Notes from today’s Council meetings

Here’s what went down today in Council Chambers.

This afternoon, the Council gave final approval to an ordinance requiring all television screens in places of public accommodation to have closed captions turned on. There was a last-minute amendment to add a reporting requirement on the racial and social justice impacts of the bill before it actually takes effect:

The Council requests that the Office for Civil Rights determine the race and social justice impacts of requiring that places of public accommodation activate closed captioning, particularly on immigrant- or refugee-run businesses or those businesses requiring translation or additional technical assistance to understand their obligations under this law and assess how to mitigate potential impacts to those businesses. The Office for Civil Rights shall submit this report to the Chair of the Civil Rights, Utilities, Economic Development and Arts Committee within 180 days of the effective date of the ordinance introduced as Council Bill 119487.

In preparation for Wednesday evening’s special Council meeting in which they will interview the eleven candidates to fill the vacant seat on the Council (two candidates dropped out today), this morning the Council members had a debate on the logistics, including how much time to allow for Q&A between opening and closing remarks, whether to include the (protracted) time it takes for Council members to ask their questions in the time allotted for each candidate, and whether to provide questions ahead of time to the candidates (O’Brien and Juarez argued for providing questions in advance; Herbold wanted it to be more like a job interview and avoid “coaching” the candidates too much). In the end, they settled on 3 minutes open remarks, 7 minutes of Q&A (not including question-asking time), and 1 minute closing remarks. They also agreed that there were no restrictions on Council members meeting privately one-on-one with candidates, and that meeting privately with a subset didn’t mean that they had to meet privately with all of them in the name of equity.

Council member Mosqueda’s committee meeting Thursday morning will include on its agenda:

  • the first discussion of the proposed Ft. Lawton redevelopment plan. According to a memo by the Council’s central staff that was distributed today, Thursday’s meeting will be an overview; there will be a full briefing on May 2, a discussion of issues on May 16, a public hearing on the proposed plan on May 21, a possible vote to advance it out of committee on June 6, and full Council approval on June 10;
  • the annual report from the Office of Housing;
  • recommendations from the Office of Housing, as requested by the Council, on a home repair loan program;
  • discussion and a possible vote on Mosqueda’s “respectful workplace” legislation;
  • a discussion and possible vote on an update to the city’s paid sick and safe time ordinance to clarify that it applies to Seattle Public Schools employees.

Mosqueda also announced that the confirmation of Amarah Khan as Director of the Office of Employee Ombud will be taken up in her May 2nd committee meeting, with a final vote by the full Council on May 6th.

One fun item: while Council member Juarez just added a Sound Transit Board seat to her jobs in addition to her Council seat (Rob Johnson previously help the ST seat traditionally given to one Seattle City Council member), she announced this morning that she’s been given another job that she’s been chasing for years: bingo caller at the UW Native American Law Students Association annual fundraiser. She tried to recruit one of her Council colleagues to be her assistant, but didn’t have any immediate takers; you might want to reach out to her if you’re interested in the job. It is, of course, well-documented that bingo caller’s assistant is a sure-fire gateway to a successful career in politics.