Budget Calendar/Key Deadlines; Richard Hugo House Re-Opens at New Building/Old Location on Saturday; Tree Legislation Update; Recycle Roundup; Diaper Need Awareness Week; Request to Sound Transit for Visualizations for Avalon station area

September 21st, 2018

Budget Calendar/Key Deadlines

On Monday, September 24th Mayor Jenny Durkan will submit her proposed 2019-2020 City Budget and 2019-2024 Capital Improvement Program. The Council will then begin meeting as the Budget Committee in a two-month process for consideration, amendment, and finally, approval of the City budget. Here’s a brief rundown the of the calendar, process, and key upcoming deadlines.

On September 26th and 27th, the Budget Committee will hear department overviews from the City Budget Office for individual city departments. On October 3rd, the committee will hold a Work Session.

On October 4th at 5:30 p.m., the Budget Committee will hold the first of two public hearings, at 5:30 p.m. in the Council Chambers on the 2nd floor of City Hall.

On October 17-18 and 22-24, the committee will meet for the stage in the deliberation process that we refer to as “Issue Identification.” For these meetings, Central Staff provides highlights of the budget and issues for potential Council consideration. Councilmembers can also submit their own issues or proposals for consideration.  The deadline for submitting “Issue Identification” proposals is October 10th at 10 a.m. At this stage in the deliberations, proposals don’t need to be detailed.

The 2nd public hearing will be at 5:30 p.m. on October 23rd, in Council Chambers.

The next key deadline is on October 25th at 10 a.m.; that’s the deadline for “Green Sheet” proposals to amend the Mayor’s proposed budget. Those proposals will be heard in committee between October 30 and November 2nd. “Green Sheet” is the term we use for the document we use to amend the budget with either a reduction or addition of funding.  Green Sheets include specific dollar amounts, descriptions of purpose, and named departments to receive funding as well as revenue sources from where the funds originate.

On November 7th, the Budget Committee Chair, Councilmember Sally Bagshaw, will present a Balancing Package. Votes on the Balancing Package, and any Green Sheets (amendments to the Mayor’s Budget) proposed by Councilmembers, will be on November 13 and/or 14. A majority vote of Councilmembers is needed to place items on the agenda before the committee; proposals must be self-balancing (spending and revenues must match).

A Full Council vote to adopt the budget is scheduled for November 19.

Here’s a link to the calendar for Budget Committee meetings.

The meeting schedule may change, with some meetings cancelled if additional time isn’t needed. Confirmation of meetings can be found at the Budget Committee meeting schedule. You can also sign up to receive the agendas in advance by e-mail here.

I’ll be providing weekly updates in this newsletter on meetings of the Budget Committee.

 

Richard Hugo House Re-Opens at New Building/Old Location on Saturday

For twenty years, Hugo House has been Seattle’s literary center.  In 1996, three Seattle writers Linda Breneman, Andrea Lewis, and Frances McCue, hatched the idea of creating a hub for writers and readers to meet.  Richard Hugo, the center’s namesake, was a nationally recognized and locally beloved poet, famous for saying, “humanity will always survive civilization.”

From October 1998 until May of 2016, Richard Hugo House was located in an old funeral home on Capitol Hill.  It relocated temporarily to First Hill after the demolition of its old home.

After a multi-year, $7.5 million capital campaign – including $1 million secured by Rep. Nicole Macri from the Washington State Building for the Arts program, $250,000 from the City of Seattle’s Cultural Facilities fund, and $250,000 from King County’s 4 Culture – this weekend, the Richard Hugo House is ready to open in its new home, at the same location where it first opened in 1998 and stayed until 2016.  It will have classrooms and a 150-seat auditorium.

This was made possible in part because the developer of a mixed-use six-story dedicated to Hugo House 9,527 square feet on the new building’s first floor.  Upstairs are 80 apartments, reportedly with 2-bedroom units renting for $4,425.

It’s an interesting outcome, juxtaposed against the current debate around the future of Showbox.  The building that once housed Hugo House, an old Victorian House, did not have the elements that made it eligible as a Historic Landmark, and did not receive landmark status when nominated.   In its application to the City Landmarks Board, Historic Seattle attests that the Showbox does have these attributes.

Recently, Hugo House became the first literary institution in Washington State to be designated a literary landmark by the Literary Landmarks Association, a division of the American Library Association that works to encourage the dedication of historic literary sites.

Time:  5pm – 9pm

Place:  1634 11th Ave

Host: Nancy Guppy

Special guests: Maria Semple, The Vis-à-Vis Society, and the Bushwick Book Club.

Readings by: Anastacia-Renee, Quenton Baker, Kristen Millares Young, and Amber Flame

Also, open mic and DJ Gabriel Teodros

See these links for some poignant stories from local youth about the ways in which Hugo House has helped them:

 

Tree Legislation Update

Many of you have to written me about the draft tree legislation that the Planning, Land Use, and Zoning (PLUZ) Committee has been considering over the last couple of months. While legislation has not been officially introduced to the Council nor referred to PLUZ, the committee has heard draft language a few different times and have been working to create a version, before it is introduced and formally referred to the PLUZ committee, that meets the expectations of the community.

At the last 2 PLUZ committee meetings, members of the public have lobbied us to not vote on the bill.  People are still writing to me now to ask that I not vote on the legislation. It is important to understand that bills *cannot be voted on until they are introduced & referred to a committee.* Again, this draft bill has neither been introduced or referred.  All introduced & referred bills are found here.

Last week the committee released a statement, you can read it in full here. As is said in the statement, we’ve heard from community members that we should take more time to consider the effects of the draft legislation and that new tree replacement requirements are not enough protection for exceptional trees. The committee has heard that the hazardous tree designation has been misused to remove exceptional trees that should be preserved.  Additionally, I will be advocating that there be 1. a maximum limit to the number of trees that can be removed from a property in a year (as opposed to using canopy percentage as the measurement), 2.  protections for groves of trees, and 3. better approaches to addressing enforcement challenges.

Council staff will continue to work on a new draft of this legislation while we are in the budget process, after which the committee will pick this legislation back up.

 

Recycle Roundup

1 Green Planet is recycling – for free – all sorts of hard to depose of items. Check out the list of what they are and are not accepting here.

The event is Sunday, September 23 between 9am and 3pm at the Fauntleroy Church (9140 California SW).

The Fauntleroy Church Green Committee puts these events on for free but appreciates donations because they help to continue the service.

 

Diaper Need Awareness Week

Monday September 24th kicks off the 2018 Diaper Need Awareness week.  We bring the observation of Diaper Need Awareness Week to you, thanks the WestSide Baby.

WestSide Baby is a nonprofit organization that collects new and used items for children and babies and distributes them free of charge to King County families in need.  Recipients include families who are homeless, living in transitional housing, or who may just need of a little help during a difficult transition.

Since opening in 2001, WestSide Baby has distributed over $19.5 million in clothing, diapers, safety equipment and other items to nearly 279,000 children.  In 2017 alone, they served 46,000 children!  I’m grateful to have such a robust community organization based in District 1.

On average, infants and toddlers need roughly 50 diaper changes per week.  Diaper need is the condition of not having enough clean diapers to ensure that infants and toddlers are clean, healthy, and dry.  We know that not having enough diapers can adversely affect the health and welfare of infants, toddlers, and their families.  National data reports that one in three mothers experience diaper need at some time while their children are less than three years old and 48% of families delay changing a diaper in order to stretch out their supply of diapers.   Unfortunately, there are no government assistance programs that help parents to purchase diapers.

There are many ways to help close the diaper need gap, you can find more information about WestSide Baby and where to donate locally here.

 

Request to Sound Transit for Visualizations for Avalon station area

As part of its “Level 2” evaluation of alternatives for light rail to West Seattle and Ballard, Sound Transit has provided visualizations of alternatives. Visualizations for West Seattle and the Duwamish crossing are on pages 3 through 14.

These are very helpful in helping in public understanding of the alternatives. Last week I thanked Sound Transit for providing these.

I believe additional visualizations, in particular of the Avalon station area, could further enhance public understanding, and help meet the goal of attaining a preferred alternative by April 2019. In that spirit I sent the following request to Sound Transit CEO Rogoff:

 

Dear CEO Rogoff, 

Thank you for your responsiveness to the community and elected officials’ request for visualizations of Level 2 Alternatives for the West Seattle and Ballard Link Extensions. These visualizations of bridges, elevated guideways, and stations are helpful in enhancing public understanding of how stations and guideways fit into neighborhood context, and interact with existing streets and adjacent properties. I am hopeful this will assist us all in meeting the goal included in the joint Sound Transit/Seattle agreement of achieving a preferred alternative by April 2019.

The Seattle Design Commission, in order “to better understand the urban design implications of the various station and alignment alternatives under this phase of review,” has been engaging with the Seattle Planning Commission, Transit Advisory Board, Bicycle Advisory Board, Pedestrian Advisory Board, Renters Commission, Community Involvement Commission, and the LGBTQ Commission.  On September 7, the members of the Elected Leadership Group received a letter from the Seattle Design Commission.  The letter included a recommendation to “immediately provide visualization of stations, guideways, bridges, and portals in three dimension context before alternative analysis proceeds.  Visualizations need to be provided at different scales and orientations, from adjacent streets and street level, to understand how people interact with these facilities.”

While the visualizations provided to date are helpful for the neighborhood context of the Alaska Junction and Delridge station areas, visualizations of the elevated options for the Avalon station area and nearby elevated guideways would enhance public understanding, and contribute to the City and ST’s mutual goal of achieving a preferred alternative by April 2019. Could you please provide visualizations of the elevated options for the Avalon station area and nearby elevated guideways?

Also, please consider the additional recommendation of the Design Commission.

Sincerely,

Lisa Herbold

Seattle City Councilmember, District 1

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Releasing Xiyue Wang; Bus Access after Viaduct Closure; ST3 Light Rail Visualizations; Bail Reform; SPU Drainage and Wastewater Rates; Ferries Open House; Office Hours

September 14th, 2018


United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention Calls for the Release of Xiyue Wang

This week the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention ruled that Iran’s detention of Xiyue Wang, an United States citizen and University of Washington Alumni imprisoned in Iran since August of 2016, is illegal and arbitrary and that he must be released immediately.

In July of 2018 the City Council wrote a letter asking the Trump administration to submit a request to Iran and other appropriate international bodies calling for the release of Mr. Wang.

I share hope with many others that the U.S. will take up this ruling of the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention when the U.N. holds its General Assembly meeting in New York next week.  You can read more about this case and the United Nations Working Group ruling here.

 


Letter to SDOT re: Bus Access to Downtown after Alaskan Way Viaduct Closes

During coming months WSDOT will permanently close the Alaskan Way Viaduct, and open the SR99 tunnel.  WSDOT has announced that they will provide about a month’s notice before the start of the closure. The tunnel will open around three weeks after the closure of Viaduct; WDOT has an information page about the planned three-week closure of SR99; their webpage includes suggestions for travel alternatives.

The closure of the Alaskan Way Viaduct will impact bus routes from West Seattle that currently access Downtown on the Alaskan Way Viaduct, such as the C Line, the 120, and several other lines.

Eventually, permanent access to Downtown from West Seattle on SR99 will be through a an exit onto Alaskan Way. Buses will turn onto Columbia, then continue northbound on 3rd Avenue. During most of the interim period while the Viaduct is being removed—likely much or all of 2019—those buses will exit SR99 at Dearborn, then travel on 1st Avenue to Cherry, then continue on 3rd Avenue.

It’s important that we do what we can to ameliorate what will undoubtedly be a significant impact, and facilitate timely bus travel as much as possible. According to 2017 data, there were more than 29,000 daily boardings from West Seattle and adjacent communities on buses that access Downtown on the Alaskan Way Viaduct. It’s clear that West Seattle commuters will bear a heavy share of the burden for the closure of the Alaskan Way Viaduct.

I’ve written to SDOT’s Interim Director highlighting the importance of Downtown access for West Seattle, and to ask if SDOT intends to reserve a dedicated lane for buses on 1st Avenue. A dedicated transit lane was planned for the Center City Streetcar project, currently on hold.  The letter is linked here.

The plan to replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct with a tunnel was approved by the state legislature in 2009; background WSDOT documents and planning reports from 2004 to 2011 are available at WSDOT’s project website.

 


Sound Transit 3 Light Rail Visualizations Available, Online Open House

Sound Transit’s webpage for West Seattle and Ballard light rail now includes visualizations of alternatives being considered as part of the  Level 2  analysis that includes more detail than before, including “high”, “medium” and “low” evaluations for 50+ measurements. Here’s a link to the visualizations document.

An online open house is also in progress. At Sound Transit’s website you can comment on any of the project areas (West Seattle, Downtown, Chinatown-International District/SODO, Ballard-Interbay).

Here’s a link to the West Seattle alternatives. You can comment on West Seattle alternatives here, as well as review comments submitted by others.

 


Bail Reform Working Group Report Part I

During the 2018 budget deliberations I sponsored a Statement of Legislative Intent (SLI) requesting the Seattle Office of Civil Rights, the Seattle City Attorney’s Office, Seattle Municipal Court (SMC), and the King County Department of Public Defense to develop recommendations for how the City could reform its pretrial bail practices.

According to SLI 303-1-A-1, “A 2013 Arnold Foundation study funded by the City on pre-trial criminal justice practices showed that more than 60 percent of inmates across the country are being held in detention while their cases move through the court system. In Seattle, research from an SMC study showed that 31 percent of individuals in custody who were charged with misdemeanors in 2014 remained in jail while waiting for their next court date because they were unable to come up with cash for bail.”

The ACLU issued a 2016 position paper entitled “No Money, No Freedom”, detailing the two-tiered monetary based justice system created by cash bail. It stated that “[j]udges in Washington often impose bail at an amount much higher than many people can afford to pay, and without consideration of individual financial circumstances and resources…This two-tiered approach denies justice to individuals, undermines the fairness of the court system, and imposes unacceptably high costs on the accused, their families, and our communities.” Though the purpose of bail is a deposit that under law imposes “the least restrictive conditions reasonably necessary to assure appearance” to their court date, it has “become an excessive financial burden, one so great that it prevents the accused from getting out of jail while his or her case is pending.”

Part 1 of the report was completed in August of 2018 reviews the benefits and promise of new pretrial strategies such as:

  • Text message hearing reminders
  • Electronic monitoring
  • Day reporting
  • Community-based pretrial release strategies
  • Risk assessment tools
  • Unsecured appearance bonds

In addition to this survey of new pretrial release strategies, the report discusses best practices associated with these new strategies, and potential racial equity outcomes associated with each strategy.  A full copy of the report can be found here.  Part 2 of the report will

Report back on whether LAW and SMC plans to implement any of these alternative strategies or tools as part of bail reform as well as a timeline and community engagement process necessary for reforms.  Part 2 is expected later this year.

 


SPU Drainage and Wastewater Rates

On Tuesday my committee heard the first of two presentations regarding Seattle Public Utilities’ (SPU) Drainage and Wastewater rate proposal. The Drainage and Wastewater rate proposal stems from the SPU Strategic Business Plan which the Council passed last year and I wrote about here. The Strategic Business Plan is a six-year outlook and guiding document that the utility updates every three years to reflect the most accurate and up to date information about the utility rates needed to support projects and their costs. Included in the Strategic Business Plan is a projection for the rate path for all lines of business which includes: Water, Drainage and Wastewater, and Solid Waste. Rotating every year, each line of business presents Council with a three-year rate path, which is informed by the Strategic Business Plan. This year, we are considering the Drainage and Wastewater rate.

The Strategic Business Plan that the Council passed last year endorsed a six-year average annual rate increase of 5.2% across all lines of business. The Drainage and Wastewater package before us lowers that rate by 0.1%.

SPU can achieve this reduction by lower-than-expected wastewater treatment rates from King County, updated cost assumptions and reductions, favorable bond issuances in 2017, and lower spending and higher revenues than expected in 2017.

SPU is scheduled to return to my committee on September 21 at 9:30am to continue our discussion of these rates.

 


Washington State Ferries Long Range Plan Open House September 17th in Fauntleroy

WSDOT is currently updating the Washington State Ferries Long Range Plan, and will hold an open house on Monday, September 17th at Fauntleroy Church, 9140 California Avenue SW, from 5-7 p.m.

This is an opportunity to provide comment on the Draft 2040 Long Range Plan. You can also submit comments through October 25th at their Online Open House.

The timeline calls for delivering a final plan to the Governor and State Legislature in January 2019.

After that process is complete, WSDOT Ferries will begin public outreach on the Fauntleroy Ferry Dock. The dock is 60 years old, with old pilings, and needs to be brought up to current seismic standards, and raised due to sea level rise and climate change. Construction is estimated for six or seven years from now.

The Draft 2040 Long Range Plan also notes that during the 2018 session, the state Legislature appropriated funding to the UW Evans School of Public Policy to complete a study titled “Improving Loading, Ticketing, and Rider/Community Relations for the Washington State Ferries’ Triangle Route” (Fauntleroy, Vashon, Southworth). The study began in June, and is expected to be delivered to the Legislature in January.

 


In-District Office Hours

On September 21, I will be at the South Park Community Center (8319 8th Ave S) from 1:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. Please note the different time and be sure to arrive no later than 5:30 p.m., the final meeting of the day will begin at 5:30 p.m.

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).

Additionally, here is a list of my tentatively scheduled office hours. These are subject to change.

Friday, October 26, 2018
Southwest Neighborhood Service Center, 2801 SW Thistle St

Friday, December 14, 2018
South Park Community Center, 8319 8th Avenue S

 

 

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Light Rail Open House on Sept 8 @ 9am; Vacant Building Programs; Streetcar Consultant Report; Constituent Emails; Showbox Public Hearing

September 7th, 2018

West Seattle Sound Transit Light Rail Open House 9 a.m. Saturday September 8

Sound Transit will hold a West Seattle neighborhood forum and open house on Saturday, September 8, from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at the Seattle Lutheran High School gym at 4100 SW Genesee Street.

This meeting is held as part of Sound Transit’s “Level 2” alternatives analysis for the ST3 West Seattle/Ballard light rail line approved by voters in 2016.

The Level 2 analysis includes more detail than before. It includes “high”, “medium” and “low” evaluations for 50+ measurements, which derive from 17 criteria that reflect the Purpose and Need statement.

There ratings include construction and operation cost estimates, ridership estimates for each station area, potential for southern expansion of the line, construction impacts, transfer potential with buses, potential resident and business displacement, and numerous other evaluation criteria.

Costs estimates are based on a “baseline” cost for the “ST3 Representative Project” elevated alignment included in the 2016 ballot measure. The cost estimates for West Seattle tunnel options range from an additional $500 million to $1.2 billion; a second elevated alignment has a similar cost as the representative alignment.

Sound Transit’s project website includes sections on the alternatives in each of the geographic areas; here’s a link for the West Seattle alternatives. You can click on each of the alternatives for additional information and comparisons, and offer comments. Separate sections are included for Ballard/Interbay, Downtown, SODO and Chinatown. These include alternatives that are also more expensive, and some that are less expensive than the baseline.

Here’s a link to the Level 2 Evaluation Results presentation. It’s a long document, and the West Seattle/Duwamish results begin on page 88, so here’s a link to just the West Seattle/Duwamish section. When the Sound Transit Board decides on a preferred alternative, it will be considering the line as a whole, so it’s useful to review this in the context of the entire line.

The next step for consideration of Level 2 alternatives will be the Stakeholder Advisory Group (SAG) meeting on September 26th; after that the Elected Leadership Group will meet on October 5th to consider the recommendations of the SAG. Here’s the overall timeline for developing a preferred alternative, with a target of April, 2019.

Thanks to Sound Transit for their responsiveness in scheduling the neighborhood forum well before the SAG meeting on the 26th, to allow the SAG members to hear and consider community input.

Sound Transit will also hold open house neighborhood forums Downtown on September 11 at 5:30 p.m. and in Ballard on September 17th at 5:30 p.m.

Sound Transit has indicated they will be producing visualizations.

Vacant Building Monitoring Program Update

In the Planning, Land Use, and Zoning (PLUZ) Committee on Wednesday the committee received an update from the Department of Construction and Inspection (SDCI). The briefing was one year to the day after the Council passed legislation to make it easier for the City to demolish vacant buildings with a history of Seattle Police Department and Fire Department dispatches.  You can read my previous report about that legislation here.

Because it occurred to me last year that the City must do much more than it currently does to monitor vacant buildings in order to ensure owners maintain them in accordance with the code requirements for vacant buildings so that they do not fall into disrepair, requiring SPD & SFD to respond to unlawful entry and fires, I authored an amendment to that legislation requiring SDCI to report back to Council on how the Council might enact a new, enhanced Vacant Building monitoring program.  See below for an illustration after just one year of a vacant building not being monitored.

Last May I wrote another update after the Council received the SDCI report. That report was presented to the PLUZ Committee this Wednesday, you can see the departments presentation here, and watch the committee meeting here.

In addition to the department’s presentation I worked with my staff and a community volunteer, Lance, to create a District 1 specific presentation which highlights issues that many of you have written me about. As the presentation shows, D1 has many more vacant buildings than the other Council districts.  District 1 saw 95 complaint cases in 2017 alone, the highest of any District and only 2 of those properties are in SDCI’s existing, rather anemic, Vacant Building Monitoring Program. Further, the Police Department had to dispatch officers to 44 different addresses for a total of 284 times in 2017; and the Fire Department was dispatched to 15 different addresses for a total of 32 times. These are resources being spent by our public safety departments and not being recouped.

According to SDCI, the way properties get into the current SDCI Vacant Building Monitoring Program is as follows: …after a complaint an SDCI inspector visits the vacant building and when they find that “it does not meet the minimum maintenance standards, the inspector issues the property owner(s) a “notice of violation” (NOV), which requires the owner to correct the issue. If the problem is relatively minor and quickly corrected after the notice, the SDCI inspector usually will not place the property in the vacant building monitoring program. Other times, properties have more significant violations that are not corrected right away, or quickly return after being addressed. Such properties are typically enrolled in the program (emphasis added) and visited quarterly (and billed accordingly) until they are no longer vacant, or until all violations are corrected and they have not had any additional violations for three consecutive quarters.”

This description of triggering events for entry into the existing Vacant Building Monitoring Program is at odds with the information that we have about the 95 vacant building complaints in 2017.  At the end of 2017, a total of 31 of the 95 properties (32%) had multiple NOVs/Eos and 68 of the 95 properties (71%) had SDCI code complaints prior to 2017.  Nevertheless, again, only 2 of these properties are in the existing Vacant Building Monitoring Program.

I will be working with SDCI to implement a fee based program that helps keep our public safety resources where they belong and are needed while allowing SDCI to recover costs associated with more effectively monitoring a greater number of vacant buildings.

Streetcar Consultant Report Released

Mayor Durkan has released an Initial Summary of the independent Streetcar cost review for the Center City Streetcar she ordered earlier this year.

The review came after a Seattle Times article about disagreement between SDOT and King County Metro over operating costs included in a September, 2017 report required by the City Council, resulting from an amendment I sponsored.

The initial summary report says the current estimate for construction has increased to $252 million; it notes earlier cost estimates were $197 million in 2017, $177 million in 2016, and $143 million in 2015.

This project is a clear example of why we need enhanced reporting for major capital projects, with clear decision points early on, as used in the “stage-gating” process for approving capital projects.

The initial report also identifies the need for additional engineering analysis on the size of the streetcars, which are longer and heavier than the current streetcars. This could result in still more costs due to the potential need to reinforce streets to handle the weight, changes to the docks in the maintenance base, and how well the streetcars could pass one another while turning at intersections.

No funding has been proposed to cover these significant additional costs. My 2017 amendment referenced above required SDOT to provide contingency funding sources if operation or construction funding are inadequate; the September 2107 response was that “SDOT will identify alternative funding sources to complete the project on schedule.” That was when the cost estimate was significantly lower.  This was a “non-answer answer” at the time and remains an unfulfilled condition of the 2017 amendment.

Since that time, a new Mayor and new Interim SDOT Director have taken office; I wholeheartedly appreciate the transparency and increased candor from the Mayor and new SDOT leadership on this project.

The initial report also reviews SDOT’s ridership and operations cost estimates. While it finds them mostly reasonable, it notes that current operations depend on $1.9 million through an agreement with King County Metro that expires in 2019, and $5 million by Sound Transit in an agreement that expires in 2023. The report notes that SDOT and King County Metro still haven’t yet reconciled their diverging operations cost estimates, an important consideration given that KC Metro operates the streetcars. The report notes that an updated agreement in 2019 could include higher operating costs.

The report notes that ridership on the SLU line may be affected by competing sources of transit, such as the high-ridership C Line.

Streetcar supporters raise a fair point: other public transit such as light rail and buses receive public subsidies. However, that assumption has always been included in their operating budgets, from the start. That hasn’t been the case with streetcars; SDOT’s assumption has been that they would pay for their own operations. Further, in the case of the Streetcar, when ridership projections & firebox recovery don’t meet estimates and operating subsidies are needed, they usually come from sources of revenue that support other transportation priorities, like sidewalks or our well-used King County Metro service.

Unfortunately the assumption that streetcars would pay for their own operations hasn’t worked out. The SLU Streetcar, which has a cumulative operating deficit of $3.6 million, and requires “reconciliation” (i.e. additional operations costs) of $0.6 million with KC Metro for operating the line in 2016/2017. The First Hill line has an operating subsidy of $5 million from Sound Transit. Even so, $2.8 million is needing for 2016/2017 reconciliation with KC Metro, along with a $0.2 million operations deficit.

The report notes the construction cost liabilities for the two lines total $10.8 million.

The report also notes that the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) has notified the City that the “FTA will conduct an additional review of the assumptions to continue the project once a decision is made to continue or terminate the project.” The review could take 12-18 months to complete. The FTA approved a $75 million grant in 2016, but funding is not secured until the City signs a full funding agreement.

The original purpose of both streetcars was to connect neighborhoods to light rail stations. The SLU Streetcar connects that neighborhood to the Westlake light rail station, and the First Hill line connects to the Capitol Hill and Chinatown/International District Stations.

The engineering review on the size of the streetcars may be available in November. The Mayor’s release about the initial summary report is here.

August Constituent Email Report

Constituent correspondence is a very important task in my office.  My staff and I spend time every day helping you improve our community, whether that’s by getting you help from a city department with our constituent case management services or giving you information about legislation that the Council is considering.  The unshaded categories and numbers are problem-solving emails answered in August, what I refer to above as “case management services.”  The shaded categories and numbers are emails answered in August related to policy or legislation that the Council is considering.

September 19 Public Hearing on Showbox Market Historic District Legislation

On September 19th at 6 p.m. the Civil Rights, Utilities, Economic Development and Arts Committee will host a public hearing on Council Bill 119330, which expanded the Pike Place Market Historical District to include the Showbox Theater for ten months.

The Ordinance was adopted to study whether to permanently expand the District to include the Showbox Theater. Under state law, a public hearing is required within 60 days; the Council adopted this legislation on August 13.

The hearing will be  on Wednesday, September 19 at 6:00 PM.

The hearing will be held in the City Council Chambers, on the 2nd floor of City Hall at 600 4th Avenue between Cherry and James.

Sign-up sheets will be available at 5:30 p.m.

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Domestic Worker Anti-Discrimination, Retaliation, and Harassment Legislation; Move Levy Resolution to Address Implementation Challenges; King County Hotel-Motel Tax Legislation Update; August Break

August 20th, 2018

Domestic Worker Anti-Discrimination, Retaliation, and Harassment Legislation

On Tuesday August 14th in my Civil Rights, Utilities, Economic Development and Arts (CRUEDA) Committee we heard a briefing on a necessary legislative fix to Chapter 14.04, the Fair Employment Practices section of the Seattle Municipal Code.  This change would protect domestic workers who are independent contractors from harassment and discrimination.

The Fair Employment Practices section (Chapter 14.04) of the municipal code currently only covers employees, not independent contractors.  This section of the municipal code is enforced by the Office of Civil Rights (SOCR).  You can watch the full briefing here. You can find a draft of the legislation as discussed in briefings here.

The reason this change is necessary is related to a bill recently passed by the Council, under the leadership of Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda, the Domestic Worker’s Bill of Rights legislation. This historic legislation guarantees that domestic workers earn minimum wage, rest and meal breaks and protects workers from both wage theft and from having their documents withheld.

As a part of the stakeholder engagement and listening sessions led by Councilmember Mosqueda, many domestic workers shared their experiences of harassment and discrimination they are subject to while working.

In exploring how to address the issue of harassment, retaliation, and discrimination legislatively it was discovered that making a change to the Fair Employment Practices section (Chapter 14.04) of the municipal code, enforced by SOCR would be important. Since my committee has legislative jurisdiction over SOCR, Councilmember Mosqueda reached out to my office asking us to collaborate.

In order to ensure that all workers exercising the rights under the new Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights will not be discriminated against, harassed, or retaliated against, we will work to amend this section of the municipal code.  We will continue discussing the legislation with interested stakeholders.  A vote on the proposed legislation is scheduled for my committee on Tuesday September 11th.  To track this issue please sign up to receive CRUEDA meeting agendas.

Move Levy Resolution to Address Implementation Challenges

SDOT announced earlier this year that it was reevaluating implementation of the Move Seattle levy. In April, SDOT published a Work Plan Assessment Report. The report noted that of 31 program areas, 23 were on track, while 8 areas needed “further review and adjustment,” meaning potential reductions or downsizing of projects.

This appears to be due to rising construction costs, the reduced opportunity for federal funding under the Trump administration, and overestimation of how much outside funding was realistic. I appreciate the willingness of Interim Director Sparrman to initiate this work, and speak candidly about it.

SDOT plans to propose next steps on August 23 for public comment for the 8 program areas under review, and publish an updated workplan later this year.

SDOT presented an update in the Sustainabilty and Transportation committee August 7, with information about the timeline, process, and recommendations of the Levy Oversight Committee. Also linked on the agenda are reports the Council required re: bridge safety and major corridors.

On August 13 the Council adopted a resolution establishing principles for the revised work plan, to ensure transparency, accountability, and community outreach. The resolution calls for using value engineering to reduce costs, and clear documentation and explanation for any project changes.

As Chair of the committee overseeing Seattle Public Utilities, I believe it’s important to coordinate this work with SPU’s Strategic Business Plan; at times SDOT projects can require or intersect with utility work. The recent SPU Strategic Business Plan included significant rate increases for $201 million in SPU projects related to the Move Levy.  Changes in Move Levy projects could result in changes to the SPU projects related to the Move Levy, and potentially SPU rates as a consequence.  For this reason, I introduced an amendment requiring SDOT to coordinate this work with SPU, specifying and documenting any potential impact on SPU’s rate path, and report to the Sustainability and Transportation committee, and the Civil Rights, Utilities, Economic Development and Arts Committee, with an initial assessment due to December 1, and a final report by March 1, 2019.

King County Hotel-Motel Tax Legislation Update

In late June, I wrote about the deliberations at the King County Council regarding the amount of hotel-motel tax that should be devoted toward funding for affordable housing. The bill as introduced would dedicate the legally required minimum of 37.5% toward affordable housing, with $190 million going toward Safeco Field.

In late July, CM Jeanne Kohl-Welles instead proposed to increase the proposal’s investment in affordable housing by $184 million, and reduce the amount of funding directed toward Safeco field to $25 million.

Seattle City Councilmembers Mosqueda, Gonzalez, O’Brien, Harrell and myself recently sent this letter thanking King County Councilmember’s Jeanne Kohl-Welles, Dave Upthegrove, & Rod Dembowski for supporting more of these funds devoted to build affordable housing.

As the letter states, “The investment in affordable housing would mark a major step toward addressing the growing crisis in Seattle and King County and demonstrate the region’s real commitment to the issue.”

The next King County Council hearing on the proposal is scheduled for Wednesday August 29th at 9:30am in which there may be a vote.

August Break

The Council is on break through the day after Labor Day, so this newsletter will be taking a break for the next couple of weeks.

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Kaiser Permanente Overturns Harmful Transgender Healthcare Access Policy; Showbox Update; Delridge Day; SPF 30!!

August 10th, 2018


Kaiser Permanente Overturns Harmful Transgender Healthcare Access Policy

During the 2018 budget deliberations the Seattle LGBTQ Commission sent a letter to the City Council with requests that we support access to healthcare for transgender people including but not limited to:

  • Gender affirmation surgery and treatment
  •  Fertility and assisted reproduction needs
  •  Procedures that insurance may have previously designated as for a single gender, e.g. pap smears for trans men

In March of this year the LGBTQ Commission wrote to Mayor Durkan and the City Council with specific concerns about Kaiser Permanente, one of the healthcare providers for City of Seattle employees.  Their concerns included a policy of Kaiser’s to only cover breast augmentation when it was preceded by a mastectomy. The “Transgender Medical Coverage Rights” as outlined on the WA Office of the Insurance Commissioner states:

  • “Health insurers are required to cover procedures that are part of a gender transition process if they’re covered for other policyholders for different reasons. Examples include…Breast augmentation and reconstruction.”

In response to concerns from both the LGBTQ Commission and community advocates such as the Gender Justice League and Ingersoll Gender Center I had several combined meetings with these advocates and one with representatives from Kaiser. Due to the tireless efforts from these community advocates, last week Kaiser Permanente announced that they have reversed this inequitable practice.  In addition to changing this practice and under an agreement with the State, Kaiser will review all denials of these gender affirming surgeries since Jan. 2016.

I also want to acknowledge the work that CM Juarez has done on this issue and thank her for her advocacy on behalf of transgender communities in Seattle including her letter to Seattle area health care providers outlining the current protections for transgender people provided by the City of Seattle and the work of the State Insurance Commissioner to clarify the responsibilities of insurance carriers to serve ALL people in WA state.

All people should have access to affirming health care and coverage and I’m glad to see that Kaiser has taken this important step to help ensure that this is the case.


Showbox Update

Many of you may be following the efforts to preserve the Showbox.  On Monday the Council voted to introduce an ordinance relating to the Pike Place Market Historical District which would expand the boundaries for two years to allow for a study.  After two years, if the Council didn’t take action, the boundaries would revert.  Under that proposal the boundary expansion would include the Showbox and about a dozen other properties. Expanding the boundaries of the Pike Place Market Historical District is being considered because, in doing so, the Historic Commission would have the authority to review and approve the use of the structures within the District (not something the Landmarks Preservation Board can do). The Council voted Monday to refer this ordinance to the Finance and Neighborhoods Committee on Wednesday for continued discussion. You can watch the committee meeting here (start at 1:59:50).

At the Finance and Neighborhoods Committee on Wednesday six of the nine Councilmembers voted to pass an amended ordinance. The two changes made to the Sawant proposal were to limit the study area to just the Showbox and not other properties and to reduce the study period from two years to ten months.

With the ordinance passed out of committee, it will be headed back to Full Council on Monday. However, some new information from the Department of Construction and Inspection (DCI) may lead to the ordinance being held to a later date. DCI Director Torgelson joined the Council at the committee table on Wednesday and explained that, with the agreement of the developer, the department would delay conducting a pre-submittal conference with the developer until October 17.  This will delay the opportunity for the development to become vested. This agreement was made so that the Council would have more time to vote on the final bill, which the developer hopes to convince the Council not to pass.

I expect the Council on Monday to consider holding the legislation until sometime in September, this will allow for a public hearing as well as provide an opportunity for the developer to develop a plan that they hope will satisfy the Council’s concerns.  In the message from the developer’s legal counsel agreeing to delay vesting, the description of the effort was as follows:

“…we look forward to working with you on “win-win” solutions that could sustain the performance history (my emphasis added) of the Showbox into the future, while still also allowing the development of high-rise housing at this site.”

To learn more about the historical significance of the Showbox building, see the Landmarks Preservation application here.  The follow the preservation effort, led by Historic Seattle, see here.


Delridge Day

Delridge Day, which started in 2006, will be this Saturday between 11am and 3pm. The annual event hosts food venders, local musicians, games, and more. Additionally, the Southwest Police Precinct will be hosting a picnic at the same location.  Also, look for the City of Seattle table where there will be information about the North Delridge Action Plan.


SPF 30!!

Sub Pop is turning 30! Come out to Alki this Saturday where four stages will host live music from noon to 10pm. It’s all free, there’s no admission cost!

Sub Pop is also raising money to help support YouthCare. YouthCare works to end youth homelessness and empower them to achieve their goals.

Head to Sub Pop’s SPF 30 website here to check out the bands that are playing, the best transportation options, and more.

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Housing for Tenants with Disabilities; Delridge Multimodal Corridor; One Center City Bike Network; Bike Share Program & Fees; July Constituent Email Report

August 3rd, 2018


Amending the Open Housing Ordinance for Tenants with Disabilities

On Monday July 30, 2018 the Seattle City Council passed CB 119309 amending the Open Housing Ordinance in Chapter 14.08 of the Seattle Municipal Code to increase the types of entities with an obligation to provide reasonable accommodations to tenants with disabilities.

This issue was brought to my attention as an area needing new legislation after litigation and a decision from the Washington State Court where a Seattle Housing Authority (SHA) voucher recipient requested a change in her voucher from a studio apartment to one bedroom as a disability related accommodation.  SHA refused to grant her request.  As a result, she brought her complaint to the Seattle Office for Civil Rights (SOCR).  Here’s what happened next:

  1. SOCR issued a finding that SHA had unlawfully denied the voucher recipient a reasonable accommodation and the case was sent to the City Attorney’s office for prosecution.
  2. The complaint was filed in the Hearing Examiner’s (HE) office and the HE also issued a finding that SHA unlawfully denied the accommodation request. SHA was then ordered to issue the voucher recipient a one-bedroom section 8 voucher and to pay her $1,500.
  3. SHA filed a writ of review at the county level, and moved to dismiss. The judge denied this motion and ultimately affirmed the HE’s decision.
  4. SHA then appealed to the Washington State Court of Appeals who reversed the lower court’s decision. The Washington Appeals court decided that based on a plain reading of the language in the Seattle Municipal Code and the statutory context supporting legislative intent to cover only the landlord-tenant relationship and did not apply to SHA in its role as a voucher administrator in those cases that SHA isn’t also the landlord.

In its ruling. the Washington Appeals court noted that “if the City wishes to extend the unfair practice requirement of SMC 14.08.040.D to include a requirement that Section 8 program administrators like SHA make reasonable accommodation….it can amend the SMC accordingly.” This legislation is in direct response to this case and amends the SMC accordingly.

This bill makes several changes to the Seattle Municipal Code including:

  • Separating the obligation to provide reasonable accommodations from the obligation to provide reasonable modifications. These requirements were previously combined in the SMC and in separating the two it is intended to clarify the different responsibilities associated with each definition.
  • Revising the party for permitting reasonable modifications from “landlord” to “person” and including a Section 8 or other subsidy program administrator in the definition of “person.”
  • Defining “Section 8 or other subsidy program administrator” to explicitly ensure the SMC applies in the case of parties who are administrators but not landlords or a party such as SHA who is both landlord and administrator.
  • Adding the term “prospective tenant” to any references to “tenant” to clarify that those applying for units and trying to obtain reasonable modifications are also protected. The Office for Civil Rights currently enforces this law protecting prospective tenants, and this bill will make that protection explicit.


Transportation Actions

The City Council approved three actions on at Monday’s Full Council meeting. Below is a brief summary of each one; I sponsored amendments focused on accountability and oversight.


Delridge Multimodal Corridor

During the 2018 budget process, the Council adopted a restriction on spending on the Delridge Multimodal Project.  The proviso required Council approval for any SDOT spending beyond 10% design. I sponsored this spending restriction to begin use of the “stage-gating” process for large capital projects.   Stage-gating requires regular check-ins with the Council on project status, funding, and public engagement before proceeding.

The Delridge Multimodal Corridor includes improvement to Delridge Avenue SW designed to increase transit speed and access, in coordination with King County’s planned transition to convert Bus 120 into the RapidRide H line in 2021.

The Sustainability and Transportation Committee received a presentation on the 10% design, and on Monday the Council voted to authorize additional spending, with a an amendment I sponsored.

My amendment requires a report to the Sustainability and Transportation Committee on 30% design, and Council approval, before spending additional funds. After getting input from community stakeholders, I included language in the amendment expressing an expectation the Council will receive from SDOT “a clear definition of the sidewalk and bicycle infrastructure improvements in the project scope,” and anticipating that the 30% design package “will reflect continued community engagement and input in the project development.”

This is a good example of how the enhanced oversight and accountability of the “stage-gating” process for construction projects should work, requiring regular check ins on progress and budget status. This also has the benefit of allowing residents and advocates to get their questions answered, and ensure Council hears their concerns early on.

Work on revising  Capital Project Oversight began in 2016 with the North Precinct project cost increases.   It started by first getting several departments to adopt common project terminology and defining approval phases, and quarterly updates to the Council to identify problems early. The enhanced quarterly reports will begin in the 3rd quarter of 2018.


One Center City/ Center City Bike Network

In anticipation of the “period of maximum constraint” Downtown, SDOT has partnered with King County Metro, Sound Transit, and the Downtown Seattle Association in the One Center City group.  They have  been meeting since 2016 to develop a series of planned actions to move people safely and efficiently through the center city from later this year until 2021, when light rail will arrive at Northgate, though a variety of planned actions.

In 2017, only 25% of trips Downtown were in single-occupancy vehicles. The period of maximum constraint will further stress the system, requiring alternative access to Downtown.

Downtown faces a high volume of projects: removal of the Alaskan Way Viaduct, opening of the SR 99 tunnel, reconstruction of Alaskan Way, all buses vacating the Downtown tunnel for expansion of light rail and expansion of the Washington State Convention Center. The Center City Streetcar project is currently on hold as the study ordered by the Mayor on construction and operations costs is completed.

Last week Mayor Durkan announced some of the early actions to implement the One Center City program. Transit enhancements planned before March 2019, when buses will exit the tunnel, include adding bus stops, adding ORCA car readers to allow for pre-paying on all routes, adding real-time arrival signs at all stops, and adding additional bus-only hours on 3rd Avenue. Signal enhancements are planned by March 2019 on 2nd and 4th Avenues, and transit pathway enhancements on 5th and 6th.

In June the Council adopted a resolution directing SDOT to provide quarterly reporting on: a. implementation of the One Center City program, b. the performance of the transportation system with these projects, and c. SDOT’s intended actions to manage for the subsequent quarter. This came after the Council majority unfortunately voted against a motion to not allow buses to leave the tunnel, as necessary for the Convention Center expansion, until September 2019.  I supported not allowing buses to vacate the tunnel until September 2019 as one way to reduce the combined impacts of these projects on commuters.

The success of the One Center City program is especially important for West Seattle commuters.   The removal of the Alaskan Way Viaduct will require buses that access Downtown on the Viaduct to find another way into Downtown until Alaskan Way is re-built.  Eventually, buses will access Alaskan Way just before the entrance to the tunnel, then turn right onto Columbia onto 3rd Avenue. During the interim period, buses such as the C Line will access Downtown via 3rd Avenue at first, then later on 1st Avenue. More specifics will be available on this later when WSDOT announces their timeline for Viaduct removal.

I’ve also heard frustration from West Seattle bike commuters about the lack of access across Downtown. Without dedicated access through Downtown, reaching areas to the north of Downtown, such as employment centers in South Lake Union, is difficult, and often unsafe. The Downtown bike network is designed to help provide this kind of access to bike commuters.

One result of the One Center City program is that the implementation of the Center City Bike Network included in the Bicycle Master Plan has been delayed. SDOT announced that the 4th Avenue two-way protected bike lane, for example, has been delayed from 2018 until 2021. While noting this, the Council passed a resolution in support of a Center City bike network.

Among other amendments to this resolution, I proposed an amendment to this resolution to clarify the broader context of the One Center City program.  Bike network implementation must not compromise the One Center City goal of moving people safely and efficiently through the Center City.

With all the planning to date, we can’t fully know what will happen when tolling begins on the tunnel next year.  For this reason, some flexibility in implementation and scheduling of actions relate to the Downtown Bike Network may be necessary.


New Fees Passed to Support Free Floating Bike Share Program

After the demise of the ill-fated Pronto system that used fixed bicycle parking docks, Seattle became a focus for “free-floating” privately-funded bike share companies, since Seattle was one of only a few of the 50 biggest cities in the USA without a fixed dock system. Last year SDOT adopted a one-year pilot program under its existing street use authority, and charged the private-sector companies for use of city streets.

The use of these bikes has been much broader than the Pronto system, and the demographics of use have been reflective of the City’s population; a survey found that 36% of Latino and African-Americans have tried the system, along with 32% of Asian and White respondents.

The Council approved fees for use of public right of way for what SDOT terms “free-floating bike share” bicycles. The legislation sets a fee of $250,000 each for up to four companies to provide bike-share bicycles, a similar fee to that the City charges Car2Go and other car-share companies for use of city streets.

Given SDOT’s existing Street Use authority, the legislation by the Council is limited to setting fees. Some of the funds will be used to construct designated bike share parking.  Bike parking will be developed in areas where car parking is currently prohibited, such as the 30-foot zone from stop signs.  This is to ensure both that existing car parking isn’t removed and ensure that bike parking doesn’t block driver’s views.   Some of the funds will be used for enforcement of parking regulations

While the system is providing better citywide access than Pronto, and operates with no public subsidy, I do have concerns about “free floating” bikes blocking sidewalks, with impacts to pedestrians, especially to disabled and elderly persons.

In this spirit, I sponsored amendments to the legislation that:

1) limit the fee approval to bicycles and adaptive cycles to accommodate disabled riders, so that approval will not include other devices such as electric scooters (other devices would have been allowed in the original version);

2) request quarterly updates from SDOT about installation of designated bike parking associated with the free-floating bike share program;

3) request SDOT provide a written plan for sidewalk management and safety, addressing the increasing use of fast-moving electric-motor devices on sidewalks by December 31, 2018. Former WSDOT Director MacDonald has emphasized the need for a clear plan to address pedestrian safety on sidewalks with the rise in electric devices such as electric skateboards, hoverboards and uniwheels.

I strongly believe we need much greater clarity about sidewalk safety before considering approval for other electronic devices.


July Constituent Email Report

Constituent correspondence is a very important task in my office.  My staff and I spend time every day helping you improve our community, whether that’s through getting you help from a city department with our constituent case management services or giving you information about legislation that the Council is considering.  The unshaded categories and numbers are problem-solving emails answered in July, what I refer to above as “case management services.”  The shaded categories and numbers are emails answered in June related to policy or legislation the Council is considering.

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Seattle University Public Safety Survey and Micro-Community Policing Plans; New Library Restroom Policy; RainWise Program Info & Eligibility

July 27th, 2018


Seattle University Public Safety Survey and Micro-Community Policing Plans

Seattle University recently released their 2017 Seattle Public Safety Survey. The report includes analysis of community perceptions of public safety citywide, by police precinct, and by Micro-Community Policing Plan (MCPP) area.

There are 14 micro-communities for the Southwest Precinct: Alaska Junction, Alki, Commercial Duwamish, Commercial Harbor Island, Fauntleroy, High Point, Highland Park, Morgan Junction, North Admiral, North Delridge, Pigeon Point, South Delridge, South Park and Westwood/Roxhill/Arbor Heights.

Micro community policing plans were developed in conjunction with community residents according to the distinctive needs of each community, and are used in conjunction with crime data and community perceptions; implementation began to be used in January 2015.

You can find the MCPP area for where you live at the MCPP map website.  You can see the priorities for each residential MCPP here by selecting Precinct and MCPP Neighborhood.

The Seattle University survey includes listing of the top five responses to survey questions, and open-ended narrative answers about public safety. Additional survey questions include: knowledge of the MCPP; fear of crime by day and night; police legitimacy; and social organization. The survey also includes demographic information, and analysis of social cohesion within communities.

The section on the Southwest Precinct begins on page 53 (page 54 of the pdf). The top public safety concerns in the SW Precinct are lack of police capacity; car prowls; unsafe driving/speeding; residential burglary, and auto theft. Themes in narrative comments include police capacity; public order; property crime; traffic issues, and homelessness public safety/public health. Each of the 14 MCPPs have separate survey results. The top five public safety concerns and narrative comments are listed for each MCPP.

Regarding the top community concern, police capacity, I’ve voted to add over 100 officer patrol positions since 2016; I am also interested in hearing from the police chief appointee about her plans to increase deployment of patrol officers. A letter from the co-chairs of the search committee to the Mayor raised the issue of officer deployment, noting that ‘less than half of all sworn officers are assigned to patrol, a percentage that is inconsistent with a national practice of 60%.” I submitted a question about this as part of the Council’s review process.

In addition, the Council has approved funding to re-establish the Community Service Officer (CSO) program. CSOs are unsworn officers who can prioritize community services associated with law enforcement such as crime prevention and non-emergency tasks, and free up SDP officers for 911 response.

 

New Library Restroom Policy

Last week my office received a letter from the Seattle Public Library announcing that on June 27th the Seattle Public Library Board of Trustees unanimously approved a new library restroom policy. As you may remember there was an incident last year at the library where a transgender library patron was denied access to the Central Branch Library’s family and ADA accessible restroom in the children’s area.

According to the new policy, this family and ADA restroom, located in the Central Library’s children’s area, is now available to all library patrons.  The Seattle Public Library maintains its stance that patrons are welcome to use the restroom based on the gender they identify with but have heard feedback from patrons who do not feel comfortable or safe using the library’s multi-stalled, gendered restrooms.  In addition to the children’s area restroom the Central Library now has a single occupant public restroom located on the third floor.

As a reminder, in August of 2015 the the Seattle City Council passed Council Bill 118455 amending the Seattle Municipal Code to clarify the right of individuals to use gender-specific facilitates consistent with their gender identity and adding a new Chapter 14.07 to Seattle’s Municipal Code providing for all-gender restrooms in City-controlled buildings and places of public accommodation.  You can find more information about the City’s practices and policies related to all-gender restrooms at the Office for Civil Rights Gender Justice Project webpage. 

 

RainWise Program Info & Eligibility

In order to help prevent flooding, reduce pollution, protect property, and to help provide water for summer irrigation Seattle Public Utilities offers a rebate program called RainWise. In the program, eligible property owners manage stormwater by installing rain gardens and/or cisterns on their property. The rebate can cover the full cost of instillation, but you must live in an eligible area.

Click here to see if you are eligible for a rebate. Additionally, you can sign up here for a webinar to learn about the program and rebates. The Webinar is scheduled for Wednesday, August 1 from 7:00 p.m. to 7:45 p.m.

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Prepaid Postage for Returned Ballots; In-District Office Hours and Special Guest CM González!; Office of Planning and Community Development Growth Monitoring Report- D1 Highlights; Duwamish Valley Affordable Housing Coalition Wins Economic Development Initiative Award; Motor vehicle exhaust noise law goes into effect July 22; SW Precinct offering free use of engraver; Wrong Streetcars Purchased for Center City Streetcar

July 20th, 2018

Prepaid Postage for Returned Ballots

As you may have heard, last May the King County Council approved the King County Elections request for prepaid postage for every voter in the County so that they could return their ballot through the mail without a stamp.

King County Elections conducted two prepaid postage pilots last year.  By eliminating the need for a stamp, it removes a barrier for voters, encourages higher return rates, and allows communities to become more engaged in elections.

Additionally, 21 ballot drop boxes will remain across the City of Seattle where you can return your ballot 24/7 and up until 8 p.m. on election day. Remember if you return your ballot via mail they need to be postmarked by election day. If you’re returning your ballot on election day the drop boxes are the best option to ensure that your vote is counted.

 

In-District Office Hours and Special Guest CM González!

On July 27, I will be at the Southwest Neighborhood Service Center (2801 SW Thistle St) from 2:00 p.m. – 6:45 p.m. Please be sure to arrive no later than 6:30 p.m., the final meeting of the day will begin at 6:30 p.m.

Councilmember González will be joining me between 2 p.m. and 3:30 p.m.

These hours are walk-in friendly, but if you fwould like to let me know you’re coming in advance you can email my scheduler Alex Clardy (alex.clardy@seattle.gov).

Additionally, here is a list of my tentatively scheduled office hours. These are subject to change.

Friday, September 21, 2018
South Park Community Center, 8319 8th Avenue S

Friday, October 26, 2018
Southwest Neighborhood Service Center, 2801 SW Thistle St

Friday, December 14, 2018
South Park Community Center, 8319 8th Avenue S

 

Office of Planning and Community Development Growth Monitoring Report- D1 Highlights 

Last month the Office of Planning and Community Development (OPCD) released the Comprehensive Plan Urban Village Indicators Monitoring Report.  Adopted in 2016, Seattle 2035 is Seattle’s current 20-year Compressive plan.  This report is the first in a series of monitoring reports tracking the growth of Seattle through 2035.  This monitoring is an important part of maintaining the transparency and effectiveness of the Comprehensive Plan. The report is broken into 3 sections; Housing and Employment Growth, Affordability and Livability.

Housing and Employment Growth

According to the report, “Seattle’s Growth Strategy directs 84 percent of housing growth to urban centers and urban villages.”  District 1 contains 5 urban villages; Admiral, West Seattle Junction, Morgan Junction, South Park and Westwoord-Highland Park.  The City’s Growth and Equity Analysis identifies urban villages where there is a high risk of displacement for current residents.   You can see the displacement risk chart below.

The report notes Seattle’s extremely fast paced housing growth noting that, if the 21,500 housing units permitted as of December 2017 are

built, the City will have reached 52% of its 20-year housing growth estimate in just a few short years.  These rates of development varied greatly among individual urban villages with high displacement.  Among a notable exception to the growth rate is South Park and the Westwood-Highland Park Urban Village which had housing growth of 1% or less between the beginning of 2016 and the end of 2017.

Below you can find the full chart of the 20 year Comprehensive Plan housing growth estimates, along with actual housing growth thus far in the monitoring period for each urban center, hub urban village, and residential urban village in the city:

Sixty-nine percent of the City’s employment growth between March 2015 and March 2016 occurred in urban centers.  Almost all urban centers have seen a growth in employment with one notable exception; the number of jobs in the Duwamish and Ballard-Interbay-Northend manufacturing/industrial centers declined during the same period.  The Greater Duwamish M/IC lost roughly 600 jobs during the monitoring period.

The first year of the monitoring, between March 2015 and March 2016 saw varies rate of growth in Seattle’s six urban hub villages.  Among the areas that grew more rapidly was the West Seattle Junction where employment grew by 9%.

Affordability

Seattle 2035’s goal is to achieve a supply of housing that is diverse and affordable.  The monitoring report acknowledges that “Seattle’s high housing costs are making it increasingly difficult for low-income household to live in our city.”  The Comp Plan found that meeting the plan’s 20-year growth estimate of 70,000 net new housing units would require roughly 27,500-36,500 new affordable units at or below 80% area medium income (AMI).  It should be noted these numbers did not account for existing unmet affordable housing needs and as such the need for new affordable housing units is likely much higher.

The affordability section of the report monitors two different indicators including affordability of market-rate rental housing and income-restricted affordable housing.  The data for these indicators shows several key factors for the city as a whole:

  • Market-rate apartment units in medium-to-large complexes, the most common form of rentals, are largely unaffordable to low income households
  • Small apartment complexes and multiplexes are more affordable but are decreasing as a share of rental housing in the city.
  • Average rents for newer properties are notably higher than those for older properties
  • The affordability of market-rate apartments varies greatly from one urban center to the next
  • As of March 31, 2018, the supply of income-restricted affordable housing in Seattle totaled approximately 29,370 units.
  • Of the rent- and income-restricted units existing in Seattle as of March 2018, roughly 82 percent are inside urban centers and villages.

Livability

The final section of the monitoring reporting addresses livability including access to transit, presence of sidewalks, and access to parks and open space.  Of these three livability indicators the report notes:

  • Within the urban villages 84% of housing units are within a half mile walk of transit running every 10 min or better and 99% are within a half-mile walk of transit running every 15 minutes or more. This includes the West Seattle Junction.
  • The report also notes that “Admiral is unique among urban villages in that none of the housing in this village is within a 10-minute walk of either 10-minute or 15-minute transit service. Corridors serving Admiral are identified in the Frequent Transit Network as priorities for upgrades to 15-minute service.”
  • There are several urban villages in south Seattle, including Westwood-Highland Park that have low rates of sidewalk completion as part of the Pedestrian Master Plan Priority Investment Network. See figure below for more details

 

Duwamish Valley Affordable Housing Coalition Wins Economic Development Initiative Award

Earlier this month it was announced by the Office of Planning and Community Development that the Duwamish Valley Affordable Housing Coalition was given an Economic Development Initative (EDI) award of $75,000 to build the capacity of the Coalition and the South Park community. The coalition intends to use the money to explore anti-displacement strategies that ultimately result in a community-serving project that includes affordable housing, childcare and community space.

While the DVAHC is still growing, the founding members include The Duwamish River CleanUp Coalition, Puentes Advocacy, Counseling & Education (Nuestro Barrio), South Park Information and Resource Center, and South Park Neighbors Association.  Congratulations to the Duwamish Valley Affordable Housing Coalition!

 

Motor Vehicle Exhaust Noise Law Goes into Effect July 22

The motor vehicle exhaust noise law adopted by the Council last month goes in to effect on July 22nd.

SPD has indicated they will begin with warnings before issuing citations.

 

SW Precinct Offering Free Use of Engraver

The Southwest Precinct is making a professional engraver  available for use, free of change.

The engraver allows you to mark your property with an identifying number. These markings assist the Seattle Police Department in getting recovered property back to victims, as well as aid with investigations.

If you are interested in renting an engraver- please stop by the SW Precinct (2300 SW Webster St.) and speak with the desk officer.

Thanks to SW Crime Prevention Coordinator Jennifer Danner for this information. SPD also encourages residents to use a household inventory sheet, to fill out and keep in a safe place. The SW Crime Prevention Coordinator also offers free residential and commercial safety/security assessments. You can contact her at jennifer.danner@seattle.gov.

 

Wrong Streetcars Purchased for Center City Streetcar

While we are awaiting the results of the independent review of the Center City Streetcar ordered by the Mayor a media report noted that the new streetcars as designed won’t fit in the existing maintenance barns, and that there may be an issue of whether they fit the gauge of rail.

Council Central Staff, on my request, has verified the accuracy of this report; it appears the error will require either a change order for the design of the streetcars or incur new costs for construction of new or retrofitted maintenance barns. I am requesting that the Mayor’s Streetcar Assessment include full transparency in the added costs for this unfortunate error.

It’s disappointing to hear this—these issues of accountability need to be dealt with much earlier, and they highlight the need for the increased Capital Project Oversight the Council has been working on.

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Small Business Survey; Results of Homeless Services; West Seattle Light Rail; SPU/SCL Call Center; Office Hours; Police Chief Confirmation

July 13th, 2018


Seattle Small Business Survey

In continuing its efforts to support Seattle small businesses the Office of Economic Development has designed a survey to ask small business owners across the city what the City can do to better support the success of Seattle small businesses.  This information will help OED to prioritize their programs and services, as well as to inform pilot projects, such as the Legacy Business Program.

The survey closes in a few days so if you would like to participate make sure you respond by Sunday July 15th.  Apologies for the short turnaround, my office just learned of this survey this week.

Survey link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/OEDsmallbusiness

 


City-Funded Homeless Services: First Quarter 2018 Results

On Tuesday June 26th the Human Services, Equitable Development and Renter Rights committee heard a summary of the Human Services Department (HSD) report on the 2018 Homelessness Services Investments.  This data reflects information provided to HSD by providers both through the Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) as well as through their regular reporting requirements found in their service contracts and invoices.

In the first quarter of 2018, 3,030 households exited to housing (or maintained their permanent supportive housing) from the homeless services system.  This is an increase of 1,241 households when compared to the same timeframe during first quarter last year.  A total of 221 households were diverted from the homelessness emergency services system through the City’s homelessness prevention efforts.

Whenever possible, our homelessness services system tries to prevent people from becoming homeless in the first place.  The City of Seattle made an additional investment of over $3 million in our prevention services for 2018.  This was one area where rates of people maintaining housing was lower than it was for the same timeframe last year.  In their presentation, HSD shared that they anticipate these outcomes will improve in quarter two for two reasons.  First, $1.3 million of the new investments have been in 3 new programs.  These new programs have spent much of quarter one establishing and ramping up their services.  Additionally, prevention programs must keep client records open for 90 days. As such, outcomes for some program participants may not be available until the next quarter.  I will continue to monitor the quarter two prevention outcomes to track any changes.

The City of Seattle’s homelessness investments are broken into five categories; Emergency Shelter and Services, Housing, Prevention, and Access to Services and Operations.  When homelessness prevention is not possible there are two different options available.  The first is using diversion funds to move people directly into housing.  When this is not possible, people are directed into the emergency service system.

The City currently invests in two kinds of shelter; basic shelter and enhanced shelter.  In addition to providing low-barrier shelter, enhanced shelter provides services such as extended hours, increased flexibility, hygiene services, storage, meals and case management services.  Sixty-seven percent of the total shelter beds funded by the City in 2018 provide enhanced services, this is an increase of 23% over the same timeframe in 2017.  According to HSD, enhanced shelter moves people into permanent housing six times more quickly than basic shelter.  In the first quarter of 2018 2,800 households received enhanced shelter services.  Of those 2,800 households, 1457 exited enhanced shelter (to anywhere) and 299 households exited to permanent housing.  Another part of the emergency homelessness service system is transitional housing in which the City invests specifically to support youth and young adults. In the first quarter of 2018, City funded providers provided transitional housing to 672 households.  Of those households 175 exited (to anywhere) and 103 exited to permanent housing.

Diversion services offer one-time financial assistance or services to bypass shelters and move people facing homelessness directly into housing. The City invested an additional $1 million in diversion programs in 2018, doubling its investment to a total of $2 million.  The exit rate to permanent housing for diversion programs increased by 19% in 2018 (as compared to the same time last year) to a rate of 80.5%. Diversion can help people reunite with family, mediate with a landlord, or pay rent for a short time.

Rapid Rehousing assists individuals to quickly exit the homeless services system and move to permanent housing   The City measures the success of Rapid Rehousing when people live in their own housing without the on-going subsidy associated with Rapid Rehousing.  In quarter one of 2018 there was a slight increase in the number of households served from 605 in Q1 of 2017 to 629 in Q1 of 2018 and a 10% increase in the rate of exits to permanent housing, totaling 83%, in Q1 of 2018 as compared to Q1 of 2017.

Finally, Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) is considered successful when people remain housed in a PSH unit or move to other permanent housing.  In the first quarter of 2018 there have been 1850 households who have maintained their housing in PSH with a 99% rate of “exits to” (which are better defined as maintenance of) permanent housing.  This represents continued success of this intervention especially for people who are experiencing chronic homelessness. The success of this program is also why the spending plan for the repealed Employee Hours Tax dedicated most of the anticipated revenue to PSH.

There have been many questions about how the City is accountable for its homelessness investments. Last year I proposed, and the Council passed the HSD Results Based-Accountability bill.  This ordinance was crafted with community providers, HSD, community-based researchers and Councilmembers relating to how the Human Services Department should utilize a results-based framework (RBA) when designing its human services investments.  Questions have arisen as to how HSD’s “exits to permanent housing” outcome is measured when it comes to prevention and diversion programs, programs that, by definition, are helping to KEEP people in housing.   Permanent housing, according to HUD, is defined as community-based housing without a designated length of stay in which formerly homeless individuals and families live as independently as possible.  The following is the definition used for exits to permanent housing for HUD:

  • Emergency Services and Transitional Housing to permanent housing: An exit from an authorized encampment/ City-permitted village would be considered an exit to permanent housing from an unsheltered location, since HUD does not recognize encampments as emergency services.
  • Prevention:  An exit is maintaining existing housing or being diverted to other permanent housing instead of becoming homeless.
  • Diversion:  An exit is being diverted from homelessness to permanent housing (which in some cases means maintaining existing housing).
  • Rapid Rehousing:  An exit is maintaining existing housing after subsidy ends.
  • Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH):  An exit is remaining in PSH.  This is considered an exit because accepting and maintaining permanent supportive housing is theoretically the only way the target population for PSH, people who need an ongoing level of deeper support, will not be homeless.

As such when HSD uses the term “permanent housing” it may include all of the above definitions.  Whether it is maintaining housing for people at risk of homelessness or moving someone who is homeless into permanent housing, the goal is still the same, to make sure that as many people as possible have a stable, permanent and affordable place to live.

In closing, it’s important to recognize that HSD is making continuous improvements in working with service providers to improve outcomes and ensure that there is accountability for the public’s tax dollars.  Importantly as well, they have improved their transparency in helping to tell the story to the public of how those outcomes and accountability has improved.  The reason this is so important is that it helps to answer the question:  “why do we see an increase in homelessness?”  With data like this, we can demonstrate that our programs are accomplishing the outcomes that we intend but that the need for more services is increasing because even though the available resources have successfully moved people out of homelessness, increasing numbers of people need those services.

 


Update on West Seattle Options and Schedule for Light Rail

In May Sound Transit moved forward with alternatives for light rail to West Seattle, for analysis in Level 2, as part of their three-tiered development of a preferred alternative. The Elected Leadership Group recommended four options proceed, beyond the baseline “Representative Alignment” Sound Transit is using.

Level 2 analysis will include greater detail, including cost estimates. I’ve asked that Sound Transit develop visual renderings to allow for ease of public understanding.

At the most recent Stakeholder Advisory Group meeting on June 20, as part of their ongoing Level 2 evaluation, Sound Transit released modified level 2 alternatives for the West Seattle-Ballard line.  Here’s a link to the West Seattle portion of the line.

Some of the revised alternatives show the Avalon station straddling Fauntleroy, in order to provide easier access to residents to the north of Fauntleroy near the entrance to the West Seattle Bridge. The Oregon Street/Alaska Junction Tunnel alternative has a revised route from the Avalon station westward, no longer going under Fauntleroy to SW Oregon Street. The Golf Course/Alaska Junction Tunnel alternative no longer crosses Delridge Playfield, or the West Seattle Golf Course. A mix-and-match example shows how elements of different options could be combined.

Level 2 evaluation results are scheduled for completion in early September. The Stakeholder Advisory Group will be briefed on September 5th; Sound Transit will then hold neighborhood forums. The Stakeholder Advisory Group will then make their recommendations for options to carry forward to Level 3 on September 26th.

The Elected Leadership Group is then scheduled to meet in early October to select options for Level 3 on October 5th.

Thanks to Sound Transit for holding these Level 2 neighborhood forums before the Stakeholder Advisory Group makes its recommendation. I appreciate their responsiveness to the West Seattle community’s concerns about the timing of the Level 1 neighborhood meeting taking place after the Stakeholder Advisory Group’s had made their recommendations.

 


SPU/SCL Call Center Update

In March I wrote about the Seattle Public Utilities and Seattle City Light shared call center and the work that was being done to decrease the wait times and increase service levels. This week I had an opportunity to tour the call center and I received another update on call wait times and abandonment rates. Here are two charts that compare this year’s performance with that of last year.

As you can see, the average wait time (the amount of time someone is on hold) has dropped significantly; in turn that has helped to reduce the abandonment rate (when someone calls and hangs up before speaking with a representative). Anecdotally, I have also received less constituent correspondence about billing and call center issues.

The performance achieved is due in no small part to the hiring of 18 new temporary employees that SPU brought on to manage the workload. I also learned this week that staffing levels have not increased at the call center since 2001. Obviously, the city and service needs of the utilities has grown a lot since then, as such SPU will be requesting from the Mayor 24 new full-time positions by the end of 2020. In addition to the new employees, the call center is now operating an hour later on week days (until 7pm), as well as four hours on Saturdays (8:30am – 12:30pm).

You will notice, however from the graphs above, that the real test will come between July and the end of September. These months typically see a very large increase in calls due to seasonal moves, specifically for college students.

Again, I will continue to monitor this issue and if you have an issue with your utility bill, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me or Alex Clardy (alex.clardy@seattle.gov) in my office.


In-District Office Hours

On July 27, I will be at the Southwest Neighborhood Service Center (2801 SW Thistle St) from 2:00 p.m. – 6:45 p.m. Please be sure to arrive no later than 6:30 p.m., the final meeting of the day will begin at 6:30 p.m.

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).

Additionally, here is a list of my tentatively scheduled office hours. These are subject to change.

Friday, September 21, 2018
South Park Community Center, 8319 8th Avenue S

Friday, October 26, 2018
Southwest Neighborhood Service Center, 2801 SW Thistle St

Friday, December 14, 2018
South Park Community Center, 8319 8th Avenue S

 


Upcoming Police Chief Confirmation and Council Questions

The Mayor is considering three potential candidates to appoint as Seattle’s next Chief of Police. After the Mayor selects a nominee, the Council will consider and vote on the nominee.

I want a chief who can successfully manage the Police Department to uphold public safety; implement the reforms required by the Department of Justice; carefully manage budgets, and work productively to build trust with the community.

Overseeing executive departments and ensuring accountability are important functions of the City Council. As part of the confirmation process, the Council will submit questions to the Mayor’s nominee. I’d like to invite District 1 constituents to send me questions you’d like to ask the Mayor’s appointee to answer. I’ll be submitting questions to Councilmember González, who, as Chair of the committee that oversees SPD, will be compiling Council questions.

Please send any questions to me by next Wednesday the 18th.

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Bus Service for Delridge; Developer Impact Fees; Duwamish Valley Action Plan; Duwamish River Opportunity Fund Taking Applications; June Constituent Email Report;

July 6th, 2018


Transportation Benefit District Changes Allow for Additional Service for Delridge

Last week the City Council passed legislation amending the criteria for Seattle Transportation Benefit District (STBD) spending; under state law, these funds can only be used for transportation purposes.

One of the key changes is to amend the spending criteria to allow the STBD to fund additional service for Route 120 (planned for conversion to the RapidRide H Line). The current formula sharply limits STBD spending on this line, in contrast to the C Line, where STBD funds cover 1/3 of service hours, which has resulted in a 40% increase in ridership.

Route 120 is one of the priority routes for SDOT to improve frequency; SDOT is working with Metro to identify potential improvements that could be implemented in 2019.

In addition, the amendments allow for STBD spending on capital improvements for the Delridge Rapid Corridor project for the RapidRide H line.

Most of the STBD funds are dedicated to providing additional bus service in Seattle; here’s a link to the report about how the funds have been spent.

The original measure from 2014 allowed for $2 million for low-income transit riders; this legislation extends that for all Seattle Public School students. 2,680 cards were distributed for last year, which resulted in 444,000 trips, or 165 trips per card.

An Update on Developer Impact Fees for Water, Drainage, and Wastewater Infrastructure – as well as Transportation and School District Capital Projects

You may remember that during the Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) Strategic Business Plan update last year I heeded the recommendation from the Customer Review Panel to implement system development charges, and I wrote about it in my blog at the time. System Development Charges (SDCs) are one-time charges (similar to impact fees) on new customers to buy into or access the utility system. These charges are authorized by the State, but Seattle has been hesitant to implement these fees at all in some cases and in a full cost recovery capacity in other instances. However, most other jurisdictions utilize these charges in order to hold new development accountable for increased costs for the utility, rather than spreading the costs of this infrastructure to general ratepayers. Much like other types of impact fees (Parks, Transportation, and School impact fees authorized by the State), the graph below shows that Seattle just doesn’t take advantage of the opportunity to make sure developers pay their fair share in the same ways that other jurisdictions do.

Following the recommendations from the Customer Review Panel, I proposed an amendment to the Strategic Business Plan that requested SPU to “revise its water connection charge calculation methodology to include interest on existing assets, develop an implementation plan for sewer and drainage connection charges…” The purpose of this change is to ensure that growth is paying for growth and that SPU has an effective and efficient method to recover those costs.

In June SPU delivered their first report to Council which describes the work which needs to be completed in order to make a recommendation on legislative changes to the Council. The paper covers four main issue areas: SDCs Calculation (how to calculate the fees), Use of SDCs Revenue (where and how to spend the revenue), Latecomer Agreements (how to accommodate “first-in developments”), and Affordable Housing Development.

One important initial bit of progress that this report does not cover that SPU is moving forward with a customer engagement plan and Director’s Rule public review related to updating the water connection charge and water taps installation fee.  Unlike the SDCs covered in the report, these changes do not require a code change to implement.  SPU will also be updating other separate charges such as meter reads and meter testing fees.  These changes are scheduled to go into effect in October 2018.  Again, why should you care?  Well, the closer SPU gets to full cost recovery for the costs associated with new customers using the system, the less these costs will be shifted to the general rate payer.

I appreciate the work that SPU has put into this report, and I have a better understanding of the complexity and possible paths forward in implementing responsible System Development Charges. However, growth and development are happening now, and the longer we wait the less effective these policies will be in generating needed revenue for the utility which will offset rate increases.

I intend on having SPU share this report with my committee this month so that we can publicly discuss the issues highlighted in the report and ensure that the utility is proceeding in a timely manner with their recommendations.

In case you are interested in Transportation Impact Fees, you might want to review this presentation in Councilmember O’Brien’s committee in March, see here.  The Council’s next steps for implementing Transportation Impact Fees will be to update our Comprehensive Plan.  Last summer the Council passed a resolution that established the 2018 docket of proposed amendments to the city’s Comprehensive Plan (the document that guides how we grow). The resolution directs city departments to analyze and propose amendments to our Comprehensive Plan establishing an impact-fee program.  We had planned to vote on these Comprehensive Plan changes in the first quarter of 2018.  See here from last summer’s Seattle Times editorial authored by Councilmember O’Brien, Bagshaw, and myself.  Because there has been an appeal to the City’s Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Mandatory Housing Affordability (MHA) program and MHA implementation would require several Comprehensive Plan Amendments, the Comp Plan update originally planned for 1st Quarter 2018 has been delayed until after resolution of the MHA FEIS Appeal.

Finally, as it relates to School Impact Fees to help minimize the size of the future School Levy for Capital Facilities and the impact on property taxed, the city has to develop interlocal agreements in collaboration with Seattle Public Schools in order to enact impact fees for schools.  In February, the Seattle School District reported to the School District Board the goal of having a joint City/School District Memorandum of Understanding in place addressing, among other issues, the implementation of a School Impact Fees program by June.

Duwamish Valley Action Plan Released

Last week the City released the Duwamish Valley Action Plan.

Seattle’s Duwamish Valley Program  is a multi-departmental effort focused on the Duwamish Valley neighborhoods of South Park and Georgetown, designed to advance the City’s and communities’ environmental justice and equitable development goals as outlined in the Equity & Environment Agenda and Equitable Development Implementation Plan. The release of the action plan is the culmination of efforts to date.

The Plan identifies over 90 near, mid, and long-term actions the City will take to deliver measurable community health and well-being outcomes. Priority areas include Healthy Environment, Parks & Open Spaces, Community Capacity, Mobility & Transportation, Economic Opportunity & Jobs, Affordable Housing, and Public Safety.

Some of the short-term things mentioned in the report are already completed, thanks to the advocacy of South Park residents working with my office and the Executive, such as adding street lighting in the alley between Cloverdale and Donovan, and hiring a public safety coordinator, as proposed by the South Park Public Safety Task Force.

The report is also available in Spanish , Vietnamese, and Somali.

Background information available at the Duwamish Valley Program resources page.

Duwamish River Opportunity Fund Taking Applications

The City of Seattle’s Duwamish River Opportunity Fund is taking applications for $250,000 for community-based projects that increase the Sustainability of these neighborhoods.

Applicants are encouraged to attend a workshop before applying. These workshops will review the application process and discuss the requirements for a good proposal. The workshops will be held:

The Request for Proposals and Application Materials are available at the Duwamish River Opportunity Fund  webpage. Applications are due by July 30 @ 5 p.m.

June Constituent Email Report

Constituent correspondence is a very important task in my office.  My staff and I spend time every day helping you improve our community, whether that’s through getting you help from a city department with our constituent case management services or giving you information about legislation that the Council is considering.  The unshaded categories and numbers are problem-solving emails answered in June, what I refer to above as “case management services.”  The shaded categories and numbers are emails answered in June related to policy or legislation the Council is considering.

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