This afternoon, the Council passed a resolution, introduced by Council member Kshama Sawant last week, that urges the city to negotiate a contract with AMR for emergency transport services that guarantees a living wage and benefits for its EMTs. See my post last week for details of how bad things are for AMR’s EMT employees today. The bill was put on hold for a week at the request of Seattle Fire Department Chief Harold Scoggins. The amended version adopted today removes a comparison between AMR’s EMTs and SFD personnel, since there are substantive differences between their job responsibilities — and risks. It also adds a new section requesting the executive branch to actively monitor AMR’s compliance, since the current contract with AMR already has a similar requirement that is not being enforced.
The Council also gave final approval to a resolution sponsored by Council member Mike O’Brien that sets a timeline for establishing new priorities and a new plan for implementation of Move Seattle Levy projects. Council member Lisa Herbold added an amendment this afternoon that requests the SDOT and Seattle Public Utilities coordinate on the plan, noting that SPU has $150 million in “must-do” projects and another $49 million in “opportunistic” projects that are closely tied to Move Seattle Levy projects; those SPU projects have a direct impact on the utility’s rates, so careful coordination — and a report back to the City Council — is necessary to understand what Seattle residents will be paying in future years for water, sewer and garbage services.
The Council adopted a resolution this afternoon, sponsored by Council member Lorena Gonzalez, that calls attention to the enormous and growing backlog of citizenship applications under the Trump administration. According to Gonzalez, advocates for immigrants are now referring to this as Trump’s “second wall.” Nationwide the backlog has increased to over 750,000 applications; in Seattle there are 19,000 local immigrants with pending applications, and there are another 2000 in the Spokane and Yakima courts. Gonzalez said that a major cause of the backlog is a refusal by the Trump administration to appoint immigration court judges.
This afternoon the Council adopted an ordinance modifying liability rules so that the city’s deferred-compensation plan can include another socially-responsible investing option. Such investment options are usually expected to draw lower returns and carry higher risk than other options without those restrictions, but that means the liability for those limitations needs to be accepted by the plan participants who opt for that investment choice.
The City Council has three committee meetings later this week, then will be in full recess through the end of the month.