Closed Captioning on Seattle Channel and in Public Accommodations; Anti-Displacement Lunch and Learn; Nowruz

Closed Captioning on Seattle Channel and in Public Accommodations

As Chair of the City Council committee overseeing the Seattle Office for Civil Rights (SOCR), I am regularly in contact with the four commissions within SOCR. The Commission for People with Disabilities is one of those commissions.

The commission was created in 2010. Under Seattle Municipal Code section 3.14.933, its duties include  raising issues with elected officials and city departments concerning issues of importance to people with disabilities, assist city departments to fairly address the concerns of people with disabilities individually and as a protected class, and as appropriate, recommend policies and practices to city government.

One issue they’ve been raising is increasing access to public meetings, and public accommodations.

Access to Council meetings has increased significantly over the last few years, beginning with the installation of “hearing loops” in City Council Chambers, for those hard of hearing. The City Clerk, Monica Martinez Simmons, and former Councilmember Rasmussen helped make this happen.

More recently, I’ve worked with the commission and the Seattle Channel and City Clerk on adding captioning to broadcasts of Council meetings. This was added late last year for the web archive of Council meetings, but was available live only on the television broadcasts of Council meetings. This week it was added for the Seattle Channel’s live web broadcasts (if you load Monday’s Full Council meeting you’ll see a “CC” image you can click on to turn this feature on to see what it looks like).

The commission has also asked that the Council address the use of closed captioning in public accommodations. Commission vice-chair Eric Scheir presented in committee in early January describing his experience, and what other cities have done. Earlier this week draft legislation was presented to require use of closed captioning on TV receivers in public areas during regular hours.

We’ve heard support from Let’s Loop Seattle, the Hearing Loss Association of Washington, and the Hearing Loss Association of America.

I’ve shared this with the Mayor’s Small Business Advisory Council and the Seattle Restaurant Association to seek their input and I offered to meet with them.

As noted in the recitals in the draft legislation, Congress required broadcasters to add closed captioning in 1996 legislation, and in 2002 the FCC adopted closed captioning requirements for digital television receivers. In 2010, a similar requirement was added for Spanish-language programming. In 2010 Congress required the use of closed captioning on devices that can play back video, and in 2012 this requirement was extended to online programming.

Anti-Displacement Lunch and Learn

Please join me at Councilmember Mosqueda ‘s Lunch and Learn next Thursday, March 21, between 12pm and 1pm in the Council Chambers. As I’ve written about before, the City needs another tool to address displacement that occurs when new for-profit developers build. That is why I have brought forward a bill that would require additional mitigation.

California has a State Senate bill that will provide greater density, but also works to prevent displacement and address gentrification concerns. This article provides some background on how California got to where they are and how different community stakeholders have been able to come together to find a solution that will allow greater density while addressing the concerns about displacement.  This bill only allows the use of this new authority in locations that does not include housing occupied by tenants within the last seven years. It is not exclusive to housing occupied by low income tenants. That’s a really strong demolition control.

Community organizations such as Puget Sound Sage will join us at the table for the Lunch and Learn to discuss displacement and strategies to address it. You can RSVP for the Lunch and Learn here.


Nowruz – the Persian New Year – means New Day and marks the vernal equinox. For the third year in a row I am honored to help host and participate in the Nowruz Day event at City Hall. This Sunday hundreds will come to celebrate the Persian New Year – please join me and other elected officials. There will be music, dancing, art exhibits, booths, and speakers.

  • When: Sunday, March 17 between 1pm and 5pm
  • Where: Seattle City Hall

The event is free, and you can RSVP here.

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