Notes from today’s Council meetings

Here’s what happened today in Council Chambers.

This afternoon the Council confirmed Mariko Lockhart as Director of the Office of Civil Rights. As is customary, the Council attached a “letter of expectations” to her confirmation outlining what the Council expects Lockhart to do in office. Among those items:

  •  Keeping an independent voice in advocating for the city’s Race and Social Justice Initiative and for racial equity, “especially when elected officials or other departments take positions or propose policy that is not aligned with RSJI or anti-racism.”
  •  Strengthening relationships with “the anti-racist organizing community,” and elevating their voices.
  • As the department responsible for assisting city departments in applying the Racial Equity Toolkit, maintaining “intentional distance” to insulate the RET process from undue influence, while acting as a “change manager” once decisions have been made to implement recommended changes.
  • Affirming the independent voices of the city’s LGBTQ Commission, Commission for Persons with Disabilities, and Human Rights Commission, and providing those three commissions with support.

The Council confirmed the appointments of ten people to the Community Police Commission:

The Council also passed an ordinance requiring all new construction to include “EV ready” infrastructure to support future installation of electric vehicle charging infrastructure.

With the appointment of Abel Pacheco last week, today the Council passed three resolutions updating committee memberships as well as the schedule for President Pro Tem assignments.

Pacheco will serve as:

  • Chair of the Planning, Land Use and Zoning Committee;
  • Vice-Chair of the Sustainability and Transportation Committee;
  • Member of the Gender Equity, Safe Communities, New Americans and Education Committee;
  • Alternate on the Civil Rights, Utilities, Economic Development and Arts Committee.

He will also serve as President Pro Tem in October if Council President Harrell is absent, and he will serve on the King County Growth Management Planning Council and its Executive Committee, as well as the Puget Sound Regional Council’s Executive Board, Growth Management Policy Board, and Transportation Policy Board.

Council member Juarez will replace former Council member Rob Johnson on the Sound Transit Board and its Elected Leadership Group.

Speaking of Sound Transit, Council member O’Brien  noted that last Friday the Elected Leadership Group met to discuss potential light rail alignments to Ballard and West Seattle; specifically, which options should be studied in the forthcoming Environmental Impact Statement. He said that the group asked for two options not to be moved forward: a movable bridge to Ballard, and the “orange line” elevated station just north of Alaska Junction. The group also recommended studying a higher bridge in Ballard, and an elevated light rail alignment in West Seattle that follows the right of way, as alternatives to move expensive tunnels. He observed that with the exception of the Chinatown-International District segment, there is generally broad consensus on the rest of the alignments. For the CID, the group recommended continuing to study all four options.

Council President Harrell announced that there will be a swearing-in ceremony and  reception for Abel Pacheco this Thursday at 4pm in the Bertha Knight Landes Room in City Hall.

Council member Sawant announced that there will be a community meeting with the U.S. Postal Service this Thursday at 6pm in the Garfield community center to discuss restoring the Central Area’s post office.

Sawant also noted that in the wake of the tragic crane accident on Saturday, Iron Workers Local 86 is collecting funds to support the families of the two iron workers killed in the accident. Information can be found here if you want to help.

Council member Pacheco announced that at his committee meeting Wednesday morning, SDCI Director Nathan Torgelson will provide an update to the department’s response to the crane collapse.