Here’s what went down today at the meetings that weren’t about the education levy or repealing the head tax.
- Council member Johnson, who had sponsored an ordinance waiving event fees for the upcoming USA Special Olympics, responded to his colleagues’ feedback by shelving that ordinance and replacing it with a resolution that agrees to sponsor the Special Olympics for $30,000. The concern with waiving the event fees is that the city is notoriously bad at managing event fees to cover its costs and is still in the process of working through a long list of recommendations from the City Auditor to improve its practices; this is not a good area for the Council to be muddying the waters. The sponsorship resolution passed unanimously.
- Council President Harrell “walked on” two last-minute bills this afternoon: the ordinance repealing the employee-hours tax that comes up for vote tomorrow, and an ordinance making recommended changes to the Democracy Voucher program. Both passed, though Council member Sawant voted against allowing the head-tax repeal to be introduced.
- Council member O’Brien postponed for two weeks a final vote on a bill out of his Sustainability and Transportation Committee that adjusts what Seattle Transportation Benefit District funds may be spent on. There are concerns about one provision that allows SDOT to contract with a private bus company to extend Metro bus service on routes that would reduce single-occupancy vehicle traffic through the downtown corridor. O’Brien is continuing to discuss it with stakeholders, especially labor representatives, to try to resolve the issues.
- June 15th is Elder Abuse Awareness Day. Council member Bagshaw had originally scheduled a “lunch an learn” session for tomorrow on the topic of elder abuse, but that meeting has been cancelled in order to make room for the special Council meeting on repealing the head tax.
- Council member Juarez announced that at her next committee meeting on June 20th the Department of Parks and Recreation will give a quarterly capital improvements update, with a particular focus on community centers. Parks and Recreation will also give a management briefing, discussing internal improvements underway.
- Council member Mosqueda announced that her next committee meeting on June 21st will feature a comprehensive overview of her proposed “domestic workers’ bill of rights.” She plans to circulate a draft bill to her colleagues tomorrow.
- Last Friday, Council member Juarez sent a letter to King County Executive Dow Constantine complaining that the County had recently cancelled the Northgate- Transit Oriented Development RFP for a mixed-use, mixed-income development project that would have included a minimum of 200 affordable housing units. The County cancelled the RFP in order to start again since earlier this spring the State Legislature passed HB 2382, which allows local governments “to convey surplus property to any public, private or nongovernmental body at no cost as long as the property is to be used for affordable housing development for households at or below 80 percent of local adjusted median income.” They believe that they can now open up the RFP process to a wider set of potential developers, and hopefully create more affordable housing. Juarez complained that the RFP was cancelled after it had gone through the entire review process involving the city, the county, and the Northgate community, and the cancellation will now delay the availability of additional housing. In her letter, she requested that King County recommit to construction in 2019, its $10 million pledge to the project, and evaluating the property either free or at a lower cost, with a goal of achieving at least 500 affordable units targeted at residents at 50% of AMI or below.