Capital Projects Oversight Watch List Resolution; Seattle Office for Civil Rights seeks Women’s Commission Members; Improving Curbside Recycling; It’s All Happening at the Zoo

Capital Projects Oversight Watch List Resolution

As we’ve all seen, sometimes large capital projects run well over budget. Recent examples of City projects include the Seawall, the utility billing system, and now the potential Center City Streetcar.

To address this, last year I introduced legislation to establish enhanced quarterly reporting requirements for the City’s Capital Improvement Program projects, and to use a “stage-gate” appropriation process for selected projects.

The reporting requirements establish risk level based on scope, schedule, budget, coordination, community impact, and political risk.

On Wednesday the Finance & Neighborhoods Committee voted to approve a resolution to establish the 2019 “Watch List” of large, complex capital projects that will require enhanced quarterly monitoring reports for 2019.

After the committee discussion, I’ll be proposing an amendment on Monday to note the Council expects the Finance & Neighborhoods Committee (or its successor), which focuses on budget issues, as the body that reviews these reports.

Currently, the only time departments are required to provide cost estimates to the Council for major projects is when the annual budget is proposed in late September. This requirement for quarterly reports will ensure greater transparency and more timely information for Council oversight.

Thanks to Councilmember Bagshaw for her willingness to establish the Finance & Neighborhoods Committee as the committee that receives these reports.

Additional background information is available here.

Last year’s legislation established the reporting schedule for departments at eight weeks after the end of the quarter, so the first quarter report is expected in late May.

An update on a trial project list from 2018 is expected later this month.

The 2019 Watch List included in the resolution is listed below; the CIP Project ID is the number used in the Capital Improvement Program. You can look up projects using either the project name or the ID number.

Seattle Office for Civil Rights Seeks Women’s Commission Members

The Seattle Office for Civil Rights is currently recruiting to fill four vacancies on the Seattle Women’s Commission. The Seattle Women’s Commission advises the Mayor, City Council, and city departments on matters that relate to women’s issues.

The Commission seeks candidates with diverse backgrounds in women’s rights, community engagement, law, public policy, advocacy, social services, education, and business and who are committed to racial equity. Commissioners are appointed by the Mayor, City Council, and the Commission.

Participation on the Commission requires a minimum time commitment of 10-15 hours per month. This includes attendance at monthly meetings, participation in committee work, meetings with City officials, communicating with state legislators, and addressing women’s issues.

Commissioners are appointed for two years and all appointments are subject to confirmation by the City Council and serve without compensation.  Those interested in being considered should email a letter of interest, resume, and a completed Seattle Women’s Commission application to Marta Idowu by Tuesday, March 19 by 5 p.m.

The Commission encourages individuals who are interested in applying to attend a monthly Commission meeting.  Meetings are held in City Hall, in Room L280 on the third Monday of each month at 5:30 p.m.  Commission meetings are open to the public.


Improving Curbside Recycling

Seattle has always been a leader in recycling efforts.

In 2018, China’s new recycling policy had the unintended result of causing a global glut of recycled materials, as well as raising the costs of sorting and processing, in order to meet these new standards. (If you are interested, you may want to read this article about China’s new policy, called the “National Sword,” later renamed Blue Sky 2018.)

King County Solid Waste Division, Seattle Public Utilities, and other city governments and solid waste contractors, formed the “Responsible Recycling Task Force,” in order to take a new look at recycling practices. They engaged in a 10-month study to review issues such as contamination, local infrastructure, markets for recycled materials and new international quality control rules (such as China’s), as well as trying to create a regional approach to waste management.

Plastic bags cause machinery to clog and contaminate other materials. Though no changes are being made to what can be placed in comingled curbside recycling carts, here are some new recommendations by the task force:

  • Expanding the Wrap Recycling Action Program and removing plastic bags and film from curbside recycling programs
  • Pursuing different options for shredded paper – another item that clogs machinery

Bills being proposed in the Washington State legislature this session are supported by the Task Force:

  • Banning the use of single carry-out bags statewide
  • Creating a plastics stewardship program statewide, which would facilitate the processing of plastics.
  • Establishing a Washington recycling development center to support the creation of new markets for recycled materials.

If you are interested in more information, please see Recycle Right.


It’s All Happening at the Zoo

The Zoo is inviting you for a day-long event called “Zoo for All: Celebrating Our Cultures.”

In partnership with organizations like El Centro de la Raza, Chief Seattle Club, and REWA, the zoo is creating a festive day that includes a resource fair and performances by community members to commemorate their art and culture. The Zoo welcomes all organizations to participate. The event runs from 9:00am to 6:00pm that day.

In addition to this event, they are planning two more Zoo for All dates in the coming months. Please reach out to the Zoo and let them know if you would like to participate in the resource fair or other programming. They need partners like to help make these days extra special.

  1. Zoo for All: Celebrating All Abilities, Tuesday, July 2, 2019
  2. Zoo for All: Honoring Those Who Serve, Tuesday, July 30, 2019

The Zoo also recently briefed me about some of their community access programs, and District 1 specific information. For example, as of May 2018 there were 1,478 zoo member households in D1, and 1,768 students were reached through educational programming between 2015 and 2017. The Zoo also offers a Community Access Program to make the Zoo accessible for underserved families; they partner with over 600 government agencies, nonprofits, and other organizations to distribute more than 100,000 free admissions annually. If you’re an organization that’s interested in partnering with the Zoo for their Community Access program, please visit their site here. And finally, if you’re a low-income individual, senior, or interested in other discounted ticket options, visit their site here.


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