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


Barrier Reduced for Utility Shut-off Late Payments; 2016 Seattle Public Safety Survey, The Ponderosa Pine, Next Week in the Budget, In-District Office Hours

October 26th, 2016

Barrier Reduced for Utility Shut-off for Late Payments

Whether because of a lay-off 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 currently charges a minimum of 75% of the balance due to prevent the shut-off, and SCL up until a couple months ago charged only 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.

SPU’s standard already represented a significant barrier to many customers attempting to establish a payment plan in order to avoid a utility shut-off. Shut-offs should be the City’s last resort. Councilmember Sawant (the Chair of the Council Committee with oversight of SCL) and I sent a letter to the Directors of both utilities asking that they align their policies at the SCL level of 50% of balance due in order to prevent a shut-off.

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.

SPU SCL
Shutoffs avoided with Helpline pledges in West Seattle: 44 shutoffs avoided 138 shutoffs avoids
Total amount paid To SPU: $13,282.00 To SCL: $28,540.55
Average overdue amount $600.48

 

$425.20
Average pledge amount from the West Seattle Helpline $308.88 (49%), the remaining 26% is paid by the customer $208.33 (49%)
Estimated savings/cost if shutoff threshold had been 50%/75% –    $6,455.12 (meaning at a 50% threshold about West Seattle Helpline could have helped 10 more people)

 

+ $12,979.13 (meaning at a 75% threshold SCL would have been able to help 30 fewer people)

In response, the utilities agreed to examine the delinquency policies. Concerned about these impacts, I submitted a budget proposal to maintain the 50% down-payment standard to avoid shut-off for both utilities, instead of the 75%.

I learned yesterday that the General Manager of SCL and the CEO of SPU have 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.

I’m thankful for the utilities’ quick response and their decision that paying 50% of an outstanding balance is sufficient to avoid shut-off. I will continue looking for other opportunities to help residents keep their power on.

2016-seattle-public-safety-survey

Public Safety Survey

Seattle University is administering the citywide 2016 Seattle Public Safety Survey. This survey is conducted independently by Seattle University researchers, and collects data at the neighborhood level about perceptions of crime and public safety, and police-community interactions.

The survey is accessible at publicsafetysurvey.org from October 15th through November 30th and is available in Amharic, Chinese, English, Korean, Somali, Spanish and Vietnamese.

A report on the survey results will be provided to the Seattle Police Department to assist them in their work and evaluation of the department’s Micro Community Policing Plans, which are designed to address the distinctive needs of each community. You can find out which Micro Community Policing Plan area you live in at the Micro Community Policing Plan map website Crime data for each area can be found here.

Please tell your friends, family, co-workers and community members about the 2016 Seattle Public Safety Survey and feel free to post the survey link on your social media. Public safety and security are community concerns. Please make sure your voice is heard by completing the public safety survey today.

Background on the partnership with Seattle University is available here.

The 2015 survey results are available at the Seattle Police Department Public Safety Survey website, and shows results at the neighborhood level. Results are listed in District 1 for Alki, Fauntleroy SW, High Point/Alaska Junction/Morgan Junction, Highland Park, North Admiral, North Delridge, Pigeon Point, South Park, and Westwood/Roxhill/Arbor Heights.

In the Southwest precinct, when combined, car prowls and lack of police capacity/presence were listed as the top safety concerns—the same as the other four precincts citywide. However, drilling down to the neighborhood level reveals diverse concerns: in Alki, parking issues were listed as a top issue, in Fauntleroy it was car prowls, in Pigeon point residential burglary; in South Park littering/dumping.

The Ponderosa Pine

Over the last few months, many community members have asked me to help save the Ponderosa Pine at 3036 39th Ave SW in the Belvidere/Admiral neighborhood from being removed as a result of a proposed development on a small lot that required approval of Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections (SDCI).  In response, I met with concerned neighbors and wrote to and met with SDCI Director Nathan Torgelson to seek: (1) clarity about the process SDCI uses to approve development on these small lots under 3,200 sq. feet; (2) information about the cost of a code interpretation letter; and (3) support for better land use policies that protect exceptional trees.

Here is some background on the law that allows developer to build on these small lots. Several years ago, community members discovered that developers were developing some very small lots in ways that were not intended by the drafters of the code. The Department engaged in a lengthy process, involving much public input, and proposed a series of recommendations. After much debate, and with amendments by several Councilmembers, the Council unanimously adopted Ordinance 124475 in 2014.

One of the things the neighbors sought was public notice of all developments on undersized lots. Typically notice is provided for Type II projects, but not for Type I projects. The Council decided in 2014 that these should be Type I projects, but with public notice when the development is on a site smaller than 3,200 sq. feet.  The City Council also decided that these small lot projects may be appealed, but that the appeal would be limited to whether special exception criteria are met.  The criteria relates to the depth of the structure on the lot, the width of the lot, and window placement on the building lot to take into consideration the interior privacy in abutting houses.

A code interpretation letter explains how SDCI interprets the code – in this case community members are seeking a code interpretation letter from SDCI of how they interpret the code that allows SDCI to permit some developments on these small lots.  There is a charge to requesters for these interpretations.  SDCI is a fee supported department, like many regulatory departments with a cost recovery funding model, and 85% of the Department’s services are supported with fees from the public to pay for these services.  The average time it takes SDCI to produce one of these letters is about 31hours and, of the letters reviewed, the least time was 9 and a half hours.

Director Torgelson has agreed to consider and review the following options for future changes, including:

  • Eliminating the base fee for interpretations and charging on an hourly basis, or collecting less than 10 hours of work as a base fee, especially concerning issues where a legal building site letter has been completed (thus initial staff analysis has already been completed);
  • Posting more information on-line about the process for legal building site letters; and
  • Reviewing the legal building site and interpretation process for lots under 3,200 square feet as they already have a notice and Type II appealable decision component.

In response to the community suggestion that we eliminate the base fee for interpretations and charge on an hourly basis. I submitted a proposed amendment to the SDCI fee ordinance legislation to address the 10 hour minimum requirement.  Further, I am proposing a Statement of Legislative Intent requiring, by March 31, SDCI review for improvements the process for requesting and issuing legal building site letters and code interpretations and update and post information on-line and in the Public Resource Center more clearly describing the process.

Finally, I have concerns about the fact that the 2014 ordinance did not consider additional criteria that SDCI should use to make a determination whether sites are buildable and have requested that SDCI consider additional changes to the Small Lot Exceptions Ordinance to include exceptional trees as a criteria that must be considered in its determination on whether the site is a buildable lot.

Next week in the budget

Two key events in the Council’s budget process are scheduled for next week. First of all, the Budget Committee Chair, Councilmember Burgess, will release his initial balancing package for the budget on Wednesday, November 2. There are $73 million in proposed Council additions to the budget, which were heard in the Budget Committee during the last week.  I wrote last week about my proposals. Budget Chair Burgess’ balanced budget package will not include all $73 million for these proposals—it will only include those that he decides to prioritize. You may wish to contact him at tim.burgess@seattle.gov regarding items you support.

Secondly, Councilmembers wanting to propose amendments to the Chair’s balancing package can propose amendments for presentation at the Budget Committee two weeks from now. A total of three sponsors will be needed for items to appear on the agenda and each proposal will need 5 votes in support to ultimately be included in the budget.  The deadline for proposals is on Friday, November 4 at 5 p.m.

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.

In-District Office Hours

I will not be having in-district office hours during the month of November due to Budget Committee meetings as well as the Holiday. Therefore my next office hours will be in December.

I will be at the South Park Community Center (8319 8th Avenue S) on Friday, December 16, from 12:00pm – 7:00pm. 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).

Share


Comprehensive Plan 2035 Community Involvement, Next week in the budget, Budget proposals

October 21st, 2016

Comprehensive Plan 2035 Community Involvement

On Monday the Council approved the 2035 Comprehensive Plan update. In committee, the Council approved amendments I sponsored relating to Seattle Public Utilities, Arts, Economic Development and Growth, and then this week in Full Council amendments I sponsored to the Community Involvement element were also approved.

I worked with neighborhood advocates to develop language to elevate the concept of community involvement by making it a new element in the Comprehensive Plan— a recognition of the need to regularly engage citizens in both planning and executing the city’s growth management strategy.

Additional language clarified the meaning of geographic-based planning; adds a policy that recognizes the need for sufficient resources to keep neighborhood plans current and relevant so they are a useful tool for growth management and citizen involvement; and adds consideration of whether neighborhood plans are outdated to the criteria for determining where the City should allocate resources for community planning.

Thanks to Councilmember Johnson for agreeing to an extra week to allow for public notice before the vote.

Next week in the budget

Next week the Council’s Budget Committee will hold the final meeting of the “Budget Deliberations” round on Monday the 24th. This meeting will cover departments and issues not covered this week on the 18th and 19th.

On Tuesday the 25th, the Council will hold its 2nd public hearing on the budget.

The hearing begins at 5:30 p.m. at City Hall; sign up begins @ 4:30. The hearing will advise the Budget Committee Chair (Councilmember Burgess) in the release of his Initial Balancing Package, scheduled for November 2, and any potential budget actions by other Councilmembers, due by the end of the day on November 4 (with a minimum of three sponsors).

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.

My Budget Proposals

Below is a list of potential amendments to the Mayor’s proposed budget that I have proposed. I’ve organized them by issues relevant to a. District 1, b. to the committee I chair, the Civil Rights, Utilities, Economic Development and Arts (CRUEDA), and c. other issues, though there is some overlap.

District 1 Budget Proposals:

  1. 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

  1. Lander Street Project

This project is $27.5 million short of the $142.5 million needed for full funding; I’m exploring options for obtaining full funding during this budget cycle for this long-delayed project, which is important for travel between District 1 and Downtown as well as freight mobility.

  1. West Seattle Bridge studies

This would continue 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.

  1. Age Friendly Community Innovation Fund

This funding would 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.

  1. South Park Family Service Center
This funding will support health and human services, a leadership program, and an education program in South Park.

 

CRUEDA Committee Budget Proposals:

  1. Civil Rights Issue – Hearing Loops for Boards and Commissions Room Fund to ensure local and state government facilities are accessible to those with hearing disabilities. The Boards and Commission Room hosts several citizen advisory groups including the People with disAbilities Commission.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Economic Development – King Street Station proposal would require OED report back to Council before funding is released 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Labor Issues – Office of Labor Standards (OLS) Directed Investigations Program development – to allow for investigations initiated by the OLS Director rather than relying on a specific complaint from a worker.
  7. Labor Issues – Establish OLS as a Regulatory Fee-Supported Department – our labor laws should be enforced with a small annual regulatory fee on businesses, saving $6 million in general fund dollars in 2018.
  8. Utilities Issues – SPU and SCL Delinquent Payment Policy and Utility Discount Program (UDP) Policy changing the delinquency payment policies to allow for a 50% down payment of past due bills to avoid shut-off and change the income eligibility requirements to specifically exempt Medicare/Medicaid payments as personal income to increase participation in the UDP.
  9. Arts funding for Burke Museum, Town Hall, Nordic Heritage, Hugo House Increase funding for each organization’s capital campaign

Other Budget Proposals

Community Service Officers funding to develop a Community Service Officer program, allowing for the hiring of unsworn officers with distinctive uniforms to assist regular police officers by performing community services associated with law enforcement, conducting crime prevention activities, improving relations, and developing potential police officers.

District Council funding for meeting rental space, and amend proposed Council Bill to establish Community Involvement Commission to provide a formal role for District Councils in evaluating grant projects at a geographic level, as currently practiced

Pronto bike-share operations: redirect $600,000 proposed to operate the current Pronto system toward implementing the Bicycle Master Plan, Pedestrian Master Plan, and School Safety projects

Seattle Police Department hiring: 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. My proposal would require new officers to be hired using preference points, as proposed by the Community Police Commission, and include in the City’s legislation proposed to a federal judge (as described in an earlier blog post)

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

Mobile Shower unit for people living in encampments including the start-up costs and ongoing provision.

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.

Restoration of SYVPI Recreation funding for organizations engaged in Seattle Youth Violence Prevention Initiative programming.

Restore Transitional Housing funding in 2017 for 8 homeless programs that were eliminated from Seattle/King County’s HUD McKinney application in 2016.

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.

City Auditor – Evaluation of Source of Income and Move in Fee bills the Office of City Auditor’s budget to complete a rental market study for both the Source of Income legislation and the Move-in Fee legislation.

Child Care Space Mitigation fund – 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.

Community Planning Process for Myers Way Properties, Statement of Legislative Intent (SLI): This proposal would request the executive to conduct a community planning process to determine the future uses of the Myers Way Properties. Such uses/purposes would include: green space that can serve to clean the air and water near an environmentally degraded area; protection of wetlands and Hamm Creek Watershed; hill stabilization; natural park space in an under-served area; preschool; expansion of the Joint Training Facility for firefighters to include training for police.

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 – double our dedicated animal control officers by add two enforcement officers who will be dedicated to better enforce our scoop and leash laws, and ensure public safety in our park system.

Share


Encampment Legislation, Next Week in the Budget, Police Accountability Legislation Submitted to Federal Judge, SOID Legislation Rulemaking Public Comment

October 13th, 2016

Encampment Legislation

Earlier today I sent the following e-mail to people who’ve written me about homeless encampments:

Thank you for writing to me about proposed Council Bill 118794.  Like you, I care deeply how the City manages public land for use of the general public as well as how our policies impact our ability to provide shelter and housing to people who are living outside.

Two substitute bills will be discussed on Friday, October 14, at 9:30 am in Councilmember Sally Bagshaw’s Human Services and Public Health Committee.  Please see here for meeting materials. The work we have been doing on this legislation has been ongoing with multiple business, neighborhood, and community stakeholders since the proposed bill was introduced on September 6.  Here is a good description of the two bill versions and our efforts to date.  There is still much more work to be done before this bill is ready for a vote.  Consequently, I will not support a vote in Friday’s 9:30 a.m. Human Services and Public Health Committee.

In previous correspondence, I explained the reasons why I decided to sponsor Council Bill 118794.  One of those reasons is that because this year alone, the City has removed people from more than 500 encampments across our city and at least 95% of the time, people return to those locations. This includes chronic public camping, usually in out-of-the-way undeveloped areas, in more than 80 city parks.  To me, this means we desperately needed to find a way to do things differently.   Cities all across the country are struggling with this issue as the number of families and individuals experiencing homelessness is increasing because cities are not getting the state and federal support they need to create affordable homes quickly or to stop more people from becoming homeless due to rising rents (that, under State Law, Seattle can’t regulate), health care crises, family violence, substance use disorders, and other causes.

Today I want to explain my goals for new policies to guide the City on how it addresses these issues.  Those goals are continue how to:

  1. Better manage public property and respond to the crisis of public homelessness with the objective of having fewer people living outside in our community
  2. Ensure that our current encampment removal practices are not barriers to people accessing housing and shelter resources.
  3. Address the legitimate and immediate public health and safety issues impacting both housed and unhoused residents in our communities.

From the day the bill was introduced I’ve been clear that significant amendments were necessary to secure my vote.

As I have said there is much still work that must be done.  I want to share with you my assessment of the current conditions in our city, and my analysis of how our current policies exacerbate the impacts of homelessness on public space and conflict with our urgent goal to help homeless people into housing and shelter.  I believe if we have a shared understanding of the current situation and how the City is addressing these issues, and if we analyze how the city’s current practices are ineffective and conflict with our shared goal to reduce the numbers of people who are homeless and unsheltered, we can work towards common sense solutions that reasonable people can agree on.  It would, in retrospect, have been valuable to engage in this conversation about current conditions and impediments to shared policy goals more robustly before this bill was proposed. However, the bill was introduced in the immediate aftermath of an important Seattle Times expose showing that the City’s current framework is generating “Chaos, Trash & Tears,” and that current practices do not even adhere to supposed City policy on encampment removal. There was and still is compelling evidence that the current system requires change.

Here is a little more detail about my 3 goals for new policy to guide management of public property as listed above.

GOAL 1:  Better manage public property with the objective of having fewer people living outside

There are 619 known encampments today, on city owned land, with only vague, ineffective written guidelines for how the city defines and prioritizes its work associated with cleaning areas, or removing people from specific locations.   The Multi-Departmental Administrative Rules (MDARS) developed in 2008, the written encampment protocols that the City uses today, treat all kinds of city-owned property alike and makes no clear distinction between locations that are especially unsafe, property that is in active use by the public, or property that is neither.   City staff have repeatedly said that they do not know how to prioritize their work, and the harm done by current practices is well-documented.

My goal – in identifying some types of property as unsafe and other types of property as unsuitable – is to provide a consistent and rational way for the City to prioritize work, in order to remove people from areas that are unsafe and unsuitable.  Prioritizing the City’s work this way, does not at all suggest that other property that is neither defined as unsafe or unsuitable is in fact suitable for public camping.  No public property is truly suitable for long-term living; but to be responsible, the City must first and foremost prioritize removing encampments from locations that we define as unsafe or unsuitable.

GOAL 2: Ensure that City practices managing public property are not barriers to people accessing housing and shelter resources.

We must create new policies to reduce the numbers of encampment locations by identifying and enforcing the rules against camping at unsafe and unsuitable locations and focusing outreach resources to a smaller number of encampment locations that are lower priority for removal because they are neither unsafe nor unsuitable.

Many of you who have written to me have said that permanent housing is the answer to homelessness and we should support the Mayor’s Pathways Home initiative. I certainly whole-heartedly agree that housing is the solution.  As context for our efforts, there are approximately 2,942 people sleeping outside in Seattle every night who are unable to access our community’s shelter and transitional housing system, where another approximately 3,000 people sleep each night.  Further, there are over 45,000 Seattle households at risk of homelessness because they are paying more than half their income for housing. There are 2,500 households on the waiting list for the Seattle Housing Authority’s 3-year long waiting list. The City, through the voter-approved Housing Levy, builds or preserves approximately 307 low-income housing units each year. We are doing good work through the generosity of the voting public, but the need is still greater than our current capacity to meet it.

The Mayor’s Pathways Home Initiative is a roadmap for implementing ambitious and optimistic recommendations that say that even with all of these other pressing and unmet housing needs we can get the 2,942 people who are unsheltered inside – and within a single year.

I believe firmly that the way that the City currently addresses encampments on public property is an impediment to meeting our very ambitious, optimistic, and important new goal to get everyone outside inside within a year.  If the City is every day moving people from one place to another, our outreach services are not able to connect with people and stay engaged with them for the period of time necessary to access appropriate housing resources.  We simply cannot successfully implement Pathways Home and provide housing resources to people who we are forcing to move back and forth.  In addition, by ensuring that people are not camping in areas that are unsafe and unsuitable, the sheer numbers of encampment locations will reduce and as a result we can focus outreach resources to a smaller number of encampment locations.

GOAL 3: Address the immediate public health and safety issues impacting both sheltered and unsheltered residents.

No one working on this legislation intends to create a “right to camp” much less a “right to camp anywhere.” The reality is that people are and will, for the near term, be living outdoors and that no one has a magic wand to change that reality overnight. I believe that for public land designated unsafe or unsuitable the City must be able to undertake swift action to remove people, camps, structures, or personal property.  And that the city has to ensure that people will not return to those areas by making sure that the individuals who have been camped there have somewhere else to go. There is more discussion with community stakeholders necessary to define the categories of unsafe and unsuitable locations in ways that are viable and workable, yet leave adequate space for people to go where they do not face immediate removal.

In addition to my belief that the City must enforce rules against camping at unsafe and unsuitable locations, the Seattle Police Department, Fire Department and other first responders must always, everywhere respond to emergency situations, such as fires or medical crisis, and cooperate with other public safety agencies.  People must still be prohibited from sitting and lying on sidewalks in commercial areas in accordance with SMC 15.48.040.  Lastly, I support the efforts of the Seattle Police Department to enforce laws against other criminal conduct everywhere.

Moving forward, I continue to believe – and resolve – that we must create new public policy that does a much better job managing the impacts of public camping on private land.  I propose a series of conversations after the Council passes the budget to better understand the current conditions of public property in all of our communities used by people living outside for their basic survival needs and to understand how the city’s current policies exacerbate those impacts. This way we can move forward to create new policies for how the city manages our public property in such a way that meets our shared goals for public safety, as well as our goals to house or shelter more of our unsheltered neighbors. Council inaction on this issue is irresponsible.  The status quo is untenable.  But we also must get this right.

 

Next week in the budget

 Next week the Council will meet as the Budget Committee for “Budget Deliberations.” Budget Deliberations meetings are scheduled to meet next Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday (17th-19th).

These meetings will address issues raised by Council Central Staff and Councilmembers by the October 11 deadline, in a variety of departments.

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.

During the last week the Council heard and discussed presentations on the following departments: Human Services, Police, Transportation, Planning and Community Development, as well as a presentation about improving oversight of the City’s management of capital projects.

Police Accountability Legislation submitted to federal judge

On Friday, October 7, the City submitted police accountability legislation to the federal judge overseeing implementation of the 2012 Consent Decree with the US Department of Justice.

The judge has indicated he will complete review of the proposed legislation within 90 days, to “ensure that it does not conflict with the terms or purpose of the Consent Decree.” After his decision, it can be submitted to City Council for consideration.

One provision stands out as the Council considers the Mayor’s proposed 2017-2018 budget:

“SPD shall use preference points in hiring sworn employees who are multi-lingual and/or have work experience or educational background providing important skills needed in modern policing, such as experience working with diverse communities, and social work, mental health or domestic violence counseling, Peace Corps, AmeriCorps, or other similar work or community service backgrounds.”

I’d like to ensure this provision, or similar language, is used for hiring 72 new officer positions included in the Mayor’s proposed budget. Existing state law requires preference points for military veterans.

 Source of Income Discrimination (SOID) Legislation Rulemaking Public Comment

We invite you to join Seattle Office of Civil Rights (SOCR) for two public meetings.  These meetings will be to discuss the next step of implementing 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.

Public Meeting #1: Thursday, October 27th at 6pm at New Holly Gathering Hall, 7054 32nd Ave South, Seattle WA 98118. This meeting is an opportunity to learn about ordinance requirements, ask questions and raise areas that are unclear and that may require administrative rules.

Childcare and language interpretation will be provided at each meeting. To request an accommodation or language interpretation please call (206) 684-4514.

Space is limited.  Please let SOCR know if you plan to attend by registering for your preferred meeting date.  Registration is free. Please call (206) 684-451

Share


Next Week in the Budget Process; Police Accountability Update; Green Pathways

October 6th, 2016

Next Week in the Budget Process

Here’s what’s coming up during the next week in the budget process. The Budget Committee will hold Department Overviews on October 7 and 10, covering the following departments:

Friday, October 7, 9:30 a.m.: Human Services: Homelessness Overview

Monday, October 10 9:30 a.m.: Seattle Police Department

Monday, October 10, 2 p.m.: Capital Projects, Seattle Department of Transportation, Office of Planning and Community Development

Agendas and materials will be available at least one day in advance of each meeting at the Budget Committee meetings page.

In addition, October 11 is the deadline for Councilmembers to submit proposals for inclusion in the first round of Budget Deliberations that begin the week of October 17.

Yesterday, the Council held its first public hearing on the budget; a second hearing will be on October 25th.

Here are links about the budget process and schedule. Additional information, including an archive of budget documents from 2009 to the present, is available at the Council’s Budget website.

Police Accountability Update

On October 7, the City is planning to submit draft police accountability legislation to the federal judge overseeing the 2012 Consent Decree with the US Department of Justice. The Community Police Commission, created as part of the Consent Decree, recently issued its recommendations.

The federal judge issued an order authorizing the City to draft legislation regarding police accountability, and saying that he will have 90 days to review the proposed legislation to “ensure that it does not conflict with the terms or purpose of the Consent Decree.” After that, the legislation can be submitted to City Council.

The Seattle Police Monitor appointed by the federal judge to oversee full compliance with the terms of the Consent Decree published a status report on September, 26. The report indicates the Monitor’s intent to issue a number of important reports during coming weeks. Reports need to first be submitted to the judge; pending approval by the Court, they could be released on the dates listed below.

Below are the four major assessments that remain, and a brief summary of the issues to be addressed from the Consent Decree:

  1. Use of Force: October 15; this will cover use of force principles such as de-escalation, as well as the annual review of trends, and identifying and correcting deficiencies revealed by the analysis. This will entail a “qualitative, in-depth review of a statistically significant sample of force incidents.”
  1. Early Intervention System: October 30; this will cover SPD compliance regarding the Early Intervention System, this is a system that identifies personnel issues that if left unaddressed may lead to disciplinary concerns. This report will also address provisions stating that SPD policies will ensure that early intervention is implemented in a timely manner; data regarding this is tracked, and if necessary, a supervisor will track progress.
  1. Officer supervision: October 30, this will cover for example, supervision of officers of policies such as, but not limited to use of force
  1. Constitutionality of police-community contacts: November 30 (the Monitor will ask the Court for a delay, so it may be another date, before December 21; This will involve analyzing data on SPD’s stops of Seattle residents, “to determine if officers are sufficiently articulating a legal justification for stops, and to determine if supervisors and SPD chain of command are meaningfully reviewing officer stop activity.” This report will cover compliance with sections in the Consent Decree dealing with Stops and Detentions, Bias-Free Policing, and training in these areas.

In 2014, the Court approved policies in Bias-Free Policing, Stops and Detentions; here’s the Monitor’s memo to the Court about training re: Stops and Bias-Free Policing Training, and a memo to the Court recommending approval of these policies, which the Court approved.

More details about the Monitor’s work and reports are available on the resources section of the Monitor’s webpage.

Green Pathways

The Full Council voted unanimously in favor of the Green Pathways Resolution on Monday.  It calls for a green jobs strategy as part of the workforce equity strategy by creating a body of work for an Interdepartmental Team (IDT).

Specifically, the Resolution calls for the IDT to create a “green job” definition that is consistent with community principles outlined in the Resolution:

“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 the IDT to create an inventory of internships, apprenticeships, and entry-level jobs offered by the City of Seattle that meet this definition.

Additionally, the Resolution asks for examples of opportunities to create more local green jobs from our existing environmental investments, and an outreach and engagement strategy to advance green jobs as a part of the ongoing work to advance careers in the private sector.

The University of Michigan’s Green 2.0 report identifies a “green ceiling” in the environmental field where, nationally, people of color hold no more than 16% of positions in the studied environmental organizations, agencies, and foundations, additionally stating: “Once hired in environmental organizations, ethnic minorities are concentrated in the lower ranks, with less than 12% of the leadership positions,” and “Environmental Organizations do not use the internship pipeline effectively to find ethnic minority workers.”

Furthermore, in Seattle, youth unemployment still tops 13 percent, which disproportionately impacts young people of color and those from low-income communities.

Since the City is already pursuing a workforce equity strategy that is being spearheaded by an already existing Interdepartmental Team on Workforce Entry and Employment Pathways the work to address the Green Pathways work will be integrated there. In order to achieve the outcomes in the resolution the City Council intends to allocate funding to support the IDT in meeting these goals.

 

Share


Highlights from the Mayor’s Proposed Budget, Fauntleroy Way SW Boulevard Project, Next Week in the Budget Process, Comp Plan 2035, Bag Ban Update

September 29th, 2016

Comp Plan 2035

The 2035 Comprehensive Plan is the 20-year framework for most of Seattle’s big-picture decisions on how to grow while preserving and improving our neighborhoods. The Plan guides City decisions on where to build new jobs and houses, how to improve our transportation system, and where to make capital investments such as utilities, sidewalks, and libraries. My amendments are focused on issues impacting District 1 and the Committees that I serve on: Civil Rights, Utilities, Economic Development (including labor standards), and Arts; Affordable Housing, Neighborhood and Finance; and Planning, Land Use and Zoning.

Seattle Public Utilities

One of the things I recognized in the Seattle Public Utilities element was the need to create a new policy under the environmental section to work to identify and reduce flooding through improvements to drainage and wastewater systems particularly in traditionally underserved areas.  I also proposed language to uplift the use of race and social justice lens to guide investments throughout the section as well as serving traditionally underserved areas. Additionally, I proposed updates to reflect our need for increased composting.

Economic Development

My economic development amendments are in alignment with my 2016 work plan and focus on: ensuring the City will continue to pursue strategies for community development that help; protect local neighborhood and cultural identity by preserving locally owned business at risk of displacement due to increasing costs; meet the needs of marginalized populations in multicultural business districts; and ensure that the city supports innovative small business that could form new industry clusters. My amendments also included policy language that commits the city to identify opportunities and job placement for older workers and others who may have unique challenges finding employment; to train and hire local residents so the existing workforce can participate in the city’s shared prosperity; and to coordinate community development activities in places of low access to opportunity and high displacement risk.

Arts, Culture and Music
I worked with the Music Commission and the Arts Commission to incorporate amendments they supported. Changes include emphasizing arts and culture as part of economic development strategy; the importance of live music and entertainment venues to the vibrancy of the city’s culture; making City funding programs more accessible to small, independent artists, musicians and arts organizations, particularly from underrepresented communities; recognizing and regularly assessing the economic impact of Seattle’s music and nightlife sector, and highlighting the importance of arts and music education.  Further amendments include encouraging access to affordable workspaces for musicians, encouraging partnerships for the use of public spaces, and assisting communities in creating a toolkit for assisting communities in developing art.

I also worked with Historic Seattle to rename the “Cultural Resources” element of the Comp Plan “Historic Preservation and Cultural Resources” and to require that we update surveys of historic and cultural resources when developing or updating a new community plan, and noting that preserving historic buildings can help incubate small, locally-owned businesses, and encouraging reinvestment of a share of tourism revenue to sustain historic preservation, given the importance to tourism.

Community Engagement

I worked with community advocates on a new “Community Involvement” element. Some of the changes include retitling the “Community Involvement” element to be “Community and Neighborhood Planning,” element; collaboration with the community in implementing plans, that those directly affected by proposals should be involved; enhancing the ability of community members, including from marginalized communities, to develop the knowledge and skills to effectively participate in planning and decision-making processes, and adding “neighborhood” in a number of places.

Growth Strategy and Land Use

If the city truly plans to grow sustainably and equitably, we must address displacement. I worked with constituents and community partners as well as Councilmembers O’Brien and Johnson to uplift the need to address displacement risks. Our amendments are about ensuring those who live here can continue to live here and to provide opportunity for communities of color and low income residents to be included in the planning process to ensure that the city is developing and implementing practices to involve historically represented communities in decision making; and ensuring the city will work with communities where growth is slower than anticipated to identify barriers to growth and strategies to overcome those barriers.

I supported numerous amendments identified by constituents concerned about the impacts of the city’s urban village growth strategy to require the city to monitor various aspects of growth over time and respond to with adjusted approaches if growth significantly exceeds the estimates; to add numerical growth estimates to the growth strategy and adding housing and jobs development capacity figures for each urban center and village.

In furtherance, I supported my economic development policy amendments by amending the land use element to permit the city to use zoning and other planning tools in urban centers and urban villages to address displacement of small locally-owned businesses that reinforce local neighborhood and cultural identity and provide culturally relevant goods and services to Seattle’s diverse population.

Housing

I together with Councilmembers O’Brien and Johnson championed significant policy recommendations in the 2016 Housing Levy and Mandatory Housing Affordability-Residential Framework legislation to mitigate displacement through preservation. Thus, my housing element amendments included: identifying affordable housing at risk of displacement and applying measures to mitigate that displacement ahead of planned upzones; monitoring the supply of housing and encouraging the replacement of housing that is demolished or converted to nonresidential or higher-cost residential use; supporting the development and preservation of affordable housing in areas with a high risk of displacement through tools and actions such as land banking, public or non-profit acquisition of affordable buildings and mixed income development; and mitigating the potential demolition of housing units that are affordable to low income household without subsidies. Lastly, in effort to address the perennial issues of housing discrimination  our efforts resulted in amendments to the housing element to utilize affirmative marketing and fair housing education and enforcement.

 

Bag Ban Updated Bill

In 2011 the Seattle City Council passed an ordinance banning single-use plastic and biodegradable bags. Additionally, a minimum charge of 5 cent per paper bag was instituted. This was done to incentivize customers to use reusable bags, and to help store owners recoup the cost for the bags. However, this requirement for customers to pay the 5 cent fee was set to sunset on December 31st of this year.

At my September 23 CRUEDA Committee we discussed and voted on a bill that removes the sunset date for the 5 cent charge for paper bags. Retailers continue to support maintaining the charge to offset their costs and the Committee members agreed that the fee was still important to encourage customers to use reusable bags. However, we learned that this charge does not sufficiently compensate independent and smaller retailers for their bag costs because they do not purchase as many bags and therefore pay a higher price per bag. This may also be why Seattle Public Utilities has found a lower rate of compliance with the Bag Ban in smaller stores. I will continue monitoring this issue to ensure that this fee is adequate to improve compliance rates among smaller retailers.

The new ordinance also added new requirements to address contamination from plastic bags in our composting stream. There are several confusing terms, look-alike bags, and “greenwashing” practices which have led to contamination of our composted materials. To combat this we’ve added a new definition of compostable which meets the standard specifications for the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM).compostable-plastic-chart

Additionally, the new ordinance bans bags provided to customers that are labeled biodegradable, degradable, decomposable, or similar terms. This is because not all degradable plastics are compostable. Degradable only means that it can break down into smaller bits of plastic. Biodegradable means that it can be broken down by microorganisms, but the term doesn’t describe how long it takes or under what conditions.

 

Finally, the new ordinance stipulates that compostable bags provided to customers must be tinted green or brown and labeled compostable. Any non-compostable bags shall not be tinted green or brown.

 

Mayor’s Proposed Budget: Highlights

On Monday the 26th, the Mayor released his proposed 2017-2018 City Budget and 2017-2022 Capital Improvement Plan.

Here are a few highlights:

Fauntleroy Way Southwest Boulevard

The Fauntleroy Way Southwest Boulevard Project between 35th Avenue SW and SW Alaska is included in the Mayor’s proposed budget for construction in 2018, with design completed next year.

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; the streetscape plan was formally adopted by SDOT in 2012. Fauntleroy is included in the Bicycle Master Plan, adopted in 2014.

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 in the 1999 plan toward a more pedestrian, transit, and bicycle-friendly urban boulevard, in an area with increasing residential density and transit use. It was funded in the Move Seattle Levy passed by voters in 2016.

I thank the Mayor for including this project in his proposed budget in the SDOT Capital Improvement Plan, with design to be completed in 2017 and to begin in construction in 2018.

Shortly after taking office at the start of this year, after the levy passed, I became aware of community interest that had surfaced the previous year about exploring the undergrounding of existing utility wires in order to reduce the amount of visual clutter. To address this interest, I organized meetings between community advocates and SDOT and City Light to explore undergrounding.

During these discussions it became clear the undergrounding would increase costs by several million dollars. This project was funded in the Move Seattle levy, but did not include funding for undergrounding.

At my request, City Light and SDOT worked to provide cost estimates for undergrounding, which showed a funding gap of $4-5 million; a subsequent meeting revealed additional potential costs for a total gap of $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 and facilitate placemaking, in keeping with the aim to create a gateway entrance.

I’d like to thank the Mayor, SDOT and City Light for their work, as well as community advocates, and former Councilmember Tom Rasmussen, who also played a key role at the Council last year in moving this project forward, for their work in developing this solution that allows the project to move forward.

I look forward to the City continuing to work with the community on the details as design for the project moves forward during 2017.

 

Some of the other notable proposals in the Mayor’s budget include:

Lander Street Overpass: construction is scheduled to begin in 2018; the project is $27.5 million short of the $142 million needed for full funding

Center City Streetcar: proposed for construction in 2018, with a budget of $151 million, with a proposal to use$45 million in commercial parking tax revenues

Police officers: 72 new officers are proposed to be hired, 35 in 2017, and 37 in 2018, as part of the 2014-2019 plan to add 200 officers; approximately 100 of those positions have previously been created and funded

Community Police Commission: funding continues in 2017 and 2018

South Park Drainage Partnership: funding listed from 2018 to 2020 to install a pump station to control flooding in South Park, install a drainage system, and repair deteriorated roads; the South Park Pump Station is included in the SPU CIP, will meet the levels of service adopted in the 2004 Comprehensive Drainage Plan; additional funding is listed in the SDOT CIP

The Council will be reviewing these proposals during the coming weeks.

I think we should explore whether commercial parking tax funds might be better spent on fully funding the long-delayed Lander Street Overpass project—and ensuring it begins on schedule—and funding the Center City Streetcar through a Local Improvement District, the way the South Lake Union Streetcar was partially funded.

A 2006 Council Resolution on funding priorities for the “Bridging the Gap” levy/commercial parking tax proposal reserved $80 million in funding for Lander, Mercer, and the Spokane Viaduct. In 2008, Lander was eliminated, and funding re-directed to the other projects. One-third of that 2006 major-project funding, $27 million, roughly equals the amount needed to fully fund the project.

We’ll also need clarity about how operations costs of this streetcar would be funded. So far, we’ve used sharply contrasting models: the SLU Streetcar is funded using Metro service hours; the First Hill Streetcar’s operations are funded through the ST2 ballot measure.

The Mayor’s speech and issue summaries are available at his website.

 

Next Week in the Budget Process

During the budget process for the next two months I’ll provide a brief update on what’s coming up in the Budget Committee over the next week, and opportunities to get involved. Here’s what’s coming up the week of October 3:

  • October 5: public hearing at 5:30 p.m. in City Council Chambers
  • October 6, 7: Department Overviews

Earlier today, the City Budget Office presented a high-level overview of the Mayor’s proposed budget, and an update on revenues. You can access the presentation at the committee agenda page.

You can click here for more on the budget process and schedule.

 

 

 

 

 

Share


© 1995-2016 City of Seattle