Notes from Monday Council meetings

It was a pretty tepid day in Council Chamber, but here are a few interesting tidbits worth noting.

Council President Harrell noted that his Education, Equity and Governance Committee will be voting on some modifications to the Seattle Preschool Program on Wednesday afternoon. He and Council member Herbold have six further amendments to make.

Council member Johnson announced that this is Affordable Housing Week, and read a proclamation at the afternoon Full Council meeting.

Council member Gonzalez noted that the Seattle Opera is trying to raise funds for a major renovation of the Mercer Arena at Seattle Center. She circulated a letter for the Council members to sign expressing their support for the renovation and encouraging the federal government to help fund it. The leadership of the Seattle Opera is travelling to Washington D.C. this week to lobby for funding.

Council member Bagshaw reported on her trip last week to San Francisco to visit the Navigation Center, which provides services and housing for the city’s homeless. She said that they focus on “radical hospitality” and the “3 P’s” of barriers that the homeless face trying to get into shelter:  pets, partners, and possessions. She noted that they have 24/7 shelters with lockers (“oh do they have lockers!”) as well as case managers and opportunities to enter into medically-assisted treatment for addiction and mental health issues. She also described their “pitstop” program of 23 assisted toilet programs open to the public. Each toilet has a paid employee stationed as an assistant who watches who goes in and the activity there — and the assistant positions are prison re-entry job opportunities. The pitstops also have needle receptacles and dog waste stations.

Council member O’Brien drew attention to his Sustainability and Transportation Committee’s hearing Tuesday afternoon on SDOT’s implementation plan for the Bicycle Master Plan.  He noted that there is concern and frustration among the city’s bicyclist community that several parts of the plan have been pushed out, which they are interpreting as broken promises and a lack of commitment to the plan. Of particular issues are protected bike lanes downtown.  O’Brien said that he would ask them to “go back to the drawing board.”

O’Brien also noted that his committee would take up a resolution on Sound Transit 3 containing the City Council’s final recommendations. The timing is tight since the Sound Transit Board needs to make final decisions in early June and approve a ballot measure at the end of that month. O’Brien committed to bringing the resolution to the full Council next Monday.

In the Full Council meeting in the afternoon, the Council approved the amended Swedish Health Services master plan for its Cherry Hill campus, resolving a quasi-judicial matter and  review and appeals process that has dragged on for years.


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