Here’s what happened at today’s Council Briefing and Full Council meetings today.
This afternoon, the Council approved without fanfare an ordinance extending the statute of limitations for filing a sexual harassment claim.
It also unanimously approved the Washington State Convention Center’s petition for vacation of parts of several alleys and streets in order to expand the convention center, making the end of a very long process that involved several months of negotiating with a group of community representatives on an appropriate package of public benefits and then having to negotiate the City Council’s demands on top of that. Council member O’Brien offered an amendment this afternoon that would have required the Convention Center to pay $50,000 for a transportation study, and potentially $1 million to mitigate transportation issues, if it asked to have buses removed from the downtown tunnel in March 2019. This comes on the heels of an amendment Council member Johnson pushed through last week removing a restriction that would have kept buses in the tunnel until at least September 2019. The Council members are all concerned with the “period of maximum constraint” when downtown traffic is expected to be at its worst, and at play is whether to try to accelerate other mitigation efforts in order to start moving sooner on the Convention Center expansion (and the jobs that come with it). O’Brien’s amendment failed by a 3-6 vote, with only O’Brien, Sawant and Herbold supporting it.
Tomorrow afternoon, the Human Services, Equitable Development and Renters’ Rights Committee meets. On its agenda:
- lifting the proviso on funds to implement the HMIS scan card system for homeless services;
- HSD and King County Public Health will give a briefing on hygiene services in the city.
The next hearing on the potential Waterfront Local Improvement District will be on May 16th.
Council member Gonzalez introduced a resolution this afternoon that requires SDOT to provide quarterly written reports on the implementation of the One Center City plan. That resolution will be heard in O’Brien’s Sustainability and Transportation Committee.
And that brings us to the head tax. Council member Bagshaw, who is shepherding it through her committee, has schedule both morning and afternoon sessions on Wednesday for debate on the issues surrounding the tax itself as well as the spending plan (their last meeting, when they were scheduled to do it, accomplished very little). The morning session will start at 9:30 with public comment. Bagshaw has scheduled an additional meeting for Friday morning to discuss and vote on amendments, and possibly vote the bill out of committee if they finish in time. That would potentially allow the Council to take a final vote approving the tax and spending plan on Monday afternoon — though it would involve suspending the Council’s general rules, since ordinarily all bills must be passed by noon on Thursday in order to be considered for final vote the following Monday. That rule ensures that all Council members have a chance to read the final bill before being asked to vote on it. Another sign that the Council is hell-bent on finishing this on Monday: Council member Gonzalez re-introduced the head tax bill this afternoon with a new title that steers clear of topics that might be the subject of amendments later this week (otherwise if an amendment makes the title wrong, the bill would need to be re-introduced next week, delaying final approval for a week).