Notes from today’s Council meetings

It was a full day for the Council, and beyond passing the budget the Council members did several other things as well.

Here’s a quick roundup of the big-ticket items from today’s Council Briefing, Full Council, and Parks District meetings.

  • This afternoon the Council approved the appointment of Andrew Myerberg as Director of the Office of Police Accountability, by a vote of 8-1. Council member Sawant cast a protest “no” vote not because she had any issues with Myerberg, but because she has no faith in the police accountability structure and that the OPA can hold SPD accountable. Myerberg has been serving as acting OPA Director since July.
  • The Council also approved the reappointments of three people to the Community Police Commission: Isaac Ruiz, Claudia D’Allegri, and Aaron Williams.
  • As promised, the Council passed a resolution calling for creation of a task force to provide recommendations on establishing a head tax and potentially other progressive revenue sources as a long-term, sustainable new source of funding for addressing the homelessness crisis. Council members Gonzalez and O’Brien began writing it last week after the head tax failed, and incorporated comments from several of their fellow Council members into the draft introduced today. The final version incorporates assurances that members of the communities most impacted by the homelessness crisis will be represented on the task force. It also provides both a ceiling and a floor on the revenue target, of between 25 and 75 million.¬† The far-left contingent on the Council held the line in making sure that the task force (and the Council members who voted “no” last week) are committed to implementing a head tax next spring, despite an amendment from Council member Bagshaw that¬† added language to extend the task force’s focus to a head tax “and/or additional progressive revenue sources.” There will be a separate resolution to establish the membership of the task force by December 11, and the task force is required to report its recommendations to the Council by February 26. The resolution states the Council’s intent to establish a head tax by March 26.
  • Council member Johnson noted this morning that there will be a special meeting of his Planning, Land Use and Zoning Committee next Monday at 5pm. The meeting will hold a public comment session on the recently-passed emergency commercial development moratorium in the Aurora-Licton Springs urban village, as well as for a contract rezone of a church property in southwest Seattle and on the two remaining pieces of the AirBnB regulation legislation.
  • Council member Gonzalez related what happened late last week when Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers attempted to execute a warrant in South Park. The ICE officers did not have a valid warrant and were turned away. Gonzalez noted that if residents suspect that there is ICE activity in their neighborhood, they should call 1-844-RAID-REP. She emphasized that it is extremely important to confirm that it really is ICE before posting anything on social media about the activity, because it can send a wave of fear and panic through the immigrant community when word spreads.
  • This morning the Council discussed Council member Harris-Talley’s proposed ordinance codifying a procedure for appointments to fill vacancies on the Council. It was clarified that the ordinance would not be a change to the City Charter, which would require it to be submitted to a vote of the people. Though Gonzalez pointed out that the section of the City Charter explaining the process for filling a Council vacancy hasn’t been updated since the 1970’s and is probably due for a charter review.
  • The Parks District Board met this evening and voted to approve its $51 million budget for 2018. You can find all the details here.
  • This afternoon, Mayor Burgess, Council President Harrell, and Seattle Public Schools Superintendent Nyland signed an agreement to cooperate “to jointly achieve unique opportunities for developing SPS facilities, including SPS in the Fort Lawton Redevelopment Plan and planning for a new Memorial Stadium that meets the stated interests of SPS and the City. The design should integrate with the vision for the Seattle Center campus. SPS and the City (the Parties) will collaborate to explore alternative sites for future SPS schools and/or facilities. “

There, now you’re all caught up before the holiday.