Staffing News // This Week in the Budget // See If You Qualify for Food Assistance // Celebrate Banned Books Week! // City Clerk Archives Gazette, 1983 Film on Trees // District 1 Parks Updates // SW Library Closure // Indigenous People’s Day


Staffing News

Maybe you’ve heard the bittersweet news that Christena Coutsoubos has taken a new step forward in her public service, but alas, it’s also a step out of the Team Herbold office. I wanted to let you, constituents of District 1 and other City of Seattle residents, know this news because many of you have received her assistance over the four years of her dependable public service.

Christena has aided the constituents of District 1 with compassion and persistence. She has helped you over the years, maybe to address a park’s maintenance issue, to get help for a neighbor living unsheltered, to find a COVID19 vaccine, or to get help accessing housing assistance or a small business loan. The assistance she had provided District 1 residents is abundant!

On the policy side, please also join me in recognizing Christena for the many policy accomplishments that would not have been possible without her able staffing, effective analysis, and tenacious organizing.  I know Christena will accomplish much more in her future, here are some of her projects in my office:

  • A two percent wage increase for human services workers included in Mayor Bruce Harrell’s proposed budget, in response to Resolution 32094, a call to closing the pay penalty gap.
  • COVID emergency legislation implementing a moratorium on rent increases for small businesses and nonprofits, during the civil emergency and requiring lessors to accept a rent payment plan during the emergency and for six months following.
  • Legislation awarding $10.4 million to strengthen organizations that provide community-led public safety initiatives.
  • Council Bill (CB) 120374, adding people who have received or are seeking abortions as a protected class, ensuring their civil rights protections, CB 120376, prohibiting people from encroaching on individuals seeking abortions or gender-affirming care, and CB 120399, ensuring that crisis pregnancy centers cannot make public statements that are false or misleading to persuade people from having abortions.
  • Funding for LEAD’s 2022 expansion
  • $4 million to sustain the community safety hubs in West Seattle, SE Seattle, and the Central District operated by Seattle Community Safety Initiative
  • Funding to support a workgroup of people with lived experience of domestic violence to recommend alternatives to incarceration that address misdemeanor domestic violence.
  • $1 million to expand behavioral health services in Seattle Public Schools, and in community clinics for new mothers, seniors and the uninsured
  • $1.5 million for mobile services to address increased needs of survivors of gender-based violence
  • Resolution 32026 requesting King County and the State of Washington increase services to address behavioral health conditions.
  • $5.1 million for food support through most of 2022, to help families struggling with the ongoing pandemic stay healthy and nourished.
  • Funding for services and on-site programming for residents of affordable housing as well as behavioral health supports, addressing staff retention, and client assistance
  • The City’s first investment in East African seniors, to provide wraparound services at existing meal programs
  • Funding a landlord liaison program connecting individuals to housing by establishing partnerships of landlords.
  • Funding for Rapid Re-Housing to ensure families do not fall back into homelessness
  • Restored proposed cuts to Age Friendly Seattle
  • $1.5 million in funding for services recommended by the Heroin and Prescription Opiate Addiction Task Force for active drug users in existing low barrier programs to increase the health of people who use substances and services and harm reduction programs at social service agencies that serve people who use drugs daily, allowing them to expand hours, increase staff, expand to additional locations, provide peer and community outreach, implement good neighbor agreements for syringe pickup, provide participant incentives, explore Medicaid reimbursement for services, and make safety improvements.
  • Expand homelessness outreach and engagement services within District 1 and citywide and provide flexible financial assistance for serving people experiencing unsheltered homelessness.

This Week in the Budget

My staff, Council analysts, Council colleagues and I have spent the week digging into the Mayor’s proposed changes to the 2024 budget to understand what’s new, what’s changed, and what’s missing.

Budget Hearings Start 10/11: Next week, we’ll hear three days of presentations from Council analysts on the proposal.  Watch budget hearings live by livestreaming Seattle Channel.  Watch budget hearings later here: Select Budget Committee |  Here are the expected topics each day.

Public Comment:  Your next opportunity is 10am on 10/11.  Sign up starting at 8am that day here: Public Comment – Council |

My Budget Priorities:

  • Equitable wage increases for human services workers to address the city’s staffing crisis, consistent with Resolution 32094, passed earlier this year.
  • Inflationary increases for federally funded homeless services that moved from the City to the King County Regional Homelessness Authority this year
  • Funding the Office of Labor Standards to enforce Minimum Compensation, Paid Sick and Safe Time, and Deactivation protections.
  • Mental health support for frontline community violence responders
  • Adequate staffing for the 911 call center in the Community Assisted Response and Engagement (CARE) department (formerly knows as the Community Safety and Communications Center)

Understanding Budget:  Use these award-winning tools to make sense of Council’s budget process:

Upcoming Budget Dates: Here’s a glance at the next few weeks.  Please note: Some of these dates have changed since last week.


See If You Qualify for Food Assistance

Newly-expanded eligibility requirements mean more Washington families can receive food assistance.  Now, families with incomes up to 400% of the federal poverty level are eligible. Four hundred percent of the federal poverty level is $58,320 for a single person and $99,440 for a family of three.  Food banks also cannot require anyone to show identification or a social security number, nor can they require proof of income, household size, or immigration status.  Read more here.

Public Health’s Community Health Access Program (CHAP) at 1-800-756-5437 is a great place to start. The CHAP line provides help in multiple languages with getting connected to programs for food like Basic Food or SNAP and the WIC Program, as well as other support services. You can also find information about many food banks and meal programs across King County here.

Celebrate Banned Books Week!

This week is Banned Books Week.  Here are some suggestions to celebrate from Seattle Public Library.

Read a banned book, of course: Check out these helpful lists of Frequently challenged nonfiction books and Frequently challenged fiction books.


Spread the news about censorship and efforts to stop it: Book  Riot is doing a stand-up job of covering censorship news (see their results of a new survey about what parents think about book bans), as is the American Library Association’s Office of Intellectual Freedom. And our partners, the Brooklyn Public Library just launched a podcast series on the stories and stakes around our nation’s “ideological war with its bookshelves.”

Tell out-of-town friends about Books UnbannedSeattle Public Library offers a free Books Unbanned e-card for teens and young adults (ages 13 to 26) across the nation who live outside of our service area.  Anyone eligible can sign up and get access to our entire collection of e-books and e-audiobooks within 1-2 days at

City Clerk Archives Gazette, 1983 Film on Trees

The City Clerk’s Archives section publishes a quarterly gazette with featuring items from their archives. The Fall 2023 edition includes mention of a 1983 documentary on the evolution of Seattle’s street trees, called Green City: the Reforestation of Seattle. It was produced by the Washington Department of Natural Resources and the City of Seattle. It includes images of parks and public spaces, streets and traffic, and residential neighborhoods. It was recently posted to the Seattle Municipal Archives YouTube Channel. Here’s the link to the Reforestation of Seattle documentary.

District 1 Parks Updates

South Park Community Center Programs Temporarily Move to Concord Elementary School: Starting 9/15, programming has moved to Concord International Elementary School, at 723 S. Concord St, Seattle, WA 98108. All programs will be held in the gym and cafeteria at Concord.

You’re Invited to Review Design for Future West Seattle Junction Park: Seattle Parks and Recreation (SPR) invites the community to review the design and provide final community input on possible additional features for the West Seattle Junction future park site. More info here

Camp Long “Trail Or Treat!”: Celebrate the fall festivities in the best setting imaginable at Camp Long! Parks will designate a trail that loops around some of our main cabins where local organizations/ vendors/companies will offer handouts. We will also have fun, nature themed programming at various locations throughout the park! For information contact or call 206-684-7434.  10/28 Saturday 4-8 p.m. FREE

SW Library Closure November 6-19

In the 2022 budget, I joined Councilmember Pedersen in approving $1.7 million to provide air conditioning at the SW and NE Library branches.  At long last, that work is about to start!  Here’s an update on the HVAC upgrade from Seattle Public Libraries:

The Southwest Branch will be closed from November 6-19 and will reopen with normal hours on November 20. The Southwest Branch meeting room will remain open until the branch closes on Nov. 6.  Over the next few days you will begin to see signage on the buildings and online about the impacts and changes to operating hours of our Northeast and Southwest Branches due to the HVAC work.

Indigenous People’s Day 2023

Indigenous People’s Day is Monday, October 9th.

There will be three events to commemorate this city holiday. First of all, celebratory march starting at Westlake Park at 9:30 a.m.; an event with the City of Seattle Native American Affinity Group at Seattle City Hall at noon; and a Celebration at Daybreak Star Indian Cultural Center at 5 p.m.

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