

The five cents per paper bag charge had a 2016 sunset clause. I introduced an ordinance to remove that clause; we have heard from many grocers and other businesses that they support the five cent charge because it allows them to recoup the cost of the more expensive paper bags.

Additionally, at the recommendation of SPU, the ordinance restricts the use of green tinting in plastic bags to biodegradable bags only. The green tinting on non-biodegradable plastic bags has led to confusion about which bags are compostable and which are not, leading to an increased contamination rate.

Myers Way

In May, I organized a tour of the Myers Way properties with community stakeholders and City Staff. Community members had sought assurances the decision about selling this property will occur only after the entire community, specifically low income renters, people of color and non-English speaking residents are meaningfully engaged and that FAS apply the Racial and Social Justice Toolkitand follow the Equity and Environment Action Agenda before deciding what to do with this land.

I was pleased to learn that the Executive did not move forward with the plan to sell the Myers Way parcels. This issue is important to many residents residing in Top Hat, Highland Park, South Park, Arbor Heights, as well as citywide environmental groups such as Seattle Green Spaces Coalitionand TreePAC. This is a significant and important victory for the community who has worked so hard to bring the value of these properties to the attention of City decision-makers.

While the property currently remains with FAS, the executive intends to “land-bank” the site.

Regarding a different issue though still located at the Myers Way property, some constituents contacted me concerned about the people living in an unauthorized encampment on Myers Way. I also visited Arrowhead Gardens near the property and learned that they would like the City to provide garbage services to the site. SPU is now providing weekly garbage pick-ups for the site.

In the beginning of December the Mayor announced that Camp Second Chance – the encampment located at Myers Way – would be converted to a sanctioned encampment and would allow for up to 50 tents with 60-70 people. The Mayor’s Office has promised to work closely with the surrounding communities to make the Myers Way site a safe location for encampment occupants and a good neighbor to the surrounding communities.

 

Meeting with Constituents

In-District Office Hours Year End Review

With the implementation of districts this year it was important to me to be present and easily accessible for my constituents. I started my in-district office hours in March and since then have held 9 meetings, totaling 57 hours spent in office hours with constituents. During this time I spoke with 143 constituents about a variety of issues, ranging from HALA and small businesses, to the need for additional park space and better transit.

I have held my office hours at three locations around the district including the Junction, the Southwest Neighborhood Center, and the South Park Community Center. This has helped with meeting constituents with limited mobility or those who simply do not have enough time to drive all the way down to City Hall.

I will continue District 1 Office Hours in 2017; please keep an eye out for my emails and on the blogto know when I will be in your neighborhood.

Share


Landmarks Board to consider Crescent-Hamm building nomination; Renters’ Move-in Fee Cap; Joint Committee for South Seattle College; In-District Office House; SDOT Accessibility Map and Route Planner; Winter Break

December 16th, 2016

Landmarks Board to consider nomination of Crescent-Hamm Building

The Department of Neighborhoods announced that on January 4, the Landmark Preservation Board will consider the nomination of the Crescent-Hamm Building. The Southwest Seattle Historical Society put forward the nomination, based on their earlier report released in March.

The Crescent-Hamm Building is located on the corner of California Avenue SW and SW Alaska Street in the West Seattle Junction, and is the location of Easy Street Records and other tenants.

You can view the nomination here. A paper copy is available for review at the West Seattle Branch Library at 2306 43nd Avenue SW.

The Landmarks Preservation Board meeting will be on Wednesday, January 4 at 3:30 p.m. in Seattle City Hall, in the Boards and Commission Room, L280. To get there, take the elevator to floor L2 and walk down the hall; the room is on your right. Public comment will be taken at the meeting.

Written comments can be sent to:

Seattle Landmarks Preservation Board

Seattle Department of Neighborhoods

PO Box 94649

Seattle, WA 98124-4649

Renters’ Move-in Fee Cap

On Monday, the Seattle City Council voted unanimously to pass the Renters’ move-in fee cap legislation. This legislation will require property owners who rent to work with tenants needing an installment plan to help renters better afford the high upfront costs required to rent. Earlier this year, the Federal Reserve announced that 46% of adults could not cover an emergency expense costing $400 without selling something or borrowing money. Seattle’s high housing costs make it increasingly difficult to live in Seattle. Even middle income households, especially families with children, struggle to meet the high prices of housing in most areas of the city.

I also understand property owners need to collect move-in fees to mitigate the risks arising from tenant damage to units and moving out without proper advanced notice. Some suggested an exemption from this legislation for property-owners who rent 4 or fewer units.  In lieu of exempting small landlords, the Council did the following: (1) Exempted move-in fees that total 25% or less than one month’s full rent; (2) Exempted owner occupied units; (3) Adopted language that allows the tenant and property owner to negotiate a different payment plan then the one required by legislation; and (4) Requires that reservation fees, also known as holding fees, be subtracted from the total move in costs, thus reducing the total subject to an installment plan.

This legislation will be evaluated over the next 18 months and I have asked that the evaluation of this legislation include an analysis of how small and large landlords are impacted by the legislation.

The Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections (SDCI) is charged with implementing the move-in fee legislation. If you have any questions, please contact Geoff Tallent by email at Geoff.Tallent@seattle.gov or by phone at 206-684-8452.

Joint Committee for South Seattle College

Do you want to advise the City on the development plans of South Seattle College? Seattle Department of Neighborhoods is seeking interested community members from surrounding neighborhoods to serve on the South Seattle College Standing Advisory Committee (SAC) and provide feedback on projects planned and under development by the college to ensure it complies with its Master Plan. The Master Plan describes zoning rules, long range planning of the property, and transportation planning.

Community members who have experience in neighborhood issues, land use and zoning, architecture or landscape architecture, economic development, building development, educational services, or just have an interest in their neighborhood’s future are encouraged to apply.

The committee meets at South Seattle College one to four times a year. Committee members serve a two-year renewable term. If interested, send a letter of interest by either e-mail or regular mail to:

Maureen Sheehan

E-mail: Maureen.Sheehan@seattle.gov

Mailing Address:  Seattle Department of Neighborhoods

P.O. Box 94649

Seattle, WA 98124-4649

In-District Office Hours

I will be at the South Park Community Center (8319 8th Avenue S) today, Friday December 16, from 3:30 pm – 7:00pm. The reason for the truncated hours is that there is a Special Full Council meeting scheduled for 2pm.

The final meeting of the day will begin at 6:30pm. These hours are walk-in friendly.

Winter break

The City Council will be on winter recess the next two weeks, with no Full Council meetings on December 19 and 26, and no committee meetings. The next Full Council meeting will be on Tuesday, January 3.

SDOT Accessibility Map and Route Planner

SDOT has released a new City of Seattle Curb Ramp Map and Accessible Route Planner website. It provides information helpful for people using sidewalks, curb ramps and street crossings—information particularly helpful to those living with disabilities.

It shows the condition of curb ramps and sidewalks, the slope of the street, marked crosswalks, transit and bus stops, where sidewalks are closed due to construction, and schools, libraries, and community centers.

SDOT’s notice provides information about using the map, which can be customized.

The map is based on current information; SDOT says the map will be updated daily, and encourages users to help improves the accuracy by letting them know of any inaccuracies by e-mailing DOTAssets@seattle.gov, along with photos. Request for map features can also be sent to this address.

Share


Anti-Hate Resolution, Fauntleroy Boulevard project update, LGBT Commission name change, Music Commission appointments

December 9th, 2016

Anti-Hate Resolution

As chair of the Committee that oversees Civil Rights, I am charged with providing policy direction and oversight, and making recommendations on legislative matters related to civil rights issues.  In response to Donald Trump becoming the President-elect, there has been an increase in hate speech and acts of violence targeted at Muslims, Sikhs, Arabs, Jews, Latinos, African-Americans Asians, women, people with disabilities, immigrants, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer community members, that have been reported to police, on social media, and to advocacy organizations across the nation.

These incidents are extremely concerning for Seattle, which is a diverse city: 34% of Seattle residents are persons of color, and 19% of Seattle residents are foreign-born; 129 languages are spoken in Seattle schools. Moreover, the City of Seattle values being an open and inclusive city for all its residents, including those who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ). Many people in our city and nationally are members of vulnerable constituencies; we find them in our families, workplaces, and as friends doing indispensable work as caregivers, activists, educators, social workers, service industry employees, in public service, as business owners, attorneys, and elsewhere. These are people we love and support and it must be explicitly clear that we as a City stand in solidarity with them to protect them from these disgraceful acts of hate. Along these lines, my office has drafted an Anti-Hate resolution.

I would like to thank Councilmember González, Councilmember Sawant and Mayor Murray for their work on the Anti-Hate Resolution as well as One AmericaAllyship, and Gender Justice League for assisting with this resolution to reaffirm Seattle’s values of inclusion, respect, and justice, and the City’s commitment toward actions to reinforce these values; and calling on President-elect Donald Trump to condemn recent attacks and hate speech that perpetuate religious persecution, racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, and xenophobia.

The resolution is scheduled for a vote at the Full Council Meeting on Monday, 12/12/16, 2pm, in Council Chambers.

 

Fauntleroy Boulevard project update

Shortly after taking office this year, community advocates expressed interest in making changes to the Fauntleroy Boulevard Project, to support it as a visual gateway to West Seattle. In response, I organized meetings between community advocates and SDOT and City Light. At my request, the departments explored undergrounding utility wires, but this proved too expensive.

Community advocates proposed a compromise solution involving design modifications for beautification, consolidation and standardization of utility poles, to provide a better overall appearance, in keeping with the aim to create a gateway entrance. The departments agreed.

Upon my request to Mayor Murray, during the budget process, City Light revised the project to specifically include $1.5 million for the street light improvements and utility pole relocations that were recommended by community members.

Earlier this month, SDOT announced an update regarding the Fauntleroy Boulevard Project. I thank them for re-initiating project work so soon after the Council approved funding during the budget process.

The project is designed to provide a gateway entrance to West Seattle coming in from the West Seattle Bridge, and to move away from the suburban, commercial-style arterial criticized on Fauntleroy Way between 35th Ave. SW and SW Alaska, toward a more pedestrian, transit, and bicycle-friendly urban boulevard, in an area with increasing residential density and transit use. It is funded through the Move Seattle Transportation levy passed in 2015.

The project reached 60% design during 2014; the last open house was in September 2014. Further work was put on hold until funding was secured. Conceptual design work began in 2011; improvements to Fauntleroy were first prioritized in the 1999 West Seattle Junction Hub Neighborhood Plan.

SDOT’s schedule lists meetings with property owners, businesses and community organizations, and a 90% design target during Winter 2017, with Spring 2017 targeted for 100% design, pre-construction coordination with the community during Spring and Summer 2017, with construction anticipated to begin in late 2017.

You can sign up for the project e-mail list for updates here, and contact the SDOT project team at fauntleroyblvd@seattle.gov.

 

LGBT Commission name change

I am proud to work with the Seattle Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Commissioners on Council Bill 118873, to change the name of the LGBT Commission to include the Q for Queer, as recommended by the Commission. This is important legislation for the Queer community. Queer identities may be adopted by those who reject traditional gender identities and seek a broader, more inclusive term that encompasses their full humanity. Starting in the late 1980s, queer scholars, activists, community members, and workers began to reclaim the term “queer” to establish a sense of community and assert a distinct politicized identity to be civically engaged. The City of Seattle advocates for greater awareness of discrimination faced by young people who use “queer” as a positive identity in which to feel empowered. It is important for the Commission that represents the LGBTQ community that the name should reflect the current and inclusive term. With this legislation the Commission’s name will also reflect the values of openness and inclusivity.

The legislation will be discussed in the Civil Rights, Economic Development, Utilities, and Arts Committee on Tuesday, 12/13/16 at 9:30am.

 

Music Commission appointments

Another item that will be up in the December 13 committee meeting are several appointments to the Seattle Music Commission.  The City Council voted to establish the Seattle Music Commission in early 2010. Commissioners are limited to two three-year terms, so several of the original commissioners are cycling out.

The establishment of the commission reflected a change in City government toward a more collaborative relationship with Seattle’s music community, and an acknowledgement of the economic impact of the city and region’s music industry. The commission brings together musicians, and representatives from radio, records labels, recording studios, the Symphony, the Opera, major Seattle corporations, small and large venue operators, retailers, and others.

The purpose on goals outlined in City of Music vision document, prepared under former Mayor Nickels, with three key areas: a City of Musicians, a City of Live Music, and a City of Music Business.

The Commission has worked on a wide variety of issues since its formation, including the Experience the City of Music program at Sea-Tac Airport, Pianos in the Park, Career Day for the music industry, a Black Music Summit. They’ve also worked on issues involving other City departments, such as loading access areas for musicians, and taxi stands in nightlife areas. They worked with me earlier this year to provide input on the update to Seattle’s Comprehensive Plan 2035 update, which now includes their recommendations.

I’d like to thanks the commissioners who have spent six years working hard on this commission, and contributing greatly toward developing an integrated approach to addressing issues of music, affordability and economic development.

Share


Housing Levy Administrative and Finance Plan, MHA in District 1, Pecos Pit, and Winter Weather Snow Routes

December 2nd, 2016

Housing Levy Administrative and Finance Plan

The Office of Housing is seeking input as we develop the 2016 Seattle Housing Levy Administrative and Financial Plan. Distribution of Housing Levy funds is guided by an Administrative & Financial Plan, reviewed and revised every two years and adopted by City Council. Download the current A&F Plan.  The A&F Plan guides the use of Levy funds for the programs approved by Seattle voters this year. Read a Summary of Policy Changes  and read the detailed policy changes for each program.

My priorities for the 2017 Housing Levy are:

  1. Implementation of the acquisition and preservation program. This new program is aimed at acquiring multi-family rental buildings at risk of sale and redevelopment using the Notice of Intent to Sell Ordinance in order to preserve these buildings for long-term affordable rental housing or converted to permanently affordable homeownership units. Here is my Real Change
  2. Increasing support for land trust ownership models to increase affordability in condominiums, and single family dwellings, as well as tenant ownership models for rental property.
  3. Increasing housing options for LGBTQ seniors. Across every Census division in the U.S. Seattle has the least developed services for LGBTQ older adults and their families. Unlike most large cities, we are also running behind on developing housing for LGBTQ seniors. The Council, in putting the housing levy on the ballot, named LGBTQ seniors as a priority population for levy housing production.

Mayor Murray will transmit legislation adopting the A&F Plan to the City Council in March 2017. Please submit comments to Maureen.Kostyack@seattle.gov by December 8th.

 

MHA in District 1

On Tuesday, the Morgan Community Association (MoCA) hosted a District 1 event to inform residents about the City’s new Mandatory Housing Affordability (MHA) program; and discuss how the City’s Urban Village Growth Strategy will be impacted by the new MHA program and the proposed zoning changes that will, in the future, trigger affordability requirements.

District 1 has five urban villages: the West Seattle Junction, Admiral Junction, Morgan Junction, Highland Park-Westwood and South Park. But, MHA will also apply to outside of urban villages where they are zoned commercial, multifamily, or mixed use such as Delridge, Alki, and Harbor Avenue.

The meeting focused on teaching residents how to read the draft zoning changes on the City maps; and identify associated neighborhood planning that needs to accompany the zoning changes. A goal of this meeting was to empower residents with knowledge about what exactly is proposed so they can provide relevant feedback on the City’s plans at the upcoming meeting on December 7th, 5:30-7:30. Time is at 5:30 to accommodate the Southwest District Council Meeting which begins at 6:30pm. This meeting is sponsored by the Department of Neighborhoods; Office of Planning and Community Development; Seattle Department of Parks and Recreation; and the Seattle Department of Transportation. In response to concerns about not having enough room for the West Seattle Open House at Shelby’s (capacity is 80) Uptown Espresso graciously offered up additional space at their café, just across the street. City staff will be at both locations.

The MHA program purpose is to ensure that growth brings some affordability. MHA will require new development to include affordable housing on site or make a contribution to a City fund for affordable housing. To put MHA requirements into effect, zoning changes will allow additional development capacity everywhere MHA will apply: in urban villages, proposed urban village expansion areas, and all other multifamily and commercial zones. This web map shows draft zoning changes. Click on a shaded area for details about each change. Share your input about the draft maps at HALA.Consider.It.  Your feedback will help the Executive to propose final MHA zoning changes for the City Council in spring 2017. Visit seattle.gov/hala for more information or email HALAinfo@seattle.gov  with questions.

 

Pecos Pit

As many of you may be aware, Pecos Pit is a new BBQ restaurant at the corner of 35th and Fauntleroy. The revamp of the building began in December of 2015 and the doors opened with a ribbon cutting ceremony on June 21st.  The land where the restaurant sits is owned by Seattle City Light (SCL).  It had previously been fenced off and is the former location of Beni Hoshi Teriyaki.

The Junction Neighborhood Organization (JuNO) has had several meetings with the owners as well as the City. These meetings have focused on safety and traffic issues associated with the restaurant. Pecos sits at the corner of two of the busiest streets in West Seattle and they have also installed a drive through which feeds onto the residential street of Genesee. Pecos has met several times with the community to hear their concerns.

Currently Pecos is seeking a temporary six month permit for a parking lot (with the potential for a six month extension) on a piece of property which is adjacent to the restaurant.  Because the land is zoned single-family they need a special temporary use permit to use it for parking.  Parking is not normally a permitted use on single-family zoned land.  If you would like to send a comment to the Seattle Department of Construction and Inspection you can use this link. Additionally, JuNO will be meeting with SCL to discuss the long-term vision and potential uses for this lot on December 2nd from 4:00pm – 5:00pm at the West Seattle Senior Center (4217 SW Oregon St). Furthermore, if you would like to speak with Pecos directly, they will be meeting with JuNO again on December 6th from 5:30pm – 6:30pm again at the West Seattle Senior Center.  If you’re unable to attend the meeting on the 6th you are welcome to email Nick Nordby with Pecos to send them any comments you may have. Nick’s email is: nick@pecospit.com

 

Winter Weather Snow Routes winter-weather-routes-d1winter-weather-routes-d1

SDOT has released its 2016-2017 winter weather snow route map, showing the snow routes SDOT will prioritize for plowing and de-icing. SDOT’s objective is to to provide bare and wet pavement on all travel lanes for “Gold” snow route streets within 12 hours of a significant lull in a storm, and one lane in each direction for “Emerald” routes.

SDOT’s winter weather home page includes links to a brochure with winter response information, including the map, in English, Spanish, Chinese, Vietnamese, Tagalog, Somali, Korean, Oromo, Tigrinya, and Amharic.

SDOT also has a live winter weather response map that shows plowing, de-icing, and road salting activity for the last hour, 3 hours, and 12 hours. It also includes links to road temperatures and live traffic cameras.

 

 

Share


Budget Wrap Up, Transgender Day of Remembrance, December 16 In-District Office Hours UPDATE, Call for Public Comment on Source of Income Discrimination

November 23rd, 2016

Budget Wrap Up

I’ve been writing to you weekly since September with updates on the deliberations on the proposed 2017-2018 budget.  This will be my last budget update of the year because on Monday, the City Council adopted the 2017 City of Seattle budget and 2017-2022 Capital Improvement Plan.

As part of the biennial budget process, the Council also “endorsed” a 2018 budget that will serve as the base for next year’s budget process.

Earlier in the day, before the Full Council vote, the Budget Committee met one last time to consider items held from the November 16 meeting.

The Council adopted one addition item I was lead sponsor on: creation of a Child Care Mitigation Fund, to address the displacement of before-and-after school child care from Seattle School District buildings. The funding would be available for use by the District and to child care providers to make arrangements to keep child care on-site at schools or assist in relocating where providers would otherwise be displaced. This is funded in 2017 through cuts in funding for currently vacant positions in various City departments.

Last week’s newsletter noted a number of items I worked on; here’s a link to the summary of all the changes the Council made; the lead sponsor is listed at the end, though many of the proposals had additional co-sponsors.

The budget includes funding for 72 additional police officers in 2017-2018, as part of the 2015-2019 plan to hire an additional 200 officers, along with funding for a variety of items that will enhance transparency and accountability.

Transgender Day of Remembrance

Last Sunday, I had the honor of participating in the Transgender Day of Remembrance. Every year, on November 20, transgender communities and their allies gather to remember the lives lost to anti-transgender violence that year and to celebrate and support those who survive. In 2016, at least 24 transgender people were murdered in the United Sates. The majority of those killed in 2016 were transgender women of color.

Please take a moment to honor the lives of these courageous people: Monica Loera, 43; Jasmine Sierra, 52; Kayden Clarke, 24; Veronica Banks Cano, mid-30s; Maya Young, 25; Demarkis Stansberry, 30; Kedarie/Kandicee Johnson, 16; Quartney Davia Dawsonn-Yochum, 32; Shante Isaac, 34; Keyonna Blakeney, 22; Tyreece Walker, 32; Mercedes Successful, 32; Amos Beede, 38; Goddess Diamond, 20; Deeniquia Dodds, 22; Dee Whigam, 25; Skye Mockabee, 26; Erykah Tijerina, 36; Rae’Lynn Thomas, 28; T.T. Safore, mid-20s; Crystal Edmonds, 32; Jazz Alford, 30; Brandi Bledsoe, 32; Noonie Norwood, 30.

As chair of the Council committee that provides oversight for civil rights issues, I have started to work with the City Auditor’s office to determine how we are using the data SPD collects from reported hate crimes, how we analyze that data for trends that eventually influence resource allocations, and whether these crimes are investigated and prosecuted as bias crimes. Check out my blog post on this effort.

We are also working to help those in our city family of public servants by developing a new City of Seattle transgender employment policy. We must ensure that our workforce is supported by management and coworkers when endeavoring to be their true selves in the work place.

I am proud to sponsor legislation next month to change the LGBT Commission name to include the Q in LGBTQ. Queer scholars and activists have reclaimed the term “queer” to establish a sense of community and assert a distinct politicized identity that is civically engaged. Queer identities may be adopted to seek a broader, more inclusive term that encompasses one’s full humanity.

Finally, we are working to insure LGBTQ housing equity in implementation of our 2016 Housing Levy. Across every Census division in the U.S. Seattle has the least developed services for LGBTQ older adults and their families. Unlike most large cities, we are also running behind on developing housing for LGBTQ seniors. The Council, in putting the housing levy on the ballot, named LGBTQ seniors as a priority population for levy housing production. Next we need to make sure this happens now that the levy has passed.

In-District Office Hours, UPDATE

I will be at the South Park Community Center (8319 8th Avenue S) on Friday, December 16, from 3:30 pm – 7:00pm. The reason for the truncated hours is that there is a Special Full Council meeting scheduled for 2pm on that day.

The final meeting of the day will begin at 6:30pm. These hours are walk-in friendly, but if you would like to let me know you’re coming in advance you can email my scheduler Alex Clardy (alex.clardy@seattle.gov).

Call for Public Comment on Source of Income Discrimination

The Seattle Office for Civil Rights (SOCR) has proposed Administrative Rules for the new source of income protections that amended the City of Seattle’s Open Housing Ordinance (SMC 14.08, CB118755). Members of the public have until 5 p.m. on Friday, December 2, 2016 to comment on the proposed rules.

The Rules provide guidance regarding several provisions of the ordinance, including:

  • Alternative source of income;
  • Short term subsidies; and
  • First-in-time provision.

The full text of the rules is available at http://www.seattle.gov/civilrights/civil-rights/fair-housing/source-of-income-protection-ordinance. For more information, please call 206-684-4514. This information is available in other formats on request for people with disabilities. Language assistance services also are available on request.

Please send comments to rulecomment@seattle.gov or in writing by December 2 to:

Seattle Office for Civil Rights

810 Third Ave., Suite 750

Seattle, WA  98104-1627

Attn: Source of Income Protections Rule Comment

 

 

Share


This Week in the Budget and Proposed University District Rezone

November 18th, 2016

THIS WEEK IN THE BUDGET

On Wednesday the Budget Committee met to vote and discuss changes to the proposed budget. My big news is that the Council supported the passage of my proposal to create a $29M housing bond intended to expand financing for affordable housing in Seattle for 2017.  I wrote about this proposal last week.

With a vote of 7-2 in favor of this proposal, the Council signaled our common desire to prioritize housing in the budget process, and without pitting Seattle’s housing needs against other citywide priorities. We are in a homelessness state of emergency.  We need to build today to meet the need.  Building today is less expensive than building at future costs, and these funds will continue to benefit the community for the entire period of the bond payment under their 50+ year requirement to be maintained as affordable.

Next steps will be to work with the Office of Housing to evaluate and develop options for funding, either proposing utilization of the entire $29 million in bond funding at one time for a specific project or program, or using funding over time for several projects or programs.  Additional information regarding details of the proposal is available HERE and HERE.

Last week I included a list of budget items that I was continuing to work on after the previous week’s presentation of my priorities. Below are my priorities that were either included in the final balancing package by Councilmember Burgess, or passed by amending the Chair’s proposed balancing package in yesterday’s Budget Committee Meeting.  There are many others – too many to list here – for which I was listed as a supporting sponsor.

District 1 Budget Proposals:

  • Fauntleroy Boulevard Project – City Light has revised the description of the project to allocate $1.5 million for the street light improvements and utility pole relocations  recommended by community members as integral to the revised design
  • West Seattle Bridge studies – This will continue work the work begun by former Councilmember Tom Rasmussen, by adding $100,000 to complete the two studies called for in a budget action last year to carry out the evaluations called for in the West Seattle Bridge/Duwamish Corridor Whitepaper to improve safety, incident management, and traffic flow.
  • Age Friendly Community Innovation Fund – This funding will support a grant program for groups in each of the seven City Council districts to apply for up to $25,000 for programs and services based on improving the lives of an aging population.
  • South Park Family Service Center – This funding will support health and human services, a leadership program, and an education program in South Park.
  • T-5 Quiet Zone – Statement of Legislative Intent for SDOT that requests that they work with the Port of Seattle, the Federal Railway Administration, and the railway companies doing business at Terminal 5, to extend the quiet zone from Terminal 5 to the Delridge Way/W Marginal Way intersection.
  • A task force on South Park Public Safety – To formulate and report to Council recommendations regarding the public safety and vitality of that neighborhood. Including strategies that reflect the unique situations or dynamics of the neighborhood and are culturally and linguistically responsive data-driven approach to improving the City’s relations to and effectiveness with the South Park neighborhood. The report will go to Councilmember González’s Gender Equity, Safe Communities and New Americans Committee.

Civil Rights, Utilities, Economic Development and Arts (CRUEDA) Related Budget Proposals:

  • Civil Rights Issue – Hearing Loops for Boards and Commissions Room funding to ensure accessibility to those with hearing disabilities. The Boards and Commission Room hosts several citizen advisory groups including the People with disAbilities Commission.
  • Civil Rights Issue – Employment and Housing Bias Testing will allow Seattle Office of Civil Rights to conduct approximately 210 employment and housing tests to proactively enforce the City’s anti-discrimination laws.
  • Economic Development Issue – Seattle Legacy Business study funding to for a study to determine the scope and definition of a Seattle Legacy Business program to preserve businesses that contribute to the City’s unique culture and character and are at risk of being lost.
  • Economic Development – King Street Station proposal will require Office of Economic Development to report back to Council to describe how funding will direct commercial affordability opportunities and resources to low-income entrepreneurs and support a model that serves as a business incubator for low-income immigrant and refugee entrepreneurs by providing education, training, resources, facilities and support.
  • Labor Issues – funding evaluation on Secure Scheduling so academic researchers can complete an evaluation of the impacts of the regulations for the baseline, one-year and two-year periods following implementation.
  • Labor Issues – Office of Labor Standards (OLS) Directed Investigations Program development – funding for one additional investigator dedicated to directed investigations to allow for investigations initiated by the OLS Director rather than relying on a specific complaint from a worker.

Public Safety, Transportation, and Human Services Budget Proposals:

  • Community Service Officers funding – to develop a Community Service Officer program, allowing for the hiring of unsworn officers to assist regular police officers by performing community services associated with law enforcement, conducting crime prevention activities, improving relations, and developing potential police officers.
  • Pronto bike-share operations – redirect $300,000 in 2017 and $600,000 in 2018 proposed to operate the current Pronto system toward implementing the Bicycle Master Plan, Pedestrian Master Plan, and School Safety projects
  • Speed camera revenues (non-school zone) revenues dedicated to pedestrian users – Increase portion of non-school zone red light camera revenue dedicated to school safety to pedestrian uses; currently 10% of camera revenue goes to the school safety and pedestrian improvement fund. This would increase it to 20%, more in line with national best practices, and policy for school-zone cameras
  • Public Defense Services for tenants – would fund a two-year pilot to contract with the King County Department of Public Defense for civil legal services related to housing evictions for indigent defendants.
  • SCDI funding for enforcement – for the move-in fee legislation to answer landlords and tenants questions regarding the new requirements, investigate complaints and respond to appeals in a timely manner.
  • Restore Transitional Housing – funding in 2017 for 8 homeless programs serving veterans, youth, domestic violence survivors, and immigrant and refugee families
  • Tenant Landlord Resource Center – adopt a Statement of Legislative Intent (SLI) asking SDCI to develop a proposal for a public facing landlord tenant resource center, with resource needs identified and in coordination with multiple city departments.
  • Green Pathways – funding to establish a position on the Workforce Entry and Employment Pathways interdepartmental team to identify how City internships, apprenticeships, youth employment, workplace investment and job training can lead to career paths. The green pathways work will be integrated with this citywide work, and this position will oversee and implement this work.
  • Animal Control Officers – increase dedicated animal control officers by adding an enforcement officer to better enforce our scoop and leash laws, and ensure public safety in our park system.

Of the items that were very important to me that I’m disappointed to say did not get the necessary majority support in the final budget package are the following:

  • Arts funding for Burke Museum, Town Hall, Nordic Heritage, Hugo House, 5th Avenue Theatre – Increase funding for each organization’s capital campaign
  • Establish OLS as a Regulatory Fee-Supported Department – our labor laws should be enforced with a small annual regulatory fee on businesses.
  • Preference Points for Seattle Police Department hiring – A requirement that new officers be hired using preference points for applicants with 2nd language proficiency, as proposed by the Community Police Commission, and included in the City’s legislation proposed to a federal judge (as described in an earlier blog post) did not receive the necessary support to pass. 72 new officer positions are proposed to be created in 2017-2018, to bring the total of new officer positions to 181 during the last few years.
  • Restoration of SYVPI Recreation – funding for the YMCA and Boys and Girls Club Seattle Youth Violence Prevention Initiative recreational programming.
  • Community Planning Process for Myers Way Properties, Statement of Legislative Intent (SLI) – a community planning process to determine the future uses of the Myers Way Properties. In the budget process I learned that there are 5 other District 1 land banked properties that have pending requests for planning resources. Moving this one forward would have resulted in the Myers Way property “jumping the line.”

Again, I could not have done this without all of you; thank you for all of your support and advocacy for these changes.

This coming Monday morning will be the final meeting of the Budget Committee, we will take the final votes on technical corrections, held budget action items, and remaining budget legislation. The meeting will start at 10:30am and public comment will be at the beginning of the meeting.

There is one final pending priority of I have – the Child Care Space Mitigation Fund. I am working with our policy staff to finalize the funding source, but I expect this to pass Monday morning.  Child Care Space Mitigation fund will be created to address the displacement of before- and after-school child care from Seattle Public Schools’. The funding would be available for use by the District and to child care providers to make arrangements to keep child care on-site at schools or assist in relocating where providers would otherwise be displaced.

 

PROPOSED UNIVERSITY DISTRICT REZONE

The University District is one of Seattle’s six designated urban centers and it with significant investments in Light Rail it is a highly sought after neighborhood for new homes and jobs. In October, the Executive submitted legislation to Council to rezone the University District.

These land use and zoning changes for the area will increase zoning capacity, institute new design standards, create incentives for open space, childcare, social services and historic preservation. The zoning changes will also allow implementation of the new Mandatory Housing Affordability program so that all new development will require developers to contribute to affordable housing.

Wednesday night, the City Council’s Planning, Land Use and Zoning Committee (PLUZ), chaired by Councilmember Rob Johnson, hosted a public hearing on the proposed zoning changes. Over 100 residents gave testimony at the meeting ranging from supporting the proposal, to voicing their concerns about the impact this rezone will have on the community, to opposing the proposal. Some of the concerns raised included:

  1. Addressing displacement of affordable residential units that are lost as a result of the rezone. In the University District, the City’s conservative displacement analysis shows that with or without zoning changes that up to 275 homes could be demolished.  We should ensure that housing demolition is mitigated.  Check out my blog post on my efforts this year to address displacement as part of the Mandatory Housing Affordability Framework Legislation.

    drawing-from-the-upzone-hearing

    “Don’t forget the kids” given to me at the U-District upzone public hearing.

  2. Affordability requirements should be stronger and developers should have to contribute more to affordable housing and affordable housing should be in the neighborhood.
  3. Impacts of upzones on small businesses on the Ave will increase heights, accelerate redevelopment and/or increase rents?
  4. Designation of parks and open space and the right of public access people will have to open space provided by private land owners.
  5. Designating mid-rise zones as Transfer Development Rights Receiving Sites in order to promote Historic Preservation.
  6. Ensuring the commitments of the urban design framework, which sets out a comprehensive neighborhood plan for greater density, traffic circulation, parks and open space, social services, schools, concerns for affordable housing and for mitigating displacement of lower income residents is part of the legislation not just in the recitals.
  7. Transportation issues related to development as a result of the rezone.
  8. The need for increased incentives for large employers to support affordable childcare.

 

My goal is legislation that addresses the immediate and future needs of all residents. I plan to work with community to identify amendments that will strengthen the proposed legislation.

The PLUZ Committee will discuss the legislation on Nov. 29 and Dec. 6. Councilmembers will discuss proposed amendments on Jan. 6 and may vote on Jan. 20. The legislation will likely go to Full Council in early February 2017. Please sign up to receive agenda’s for the Planning, Land Use and Zoning Committee so can stay engaged on this issue.

Share


Housing Bond Proposal, This week in the budget, Election Results Statement, West Seattle Helpline Dinner and Auction, Delridge Rapid Ride survey, Source of Income Discrimination (SOID) Legislation Rulemaking Public Comment

November 10th, 2016

Housing Bond Proposal

Last Friday, Councilmembers Bagshaw, González, Johnson, O’Brien, Sawant, and I signed on to a proposal to fund additional affordable housing for Seattle residents. The proposal is a measured approach that adds $29 million in bond financing for housing which, if leveraged with other resources, could support additional affordable housing. The housing production would be funded by newly utilizing the City’s existing bonding capacity for housing and then paid off over a 30-year term.  This $29 million would be available, in addition to the Housing Levy’s anticipated 2017 $54 million allocation.

Over the last few months, many people have written to me asking that we increase the availability of housing options, whether for people living in our parks or for people they know who are personally struggling with rising housing costs. In addition, as a part of the budget process, many people have been lobbying the City Council for 1,000 homes. The 1,000 homes proposal suggested that all funding and all committed debt service planned for the future North Seattle Police Precinct project be allocated instead for housing. Specifically, the 1,000 homes proposal uses: a. $15 million in funds created by selling the land reserved for the future North Precinct project, b. another $15 million in funds reserved to maintain the existing facility until a new precinct is built, and c. $145 million of bond capacity also reserved for the future North Precinct.   I’ve written about my concerns with the proposed new North Precinct project costs.  I continue to have these concerns and I am pleased that the Mayor and several Councilmembers joined in the decision earlier this year to hit “pause” on the project in order to find more cost savings.

Because I, and several of my colleagues on the Council, do ultimately recognize that the conversation about public safety facility needs for the North Precinct must continue, I support a housing proposal that recognizes our need to prioritize housing in the budget process, but does not pit Seattle’s housing needs against other citywide priorities, such as public safety needs.

Our proposal would use a small fraction, in 2017 and 2018, of the total amount of resources previously identified to pay off the debt associated with a future North Precinct Project for two years.  In 2019, if we are successful in reducing the cost of the North Precinct, we could continue to use those same resources, or we could reinstate the Housing Growth Fund in 2019, using some small slice of the property tax proceeds resulting from new construction in Seattle.  You may recall that I proposed a reinstatement of the Housing Growth Fund this spring.  You can read more about it here.  This is one option for long term permanent financing.  It’s important to note that the Advisory Group to the Mayor’s Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda (HALA) recommended both the use of the City’s bonding authority for housing as well as the reinstatement of the Housing Growth Fund.

The specific number of new units that could be created or number of existing units preserved will be further determined by working with the Council and the Office of Housing to identify the kinds of projects that we want to support.   Three ideas in particular that I’m excited about pursuing are:

  1. Preservation – As rents rise, preservation of existing affordable housing is a priority. Investment in our housing stock is one way to preserve affordability. 1,000 buildings in lower-income and quickly gentrifying neighborhoods require expensive structural work to make them earthquake resilient. Without funds, owners may instead redevelop these properties. City investment could preserve this housing as affordable over the long term as well as making it safe.
  2. Home & Hope – Enterprise Community Partners is convening public and non-profit land owners and developers to accelerate the creation of housing. This bond issuance proposal could provide financing to bring these developments to reality. Using non-traditional building types on public properties, like manufactured steel modules being used in Seattle by Compass Housing Alliance and designed by OneBuild, a Seattle-based modular-housing supplier, we could provide financing for a housing option that doesn’t take the same long period of time to permit and build as a traditional housing project (which typically takes about three years).  Read here for more.
  3. Preservation of homeownership, while creating long term affordability – Cities across the country are working towards buying “non-performing loans” from Fannie and Freddie Mac. These are loans held by individuals facing foreclosure.  In Seattle we know that there are approximately 270 non-performing loans. My office, as well as community partners, have been discussing a pilot with Fannie and Freddie Mac to save some of those loans, require repayment by owners, and in doing so, preserve long term homeownership opportunities for people who may not otherwise have it.  I wrote about this issue here earlier this year.

I am thankful for the advocacy that has encouraged the City to use its bonding authority to support the production of affordable housing both as part of the 1,000 Homes Proposal as well as that from last year’s Housing Affordability, and Livability Agenda Recommendations.  There are details yet to work through, but this proposal is a sign of the Council’s common desire to create new housing solutions in this year’s budget deliberations.

 

This week in the budget

Yesterday the Council’s Budget Committee met to hear potential revisions to the “Initial Balancing Package” for the 2017-2018 City budget proposed by the Chair of the Committee. Three sponsors were needed for items to appear on the agenda. You can see a list of potential changes on the November 9 agenda linked here.

Next week, on Wednesday the 16th, the Budget Committee will vote on revisions to the Mayor’s proposed budget. The starting point for votes will be a “Revised Balancing Package” developed by Budget Committee Chair Burgess.  This new Revised Balancing Package differs from the balancing package Chair Burgess proposed last week in that this one will consider the additional proposals Councilmembers made this week (that I wrote about in last week’s blog post). On Wednesday, Councilmembers can move to amend the new Revised Balancing Package, but all proposed changes must be balanced with cuts, in order to be revenue-neutral.

In addition to the Housing Bond proposal mentioned above, other items I’ve been working on since last week’s blog post include:

  • Statement of Legislative Intent for a Terminal 5 Quiet Zone. The Port of Seattle is considering improvements to T 5 to modernize the facility. As part of this project, the Port is considering implementation of shore power, a T 5 quiet zone, and broadband back-up alarms to reduce the noise emitted from T 5.

This Statement of Legislative Intent (SLI) requests that SDOT work with the Port of Seattle, the Federal Railway Administration, and the railway companies doing business at T 5, to extend the quiet zone from T 5 to the Delridge Way/W Marginal Way intersection.

  • And, in conjunction with Councilmember González, the creation of a special task force on South Park public safety to formulate and report to Council recommendations regarding the public safety and vitality of that neighborhood. It is our hope that they would identify strategies for:
  1. A new model of neighborhood policing, which will build on the micro-policing plans initiated by Chief Katherine O’Toole and reflect the unique situations or dynamics of the neighborhood; and
  2. A culturally and linguistically responsive data-driven approach to improving the City’s relations to and effectiveness with the South Park neighborhood.

Agendas and links to materials are available at the Budget Committee meetings page; here are links to the budget process and schedule. You can sign up for e-mail agenda notices here.

Additional information, including an archive of budget documents from 2009 to the present, is available at the Council’s Budget website. Meetings can be viewed live on the Seattle Channel’s live feed; past meetings can be viewed at the Seattle Channel’s Budget Committee archive.

 

Election Results Statement

Below is my statement on the election results after the passage of Initiative 124 (hotel workers), Sound Transit 3 (ST3/Light Rail), Initiative 1433 (statewide minimum wage, and paid sick & safe leave), and other electoral victories that serve to improve the quality of life for Seattle and Washington workers:

The heart-wrenching national news regarding the Presidency, House of Representatives, and Senate is hard to understand and difficult to accept, but makes it all the more important to celebrate our local wins for working people.

Affordability in Seattle has never been more of a challenge, but tonight we can celebrate that our voters provided some needed relief for lower-wage workers by supporting issues and electing leaders who have our best interests in-mind and at-heart.

The job security afforded by I-124 means that women and others working in the hospitality business can build better lives. Increased transit availability can reduce transportation costs, making overall living expenses lower for our communities that have too often been left out, or left behind. Raising the statewide minimum wage and providing sick leave will allow people throughout the State to improve their own conditions and to contribute to our economy.

I went to bed Tuesday night asking myself what I would tell my bi-racial grandchildren about this election.  My husband asked for advice about what to tell his two daughters.  Educators in Seattle schools have told me that they had to comfort children who came to school crying on Wednesday, asking if their families would be split apart.  The answers to these question are found in the results of our local elections.  We can tell our daughters and the children in our lives who are people of color and from immigrant families that their community does care about their lives and their future.  We are able to pursue change when we have hope and, though justice may seem very, very far away this week, we restore hope with love. I believe we have to start loving one another – not just those closest to us, but all members of our community – more fiercely than ever before.

Moving forward, we must collaborate and strategize with our community partners on how we can best support one another and mobilize most effectively to maintain our hard fought wins that help women, people of color, immigrants, and LGBTQ individuals.

 

West Seattle Helpline Dinner and Auction

Please join us for the 7th Annual Neighbor Helping Neighbors Dinner & Auction on Friday, November 11th!  The West Seattle Helpline provides critically important emergency assistance for at-risk families in here in our community.ws-helpline-auction

This event helps raise funds and awareness to support their work.  The night will include a cocktail reception, silent auction, live music, three-course meal, a brief event program, a live auction, AND the famously-competitive Neighbors Helping Neighbors dessert dash!

November 11th, 2016 from 6:00-9:00pm

The Hall at Fauntleroy
9131 California Ave SW

To reserve seats or for more information, visit http://wshelpline.org/events/nhn2016/

 

Delridge Rapid Ride survey

The Move Seattle Levy passed by Seattle voters last year included funding for a potential new Rapid Ride line on Delridge. SDOT has posted a survey to get your thoughts about this—you can take the survey here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/DelridgeRR1.

 

Source of Income Discrimination (SOID) Legislation Rulemaking Public Comment

The Seattle Office of Civil Rights (SOCR) invites you to join them at an upcoming public meeting to discuss the development of administrative rules necessary to implement the SOID bill passed by the City Council in August.  To read more about that bill see my blog post and SOCR’s Frequently Asked Questions.

Thursday, November 17th at 7pm at the Bitter Lake Community Center, 13035 Linden Ave N, Seattle, WA 98133. You can provide in-person or written public comment on the proposed rules.  Childcare and language interpretation will be provided at each meeting. To request an accommodation or language interpretation please call (206) 684-4514.

Share


HALA potential rezones in Urban Villages, District 1; this week in the Budget; Public comment period extended for potential bus stop shelter removals in the West Seattle Junction

November 4th, 2016

HALA potential rezones in Urban Villages, District 1

On Wednesday, November 9th, from 6pm-9pm, the Department of Neighborhoods, the Office of Community Planning and Development and Councilmember Johnson’s office will host the Westwood Highland Park Urban Village Community Design Workshop at Chief Sealth High School Library, 2600 SW Thistle St. Seattle, WA 98126.

This workshop is an opportunity for you to provide guidance on the proposed urban village boundary expansion for the Westwood Highland Park Urban Village and inform the City Council about your vision for how it should look, feel, and function in support of citywide goals for increased affordability, design quality, and housing options.  There are two expansion areas proposed in District 1.  One is the West Seattle Junction, which is designated as a HUB urban village, and Westwood Highland Park.  The later has been designated as a residential urban village with high risk of displacement and low access to opportunity.  (Seattle Urban Village Map). Being within a proposed urban village expansion areas signals the City’s interest in studying these areas for potential growth and change. Urban villages are priority areas for other city policies, investments and programs. The following residential villages are not being expanded, but other changes are still being considered for the Morgan Junction, Admiral Junction and South Park. South Park is also designated as having a high risk of displacement and low access to opportunity.

In addition, on Tuesday, Nov. 29 (tentative date and location TBD) from 5-9pm, the Morgan Community Association (MoCA) will host a meeting in advance of the City’s December 7, 2016, West Seattle meeting (more below) to take comments on the proposed zoning changes, the Morgan Community Association is putting together a District 1 – wide meeting titled Mandatory Housing Rezones in District I. The intent of this meeting is to understand the City’s new Mandatory Housing Affordability (MHA) program; to learn how to read the draft zoning changes on the complicated City maps; and identify associated neighborhood planning that needs to accompany the zoning changes. A goal of this meeting will be to empower residents with knowledge about what exactly is proposed so they can provide pertinent comments about the City’s up-zone plans.

Finally, the Department of Neighborhoods; Office of Planning and Community Development; Seattle Department of Parks and Recreation; and the Seattle Department of Transportation have announced that on Wednesday, Dec. 7th, from 6pm-8pm, at Shelby’s Bistro and Ice Creamery (4752 California Ave SW) they will be hosting a conversation around proposed changes to generate more affordable housing, improve transportation services, and make new parks investments. They will also be sharing the proposed new Urban Village maps for West Seattle Junction, Admiral Junction, Morgan Junction, Highland Park, Westwood Village and South Park.  Community members have expressed concern that this meeting is scheduled on the same night that the Southwest District Council has its regular meeting.  My hope is for a solution that results in the greatest amount of participation in this important conversation.

Urban village boundaries will be finalized after Council deliberation on proposed zoning changes to implement the Mandatory Housing Affordability, a new program that will require all new commercial and multi-family residential buildings to either include affordable housing on site, or make a payment to support affordable housing.  The MHA program is one of more than 70 Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda (HALA) Recommendations, many of them related to urban villages including:

  • Increasing the amount of land zoned for multifamily housing, expanding walksheds for transit, increasing amenities and services in those areas
  • Increasing housing options on single family zoned land within Urban Villages
  • Reducing parking requirements for multifamily housing outside of Urban Villages or Centers

In dedicating more land for multifamily housing in and around Urban Villages and more multifamily housing of all types and sizes inside Urban Villages we can – for the first time in our City’s history – also require developers to pay their share to ensure that some of the housing they build is truly affordable to those who need it.  I will continue to have a sharp focus on addressing housing displacement impacts of development as the Council discusses the proposed upzones.

Both the Westwood Highland Park and West Seattle Junction urban village boundary will go before Council in 2017. After the urban village expansion boundaries are proposed the regulatory changes to the boundary or the zoning will still need to go through a rezoning process that also requires approval by City Council. To continue to follow this issue, please sign up to receive agendas for the Planning, Land Use and Zoning Committee.

For additional information check out the urban village growth rate and the 2035 Comprehensive Plan.

This week in the budget

On Wednesday Councilmember Burgess, Chair of the Budget Committee, released an Initial Balancing Package for the 2017-2018 City budget. This reflects changes proposed by Councilmembers to the Mayor’s proposed budget. You can review a summary document, which includes links that provide additional detail.

Next week, the Budget Committee will meet to discuss additional changes. The deadline to place items on the agenda is 5 p.m. on Friday. Three Council sponsors are required; for the previous round, individual Councilmembers could propose changes.

Items I sponsored that are confirmed as added to the Initial Balancing Package include the following.  I couldn’t have done it without you; thank you to all that advocated for these important changes:

  • Funding for the South Park Family Service Center in 2017 for youth support, ESL, parenting, housing, home-visit, and educational programs.
  • Funding to determine the scope and definition of a new Seattle Legacy Business project in order to preserve businesses that contribute to the City’s unique culture and character and are at imminent risk of closure.
  • Funding to enforce local new rental housing regulations
  • Funding for civil legal services attorneys to provide services to Seattle Municipal Court indigent defendants already receiving criminal representation in order to help with civil issues related to housing, immigration, and debt
  • Implementation of Got Green’s Green Pathways recommendation endorsed by the Council in Resolution 31712 in order to identify city internships, apprenticeships, youth employment, workplace investment and job training that can lead to career paths in green jobs.
  • Funding to conduct testing for bias in employment and housing
  • Funding for directed investigations (proactive investigations that do not require a complaint) in the Office of Labor Standards
  • A new line item in the City Light Capital Improvement Plan for $1.5 million in funding for the Fauntleroy Green Boulevard Project for Transportation Relocations, for street light improvements and utility pole relocations
  • A report on the process and cost of code interpretation and legal building site letters (no funding)
  • A needs assessment by Human Services Department for senior services (no funding)
  • Reduction in funding for operations of Pronto bike-share (cut of $300,000 in 2017, $600,000 in 2018); a separate action by Councilmember Burgess, and supported by me, would hold $1.2 million in proposed 2017 funding for a new bike-share system until authorized by the Council
  • Elimination of a Digital Strategist Position in Seattle Public Utilities ($153,000 in 2017, $158,000 in 2018)
  • Increase allocation of Red Light Camera revenue to school zones, to place the use of funds more in line with national best practices to dedicate camera revenue to pedestrian safety uses
  • Funding to develop new Community Service Officer Program eliminated in 2004. The original CSO program connected vulnerable populations with services and provided an important link between the community and the police department. CSOs patrolled areas serving populations such as unsheltered individuals, disabled, runaway youth, and the elderly. They mediated neighborhood disputes; provided basic counseling and social services referrals; participated in crime prevention activities, and prepared a variety of incident reports, among other things. (Councilmember Burgess combined a proposal to develop a program in 2017, which Councilmember O’Brien and I proposed, with funding for a 2018 program, which CM O’Brien proposed, and I supported)

Items I am continuing to work on include:

  • Funding to complete studies called for in the West Seattle Bridge Whitepaper
  • Funding for arts capital projects
  • District Council meeting funding ($6,947 for 2017)
  • Lander Street Overpass full funding
  • Amendment for Council Bill creating Community Involvement Commission to provide for a first review of proposed grant projects by District Councils
  • Police hiring proviso for preference points
  • Hearing Loops for City Hall Boards and Commissions Room
  • Transitional Housing backfill funding for 8 projects serving veterans, homeless youth, immigrants, and domestic violence survivors
  • SYVPI Recreational Programs at the Boys and Girls Club and the YMCA
  • Age Friendly Innovation Fund
  • Child Care Space Mitigation Fund
  • Office of Labor Standards (OLS) Fee Supported Structure
  • Statement of legislative intend for SDOT that requests that they work with the Port of Seattle, the Federal Railway Administration, and the railway companies doing business at Terminal 5, to extend the quiet zone from Terminal 5 to the Delridge Way/W Marginal Way intersection.

More information about these items is included in a blog post from two weeks ago.

Agendas and links to materials are available at the Budget Committee meetings page; here are links to the budget process and schedule. You can sign up for e-mail agenda notices here.

Additional information, including an archive of budget documents from 2009 to the present, is available at the Council’s Budget website. Meetings can be viewed live on the Seattle Channel’s live feed; past meetings can be viewed at the Seattle Channel’s Budget Committee archive.

Public comment period extended for potential bus stop shelter removals in the West Seattle Junction

alaska-ave-sw-sw-44thKing County Metro has announced a public comment period for the potential removal of two bus shelters in the West Seattle Junction. The shelters are on the south side of SW Alaska Street between California Ave SW and 44th Ave SW; the two shelters are the ones closest to 44th, between the alley and 44th.  This would not affect the shelters to the east, between California and the alley. The image to the right shows the bays under discussion.

If you have comments, please contact dale.cummings@kingcounty.gov or call 206-553-3000.

The West Seattle Blog had a story about this, which includes the King County Metro announcement, and additional background information.

Share


© 1995-2016 City of Seattle