Downtown/South Lake Union MHA; South Park Crime and Public Safety Survey; Harbor Ave SW and SW Spokane Street intersection improvements; Chief Sealth High School Walkway Improvements

March 24th, 2017

Downtown and South Lake Union MHA 

On Tuesday, 3/21/2017, the Planning, Land Use and Zoning Committee discussed eight amendments to the proposed South Lake Union (SLU) and Downtown Mandatory Housing Affordability (MHA) legislation. The amendments ranged from a. providing a carrot to developers not covered by MHA (because their projects are already through the design process) to voluntarily participate in the MHA affordable housing program to b. requiring developers to develop transportation management plans to c. my own proposal to increase the affordable housing obligations of developers in SLU and Downtown.   There was no vote on my amendment and several of the others.  The Full Council is scheduled to vote on these amendments and the final bill on Monday, 4/10/2017 at 2pm.

The basic tenet of the MHA affordable housing program is that we can legally require developers to contribute to affordable housing when we change zoning to grant some additional zoning capacity to build taller.   The MHA program proposes to “capture the value of the upzone” in the form of an affordable housing obligation on developers.   The broader MHA Program has two components: (1) a program that applies to commercial development, Mandatory Housing Affordability – Commercial (MHA-C) and (2) a program that applies to residential development, Mandatory Housing Affordability-Residential (MHA-R). This is the approach that the Council passed last month with the University District MHA rezones and it’s the approach proposed for all of the Citywide MHA rezones.  It is not the approach proposed for the SLU and Downtown MHA-R program. Here is some background on why there is a different approach proposed and why I don’t think it’s the best deal we can strike for affordable housing.

  1. How were the proposed MHA-R housing affordability requirements derived for Downtown and South Lake Union (SLU) MHA?

The special requirements for SLU/Downtown were laid out in the Grand Bargain.

“For high-rise areas (DT/SLU/HR-First Hill), residential buildings would be given an extra 1,000 sf/floor: (i) this increment would be charged at the current incentive zoning rate ($22.65/square foot); and (ii) this increment would be viewed as part of mandatory incentive zoning, so that value of this available increment would be paid towards affordable housing whether the increment was used.”

  1. What does this mean for affordable housing if enacted in SLU and downtown?

The $22.65/square foot incentive zoning program fee extended to the extra residential floor area granted through the upzone and divided across the entire building would result in MHA-R fees for SLU and Downtown that range from $5.55 – $13.75 per square foot and performance requirements that range from 2.1% – 6% of all units in a building.   This is a smaller requirement than if the same formula that was used for the University District and proposed for the rest of the City was also used in SLU and downtown.  Consequently, developers in Downtown and South Lake Union would pay a fee that recaptures less of the value conveyed through the upzone than their counterparts outside of Downtown and SLU.

  1. Were the Incentive Zoning requirements passed in 2013 based on the value of the upzone?

The proposal for the Downtown and South Lake Union MHA program is not based on the value conveyed by the 2013 upzone, which increased heights for residential development in most areas of South lake Union from 85-240 feet.  Rather, the payment and performance requirements reflected what developers and property owners convinced the 2013 Council was a good incentive for them to build.

  1. How much higher did our consultant at the time say the incentive zoning fees could be set with still guaranteeing a good “return on equity” for investors and developers?

In 2013, Spectrum Development Solutions estimated that the City could establish a voluntary in-lieu incentive zoning payment almost four times greater than was adopted with upzones in the South Lake Union area and still allow development to achieve an economic rate of return that would attract investment.  While the Spectrum study was based on an assumption that units provided through incentive zoning would be affordable to households with somewhat higher incomes than proposed under the MHA-R framework, the analysis indicates that there is uncaptured value from the currently proposed upzone that could be reflected in higher payment and performance requirements for MHA-R.

  1. How might production proposed for Downtown/ SLU under the MHA-R program change, if the Council used the same methodology for all the MHA proposed upzones?

If we were to use the formula proposed for all the other upzones in the proposed SLU/Downtown upzone we could build approximately 320-450 more affordable housing units over a 20 year period.  The additional $1.3 – $1.9 million a year in fees could leverage other housing funds (up to a 1-3 leverage) potentially a total as much as $3.9 million – $5.7 million more a year.

Here are some details using the Office of Planning and Community Development’s assumptions for how growth downtown would be distributed among zones and uses under two scenarios as compared to the current proposal.

Scenario 1 – Using capitalized revenue methodology proposed for outside of Downtown to establish a payment of $12.80 in the Downtown and South Lake Union Urban Centers based on a 5% performance requirement.

Scenario 2 – Same as Scenario 1 above, but assuming current market rents of $3.04/gsf, which would establish a payment of $14.20/gsf.

In-Lieu Payments Leveraged Amount Estimated Production with leveraged resources
Mayor’s Current Proposal $ 59,362,000.00  $ 133,564,500.00 742 Units
Scenario 1 ($12.80 s.f.) $ 87,776,000.00  $ 197,496,000.00 1,087 Units
Scenario 2 ($14.20 s.f.) $ 97,376,000.00  $ 219,096,000.00 1,217 units

These modest increases in payment and performance requirements go further to address the affordable housing crisis and use the private investment of developers to leverage significant additional affordable housing dollars, all while still providing an economic incentive for developers.  They also ensure a more consistent policy framework across the entire MHA Affordable Housing Program – so that we can say that in all places the program applies we are capturing the value of the additional development capacity that the City is granting and turning it into affordable housing.

South Park Crime and Public Safety Survey

The Seattle Neighborhood Group is conducting a Crime and Public Safety Survey about the 8th and Cloverdale area. You can take the survey online here, or call 206-322-1161 between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. on weekdays. The Seattle Neighborhood Group has worked on neighborhood safety problems over the last 25 years.

Harbor Ave SW and SW Spokane St Intersection Improvements 

SDOT is taking public comment for Harbor Ave SW and SW Spokane St Intersection Improvements, funded through the 2016 Neighborhood Street Fund awards.

The Early Design Concept is shown on the project webpage, and copied on the right. SDOT is asking for comments about the design concept, and your experiences there. You can send comments to NSFHarborandSpokane@seattle.gov.

Here’s a March 2017 project update, and the SDOT’s review of the 2016 grant application.

You can sign up here for e-mail updates.  Design is planned for 2017, and construction in 2018.

Chief Sealth High School Walkway Improvements

SDOT is also taking comments on walkway improvements to enhance access to Chief Sealth High School, also funded through the Neighborhood Street Fund. The project would install two 10-foot wide walkways on 25th SW and 26th SW to the cul-de-sacs to the north, and add pedestrian lights, and provide a better connection between Westwood Village, transit stops, and Chief Sealth High School.

The Early Design Concept is shown on the project webpage, and copied below. SDOT is asking for comments about the design concept, and your experiences there. You can send comments to NSFHarborandSpokane@seattle.gov.

Here’s a March 2017 project update, and the SDOT’s review of the 2016 grant application.

You can sign up here for e-mail updates.  Design is planned for 2017, and construction in 2018.

A new round of Neighborhood Street Fund applications is scheduled for 2019.

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Equality Act Resolution, Herbold Policy Letters and Statements This Week, Fauntleroy Project tour public walk-through on Saturday the 18th, Delridge Rapid Ride H Line online survey/town hall and outreach events , D1 events coming up next week

March 17th, 2017

Equality Act Resolution

On March 13 the Seattle City Council unanimously passed the Equality Act Resolution, naming the day Equality Act Day. This Resolution calls upon Congress to reintroduce and enact the 2015 Equality Act, adding sexual orientation and gender identity to existing protected classes in our federal civil rights laws, including protections from discrimination in work spaces, housing, and public spaces. It would also clarify that transgender students can use single-sex facilities in schools corresponding to their gender identity or expression.

Gathering support for the Equality Act among local, municipal governments is the strategy of a national movement to ensure our federal civil rights laws are fully inclusive of protections for LGBTQ community members.  With the passage of this Resolution Seattle joined cities like Boston and Palm Springs in uplifting the rights of our LGBTQ brothers and sisters. When states like South Dakota, which just made it legal for taxpayer-funded adoption and foster care agencies to discriminate against LGBTQ people, we cannot wait for the political climate to change. The existing state to state patchwork of LGBTQ rights is ineffective and we need new federal law to consistently be applied.

Congressman Adam Smith and Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal will be cosponsors to the bill when it is reintroduced later this month.  Both Senators Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray are also fully supporting this bill.

Many thanks to Councilmember González, Harrell and O’Brien for co-sponsoring this bill. I would also like to thank Richard Noble and the national advocates working with my office to support this important legislation. Our local activists: the Seattle LGBTQ Commission, LGBTQ Allyship, the Gender Justice League, and the Pride Foundation and the Greater Seattle Business Association get my gratitude as well for working on this Resolution with my office.

 

Herbold Policy Letters and Statements This Week

Here are links to letters and statements I authored this week:

  • A letter to the state legislature in support of House Bill 1527, the Motion Picture Competitiveness Program. As Chair of the Seattle City Council Committee with oversight of Arts and Economic and Labor issues, I think it’s critical that we support a program that has created over 17,500 jobs for Washingtonians totaling an estimated $53 million in wages and benefits for Washington residents. Eight-seven percent of the 115 projects approved for funding assistance signed union contracts.
  • A statement opposing proposed cuts in Trump’s budget on the arts and public broadcasting, and announcing a forum I’ll be co-sponsoring with the Seattle Office of Arts and Culture on the National Endowment for the Arts and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. This funding accounts for about four one-hundredths of one percent of the United States’ annual federal discretionary spending, yet these programs are on the chopping block, while planning for a ridiculous wall is proposed in its stead.
  • A letter, signed by 7 of 9 City Councilmembers to the King County Council in support of Councilmember Dave Upthegrove’s bill requiring youth in the detention center be provided with an opportunity to consult with attorneys prior to speaking with law enforcement; the State Supreme Court held earlier this month that “because children are different…criminal procedure laws must take the defendants’ youthfulness into account.”

 

Fauntleroy Project tour public walk-through on Saturday the 18th

SDOT will be hosting a public “Walk and Talk” tour of the Fauntleroy Boulevard Project area on Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to noon.  You can RSVP here; more information is available at the Project website.

 

Delridge Rapid Ride H Line online survey/town hall and outreach events

SDOT has set an “Online Open House” from March 13-31 on the proposed RapidRide H Line. King County Metro and SDOT are collaborating to convert the 120 bus line into a new rapid ride line in 2020. The webpage links to a description of the Delridge Corridor, opportunities and constraints, and tradeoffs.

SDOT has listed two options, which can be viewed here.

An online survey is linked here; you can sign up for e-mail updates here.  In-person events are planned on Delridge from 3/20 to 3/24; the schedule is here. SDOT’s goal for a citywide 2024 Rapid Ride network is linked here.

 

 

D1 events coming up next week

Join me at the Fauntleroy Food Fest and Annual Meeting. Meet and mingle with friends and neighbors to learn about the different organizations serving the Fauntleroy neighborhood. Food will be provided by the Fauntleroy-area restaurants and a no-host bar. They will also be collecting food bank donations.

 

 

Admiral Theater Grand Reopening! Announced by the Southwest Seattle Historical Society “The Ship Sails Again: Four Screens, Four Era” grand reopening is coming up on Wednesday the 22, the ceremony starts at 5:30pm and films start at 6:20pm.

 

 

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International Women’s Day, Secure Scheduling Draft Rules, In-District Office Hours March 24th , Campaign to Trump-proof Seattle, Delridge Way Ride and Chat: March 11, Seattle is seeking the next Civic Poet

March 10th, 2017

International Women’s Day

On Monday, the Full Council, in collaboration with the Seattle Women’s Commission, Proclaimed March 8, 2017, International Women’s Day. This is an opportunity to look back on progress made, celebrate Women’s acts of courage, and call for women to continue to do extraordinary acts to improve the lives of women in all countries and communities. The change we seek will require people who identify as both men and women to link arms and reject violence in all its forms.

Not only is March 8 International Women’s Day, but March is National Women’s History Month.  This year’s theme is to “Honor women who have successfully challenged the role of women in both business and the paid labor force.” As we know, women have always worked, yet throughout history the work of women has been undervalued and women are still underpaid. According to the Center for American Progress, in 2016 and noted in the graph below, “in the United States, the average woman is paid 77 cents for every dollar a man makes, for African American women 63 cents; Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander 60 cents, American Indian 58 cents; and Hispanic women only 54 cents for every dollar made by a white man.”

In addition, the United States is the only developed country without a paid family and medical leave policy. This is one of the largest contributions to the current gender wage gap. I look forward to improve policies that will improve the lives of women.

 

Secure Scheduling Draft Rules

As you may recall, Secure Scheduling is a law the Council passed last year in order to address problematic scheduling practices.

Since the passage of the ordinance, the Office of Labor Standards has convened eight stakeholder meetings in order to develop administrative rules that will guide implementation and enforcement of the law. The draft rules will be presented to my committee on Tuesday the 14th. The rules will be released on Monday the 13th and the public is encouraged to comment on them through the end of March.

The bill was voted on at the September 19th Full Council meeting and was unanimously approved. It addresses unfair scheduling practices such as an increase in the use of part-time employees, just-in-time scheduling (real time schedule adjustments), and pressure to “stay within hours” due to tight labor budgets. All of this leads to scheduling unpredictability and volatility, a higher headcount of part-time workers, and fewer hours on average worked for each employee.  For the details of the legislation, check out one of my blog posts here or this website which details the ordinance.

If after the draft rule release you have comments, please send them by email to karina.bull@seattle.gov or by regular mail to:

Seattle Office of Labor Standards

810 Third Ave, Suite 750

Seattle, WA  98104-1627

Attn:  Karina Bull, Senior Policy Analyst/Secure Scheduling Rule Comment

 

In-District Office Hours March 24th

I will be at the Senior Center of West Seattle (4217 SW Oregon St), Friday March 24th from 2:00pm – 7:00pm. The final meeting of the day will begin at 6:30pm.

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

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

Date Location Address
Friday, March 24, 2017 Senior Center of West Seattle 4217 SW Oregon St
Friday, April 28, 2017 Southwest Neighborhood Service Center 2801 SW Thistle St
Friday, May 26, 2017 Senior Center of West Seattle 4217 SW Oregon St
Friday, June 23, 2017 South Park Community Center 8319 8TH Avenue S
Friday, July 28, 2017 Southwest Neighborhood Service Center 2801 SW Thistle St
Friday, August 18, 2017 Senior Center of West Seattle 4217 SW Oregon St
Friday, September 22, 2017 South Park Community Center 8319 8TH Avenue S
Friday, October 27, 2017 Southwest Neighborhood Service Center 2801 SW Thistle St
Friday, December 15, 2017 South Park Community Center 8319 8TH Avenue S

 

 

Campaign to Trump-proof Seattle

Earlier this week I co-hosted a presentation by a number of community groups titled “Trump-Proof Seattle: A Lunch and Learn Forum on Tax Justice. Presenters included the Transit Riders Union, the Seattle Education Association, the King County Labor Council, PTE Local 17, the Tenants Union, and Plum Bistro.

The presentation focused on the need to address the fact that Washington state has the nation’s most regressive state and local tax system. The poorest 20% pay 16.8% of income as taxes, compared to 2.4% for the top 1%, a 686% disparity. The poorest 20% have to work two full months just to cover those taxes; yet the top 1% do so in only 6 weekdays.

The presentation examined the potential long-term options to address this disparity that could prompt a legal challenge with the objective of overturning the statewide prohibition against state and municipal income taxes.

What’s next?  There are Town Hall events planned for every district.  The first is in District 4 with Councilmember Rob Johnson.  There’s a Work Party this Sunday at Casa Latina.

Sunday, 3/12 – 1:00 – 5:00 PM: Campaign Work Party @ Casa Latina, 317 17th Ave S.

Thursday, 3/16 – 5:00 – 7:00 PM: Happy Hour Social @ Optimism Brewing Co., 1158 Broadway.

Thursday, 3/23 – 8:00 – 9:45 PM: District 4 Town Hall @ University Heights Center, 5031 University Way NE.

 

Delridge Way Ride and Chat: March 11

West Seattle Bike Connections is hosting a ride and conversation about the possibilities for bicycle facilities on or parallel to Delridge as part of the Delridge Multimodal Corridor project.  An October, 2016 SDOT corridor study workshop is linked here. Funding was included in the 2015 Move Seattle levy.

It begins at Uptown Espresso on Delridge at Andover (3845 Delridge Way SW) at 2:30pm; the ride starts at 3:00pm

 

Seattle is seeking the next Civic Poet

The two-year term of Seattle’s wonderful Civic Poet Claudia Luna Castro will be coming to an end later this year, so the Office of Arts and Culture is seeking applications for Civic Poet.

This call is open to Seattle-based poets who have an established body of work including published work and/or spoken word experience. Applicants should have demonstrated interest in promoting equity and inclusion through the arts and through the power of the written and spoken word. Students are not eligible to apply.

The deadline for applications is April 24; the Office of Arts and Culture will host a workshop on eligibility and how to apply on April 6 from 5:30 to 7 p.m. in the 12th Avenue Arts Conference Room at 1620 12th Avenue, 2nd floor offices. Further information about the Civic Poet position and duties is available at the Office of Arts & Culture website; Civic Poet Claudia Castro Luna has curated monthly readings at the Seattle City Council Civil Rights, Utilities, Economic Development and Arts committee that I chair. You can also contact lizzy.melton@seattle.gov.

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City Council statement after threats to the Jewish community and New Hate Crimes Hotline; Renter’s Commission; District 1 Your Voice, Your Choice Project Development Team meetings in March for Parks, Street Fund; March 11 Metro service changes; Symphony/5th Avenue Theatre Community Service in the Arts Events: March 8, 17/18; Seattle LGBTQ Commissioner Appointments

March 3rd, 2017


City Council statement after threats to the Jewish community and New Hate Crimes Hotline

Earlier this week the Council issued a statement in response to a bomb threat against the Stroum Jewish Community Center on Mercer Island and the anti-Semitic and racist graffiti found in Ballard. In the statement, we expressed our condemnation of hate speech and threats of violence.  We also called upon the Department of Justice to condemn these actions and pursue prosecution and we expressed our solidarity with the South Asian families in Kansas, targeted in recent hate crimes.  You can read the statement here.

This week the Seattle Office for Civil Rights (SOCR) also announced a new hotline (206-233-7100) to report harassment in Seattle. It is illegal in Seattle to harass someone based on race, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity and other protected groups. The Hotline is part of the City of Seattle’s Bias Hurts Campaign for targets of discriminatory harassment, including threats, slurs, intimidation and cyberbullying. SOCR is coordinating with the Seattle Police Department, which enforces criminal laws against hate crimes, also known as malicious harassment. Anyone who experiences physical violence, property damage or threats should call 911 to report directly to the police.

SOCR can investigate allegations of discriminatory harassment, issue findings and mandate remedies in cases of discriminatory harassment in housing, employment, or public places that does not rise to the level of a crime.

Finally, you may recall that in response to reports of a spike in bias and hate crimes, I requested that the City Auditor analyze how we address hate crimes, including analyzing geographic and demographic trends, possible strategies for prevention, and consideration of questions from the US Department of Justice Center for Community Policing Services Hate Crimes report.  For data on reported bias and hate crimes, visit the Seattle Police Department’s Bias/Hate Crime Data Dashboard.

 


Renter’s Commission

Did you know that 53.8 percent of Seattle’s housing units are occupied by renters, and approximately 48% of residents in the city are renters?  Renters are an important part of our city. The Affordable Housing, Neighborhood and Finance Committee held its first discussion on proposed legislation to create a Renters’ Commission this morning, March 3, 2017.

The proposal to create this Commission was first advocated for by Zachary DeWolf of the Capitol Hill Community Council.   I am excited to join Councilmembers Burgess and O’Brien in responding to this proposal because we need to ensure that, as our city grows and changes, the renters’ voice will be heard as a part of our decision-making.

Some people have expressed concern that we are creating a special interest group.  The City has 45 Boards and Commissions representing special interest groups.  With so many people in Seattle being renters, it’s appropriate to have a commission committed to lifting the voice of renters.  The formation of this Commission will not minimize the input of property owners, rather it will broaden the opportunity for more inclusive input from a significant portion of Seattle’s population.

The Renters Commission will represent a diverse set of renter voices from across the city. The Commission will be empowered to advise on a variety of issues ranging from transportation, land use and community development, to monitoring the implementation of the city’s new landlord tenant legislation, like Source of Income Discrimination and the Move In Fees legislation, as well as watch dogging enforcement of older laws like the Just Cause Eviction Ordinance, Rental Housing Registration and Inspection Program, the Tenant Relocation Assistance Ordinance, and the Rental Agreement Regulation Ordinance.

The AHNF Committee plans to vote on this legislation, Wednesday, March 15, 2017, at 9:30am.

 


District 1 Your Voice, Your Choice Project Development Team Meetings in March for Parks, Street Fund

The Department of Neighborhoods (DON) is using the “Your Voice, Your Choice” participatory budgeting approach for the Neighborhood Parks and Street Fund this year, which will include proposal evaluations and public voting within each of Seattle’s 7 Council districts.

According to a DON presentation in committee today, nearly 900 ideas were collected citywide, more than four times as many as during last year’s Neighborhood Parks and Street Fund process, and twice as many ideas as collected in last year’s youth-oriented participatory budgeting.  District 1 submitted the most ideas of all 7 districts with 209 ideas submitted. A list of ideas submitted by Council District should be available next week. The 2017 Idea Collection web page shows all the ideas submitted.

The next step in the process is Project Development, during March; this will involve grouping and narrowing the ideas; after that, they will be passed on to SDOT and Parks for refinement.

If you’d like to be involved in the District 1 Project Development Team, contact Jenny Frankl  jenny.frankl@seattle.gov ; you can register here for the meetings:  March 9 at the Southwest Branch of the Seattle Public Library; March 13 @ Neighborhood House in High Point; March 21 at Highland Park Improvement Club, and March 30 at the Southwest Branch of the library. Everyone is welcome to attend and participate. Meetings are from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

 


March 11 Metro service changes

Service changes are coming to King County Metro bus service beginning on Saturday, March 11, affecting roughly one-third of Metro routes.  Metro’s approved budget will add 300,000 service hours during 2017-2018.

Metro’s prioritizes service additions based on 1) crowding, 2) reliability, 3) and target service level.

In District One, additions are as follows:

Routes with added trips and schedule changes: 21E

With added trips to address crowding: C line

Schedule changes to address reliability: 21E, 22, 37, 55, 57, 60, 119E, 128

I am also excited for future scheduled investments in September that will include the 116, 125, 131, and 132.

Revisions to the C, 21E, 60 are linked here; changes to other routes can be linked on the PDF collection linked at that page.

 


Symphony/5th Avenue Theatre Community Service in the Arts Events:  March 8, 17/18

On Tuesday, the Council committee I chair hosted a “Community Service in the Arts” presentation featuring the community service of the 5th Avenue Theatre and the Seattle Symphony.

The Symphony recently hosted a “Music Beyond Borders: Voices from the 7” free concert featuring the music of Iran, Sudan, Iraq, Somalia and Syria. The performance took place soon after the President’s immigration executive order, which was halted after a challenge by Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson. You can view the performance here.

The Symphony also discussed the important work that they do with people experiencing homelessness.  Their current project is a collaboration with Pathway With Art. For 16 weeks students work on an original score inspired by the idea that “we are all here”–that Seattle’s ever-changing social and economic climate is one that we all need to navigate together.

They will host a culminating performance of the We Are All Here Project on Wednesday, March 8 at 7 p.m. at Benaroya Hall. Admission is free.  The performance will showcase the banners and poetry that have inspired the composition.

The 5th Avenue Theatre presented about their education programs, which include the Rising Star Project, which provides education opportunities for youth from throughout the region, with a focus on historically underserved schools.

The project includes students performing plays two weeks after the regular run ends. Unions and 5th Avenue Theatre staff collaborate to mentor students, who perform the play, and provide technical support in marketing, casting, and production.

The students will perform The Pajama Game, about workers seeking a 7 ½ cent pay raise, on March 17th and 18th. More information is available here.

These are just a couple of the community projects of the Seattle Symphony and the 5th  Avenue Theatre.  They both do so much more.  For more details see here and here.        

 


Seattle LGBTQ Commissioner Appointments

The Seattle Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) Commission has vacancies for which I would welcome interest of community members in filling. The LGBTQ Commission advises the Mayor, Council, and city departments about issues of concern affecting the LGBTQ community, recommends policies and legislation, brings the LGBTQ communities and the larger Seattle community together through long-range projects, and ensures that City departments equitably address issues affecting and involving Seattle’s LGBTQ individuals and communities. This is a volunteer position that meets monthly and requires regular meeting attendance and has a two year term of office.

To learn more about the commission please visit www.seattle.gov/lgbtq and you can also attend their next meeting Thursday, March 16, 2017, at 6:30pm, at City Hall in the Boards and Commissioners Room.

If you are interested in applying for the commission, please send your resume and cover letter to lisa.herbold@seattle.gov and cc: Commissioner Liaison Erika.pablo@seattle.gov

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Priority Hire, West Point Treatment Plant, High Point Community Center Play area renovation project meeting on Saturday, African-American History Month, Destination Delridge, Volunteer Opportunity: Victim Support Team, Update on In-District Office Hours

February 24th, 2017

Priority Hire

This year we celebrate two years since the Priority Hire legislation was adopted. This program maximizes the City’s investment in public infrastructure to help residents secure apprenticeship and journey level employment opportunities on city funded public works projects

What is Priority Hire?  Prior to the 2015 passage of the Priority Hire legislation the percentage of Seattle residents working on taxpayer funded public works projects was only 5%, which means  95% of workers on these projects were non-Seattle residents. The program requires that public works construction project contracts totaling $5 million or more are covered by a master community workforce agreement that: (1) requires a minimum percentage of workers being local residents from economically disadvantaged zip codes; and (2) minimum requirements for utilization of apprentices that come from pre-apprenticeship programs.  This 2nd requirement improves the opportunities of un/underemployed workers receiving entry-level training to eventually be placed on public works projects as apprentices and gives them access to living wage careers.

On Tuesday, February 28, 2017, at 9:30a.m., the 2016 Priority Hire Annual Report and the Priority Hire Advisory Committee Report will be discussed during the Civil Rights, Utilities, Economic Development and Arts Committee (CRUEDA).  A few highlights that will be discussed next week include:

  • Seattle residents doubled their percentage of hours on projects compared to past projects.
  • Workers in economically distressed zip codes in Seattle perform more than three times the hours as compared to past projects.
  • Women work more than two times the hours, compared to previous years.

The Mayor recently proposed an Executive Order to make some immediate changes to the program and, in addition, the Mayor has proposed new legislation that will be discussed in the CRUEDA committee in March and April 2017.  If you are interested, please sign up for agendas to track this issue.

 

West Point Treatment Plant

As many of you are aware, King County’s West Point Treatment Plant experienced an equipment malfunction and flooding during intense rains and maximum flow to the treatment plant on Thursday February 9th. To protect the plant from further damage the facility operated in emergency bypass mode on the 9th and again on February 16th.

During the initial overflow, an estimated 250 million gallons of storm water and sewage was discharged into the Sound over a 19-hour period. As much as 90% of overflow was storm water, which can include contaminates such as dust from brake pads, engine oil, and yard chemicals. Additionally, sewage contains bacteria and pathogens that can make people sick. To protect public health, King County posted signage and closed beaches in impacted areas and sent out press releases and social media alerts. Discovery Park, Golden Gardens Park, and Carkeek Park beaches were closed. With approval from Public Health-Seattle & King County, all beaches were opened on February 21st after favorable water quality tests over multiple days.

Major effort by King County employees and contractors is underway to restore the West Point Treatment Plant. As of February 22nd, about 95% of the treatment plant was cleaned and sanitized. Workers continue assessing and restoring damaged electrical and mechanical equipment.  Electrical demolition and assessment is at 55 percent complete plant-wide. Additional cleaning and sanitizing is needed in the lowest below-grade levels of the treatment plant, which are currently used for mechanical parts storage.

Upon learning of this situation, I asked a couple of questions of SPU:

  • Does this situation create non-compliance with the Federal Consent Decree?
    • SPU’s answer: No, our Consent Decree has no provisions related to the operation of King County’s system other than that we coordinate with King County on system operations.
  • When a facility malfunctions to this extent, do our system operations change?
    • SPU’s answer: Not significantly, however we do coordinate on system operations on an ongoing basis to ensure that impacts to public health and the environment are mitigated to the greatest extent possible.

SPU also notified me that they are working on a report summarizing the impacts of the situation on the City’s sewer system, I will update you when I have that in hand.

As King County continues to make progress, you can stay up-to-date by visiting this page from King County and following King County’s social media channels. Additionally, King County developed a FAQ which you can find here to learn more about the incident.

Finally, I wanted to make sure you knew about another incident at a King County sewer regulator in South Park. A gate malfunction resulted in sewer backups into homes and caused customers in South Park to experience sewer backups into their homes. King County, again taking the lead, relocated 27 customers with 11 total properties impacted, three customers have returned home. The cause of the problem was a failure of a controller that operates the overflow gate in backup mode to allow overflows to the Duwamish.  The equipment has been repaired, and King County continues to work on residential cleanup and repair so that people can return home.

 

High Point Community Center Play area renovation project meeting on Saturday

Seattle Parks and Recreation is replacing playground equipment at the High Point Community Center Play area, and  will be holding a meeting for community input on Saturday, February 25th from 1-3 p.m. at the High Point Community Center, at 4920 34th Avenue SW.

This project will replace the play equipment, provide access improvements, and improve safety and other features at the park. Funding comes from the Seattle Parks District approved by voters in 2014.

You can also take an online survey about the project.

Information posters are available in English,  Amharic, Oromo, Somali, Spanish, and Tigrigna and are also available at the renovation project webpage.

 

African-American History Month – Breaking Through the Wall of Slavery

During the month of February I am featuring upcoming events in my emails to help promote the dozens of events that are happening in honor of Black History Month. Here is one such event:

The Seattle Public Library will be hosting a presentation on African-American genealogy by Janice Lovelace, Ph.D.:

“Want to trace your ancestors but keep getting stuck? Many African American researchers struggle to break through the brick wall of slavery… [Janice Lovelace, Ph.D.] will demonstrate techniques to identify emancipated slaves and their prior slave-owners through the use of land, probate, census and court records.  Janice Lovelace, Ph.D., has 20 years of experience in family history research as well as academic work in the area (Genealogy and Family History certificate at University of Washington in 2012, certificate program in genealogy at Boston University in 2013, ProGen 18). A member of Seattle Genealogical Society for a number of years, she joined the SGS Board as Vice-President in 2014. She is a member of Association of Professional Genealogists and National Genealogical Society. In her work life, she is a licensed clinical psychologist with a specialization in child and family therapy and has been a private practice therapist and a faculty member teaching psychology.”

When: This Saturday, February 25th between 1:00 pm and 3:00 pm

Where: Seattle Public Library, central branch, 1000 4th Ave

Cost: Free

For more information visit the event page here.

 

Destination Delridge

Tonight the Delridge Neighborhood Development Association (DNDA) will be hosting their annual fundraiser. This year’s theme is “Art | Nature | Neighborhood” and among many great achievements they are celebrating the addition of Nature Consortium to their suite of programs.

For more information about the event site linked here. And if you would like to purchase a ticket or donate, you can do that here.

Event details:

When: Friday, February 24th, 6pm mingle, 7pm dinner

Where: Metropolist, 2931 1st Ave S

 

Volunteer Opportunity: Victim Support Team

The Victim Support Team is a mobile crisis responsible team that assists people impacted by domestic violence by offering on-scene and over-the-phone support. Every weekend, volunteers work in teams of 2 and provide resource referral, safety planning and emergency supplies.

Information about qualifications and applications are available at the support team website. Applicants must have a valid Washington driver’s license, and pass a background check.

Spring Academy is 8:00am-4:30pm, Mondays and Tuesdays for 3 weeks in May, in the Seattle Municipal Tower.  The deadline to apply is March 1

For additional information or questions, please contact the VST Volunteer Supervisor, Kaylee.dimaggio@seattle.gov or call (206) 615-0892.

 

Update on In-District Office Hours

I will be at the South Park Community Center (8319 8th Avenue S) today, Friday February 24th, from 12:00pm – 5:30pm.  The final meeting of the day will begin at 5:00pm. The slight change is to accommodate the Destination Delridge event which starts at 6:00pm.

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, but I wanted to make sure you had a rough idea of when I would be available and where.

 

Date Location Address
Friday, February 24, 2017 South Park Community Center 8319 8TH Avenue S
Friday, March 24, 2017 Senior Center of West Seattle 4217 SW Oregon St
Friday, April 28, 2017 Southwest Neighborhood Service Center 2801 SW Thistle St
Friday, May 26, 2017 Senior Center of West Seattle 4217 SW Oregon St
Friday, June 23, 2017 South Park Community Center 8319 8TH Avenue S
Friday, July 28, 2017 Southwest Neighborhood Service Center 2801 SW Thistle St
Friday, August 18, 2017 Senior Center of West Seattle 4217 SW Oregon St
Friday, September 22, 2017 South Park Community Center 8319 8TH Avenue S
Friday, October 27, 2017 Southwest Neighborhood Service Center 2801 SW Thistle St
Friday, December 15, 2017 South Park Community Center 8319 8TH Avenue S

 

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Court Victory, Highland Park Mudslide, Landmarks Preservation Board, Update on $29 Million Housing Bond, Delridge Action Plan Tour Follow Up, Guaranteed OLS Funding, African-American History Month, In-District Office Hours

February 23rd, 2017


Court Victory

With pronouncements, unconstitutional Executive Orders, alarming nominations, and immigration raids coming from Trump administration, many of our neighbors, family, and loved ones are rightly feeling vulnerable.  In light of these daily events, today’s news was a huge victory for the values of nondiscrimination, in particular beneficial to members of the LGBTQ community. Today’s ruling in State of Washington v. Arlene’s Flowers, the court found that a Richland florist, Barronelle Stutzman, violated anti-discrimination law when she refused to serve a gay couple in their order for flowers for their wedding. I am proud and relieved to learn that the Washington State Supreme Court unanimously upheld the Washington statute that guarantees people the “full enjoyment” of public accommodations and prohibits “all discriminatory acts,” including those that “directly or indirectly” result in “any distinction, restriction, or discrimination” based on sexual orientation.


Highland Park Mudslide

You’ve likely heard that there was a significant mudslide on Highland Park Way in the early hours of Wednesday morning that not only knocked out power but also closed Highland Park Way.  Though the power was restored the road is still closed.  As I am writing this blog post, City Light is on site removing the line from the leaning pole and working to clear debris from the road.  They will then remove the pole to allow cleanup to continue.  The Seattle Department of Transportation reported Wednesday that “the landslide area seems to be stable and there were no new slides overnight.”  Once the pole is removed, it is the assessment of SDOT’s geo tech, that SDOT can then begin to clean up the street.  SDOT says they made significant progress on Thursday, and resumed cleanup operations this morning at 7 a.m. I understand that residents can access SW Othello via SW Austin and 7th Ave SW.

I’ve asked SDOT what kind of assessment they’ll be doing about the long-term safety of this area from future slides, and what improvements we can expect after the cleanup.

I thank King County Metro for their quick rerouting of Route 131 to accommodate bus riders in the area (myself included).  The incident highlights for me – once again – the need for an emphasis upon improvements on Highland Park Way. So many people (from all over West Seattle) use this corridor to get off the peninsula.  What might have once been a little-known egress is not any longer.

The Highland Park Action Committee has long been an advocate for improvements to the Holden and Highland Park intersection to slow down and make traffic flow more efficient.  The focus of those efforts has been on the design and development of an arterial roundabout.  SDOT agrees that improvements to this corridor are warranted.  It is not funded at this time.  I have inquired with SDOT about the funding estimate for the design portion alone to see if I can help identify some funding to give the project some momentum.

Though the focus of the community has been on the roundabout, I am inquiring with SDOT whether they’ve considered lane separation as an improvement.  Many people I know who are familiar with this road drive in the outermost lanes and avoid the opposite direction inner lanes because of the driving practices of people less familiar with the route, or practices of those who are familiar but speed hazardously nonetheless.

 


Landmarks Preservation Board designates Crescent-Hamm Building, nominates Campbell Building

Yesterday the Landmarks Preservation Board voted to designate the Crescent-Hamm Building as an historic landmark; this is the building where Easy Street Records is located, on the northwest corner of California Avenue SW and SW Alaska Street in the West Seattle Junction.

I attended the meeting and testified in support during public comment.

The Board also voted in favor of nominating the Campbell Building as an historic landmark.  Nomination is the first step prior to formal historical designation.  They will consider the designation of the Campbell Building at the April 15 meeting. The Campbell Building is across the street, on the northeast corner of California and Alaska, where Cupcake Royale is located.

Earlier this month I sent a letter to the Landmarks Preservation in support of designating the Crescent-Hamm Building as an historic landmark, and in support of the nomination of the Campbell Building.

To be designated, a building must be at least 25 years old and meet at least one of the categories listed under SMC 25.12.350. The first step the Board takes is to approve the nomination; the next step is to approve its designation.

Once designated by the Board, a Controls and Incentives agreement is negotiated with the property owner; once signed, it is forwarded to the Board for approval at a public meeting, then sent to the City Council for approval.

Hearty congratulations are due to the Southwest Seattle Historical Society who proposed the nominations.  Historic preservation is critically important in the areas where we are seeing change and new development.  With preservation of precious historic assets, we are able to maintain a bridge to our history, our culture, and what makes the Junction special.

 


Update on $29 Million Housing Bond

On Wednesday, 2/15/17, the Affordable Housing Neighborhood and Finance Committee approved two pieces of legislation that get us closer to using the $29 Million allocated during the Budget process to expand financing for affordable housing in 2017.  The Full Council will vote on 2/21/2017.

The first, CB 118196, essentially creates a line of credit to spend all or some of the $29 million in 2017 because we cannot issue the bonds until 2018.  The second, CB 118917 allows the City to create a new fund account – or simply – a place to put the funds.

in December, after passage of the $29 Million Housing Bond in the November budget, my office worked against the clock with the Office of Housing (OH) and the City Budget Office (CBO) to identify projects in time for a 2017 bond issuance. Unfortunately, we were not able to determine the specific eligible projects by the January deadline for the 2017 bond issuance that occurs only once a year in April.  The actions described above will give us more time while allowing the City to use some or all of the $29M for affordable housing projects in 2017.

OH plans to issue more than one “Notice of Funding Availability” (NOFA) opportunity in 2017.  This will either allow eligible projects to be vetted through the OH’s existing Housing Levy competitive funding process or the OH can issue a special Request for Proposal if a housing project that we want to fund is outside of the scope of the Housing Levy.

 


Delridge Action Plan Tour Follow Up

On Tuesday I toured Delridge to explore some items in the Delridge Action Plan. The Action Plan establishes five priorities including: “a community where all people can live their lives to the fullest potential; parks and natural environment that support a healthy neighborhood; great neighborhood destinations; a complete transportation network where walking biking and taking transit are easy choices; and access to affordable, healthy food. Each priority includes a vision discussion, associated goals, policies and implementation strategies.”

We started at the Youngstown Cultural Arts Center where we met up with a few members of the Advisory Board and department staff. We received a briefing from staff and talked about the multimodal transportation project in the Delridge Corridor, the plan to improve the natural drainage systems for Longfellow Creek, the wetlands & stewardship project, the proposed Delridge Grocery Co-op – the recent recipient of a $100,000 grant from the King County Conservation District funding – at Cottage Grove Apartments, and finally a Delridge business survey to catalogue businesses and their needs in the area.

Later we all loaded into a van and visited the newly dubbed “Brandon Junction” where more investments are needed to add sidewalks to create pedestrian connections with High Point.  The community has successfully applied for and received funding for piecemeal sidewalk installation, but more is needed to make the well-used travel route safe for walkers. We also visited Longfellow Creek, and the wetlands just off the Brandon Junction where community members are interested in opening visual sightlines from the street to the golf course, currently obstructed by foliage. Coincidently, while we were visiting the wetlands the Energy and Environment Committee voted unanimously to transfer the former Delridge Substation property from Seattle City Light to the Parks and Recreation Department. With the financial backing from the Delridge Neighborhood Development Association (DNDA) the City will acquire the property for open space and a natural wetland.  The wetland will detain storm water runoff, alleviating flooding of neighborhood yards and driveways, and will provide biofiltration of storm water runoff before it enters Longfellow Creek.  The DNDA will partner with Seattle Tilth, the Nature Consortium, and staff and students from Louisa Boren STEM K-8 school, to develop and manage part of the property as a permaculture food forest. This land management system combines aspects of the native habitat with edible forest gardening. A children’s garden will link classroom and field experience to educate local youth in environmental science and stewardship.

This is an exciting opportunity for the neighborhood, and I am thankful that DNDA was able to support this project. Preservation of green space maintains livability in a growing city.

 


Guaranteed OLS Funding

This week in the Affordable Housing, Neighborhoods and Finance Committee we heard bill that would identify a guaranteed revenue source for the Office of Labor Standards (OLS), and create a new dedicated fund for that revenue to be used for the costs of the operations and activities of the OLS. This revenue would support enforcement activities, including the investigation of complaints and directed investigations, as well as the education and outreach to employers and employees. Additionally, this legislation would require the Director of the OLS to certify by September 1, of each year, the level of funding required to maintain the office’s enforcement activities to ensure the necessary funding is reflected in the Mayor’s proposed budget.

The revenue source for the OLS’ enforcement activities is the existing City’s business license tax, commonly known as the business & occupation tax.

The OLS is responsible for administering and enforcing six local labor laws. The threat loss of Federal funding has never been more real, and this proposal will provide a stable funding source for the OLS to ensure that the $15 minimum wage and our other labor laws will be enforced.

A University of Washington study last April found that 72 percent of workers, including 91 percent of immigrant workers, did not know about or had just a vague understanding about their rights under the minimum wage. Outreach to workers is crucial because when all employees know their rights, this ensures for employers that businesses who do not adhere to our laws do not have an unfair business advantage over those good employers that adhere to our labor standards law.

 


African-American History Month – Black Heritage Society of Washington State 40th Anniversary Tribute

During the month of February I am featuring upcoming events in my emails to help promote the dozens of events that are happening in honor of Black History Month. Here is one such event:

The Black Heritage Society of Washington State will be celebrating its 40th Anniversary with a program that pays tribute to Northwest Black Pioneers. They will honor the community collaboration for the 1987 award-winning exhibit, Northwest Black Pioneers, A Tribute that traveled to more than 100 cities and towns throughout the Pacific Northwest and Alaska.

The Tribute will include a presentation titled: Upwardly Mobile: The African American Experience by Pamela Phillips, Faculty at Olympic College. Additionally, there will be a performance by Carlynn Newhouse, Ana Walker, and Umeme Dinish.

When: February 19th, between 2:00pm and 4:00pm

Where: Northwest African American Museum, 2300 S Massachusetts St

Cost: Free

For more information visit the event page here.

In-District Office Hours

I will be at the South Park Community Center (8319 8TH Avenue S) on Friday, February 24th from 12:00pm – 7:00pm.The final meeting of the day will begin at 6:30pm. These hours are walk-in friendly, but if you would like to let me know you’re coming in advance you can email my scheduler Alex Clardy (alex.clardy@seattle.gov).

Additionally, here is a list of my tentatively scheduled office hours. These are subject to change, but I wanted to make sure you had a rough idea of when I would be available and where.

Date Location Address
Friday, February 24, 2017 South Park Community Center 8319 8TH Avenue S
Friday, March 24, 2017 Senior Center of West Seattle 4217 SW Oregon St
Friday, April 28, 2017 Southwest Neighborhood Service Center 2801 SW Thistle St
Friday, May 26, 2017 Senior Center of West Seattle 4217 SW Oregon St
Friday, June 23, 2017 South Park Community Center 8319 8TH Avenue S
Friday, July 28, 2017 Southwest Neighborhood Service Center 2801 SW Thistle St
Friday, August 18, 2017 Senior Center of West Seattle 4217 SW Oregon St
Friday, September 22, 2017 South Park Community Center 8319 8TH Avenue S
Friday, October 27, 2017 Southwest Neighborhood Service Center 2801 SW Thistle St
Friday, December 15, 2017 South Park Community Center 8319 8TH Avenue S
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U-District Rezone & Amendments, Police Accountability Legislation, Mandatory Housing Affordability Meetings, African-American History Month, and In-District Office Hours

February 10th, 2017


University District Rezone and Upcoming Vote on Important Amendments Coming Up

On Tuesday, 2/7/2017, the Planning, Land Use and Zoning (PLUZ) Committee voted on amendments to the proposed legislation to change the zoning in the University District and require all developers to contribute to affordable housing. This is the first area-wide rezone that, if passed by the Council, will implement the Mandatory Housing Affordability (MHA) program, passed by the Council last year.  The Mayor submitted legislation (Council Bill 118862) to the Seattle City Council on the 25th of October 2016 to the PLUZ Committee, which held three Committee meetings on 11/16/2016, 11/29/2016, 12/6/16, and 1/19/2017, as well as an evening public hearing, to discuss the rezone proposal. I have heard both concerns and support from small businesses, housing and neighborhood advocates, and human service providers.  I have tried to focus my efforts on mitigating possible negative impacts to small businesses and renters and creating greater accountability.  I, joined by Councilmembers Johnson and O’Brien, proposed several amendments last week.  Many passed by the committee, attended by seven of nine members of the City Council.  Four of them are described here:

  • No changes along the Ave.  This amendment removed the proposed rezone on University Ave NE between NE 41st Street and NE 50th Street  to allow business owners to complete a study of potential impacts on small businesses.
  • Clarify open space will be publicly accessible. This amendment requires privately owned open space required by certain City incentive programs to be publicly accessible.
  • Amend reporting requirements. This amendment makes the reporting requirements annual in frequency instead of every two years as proposed and newly requires reporting on all waivers granted to developers that lets them avoid the required contributions to affordable housing.
  • Affordable housing funds should be spent near developments that generated payments. This amendment added a recital highlighting that the City will seek to use affordable funds generated from the MHA program to build affordable housing “near developments that generate cash contributions.”

There are still important additional amendments that the Council has not yet voted on but will be voted on at the Full Council meeting on February 21, 2017 at 2pm. These amendments address potential displacement risks, seek to increase affordable housing requirements of developers, and signal Council intent to revoke zoning decisions under certain circumstances.

  1.  Increasing Developers’ Requirements for MHA – When the MHA framework legislation came to the Council in Summer 2016 I worked closely with Councilmember O’Brien to make sure language was included in the bill saying that “Council would consider higher performance and payment amounts in areas where the increment of increased development capacity is greater.” The Mayor’s proposal for the highrise area of 240-320 feet requires only 9% of units in the structure be affordable or $20 per square foot be paid in fees for affordable housing.   These are the same amounts as for the smaller upzones of 65-85 feet in the University District.  Some Councilmembers have argued that increasing the requirements from 9% to 10% or $20 to $22.25 per square foot would negatively impact the feasibility of highrise development. But land costs, higher/rising labor and materials, and market demand are really what most drives feasibility.  There is good analysis that shows that these requirements will not increase development costs but instead will be borne by the sellers of property with reduced land costs for developers.
  2. Remove the rezone to midrise between NE 50th Street and NE 52nd Street, maintain low rise zoning. The Mayor’s proposal did not recommend changing the zoning in this area. I support this because: (a) This location is very dense with buildings that are affordable to renters, (b) there are not many underutilized or vacant lots in the area, meaning that increasing the development capacity may make redevelopment of existing apartments in this area more likely, which could result in the displacement of low income renters and loss of affordable units.  This amendment failed 3-4 in Committee.  Because it may impact 175 units of existing rental housing, I am considering bringing it back for a Full Council vote. 
  3. Clawback amendment. In response to community concerns that the mandatory affordability requirements could be invalidated by a future lawsuit, I am offering an amendment that if that did happen then we’d request the courts to also invalidate the upzones.

In addition, Council will vote on the following resolutions:

  1.  Resolution 31733 The Displacement Risk Analysis for the proposed University District Rezone was insufficient to allow the Council to consider new strategies to mitigate displacement.  If passed, this resolution will lead to a more thorough evaluation of residential displacement from increases in development capacity.  It also declares the Council’s intent to consider strategies to mitigate future loss of affordable units resulting from an increase in development capacity.
  2. Resolution 31732  Among other items such as requiring an implementation plan for business district support and infrastructure improvements such as a festival street and new open space developments, additions to the resolution that I have sponsored will lead to the City working to explore how to create a childcare voucher fund for employees in the U District. The resolution also will lead to completion of an assessment of the feasibility of enacting school impact fees to help pay for increased needs for schools resulting from growth.


Police Accountability Legislation

Earlier this week the Council had a first briefing on police accountability legislation, which would expand and institutionalize oversight by making the Community Police Commission permanent, creating a new Office of the Inspector General, and allowing for additional civilianization of the Office of Professional Accountability. The legislation is being considered in the Gender Equity, Safe Communities and New Americans committee, chaired by Councilmember González; here’s a link to the schedule, which includes public hearings on March 23, and May 3. A Central Staff Memo includes information on how we got here, and the origins of the 2012 Consent Decree with the US Department of Justice. I am one of eight Councilmembers co-sponsoring the legislation.  I joined the Mayor last week for the announcement of the legislation last week; here’s my quote from the announcement:
“This legislation would never have happened if it wasn’t for the work of the 34 community groups who called on the US Department of Justice in 2010 to ‘investigate whether the Seattle Police Department has engaged in a pattern or practice of violations of civil rights by using unnecessary and excessive force against the residents of Seattle in violation of federal law,” said Councilmember Lisa Herbold. “I’d like to thank them, and especially Reverend Harriet Walden, for her tireless advocacy for police accountability.” Additional information is available at the announcement release, and see here for Councilmember González’ infographic, and the materials linked to the legislation.

Upcoming Mandatory Housing Affordability ((MHA) Meetings in District 1 Neighborhoods:

You can also email Spencer.Williams@Seattle.Gov or call (206) 384-2709 to register for meetings.

African-American History Month – The Kijiji Festival

During the month of February I will be featuring an upcoming event in my emails to help promote the dozens of events that are happening in honor of Black History Month. Here is one such event:
One Vibe Africa and Seattle Art Museum proudly present Kijiji Festival, which means “village” in Swahili. This exciting evening will feature traditional music performances, an African market, and a special screening of Madaraka The Documentary.

When: Saturday February 11, between 6:30pm and 8:30pm

Where: Seattle Art Museum – Brotman forum

You can RSVP for free at this link.

Artwork of One Vibe Africa’s Piga Picha Project will also be on view in SAM’s Community Gallery. Piga Picha, on view Wednesday, February 1 through Sunday, February 26, features paintings and photographs created by students from the port city Kisumu, Kenya, with photographer Meg Stacker.

In-District Office Hours

I will be at the South Park Community Center (8319 8TH Avenue S) on Friday, February 24th from 12:00pm – 7:00pm.  The final meeting of the day will begin at 6:30pm. These hours are walk-in friendly, but if you would like to let me know you’re coming in advance you can email my scheduler Alex Clardy (alex.clardy@seattle.gov). Additionally, here is a list of my tentatively scheduled office hours. These are subject to change, but I wanted to make sure you had a rough idea of when I would be available and where.

Date Location Address
Friday, February 24, 2017 South Park Community Center 8319 8TH Avenue S
Friday, March 24, 2017 Senior Center of West Seattle 4217 SW Oregon St
Friday, April 28, 2017 Southwest Neighborhood Service Center 2801 SW Thistle St
Friday, May 26, 2017 Senior Center of West Seattle 4217 SW Oregon St
Friday, June 23, 2017 South Park Community Center 8319 8TH Avenue S
Friday, July 28, 2017 Southwest Neighborhood Service Center 2801 SW Thistle St
Friday, August 18, 2017 Senior Center of West Seattle 4217 SW Oregon St
Friday, September 22, 2017 South Park Community Center 8319 8TH Avenue S
Friday, October 27, 2017 Southwest Neighborhood Service Center 2801 SW Thistle St
Friday, December 15, 2017 South Park Community Center 8319 8TH Avenue S

 

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Housing Affordability Update // Crescent-Hamm Landmark // Youth and Family Justice Center // Responding to the President’s Executive Order

February 3rd, 2017


Update on the Mandatory Housing Affordability (MHA) Timeline

I wanted to make sure that you heard from me first that the office of Planning and Community Development (OPCD) is amending the schedule for release of the draft EIS for the proposed citywide MHA zoning changes and now it is anticipated to come out in May. This will give the community an additional two months to provide feedback before the draft EIS is published. The Department of Neighborhoods (DON) plans to door knock all of the single family homes that are part of the potential upzones. Also, DON and OPCD will conduct another series of meetings in May and June.  In addition, depending on how well the Draft EIS identifies and addresses the issues raised in public comment, which the Council has been compiling, I will consider whether there is a need for additional time for public comment on the Draft EIS.

Upcoming meetings in District 1 neighborhoods:

You can also email Spencer.Williams@Seattle.Gov or call (206) 384-2709 to register for meetings.

More links:

 


Crescent-Hamm Building Landmark Nominations

On February 15, the Landmarks Preservation Board will consider the designation of the Crescent-Hamm Building (Easy Street, 4559 California Avenue SW) as an historical landmark. They earlier approved its nomination.

The Board also announced they will consider the nomination of the Campbell Building at 4554 California Avenue SW (Cupcake Royale) at the meeting on February 15 at 3:30 p.m.  The Board will meet on February 15 at 3:30 p.m. in Room L280 in City Hall.

I’ve sent a letter to the Landmarks Preservation in support of designating the Crescent-Hamm Building as an historic landmark, and in support of the nomination of the Campbell Building. The nominations were proposed by the Southwest Seattle Historical Society.

To be designated, a building must be at least 25 years old and meet at least one of the categories listed under SMC 25.12.350. The first step the Board takes is to approve the nomination; the next step is to approve its designation.

If designated by the Board, a Controls and Incentives agreement is negotiated with the property owner; once signed, it is forwarded to the Board for approval at a public meeting, then sent to the City Council for approval.

 


City Grant Program Changes

The Department of Neighborhoods (DON) recently announced changes to the two city grant programs.

First of all, DON announced changes to the Neighborhood Matching Fund, which provides $3 million in awards in 2017. The changes increase the limit for the “small sparks” fund, available year-round, from $1,000 to $5,000. The “Community Partnership” fund will be for projects between $5,001 and $100,000. Applications will now be available three times a year. DON has also expanded eligibility, to allow community-based groups and District Council organization to apply. Recurring community events will be eligible for funding every other year, instead of only once.

DON will host a workshop about the Neighborhood Matching Fund on Tuesday, February 7 at Neighborhood House at 6400 Sylvan Way SW, Room 207B, for anyone interested in the program. Registration details are here.

Secondly, DON announced that the Neighborhood Parks and Street Fund will be using the Participatory Budgeting process in 2017 to award $2 million in grants for small-scale parks and streets projects of up to $90,000. $285,000 will be available for each of Seattle’s seven Council Districts.

Eligible projects include:

  • Street projects such as traffic calming (traffic circles, median islands, speed feedback signs, etc.) or short segments of sidewalk construction (less than 100 feet, or one third of a block)
  • Parks projects such as include accessibility improvements, trail/path maintenance and upgrades, park benches or tables, natural area renovations, minor playground improvements

DON is calling this use of participatory budgeting Your Voice, Your Choice. The Your Voice Your Choice program has four steps: idea collection, project development, public voting, and implementation.

Last year it was used citywide for youth aged 11-25 to vote; they voted to approve seven projects in voting in May of last year.

Idea collection is taking place during February, and is designed to be low-barrier. You can submit project ideas online here. Public meetings for in-person idea collection are listed here; the South Park Neighborhood Association is listed for February 14. If you’d like to have DON attend a meeting, contact Jenny Frankl at jenny.frankl@seattle.gov.

If you’d like to be part of the project development team (all 7 districts will have them), you can sign up here. These teams will select around 8 to 10 projects for voting in June. Voting will take place within each of Seattle’s 7 Council Districts.

If you’d like to facilitate a discussion, here are resources from DON:

Examples of projects funded through the 2016 Neighborhood Parks and street fund are here.

 


Letters re: Juvenile Detention Portion of the Proposed Youth and Family Justice Center

Earlier this week Mayor Murray sent a letter to King County requesting the County take a second look at the design of the proposed new juvenile detention center.  Both the City of Seattle and King County have stated that zero detention of youth is a policy goal.  Though we have made strides in reducing the numbers of youth incarcerated, the racial disparity of those in detention has increased.

I sent two letters regarding this project last year. The first was to the Director of the Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections, and requested that he carefully consider issues raised regarding the permit application and request for a waiver for building standards.  This permit is currently under appeal.

The second letter last summer was sent to King County, requesting, given the reduction in youth detention and the promise of new detention reduction programs to reap additional reductions, that they “consider a third-party needs analysis of the proposed juvenile detention portion for the Youth and Family Justice Center,” along the lines of a 2011 study by the National Council on Crime and Delinquency regarding Baltimore’s youth detention facility.

King County Executive Constantine also released a statement regarding the project, which notes King County Superior Court’s use of youth restorative justice.

 


In Memoriam: Cass Turnbull, Peter Sherwin

We recently lost two Seattle activists who have contributed greatly to our city’s wellbeing.

Cass Turnbull passed away last weekend. She was a tireless advocate on behalf of natural areas and trees. She founded PlantAmnesty, and served on the board of TreePAC.

Cass played a big role in helping to save the Myers Way parcels for future open space use. The effort to save these parcels depended on community activism from Top Hat, Highland Park, South Park and Westwood/Roxhill/Arbor Heights. Its success also depended on support from citywide groups such as the Green Spaces Coalition and TreePAC. Cass helped build citywide support on short notice, organizing presentations for people across Seattle.

In response to the City’s decision to preserve the Myers parcels, Cass wrote me saying, “One of the three brightest days of my life was when I heard Myers Parcels was to be saved. Let’s do more.”

She will be missed.

Peter Sherwin also passed away earlier last month. He was one of the most honest and straightforward people I’ve ever met.   He was fun, he had a big heart, and an incisive sense of humor. He understood change efforts had to capture the imagination.  This was most evident for me in his slogan for his labor of love, Rise Above it All, the monorail expansion effort.

He was involved in countless civic endeavors and campaigns over decades, and was always willing to share his creative ideas, suggestions, and research, most recently information he’d found about Pronto.  Thanks to Peter, I’ll always remember to consider all the facts – even the sometimes politically inconvenient ones.

He too will be missed.

 


My Comments in Response to the President’s Executive Order

Last Wednesday, I participated in a press conference in City Hall Plaza, in response to the President’s order on immigration. You can see my comments at the Seattle Channel, in my capacity as chair of the Council’s committee that oversees Civil Rights issues regarding the removal of the words “civil rights” from the White House website, Spanish translation, and information for people with disabilities.

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Socially Responsible Banking Legislation / Seattle Public Utilities Strategic Business Plan Meeting Announcements / Onyx Arts Exhibit at King Street Station / Myers Way Homeless Encampment Community Meeting  /

January 27th, 2017


Socially Responsible Banking Legislation
I’ve received around 1400 e-mails, and hundreds of phone calls, regarding socially responsible banking legislation before a City Council committee next week. Here’s the reply I’ve been sending out:

Thank you for writing to me about Council Bill 118833, strengthening Seattle’s socially responsible banking laws, and encouraging the Mayor and Director of Finance and Administrative Services (FAS) to end the City’s banking relationship with Wells Fargo. I support this bill, especially considering that senior management at Wells Fargo directed employees to engage in fraud, for which Wells Fargo was fined $185 million by federal and local regulatory bodies.

Councilmember Burgess, Chair of the Affordable Housing, Neighborhoods and Finance Committee, announced this week that the bill, as well as a possible alternative that he would propose, would be heard at the February 1 meeting.

The Director of the Department of Finance and Administrative Services (FAS) has the power to “select qualified public depositories for the deposit of City moneys as contemplated by RCW Chapter 39.58” through an open bidding process. Council Bill 118833 would amend the City’s socially responsible banking practices (SMC 20.65.010A) to require banks seeking to do business with the City to disclose whether they’ve engaged in dishonest or unethical business practices within the last five years. Under the City’s existing socially responsible banking laws, the Director of FAS has the power and duty to require banks provide the City with data on socially responsible banking practices when they are bidding to be selected as the City’s bank.  The data provided by the banks on their socially responsible practices is then used to rate the bank in the City’s selection process.

I plan to propose an amendment to amend the section of the socially responsible banking law (SMC 20.65.010B) that defines “socially responsible bid criteria” to explicitly include “engaging in fair business practices.” This provision is not explicitly included in the proposed bill.  Its inclusion will ensure that FAS specifically consider this criterion in selecting the City’s bank.

In addition, the legislation also encourages the Mayor and FAS Director to include socially responsible banking as a factor worth at least 20% (it is currently worth 15% in the Socially Responsible Banking ordinance passed by the Council in 2013, sponsored by former Councilmember Licata).

Finally, the legislation encourages the Mayor and Director of FAS to provide Wells Fargo with notice of intent to not renew the current contract for a 5-year extension; to undertake a new competitive bidding process to establish a new, qualified financial institution for banking services by no later than December 31, 2018.  The City’s current contract with Wells Fargo goes through the end of 2018.

Integrating social responsibility with the City’s banking needs, and relevant state law, is challenging. State law limits the use of credit unions to $250,000, which means we can’t use them for general-purpose banking.

My office asked FAS about relevant regulations, and they sent me the following information:

Regulatory Restrictions

“State law strictly limits which banking firms the City can hire. State code (RCW Chapter 39.58) requires banks serving the City to have collateral equal to the City’s total deposits. This collateral amount, however, must be free and clear from most any other collateral requirements the bank has under state or federal law. In addition, state law limits a bank’s total deposits from its local government customers to no more than the bank’s total net worth in the state of Washington and no more than 150 percent of its net worth worldwide.

There are additional technical requirements the City places on its bank vendor, including the capacity to process up to $450 million in deposits, robust overdraft protection and an adequate number of branches to serve the City’s 80 payment centers. Currently, these and other restrictions limit the banks that can provide banking services to the City to a handful of the nation’s largest banks.”

Sixty three banks are authorized by the state Public Deposit Protection Commission to accept public deposits in Washington State, though they face limits on how much in deposits they can accept.

During the City’s previous open bidding process during 2012, only four banks submitted proposals and met mandatory qualifications and minimum requirements: Wells Fargo, Bank of America, US Bank, and Union Bank. Two of these banks have significant direct investments in the Dakota Access Pipeline; two have significant investments in companies involved in the pipeline (Bank of Tokyo Mitsubishi is the parent company of Union Bank).

Bank of America and US Bank, as well as Wells Fargo, all received significant fines from the Department of Justice for mortgage fraud. This points to the challenges we face in selecting a bank for City depository services.

My office has asked FAS which of the 63 banks would be eligible for Seattle’s banking contract, and other questions, in order to gain a more complete picture of Seattle’s overall banking situation, and which banks might be eligible for Seattle’s depository services.

Regardless of the limits we may face, strengthening socially responsible banking principles is a good step.

 

 

Seattle Public Utilities Strategic Business Plan Meeting Announcements
Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) is in the process of updating its Strategic Business Plan (SBP), the roadmap that guides their investments and service levels. Additionally, this document, which is updated every three years, is the guide for the utility’s rate path. The first SBP, passed in 2014 and linked here, outlined a 4.6% average annual increase which is reflected in the core services provided by SPU: drinking water, drainage, sewer, and garbage and recycling.

During the development of the original SBP, customers had an opportunity to provide feedback at focus groups, public meetings, and via online surveys. They are now asking for your help to update the existing plan, which will affect your rates and your SPU bill. Please consider attending a community meeting and sharing your thoughts and experiences with SPU.

 

 

Onyx Arts Exhibit at King Street Station
In the Civil Rights, Utilities, Economic Development and Arts Committee that I chair, each month we have a “Cultural Spotlight” feature, where Office of Arts and Culture selects a local arts organization to present at the beginning of the committee meeting.

Earlier this week, Onyx Fine Arts presented. They are an all-volunteer groups of artists and supporters committed to seeking out and promoting visual artwork of Pacific Northwest artists, both known and unknown, principally from the Pacific Northwest.

Their “Truth B Told” exhibit is currently featured at King Street Station exhibition space on the 3rd floor, at 303 South Jackson, through February 4. Admission is free. It is open 3-8 p.m. on Fridays, noon-6 on Saturdays, and during the Pioneer Square First Thursday Art Walk next week. A Seattle Times article reviewed the exhibit last week.

You can view their committee power point presentation here, which features some of the artwork. You can also view the presentation at the Seattle Channel archive.

 

 

Myers Way Homeless Encampment Community Meeting 
On Wednesday, February 1, 2017, at 7pm,  the Director of Homelessness, George Scarola, will facilitate a community meeting with the Highland Park Neighborhood at the Joint Training Facility about the Myers Way Encampment. This is an opportunity to ask questions and learn more about how the Mayor’s Office intends to implement the City Council requirements for the creation of a community advisory committee, an encampment operations plan, and resources that will be available to meet both the encampment residents and the neighborhood needs.  The Emergency Order allow this encampment to operate for 12 months with an option to renew for an additional 12 months.

As discussed in last week’s blog post, the Council approved the Executive Order to stand up three new encampments.  The new encampments make up one component of the Mayor’s Bridging the Gap to Pathways Home Initiative, which is the action plan to better address the immediate needs of people living unsheltered.

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Womxn’s March Tomorrow, Pronto/Bike Share Ending in Seattle; Reminder: Alaska Junction MHA/HALA meeting January 26; In the Cold Poetry Reading January 26; Annexation Briefing; Mayor’s Executive Order on Encampments; In-District Office Hours January 27

January 20th, 2017


Womxn’s March Tomorrow

Please join me at the Womxn’s March on Seattle tomorrow, January 21st. All people are invited to join in solidarity with the march taking place in Washington D.C. as well as in 200 events planned in 46 states and 30 countries.

Are you wondering about the “x” in the title “Womxn’s March?”  Seattle organizers adopted the name ‘Womxn’s March on Seattle” to recognize intersectionality.  The organizers say: “different forms of discrimination intersect, overlap, and reinforce each other, and take into account the impact of discrimination based not only on gender but also race, sexual orientation, gender identity, nationality, faith, class, disability, and other backgrounds.”

The day will start with a rally at 10am in Judkins Park (2150 S Norman St) and the march will begin at 11am. There are over 80 organizations participating and an expected turnout of more than 50,000 people.

The march will follow a route through downtown and disperse at the Seattle Center. Along the route, community advocates and social justice leaders will speak about issues threatened by the incoming Presidential administration, such as the safety and wellbeing of undocumented people, reproductive and LGBTQ rights, combating climate change, and more.

I believe our collective efforts to intentionally support one another in new ways will be more important than ever before in the days and years to come. If you can’t join the march tomorrow morning, please consider other avenues to show your support for community members who will be impacted by future efforts to reverse the gains of our nation in keeping immigrant and refugee families safe, protecting a woman’s access to birth control and her right to choose, maintaining drug policy reform, supporting the rights of everyone to love whom they choose, and defending a workers’ right to unionize.


Pronto/Bike Share in Seattle Ending

On Friday January 13 Mayor Murray announced the city would not pursue a new $4.7 million bike-share program in Seattle to replace the Pronto system, and instead direct funding to pedestrian and bicycle safety, and the Safe Routes to Schools program.

Here’s my statement on the Mayor’s announcement that the City will not pursue a new bike share system following Pronto’s decommissioning later this winter:

“This was absolutely the right call. With limited public dollars, these resources are better used to develop safe routes to schools for our students.  Now is not the time for public investment in a bike share system.

 “I’m glad to see these funds are proposed toward implementing the City’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plans, and School Safety projects, in line with my proposal last year to re-direct $4 million in funding away from expansion of the Pronto system toward these existing needs. I regularly hear from constituents about school crossing safety, most recently regarding Genesee Hill Elementary.

 “During last year’s budget cycle, I sponsored a budget action the Council adopted to remove $900,000 in funding for operation of the Pronto system in 2017 and 2018, to preserve funding for these existing needs.”

Last year I voted “no” on legislation for the City to purchase the Pronto system for $1.4 million; it passed 7-2.

The cut adopted by the Council during the budget process allows the Pronto system to operate no longer than March 31.


Reminder: Alaska Junction MHA/HALA meeting January 26

Here’s a reminder about the Alaska Junction public meeting on the proposed Mandatory Housing Affordability and the Executive’s initial proposal for zoning changes:

  Alaska Junction. Thursday, January 26th, 6-9pm, West Seattle Senior Center, 4217 SW Oregon St, RSVP for the Alaska Junction Workshop by clicking here.

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

The meeting originally scheduled for Morgan Junction on the 23rd has been delayed, and is being re-scheduled.


In the Cold Poetry Reading January 26

Seattle Civic Poet Claudia Luna Castro has organized In the Cold, a poetry reading on the eve of the annual survey to document homelessness in Seattle and King County.

It will feature Castro Luna, Seattle’s Youth Poet Laureate Angel Gardner, and writers from the Recovery Café and Mary’s Place for a Count Us In poetry reading and showing of Michelle de la Vega’s film US THEM WE.

It will take place on January 26 in City Hall Plaza at 600 4th Avenue, at 7 p.m.

It is Co-sponsored by Open Books, the Seattle Office of Arts and Culture, and myself.


Annexation Briefing

On Wednesday I attended the Education, Equity, and Governance Committee briefing on the potential annexation of both the North Highline area and the Duwamish area (or Sliver by the River). You can see a map of both proposed annexation areas here, a memo describing the process and timeline here, and a document outlining the impacts to service providers such as school districts, utilities, fire, police and other emergency services here.

The proposed timeline for the Duwamish area annexation includes May Council deliberations on a resolution approving an election date, proposed at this time to be August 2017, though this might change.  If approved by the voters then, the effective date would be January 1, 2018. Because annexation would result in the transfer of King County-owned assets to the City and an assumption of the costs of services, the Executive is currently negotiating an Interlocal Agreement (ILA) with King County as a prerequisite to moving forward.

The proposed timeline for the North Highline annexation includes an election in August or November of 2018 and, if approved by the voters, an effective date of January 1, 2020. You may recall I previously wrote about the public hearings for the North Highline annexation held by the County Boundary Review Board where they voted 8-1 to approve the annexation and directed staff to prepare the written findings and decision. Negotiations of an ILA for the North Highline Annexation Area are required but have not started.  Similar to the Sliver by the River Annexation, the City Council will first need to approve placing the question on the ballot and establish an election date.

We learned in the briefing that the financial analysis to determine City costs to provide services to the proposed annexation area, and determine revenues generated within the area to support those costs, is out of date.  I requested that the Executive prepare a new analysis prior to the Council deliberations on each of the two annexations.

If you have specific questions or a group that would like to receive a presentation from the City, please don’t hesitate to let me know.


Mayor’s Executive Order re: three new encampments

This Tuesday the Mayor’s office filed three emergency orders with the City Clerk, as allowed by the state of emergency declared by the Mayor in late 2015. The emergency orders created encampments at three locations, each able to serve between 60 and 70 persons experiencing homelessness. One of those locations is the current Myers Way encampment. I have heard from many constituents about this encampment, specifically about the illegal dumping near the site and the surrounding greenbelt as well as the lack of available services at the current location.

The Executive Orders, as originally proposed, did not provide for the important standards and procedures applicable to already-existing sanctioned encampments authorized by the Seattle Municipal Code. The Highland Park Action Committee is seeking additional accountability structures, and in an effort to support their request, I proposed a modification to the orders requiring that these encampments also conform to standards applicable to the existing sanctioned encampments authorized by Seattle Municipal Code 23.42.056. Specifically:

  • Establishment of a Community Advisory Committee to facilitate resolution of complaints;
  • Development of an encampment operations plan; and
  • Access to bathrooms and water and removal of garbage no-less frequently than weekly.

These modifications to the Emergency Orders were approved.  I will follow the implementation of these requirements at Myers Way.  In addition, I’m working with Seattle Public Utilities to support community requests for monitoring of water quality at nearby Hamm Creek as well as the wetlands, both of which are impacted by unauthorized camping in other sections of the Greenbelt.


In-District Office Hours

I will be at the Southwest Neighborhood Center (2801 SW Thistle St) on Friday, January 27th from 2:00pm – 7:00pm.  The final meeting of the day will begin at 6:30pm. These hours are walk-in friendly, but if you would like to let me know you’re coming in advance you can email my scheduler Alex Clardy (alex.clardy@seattle.gov).

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