Notes from today’s Council meetings

Here’s what went down today.

  • This afternoon the Council confirmed the reappointments of Ben Noble as City Budget Director and Jennifer Greenlee as Executive Director of the Civil Service Commission.
  • The Council also passed a one-year moratorium on rent bidding platforms such as Rentberry and Biddwell.
  • Council member Mike O’Brien announced that tomorrow’s Sustainability and Transportation Committee meeting will have a discussion on performance improvements to the First Hill streetcar. It’s also likely to have a discussion of the apparent disagreement between SDOT and King County Metro on the operational cost of the new Center City Streetcar line; as this Seattle Times article disclosed last Friday, Metro thinks the costs will be 50% higher than the city — and that information was not disclosed to the Council. This morning several Council members, some of whom have been skeptical of the value of the new streetcar line, were visibly unhappy that the Council has not been given all the information needed to make an informed decision. The situation is further complicated by ongoing negotiations between SDOT and Metro on an operating agreement; the Council doesn’t want to interfere, but would like someone from its central staff group to be able to sit in on the negotiations. Mayor Durkan has asked for an independent review of the streetcar costs.
  • Wednesday’s Planning, Land Use and Zoning Committee will include a first briefing on a proposed update to Central Area design guidelines. Also, committee chair Rob Johnson noted that he still expects to vote an ordinance updating off-street parking regulations out of committee this week.
  • Council member Teresa Mosqueda said that at her next committee meeting on March 29th she expects to receive the first report from the City Auditor’s office on the city’s “secure scheduling” ordinance.
  • Council members Mosqueda and Gonzalez raised concerns about the Trump administration’s efforts to include in the 2020 census a question regarding individuals’ citizenship. The main concern is that this will discourage participation in the census for fear of crackdowns on immigrants, and leave immigrants under-represented in the census results. Gonzalez also raised the concern that the city’s own redistricting activities will be forced to follow the same practices as other government bodies if citizenship is incorporated into the census.
  • This Wednesday, Council member Debora Juarez’s committee will hear a progress report from the parks department on their capital projects.
  • This afternoon the Council scheduled the public hearing for proposed street and alley vacations for the Washington State Convention Center expansion. The hearing will be on April 18th at 5pm in Council Chambers.