A few items of note happened at the Council Briefing and Full Council meetings today.
As expected, the City Council voted 8-0 today to create the Seattle Renters Commission (Council member Bagshaw was absent today). Council member Sawant, who spent much of last year advocating for a “Renters’ Bill of Rights,” voted for the bill today but made no comments on it.
In the public comment session during this afternoon’s Full Council meeting, Ballard business owners and labor advocates joined together in opposing the city’s chosen path for the Burke-Gilman Trail “missing link” because of its cost and because they claim that it will interfere with freight traffic in the area — putting jobs at risk.
This morning during the Council Briefing, the Office of Intergovernmental Relations presented a report from the city’s federal lobbyist on the Trump “skinny budget” proposal. Here’s a longer writeup of that discussion.
Council member Sawant noted that her Energy and Environment Committee will meet on March 28th and have a discussion with Seattle City Light on high energy bills from this winter. SCL reports that the severe weather has raised bills. They also say that in cases where SCL staff are unable to access a meter, they interpolate a reading based on previous usage patterns. But SCL is requesting that customers feel that their bill is far too high so they can address it.
Council member Johnson reminded his colleagues that at tomorrow’s Planning, Land Use and Zoning Committee meeting they will take up amendments to the MHA rezone of downtown and South Lake Union, and possibly vote the bill out of committee.
Council member Juarez, who co-chairs with Council President Harrell the newly-formed Select Committee on Civic Arenas, distributed a document laying out the topics the committee is expected to take up as well as a rough schedule for the Key Arena-related topics. The most interesting questions this raises is how the Council will weigh the Key Arena versus the SODO Arena, and how they will handle it if a proposal for one is ready well in advance of the other. Will this become a race to the finish line for the two arena proposals, or will the Council time it so they can weigh both simultaneously?
Council member Gonzalez noted that Wednesday’s Gender Equity, Safe Communities, and New Americans Committee will be a working session on paid family leave and medical leave in the private sector, featuring a consultant report on a survey of employees and employers on needs for paid family leave; an OIR presentation on the state legislature’s pending work on paid family leave; and Gonzalez’s position paper on policy proposals that a paid family leave bill should have.
Gonzalez also reminded her colleagues that Thursday evening there is a public hearing on the police accountability legislation.
Council member O’Brien said that in his Sustainability and Transportation Committee meeting tomorrow afternoon, SDOT will give an update on the recent issues with the First Hill Streetcar.