This week in Council Chambers

This is the last week of Council meetings before the Council recesses for two weeks for the holidays. Let’s look at everything they are cramming in…

Monday morning’s Council Briefing is scheduled to include two briefings on the Mercer Megablock sale bids: a public one that discusses the criteria the city set out for bids, and then a closed executive session to discuss the bids that the city has received. Here’s my previous writeup of the context for the Mercer Megablock sale. Expect an argument about whether the city should move forward with the sale, or develop the site itself for affordable housing.

Monday afternoon’s full City Council meeting will include final votes on:

  • the Q4 supplemental budget ordinance;
  •  acceptance of grants and payments from outside sources, including a reimbursement from ICE for SPD services supporting narcotics customs enforcement activities (not immigration activities) that nonetheless is making a couple of Council members unhappy — expect some speeches on this;
  • an ordinance setting fees for the Seattle Animal Shelter;
  • Three historic preservation actions;
  • a very long list of appointments for commissions and advisory boards.

This week’s Introduction and Referral Calendar includes the following new pieces of legislation:

  • a declaration that GrayKey is surveillance technology (GrayKey is a device allowing data to be downloaded from a locked iPhone without the password);
  • an ordinance lifting the budget proviso on the Delridge Multimodal Corridor Project;
  • several appointments to the Seattle Transit Advisory Board.

Tuesday morning, the Governance, Equity and Technology Committee meets. On its agenda:

  • an ordinance ripping out all authority to negotiate wages from the city’s ordinance authorizing collective bargaining for Uber and Lyft drivers;
  • A quick update from the Community Surveillance Working Group;
  • discussion of the bill declaring GrayKey to be surveillance technology.

Tuesday afternoon, the Sustainability and Transportation Committee meets. It agenda includes:

  • an operating and maintenance agreement between the city and WSDOT for infrastructure related to the SR 520 project;
  • an ordinance authorizing property acquisitions related to the South Lander Street overpass.
  • authorization for two pedestrian tunnels;
  • several appointments to the Seattle Transit Advisory Board, the Move Seattle Levy Oversight Committee, and the Seattle Bicycle Advisory Board.

Wednesday morning, the Planning, Land Use and Zoning Committee meets. On its agenda:



  1. To quote the often misquoted Laurel & Hardy “Another fine mess you’ve gotten us into” line when CM Gonzalez expressed her dislike of ICE and picked up another no vote from Herbold so when it came time for the council to vote on accepting the 4th quarter 2018 additional grants from revenue sources outside of the city, the action failed and all the rest of the other grant money was rejected. Usually a no brainer but with 3 missing council members, she ended up with a big “Uh oh”.

    Be careful for what you ask for, you just might get it.

    Looks like they need to call a special city council meeting before the end of the year to fix this. Lot’s of money at stake here, not just the $90,000 from ICE to reimburse the city for SPD’s work on drug enforcement.

    1. Indeed. I just posted a recap of today’s meetings that discussed that self-inflicted wound. Though it’s not clear how much of the money in the funding acceptance bill requires action by December 31.

      1. Just saw it. You did a much better job explaining what happened. Glad I wasn’t the only one watching and saying “Huh?”

        I can understand the negative reaction to ICE. Things I don’t understand – If this is a new grant, isn’t the city council supposed to sign off on any grant applications? Wasn’t that decided after SDOT went after some money a couple of years ago that ended up being a debacle? Or was this money a result of an on going agreement with ICE that has reimbursed the city before for anti drug work? $90,000 isn’t going to make a dent in the SPD budget – couldn’t the city have just decided not to pursue the opportunity to apply for the reimbursement and taken the item out of the SPD budget?

        Someone screwed things up royally here.

        1. The Council must affirmatively vote to accept any outside funding. The bill contained grant awards, as well as some other things. The ICE thing was reimbursing SPD for costs incurred during narcotics enforcement activities with ICE/HSI and the Port of Seattle.

          I don’t know whether the city has been reimbursed by ICE before for similar work.

  2. Probably isn’t important if they got reimbursement money before. Maybe they need to decide that they don’t want any ICE money and not apply for any or accept any even as a pass thru from the port or any other agency. Thanks for the good recap. It’s challenging to try to figure out what the city council is doing sometimes. It will be interesting to see how they resolve this.

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