Devastating Roe v. Wade Decision; West Seattle Bridge Update; Seattle Police Department 911 Call Handling Update; Fireworks; Council Begins Considering Park District Funding; Free Activities in South Park Summer of Safety

June 24th, 2022

Devastating Roe v. Wade Decision

This morning’s Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade is devastating to many millions of women and pregnant people who will be unable to access basic healthcare and be forced into decisions that endanger their safety and lives.  Nearly 1 in 4 people who can become pregnant will have an abortion in their lifetime.  Now, for very many, seeking that abortion will be simply out of reach due to the expense, the time off required to travel to a different state, the misinformation, and the fear.

The burden of not having access to comprehensive health services without having to travel to another state, will fall hardest on poor women, girls, and transgender and gender nonconforming (TGNC) people, especially those who are Black, Indigenous, or people of color (BIPOC).  This decision will result in more poverty, death, and abandoned dreams for those who live in states that outlaw their basic healthcare.  You can learn more about how abortion access is more difficult for some in this blog post from Seattle’s Office for Civil Rights: Abortion access and reproductive justice – Civil Rights Now (seattle.gov).

Since the draft decision was leaked in May, I have been working with Public Health and abortion advocates to understand what action may be needed at the city level in a post-Roe future.  My amendment to Council’s Resolution in support of abortion access called for funding “organizations that deliver programs and services in support of abortion care and access, such as the Northwest Abortion Access Fund and independent abortion clinics.”  I am grateful that Mayor Harrell’s announcement today indicates he included $250,000 in supplemental budget legislation for this purpose, which Councill consider in the next several weeks.  I pledge to keep fighting for greater abortion access in our city.

I pledge to also keep working on supporting the state Keep Our Care Act (SB5688/HB1809), which would prevent health system consolidations from moving forward if they negatively impact communities’ access to affordable quality care, including reproductive, end-of-life, and gender affirming care.  Axios reports that “at least two recent hospital mergers have led to changes in the availability of abortion in Washington.”

I also understand that Councilmember Morales is working on legislation to increase buffer zones for clinics to ensure safe passage for people seeking comprehensive health services in Seattle and to do more to prohibit false information at crisis pregnancy centers.  I thank her for that leadership and am glad to be collaborating with her.

Abortion remains legal and safe across Washington state. King County welcomes all people who need abortion services, no matter where they live. Many clinics offer abortion services in King County.  Learn more and help spread the word: kingcounty.gov/abortion.

This is an extraordinarily difficult day for many of us.  I take comfort in knowing that we live in a community that is committed to abortion access, although we have not yet reached that goal for all.  I will continue this work.

West Seattle Bridge Update

As I explained last week, the final structural concrete pour is now curing. Curing is a 28-day process. The final structural concrete pour was done on May 26. By my count, yesterday was 28 days from May 26 and thus the curing process should be complete. I am confirming this understanding with SDOT and, at the time of this newsletter, I don’t have a confirmation.

SDOT provided additional details on the steps for the remaining work for completion of bridge repairs.

Some of the work is sequential:

  1. Let the concrete used for the post-tensioning anchors and supports set and cure (in progress)
  2. Install post-tensioning ducts (in progress) (11,000 feet of ducts)
  3. Complete a pre-tensioning round of epoxy injections and carbon-fiber wrapping (in progress)
  4. Install post-tensioning strands (~46 miles of strands)
  5. Tension the strands
  6. Complete a final round of epoxy injections and carbon-fiber wrapping after tensioning is done
  7. Complete cure time for the carbon-fiber wrapping
  8. Remove work platforms
  9. Load test and inspect the repairs
  10. Restore the bridge deck by closing holes in the bridge deck created for access
  11. Demobilize the site, which means crews remove their equipment (like trailers and tools) from the bridge

Other major activities that don’t involve strengthening the bridge are being done at the same time:

  • Sign structure replacement (11 total signs)
  • Bridge deck repair and concrete overlay on the Fauntleroy Expressway (2+ acres of new concrete)
  • Concrete panel replacement on the western approach to the bridge structure (61 panels)
  • Traffic control signs and road striping
  • Illumination and streetlight restoration (14 miles of new wire) in partnership with Seattle City Light

To reduce schedule risk, the project is:

  • Prioritizing and scheduling carbon-fiber wrapping during good weather days and tarping these work areas during bad weather days to allow work to continue
  • Prioritizing contractor work on the high bridge over working on the low bridge
  • Continuing close coordination with our concrete supplier to get remaining pours on their schedule as far out as possible
  • Maintaining and scheduling project personnel to the critical path and time-sensitive work items
  • Continuing to require all staff working on the bridge to follow project COVID-prevention protocols
  • Collaborating closely with our agency partners such as King County Metro, the Port of Seattle, Northwest Seaport Alliance, WSDOT, and our partners at the City to develop further mitigation measures for any potential issues as they arise

During the concrete/mixer driver strike, work with the contractor was re-sequenced:

  • Changing where epoxy injections and carbon fiber wrapping took place on the bridge
  • Building as many forms (supports used to pour concrete into) as possible before concrete delivery so they were immediately ready for concrete and we could minimize the number of structural pours needed
  • Directing crews to begin major maintenance work, including expansion joint and sign replacement needed to prepare the bridge for reopening

Upcoming road work

Here are announcements from SDOT about upcoming road work during the next week:

On Saturday and Sunday, we’ll finish building curb ramps at the Dumar Way SW and SW Orchard St intersection. This work will include pouring concrete and paving the road in front of the curb ramp. We expect to begin as early as 8 AM and conclude by 5 PM. We do not anticipate any major traffic impacts, however people driving can expect delays in the area.

On Sunday, we’re pouring concrete to repair the lane divider on SW Spokane St in the vicinity of 11th Ave SW near Harbor Island. We anticipate this work to begin as early as 8 AM and conclude by 4 PM. Traffic impacts include a closure of the East Marginal Way S and the lower SW Spokane St ramps. There will be a detour in place for those traveling in the area. Please anticipate travel delays. Please know this work is weather-dependent. If there’s a change in schedule, we’ll include an update in next week’s email.

Plan ahead for impacts on SW Roxbury St between 14th Ave SW and 15th Ave SW as Puget Sound Energy (PSE) completes maintenance work. Work will take place on Monday June 27, Tuesday June 28, and Thursday June 30.

  • Westbound travel on SW Roxbury St: The right lane and sidewalk will be closed from 7AM to 2PM. Additionally, the bus stop will be temporarily relocated 250 feet to the east.
  • Eastbound travel on SW Roxbury St: The right lane will be closed from 9 AM to 3 PM. The sidewalk will be open.

Seattle Police Department 911 Call Handling Update

Last week the Public Safety and Human Services Committee heard an update about the SPD budget and finances, use of overtime and 911 response times.

SPD’s updated call handling practices is an issue that was touched on in the committee presentation last week. There’s been some confusion about the new system, so I want to help clear that up.

Under the old system, much of the time, the lowest priority calls were not being responded to. The new system addresses that, ensuring low-priority calls are seen by a Seattle Police Department supervisor who can best determine whether and how to respond to them.

Additionally, the new system builds in better oversight to ensure officers are responding to calls that are assigned to them.  A recent Office of Police Accountability investigation showed that allowing officers to make those decisions without clear guidance and oversight can lead to negative results. That’s why OPA recommended that SPD provide more guidance and oversight in that area in April.

That said, I still have questions about this program – including about how this new process is being communicated to 911 callers and whether there are policies in place to guide SPD supervisors in making decisions about how to classify low-priority calls properly and effectively.

Here is some background that provides important context to this issue.

What are Priority 3 and 4 calls?

SPD’s 2020 presentation describes the call types

Priority 3: Prompt – Response time is not critical, but usually involves a victim waiting to speak with officers

Investigative Reports: Thefts, property damage
• No suspect in area – immediate apprehension is not likely
• Property alarms (building or car alarms)
• Non-blocking accidents
• Standbys to assure the Peace
• Parking complaints

Priority 4. As Available – Service requests that may not involve a written report

  • Noise complaints
    • Nuisance Calls
    • Request to Watch
    • Found Property

What was the old approach being replaced with the Z-classification system?

The old approach was called “Priority Call Handling.” Priority 3 and 4 calls were screened out by the Community Safety and Communications Center (CSCC), which receives 911 calls.  Priority Call Handling was used for 225 days in 2020, and 223 during 2021, meaning Priority 3 and 4 calls were not getting a response on those days in at least part of the City.

Under the new protocol, there is no Priority Call Handling, so CSCC no longer screens out these calls. In practice, this means more calls will reach SPD supervisors for their review and more calls will be available to be assigned officers for a response.

Fireworks

Fireworks are banned in Seattle and now King County. Every year the Fire Department responds to many preventable fires and injuries caused by fireworks. Please do your part in keeping our community safe.

The Fire Department has been willing to visit known locations of fireworks to discourage unsafe behavior.  In past years, I’ve shared specific locations with Fire Department Chief Scoggins.  This has allowed the Fire Department to visit these locations as time allows on July 4 and the days leading up to July 4.  If you have a specific D1 location that you’d like me to pass on to Seattle Fire Department, please let me know.

Council Begins Considering Park District Funding

On Friday afternoon, I joined my Council colleagues to launch our consideration of the next six years of funding from the Park District – known as “Cycle 2.”  As background, in 2014, voters in the City of Seattle approved Proposition 1, which created the Seattle Park District. Property taxes collected by the Seattle Park District provide funding for City parks and recreation including maintaining parklands and facilities, operating community centers and recreation programs, and developing new neighborhood parks on previously acquired sites.  You can read more about the Seattle Park District here

The volunteer Board of Parks Recreation Commissioners presented their Cycle 2 recommendations on Friday.  These include:

  • Continuing funding from Cycle 1 investments
  • Funding projects that were planned for – but not completed in – Cycle 1 (including development of 3 landbanked sites in District 1)
  • $30 million in new investments

Today’s presentation does not include many details on the $30M in new investments, and this is an area I’ll be keenly watching over the summer, as Council works its way through the recommendations.  If you’re interested in all the details of the Commissioners’ recommendations, you can read them here: Park District Cycle 2 Planning | seattle.gov.

Council will continue its deliberations through the summer and expects to receive a proposed Park District budget from Mayor Harrell in early September, which will require action by the end of the month.

If you’d like to stay informed of Park District deliberations, you can sign up to receive email notifications of upcoming Park District Board meetings at Agenda Sign Up – Council | seattle.gov.

Free Activities in South Park Summer of Safety

Seattle Parks and Recreation will offer Summer of Safety (SOS) at South Park Community Center, a free program that provides structured activities and a safe space for young people not connected to other supervised programs over the summer. Regular SOS activities will include field trips, arts and crafts, as well as sports and athletics.

Summer of Safety will operate at South Park Community Center between July 5th and August 22nd for kids aged 11-14.  No signup is required; just drop in any time Monday through Friday, 10am – 3pm.  If you have questions or need assistance, please email Paula Pablo at Paula.Pablo@seattle.gov.

Next week, staff will be outside South Park Community Center between 12 – 1:00pm to assist families and provide free lunches!

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West Seattle Bridge Update; Public Safety and Human Services Committee; Elder Abuse Awareness; Westcrest Dog Park Now Open!; Lifeguards Needed!; Community Involvement Commission; Scam Warning

June 17th, 2022

West Seattle Bridge Update

Work Continues on the West Seattle Bridge Repair.

The final structural concrete pour is now curing, a 28-day process. While the concrete is curing, post-tensioning ducts in the south girder are being installed and the contractor and design engineer are finalizing the placement for the post-tensioning ducts in the north girder.  Once locations are confirmed, the contractor will place the steel cables that comprise the post-tensioning system through the ducts in the newly poured deviator and anchor blocks.  Once the ducts and steel cable are placed and after the concrete has cured, the cables will be tightened or “tensioned” to compress the concrete and strengthen it.  The post-tensioning work will update the bridge to current standards.

Tensioning will be followed by a final phase of carbon-fiber wrapping in the middle area of the end spans.

In addition, other work that will be completed before the bridge opens includes replacing and installing new overhead signs; restriping and cleaning up on-ramps at e.g. Delridge Way SW; replacing the concrete panels east of 35th Ave SW and sealing the concrete panel joints; installing a concrete overlay on the Fauntleroy Expressway (which leads to the bridge from 35th Ave SW), and other repaving. In addition, the external work platforms will need to be removed.

Some of the road changes made since the closure of the bridge will be changed when the bridge reopens. For example, the transit lane to the low bridge will be removed; when the West Seattle Bridge opens, the low bridge restrictions will be removed. In addition, signal timing that was adjusted after the closure of the bridge will need to be re-adjusted.

The additional investments in transit service will continue through spring 2023, as planned.

Public Safety and Human Services Committee

The Public Safety and Human Services Committee met on June 14th.

The committee meeting included a briefing from the Office of Emergency Management that reviewed the early response to the COVID pandemic, called the  COVID After Action Report, which was released in February. It reviews how the City responded, and measures strengths and areas where improvements can be made. Here’s a link to the Office of Emergency Management presentation.

Part of the City’s approach successfully used both a central site in SODO, as well as a neighborhood-based approach in West Seattle and Rainier Beach for tests and vaccinations. We successfully advocated for a West Seattle testing site, given the closure of the West Seattle Bridge; through September the West Seattle site had provided over 100,000 tests, roughly one per person in West Seattle:

The committee also heard a 1st quarter presentation on Seattle Police Department on budget and response times, which the Council requested in adopting the 2022 budget.

Overall SPD spent 96% of the 1st quarter adopted budget, slightly below the adopted budget. That said, 24% of the annual overtime budget was spent. While this is for 25% of the year,  summer has more events, so overtime spending is usually higher then. Last year, 17% of the overtime budget was spent during the first quarter. Central Staff indicated that SPD believes they can manage spending within the adopted overtime budget.

Overall overtime spending was above 2021, but below 2020. Criminal investigations overtime was higher than Q1 in 2021, but well below 2020.

80% of the miscellaneous category above is for emphasis patrols in for example Pike/Pine, 12th & Jackson, shots fired, and nightlife emphasis.

More overtime spending is dedicated to patrol in 2022 than during 2020 and 2021. This is necessary. But I am concerned that there are significantly fewer overtime hours – the difference from about 12,000 hours in first quarter 2020 to only 6,000 hours in 2022 – being devoted to investigations in 2022 as compared to 2020.

With additional events returning, and fewer officers available to staff those events, I continue to support shifting traffic control for events to Parking Enforcement Officers as much as possible. Some events overtime work can only be performed by sworn officers, but much of it can be done by Parking Enforcement Officers.  I think it’s better to have officer overtime focus on work only they can do.

Overtime tracking systems are something the media reports on from time to time. I’ve been in touch with SPD and the City Auditor about the implementation of the Auditor’s 2016 recommendations. Key to this was the Work, Scheduling, and Timekeeping project the Council funded to update and modernize overtime tracking, which has been delayed; I’ll be following up with SPD about that.  The City Auditor recently let me know that SPD has not performed auditing of overtime and off-duty work, though the SPD Payroll unit does do spot checks to ensure policies and procedures are being followed.  In April a person was hired to assist with audits to identify SPD employees claiming over 24 hours worked in one workday, hours that appear as duplicate OT payments, and hours that are either under or over 80 hours/pay period.

The presentation notes that $2 million in the Discretionary Purchases line item are encumbered (beyond spending listed in Q1), or 58% of the 2022 budget.

SPD has $4.5 million in the Budget Control Level (BCL) for discretionary purchases; they have $1.5 million remaining in the discretionary purchases BCL.  In addition, SPD has the authority to move a sum of funds like $25k between Budget Summary Levels (BSLs) without authorization.  Some recent reports that the Police Foundation was fundraising to fix a Harbor Patrol boat failed to include this information about the availability of SPD funding that could have been made available for this purpose.  SPD reports to me that they did not deny a request to fix the boat.

Response times in Q1 were higher than SPD’s goal of responding to Priority 1 calls within 7 minutes. The median response time citywide is 7.34 minutes (median is the midpoint of responses). The average response time was 10.37 minutes.

This highlights the importance of the ongoing analysis of 911 call types SPD is engaging in, to see which calls could receive a non-sworn officer response and, in doing so, improve the response times for the Priority 1 calls to which only SPD can respond. The next committee update on this effort is scheduled for June 28th.

Elder Abuse Awareness

June 15th was Elder Abuse Awareness Day. I was proud to sponsor a proclamation with Mayor Harrell calling on the people of Seattle to increase awareness of elder abuse issues, support community connections for older people that reduce the likelihood of abuse and learn the signs that abuse may be occurring.

Elder abuse is both widespread and underreported. Confidential and professional resources for abused elders are available by calling 1-866-EndHarm (1-866-363-4276).


Westcrest Dog Park Now Open!

Last Friday, Seattle Parks & Recreation announced they were opening Westcrest Off-Leash Area by the end of the day.  I’ve heard from many dog lovers who were anxious for the drainage and accessibility projects to be completed so that their furry friends could once again enjoy running free.

The announcement also says a few projects will be completed after reopening due to shipment delays and construction sequence:

  • Installation of (1) new accessible picnic table. The contractor will close off individual areas to install the benches once they arrive.
  • Restoration of the temporary off-leash area near p-patch. Fencing around this area will stay up for the contractor to restore this area with soil amendment, hydroseed and allow for lawn establishment.

 We have also kept temporary fencing around two newly seeded lawn areas in the main off-leash area for lawn establishment. Fencing will be taken down once the lawn has established vigorous growth.

I hope to see many furry friends enjoying the newly-reopened Westcrest Off-Leash Area over the weekend!


Lifeguards Needed!

Do you know someone looking for a summer job?  Seattle Parks & Recreation is working hard to recruit, train, and hire more lifeguards and wading pool attendants so that they can offer aquatic fun this summer. Please share these lifeguard job opportunities with your networks.

If you’re ready for some water fun, find information about pools, beaches, spray parks, boat ramps, and wading pools here:  Seattle Parks and Recreation announces Summer 2022 Aquatic Programming  – Parkways.


Community Involvement Commission

The Seattle Department of Neighborhoods (DONS) is currently recruiting to fill seven vacancies on the Community Involvement Commission (CIC). Current vacancies include positions representing City Council Districts 1, 2, 3, and 7, as well as three at-large positions.

The Community Involvement Commission advises the Seattle Department of Neighborhoods and other City departments on coordinated, citywide outreach and engagement activities. The commission is dedicated to holding the City accountable for increasing participation and engagement – especially among communities that have been historically marginalized and underserved.

Those interested in being considered should complete the online application by Sunday, July 10 at 5 p.m.   Within the application page, it is necessary to click the dropdown and select Community Involvement Commission under “Which Boards would you like to apply for?”

Scam Warning

As Seattle City Light and Seattle Public Utilities work to inform customers about resources available to help with utility bills, there has been an increase in scam reports of people posing as representatives of the City.

Seattle City Light and Seattle Public Utilities will not call customers to demand immediate payment or personal financial information. If someone calls demanding payment rather than working with you to establish a payment plan, that is a scam. Customers who believe they’ve been contacted by a scammer should call (206) 684-3000 to verify their account.

If you or someone you know is behind on utility bills, please know that resources are available. Learn more about short- and long-term payment plans available to all customers. Income-eligible residential customers may also qualify for bill assistance programs.

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West Seattle Bridge Expected to Open to Traffic Week of September 12; Transportation & SPU Committee Discussion on Light Rail Alignment; Gun Violence Prevention; Alarming Increases in Youth Suicide – and How to Prevent It; SPMA Contract; Reminder: WSF Fauntleroy Terminal Open House Through the 13th; New Off-Leash Areas?; Spotting Urban Carnivores; Public Comment on Rules for Independent Contractor Protections; In-Person Office Hours

June 10th, 2022

West Seattle Bridge Expected to Open to Traffic Week of September 12

On June 9th SDOT announced at the West Seattle Bridge Community Task Force a new estimated opening for the West Seattle Bridge:

“We expect the West Seattle Bridge to be open to traffic during the week of September 12. Sharing that today is a relief since our focus has always been on safely getting everyone back on the bridge ASAP. It’s been hard having to wait for this update, but we did need to get through the concrete work to understand exactly where we were schedule-wise. Thank you for being so patient, Seattle.”

We know that all of West Seattle, South Park, and Georgetown have had the bridge reopening top of mind since it closed. I am still holding out hope for a summer re-opening, but I appreciate SDOT’s announcement; it lets us know that we’re close – just three months away.

The tasks that remain include: concrete curing; post-tensioning; final epoxy injections; major maintenance; and testing.

Key schedule risks include weather (concrete cures slower in wet weather); supply chain; worker availability; and testing the bridge after work is completed.

At the West Seattle Bridge Community Task Force meeting, I asked what factors could potentially result in a more accelerated schedule, given that even a short reduction in time would align with the start of the school year.  SDOT indicated the shifts are 60 hours per week, 10 hours daily for 6 days per week, and noted concern that longer shifts could be a safety issue. Night shifts to clean and set up work for the next day is an option. They also noted the concrete curing, post-tensioning, and carbon fiber wrapping is done sequentially, so less rain could help in the near term with concrete curing.

SDOT expects to announce the precise opening date 30 days in advance.

When the West Seattle Bridge opens, restrictions on the use of the Spokane Street (low) Bridge will end.

Below are images that show the steel cables that provide post-tensioning across the span of the bridge, and the location of anchor blocks:

Tightening the cables compresses the concrete in the bridge, making it stronger:

The meeting on the 9th was the final scheduled meeting of the West Seattle Bridge Community Task Force. I appreciate the able, collaborative work of the Co-Chairs, former Mayor Greg Nickels, and Paulina Lopez of the Duwamish River Community Coalition.

Transportation & SPU Committee Discussion on Light Rail Alignment

On Tuesday, June 7 the Transportation and Seattle Public Utilities Committee heard a first presentation on Resolution 32055 to provide recommendations to the Sound Transit Board on their selection of the Preferred Alternative for the West Seattle and Ballard Link Extensions project to be studied in the Final Environmental Impact Statement.

Here’s the Central Staff Memo, and the Presentation. Slides 16-29 are specific to West Seattle.

This was a first presentation; a committee vote on the resolution could come later this month or early in July, in order to inform the decision of the Sound Transit Board, which could vote on July 28th.

For the West Seattle Junction and Avalon areas, the options include a recommendation for the WSJ-5 “Medium Tunnel”:

For Delridge, the recommendation is for the “Del-6” option, which has a station at Andover:

For the Duwamish crossing, the recommendation is for a southern crossing:

There is clear, strong community consensus in support of a tunnel in the West Seattle Junction. The Medium Tunnel has a comparable cost estimate to elevated options in the Junction.

For Delridge, there isn’t a clear community consensus. Executive staff noted during the presentation that all potential alignments have impacts on residents and businesses, and that is clear.

For Delridge, the resolution added language to the draft version emphasizing the importance of transit access for areas further to the south and the importance of completing a transit access study, and protections for Longfellow Creek. These are good additions, especially given that most riders will access the station from the areas to the south that were identified in the Racial Equity Toolkit; the Environmental Justice study in the Draft EIS only covers ½ mile from station locations.

Taking a step back, in the public discussions in 2019 about options to study in the Draft EIS (the “scoping process”), all the options went directly through the Youngstown community and up Genesee, significantly impacting residents, with the visual impact of an elevated guideway along Genesee.

At that time, we heard a lot of opposition from the Youngstown community.  Options some of us worked to develop to address this such as the “purple option” weren’t moved forward by the Sound Transit Board for inclusion in the Draft EIS.

The Board did include a route that minimized impacts on the Youngstown community, with stations at Andover (Del-5 and 6). Given when it was included, potential impacts weren’t discussed during the scoping process.

During public comment at the Transporation and Seattle Public Utilities Committee, we heard from the Alki Beach Academy daycare center, and Transitional Resources, which offers 24/7 services to persons with serious mental illness, through both living facilities and a service center, about the potential impacts of the options with a station at Andover, which have not been adequately examined in the Draft EIS.

It’s important to fully examine these impacts.  Consequently, I am not sure that indicating City support for a preferred alternative in Delridge is appropriate at this time.  I am considering options to amend the legislation.

Not indicating a preference for a segment would not be unprecedented in this resolution. For example, in the case of the Chinatown/International District, the original draft of the resolution stated an alignment preference.  The introduced version was changed to say: “the City is not able to state a preference at this time, given inadequate information in the Draft EIS related to business and residential impacts.”  That is the other Racial Equity Toolkit area on the line.

The Andover Del-6 option is the only Delridge option that connects to the Medium Tunnel option, so to a degree supporting the West Seattle Junction medium tunnel option limits the selection to Del-6 in this resolution (though the Executive was clear their recommendation in Delridge was not based on that). The Executive has been very collaborative on this legislation, and I’m grateful for this approach.

In addition, the Sound Transit System Expansion Committee met on Thursday, June 9, and heard an overview presentation on public comments received on the Draft EIS. The West Seattle/Duwamish portion is on slides 29 through 33. Here’s a slide showing a high-level summary of comments:

A slide emphasizing the Racial Equity Toolkit for Delridge noted the following:


Gun Violence Prevention

Yesterday I joined leaders from across Seattle, King County, and other cities to discuss our regional efforts to combat gun violence through the Regional Gun Violence Prevention Leadership Group.  It’s no surprise that gun violence is increasing in our communities.  Director Worsham of Public Health of Seattle-King County, which is leading the work, said: “Gun violence is a disease in our community that’s spreading, and we need to inoculate and stop the spread.”

Seattle’s Efforts:  I review a report on shots fired in Seattle every week, provided by the SPD.  Every week when I get this report, I want to know more about how we’re helping survivors, families, and the people they love.  I want to know more so I can do more – because we know these deaths are preventable.  I shared some of Seattle’s efforts with members of the Leadership Group.

Seattle Community Safety Initiative community hubs:  For several years, Council has provided $4M annually for the Seattle Community Safety Initiative (SCSI), led by Community Passageways, which built community safety hubs and wraparound services in West Seattle, SE Seattle, and the Central District.  SCSI partners review weekly shots fired reports with SPD, respond to hot spots and incidents, and activate spaces and engage young people with popup events.

Community Safety Capacity Building cohort:  Council provided $10M in 2021 to fund 33 community safety projects, to build safety in our neighborhoods from the ground up for 18 months.  Strategies include: activating hotspots, peer street outreach, de-escalation and conflict mediation, re-entry services, healing and restoration, and youth mental health and wellness.  This group will begin meeting as a cohort with an evaluator to assess their impact and learn from each other.  Seattle’s City Auditor has previously done a significant amount of work to understand the impact of street outreach programs, so they are participating as well.

Regional Peacekeepers Collective:  Much of this work is accomplished through the Regional Peacekeepers Collective (RPKC).  I sponsored $500,000 in the 2021 midyear budget supplemental to fund the RPKC, and appreciated and supported the Mayor’s proposal for additional funding in the 2022 budget.  RPKC uses a regional public health approach to end violence by providing:

  • Rigorous intervention for those directly involved
  • Secondary prevention for younger siblings
  • Follow-up care and support for family restoration and healing

This work focuses on the high-intensity engagement of young people referred by Harborview Medical Center, which coordinates with outreach/family engagement provided by Community Passageways and its partners, and the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, who have identified approximately 50 young people as being most likely to be involved in gun violence, along with their closest associates and younger siblings.

The City of Seattle has contributed $2M to this effort, which joins $7M from the County to ramp up RPKC through 2022 and early 2023 including:

  • Over 35 community positions to interrupt violence and provide care teams.
  • Emergency services for youth and families, participant (youth) costs, training, and technical assistance.
  • Harborview interventionist to connect families and survivors with services and supports.
  • Project management and support positions in Public Health.

White House Community Violence Intervention Collaborative:  Ours is the only regional effort among the 16 jurisdictions selected to participate in the White House’s Community Violence Intervention Collaborative.  This strategy implements preventative measures that are proven to reduce violent crime and attacks the root causes – including by addressing the flow of firearms used to commit crimes.


Alarming Increases in Youth Suicide – and How to Prevent It

I’ve been sounding the alarm about the crisis in mental health caused by the 2 years of fear, grief, and isolation we’ve survived.  Last year Governor Inslee declared a Children and Youth Mental Health Crisis, and US Surgeon General Murthy issued a rare public health advisory warning about the rise in mental health problems among young people.

Now we are seeing a heartbreaking rise in youth suicide.  The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that 20% of high school students seriously contemplated suicide and nearly 10% attempted suicide in 2021.

The Seattle Times reports, “Use of medications or other poisons to attempt suicide or self-harm are rising among youths as young as 9, and the largest increases are among those ages 10-12.”

From The Seattle Times article on the rising number of suicides using poison among young children

Everytown For Gun Safety’s research shows that firearm suicide among young people increased by 146% in the past decade.

From Everytown for Gun Safety report, “The Rise of Firearm Suicide Among Young Americans

How to Protect Your Family:  We have the power to help protect our families and our communities. Responsible firearm and medication storage can be as simple as taking one additional step to reduce unauthorized access to firearms and medications. The key is safe storage.

Firearms: Many assume kids or other household members do not know where firearms are kept at home. But research shows that kids often know where they are in the house, and many firearm owners handle unlocked firearms without their caregiver’s knowledge.

Medications: While opiate medications are a well-known and serious addiction concern, other common household medications, including other pain medications, pose significant health risks. Cannabis is also potentially hazardous, particularly to children. Cannabis products often sell in forms like gummy bears, making them attractive to kids.

Support is available:

The safety of those we love is in our hands!  Learn more about keeping the children you love safe here: Promoting Safe Firearm and Medication Storage – PUBLIC HEALTH INSIDER.


SPMA Contract

The Seattle Police Management Association (SPMA) contract is scheduled for a Full Council vote on Tuesday the 14th. Below is additional information about the contract, and questions/comments Councilmembers have received from members of the public.

There are two labor unions that represent Seattle police officers: the Seattle Police Management Association (SPMA), and the Seattle Police Officer’s Guild (SPOG). SPOG represents officers and sergeants; SPMA represents captains and lieutenants and has fewer than 100 members; this agreement applies to SPMA members.

This agreement makes several advances in accountability. Before reviewing those important advances and addressing the concerns that some constituents have raised, I’d like to first provide an overview of labor negotiations for police unions, and the changes I facilitated to establish a role in negotiations for the accountability bodies. Feel free to skip to the details below if you’d like.

Process for police labor unions negotiations

Collective bargaining agreements negotiated with labor unions representing city employees are different from regular legislation. Unlike legislation, Council cannot vote to amend the agreement.

For this reason, for negotiations with Seattle’s two police unions, the Council is required to hold a public hearing, at least 180 days before negotiations begin, and to consider in good faith whether and how to carry forward in negotiations that the interests expressed at the public hearing.

For the SPMA, the public hearing was held in September 2019; the start of negotiations was delayed due to the arrival of the COVID pandemic.

This round of negotiations with SPMA (and SPOG as well) is different than previous negotiations. In November 2020 former Mayor Durkan and I announced newly expanded roles for accountability partners in bargaining police contracts for negotiations with SPMA and SPOG. For the first time, a community representative from the Community Police Commission has had a role in the bargaining process. The Inspector General and the Office of Police Accountability Director also serve as bargaining advisors.

My primary objectives, for the SPMA contract, broadly, were:

  1. Implement the remaining reforms of the 2017 accountability legislation
  2. Address issues that, in 2019, the Court overseeing the Consent Decree highlighted as a basis for non-compliance regarding discipline, and appeals
  3. Issues identified by the CPC in their November 2019 letter (some overlap with a and b above) including:
  • Inclusion of preponderance standard for evidence in discipline review
  • Address the 180-day timeline problems
  • Remove the requirement that intentionality must be proven in dishonesty charges
  • Allow OPA to play a role in criminal investigations
  • Retain personnel files for six years after an officer is no longer employed by the City.
  1. Address new issues raised by accountability partners OPA, OIG, and CPC.

The Seattle Municipal Code established the Labor Relations Policy Committee (LRPC) for consideration of labor negotiations between the City and represented employees; it is a joint Executive-Council committee, with five City Councilmembers (a majority) serving on it.

SPMA Agreement

There are a number of key improvements in this agreement, that apply to SPMA members and form important milestones that can assist the City in replicating these reforms, as SPOG negotiations continue. Council Central Staff developed a summary of the changes.

Discipline review

Seattle’s current arbitration system is broken. It’s one of the main reasons a federal judge found the Seattle Police Department out of compliance with the Consent Decree in 2019, due to the ruling of an arbitrator requiring the reinstatement of an officer fired by the former Chief for striking a woman who was handcuffed. There are currently 93 open appeals, according to OPA. Some of them involve complaints filed as far back as 2016.

This agreement creates a new discipline review system that marks a sea change in how discipline appeals operate. It will help slow that backlog from growing by ensuring cases aren’t being entirely relitigated during arbitration as they currently are (de novo review). It will also ensure arbitrators, who are not generally experts on policing, don’t substitute their judgment for the police chief’s, undermining accountability as happened in the Adley Shepherd case.

The new system, as recommended by the CPC and the 2017 Accountability legislation establishes a preponderance standard for evidence rather than the higher standard of “Clear and Convincing” previously used. The new system will also prohibit a hearing of new facts related to the Office of Police Accountability (OPA) investigation unless the new facts were not “discoverable at the time of the Chief’s decision that could reasonably be expected to change the Chief’s decision; and/ or (2) new information arises regarding the reliability of existing witness testimony.”

Another important improvement is that the proposed SPMA contract removes restrictions on the ability of OPA to assign civilian investigators to certain tasks, allowing the OPA to make assignments based upon the skills and abilities of the investigator rather than whether they are a civilian or a uniformed Sergeant. Language in the SPOG contract limits the number of civilian investigators that can work at OPA. This change to the SPMA agreement now might help address that limitation in the SPOG contract.

This week, community members are raising questions about 6 elements of the contract as follows:

  1. Why isn’t Subpoena authority for OPA/OIG in the Contract?

The 2017 accountability legislation established subpoena authority for the Office of Police Accountability and the Inspector General. SPMA and SPOG objected because there was no process identified; I proposed legislation to establish a process (here’s the staff memo).

Consequently, the SPMA contract is now silent on the topic.  That means subpoena power, as passed by the Council in 2021, with Ordinance 126264, is unimpeded by the contact and goes into effect for SPMA members.

  1. Does the contract allow SPMA members to withhold information until after an investigation is closed?

During an appeal, the current CBA allows an employee to raise information or witnesses that were known but not disclosed during the OPA investigation. The new proposed contract, establishing a new discipline process, prohibits this.

  1. The Contract should allow OPA to refer and oversee criminal investigations as well as coordinate with these investigations

The 2017 Accountability Ordinance speaks to coordinating instigations with criminal investigations:

OPA shall have the responsibility to coordinate investigations with criminal investigators external to OPA and prosecutors on a case-by-case basis to ensure that the most effective, thorough, and rigorous criminal and administrative investigations are conducted.

The proposed 2022 SPMA contact removes the prohibition on OPA from coordinating an investigation and states: “While OPA will not direct the conduct of a criminal investigation, OPA may communicate with the criminal investigators and/or prosecutors about the status and progress of a criminal investigation.”

  1. Shouldn’t complainants be given the ability to challenge disciplinary decisions in court?

There is no reason that a complainant can’t avail themselves of the civil legal system by suing the City. 

There is an appeal process for employees in the 2017 Accountability Ordinance and in the SPMA and SPOG contracts. There has long been interest in creating an appeal process for complainants. The 2017 Accountability Ordinance is silent on the matter. The CPC has proposed that they develop a proposal and that it be taken up later. The re-opener language in the SPMA contract states that if State or Federal legislation is passed that affects the Agreement, either party may re-open the agreement to ensure compliance.  I would similarly support a re-opener if the 2017 Accountability Ordinance was amended to include a structure for a complainant appeal process.

  1. The SPD Handbook and other publicly available materials should be the primary source for disciplinary outcomes so police officers understand the standards and the public can evaluate them.

Labor law requires that discipline be based on comparable discipline administered in other cases for similar offenses.  Publishing likely disciplinary outcomes established by these precedents may be possible but not for inclusion in the SPMA contract because we wouldn’t want to lock down lower discipline in a contract where there’s a move towards creating a system with greater accountability for misconduct.

  1. A complaint that can’t be certified should be considered open until it can be, regardless of the 180-day clock and without needing permission granted by the union.

Findings are still issued in cases that don’t meet the 180-day timeline. OPA failed to issue timely findings in 12 out of 285 investigations (five percent) that were bound by a 180-day timeline in 2021. Once findings are issued in the untimely cases, to ensure transparency about cases not meeting the deadline, the 2017 Accountability Ordinance requires that the OPA send a letter to the mayor, the City Council President and Chair of the Public Safety Committee, the City Attorney, the Inspector General, and the CPC Executive Director documenting the reasons why they were not timely.

The current CBA requires SPMA to prove that there is a “good cause” to deny the extension to the 180 -day timeframe.

The contract also places a “pause” on the 180-day clock whenever a criminal investigation is conducted, regardless of where the alleged criminal activity occurred or what agency is conducting the investigation.

There are other key improvements in the contract. You can read more here: Central Staff Memo 6/6/22.

Reminder: WSF Fauntleroy Terminal Open House Through the 13th

Washington State Ferries’ online open house for the Fauntleroy Ferry Terminal project is open through June 13th. You can share comments here.

New Off-Leash Areas?

I’ve heard from many constituents calling for a new dog park (known as Off-Leash Areas, or OLAs, by Seattle Parks & Recreation) in West Seattle recently.  Thanks for your advocacy for our furry friends!

New OLA in West Seattle?  My office recently met with the energetic volunteer leaders of West Seattle Dog Connection (WSDC, previously known as West Seattle Dog Park Coalition), who are working with Seattle Parks & Recreation to narrow down potential sites for a new Off-Leash Area in West Seattle.  Volunteers have done a significant amount of work to identify and qualify 20+ potential sites.  They are also working on building up advocacy and incorporating as a nonprofit.  You can connect with their efforts via their Facebook group, or by emailing WestSeattleDPC@gmail.com.

My staff connected WSDC with the District 1 Community Network, to help them spread the word about their efforts and find more support.  We also asked Seattle Parks & Recreation for an update on their efforts, and received this response:

…I recognize that West Seattle is one of the neighborhoods with the most potential for an expansion in our Off-Leash Area (OLA) system…  With that in mind, myself and my colleagues in our Planning, Development and Maintenance Division are also launching an OLA Study to explore potential feasible sites throughout the City for a future OLA. I can tell you that West Seattle is among a few neighborhoods that we are particularly focusing on, due to their increasingly dense population and geographical distance from an official OLA.

Members of the newly-formed West Seattle Dog Park Coalition recently reached out to me with a few suggested sites throughout West Seattle for us to consider for future OLAs…  we have incorporated these suggestions into our planning and plan on conducting site visits soon to learn more about the location and its features/challenges.  As you can imagine, a City-wide study of this sort takes some time, so we appreciate your patience.

My understanding is that the construction costs of a new OLA would come out of SPR’s capital projects fund.

Park District Funds for New Off-Leash Areas:  You can also advocate for new OLAs via the plan, currently under development, for the next 6 years of spending from the Seattle Park District.  As background, Seattle voters created the Seattle Park District in 2014 by approving Proposition 1. Property taxes collected by the Seattle Park District provide funding for City parks and recreation.  You can read more about the Seattle Park District here, and the six-year plan here.

I’ve shared the significant constituent support for new OLAs, both in West Seattle and throughout the city, with the Board of Parks & Recreation Commissioner who represents District 1, and with Councilmember Andrew Lewis, who chairs the Council’s Public Assets & Homelessness committee.  To receive updates on agendas for that committee, and learn when park district funding will be discussed, sign up here: Agenda Sign Up – Council | seattle.gov.


Spotting Urban Carnivores

Last week I joined volunteers from Delridge Neighborhoods Development Association to collect data from “critter cameras” in a West Seattle park.  The Seattle Urban Carnivore Project puts these cameras in green spaces all over the city to study how carnivores such as raccoons and opossums coexist with people across urban and suburban areas all around Seattle.

The volunteer team pulls the data card from the camera, checks it for photos (and “oohs” and “aahs” over any good ones), makes sure the camera is working properly, takes a little bit of data, and then hangs it all back up again. We were lucky enough to find a rare daytime snapshot of a raccoon!

You can report and share your own carnivore sightings.  Visit Carnivore Spotter to report or explore local carnivore sightings throughout the greater Seattle area!  Many thanks to the Woodland Park Zoo and Seattle University for leading this fascinating project.

Public Comment on Rules for Independent Contractor Protections

As I wrote about this time last year, the Council passed CB 120069 which entitles workers classified as independent contractors with pre-contract disclosures, timely payment, and payment disclosures for services valued at $600 or more.

The Office of Labor Standards (OLS) is now seeking public comment on draft Director’s Rules for the legislation.  The Director’s Rules process works to answer details not specifically addressed in the legislation. You can look at the legislation and the proposed rules on OLS’ website here. This policy is set to go into effect in September.

This work was born out of a long-standing priority of mine to address worker misclassification. Misclassified workers are among the most vulnerable workers and independent contractors are a quickly growing segment of our workforce. During my first committee assignment, I had oversight of the OLS, and I sponsored Resolution 31863, which the Council passed. The resolution requested that the Labor Standards Advisory Commission (LSAC) work with OLS on the issue of misclassification and provide input on effective strategies. This work led to the passage of CB 120069 mentioned above.

As required by Resolution 31863, OLS continues to report on their work regarding protections for independent contractors.  I appreciate OLS’ work on addressing these issues not just at a local level, but at the state level too where they provided technical and policy assistance on the development and eventual passage of HB 2076 which provides protections for Transportation Network Company (TNC) drivers statewide.

I appreciate that the Labor Standards Advisory Commission included in their priorities policies that protect independent contractors who fall outside of traditional labor standards protections, such as domestic workers, TNC drivers, and gig workers.

You can see OLS’s most recent report from Resolution 31863 here.  The report covers policy development, outreach and education, and enforcement focusing on labor standards that provide protections to independent contractors.

In-Person Office Hours

On Friday, June 24, I will be hosting in-person office hours between 3pm and 7pm, with the last meeting of the day beginning at 6:30pm.

As we move back to in-person office hours I am asking that you still please contact my scheduler Alex Clardy (alex.clardy@seattle.gov) to schedule an appointment to ensure too many people aren’t gathering in a small area.

Here is a list of my tentatively scheduled office hours. These are subject to change.

  • Friday, July 29, 2022
  • Friday, August 19, 2022
  • Friday, September 30, 2022
  • Friday, October 28, 2022
  • Friday, December 16, 2022
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West Seattle Bridge Update; Budget Request from the Regional Homelessness Authority; Sexual Assault Investigations; Seattle Police Management Association Contract Agreement; OPA Director Position Search: Public Forum for Finalists June 8; Southwest Precinct Community-Police Dialogue, June 9; PayUp Passes Unanimously, First in Nation; Shootings Across the Nation

June 4th, 2022

West Seattle Bridge Update

As noted last week, the West Seattle Bridge Community Task Force will be meeting on June 9th. SDOT has indicated they will provide an update on the timeline at that meeting.

With the completion of structural concrete pours last week, work has proceeded on the next steps in the post-tensioning process.

Ducts are being installed inside the bridge. The ducts act as a protective casing for the post-tensioning cables and will span the length of the bridge. About 11,000 feet of ducts will be installed inside the bridge. Cables will be threaded through the ducts and the openings in the new concrete structures.


Budget Request from the Regional Homelessness Authority

On Friday, I joined my colleagues on Governing Committee of the King County Regional Homelessness Authority (KCRHA) in a vote that authorizes the KCRHA to transmit a proposed 2023 budget of $227M to the County Executive and Mayor Harrell.  You can review the KCRHA’s budget proposal for 2023 in detail here, and watch the Governing Committee discussion and vote here.

My colleagues also approved a motion, put forward by Councilmember Lewis and myself, that:

  • Acknowledges that new or increased funding will need to be identified, or the proposal will need to be reduced; and
  • Requests that future budget proposals include specific plans for revenue as well as expenditures.

The KCRHA must negotiate a more equitable funding plan for future budgets, and this motion makes that point.  KCRHA’s $170M budget in 2022 comes largely from the City of Seattle, which provided $115M or 68% of the total, with the balance from King County.  Of course, Seattle residents also pay the taxes that fund King County’s portion of the budget.  The other 38 cities in King County currently provide $0 to the KCRHA, despite their residents receiving services from it.

I appreciate Marc Dones, KCRHA’s Executive Director, making it clear that this funding plan is not sustainable.  Not just other King County cities, but also the state and federal governments have an important role to play in speeding funds to cities like Seattle, which require an infusion of funds to acquire and build affordable housing and reduce the harm to people living unsheltered.  The city is doing and will continue to do its part in providing funding for homelessness and affordable housing.  Other jurisdictions must follow our example.

I also appreciate that among the proposed budget is an additional $5M for safe parking lots of vehicle and RV residents, a longtime priority of mine.

Next, the County Executive and Mayor Harrell will separately consider the KCRHA proposal and put forward their own proposed budgets this fall.  The City Council will have the opportunity to make changes to that proposal during our fall budget cycle.

Sexual Assault Investigations

This week the Seattle Times and KUOW reported a reduction in police investigations of cases of sexual assault of adults. In 2020, 2021, and 2022 SPD’s data shows only about a third of cases are being assigned for investigation. State Law provides specific rights to children who are victims of sexual assault, and these cases must be prioritized.

At an April meeting of the Domestic Violence Prevention Council, of which I am a member, Chief Diaz transparently shared data, that shows that only approximately 1/3 of sexual assault cases are routed and assigned. A demographic breakdown of those cases shows that cases in all age ranges are being routed and assigned, although certain cases where the victim is a child are a larger proportion.  I appreciate SPD’s willingness to share this data.

Victim Advocate Services Denied

In a follow up to this week’s Seattle Times/KUOW story, KIRO reports, Staffing shortages take toll on sexual assault unit at Seattle Police Department, and that SPD promises that victim advocates will still reach out to all victims:

“The email (from SPD) says victim advocates will still reach out to all victims.”

This statement is inconsistent with what my office has learned – survivors only receive an advocate’s help when the case is assigned for investigation; and that approximately two-thirds of cases are not assigned for investigation, again according to SPD’s own data.

A report from the Human Services Department (HSD) that I requested and received last week about HSD victim advocacy services, demonstrates that survivors only receive outreach from an advocate when their case is assigned to an investigation – not when the report is first taken. Therefore, when cases aren’t assigned, survivors are doubly impacted…they receive no investigation of their case and no advocacy services.

HSD reports that they are poised to launch a pilot with SPD to begin to refer unassigned adult sexual assault cases to the Victim Support Team.

Patrol Officers Not Taking All Reports

Assignment of SPD patrol officers to take reports of sexual assault from survivors should certainly be a priority, even with a police force with 300 plus fewer officers in service over the last two years. Chief Diaz said as much in the Public Safety and Human Services Committee on May 26 when he explained why the patrol division has increased as a percentage of all officers while investigative units have decreased as a percentage of all officers.  He said:

“If we don’t have an officer to respond to sexual assault, we’re never going to have the follow up to be able to investigate it.”

I have been aware that a shortage of investigations unit detectives has created a situation where SPD is prioritizing the assignment of detectives to youth sexual assault cases as required by the law, but I was shocked to learn that “Seattle police are failing to take rape and other sexual assault reports in a timely way — or sometimes, even at all — from victims seeking treatment from Harborview Medical Center.”

Why is it, that in the first quarter of 2022, SPD has deployed officers to 23,000 hours of overtime for events staffing, much of it exclusively for traffic enforcement, of which I believe Parking Enforcement Officers should be doing? I think that Chief Diaz should prioritize deploying officers to overtime work to fulfill high-priority public safety incidents, such as collecting reports of sexual assault from survivors and other sexual assaults, not directing traffic.

Cases Not Assigned to Detectives

Further, SPD detectives investigating cases of sexual assault should also be a priority for SPD.

Yet, the Seattle Times/KUOW article reports that a 5-detective unit, that was historically 10 detectives, “struggle to make a dent in large child abuse and sexual assault caseloads, the department has also drafted them to work security and traffic control at sporting events.”

The City Charter gives authority over deployment decisions to the Chief, and Council is not able to intervene. But we can and must insist on additional transparency into how officers are deployed.

In order to determine whether overtime hours assigned to staffing events could be assigned instead to detectives doing sexual assault investigations, I have requested from SPD the breakdown of 23,000 overtime hours for staffing events according to officers in patrol vs those working in investigative units.

Advocates have also proposed that because so many cases are not routed to investigators, sexual assault victims may not be having trauma-informed interactions when they are able to report sexual assault. I have been advocating that SPD include a requirement for all patrol officers to take a Criminal Justice Training Center two-hour online training in trauma-informed interviewing techniques focused on working with survivors of sexual assault, and led by sexual assault investigation experts.  SPD is considering my request.

At a time when sexual assault cases are on the rise, we must examine how the gaps in the pathway for survivors of sexual assault to find justice are occurring at multiple points – getting their reports taken by patrol officers, getting the cases that are reported assigned to detectives to investigate, getting advocacy services to survivors, getting investigated cases referred for prosecution, and a backlog of cases referred for prosecution waiting to be heard in court as well. And we must not only ask how, but why, and demand answers to what it will take to fill the gaps across the entire pathway.

Seattle Police Management Association Contract Agreement

On Monday, June 6 the Council will hear a briefing about the Seattle Police Management Association Collective Bargaining Agreement. It has been introduced and is available here. A summary is here.

There are two labor unions that represent Seattle police officers: the Seattle Police Management Association (SPMA), and the Seattle Police Officer’s Guild (SPOG). SPOG represents officers and sergeants; SPMA represents captains and lieutenants and has fewer members.

SMC 4.04.120 requires the City Council to hold a public hearing “on the effectiveness of the City’s police accountability system and should be held at least 90 days before the City begins collective bargaining agreement negotiations with the Seattle Police Officer’s Guild (SPOG) or the Seattle Police Management Association (SPMA)” at least 180 days before negotiations begin. It further states:

“The City of Seattle will consider in good faith whether and how to carry forward the interests expressed at the public hearing. Those suggested changes that are legally required to be bargained with the SPOG, SPMA, or their successor labor organizations will be considered by the City, in good faith, for inclusion in negotiations but the views expressed in the public hearing will not dictate the city’s position during bargaining.”

Two Council committees held this hearing in September 2019 jointly with the Community Police Commission. The arrival of COVID delayed the commencement of negotiations.

SMC 4.04.120 established a Labor Relations Policy Committee (LRPC) consisting of the City Council’s Labor Committee and the Mayor’s appointees, and notes “no binding oral or written agreements shall be entered into with the bargaining representative(s) of employees of the City relative to substantive changes in City policy toward wages, hours, or working conditions without the participation of the Director of Labor Relations or his designee, the concurrence of the Labor Relations Policy Committee, and approval by a majority of the City Council.”

The five Councilmembers (a majority of the Council) that serve on the Select Labor Committee serve on the LRPC.

In November 2020 former Mayor Durkan and I announced newly expanded roles for accountability partners in bargaining police contracts for negotiations with SPMA and SPOG. For the first time, a community representative from the Community Police Commission has had a role in the bargaining process. The Inspector General and the Office of Police Accountability Director also serve as bargaining advisors.

In addition, Council staff was included in negotiations. Previously, there was no formal City Council staff representation in previous contract negotiations with SPOG and SPMA, and only Mayor’s Office, Seattle Police Department, and Labor Relations representatives were at the table with the unions.

The agreement is on the agenda for the City Council meeting on Tuesday.

OPA Director Position Search: Public Forum for Finalists June 8

Here is a late breaking announcement from the executive re: a public forum on the finalists for OPA Director that they asked to be shared:

As part of the Mayor’s selection process, finalists for the Director, Office of Police Accountability will participate in a virtual public forum on Wednesday, June 8th at 6:30PM.  The public forum will be recorded, streamed live, and televised by Seattle Channel. The Public Forum is an opportunity for the community to meet the OPA Director finalists.

The City has conducted a national recruitment for the Director, Office of Police Accountability.  The selection committee, which included current Community Police Commissioners, community members and representatives from Council, the Seattle Police Department and the Mayor’s Office reviewed applications of qualified applicants, conducted an interview, reviewed responses to the written exam and identified four finalists.

Scheduled to participate in the forum (in alphabetical order) will be:

  • Eddie Aubrey, Civilian Manager for the Office of Professional Accountability, Richmond, CA
  • Gino Betts, Assistant State Attorney at the Community Justice Center within the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office, Chicago, IL
  • Ginale Harris, Program Director, Felton Institute, San Francisco, CA and former Oakland Police Commissioner, Oakland, CA
  • Valiza Nash, Supervising Investigator (Special Victims), Civilian Office of Police Accountability, Chicago, IL

The public is encouraged to suggest questions for the candidates prior to the event.  Questions can be submitted anonymously through the following link 12:00PM (noon) on Tuesday, June 7th.

Upon the Mayor’s nomination for the Director, Office of Police Accountability a full background check as required by Ordinance 125315 will be conducted.  It is anticipated that the nominee will be announced in early July.

Southwest Precinct Community-Police Dialogue, June 9

As noted earlier, Seattle University will be hosting a series of community-police dialogues in each police precinct. The purpose of the dialogues will be to provide an overview of the findings from the 2021 Seattle Public Safety Survey and to give community members and police personnel the opportunity to engage in dialogue that is precinct-specific.

The first one of three for the Southwest Precinct (West Seattle and South Park) will be on Thursday, June 9, from 5:30 to 7:30, via Zoom video conferencing. You can sign up here.

The dialogues are open to all who live and/or work in Seattle.

Seattle University collaborates with the Seattle Police Department to conduct the annual public safety survey as part of the Micro-Community Policing Plans.

PayUp Passes Unanimously; First in Nation

As you might have seen in my newsletter last week, my committee voted to pass CB 120294 out of committee after adopting several amendments. You can see that write-up here. During this week’s Full Council meeting the Council voted unanimously in favor of CB 120294.

This legislation is the first of several bills focused on labor standards protections for app-based workers. CB 120294 will do three things:

  1. Ensure app-based delivery workers are paid minimum wage plus expenses and tips
  2. Create more transparency in employment terms and how payments are split between workers and app-based companies
  3. Protect flexibility and transparency in employment issues for app-based workers

Councilmember Morales successfully proposed an amendment that noted the Council’s intention to consider future legislation regulating marketplace network companies (think Rover and TaskRabbit) – which were removed from the legislation before it was voted out of committee.

I am honored to have had the opportunity to work on this legislation which protects one of the fastest-growing sectors of our economy.  More and more workers are turning to this type of work, whether full or part-time, without receiving the protections of basic labor standards.

There are still some app-based businesses that are concerned about this legislation.  Nevertheless, this is an expensive city to live and work in and if paying employees subminimum wage is the only way that businesses can sustain their model, then there should be some consideration about whether the business model really works. These same businesses are making record revenues:

Given this, how can paying workers a minimum wage be a threat to their business models?

There is significant support for this legislation including from Seattle Restaurant United, a coalition of more than 240 small restaurant owners and operators. The Washington Low Income Housing Alliance, OneAmerica, Puget Sound Sage, Somali Community Services, Al Noor Islamic Community Center, El Centro de la Raza, Casa Latina, Asian Counseling and Referral Service, National Domestic Workers Alliance, the National Employment Law Project, SEIU 775, SEIU 6, the Transit Riders Union, and the Labor Standards Advisory Commission (LSAC).

I have heard from a few small businesses concerned about price increases. These businesses are protected from price increases. In April 2020, the former Mayor signed an Emergency Order that prevents app-based delivery companies from charging more than 15% of the purchase price of an order. The Council is working on drafting this policy as a Council Bill, and I look forward to supporting that legislation.

I will continue our work on additional legislation to cover issues such as restroom access for drivers, anti-discrimination, background checks, deactivation, and an advisory board. For more information on PayUp check out our website here which will be updated with new information as we continue through the process.

In closing, it has been a long road and an extensive year-long stakeholder engagement process that has led to the development and passage of CB 120294, and nation-leading protections for app-based workers. I appreciate my colleagues’ support for this legislation and most of all, for the advocacy of these workers, who until now, have not enjoyed the same protections as typical W2 employees.

Shootings Across the Nation

We have seen a recurrence of mass shootings across the nation recently, most prominently the racist killings in Buffalo, New York and the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas. Gun violence is a global scourge, with impacts uniquely felt in the United States because of our nation’s lax gun laws.

Today is Gun Violence Awareness Day and this weekend is Wear Orange Weekend, supporting a future free from gun violence. Wear Orange weekend has its origins in 2013, Hadiya Pendleton marched in President Obama’s second inaugural parade. One week later she was shot and killed in a playground in Chicago; her friends commemorated her life by wearing orange, the color hunters wear in the woods to protect themselves and others.

Today I was honored to join the Alliance for Gun Responsibility, advocates, and elected officials to recognize National Gun Violence Awareness Day and to respond to mass shootings in Uvalde, Buffalo, Laguna Woods, and now Tulsa.  We recognized our successes in the State Legislature in 2022, passing three major gun violence prevention bills into law: SB 5078 restricting access to magazines holding more than 10 rounds of ammunition, HB 1705 closes the deadly ghost gun loophole by restricting the manufacture, assembly, sale, transfer, purchase, possession, transport, and receipt of ghost guns—untraceable, unserialized firearms and unfinished receivers, and HB 1630 prohibiting open carry at local government meetings and restricting firearms at school board meetings and election-related offices and facilities. The State Legislature passed six Alliance for Gun Responsibility priority bills into law this year and provided more than $8M in funding for gun violence prevention programs.

Yet even as we recognized this victory, Attorney General Rob Ferguson responded to a question about today’s outrageous federal lawsuit filed by the Second Amendment Foundation, challenging Washington’s ban on large-capacity magazines for rifles and pistols.   He responded to say that he is undeterred in his resolve and confident that we will prevail.

The New York Times on Sunday noted how frequently mass shooters have obtained weapons legally:

This is the world young people are growing up in. Gun violence is now the number one cause of death for children and young people under 19.  Yesterday, a mother sent me the artwork that her 15-year-old, Toby English, made the day after the shooting in Uvalde. With the family’s permission I’ve included his images and words below:

 

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Andover RV visit; Day of Service; Mental Health Awareness Month; PayUp Passes out of Committee; WS Bridge update; PSHS Briefings: OPA/Chief legislation; Covid booster guidance

May 27th, 2022

West Seattle Bridge Update

Yesterday we got great news: the construction contractor completed the final pour of structural concrete inside the West Seattle Bridge!

SDOT’s announcement notes they:

“…still expect to reopen the bridge in mid-2022 and can now work with our construction contractor to finalize the sequence of the remaining work…This week’s deliveries involved concrete trucks making back-to-back pours. Our construction contractor poured 15 truckloads of concrete in two days, more than half of the 245 cubic yards of structural concrete needed for the entire project.”

I am so grateful that the concrete drivers put aside their contract dispute to enable projects like the West Seattle Bridge to move forward again.  They accepted the offer of the concrete suppliers to return to work as a “leap of faith” and “in hopes that a continuation of bargaining will produce an Agreement once and for all.”

I know many people are going to write in response to this newsletter in order to ask what day the bridge is opening.  The next meeting of the West Seattle Bridge Community Task Force is scheduled for June 9th and SDOT says that they will make an update on timeline then.

Visit with RV Residents at SW Andover

On Monday I led a group, including Regional Homelessness Authority Director Marc Dones and Councilmember Mosqueda, to meet residents of a longstanding RV community in my district.  We were joined by outreach and mutual aid workers who have been working with the residents.  Neighbors of the encampment have also met with me in my office hours to discuss their concerns.

The City has announced its intention to begin enforcing the 72-hour parking rule, which has been suspended since the CDC guidance related to limiting COVID19 transmission.  I wanted to learn how to help RV residents prepare for being required to move their homes for the first time in several years.  On Wednesday, we met with the Mayor’s Office to discuss planned enforcement of the 72-hour parking rule at Andover and confirmed that it is their goal is to get as much compliance as possible or to offer services to those whose vehicles are not operable prior to June 16th.

My takeaway from the visit is that many residents need free or low-cost repairs right away, so that RV owners can comply when required to move to a new location.  In the short term, we should also bring in public health services to address environmental concerns as well as healthcare needs.  And we need dumpsters, as well as case management.  One woman I spoke with had her ID stolen, and it’s been impossible to replace without a fixed address, phone, or reliable email.

In the long term, we must build safe lots and store RVs, to make it easier for folks to take a chance on moving into housing.  One thing I’ve learned is that RV residents are a different group, with different needs, from other folks experiencing homelessness.  They quite literally already have a home, and they are unlikely to leave that behind for a shelter, where they wouldn’t have space to store their belongings or put a lock on their door.

The Regional Homelessness Authority (RHA) currently has a Request for Proposals available for up to $1.9M for RV safe lots.  This has been a longstanding priority of mine, and I’m thrilled that the funds that Council has provided are finally making their way out to meet the needs of RV residents.  RHA has convened a vehicle residency workgroup that is working on solutions for vehicle residents across a lot of specific subplans, you can see that presentation here.  We need more, but this is an essential first step.

Public Safety and Human Services Committee Update

On Tuesday May 24th the Public Safety and Human Services Committee that I chair met.

The first item on the agenda was a draft version of a bill that addresses a technical issue from the 2017 accountability ordinance, which didn’t address how complaints that name the Chief of Police should be addressed.  This gap has led to lack of clarity about how to proceed with some previous complaints.

I became aware of this issue earlier this year, and reached out the Mayor’s Office, the Inspector General, and OPA to chart a path forward to address this, and establish a clear, fair process with as much consensus as possible. As noted in the recitals, there were three complaints against the former Chief in 2020, that lingered for some time until Mayor Harrell’s office forwarded the complaints to an external agency for investigation. Moving forward, it’s important for public trust to have a clear process to resolve these types of complaints.

The legislation will be up for potential consideration at the June 14th meeting. Here’s the Central Staff Memo.

The second item on the agenda was a neighborhood business districts public safety presentation.

The Mayor’s office has begun important work to address issues in neighborhood business districts with a neighborhood-based approach along with the LEAD program. The Mayor’s Office indicated this approach will be expanded to other neighborhood business districts in coming months; office has discussed this with the Mayor’s Office and SW Precinct Captain regarding, for example, the West Seattle Junction.

In addition, some representatives of those business districts have developed a community safety proposal to support neighborhood business districts, which I invited them to share with the committee.  The safety investments proposal focuses on non-officer options. It is based on the example of the North Precinct, and recommends a more neighborhood-focused approach, rather than the traditional precinct-based approach.  Elements include a dedicated Mayor’s Office role, the creation of community safety hub coordinators, high-visibility civilian-staffed walking patrol, crisis response, and behavioral health outreach.

You can watch the presentations and discussion at the Seattle Channel meeting video.

Mental Health Awareness Month

On Tuesday, I presented a proclamation declaring May to be Mental Health Awareness Month to Lauren Simonds and Alice Nicols of National Alliance on Mental Illness – Washington, and Erin Romanuk, Student Support Services Supervisor at Seattle Public Schools.  The proclamation recognizes that with early and effective treatment, people with lived experience of mental illness get better, live in recovery, lead fulfilling and empowered lives, and provide invaluable knowledge of how to improve and transform systems of care.

I am passionate about addressing the “shadow pandemic” – the crisis in mental health that is impacting us all, brought about by the past two years of grief, fear, and isolation.  Last year, Governor Inslee declared a state of emergency due to the mental and behavioral health of Washington’s kids.  Last December, the nation’s Surgeon General followed suit.

The Council has stepped up to provide City resources to meet the growing need.  That includes my budget action to provide $1M to expand mental health support for Seattle students and residents; and increasing services for people in behavioral health crisis with a $5M down payment on a new facility, and continued expansion of the Mobile Crisis Team.

For anyone who is struggling right now, NAMI-Seattle offers free, online support groups, and connections to crisis lines and other resources.  Call the 24/7 Crisis Line hotline at (866) 427-4747, or 711 for WA Relay. You can call anytime you need to talk with someone.

One Seattle Day of Service

Last weekend, Team Herbold volunteered at the White Center Food Bank for Mayor Harrell’s One Seattle Day of Service.  We spent the sunny morning gardening and deep cleaning food crates.  The food bank served 83,702 individuals from the Delridge area last year.  I’m grateful to all the community members who have worked at this location to increase food accessibility for their neighbors.

If you would like to support the White Center Food Bank, you can donate here.

Team Herbold at the White Center Food Bank: Newell Aldrich, Elizabeth Calvillo Dueñas, me, Alex Clardy, and Christena Coutsoubos.

Are You Up to Date with Your Covid Vaccines?

Figure out if you’re up to date here.  Find your booster shot here.


PayUp Passes out of Committee

On Tuesday my committee once again took up CB 120294, also known as PayUp.  Nearly a year ago, on June 9, 2021, we held our first stakeholder meeting to begin the work necessary to develop this proposal.  Since that time, we held a dozen large format stakeholder meetings. Those meetings have included representatives from DoorDash, Uber Eats, Task Rabbit, Rover, Instacart, GoPuff, Shipt, Seattle Restaurants United, workers, and worker advocacy groups such as Drive Forward, Working Washington, and the Nation Employment Law Project.

After the conclusion of those large format stakeholder meetings, we continued to meet with stakeholders as the legislation developed. The amendments considered and voted on by the PSHS committee were a direct result of those continued meetings.

This is the third time we’ve heard the introduced bill, CB 120294, in committee, but the sixth time we’ve we have met in PSHS committee to discuss the PayUp policy package.

Council Central Staff walked the committee through 16 amendments. The three most impactful amendments passed were amendment 2, 3 and 11.

  • Amendment 2, sponsored by Councilmember Pedersen, defines Marketplace network companies as those that are “primarily engaged” in prescheduled offers and whose workers set their own rates.
  • Amendment 3, also sponsored by Councilmember Pedersen, exempts marketplace network companies and their workers from the protections of this legislation entirely.

The passage of these amendments mean that thousands of workers who are on Rover, TaskRabbit, etc will be exempt from the minimum standards.  And for companies like TaskRabbit – who do both prescheduled and on demand work – even their workers’ on-demand work will be exempt.

  • Amendment 11, which I sponsored, requires network companies to create a fraud policy before taking an adverse action against a worker. Reportedly, bots are being used to create accounts and misuse the platform in order to defraud the network companies.

While I am disappointed that marketplace network companies, and therefore their workers, will not receive the protections afforded in this legislation, I don’t want that to minimize the huge accomplishment of the passage of CB 120294 by the committee with a unanimous vote in favor with one abstention. There are tens of thousands of delivery workers in the city and this legislation will ensure payment of minimum wage plus expenses with a per-minute and per-mile floor for the engaged time necessary to perform each offer.

This legislation is supported by Seattle Restaurant United, a coalition of more than 240 small restaurant owners and operators. Organizations such as the Washington Low Income Housing Alliance support this legislation because they are fighting to keep people from falling into homelessness. Other organizations like OneAmerica, Puget Sound Sage, Somali Community Services, Al Noor Islamic Community Center, El Centro de la Raza, Casa Latina, Asian Counseling and Referral Service, National Domestic Workers Alliance, the National Employment Law Project, SEIU 775, SEIU 6, and the Transit Riders Union also support this legislation.

The legislation was recommended unanimously by the Committee, and will be voted on this Tuesday, May 31.

 

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West Seattle Bridge; Fauntleroy Ferry Terminal Public Meetings/Online Open House; Update on SW Andover Street; Monitor’s Comprehensive Assessment of the Seattle Police Department; Stand in Solidarity Seattle; Funds Available for Child Care Facilities!; Join Me — On the Board of Health; Applications Due June 30; Shape the Future of Outdoor Pickleball in Seattle; Mourning 1 Million Americans Dead From COVID; PayUp Update + App Worker Pay Gap

May 20th, 2022

West Seattle Bridge Update

SDOT is expecting the final two structural pours for specialized concrete next week!

The additional recent update we’ve received is that SDOT expects to make a time-frame announcement on June 9th.

Work is continuing on post-tensioning anchorage forms in the south girder.

During the structural concrete pours, there is a review of post-tensioning work completed to date, to make any real-time adjustments needed.

SDOT notes the following construction closures in West Seattle this weekend:

Construction in West Seattle this weekend; closure on eastbound Spokane Street Viaduct

Starting at 9 PM tonight, we’ll close the on-ramp from eastbound SW Spokane St to the Spokane St Viaduct, along with eastbound lanes of the Spokane St Viaduct. A signed detour will be in place along S Spokane St. All lanes will reopen by 5 AM, Monday, May 23. 

The closure is needed to install new bridge expansion joints, which allow the bridge to expand and contract during winter and summer months. While we do this work, we will also fill the potholes on the Viaduct.   

On Saturday, starting as early as 7 AM to 4 PM, we will upgrade the signal at 16th Ave S and East Marginal Way S. During this work, we’ll need to reduce the two travel lanes on each direction on East Marginal Way S to a single lane. We’ll have someone directing traffic at the work location to keep traffic moving efficiently. Please drive safely in work zones and follow directions from signs and flaggers.

On Sunday, we’ll install reflectors on West Marginal Way SW and Highland Park Way SW. We’ll begin as early as 5 AM and conclude by 3 PM. We’ll start near the Chelan 5-way intersection and work our way south, before going west on Highland Park Way SW, then go in reverse to cover eastbound Highland Park Way SW and northbound West Marginal Way SW. Please anticipate delays as we continuously move down the street to complete this work. This work may continue into next weekend. If there’s a change in schedule, we’ll include an update in next week’s email.   

Fauntleroy Ferry Terminal Public Meetings / Online Open House

Washington State Ferries (WSF) will be holding an online open house and two virtual meetings about the Fauntleroy Ferry Terminal replacement project.

Here’s a link to the online open house that includes information about alternatives WSF is considering. The online open house goes through June 13, and you can submit comments and questions.

The two online community meetings will be on Tuesday, May 24, from noon to 1:30 p.m. and Wednesday, May 25, from 6-8 p.m. Both meetings will cover the same material. You can click the links to register for these Zoom meetings.

The week after each meeting, a video recording will be available online on the project webpage.

Several options were considered in what is called “Level 1” screening, the first level of consideration. Some alternatives were eliminated from consideration, including potential terminal locations at Lowman Beach, Colman Dock, Burien or Des Moines.

The alternatives moving into “Level 2” screening are all located at the current terminal location. At the recommendation of the Community Advisory Group, Level 2 alternatives were expanded to not only include maintaining the same dock size, but also options to maintain the dock size and include advance ticketing and using the Good to Go! Program – like it’s currently used for toll collection on the SR99 tunnel – but for ferry tickets.

Some options expand the size of the terminal or would affect traffic circulation on Fauntleroy Way SW.

Here’s a chart that shows the results of the Level 1 screening analysis. Here is the full Level 1 analysis, which has the easiest to read layout for the alternatives.

The section of the open house on the alternatives shows what will be analyzed moving forward in “Level 2” screening.

Update on SW Andover Street

Last Friday I wrote about the shooting on Andover near 26th, the second several weeks, near the RV encampment at that location.

SDOT announced they are resuming full 72-hour parking enforcement. When the Mayor’s Office briefed me about this the week before, and potential areas of focus, I emphasized the long-standing issues at Andover. I followed up with the Mayor’s Office about prioritizing this location. The Mayor’s Office responded:

“The Nucor site is currently scheduled for remediation for June 16th. This date is tentative and can be changed if circumstances shift but you should start to see a surge of outreach efforts to prepare vehicle owners prior to remediation day. Outreach will advise owners to get back in the habit of regularly moving vehicles to avoid a possible warning and citation. Our goal is to get as much compliance as possible or to offer services to those whose vehicles are not operable prior to the 16th.”

Monitor’s Comprehensive Assessment of the Seattle Police Department

The Seattle Police Monitor overseeing the Consent Decree has released a Comprehensive Assessment of Seattle Police Department.

Prior to this, the Monitor released separate preliminary assessments on the topics of 1. use of force; 2. crisis intervention; and 3. stops and detentions.  The Monitor presented these preliminary assessments separately at Community Police Commission community outreach meetings over the last few months to gather community input. The final assessment released this week combines all three area and finds that SPD “SPD has sustained its compliance with the Consent Decree generally, outside of notable issues with SPD’s response to the 2020 protests and other specific issues that require additional work to help prevent such problems in the future.”

The report shows a trend in reduced use of force, with an exception in 2020 due to use of force at protests. From 2015 to 2021, officer use of force declined 48%. That kind of change is a clear and positive result of officers implementing their updated policies.

It’s worth noting, however, that the Monitor did not recommend ending the Consent Decree. The Monitor’s letter at the start of the report notes three areas of work needed; first to restore trust lost during the protests and demonstration in 2020 in the wake of the murder of George Floyd; second, an assessment of the police accountability system; and third, “the City of Seattle must address disparate impact in policing,” noting the assessment shows “Black and Native American persons in Seattle are disproportionately stopped, detained and subjected to force.”

The report also hints at the forthcoming 2022 monitoring plan, which includes an Accountability System Performance Assessment. I appreciate this; in 2017 the City Auditor issued a report that recommended periodic evaluation of how the police oversight system functions to ensure that it is effective. I sought funding to begin similar work in the 2022 budget and have been in touch with the Auditor and the accountability bodies about beginning some of this work. I’m glad to see this is a point of emphasis for the Monitor and hope there can be productive collaboration that avoids duplication of efforts.

The report was sent to District Court Judge Robart, who oversees implementation of the Consent Decree.

Stand in Solidarity Seattle

Mothers for Police Accountability is asking for our support in the aftermath of last week’s heinous attack, being investigated as a hate crime, at a grocery store in Buffalo, New York. Eleven of the people shot were Black, two were white. If you haven’t read about their lives, please take a moment to do so, here. The store manager said that the suspected gunman raised red flags to employees in his prior visits to the store.  She was quoted as saying, “How did we miss this…What did we do wrong that we missed this?”

As we mourn this horrible racially motivated attack and murder in New York, I urge us to think about the accounts of extremism and racial hate in our own community and in our workforce. What are we also missing?

Just the week prior to this, several elected and appointed city leaders received a letter from the city’s RSJI Network stating their concern and asking about actions being taken to address the noose found in mid-February in Fire Station 24.  Here is an excerpt:

“This is the second known such incident in recent years, with another noose found in the Fall of 2020 in Fire Station 17. Both Fire Stations 17 and 24 have Black officers and leadership within the organization; the threat for Black employees to “know your place” has deep historical roots in America, tracing back to slavery, the Klan, Jim Crow, and persists today. This targeted attack was committed in an attempt at making our Black colleagues fear for their safety, security, and life. As we are sure you agree, this behavior is beyond unacceptable and is a violation of the City workplace values of equity, inclusion, and accountability and falls under the definition of City workplace malicious harassment.”

When I met with Chief Scoggins this week, he was at a Fire Chief’s conference in Nashville.  He had been visiting the Lorraine Motel, the site of Rev. Martin Luther King’s assignation.  With that, as well as the previous week’s hate attack in New York as the subtext of our conversation, he read to me his response to the RSJI Network’s letter.  Here is an excerpt:

“The leadership of Seattle Fire Department stands in complete agreement that the use of any symbols, (verbal, written or body) language and/or behavior to communicate hatred, fear, intimidation, racism or any form of “other-ism” is untenable and cannot be tolerated.

We acknowledge the department has a history of racism, sexism and other disenfranchising practices. As much as we wish it were not so, the instances of nooses being left in fire stations on two separate occasions are stark reminders of the work we have yet to do.

Our messaging to the department and with media about those incidents has been clear: these actions are racist, have no place at Seattle Fire, and we are committed to pursuing the appropriate level of discipline depending on the outcome of an investigation. While the investigation at Fire Station 17 could not identify the responsible party, the investigation is ongoing into the noose at Fire Station 24. Providing regular updates to the Seattle Black Fire Fighters Association and SFD’s Change Team on the investigation status is something we are committed to doing.

Each member of the Seattle Fire leadership team has fully committed themselves to changing department culture to one that not only reflects the diversity of Seattle’s residents but where all of our uniformed and professional staff members feel accepted, safe, welcome, known and comfortable being their whole selves.”

I thank Chief Scoggins for this message of support of our public servants in the face of these terror-inducing acts of racial hate.  We must do much more to identify and root out extremism and racial hatred in our community as well as among city employees.

Funds Available for Child Care Facilities!

Apply now for City funding for your child care facility.  The Human Services Department is making up to $6 million available to invest in capital improvements:

  • Nonprofit, center-based providers and preschools are eligible to apply for $25,000 (min) to $2,000,000 (max)
  • Nonprofit, home-based agencies are eligible to apply for $10,000 (min) to $75,000 (max)

Providers must have experience in:

  • providing developmentally and culturally appropriate early learning programming;
  • working with Seattle children and families most disproportionately impacted by the effects of COVID-19; and
  • working with Seattle children 0 – 5 years old.

For more information, and all RFP materials, please visit HSD’s Funding Opportunities web page. Completed application packets are due by Noon on Tuesday, June 28, 2022.


Join Me — On the Board of Health; Applications Due June 30

The King County Board of Health is expanding in 2023 to include more members of the community.

Applications to join the Board are welcome from King County residents who share a commitment to public health principles and addressing racism as a public health crisis, including public health and health care providers, people with experience with public health programs, residents who are working to address health inequities, and others who have permits with Public Health. 

Applications are due June 30, 2022.  Learn more, register for an online open house, or apply at King County Board of Health – King County


Shape the Future of Outdoor Pickleball in Seattle

Seattle Parks and Recreation (SPR) invites the community to the final online Open House for the pickleball study on Wednesday, May 25, 2022 at 4:30 p.m.  This online event is an opportunity for all to review strategies and locations for expanding access to outdoor pickleball in Seattle.  Use this link to register.

Learn more about SPR’s 2021-22 Outdoor Pickleball Study here.

Mourning 1 Million Americans Dead From COVID

Sometime this week, the nation passed a tragic milestone: 1 million Americans dead from COVID.  That figure is roughly equal to how many Americans died in the Civil War and World War II – combined.

Among the dead: more than 241,000 children lost a parent or caregiver.  That’s an unimaginable burden of grief for a generation of young people.

The U.S. has the highest reported COVID-19 death toll of any country.  Predictably, the burden of loss has not been shared equally.

  • Three out of every four deaths were people 65 and older.
  • Black, Hispanic and Native American people have been roughly twice as likely to die from COVID-19 as their white counterparts.
  • Unvaccinated people have a 10 times greater risk of dying of COVID-19 than the fully vaccinated, according to the CDC.

Here’s CDC’s statement on the significance of this milestone: “Every life lost to COVID-19 is a tragedy and should be a reminder to continue taking precautions to prevent further serious illness and death.”

Every day in King County, another 1,000 people catch COVID.  Cases are increasing rapidly, and hospitalizations are starting to follow suit.  To honor the lives lost and keep your neighbors safe, stay up to date on your Covid vaccination; wear masks indoors; and stay home when you feel sick.

COVID-19 vaccine and boosters are free and no insurance required.  No appointment is needed: most pharmacies, clinics, and Public Health centers now offer drop-in COVID-19 vaccination. Enter your zip code in Washington’s Vaccine Locator tool or check the Getting Vaccinated page to find a vaccination site near you.

 

PayUp Update + App Worker Pay Gap

This coming Tuesday we’ll hear amendments on CB 120294, also known as PayUp. This bill has been heard several times in committee, and we hosted a Public Hearing on it on May 5. If you haven’t already you can sign up here to receive the Public Safety and Human Services Committee agendas here and you’ll be notified when the agenda is released and what amendments Councilmembers are sponsoring.

This week Working Washington released a report that shows:

  • The average pay for an app-based worker was $9.58/hour after accounting for basic expenses — 55% or almost $8 below Seattle’s minimum wage.
  • 92% of jobs paid less than minimum wage.
  • Average net pay for grocery delivery apps was $11.09/hour, and for restaurant delivery apps was $8.71/hour.
  • Without Seattle’s gig worker covid-19 hazard pay law, more than 1 in 8 delivery jobs would pay below $0 — in other words, they’d require more in driving and other expenses than they’d pay.
  • About 1/3 of workers’ earnings came from tips. But even if tips were treated as pay, workers’ average net earnings would be below minimum wage.
  • Marketplace apps also offer services at rates below minimum wage and engage in a variety of practices to drive down pay.
  • Finally, the report also found that raising pay to Seattle’s minimum wage after expenses would provide a direct economic boost of approximately $79 million annually for gig workers in Seattle — money that would be put right back into local business.

 

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West Seattle Bridge and Transportation Update; Delridge Farmers’ Market Opens May 14th at Hope Academy; Hiring the City’s Next Aging & Disability Services Division Director; Standing for Abortion Rights; Public Safety and Human Services Committee Update; Advocating for Federal Action for RV Residents and Others Experiencing Homelessness; Comment Letter to Police Monitor; Virtual Office Hours

May 14th, 2022

West Seattle Bridge and Transportation Update

Earlier this week SDOT reported to the City Council that:

“The three pours for the north girder are complete; the three structural pours for the south girder are next. After the final structural pour the contractor can revisit the schedule and provide greater clarity on when their work will be complete.”

SDOT made some modifications for the anchorage systems this week to prepare for the south girder pours. On Thursday, SDOT let us know that there wasn’t a concrete pour this week and instead the contractor is preparing for two final structural concrete pours, not three.  SDOT believes that though these last pours are coming in on a little different sequence than we had anticipated a couple weeks ago, we’re essentially on the same trajectory towards completing the delivery and pouring of concrete.

Carbon fiber wrapping and epoxy crack injections are complete on the inside of the bridge.  Not this work is continuing at the exterior of the bridge.

One issue that emerged recently is the presence of a falcon nest on the bridge. The project environmental team created a falcon management plan that has allowed work to continue around Pier 15, while ensuring the next remains undisturbed during construction.

Below is a what a recently poured concrete support block looks like; the post-tensioning cables that prevent cracking will pass through the two holes:

Wooden forms are used to mold the concrete; after about a week, after the concrete fully sets, the forms are ready to come off. Here’s a time lapse video of what removal of the wooden forms looks like.

SDOT is also beginning the process of replacing the concrete surface of the Fauntleroy Expressway, the structure that connects the West Seattle Bridge to Fauntleroy Way. This involves grinding away half an inch of the bridge’s deck in preparation for adding new concrete in the future, and ensuring the roadway is in good condition when traffic reopens on the bridge.

Spokane Street (Low) Bridge

Here’s a graphic showing the work completed, under construction and coming soon for the Spokane Street (Low) Bridge. The contractor expects to hoist work platforms over the first two weekends in June. This will allow for carbon-fiber wrapping and epoxy injections, as on the West Seattle Bridge.

Reconnect West Seattle

The West Seattle Bridge Agreement with the Port of Seattle includes commitments for SDOT to designate parking for drayage trucks. SDOT will restripe 22 parking spaces on 11th Ave SW on Harbor Island to accommodate larger vehicles and is drafting legislation to allow for the enforceable designation of truck tractor-only parking, that will be sent to the City Council.

SDOT notes nine more projects will be delivered after the High Bridge reopens:

  • SW Holden St & Highland Park Way SW permanent signal (the current one is temporary)
  • 4th Ave SW / Olsen Way SW / SW Roxbury St Vision Zero intersection improvements
  • Myers Way S / 1st Ave S / Olsen Pl SW curb ramps (traffic mitigation)
  • Chelan 5-way curb ramps (traffic mitigation)
  • 12th Ave SW and SW Holden signal / removal of flashing beacon at 11th Ave SW and neighborhood greenways wayfinding signage (Highland Park Home Zone)
  • Dallas Ave S / 14th Ave S half signal (2021 RWS project)
  • Corson/Bailey/Michigan St intersection improvements (Georgetown Home Zone)
  • West Marginal PBL (2021 RWS project)
  • Duwamish Permanent signal and sidewalk (RWS project)

SDOT notes upcoming construction for this week in West Seattle and South Park:

On Saturday, we’ll be replacing three traffic signs on SW Spokane St in the eastbound direction near 26th Ave SW. We anticipate this work to begin as early as 7 AM and conclude by 5 PM. We’ll need to reduce the two travel lanes to a single lane and there may be delays for people driving.  

On Sunday, from 7 AM to 5 PM we will be working in South Park on the Duwamish River Trail from S Trenton St to S Henderson St (east of WA 509) to repair root damage on the trail. The trail will be closed while we make these upgrades, however there will be an escort available for those that need to travel through the area. This work is part of the Reconnect West Seattle Home Zone in South Park

Delridge Farmers’ Market Opens May 14th at Hope Academy

The South Delridge Farmers’ Market launches its second season on May 14th – and this year it will open twice a month, with a larger group of vendors!  The Market started last summer, and puts fresh, local food produced by Black, Indigenous, and People of Color-owned businesses directly into the hands of neighbors.

 

With the goal of supporting the development of small businesses in mind, vendors are not charged a stall fee to participate and are provided with resources, equipment, and technical support as they build their capacity to sell at farmers markets.  The market is a project of nonprofit African Community Housing & Development.

Everyone is welcome to attend.  Robust food access programs are available, including SNAP/EBT, WIC/Senior FMNP checks, SNAP Market Match, and Fresh Bucks. Free bags of produce will be available on a first-come, first-served basis.

 

Hiring the City’s Next Aging & Disability Services Division Director

Seattle Human Services is hiring a key position: The Aging & Disability Services Division Director is responsible for the overall direction and management of the Area Agency on Aging, which is charged with advocacy, strategic planning, and system development, and administering contracted and direct services for older adults and adults with disabilities who live in Seattle/King County.  Learn more and apply here.


Standing for Abortion Rights

On Tuesday, I joined my Council colleagues to approve a resolution that states Seattle City Council’s support for access to abortion and the full range of reproductive healthcare.  This is an issue which is deeply personal and impactful, and I believe that Council has a role to play in the crisis to come with the expected overturn of Roe v. Wade.  As a starting point, I have inquired with Public Health whether any City dollars currently support abortion providers, or whether funds support clinics that make referrals that facilitate comprehensive women’s health care, including all reproductive options.

If the Supreme Court issues a majority opinion consistent with the draft authored by Justice Alito, the shift in abortion rights will be among the most significant the Court has ever issued, depriving half the nation of a fundamental, constitutional right that has been held by millions of pregnant people for nearly 50 years.  Pregnant people of color will bear the brunt of further abortion restrictions with higher poverty rates and more difficulties traveling out of state for an abortion.

Here are some of my remarks:

As chair of the committee with oversight of public health and human services, my office added language to this resolution, including:

  • Lifting up Sister Song’s concept of reproductive justice, and acknowledging that there can be no choice without access to reproductive healthcare.
  • A series of recitals that acknowledge limitations to access even here in Washington, caused by almost 50% of our hospital beds being in religiously affiliated hospitals, which may refuse to provide the full range of healthcare that patients require.
  • An intention to consider action that would ensure patients are informed of the reproductive healthcare available to them at their healthcare facility
  • Support for the state Keep Our Care Act (SB5688/HB1809), which would prevent health system consolidations from moving forward if they negatively impact communities’ access to affordable quality care, including reproductive, end-of-life, and gender affirming care.

My office also consulted ACLU-WA, Pro Choice Washington, Northwest Abortion Access Fund, Planned Parenthood Alliance Advocates, and Legal Voice, and developed an amendment based on their recommendations.  I felt it was essential that these advocates and experts, long on the frontline of reproductive justice, had the opportunity to review a resolution related to abortion rights at this critical moment.

My amendment, which was unanimously approved:

  • changed some gendered language;
  • added a recital about HB 1851, which the state legislature passed this year and preserves a pregnant individual’s ability to access abortion care; and
  • requested that any funds Council may choose to appropriate in the future would be allocated to “organizations that deliver programs and services in support of abortion care and access, such as the Northwest Abortion Access Fund and independent abortion clinics.”

I want to thank, in particular, Roxana Gomez and Leah Rutman from ACLU – WA, and Kia Guarino from Pro Choice Washington, for convening a group of healthcare providers and advocates at very short notice to offer their feedback.

Public Safety and Human Services Committee Update

On Tuesday the Public Safety and Human Services Committee that I chair met.

The first item considered was a presentation from the Mayor’s Office and SPD about ongoing work to determine whether 911 call types that the National Institute of Criminal Justice Reform (NICJR) identified, in a study commissioned by SPD, are suitable for non-sworn officer response. This was the first quarterly response to a Council request adopted along with the 2022 budget.

With more that 300 sworn officers having left SPD in the last two years, it’s important that current SPD officers be able to focus on work that only they can do.

Council started this effort when, in August 2020, Council requested that SPD undertake the NICJR 911 call response analysis, and in October 2020 the former Mayor issued an Executive Order to “identify areas of SPD response that can be transitioned to civilian and community-based response.”

Last year the National Institute for Criminal Justice Reform report, commissioned by SPD, identified 174 call types as candidates for alternative responses. At a briefing in July of last year, the Executive noted “up to 12% of calls for service can be responded to without SPD involvement in the near-term” (my emphasis added).

SPD agreed that 101 other call types could potentially be appropriate for an alternative response on a longer time horizon.  They are using a Risk Managed Demand analysis to go into additional detail about 911 calls beyond the earlier report, including how the call was resolved.

The high-level presentation at the PSHS committee notes the goals to classify calls at various levels from low to high impact/risk, and by severity, and likelihood of outcomes.

The Mayor’s Office has committed to a collaborative approach on this work, involving Council and external stakeholders to check SPD’s work and assumptions of risk associated with not sending an officer to certain types of 911 call.

The second item heard in PSHS committee this week was a resolution sponsored by Councilmember Nelson. As passed by the PSHS committee, the resolution is 1. an expression of support for SPD to develop a staffing incentives and recruitment support program, and 2. Council intent to consider an ordinance in the future to allow implementation of a staffing incentives program once it is developed and proposed.

Mayor Harrell has indicated his administration “continues to develop a comprehensive plan to restore police staffing.”  The resolution, in essence, says that the Council welcomes receiving and considering that proposal when it is ready.

I appreciate his statement that “We know that reaching national best practice staffing levels for SPD can’t be achieved solely with incentives. Progress requires a holistic effort rooted in our shared commitment to make this a place where officers feel welcome and supported – and where all neighbors feel safe.”

I voted in support, and the resolution passed with a 4-1 vote, and moves to the Full Council on May 24th.

I sponsored the third item before the committee, resulting from a request the Council made during the 2022 budget where the Council requested a report from the Executive on a citywide hiring incentive program, analyzing vacancy issues among front line workers, causing a service issue with the public, or inhibiting a department from fulfilling a core function.

The report indicates there are several positions that departments struggle to fill that are important to city business, including police officers, carpenters, truck drivers, civil engineers and 911 dispatchers.

Consequently, the bill requires the Department of Human Resources (SDHR) to amend its personnel rules to provide appointing authorities greater flexibility to pay for moving expenses for new hires; current personnel rules limit this flexibility to only new hires in the highest pay bands, such as department directors.  If we are recruiting new hires to move to Seattle, because of the same hiring difficulties experienced by jurisdictions all over the county, shouldn’t we pay for their moving costs?  Why would we offer that perk only to the highest paid managers and directors?

The second part of the bill modifies the proviso on spending for the Seattle Police Department to allow SPD to use their funds for this purpose.

Release of funding to pay for the relocation costs of recruits is only necessary for SPD.  It is not needed for other city departments, because other city departments are allowed to use existing funds from position vacancies once SDHR changes the rules allowing hiring authorities to pay the relocation expenses of recruits citywide.  Because of the proviso on SPD’s funds, that is not the case for SPD and to give SPD the ability to use the new relocation rule, we had to modify the proviso.

The proviso modification also allows SPD to fund a recruiter for SPD, a national ad campaign to market police officer positions to potential candidates, and a national search to hire a permanent Chief of Police.

Regarding the funding noted here, these are not new funds for SPD.  They are restricted funds, already in SPD’s budget to fund salaries necessary to support SPD’s hiring plan to hire 125 officers the Council funded in the 2022 budget, now modified to 98 hires.  Releasing this funding works to assist with that now reduced hiring plan, which makes sense, given the earlier Council action to fully fund the hiring plan.

This bill also passed 4-1 and moves to the Full Council for a May 24 vote.

Advocating for Federal Action for RV Residents and Others Experiencing Homelessness

On Monday, I met with Jeff Olivet, Director of the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH), to discuss unsheltered homelessness in Seattle and urge federal action.  The USICH is the only federal agency with a sole mission focused on preventing and ending homelessness in America.  USICH is in the process of developing a new Federal Strategic Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness.  This meeting was an opportunity to continue advocating for programs and funds that help people experiencing homelessness here in Seattle to find safe housing.  We need our federal partners to step up.

I shared the importance of providing safe, dignified shelter that allows people to stay with their families, pets, and belongings, while waiting for housing to become available.  We can’t return to the unhealthy and unsafe days of large open spaces with dozens of mats on a floor.

I also advocated for more funds directed to affordable housing, rather than tenant-based housing vouchers.  With the high cost and competitive rental market in Seattle, people who receive federal housing vouchers have trouble locating apartments that will accept their voucher.  In Seattle a voucher, long considered the “golden ticket” to stable housing, no longer guarantees an end to homelessness.

Finally, I urged Director Olivet to advance solutions that will help RV residents leave homelessness behind in particular.  Many RV residents don’t consider themselves homeless and asking them to abandon their greatest asset – their home – is a hard sell when the alternative is a shelter.  We need USICH to provide leadership for this unique population – guidelines and best practices, as well as model programs and funding.  We can’t continue lumping this population in with car or encampment residents – they need unique solutions.  This guidance is particularly important as the King County Regional Homelessness Authority considers funding applications for implementations of a new RV Safe Lot program.

In addition, another shooting at Andover yesterday, near the RV encampment there and SDOT’s announcement yesterday that resuming full parking enforcement for any vehicle that has remained in one place unmoved for longer than 72 hours also creates additional urgency for receiving this guidance from USICH.  More from SDOT on their announcement yesterday:

Seattle Public Utilities continues to lead the RV Remediation program, which focuses on cleaning up and disposing of debris and waste around RVs to ensure public health and safety. Days prior to a scheduled remediation event, SPU and parking enforcement staff engage with people staying in RVs to make them aware of the upcoming clean-up activity. SDOT will continue to work with SPU to prioritize the locations of these clean-up efforts over time.

The first step of enforcement will continue to be leaving official warning notices on vehicles, giving the owner time to move them voluntarily and avoid enforcement action. If it appears that people may be living in one of the vehicles, they will receive information about assistance, support services, and resources.

Comment Letter to Police Monitor

During the last few months, the Community Police Commission has hosted the Police Monitor overseeing the Consent Decree presenting regarding Preliminary Assessments regarding crisis intervention, stops and detentions, and use of force. The Monitor has also been receiving public comments about the preliminary assessments, designed to inform the submittal he sends to the judge overseeing the Consent Decree.

I submitted a comment letter to the Monitor addressing these three areas, touching on subjects such as alternative mental health response, demographics for use of force in crisis intervention, and disparities in traffic stops and use of force.

Thank you to the Community Police Commission for their analysis, which helped inform my drafting of this letter.

Virtual Office Hours

On Friday, May 27, I will be hosting virtual office hours between 2pm and 6pm, with the last meeting of the day beginning at 5:30pm.

Due to the nature of virtual office hours, please contact my scheduler Alex Clardy (alex.clardy@seattle.gov) to receive the call-in information and schedule a time.

Here is a list of my tentatively scheduled office hours.  We are working towards in person office hours…hopefully soon! These are subject to change.

  • Friday, June 24, 2022
  • Friday, July 29, 2022
  • Friday, August 19, 2022
  • Friday, September 30, 2022
  • Friday, October 28, 2022
  • Friday, December 16, 2022
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West Seattle Bridge and Transportation Updates; Sound Transit West Seattle/Duwamish Community Advisory Group Meeting May 10, City Comments; Celebrating National Small Business Week; Funding Opportunity: Comparable Worth Wage Analysis for Human Services Workers; East Marginal Way Project; Pillars of Pride Honors LGBTQIA+ Elders; Virtual Office Hours

May 6th, 2022

West Seattle Bridge and Transportation Updates

The most recent update for the West Seattle Bridge is that concrete pours are expected next week and the following week.  Work is also taking place to replace the overhead traffic signs and the support structures on the West Seattle Bridge.

SDOT will share the reopening date approximately a month before reopening to traffic. Following construction completion, SDOT will test the bridge for strength and resiliency – this test is expected to last about two weeks.

SDOT released the quarterly update for Reconnect West Seattle projects. 56 of 70 projects have been completed. Here’s a guide to the report:

SDOT has released the Q1 2022 Levy to Move Seattle Report. The update highlights completion of two projects in District 1.

One of the Safe Routes to Schools projects completed is a new pedestrian railing on the underpass on South Cloverdale below SR99, to provide a buffer between the sidewalk and vehicle lane.

The seismic retrofit of the SW Andover Street pedestrian and bicycle bridge is completed.

The Move Seattle Levy Oversight Committee issued its 2021 report. In a letter to They noted, regarding thoughts on a future levy, the importance of bridge maintenance as a priority. I appreciate their early focus on this. The nine year Move Seattle Levy was passed by voters in 2015 and runs through 2024.

Here’s an update form SDOT about road construction in West Seattle and South Park this weekend:

Construction in West Seattle this weekend

Starting on Saturday from 7 AM to 4 PM, we’ll be working in South Park to replace the sidewalk on Dallas Ave S near 12th Ave S as part of our Reconnect West Seattle work. We will have a detour in place for people walking and biking as we complete the upgrade. This work will take multiple days to complete and there will be minimal impacts to people driving as we will be primarily working from the parking area. Please anticipate delays and navigate the area with caution.

On Sunday, we’ll be replacing two traffic signs on SW Spokane St in the westbound direction. We anticipate this work to begin as early as 7 AM and conclude by 5 PM. We’ll need to reduce the two travel lanes to a single lane and there may be delays for people driving

Please know this work is weather dependent. If there is a change in schedule, we’ll include an update in next week’s email.

Sound Transit West Seattle/Duwamish Community Advisory Group meeting May 10, City comments

The Sound Transit West Seattle/Duwamish Community Advisory Group will be meeting on May 10, from 5 to 7 p.m.

The topic of the meeting is listed as “Consolidating Feedback.” You can access information about the meeting on the “Advisory Groups” tab on Sound Transit’s West Seattle and Ballard light rail website.

Here’s where you can view the meeting live.

Executive City of Seattle departments submitted comments on the Draft EIS; here’s SDOT’s update about this. The principles guiding that review are dependable transit, equity, climate action, and vibrant communities, with the core values being racial equity, safety and user experience, community, environmental protection and stewardship. Community members prioritized these principles and values in a public survey.

A summary of the City’s comments on the Draft EIS is available on the City’s website for planning for the West Seattle and Ballard Link Extensions.

A team of about 100 subject matter experts from 17 departments at the City of Seattle reviewed the Draft EIS and submitted around 1,500 comments to Sound Transit.

Celebrating National Small Business Week

I joined my Council colleagues and Mayor Harrell to support a proclamation celebrating National Small Business Week, May 1st through May 7th.  As a resident of District 1 for 22 years, I am grateful daily for the vibrancy that our local small businesses bring to our community!  To help celebrate, consider patronizing your favorite small business this weekend.  In addition, we know that some small businesses in our neighborhood business districts have been hard hit by crime.  All, the more reason to get out and support them.

And as long as we are singing the praises of small businesses, thank you to the West Seattle Chamber of Commerce for recognizing these winners:

Of course, the pandemic has hit small businesses hard, and we must continue our efforts to support them as we begin to re-emerge.  I’m proud that Seattle City Council approved funding for the Small Business Stabilization Fund early during the pandemic, which provided over $10 million in direct funding to nearly 1,500 small businesses who were impacted by the economic downturn of the pandemic throughout Seattle.  Many of our beloved small businesses in District 1 received the cash assistance.

The City’s Office of Economic Development provides robust support for small businesses in Seattle, including the Only In Seattle Initiative, which provides grant funding and staff support to foster inclusive neighborhood business districts that allow small businesses to thrive.  From business coaching, community festivals, and litter cleanup, to murals, outreach and real estate development, Seattle’s business districts have used Only in Seattle to tackle tough issues, attract new investment and care for their communities. Explore Business District Wins for highlights of the Initiative at work in Seattle’s business districts.

Funding Opportunity: Comparable Worth Wage Analysis for Human Services Workers

The Human Services Department is seeking proposals to conduct a comparable worth wage analysis of the local human services sector, using funds that I sponsored to address high turnover among frontline workers.

We’ve heard a lot about the difficulty our nonprofit organizations are having hiring and hanging onto front-line workers, while working in difficult pandemic conditions.  Human services workers, who are disproportionately BIPOC and women, especially among the frontline staff, are precariously underpaid for the difficult work they do.  Their wages do not reflect the education required, difficulty, or value of their work.  High turnover and positions left unfilled are the inevitable result.

The study will consider the core functions and requirements of human services jobs, including the level of authority and responsibility, required training, autonomy, environment, difficulty, working conditions, hours, and determine a value for those elements across sectors.

Applications are due May 24th, with work expected to begin in July.  Learn more and apply here.

East Marginal Way Project

The City Council recently voted to accept a federal grant that will allow SDOT to proceed with the northern portion of the East Marginal Way project. This segment goes from Spokane Street to Atlantic and is now fully funded.

The project includes constructing a 2-way protected bike lane along the 1.4-mile segment between S Atlantic St and S Spokane St to increase visibility and protect the approximately 1,000 people who ride bikes on this corridor each day. This is a major connection for people who bike between the West Seattle Bridge Trail, Downtown and SODO.

SDOT expects design to be completed this month, and construction to begin later this year.

Pillars of Pride Honors LGBTQIA+ Elders

Celebrate National Honor our LGBTQ Elders Day on May 15 with GenPride, as they prepare to open of Pride Place, a new LGBTQIA+ affirming senior affordable housing and community center on Capitol Hill, scheduled to open in 2023.

Pride Place is the first of its kind in the Pacific Northwest – it will include affordable housing, and a senior community and health services center.  It’s been a long time coming, following years of community advocacy and Council action to support it.  Funds raised through the Pillars of Pride event will support this project.

This generation of elders fought—and won—many of the rights we enjoy today. Their tremendous courage in the face of hatred, discrimination and violence has resulted in a stronger and more loving community.  Learn more, register to attend, and give here.

Virtual Office Hours

On Friday, May 27, I will be hosting virtual office hours between 2pm and 6pm, with the last meeting of the day beginning at 5:30pm.

Due to the nature of virtual office hours, please contact my scheduler Alex Clardy (alex.clardy@seattle.gov) to receive the call-in information and schedule a time.

Here is a list of my tentatively scheduled office hours which will continue as virtual office hours until indicated otherwise. These are subject to change.

  • Friday, June 24, 2022
  • Friday, July 29, 2022
  • Friday, August 19, 2022
  • Friday, September 30, 2022
  • Friday, October 28, 2022
  • Friday, December 16, 2022
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West Seattle Bridge Update; Sound Transit Draft EIS Comment Letter; Letter in Support of SAFE Banking Act; Seattle University 2021 Public Safety Survey, Community Dialogues; April 26 Public Safety and Human Services Committee; Expanding Crisis Behavioral Health Beds and Services; King County Moved to “Medium” Covid Alert Level; Denim Day; PayUp Public Hearing – May 5; May Day Junction-to-Junction Cleanup; Need Help with Your Utility Bills?

April 29th, 2022

West Seattle Bridge Update

The most recent update for the West Seattle Bridge is that the third pour of the specialized concrete is completed. This is the concrete needed to anchor and guide the post-tensioning steel cables that strengthen the concrete in the bridge structure and prevent cracking.

I’ll be sure to include an update when more information is available.

Here is an update from SDOT on construction this weekend:

We are working in several locations in West Seattle this weekend: 

  • On Saturday and Sunday, between 7 AM to 5 PM, we’re updating curb ramps at 16th Ave SW and SW Barton St in the Highland Park neighborhood. We will be working from the parking lanes, but people driving in the area can expect minor delays. 
  • Additionally on Saturday and Sunday, between 7 AM to 5 PM, we’ll be installing traffic signs on southbound SR 99 between S Atlantic S and S Spokane St.  During this work, we’ll need to reduce the two travel lanes to a single lane. People driving southbound on SR 99 may experience delays.   
  • On Sunday between 7 AM to 3:30 PM, we’ll be installing speed bump markings in West Seattle at 12th Avenue SW and SW Kenyon St. We expect minimal traffic impacts and people driving will be able to continue around the work zone in both directions. 

In the South Park neighborhood, the intersection of S Chicago St and 5th Ave S will be closed on Saturday and Sunday from 6 AM to 4 PM for upgrading the main water line under the street. This work is part of the South Park Drainage and Roadway Partnership, which is a project we are working together on with Seattle Public Utilities to improve chronic flooding and drainage issues in South Park.

The construction contractor will maintain access to private properties and 5th Ave S will be reopened during non-working hours. Parking will not be allowed along this section of 5th Ave S and S Chicago St to make room for construction crews and equipment.

Next week: Overnight U-turn closure from SW Spokane St to W Marginal Way

Near the Chelan 5-way intersection, we’re closing the U-turn to W Marginal Way overnight from 10 PM to 5 AM on Wednesday, May 4 and Thursday, May 5 for ongoing West Seattle Bridge maintenance work.

Sound Transit Draft EIS Comment Letter

Yesterday the 90-day public comment period ended for the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Sound Transit’s West Seattle and Ballard light rail extensions.

As noted on Sound Transit’s website, the “Draft EIS informs the public, Tribes, agencies and decision makers about the alternatives and potential environmental consequences of building and operating the proposed light rail extensions in the city of Seattle.”

Sound Transit will review the comments, and respond to comments in the Final EIS. The Sound Transit Board will confirm or modify the preferred alternative in the next few months. The timetable below notes the Sound Transit System Expansion Committee will consider public comment in the May meeting, and act to confirm or modify the preferred alternative in June, followed by consideration by the Sound Transit Board.

Here’s the overall timeline for selecting a final alignment:

City executive departments have been conducting a technical review of the Draft EIS, and submitted comments. I submitted comments to the Sound Transit Board specific to West Seattle.

The City Council will hold a first briefing on a City resolution on a preferred alternative for the entire project, from West Seattle to Ballard, in the Transportation and Seattle Public Utilities Committee on May 19. The resolution will be advisory to the Sound Transit Board, with action taken at the Full Council in advance of the Sound Transit Board’s vote.

Letter in Support of SAFE Banking Act

Thirty-seven states, as well as the District of Columbia, have passed some form of recreational or medical cannabis legalization. Medical and recreational sales were estimated to total $25 billion in the United States last year.

However, cannabis businesses in Seattle and throughout the state face a unique difficulty: under federal law they are limited to cash transactions. This has led to an urgent and deadly public safety crisis: cash-only businesses are targets for crime, putting cannabis store employees in danger. In Washington State, at least 80 robberies have occurred so far in 2022, more than the number in 2020 and 2021 combined.

This federal approach is antiquated: it’s time for cannabis businesses to be able to access banking services and use non-cash transactions, for the safety of businesses and employees, and health of businesses.

The SAFE Banking Act is designed to address this and change federal law to allow cannabis businesses to use banking services and non-cash transactions, just like other businesses.

The U.S. House has passed the SAFE Banking Act six times, but the U.S. Senate has yet to act.

I worked with the City’s Office of Intergovernmental Relations to draft a City letter in support of Senate passage. I thank the Mayor and Councilmembers for signing this letter.

The House and Senate have both passed the America COMPETES Act. The House version includes the SAFE Banking Act; the Senate version does not. To reconcile the two versions, some members are meeting as a Conference Committee. The letter is addressed to the Senators on the Conference Committee. I appreciate the leadership of Senator Murray on this issue.

Seattle University 2021 Public Safety Survey, Community Dialogues

The Seattle University Micro-Community Policing Plan (MCPP) Research Team has released the annual 2021 Seattle Public Safety Survey.

In addition, the CMPP Research Team announced they will conduct 2022 virtual community-police dialogues, on Thursday evenings form 5:30 to 7:30, from May 19 through August 25. There will be three for each precinct. The dialogues will provide an overview of the 2021 survey and given community members and police personnel the opportunity to engage in precinct-specific dialogue.

The Micro-Community Policing Plans page has additional information, including links to previous Seattle University surveys dating to 2015.

You can register for the 2022 SPD MCPP Community-Police Dialogues here.

The top 5 public safety concerns in the survey (for both citywide and for the Southwest Precinct) were police capacity, property crime, homelessness, traffic safety, and public safety and community capacity.

The Southwest Precinct Micro-Community areas within District 1 are: Alaska Junction; Alki; Commercial Duwamish; Commercial Harbor Island; Fauntleroy; High Point; Highland Park; Morgan Junction; North Admiral; North Delridge; Pigeon Point; South Delridge; South Park, and Westwood/Roxhill/Arbor Heights.

April 26 Public Safety and Human Services Committee

The Public Safety and Human Services Committee met on April 26th.  As noted below, the committee considered the PayUp legislation, and heard a report on gender-based violence.

The committee heard an appointment to the Community Police Commission; the vote will take place at Full Council.

City Attorney Davison, who took office at the start of 2022, and Criminal Division Chief Walton-Anderson presented on the backlog of criminal cases and the approach her office is taking. Under the City Charter, the City Attorney has authority over criminal prosecutions in the City.

Below is a slide on the backlog, which increased significantly after the arrival of the COVID pandemic in early 2020 to around 5,000.

After the arrival of COVID, Seattle Municipal Court and King County District Court reduced operations, and the King County Jail reduced capacity.

I sent a series of questions to the City Attorney’s Office about the case backlog approach.

The committee also heard a presentation on SPD officer staffing. During the last quarter the number of fully trainer officers went down, though the number of officers in service was up slightly.

There was a discussion on proposals for bonuses. Councilmember Nelson has proposed a resolution to state policy intent; I am proposing a Council Bill that authorizes spending up to $650,000 for moving expenses for new officer hires and for SPD to hire an additional recruiter. The Seattle Department of Human Resources noted SPD has only one recruiter position.

Here’s the Central Staff memo.

Finally, the committee heard a follow-up presentation from Central Staff outlining the potential amendments to CB 120294 (PayUp). You can see the Central Staff memo here.

Expanding Crisis Behavioral Health Beds and Services

I testified in support of a new facility for people in behavioral health crisis at the King County Council’s Budget and Fiscal Management Committee on Wednesday morning. The location will include enhanced shelter, supportive service, and crisis behavioral health services for people who currently sleep outside. Here are my remarks:

As a district representative, I hear regularly from constituents who see neighbors and loved ones pushed to the edge by the shadow pandemic – the two years of fear, grief, isolation, and economic instability that are impacting us all. In response, Seattle City Council increased funding for behavioral health service access by $1M; we expanded mobile crisis teams by $2.5M; and we provided $5M to the County for this new behavioral health facility.  

But as a City Councilmember, I keenly appreciate the County’s leadership in addressing behavioral health. I sponsored a Resolution that acknowledges the shared role that all levels of government have in creating and maintaining a strong behavioral health system; and the recognition that King County is also making new investments in this area.    

As the committee chair with oversight of human services and public health, I will continue to partner with the County to champion expansion of these services.  I thank you for your leadership in these much-needed and life-saving investments.

I’m pleased the legislation passed the committee without amendments, and several County Councilmembers spoke in favor. The full County Council will consider the legislation on May 3rd.

King County Moved to “Medium” Covid Alert Level

On Monday, Public Health of Seattle-King County announced that levels of COVID-19 are increasing in our community and have crossed the threshold into the federal Centers for Disease Control’s “Medium” level, akin to a yellow traffic light. Cases are trending up among all ages, but the most cases are occurring in young adults aged 18-29. Dr. Duchin, King County’s Health Officer, says:

Because hospitalizations and deaths remain low, Public Health is not putting any mandates into place at this time. But COVID-19 risk is clearly increasing for individuals and for our community. Public Health recommends we use this information to lower our own risk and those around us by increasing our protection.

To limit spread of COVID-19, they recommend layered prevention measures:

Denim Day

I was proud to present a proclamation declaring April 27th as Seattle Denim Day to members of the Seattle Women’s Commission at Tuesday’s Council meeting. Denim Day was founded to call attention to misconceptions about rape and sexual assault.  It was created after the Italian Supreme Court overturned a rape conviction. The justices decided that since the victim was wearing tight jeans, she must have helped her rapist remove her jeans, thereby implying consent.

Denim Day coincided with the Legislative Department’s first official day back in the office (although I missed the official photo while attending an Alliance for Gun Responsibility event, unfortunately!). I’m happy to say that many of us wore jeans in solidarity, and to educate others that there is never an invitation to rape.

I especially appreciate the Seattle Women’s Commission for bringing forward this proclamation every year. This year, Commissioners Tana Yasu, Sarah Liu, and Ophelia Parker accepted the proclamation and shared their reflections. And I want to thank my Council colleagues and staff, advocates, providers, the Human Services Department, and everyone who has worked so hard to ensure survivor and prevention services are well funded by the City of Seattle.

On Tuesday morning, my Public Safety & Human Services committee heard a presentation from the Human Services Department about their investments in gender-based violence. It’s important to recognize the $12 million the City provides annually for batterer intervention, legal assistance, mobile advocacy, flexible client assistance, outreach, education, prevention, shelter and transitional housing.  But it’s not enough and we must do more.


PayUp Public Hearing – May 5

My committee will be holding a public hearing on CB 120294, also known as PayUp. This legislation has been heard in committee a number of times, most recently on April 12 (here is the Central Staff presentation and memo) and April 26 (here’s Central Staff’s memo for possible changes to the legislation).

There is significant public interest in this policy and therefore we’ve scheduled a special meeting to hold a Public Hearing on Thursday, May 5 beginning at 2 p.m.

To testify, please sign-up to receive my committee agendas here and when the agenda is published there will be a link to sign-up to testify.

For additional information about PayUp, please visit our website which goes into detail about the background of the issues, what the proposal is, our stakeholder engagement, and links to current media coverage.

May Day Junction-to-Junction Cleanup

Join your neighbors this Sunday, May 1 between 10am and 1pm in a Junction-to-Junction clean-up on California Avenue.

Additional information and how to sign-up here. There are three meeting locations:

  • Admiral Junction 3000 California Ave SW
  • Alaska Junction SW Alaska St &, California Ave SW
  • Morgan Junction Park 6413 California Ave SW

If you want to participate, but are unable to join this weekend, the city if hosting a Day of Service on May 21st, click here for more information.

Need Help with Your Utility Bills?

Seattle City Light (electricity) and Seattle Public Utilities (water/sewer/garbage) understand that the COVID-19 pandemic has made it difficult for some of their customers to afford utility services. They offer short- and long-term payment plans and bill assistance programs to help you get caught up and stay current on your utility bills.

Learn more online at seattle.gov/UtilityBillHelp or by calling (206) 684-3000 (interpretation services available).

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West Seattle Bridge Update April 22; Reminder: April 28 Deadline for Sound Transit Draft EIS Comments; SPD Use of Force Data; Get Involved – Planning for the Next 6 Years of Seattle Parks Investments; Approving the King County Regional Homelessness Authority’s (KCRHA) Proposed 2023 Budget; Resources to Cope With Stress; South Park Neighborhood Center Landmark Designation; SFD Protection Class 1 Rating; Virtual Office Hours

April 22nd, 2022

West Seattle Bridge Update April 22

West Seattle Bridge Repair

The West Seattle Bridge Community Task Force met on Thursday, April 21st. There were two updates regarding the specialized concrete needed to anchor and guide the post-tensioned steel cables.

First, there was a second pour of this concrete earlier this week. Secondly, the next pour is scheduled for next week. There are six sections of the bridge that need concrete poured, so next week’s pour will complete three of the needed six pours.

The image below shows how concrete is pumped to the interior of the bridge, passing through small holes in the bridge deck.

The concrete must cure for 28 days, to ensure it has the strength to withstand millions of pounds of pressure.

Here is the update SDOT provided regarding schedule:

Availability from the three concrete providers with approved designs for the specialized concrete is key. Concrete plants are not yet operating at full strength, and there is significant competition from both other public and private projects. Both the contractor and SDOT are actively seeking to attain the concrete needed as soon as possible.

SDOT noted that they will share the reopening date approximately a month before reopening to traffic. The slide notes that following construction completion, SDOT will test the bridge for strength and resiliency – this test is expected to last about two weeks.

Other tasks needed for reopening the bridge include restoring lighting; replacing overhead signs; replacing 60+ concrete panels on the west side end of the bridge; and installing a concrete overlay on the Fauntleroy Expressway.

Spokane Street (Low) Bridge repair work

Work is proceeding on the repair of the Spokane Street (low) bridge as well. Work platforms will be used for epoxy injections and carbon-fiber wrapping, similar to the West Seattle Bridge.

Reconnect West Seattle

Here is the status of the 2022 Reconnect West Seattle projects:

An update on upcoming projects is below; there are some projects awaiting regular concrete:

SDOT staff noted citywide traffic is around 10-15% below 2019 levels, before the closure of the bridge and arrival of the COVID pandemic. Traffic volumes in March were 20% below 2019 levels, compared to 31% in 2021, and 38% in 2020, when the pandemic was arriving in Seattle. They noted that on some Saturday’s traffic has been higher than pre-pandemic levels.

 

Reminder: April 28 Deadline for Sound Transit Draft EIS Comments

Thursday, April 28 is the deadline to comment on the Sound Transit Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the West Seattle and Ballard light rail project. To comment you can click on the “Comment now” button at the top of the West Seattle and Ballard Link Extensions webpage.

After the end of the public comment period, the Sound Transit Board will decide which options will be studied in the Final EIS that will be published in 2023. Mayor Harrell and Council President Juarez represent Seattle on the Board.

The City Council Transportation and Seattle Public Utilities Committee heard a briefing from City Executive staff about the Draft EIS, and a related briefing from Sound Transit Staff.

City departments will be providing a comment letter to Sound Transit on the Draft EIS, and the City Executive staff presentation includes information about this. It analyzes questions such as compliance with City Codes, and whether the Draft EIS adequately identifies and mitigates impacts, meaningfully compares alternatives, analyzes impacts to BIPOC communities and proposes mitigation to further the joint Sound Transit/City Racial Equity Toolkit outcomes.

The presentation notes the Executive will transmit a resolution expressing the City’s preferences for Sound Transit’s Preferred Alternative for the Ballard West Seattle project for consideration by the City Council in May/June.

During the discussion, I noted the need for additional analysis to ensure good connections with bus service, and potential displacement in Delridge, especially regarding BIPOC communities and small businesses that were impacted by construction of the H Line.

The staff presentation noted that the City discourages scope reductions that don’t bring commensurate benefit to the system and riders. I thanked the Executive staff for this position, one I hear frequently from West Seattle residents.

There was a second presentation from Sound Transit, on a process approved by the ST Board in 2021 for a “realignment plan,” to address the funding gap that Sound Transit staff estimates at $1.8 billion, due to a rise in real estate and construction costs. While this process is separate from the Draft EIS, it could intersect, depending on the direction the Board chooses to take.

The Board identified two potential approaches to address the identified funding gap.

The first is to delay the Smith Cove to Ballard portion of the project by two years, from 2037 to 2039. This would have an impact to West Seattle riders; currently the West Seattle portion is scheduled to open in 2032, with transfers at SODO needed for the first five years until the Ballard line opens. However, if the Ballard portion is delayed, transfers would be necessary for an additional two years.

The second approach is to consider cuts to the project to reduce costs. There are two potential West Seattle reductions. First, for the elevated alternative to Fauntleroy, shifting the station location at Fauntleroy and Alaska to the east, so that it wouldn’t impact hundreds of residences. This option would result in an elevated line on Fauntleroy Boulevard and is not compatible with the Junction tunnel.

The second option is to eliminate the Avalon station.

I noted that I’d heard a variety of perspectives in West Seattle about the Avalon station. Some emphasize the development on and around Avalon and think it’s important to keep this station, whereas others are OK with removing it, but only if it results in some benefit to the West Seattle community, such as a longer tunnel.

I further noted that a key point of the Racial Equity Toolkit is the importance of ensuring access from lower-income BIPOC communities to the south. While a number of those communities would access the line via Delridge, the High Point community (and others) would be most likely to access the line via the Avalon station at or by 35th Avenue SW. So, eliminating this station would require a clear plan for providing timely access from High Point and adjacent communities on that corridor.

The Avalon station is estimated to have 1,200 daily riders, a relatively low number. Sound Transit’s analysis said ridership would not change without this station; I asked why, and they noted most riders would access the Junction station, as it is relatively close by, and the stations have relatively similar “walksheds.”

I also reiterated a broader point made in a letter to Sound Transit during the scoping process a few years ago:

“An elevated alignment through the heart of the West Seattle Junction Urban Village, and through a built neighborhood in the Youngstown area of North Delridge, would be unique to this line and unprecedented for light rail in Seattle.”

Here’s a link to the 14 pages in the Draft EIS Executive Summary that cover West Seattle.

 

SPD Use of Force Data

Last week, the Police Monitor and the Community Police Commission held a community outreach meeting on the use of force by Seattle police officers. The Monitor released a preliminary assessment on the use of force in advance of the meeting.   There is one preliminary assessment dedicated to each consent decree assessment area of Crisis Intervention, Stops and Detentions, and Use of Force.  These are referred to as “preliminary assessments” because the Monitor wants to share with the public and get feedback prior to the monitoring team making recommendations in the future as to whether SPD has reach “full and effective compliance” with the Decree.

The Monitor’s preliminary assessment, which examined use of force data from 2019 through 2021, showed that use of force is down overall.   SPD’s use of force declined 33% between 2015 and 2019 and almost 50% between 2015 and 2021.  However, it also stated that “SPD officers did not report subject race for 32% of use of force subjects between 2019 and 2021. This is concerning and complicates SPD’s capacity to conduct comprehensive analyses of uses of force across demographic groups.”

I wrote to Chief Diaz expressing my concern about this finding in the Monitor’s Preliminary Assessment

Last Friday the Chief’s office replied (and posted on the SPD blotter) that this is not an issue created because officers are declining to include the required demographic information, but rather an issue that resulted from a “mapping error” between the source system for force reporting (IAPro) and the Data Analytics Platform, which powers the public data source, which resulted in certain subject demographic data not loading properly into DAP and thus reporting as “non specified” in the public data set.

In other words, SPD is responding that the source system data is accurate and complete, but the extract, transfer and load failed on the specific data field that captures race.

The department has alerted both the Monitoring Team and US Department of Justice about this issue and has provided the Monitor with direct access to the source system (IAPro) to verify the resolution.  They report that they expect the data gaps in the preliminary assessment to be resolved before the report is finalized.

SPD noted “The inherent risk of this type of error will be virtually eliminated once we complete the integration of use of force reporting into Mark43 (thus unifying the two records management systems) later this year.”  The integration of force reporting into Mark43 is the $1 million project that was funded by the Council last fall in the 2022 budget

SPD noted the number of “unknowns” will be significantly reduced when the mapping error is fixed.

I have followed up to ask for further clarification on the time period involved in the mapping error; a review of use of force reports from previous years showed significantly lower levels listed as “unknown” in previous years for race; for example 12% in 2014 and 2015.  The Monitor reports: “The use of “unknown” as a racial category has increased substantially and steadily almost every year since 2015 until a decrease in 2021. As the “unknown” category began to increase in 2015, the portion of uses of force with Black or other minority subjects decreased, until an increase in 2021 as “unknown” subjects decreased…. The percentage of uses of force on a subject of unknown race more than doubled from 12% in 2014 and 2015 to 28% in 2021.” 

It is unclear if the data mapping issue, once resolved, will reduce the “unknowns” reported over several years, or only for 2020.  Accepting that there will always be anomalies, I am interested to know what occurs when individual Use of Force forms are reviewed and found to be incomplete, how SPD insures complete data is reported, what supervisors do when it is not, and how the department seeks to correct omissions as they are identified.

Here’s a link to SPD’s public SPD Use of Force Data page.

 

Get Involved – Planning for the Next 6 Years of Seattle Parks Investments

Seattle Parks & Recreation is planning for the next 6 years of investments, and your voice is needed.  In 2014, voters in the City of Seattle approved Proposition 1, which created the Seattle Park District. Property taxes collected by the Seattle Park District provide funding for City parks and recreation including maintaining parklands and facilities, operating community centers and recreation programs, and developing new neighborhood parks on previously acquired sites.

Get Involved:  Three proposed funding packages are available for public review and input:

  • Enhancing Access and Services: proposal here, survey here
  • Restoring Clean, Safe & Welcoming Parks and Facilities: proposal here, survey here
  • Investing for the Future: proposal here, survey here

Surveys are open until May 12th.  A public hearing on the Board of Parks and Recreation Commission’s (BPRC) funding recommendation will be held on Thursday, May 12 at 6:30 pm. More information will be available closer to the date at: https://www.seattle.gov/board-of-parks-and-recreation-commissioners

District 1: My Council colleagues and I will review and weigh in on the BPRC’s funding recommendations this summer and fall.  The draft calendar for our work is below.  My priorities will include ensuring that the three District 1 landbanked sites (48th & Charlestown Park Development, Morgan Junction Park Addition, and West Seattle Junction Park Addition), where work was suspended due to the pandemic, are prioritized for completion in the new cycle.

Proposed Schedule for Council deliberations:

You can read more about the Seattle Park District here, and the six-year plan here.

Approving the King County Regional Homelessness Authority’s (KCRHA) Proposed 2023 Budget

At yesterday’s meeting of the KCRHA Governing Committee, I called for a special May meeting to discuss and vote on the proposed 2023 budget.  My fellow Governing Committee members approved my request, and I appreciate that the Authority has already reached out to schedule the meeting.

I wrote last month about the importance of a public review and discussion of the proposed budget before it is submitted to the City and County on June 1st.  Governing Committee approval is required by the City and County’s Interlocal Agreement establishing the KCRHA; and I truly believe it’s in the best interest of the KCRHA as well.

Governing Committee members who understand and approve the details of what the Authority is requesting will be better advocates in championing those investments before our own bodies – such as the Council’s fall budget process.

In its startup year, the Authority is also working on a required 5-year plan, which will include proposed budgets through 2028.  This plan will build on the National Innovation Service (NIS) report and Regional Action Framework, and help set the Authority’s medium-term vision for helping people leave homelessness behind in our community.  I look forward to reviewing the 5-year plan at the September meeting.


Resources to Cope With Stress

If you or someone you know is feeling overwhelmed with stress, sadness, worry or grief, remember it’s okay to ask for help. Coping with stress will make you, the people you care about, and your community stronger. Check out King County’s Community Mental Health Resource Guide to learn about what’s available, get emotional support 24/7, or connect to a counselor.

 

South Park Neighborhood Center Landmark Designation

As I wrote about a few weeks ago, the South Park Neighborhood Center – also known as the former Fire Station 26 – was nominated as a city landmark. The Landmarks Preservation Board met on April 6 where they voted to declare the building as a landmark. You can see the nomination packet here. You can find all the Board’s agenda and minutes here when they are uploaded.

 

SFD Protection Class 1 Rating

It was announced late last week that the Seattle Fire Department (SFD) will become the first department in Washington to receive a Protection Class 1 rating from the Washington Surveying and Rating Bureau (WSRB). This rating puts SFD in the top 1% of fire districts in the nation and confirms what we’ve known for years – the SFD is among the most effective fire departments in the nation. Now, their amazing work will extend even further, saving Seattleites and our small businesses money that can go back into our community.

That the Seattle Fire Department has been able to accomplish this feat while simultaneously serving the City of Seattle during a pandemic, with their traditional firefighting live saving responsibilities, their expansion of Health One, and also standing up testing and vaccine services for our communities is truly awe-inspiring.

The Washington Surveying and Rating Bureau ratings are across criteria including water supply, fire department, emergency communications and fire safety control, so thanks are also extended to Finance and Administrative Services for fleet management and to Seattle Public Utilities for their fire hydrants management.

Beginning in July property owners can contact their insurance companies to see if their premium will upon renewal. Congratulations to Chief Scoggins, Local 27, and the entire department on this impressive achievement.

 

Virtual Office Hours

On Friday, April 29, I will be hosting virtual office hours between 2pm and 6pm, with the last meeting of the day beginning at 5:30pm.

Due to the nature of virtual office hours, please contact my scheduler Alex Clardy (alex.clardy@seattle.gov) to receive the call-in information and schedule a time.

Here is a list of my tentatively scheduled office hours which will continue as virtual office hours until indicated otherwise. These are subject to change.

  • Friday, May 27, 2022
  • Friday, June 24, 2022
  • Friday, July 29, 2022
  • Friday, August 19, 2022
  • Friday, September 30, 2022
  • Friday, October 28, 2022
  • Friday, December 16, 2022
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