November 28 Public Safety and Human Services Committee / Climate Action Committee Meeting / Budget Committee Meeting: Addressing Pay Equity, Increasing Budget Transparency / Alki Pump Station Project


November 28 Public Safety and Human Services Committee

The Public Safety and Human Services Committee met on Tuesday, November 28th and considered both: 1. the appointment of an Executive Director for the Community Police Commission and 2. legislation to transfer the Dumar Street Substation property to the Office of Housing.

The committee voted 4-0 in support of the appointment of Cali Ellis as Executive Director of the Community Police Commission (CPC). The appointment was presented by two of the CPC Co-Chairs, Reverend Patricia Hunter and Joel Merkel.

Under the 2017 police accountability ordinance, the Executive Director of the Community Police Commission is appointed by the Community Police Commission and confirmed by the City Council.  The appointment is for a 6-year term. City Council confirmation is not needed for a re-appointment.

The Council recently added a new deputy director position because of the recent experience of needing a succession structure when there is a vacancy in the Executive Director position.  Prior to this change, there was no one in line under the ordinance to fill the vacancy, yet Interim Director Ellis did so when requested by the CPC to do so and she has been in this role since January.

The committee also voted 4-0 in support of legislation to transfer the former Dumar Substation property to the Office of Housing.  I wrote more about the background in last week’s newsletter.

The origins of this legislation date back ten years, to the disposition of surplus City Light properties in West Seattle. In 2015, former Councilmembers Rasmussen, Licata, and then-Councilmember Harrell requested that the Office of Planning and Community Development study land use changes for this property. The community has strongly supported affordable housing and ground-floor commercial use at this location.

Both items will be on the City Council agenda on December 5th.

 2023 Select Committee on Climate Action Committee Meeting

The 2023 Select Committee on Climate Action Committee met on Wednesday, November 29th.

The Office of Sustainability & Environment gave a detailed presentation about Council Bill 120718, Building Emissions Performance legislation. I am sponsoring the legislation, with Councilmembers Mosqueda and Strauss co-sponsoring.

The legislation establishes greenhouse gas emissions target reductions that existing buildings larger than 20,000 square feet must meet, based on 5-year intervals beginning in 2031. Seattle’s BEPS policy is projected to reduce building emissions by 27% by 2050, or 10% of core emissions overall.

The meeting began with extensive public comment in support of the legislation.  We heard support from affordable housing providers, numerous environmental groups, MLK Labor and IBEW Local 46. We also heard from several constituents who mentioned the futures of their children and grandchildren as their motivation for supporting the legislation.

The legislation will be implemented by the Office of Sustainability & Environment (OSE), which has been working with building owners for several years. Since 2012, buildings 20,000 square feet and larger have been required to track and report energy performance through the Energy Benchmarking program (Ordinance 123226, passed in 2010); and owners of buildings 50,000 square feet and larger have been required to invest in upgrades and maintenance to reduce energy and water consumptions in such buildings through the Building Tune-Ups program since 2019 (Ordinance 125002, passed in 2016).

OSE has provided coaching and technical assistance, and extensive outreach; compliance with the reporting and benchmarking has been over 95%. This track record sets the stage for OSE’s work to implement this bill.

Another aspect is funding; the Seattle Clean Buildings Accelerator program includes $4.5 million in the 2024 budget; adoption of the legislation will help facilitate grant applications.

The legislation has gone through nearly two years of stakeholder engagement, which has resulted in an approach with flexibility in enforcement. Working with stakeholders, including building owners, the legislation establishes three pathways for compliance:

Since SEPA publication in June of 2023, a number of changes have been made, including owner penalty increases to better match those of other cities and building decarbonization costs; tenant penalties increased to ensure owners are not held responsible for tenants’ failure to participate (on some leases owners do not have access to the building); the penalty can be pro-rated when owners have made significant progress; establishing grace periods to facilitate compliance; greater reporting transparency; and directing a minimum 40% of revenue from penalties and Alternative Compliance Payments dedicated to buildings serving frontline communities.

The policy is estimated to create between 150 and 270 annual new jobs.

Creation of a “just transition,” for labor is an important element of the legislation. Labor representatives spoke to the importance of this legislation benefitting the climate, while also creating jobs, on the model of the “green/blue alliance.”

The Committee will meet next at 9:30 am Thursday, December 7, 2023, in Council Chambers, Seattle City Hall. If you’d like to receive the meeting agenda by e-mail, you can sign up here.

A Council Central Staff memo provides background on the policy, and on the City’s efforts to date to reduce GHG emissions from buildings.

Budget Committee Meeting: Addressing Pay Equity, Increasing Budget Transparency

The Budget Committee met on Thursday, November 30th. The committee voted in support of the legislation I sponsored regarding the pay penalty gap for human services contractors.

The legislation requires that wage equity funds be used for that purpose and includes contracting and reporting requirements.

The committee also voted in support of two bills to improve the city budget process and provide greater transparency, as recommended by the Fiscal Policy Workgroup.

As Budget Chair Mosqueda’s release states, “The legislation is intended to

  • Increase information for the Council and the public about City budgeting, reporting, and use of resources.
  • Focus resources on financial monitoring and planning, to improve the City’s financial management and the information available to budget decision-makers.
  • Create sustainable budgets, which maintain appropriate service levels and performance.”

Alki Pump Station Project Improves Performance While Adding Public Art and Landscaping Elements

Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) completed construction on Alki Pump Station 38, which is essential for moving sewage and stormwater from the surrounding area to the treatment plant. In recent years, the pump station experienced a significant increase in flows, resulting in considerable strain on the system as well as frequent and costly maintenance. The new pump station not only increases reliability and capacity, but also helps protect the health of our waterways, wildlife, and residents.

In collaboration with the Office of Arts and Culture, SPU installed a new public art piece titled “Tracing Alki” by artist Sarah Thompson Moore in the area surrounding the pump station. Inspired by a topographical map of the City printed in 1894, the artwork conjures patterns of nature such as the rippling of water, growth rings in a tree, shellfish, and fingerprints. Thompson Moore, a Cow Creek Band of Umpqua tribal citizen, connected with the Muckleshoot Tribe to identify opportunities to integrate cultural components such as cultural markers on the map, engraved patterns, and interpretive text on the utility cabinet wrap. The artwork invites community members to come together and explore the past and present history of Alki.

To celebrate the pump station’s completion, SPU and ARTS are hosting a “Meet the Artist” event on Saturday, December 2 from 10 am – 12 pm at the pump station site, near 1411 Alki Ave SW. Residents can learn firsthand from Thompson Moore about her inspiration for the artwork and her process.

For more information about Seattle Public Utilities, please visit:

For more information about the Office of Arts and Culture, please visit:

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