Notes from today’s meetings

Here’s some quick hits from today’s Council Briefing and Full Council meetings.

  • The Office of Intergovernmental Relations gave a final briefing to the Council this morning on the triple-overtime, 193-day state legislative session, in which over 2600 bills were introduced.  And yet, the legislature failed to produce a capital budget. As a result, Seattle’s Office of Housing reports that it will be funding 1 or 2 fewer projects next year due to lack of state funding.
  • Wednesday afternoon, the Human Services and Public Health Committee will hear a report from a taskforce looking into what’s happening with homeless people living in vehicles on the streets of Seattle. Council member O’Brien has been digging into this issue and is working on an ordinance to address the situation — though the content of his bill is apparently still in flux. You may recall that a year ago O’Brien introduced a bill that would decriminalize homeless people camping in many areas of city parks, greenbelts, and other public spaces; after public outcry, he quickly rewrote it to a less permissive version that ended up dying in committee.
  • Today was the deadline for public comments on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the city-wide MHA upzone.
  • Wednesday afternoon the Council will also hear a status report from HSD Director Catherine Lester on the Pathways Home RFP her department issued.
  • Council member Juarez continues to push for the city to complete negotiations with OVG on an MOU for the Key Arena renovations by September 12th.
  • Tomorrow morning, the Civil Rights, Utilities, Economic Development and Arts Committee will continue its work on the Fair Chance Housing bill, including voting on amendments. The current draft of the bill prohibits landlords from denying housing based on convictions more than two years in the past, but Council member O’Brien is offering an amendment that would eliminate that two year period and instead prohibit a landlord denying housing based on any prior conviction. There are handful of exceptions, such as for buildings with less than four units where the owner lives in one of them.
  • Council member Gonzalez said that the legal defense fund the city established to help immigrants facing deportation is “chugging along” and they expect to announce the first funding later this week.
  • This afternoon the Council officially allocated the $2.3 million it promised the School District as a one-time payment to facilitate the district’s changeover from a 3-tier schedule to a 2-tier schedule.  Council member Burgess, who leaves the Council at the end of this year, warned his colleagues to remember that this was approved as one-time funding when the School District comes back in a year and asks for the funding to be renewed.
  • The Council also approved $75 thousand of funding for public safety improvements in Magnuson Park, a down payment of sorts on further investments in the 2018 budget.
  • The Council approved a resolution recommending for further study several potential amendments to the Comprehensive Plan, after sorting out competing amendments (and an amendment to an amendment) to ensure that the city does thorough community outreach to Morgan Junction as part of studying three items pertaining to that neighborhood.
  • Last week, the Council approved the MHA upzone of the Chinatown-International District, along with a companion resolution that listed a number of additional activities beyond the zoning changes that the city would do to combat gentrification and economic displacement and to preserve the cultural heritage of the communities in the CID. But they made a mistake: they omitted the Filipino community from the resolution. This afternoon, Council members Johnson and Harrell fell on their swords for that error, apologized profusely, and gave the floor to several angry leaders from Seattle’s Filipino community who excoriated them for half an hour.



    1. Well to be clear, we still don’t know what the legislation will say when it officially comes out. O’Brien has a right to toss around ideas first before doing something official. As a writer, I would hate to be judged by all the bad ideas I tried and discarded before I hit “publish.”

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