It was a short Council Briefing without any presentations, but here are the highlights from the roundtable discussion.
This was the first time all the council members had been together as a group since last week’s SODO vote, so several took the opportunity to respond to the misogynistic, hateful rhetoric aimed at the female Council members after the vote. Council President Harrell called it “intolerable.” Council member Bagshaw thanked the thousands of people who rallied to their support and said “not in our house.” Council member Juarez was thankful to members of the local tribes who reached out to her and asked “Are you ok?” “Thank you,” she said, “that meant a lot to me.”
Both Council members Herbold and Sawant noted the joint committee meeting scheduled for Tuesday afternoon to review the NCIS project. Sawant said that while she is upset about the poor communication last year about the budget change for the project, the hearing will be instead focused on the project itself. Council President Harrell reiterated his comments from two weeks ago when the matter first came to light that he wants to understand more about the scope changes and who approved them. Herbold agreed and took that a step further, wanting to explore the issue more broadly for capital projects about when a change in scope should trigger additional review and transparency — even if officially the approval is within the Mayor’s authority. Herbold noted that they will also be hearing from the project’s QA consultant Tim Almond and asking him about his communications with the project team. (I posted a preview of this meeting last night)
Council member Gonzalez noted that at her committee meeting Wednesday morning they will discuss budget models for funding paid family leave, and will hear from Jared Make, a noted expert on paid family leave programs.
Council member Mike O’Brien mentioned that his committee will be looking at a recommendation from Council central staff to consolidate the Transportation Benefit District into the City administration in order to streamline operations (including budget). They will run the idea through the full public process, including scheduling a public hearing.
Council member Johnson noted that his committee will begin considering the Mayor’s nomination of Sam Assefa as Director of the Office of Planning and Community Development.