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
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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org ; 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.
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.
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.
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.