Notes from today’s Council meetings

Here are some quick hits from today’s meetings.

This afternoon the Council voted to pass an ordinance removing theĀ  ability to exempt employers from the city’s minimum wage law for employees with disabilities.

It also approved the appointment of Martin Garfinkel as Director of the Office of Labor Standards.

This Thursday in Council member Mosqueda’s Housing, Health, Energy and Workers’ Right Committee, there will be an update from the Office of Labor Standards on the city’s “secure scheduling” legislation, including a presentation from the research team studying its implementation and impact.

Wednesday morning in Council member Johnson’s Planning, Land Use and Zoning Committee, the Council will take up approval of a Central Area Design Review District, and Central Area Neighborhood Design Guidelines..

Tomorrow afternoon in Council member O’Brien’s Sustainability and Transportation Committee, the Council will have the first of three meetings to consider an alley vacation petition for the Washington State Convention Center expansion. At the first meeting, the applicants will lay out the proposal. At the second meeting in two weeks, SDOT and the Design Commission will be at the table, and they will discuss the public benefits package. The final meeting will be May 1st. O’Brien has asked the Convention Center to address:

  • transportation impacts, in particular the timing and how it synchs with the removal of buses from the downtown tunnel (at which point 40 additional buses per hour will be on downtown streets).
  • affordable housing, and whether they are willing to meet the MHA requirement. The project is exempt from it because its permit application was filed before the Council passed the MHA requirements, but O’Brien has asked them to “voluntarily” meet the requirement. I will point out, however, that it’s less than voluntary if not doing so increases the risk that O’Brien won’t vote to approve the petition.
  • who will work on the project. O’Brien pointed out that it’s a nearly $2 billion project, which represents a lot of work for a lot of construction firms. He would like to see the Convention Center meet the city’s own standard for contracting with women and minority-owned businesses, and for the Priority Hire program.