CARE Responder Team Launch / This Week in the Budget / Homestead Partnership with Admiral Church Announcement! / Family Caregiver Support Month / Pickleball in Lincoln Park


CARE Responder Team Launch

Seattle is working to build a compassionate, evidence-based, and forward-thinking city. On Wednesday, we celebrated Seattle’s new civilian response team as they provide crisis response services that will help us redefine what public safety looks like.

For years, Seattle has asked how we build data-informed responses to behavioral health crises beyond the criminal justice system and for years, Seattle has convened work groups and community forums, conducted research and site visits, and built towards this program. As Public Safety and Human Services Committee Chair, I sponsored Ordinance 126233 in 2020, creating the Community Safety and Communications Center, which is becoming the Community Assisted Response and Engagement (CARE) Department. During the civil rights uprising of that year, it became a priority of mine to have a diversified response within our public safety continuum.

The CARE response team features behavioral health specialists with field experience in crisis response. The team completed rigorous and innovative training developed by industry experts, SPD, SFD, and the Washington Co-Responder Outreach Alliance, among others. Their training covered mental health services, Narcan administration, crisis prevention and de-escalation, and first aid.

By expanding our 911 response to include these qualified community responders, we will be freeing up police officers to respond to the emergencies that only they can address, reducing response times and increasing efficiency in our police department.

I am proud of the work our city has accomplished and am confident that the CARE team, under the direction of Chief Amy Smith, will support our residents in crisis and benefit all of Seattle.

For more information on this team and how we got here, please see earlier blog posts.

Photo credit to Deb Barker

This Week in the Budget

This week, Council submitted our proposals for amendments to the Budget Chair’s balancing package for development and inclusion in the budget. As shared last week, Budget Chair Mosqueda generously included many of my priorities in her Chair’s balancing package.

Because so many of my priorities were already included in the Chair’s balancing package, all but three of my proposals (below) at this stage, are requests for reports or studies.  Over the next two weeks, these amendments will be fleshed out further and may receive their own amendments to adapt and refine legislation before going to a vote.

As this newsletter is getting sent out, I will be in an all-day Budget Committee Meeting as my fellow Councilmembers and I begin to discuss and consider the amendments brought forward by our colleagues.

Here are some of the amendments I have proposed:

  • A request for Community Safety and Communication Center (CSCC), proposed by Mayor Harrell be renamed as CARE, to provide recommendations to meet an identified need to increase staffing by 30% to improve call times and reduce mandatory overtime to address staff morale, including any budget and legislative actions needed to accomplish a staffing increase;
  • A request for CSCC and the Human Services Department to report on their analyses of gun violence prevention and gun violence response services provided by the City and King County to identify complementary, duplicative, or missing services;
  • Funding for support programming, as recommended by the Domestic Violence Community-Based Responses working group to support organizations that work with DV survivors and families and that promote approaches other than criminalization for those who harm;
  • A request that HSD provide a report on how it will implement requirements in the proposed wage equity legislation regarding provider pay increases, and how it will incorporate wage equity considerations into its competitive funding process; and
  • Request that HSD, SPD, and LEAD determine how much incremental funding would be needed to fund diversion contracts and provide a timeline for integrating the LEAD database with the City’s systems. The Mayor’s proposed 2024 budget fully funds LEAD at the levels in the Council’s 2024 endorsed budget, but to address the additional capacity to support projected increased referral volume to LEAD created by Ord 126896, I am requesting that the City report on incremental LEAD funding needed to meet that need. Further, this SLI would direct the efforts to improve collaborative use of the LEAD database funded in a prior year as a result of former Councilmember Bagshaw’s sponsorship.
  • Adding funding to the Office of the Inspector General for external independent investigative entities to handle conflict of interest cases, such as investigations against the Chief of Police when necessary.
  • Add funding for a Deputy Director position in the Office of Police Accountability (OPA) This is a filled position and is currently funded using salary savings from other positions that are in the process of being filled.

We’ll have another Budget Public Hearing on November 13, at 5 pm.  To learn more about the budget process, see here:

Homestead Partnership with Admiral Church Announcement!

In October 2019, I attended a community meeting hosted by Admiral Church to talk about how the congregation could move forward to realize their vision to use their underutilized land to support the community members with affordable housing needs.

This week, Homestead Community Land Trust and Admiral United Congregational Church met with community to share their announcement that they are moving forward to develop permanent affordable homeownership on the church’s land.  The land trust model creates generational wealth for its owners and Homestead is committed to partnering with Admiral UCC and the surrounding community in developing these new homes.  Legislation passed by the Council in 2021 provides a density bonus to religious institutions that are developing affordable housing on their land.  This memo provides an explanation and background; you can read the legislation itself and additional materials here.

The opportunity to add density to a neighborhood without removing any existing housing is an exciting one.

Affordable housing is the foundation for building an inclusive, diverse community whereby people from all backgrounds can have access to opportunities the City has to offer. For me, affordable housing made it possible for me as a single parent to afford to meet the needs of my child. Affordable housing can make it possible for our diverse families to thrive in a city where they make work, a young person to have an opportunity to pursue a career or their education, and allows an older person to age in place.

I’m thankful the Admiral Church is so generously investing its resources in their community.

I am also grateful for the kind recognition I received for the small role I played in facilitating this partnership.  In addition to the legislation referenced above, I also reached out to several affordable housing providers when the church was looking for a way to develop its property.  One of the most gratifying parts of my job has been connecting people with a shared vision to help them realize their goals.  I’m just thrilled that in this instance, Homestead was a match!

Family Caregiver Support Month

This Tuesday, I asked my Council colleagues for their signatures on a proclamation declaring November to be Family Caregiver Support Month in Seattle. This proclamation was drafted by the Human Services Department with the mayor concurring.

In Washington, there are an estimated 850,000 unpaid caregivers at the heart of our long-term care system who dedicate themselves to the physical, emotional, and practical needs of individuals aged 18 or older.

Caregivers often face many challenges, including mental, emotional, and financial challenges. Unpaid caregivers frequently encounter financial strains due to lost wages and the complexities of finding dependable respite care and essential support services.

This proclamation commends family caregivers for their resilience and dedication. It also recognizes that the work of family caregivers allows our community members to live with dignity and compassion.

This proclamation will be received at the African American Caregivers Forum.

Pickleball in Lincoln Park

This week, I counted receiving over 1,300 emails about the installation of pickleball in Lincoln Park. On Friday, October 27, I sent the following letter to Superintendent Diaz, ensuring your concerns are being heard by Seattle Parks and Recreation. Be sure to stay tuned to subsequent newsletters for updates as this conversation progresses. 

Dear Superintendent Diaz, 

I am writing today about the installation of the pickleball court at Lincoln Court.  I have shared with hundreds of constituents the Seattle Parks and Recreation position that impacts to wildlife will not increase and may be reduced as relates to emissions.  I have told my constituents, as you have: 

The…”site has been used as a storage facility for the maintenance crews that service all West Seattle’s parks. Meaning that several times a day, vehicles and large trucks are pulling into this site to load and unload equipment and materials. When this site becomes a pickleball court, SPR will consolidate our maintenance facilities into one location in a different part of Lincoln Park.  

In our view, any disturbance to wildlife the pickleball court will bring will be equivalent, and potentially lessened as we are removing vehicle emissions from this location.” 

Similarly, the Associated Recreational Council (ARC) wrote:   

Lincoln Park was considered as a potential location for dedicated courts through work with a consultant and community engagement in SPR’s 2020-2021 Outdoor Pickleball Plan. The plan offsets an additional active use to Lincoln Park by relocating the SPR grounds storage facility to the crew headquarter location. This will remove trucks, along with their emissions and traffic, driving in and out of this actively used part of the park.  

The public response I have received has been overwhelming.  I have received about 1,300 emails strenuously objecting to this characterization of this installation as not having wildlife impacts.    

I have also received several requests for “an official SPR plan or study.” Seattle Parks and Recreation, similarly to the ARC, has referred to this document, saying:  “Through work with a consultant and community engagement, Lincoln Park was considered as a potential location for dedicated courts in SPR’s 2020-2021 Outdoor Pickleball Plan.”   Yet, my quick perusal of the documents linked within the above link suggests that Lincoln Park as a location was first discussed at the May 25, 2022 open house. It appears that this was a citywide meeting.  Lincoln Park appears to have been identified in a “break out session.  I would like to know how many people were in attendance in the Southwest breakout session. Is there a specific “Lincoln Plan” that informed the discussion in the breakout session?  Or was Lincoln Park identified in more of a “spit-balling”  exercise?  No one denies that Lincoln Park was put on a list, but no one seems to understand how it got on the list. 

I understand the analysis and position that no SEPA analysis is needed.  But meeting with community members who are pleading to be heard is the least we can do.  I have joined Bird Connect on birding tours in Lincoln Park.  I appreciate how vulnerable wildlife is there.  Birds Connect Seattle reports that: 

“More than 160 species of birds have been reported at Lincoln Park. That’s approximately 64% of all bird species that occur in Seattle from a park that represents just 0.25% of our land area.” 

A constituent also reports that “sustained, repetitive noise will disrupt this well-established ecosystem function by marginalizing wildlife and pushing them further out to areas that don’t have as much available prey, as well as pushing prey species out.”  Why is it that we do not believe that this will occur? 

I have also read the concern the plan in in contravention to the Public Involvement Policy for Parks Planning Processes and for Proposals to Acquire Property, Initiate Funded Capital Projects, or Make Changes to a Park or Facility.  Can you comment whether you believe that to be the case?  Some may remember that this policy was updated in 2002 on the request of former City Councilmember Nick Licata in response to a public outcry related to another Parks project, the Queen Anne Bowl. 

Please consider hosting a meeting to hear the concerns.  If you do, I will join you.   I look forward to your response, as well as answers to these questions: 

  1. How many people were in attendance in the Southwest breakout session? 
  2. Is there a specific “Lincoln Plan” that informed the discussion in the breakout session?
  3. Why is it that we do not believe that sustained, repetitive work will impact wildlife (are there studies)?
  4. Is DPR proceeding in a way that is consistent with the Parks Involvement Policy linked above?
  5. Will DPD meet with the public to discuss the plan? 

Thank you for your kind consideration of my request and questions.  Thank you as well for all you do to support our precious parks system and all of us who use them. 


Lisa Herbold
District 1 Councilmember, Public Safety and Human Services Committee Chair

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