Happy June Pride / KCRHA 5 Year Plan Approved / Outreach to District 1 Encampments / Consent Decree Status Conference / Sound Transit Timelines for West Seattle and Ballard Lines / Parks Workshop in Delridge / SW Precinct Community Dialogue / Refuse to Abuse


Happy June Pride

I was so energized to participate in the City Hall Pride flag raising this week with Mayor Harrell, Councilmember Tammy Morales, LGBTQ+ Commission members and many others. The annual Pride flag raising is an event that I look forward to every year and will look forward to returning to in future years, even if not in my official capacity as Councilmember. It is joyous, with love and hope as its foundation, but also never forgetting the need to act, not just speak.

Though celebrating Pride is this month’s theme, I want to also address the fact that after last week’s newsletter where I promoted community efforts to organize neighborhood Pride events to emphasize love and support, I received a small flurry of bizarre responses, that can either be characterized as ignorant or lacking compassion for the conditions that led to the establishment of Pride June, the 1969 Stonewall police riots and the conditions that continue to exist today.

In eight years of promoting Pride in my newsletter I’ve never seen people be vocal with their disparagement, like I have this year. Here is a sample:

 “Let us celebrate everyone.  When will Seattle City Council celebrate male German-Americans?”  “Finally, keep your drag queens away from our kids

 “Do you plan on having a Patriotic Pride night?”

 “I was wondering if you would back a proposal to close neighborhood streets for Heterosexual Pride Night Out events?”

How is it possible that people today respond with such ignorance and lack of caring to the oppression and harm that our LGBTQ+ community faces for merely existing and loving? People who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer, or gender non-conforming are nearly four times more likely to be victims of violent crime, including rape and sexual assault.    Why does this loud minority of people think that our intentionally rejecting hate and violence warrants attention to them? What does it mean that people are so emboldened to share with their Councilmember these kind of responses to a decades-old celebration of love and identity? Companies like Target are facing a backlash for simply showing support for our diverse communities. Why is this happening? Has something changed?

Whenever there is progress, with more of our community acting in accordance with values that are welcoming, believing that everyone should lead the life they love, there is a backlash from a small group of increasingly vocal people being courted by politicians with a hateful agenda that they use to fundraise and promote their own careers. But let’s remember that

  • 96% of non-LGBTQ+ Americans agree that school should be a safe & accepting place for all young learners,
  • 91% of non-LGBTQ+ Americans agree that LGBTQ+ people should not be discriminated against
  • 84% of non-LGBTQ+ Americans support equal rights for our LGBTQ+ friends, loved ones, family members, neighbors, and co-workers.

Senior Deputy Mayor Monisha Harrell said in her flag-raising remarks that “Allies don’t get cookies without action.”

Over the last several months:

How do *you,* dear reader, fight hate and intolerance? This month, and every month, let your LGBTQ+ friends, loved ones, family members, neighbors, and co-workers know that you see them, you hear them, you need them, you support them, you love them. Also, actively address the ignorance of and uncaring about the historic harm and trauma done and being done, still, to those who make our communities stronger, more enriched, and ultimately more loving. Do so even when ignorance and uncaring comes from our neighbors, like those I quoted above.

I was moved by many of the remarks at the City Hall Pride flag raising. I want to share these with you from Steven Sawyer, Executive Director of POCAAN:

The Pride movement has been a longstanding fight for equity and justice for the LGBTQAI2+ community.

In the streets of New York on a late summer night in 1969, the first brick was thrown to launch the Stonewall Uprising. The uprising marked a new turning point for LGBTQ+ activism and liberation in the United States.

Despite the advancements we’ve seen in cultural norms, the fight continues today… from the Black Lives Matter movement to the fight against hundreds of hate bills that create dangerous environments for our community.

We see how strides toward equity have not been shared by all members of the LGBTQ+ community.

Today, there’s a rise in the anti-LGBTQ bills, from binary bathroom laws to anti-drag bills.

Racial disparities persist, with black and brown LGBTQ+ individuals too often facing additional layers of discrimination and marginalization.

As such, the new fight for Equity in the LGBTQ+ movement must center on a comprehensive understanding of intersectionality. This means recognizing how different aspects of identity overlap and impact individuals’ experiences of oppression. It also means acknowledging the ways in which white supremacy, anti-blackness, and patriarchy have perpetuated discrimination against LGBTQ+ people, particularly those who are black, brown and/or trans.

Pride must be a “celebration AND a demonstration”

…[W]e must continue demonstrations that unveil the need for greater equity in areas such as employment, housing, healthcare, and education. Until we’re all safe, no one’s safe. Until we’re all free to be our true selves, no one’s free.

Check out White Center Pride on Saturday: whitecenterpride.org

  • Saturday 11AM-midnight
  • 100+ local & LGBTQ-friendly vendors
  • Live music, local DJ’s, drag performances
  • Beer gardens and food trucks
  • Kids area including a bounce house and slide, Drag Story Time with Seattle’s favorite local drag queen Aleksa Manila (+ ASL interpretation)

KCRHA 5 Year Plan Approved

I joined fellow members of the King County Regional Homelessness Authority (KCRHA) Governing Committee on Thursday to approve the Authority’s new 5 Year Plan.  The 5 Year Plan was a requirement of the Interlocal Agreement between King County and the City of Seattle which established the KCRHA, and its approval is a milestone for the work.

I requested a number of additions to the plan, and I appreciate that these were incorporated:

  • Stating plainly that our region cannot afford to lose any existing capacity in temporary housing of any sort.
  • A consideration of Recovery Housing as a potentially needed tool in our continuum
  • Additional clarity in activities slated for Years 1 and 2, including priorities for additional funding, should it become available.
  • Addressing the assumptions about rates of self-resolution of homelessness within the plan
  • Recognizing the recommendations of the University of Washington wage equity study, which found that human services nonprofit workers experience a 37% pay penalty for their chosen careers
  • Acknowledging the current lack of resources situated in West Seattle and South Park for services, temporary housing, and severe weather response
  • A plain language characterization of performance metrics

Call to Focus on Contracting Fundamentals:  This 5 Year Plan discusses the importance of establishing an equitable procurement process to build a proactive homelessness response system that is community- and data-driven.  While I know that the KCRHA has been gearing up to a system-wide rebid process later this year, I urged caution and a focus on fundamentals first.

Homelessness providers report delays in getting their contracts with the KCRHA executed, and in accessing funding they’ve been awarded.   A system-wide rebid would – by design – introduce significant uncertainty for providers, at a time when we should be making it quicker and easier for them to provide essential services to the KCRHA.

My read of the 5 Year Plan, Interlocal Agreement, and contract with the City suggests it is possible to delay that rebid until the fundamentals are strengthened. I hope the KCRHA will take advantage of that to focus on contracting improvements first.

Accompanying Resolutions:  I was disappointed that too many members of the Governing Committee were unwilling to consider Resolutions put forward by Councilmember Andrew Lewis.  I had worked with CM Lewis closely on both and believe they would have significantly strengthened our work.

  • Resolution 2023-04 Operational Workplan required the KCRHA to create a 2-year operational workplan with much more specificity about KCRHA’s work and priorities in the near future, as well as written reporting back to improve transparency and oversight.
  • Resolution 2023-05 Housing Barriers directed KCRHA to develop an agenda of policy suggestions that would help local jurisdictions, including Seattle, consider policy changes that would speed the production of temporary and permanent housing.

The members unwilling to consider these resolutions called for an additional special meeting over the summer to consider possible additions or changes.

Outreach to District 1 Encampments

When constituents write to me with concerns about neighbors living unsheltered in tents or RVs, my office provides comprehensive information about how the City responds to such encampments, and how to make reports.  I wrote about that process at length in a recent blog post; you can find it here.

My staff also have developed relationships with the outreach workers, employed by REACH, who serve West Seattle and South Park.  They regularly share information back and forth about the locations that constituents report.  When a large number of you write about the same location, we can even request an update on their progress, and then provide that on-the-ground report back to you.

Myers Way:  For instance, I’ve heard from many of you concerned about the large encampment on Myers Way near Arrowhead Gardens; and about the troubling discovery of a recent homicide there.  My staff discussed this location in a video meeting with the team of outreach workers and their supervisors, and shared introductions to local business improvement areas and community networks.  We learned that outreach workers have been visiting encampment residents at Myers Way 3 – 4 times a week.  Their outreach includes addressing potential fire hazards, getting trash pick-up and sanitation, and needs assessment of residents as well to assist in facilitating appropriate service referrals.  King County Regional Homelessness Authority (KCRHA), which is a separate organization from the City, is funded by State government to help people at encampments located on WDOT owned right of way encampment locations to move out of homeless and into safe lodging,   I asked KCRHA to consider using those resources at this location.

Additional Outreach:  3 homeless outreach workers focus on West Seattle, Delridge, South Park, and Rainier Valley, because of legislation I sponsored in 2021.   The King County Regional Homelessness Authority, which took over responsibility for most homelessness investments in 2022, is poised to announce the recipients of $3.9 million for geographic-based outreach services in the next several weeks.

The City financially supports approximately 3,000 beds in temporary shelters, all of which operate at or near capacity, with very few spaces open on any given day.  In the long term, outreach workers work on building relationships with people living unsheltered, in the hopes that referrals to help them stay safe and healthy may become available and be accepted in the future.  Outreach workers will attempt to visit multiple times, offering support that will start the process.

Consent Decree Status Conference

On Tuesday US District Court Judge Robart, who oversees the Consent Decree, held a status conference on the joint motion of the US Department of Justice (DOJ) and the City of Seattle to approve an Agreement on Sustained Compliance for the 2012 Consent Decree. My staff attended the hearing at the US District Courthouse, which overlapped with a City Council meeting.

Both the City and the DOJ presented their case for entering into the Agreement on Sustained Compliance, which would release the City from several elements of the Consent Decree, while requiring additional work on accountability, and to develop crowd control policies, including recent recommendations from the Inspector General’s Sentinel Event Review, recent changes in State law, and the changes deriving from Ordinance 126422. In the joint proposal, the work is anticipated to be completed by the end of 2023.

The Judge lauded the reduced incidence of use of force by SPD, improvements in training, and significantly enhanced collection of data. He asked several questions of the presenters. He asked about continued racial disparities in use of force and stops and detentions. He also mentioned labor bargaining, and the challenge of determining compliance without a labor contract with the Seattle Police Officers’ Guild that includes the reforms contained in the 2017 Accountability Ordinance.  He asked direct questions about the status of the implementation of the 2017 accountability ordinance. He also asked about the number of persons killed by officers, and training for persons with knives. He closed by mentioning the lower number of officers and that other cities such as San Franciso and Los Angeles face a similar challenge, and again noted the importance of collective bargaining.

Judge Robart could issue a ruling in coming weeks.  If he approves the joint motion, that would also begin the 60-day timeline for the “Use of Force: Crowd Management Practices” section, which states “Consistent with City law, within 60 days of the effective date of this Agreement, the city will provide the draft crowd management policy….to the DOJ and Monitor.” This includes policies to implement the Less Lethal Weapons law, Ordinance 1264222, passed in 2021 and still not implemented nearly two years later.

Judge Robart expressed skepticism about completing the work by the end of 2023. Mike Carter’s article in the Seattle Times quoted the representative from the DOJ’s Civil Rights division stating, that “the Justice Department is watching the union negotiations with interest and believes the ‘city cannot negotiate away something that is otherwise agreed to in the consent decree’…We are very interested to make sure collective bargaining continues and to make sure that it does continue to reinforce the requirements and reforms that we all worked for over the last 10 years.”

The City’s representative highlighted the option of leaving the bargaining table and instead going to interest arbitration to deliver the reforms included in the 2017 accountability ordinance. Arbitration is only possible for items included in bargaining parameters at the start of negotiation. When the 2017 ordinance was adopted, parameters had already been established, and were thus not a subject eligible for interest arbitration.

When the Council adopted the most recent agreement with the police guild in 2018, the Council adopted a companion resolution highlighting items of importance: 1) standard of review and burden of proof in labor arbitration, 2) the calculation, extension and/or re-calculation of the 180 timeline for Office of Police Accountability (OPA) to investigate complaints of misconduct, and 3) subpoena power for the OPA and Inspector General.

Judge Robart asked whether subpoena authority was included in parameters, and the City’s representative noted that under City law, parameters were confidential.

Sound Transit Timelines for West Seattle and Ballard Lines

Sound Transit announced this week that the West Seattle Link Extension (WSLE) and the Ballard Link Extension (BLE) will have different timetables for completing environmental review; the two extensions originally had the same timeline. In March the Sound Transit Board added alternatives for the Ballard line; consequently, that line will have an additional Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), which will require additional time.

The West Seattle line is proceeding based on the preferred alternative identified in July 2022, and does not require an additional Draft EIS. The Final EIS is planned for completion in 2024. After that, the Board will select a project to build for the West Seattle Link Extension. The Board will not need to wait until the Ballard Final EIS is completed; previously, it was anticipated the decisions for the two lines would be concurrent.

Sound Transit indicated they are working on the details of the environmental review for the Ballard line and will share an update when they know more.

The latest on the West Seattle Line, including project timeline, is available at Sound Transit’s updated West Seattle Link Extension (WSLE) online open house.

6/6 Parks Workshop in Delridge

Seattle Parks and Recreation invites the community to participate in the development of the 2024 Parks and Open Space Plan. Please join us in person at a workshop being held Tuesday, June 6 at Delridge Community Center, 4501 Delridge Way SW.

Translated press releases are linked here ( Amharic, Chinese, Korean, Somali, Spanish, Tagalog, Vietnamese).  To request interpretation services please email Karen.oconnor@seattle.gov.

For more information, please visit https://www.seattle.gov/parks/about-us/projects/2024-parks-and-open-space-plan or contact Oliver Bazinet at Oliver.Bazinet@seattle.gov.

SW Precinct Community Dialogue

The Seattle Police Department, in partnership with Seattle University’s Crime and Justice Research Center, will be hosting their next series of community dialogues as part of the Seattle Police Micro-Community Policing Plans (MCPP). Southwest Precinct’s virtual conversation will be held Monday, June 5th from 5:30 to 7:30 PM via Zoom.

This will be an opportunity for people who live or work in West Seattle to discuss the 2022 Seattle Public Safety Survey, share public safety concerns, and meet with SPD personnel, including recruits, officers, Crime Prevention Coordinators, Community Service Officers, and more.

The MCPP is a collaborative strategy facilitated by SPD and the Seattle University MCPP research team. Recognizing that no two neighborhoods in Seattle are the same, the MCPP addresses this by developing plans built on community engagement and crime data to direct police services.

You can sign up to participate in this virtual session at the Seattle U Public Safety Survey Website.

Refuse to Abuse This Weekend

The Refuse to Abuse 5K benefits the Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence and their work to promote respectful, joyful relationships. We all have a role to play in preventing domestic and sexual violence.

I’m on the Seattle Human Services Department team on Sunday morning. I’m inviting you to support this effort! If you can help, go to this link and donate and please do so by selecting team member Lisa Herbold. Thank you!!

Refuse To Abuse® 5K 2023 – We RUN with Seattle HSD (onecause.com)

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