Notes from today’s Council Briefing

Here are some highlights (and lowlights) from this morning’s Council Briefing.

Council member Bagshaw noted that this week the Human Services Department is releasing its RFP for homeless services providers for calendar year 2018 contracts. Their intent is to put nearly everything out to bid — the first time this has been done in years. They will also use the RFP as an opportunity to ratchet up the requirements for providers, including reporting on performance metrics and (where appropriate) participating in the HMIS data system for homeless individuals and the Coordinated Entry system.

Bagshaw also said that at Wednesday’s Human Services and Public Health committee, they will hear an evaluation of the city’s six managed encampments and the model for operating them.

Council member Burgess announced the schedule for work on the proposed income tax ordinance. His committee meets this Friday to discuss and possibly vote on amendments, and he hopes to pass the bill out of committee next Wednesday.

Council member Sawant noted that her Energy and Environment Committee will meet on Tuesday to continue its discussion of potential solutions for Seattle City Light’s chronic retail revenue shortfalls, and to hear a report on the financial audit of Seattle City Light.

Council member Juarez said that her Parks, Seattle Center, Libraries and Waterfront Committee meets on July 6th to discuss the recently-completed agreement between the city and WSDOT for redevelopment of Alaskan Way. She also circulated for her colleagues to sign a letter to the Mayor detailing a number of issues that the Council wants to ensure the city addresses when negotiating with Oak View Group on the agreement to renovate and operate Key Arena. The latter asks for the Mayor to submit his MOU to the Council no later than September 12th so that there can be at least one public hearing on it before the Council drops everything to focus on the 2018 budget planning. This will be discussed more at the next scheduled meeting of the Select Committee on Civic Arenas on July 10th.

Council member Gonzalez noted that Wednesday morning her committee would hear a report from the OPA director, and continue its work on an ordinance related to the city’s acquisition and use of surveillance technologies.

Council member Johnson announced that this Thursday at 5:30pm in City Hall there will be an open house to learn more about the proposed city-wide MHA rezone and the recently-released draft Environmental Impact Statement.

Council member O’Brien noted that his Sustainability and Transportation Committee meets this Thursday and will hear an update on the One Center City plan and a report on the streetcars (including the proposed Center City streetcar). He also said that they would be handling a grant acceptance ordinance for $50 million in federal funds for the Center City streetcar, two thirds of the $75 million originally earmarked for the project.

Much of this morning’s discussion was around the “town hall” forum that Council member Gonzalez is hosting Tuesday evening . Sawant reiterated that she has no confidence the SPD investigation will result in justice, and demanded that the Council create an independent, community driven investigation. She also demanded that SPD Chief O’Toole be present Tuesday evening to answer questions from the public. She is rallying her supporters to show up to the forum and make their demands known. Gonzalez countered that O’Toole would not be present, and that her vision for the event was that it was an opportunity to help the community grieve and heal, to let community members communicate their thoughts directly to the Council, and when necessary to allow the public to speak to its anger. She also noted that childcare and translation services will be available on site, along with grief counselors. But she made clear that it was not a public deposition for Chief O’Toole or any other city official. She also said that, despite the earlier announcement that Office of Civil Rights Director Patricia Lally would moderate the session, they are still “having discussions” on who the moderator will be.  Juarez , recalling the prior shooting of John T. Williams, expressed her hope that the forum would not devolve into something very negative with “name calling” and “screaming.” Johnson, whose district includes the Magnuson Park neighborhood where the shooting took place,  said that he had been out in that neighborhood nearly every day since the event, the community had been “very respectful,” and that he was not worried about the tone at the event. He also noted that he has been discussing with community members possible public safety improvements for the neighborhood and may bring forth a budget amendment to appropriate funds to pay for some of them.

The Council also heard a presentation from UC Berkeley professor Michael Reich, co-author of a study on Seattle’s minimum wage rollout that was released last week. He and the Council had a long conversation around a competing study released this morning by a UW team that found starkly different results — and far more negative ones. I’m writing a separate post on that. The Mayor’s Office today released a letter written by Reich summarizing his critique of the UW study.