Notes from today’s city-wide MHA committee meeting

On Monday, the City Council started walking through proposed amendments to zoning in the city-wide MHA ordinance, starting with those in Council districts 4, 6 and 7.  This morning, they covered the other four districts. As with Monday’s session, it was mostly a stress-free discussion that rarely bogged down in details. There were a few interesting moments, however, that exposed some recurring themes — and caused a couple of the Council members to show their cards.

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Uber collective-bargaining lawsuit inches forward

Since the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals handed down a split-decision last fall, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s legal challenge to Seattle’s ordinance granting collective-bargaining rights to Uber and Lyft drivers has been back in the hands of the district court. But it’s proceeding in starts and stops, with the occasional flurry of motions and other legal filings. Today a joint status report filed by the parties extends that pattern.

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The Seattle Waterfront, minus the viaduct noise

We’re dabbling in audio journalism today.

Do you remember how noisy the waterfront was before the Viaduct was shut down? Wondering how much quieter it is now?

I made a recording standing outside the Aquarium around noon on Thursday, January 3.  There is moderate traffic on the viaduct, and little surface traffic. I’ve actually stood on the waterfront when the Viaduct traffic was deafening (as I am sure have many of you); it wasn’t that bad on this day, but it was still loud enough that you would need to raise your voice to have a conversation with someone standing next to you.

And here is another recording, standing in approximately the same location, mid-afternoon today. The Viaduct is shut down, and again there is little surface traffic.

There’s still background noise from the city, but it’s definitely quieter. You can hear yourself think, as well as lots of other nearby noises: the crosswalk signal, and a car driving by. Carrying on a conversation would be easy.

A happy thought while you’re sitting in traffic.

(apologies for the background hiss on the recordings)

Seattle and King County slowly moving toward regional governance for homelessness response

While most of the attention in 2018 was on the lackluster and fruitless “One Table” effort to drive a regional response to homelessness, it appears that quietly the stage was being set for a move to a regional governance system — or at least for the parts under the control of Seattle and King County.

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