Notes from this morning’s Council Briefing

A bunch of tidbits from this morning’s roundtable with the Council members.

The Council also received its first briefing from the Office of Intergovernmental Relations on the state legislative session, but I’m writing that up separately — there’s a lot happening there.

Council President Harrell noted that the Mayor had issued his expected emergency orders to expedite permitting of three new sanctioned homeless encampments. The Council can ratify, modify, or reject the emergency orders (or do nothing); Harrell noted that he would be introducing a resolution to ratify the orders this afternoon (which he did, and which was eventually passed after a few amendments).

Harrell gave a preview of the agenda for his Education, Equity and Governance Committee meeting scheduled for tomorrow: a presentation on the Seattle Preschool Program, and a briefing on the annexation plans for the Highline/White Center and Duwamish areas.

Council member Burgess announced that he and Council member Gonzalez are taking a fact-finding trip to visit three cities that use the “inspector general” model for police oversight.

Burgess also said that his next Affordable Housing, Neighborhoods and Finance Committee had a very full agenda, including a first hearing on Council member Sawant’s “Wells Fargo” bill. But Burgess dropped a bombshell: he mentioned that he was working on an alternate version of Sawant’s bill that he might introduce for discussion at the same meeting. A clearly surprised Sawant asked Burgess to circulate his version in advance of the committee meeting so she and others could review it. In an email this afternoon, Burgess told me, “It’s being drafted now. Likely available a day or two before our Feb 1 committee meeting.” He told me his intent with introducing an alternate is to make it “legal and actionable.”

Council member Johnson noted that (as previously advertised, and delayed) his Planning, Land Use and Zoning Committee meets on Thursday and will take up amendments to the U District rezone as well as updates to the SEPA ordinance. They will also have a first hearing of an “omnibus bill” with dozens of small changes to the land use ordinance.

Council member Juarez showed her excitement for the Key Arena RFP published last week. In particular, she likes that is includes the Racial and Social Justice lens, requires a transportation plan, and will be at minimal to no cost to taxpayers. Council member Bagshaw chimed in that she also likes its reference to the Uptown Urban Design Framework.

Juarez also put in a plug for the next “D5” event, February 10th, from 6-8pm, at Shanty’s.

Council member Sawant previewed her next Energy and Environment Committee meeting, which will feature a report from Seattle City Light CEO Larry Weis and an ordinance related to Seattle City Light’s work on habitat protection.

Sawant also noted that after a full day of “Resist Trump” events on Friday, she will be flying Friday night to Washington, D.C. to participate in the Women’s March there on Saturday.

Council member Bagshaw said that her Human Services and Public Health Committee would meet next on January 25th, when they will continue the Mayor’s Office’s reporting on implementation of the “Bridging the Gap” interim plan for addressing the homeless crisis.