Notes from today’s Council meetings

Apart from the Families, Education, Preschool and Promise Levy passing, and short-term homeless shelter funding passing, here’s everything else that went down today in Council Chambers.

Council member Debora Juarez announced that the annual “Live in D5” event is scheduled for Saturday, June 30, from 1-4. United Indians will once again be doing salmon and fry bread, and there will be a petting zoo with baby goats. Baby goats!

Juarez also noted that next Monday there will be a meeting of the Seattle Park District Board (of which all nine Council members are board members). At the meeting they will review the details of the 2017 park district program, and preview some early work on the next six-year plan for the Parks District (as the current plan is nearing its end).

Council member Bagshaw noted that she has been contacted by a number of her constituents in Magnolia about the fate of the Magnolia Bridge, given recent announcements that the city doesn’t have the funds to replace the aging structure, and it doesn’t qualify for federal funding because it doesn’t carry enough traffic. She pointed out that Magnolia still has two well-preserved bridges: Dravus and Emerson, and said that in the end something will replace the Magnolia Bridge — they just don’t know what yet. To that end, Bagshaw said that tomorrow (Tuesday) several state and local officials whose districts include Magnolia are meeting to discuss the issue.

Bagshaw also announced that the special session to discuss elder abuse issues has been rescheduled for Thursday, July 12th. It was originally scheduled for last Tuesday, but was bumped to make room for the special (and hastily-arranged) Council meeting to repeal the head tax.

Finally, Bagshaw announced that she would be holding a special session of her Finance and Neighborhoods Committee this Friday to approve the Q1 supplemental budget package and accompanying legislation.

Council member Gonzalez announced that the pair of gun-safety bills she and Mayor Durkan co-sponsored (here and here) will be taken up again at her June 27th committee meeting, along with any potential amendments.

Council member Herbold noted that tomorrow her committee will begin discussion of a bill proposed by the City Attorney’s Office to restructure the city ordinance prohibiting malicious harassment, making it a “special allegation” that can be appended to a number of charges including assault, harassment, and property destruction, instead of its own separate charge. She has scheduled it for a second discussion and possible vote on July 10.

This afternoon, the Council passed an ordinance that modifies SPD’s means for enforcing prohibitions on excessively loud vehicle engine noise.  Under current law, enforcement requires determining that the engine noise is above a certain decibel level — which requires police officers to have access to a device that measures sound levels. The ordinance passed today switches the standard to match that for car stereo noise: whether it can be plainly heard by a person with normal hearing from a distance of 75 feet. The bill was sponsored by Council member Herbold, who was responding in particular to complaints from her constituents in the Alki neighborhood (though the ordinance will apply city-wide). The ordinance was not without controversy, however: both Council members Mosqueda and Sawant expressed concerns that without an objective standard, this could become an excuse for biased policing – a topic of great sensitivity in Seattle. Mosqueda originally wanted to amend the ordinance to require SPD to collect and report data on ethnicity of those cited for excessive vehicle noise, but Council member Gonzalez pushed back on that given that SPD already has required data-collection processes and forms in place that don’t capture ethnicity in the manner that Mosqueda wanted them to. Mosqueda settled for an amendment requiring SPD to produce quarterly reports on citations issued relying on location and demographic data that they already collect.  Sawant, however, was the sole “no” vote on the ordinance, objecting to the subjective standard it would create.