9-26 PSHS Committee Summary / South Park Pump Station and Roadway/Drainage Event Saturday / Spokane Street (Low) Bridge closed October 7-14 / Order Free At-Home COVID Tests / It’s Budget Season


9-26 PSHS Committee Summary

The Public Safety and Human Services Committee met on September 26th and 1) considered a resolution in support of seismic retrofitting of unreinforced masonry buildings; 2) a resolution related to future Seattle Police Management bargaining; 3) bills concerning the 2024-2028 Consolidated Plan for Housing and Community Development, and Community Development Block Grant funding; 4) a network company fee discussion, and 5) a new appointment to the Community Police Commission.

Before we turned to these PSHS agenda items, I spoke to my previous statements regarding the January death of Jaahnavi Kandula after being struck by a vehicle driven by an SPD Officer Kevin Dave traveling at high speed and the fact that SPD released body-worn video from an officer response, where a SPOG leader said her life “had limited value.”  I also spoke about the recent disgusting hate speech of another officer off duty.

We heard testimony from members of the public urging that Officer Kevin Dave be prosecuted.  I explained that it’s not a decision in Council’s purview, and I requested that the King County Prosecutor Attorneys’ Office provide more information about the process KCPAO uses in making that decision and a typical decision-making timeline. Here’s their response:

“Law enforcement agencies handle investigations, and those are conducted separately from the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office. In the Officer Kevin Dave case, Seattle Police is the investigating agency. The police reports and all available and collected evidence, including all digital evidence available, in a vehicular homicide investigation is submitted to the KCPAO and a deputy prosecuting attorney is assigned to review the material.

When a case is referred and under review, the deputy prosecutor reviewing the case determines if there is sufficient evidence to prove a charge beyond a reasonable doubt, which is the requirement to file charges. The deputy prosecutor determines what evidence may be admissible at trial, what defenses may be available, and whether a jury would have sufficient evidence to convict beyond a reasonable doubt.

The case involving Officer Kevin Dave, is under review and with the Senior Deputy Prosecuting Attorney who is the head of King County’s Felony Traffic Unit. The KCPAO will share publicly the results of the review when it is complete.”

URM Resolution: In 2017, Seattle’s Unreinforced Masonry (URM) Policy Committee released final recommendations concerning over 1,100 Unreinforced Masonry buildings in Seattle, which posed a public safety risk. In the four years following that report, I worked with the Mayor’s Office, the state legislature, Seattle’s Office of Emergency Management, and the Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections to deliver the work product identified by the 2021 resolution. That resolution represented a joint commitment by the Council and the Mayor to work on developing a phased mandatory seismic retrofit program.

This year, SDCI released new technical standards that they discussed on Tuesday as we introduced Resolution 32111. This resolution continues the work by identifying the Draft URM Retrofit Technical Standard as acceptable standards in future legislation that will be proposed next year to promote voluntary seismic retrofits before mandatory standards are legislated to go into effect.

The Alliance for Safety, Affordability, and Preservation joined SDCI in chambers to discuss this resolution with the committee.

Since this is my last term on the Seattle City Council, I am grateful that SDCI allowed me this opportunity for one more legislative action to promote the URM work still ahead of us. This resolution is a strong step towards an ordinance codifying the SDCI’s technical standards that will protect these buildings, their occupants, and their neighbors.

SPMA Bargaining Resolution: The committee voted unanimously in support of Resolution 32112, affirming the City’s good faith intent to consider raising issues raised by the public and the City’s three police oversight agencies during the forthcoming collective bargaining process. The purpose of this resolution is to memorialize the public comments the Council heard from the public at the August 8 public hearing on SPMA bargaining, as well as from the three police accountability bodies.

The Council adopted a similar resolution in early 2020 before the current round of negotiations with SPOG, Resolution 31930.

The public hearing is required under SMC 4.04.120 (F) prior to bargaining with Seattle’s two police unions, in this case, the Seattle Police Management Association (SPMA).

The resolution does not limit the issues the City can consider when setting parameters for bargaining.

It’s important to affirm the City’s intent to consider these comments in good faith, as required under SMC 4.04.120 (G). Once bargaining begins, it is confidential, so memorializing this input is important to accountability for the City, as it allows the public to examine any subsequent contact and compare it to what’s included in this resolution.

Seattle has two different unions that represent police officers. The Seattle Police Management Association (SPMA) represents lieutenants and captains, while the Seattle Police Officers Guild (SPOG) represents officers and sergeants.

In the letters listing priorities for the next SPMA agreement (included as attachments to the resolution) each of the City’s three police oversight agencies identify the significant improvement and gain in police accountability in the SPMA 2022 contract.  The resolution names those prior gains, here are some:

  • Clearly acknowledging “preponderance of evidence” as the standard for appeal;
  • Clearly repudiating de novo review and clearly describing what evidence may be considered in appeals, with deference to decisions of the Chief;
  • Providing that discipline review hearings will be made publicly available for viewing;
  • Acknowledgement that the City may implement the accountability ordinance while reserving rights to potentially bargain effects;
  • Allowing any OPA staff to investigate SPMA members;
  • Subpoena power consistent with the due process protections added in Ordinance 126264.

As I have explained before, this positive progress toward reform, embraced `by SPMA members, has yet to be mirrored in a SPOG contract.

I thank the members of the public and the accountability bodies for their comments and recommendations. The City Council will consider the resolution on October 10.

$7M for Post-Overdose Treatment Facilities:  Committee members passed two bills that guide federal funding for the City’s human services department, including Council Bill 120669 which appropriates $7 million to fund two new post-overdose treatment facilities.  I’m pleased that the Human Services Department is moving quickly to get these dollars out to a provider of services; they’ve already updated the 2023 Notice of Funding Opportunities with their intention to open the grant process on November 1st.

Council Bill 120668 approved a draft five-year plan for the City’s use of U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) funding, after a required public hearing.  We expect to receive almost $18 million from HUD in 2024; you can learn more here.  The five-year plan includes one new category that will help us respond with urgency to our overdose crisis:

Committee members recommended both bills for passage.

Network Company Fee Discussion: Over the past three years, the PSHS Committee worked to pass protections for app-based workers to protect a vulnerable and fast-growing population of Seattle workers. Most recently, the City Council voted to pass the App-Based Worker Deactivation Rights Ordinance.  At the time, we notified stakeholders that it will be necessary to create a future funding mechanism to support enforcement of app-based worker protections.

As the Office of Labor Standards (OLS) noted in their September 11 Annual Certification on OLS Functions and Resources, the Office is responsible for enforcement of a wide array of worker protections that cover 54,000 employers and almost 600,000 employees. In that memo, they touched on Seattle’s leadership in building protections for app-based workers:

 “Much of the policy team focus has been on advancing labor standards for non-standard workforces, especially gig workers, domestic workers, and independent contractors. This work is time-consuming as few jurisdictions have tackled such initiatives. Consequently, OLS must create the roadmap, rather than relying on the experiences of others.”

On Tuesday, Council Central Staff presented a proposal for a small per-transaction fee to help OLS continue to create this roadmap for the nation.

Eagle-eyed viewers may have noticed that the presentation was updated since it was originally posted. Up until last week, my office had been in conversations with stakeholders and the Mayor’s Office about a per-transaction tax. After considerable conversations and hearing a preference from many stakeholders, we’ve moved towards consideration of a fee. A fee has stronger restrictions on the spending options for the collected income – primarily restricting them to enforcing the regulations on the entities they are levied upon. This conversation can be a little in-the-weeds, so I recommend watching the committee meeting to learn more about the differences between a tax and a fee.

Right now, the collective interdepartmental discussions with stakeholders have been around a 10 cents per transaction fee. For a family that orders a service through the delivery apps or marketplace apps once a week, that would be a total of $5.20 a year. This would have a small impact on users of the apps, but a strong impact on the workers who will have their rights protected via OLS’s enforcement.

I remain committed to deeper conversations with the Mayor’s Office, network companies, and workers and their advocates to collaborate toward a funding solution that guarantees all workers can benefit from the protections that Seattle has worked so hard to pioneer.

South Park Pump Station and Roadway/Drainage Event Saturday

Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) has completed the installation of the South Park Pump Station and Phase 1 of the South Park Roadway and Drainage Project.

To commemorate these milestones, SPU and the Duwamish Valley Program will host an event to commemorate these milestones. Here’s the event information from SPU:

Where: South Park Pump Station, 636 S Riverside Drive, Seattle, WA 98108

When: Saturday, September 30 from 11 am – 2 pm


Tabling and information sharing

  • “Why does it flood” demonstration
  • Duwamish Valley Action Team (IDT)
  • Flood preparedness information
  • Capital projects information
  • Arts celebration

Free lunch and entertainment by local artists!

This event is co-organized by SPU and the Duwamish Valley Program with support from SDOT and the Office of Arts & Culture. The Duwamish Valley Program is co-led by the Office of Sustainability & Environment and the Office of Planning & Community Development.

South Park Pump Station

This facility is now operational and will help reduce flooding in northeast South Park by enabling drainage pipes to flow into the Duwamish River during high tide. It will reduce flooding during many (but not all) high tide events in locations where we have drainage infrastructure.

South Park Roadway and Drainage Project, Phase 1

This project, a collaborative effort between SPU and the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT), installed ten blocks of new roadway and drainage pipes within the industrial area, connecting those areas to the pump station. Sidewalk and landscape improvements were also included on some blocks.


Spokane Street (Low) Bridge Closed October 7-14

SDOT announced the Spokane Street (low) Bridge will be closed to people driving, walking, and biking from October 7 through October 14.

The intended purpose of the closure is to:

“reinstall the turn cylinder that was removed from the low bridge’s east pier housing last winter for refurbishment. When the east pier’s cylinder was removed last December, preparations to overhaul all four of the bridge’s hydraulic turning cylinders were actually already underway as part of our comprehensive repair and maintenance effort. When the unexpected damage to the cylinder occurred, the planning work we had already completed enabled us to quickly jump into developing a response plan and likely allowed us to complete repairs sooner than if we had been starting from scratch.”

The Bridge was built in 1991 and requires ongoing maintenance. SDOT’s website on the Spokane Street Bridge Rehabilitation program has information about maintenance from 2020 to 2022.

Order Free At-Home COVID Tests

Every U.S. household may place an order to receive four free COVID rapid tests delivered directly to your home!

Before you throw out “expired” tests: Check FDA’s website to see if your COVID-19 tests’ expiration dates have been extended.

Need help placing an order for your at-⁠home tests?  Call 1-800-232-0233 (TTY 1-888-720-7489).  Info also available in Español and 简体中文.

It’s Budget Season

On Tuesday, Mayor Harrell transmitted his proposed 2024 budget adjustments to Council.  On Wednesday, we received a briefing from our Council analysts on the Council’s budget deliberation process and from Budget Director Julie Dingley on the Mayor’s proposal.  Watch the discussion here.

Budget Tools: Here are some budget tools to help you follow along:

Here’s a preview of what’s next:

My Priorities: As I wrote in last week’s budget preview, my top priority is funding equitable wages for human services workers, consistent with Resolution 32094 passed earlier this year.   Heartening news on this front: Mayor Harrell’s proposed budget includes a 2 percent wage increase for human services workers.  I released this statement in response:

We rely on human services workers to tackle the city’s biggest crises, from homelessness to hunger, childcare and elder care. In the wake of a landmark University of Washington study that demonstrates how underpaying these workers negatively affects our entire community, I am thankful Mayor Harrell included wage increases in his proposal. This will serve as a solid foundation as we begin discussions about how to create real wage equity for our mission-critical human services workers.

I’m also concerned about the $250 million General Fund deficit projected for 2025.  We must begin taking action now to close that gap.  With 85% of the City’s budget growth coming from labor agreements to fairly pay our employees, cuts cannot be the entire answer.  I believe we should be considering new progressive revenue sources, consistent with the Revenue Stabilization Workgroup options.  I will be asking questions to understand how Mayor Harrell’s proposed budget helps us prepare for 2025.

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