Two department head confirmations, and lots of scheduling notes for stuff in the pipeline.
This afternoon the Council confirmed the appointment of Dr. Amarah Khan as Director of the newly-created Office of Employee Ombud.
The Council also confirmed the appointment of Jesus Aguirre as Superintendent of the Department of Parks and Recreation. As is customary, the Council attached a “letter of expectations” to Aguirre’s appointment spelling out their expectations for how he will perform his job.
Council member Gonzalez announced that because of an extra-full agenda, her committee meeting will begin Wednesday morning at 9:00 instead of the usual 9:30. On the agenda is a discussion with SPD about its recently announced month-long program of “emphasis patrols” in seven neighborhoods. Gonzalez sent Police Chief Carmen Best and Mayor Jenny Durkan a letter last week, asking a long list of detailed questions about the program. SPD declined to provide written answers to her questions, but agreed to answer verbally at Wednesday’s committee meeting. At this point it is still unclear whether Chief Best will appear, or send surrogates instead.
Council member Bagshaw announced this morning that her Wednesday afternoon Finance and Neighborhoods Committee meeting is cancelled this week.
Council member Sawant noted that at her next committee meeting on May 14th there will be a presentation on the city’s new “Renting in Seattle” hub web site, bringing together renting-related information from multiple departments.
Council member Juarez announced that an agreement between the city and Seattle Academy for renovation and operation of a community center and playfield in South Park will come before the full Council for final approval next Monday, rather than today, because the city wanted more time to discuss it with community groups.
Finally, Council President Harrell noted that this week he is introducing some amendments to the Council’s General Rules and Procedures to add rules allowing members of the public to be removed from Council chambers and banned from attending future Council meetings for a fixed period of time for abusive or harassing behavior, including obscene languages or gestures; assaults or threatening behavior; or sexual misconduct such as indecent exposure, offensive touching, or sexual harassment. He intends to take up the proposed changes in his May 21 committee meeting.
Thanks for the last bit. This is clearly a delayed, overdue response to Alex Tsimerman’s malicious not-safe-for-work outburst last month to the Seattle City Council on the first YouTube I uploaded that I had to turn off comments on and make age restricted – https://youtu.be/50WbFAYjLtA .
In preparing testimony of support for this reform – and I’ll CC the editor of SCC Insight when done, I had to look up “obscene language” and “obscene gestures”. Disappointed to find that excludes equating public servants to Nazis and Nazi salutes as frankly I find that kinda conduct repulsive and anti-Semitic; but at least it deals with “F— You” and the middle finger and clearly threats of a sexual content.
I don’t think in 2019 it should be tolerated by any fellow male having anyone stand at a public comment dais and threaten to sexually assault his female colleagues at any time. I just think tolerating that stuff should mean you lose your gentleman’s card – if for no other reason that the duty to be a mother’s son at all ages.
Frankly, after the latest incident and the horribly weak sauce response that ended up requiring the victims – yes, victims – of the threat of sexual violence against them to have to tag-team with a white ally in Councilmember Bagshaw to get a 28-day suspension, I would beg a theoretical female relative or friend NOT to run for Seattle elected office. I also intend to refrain from praising specific transit projects or staff at transit board meetings out of genuine fear the staff working on them could be the next targets until a similar or exact rule is installed – and the current rules are enforced to my satisfaction.
I will conclude with this thought: I want us to live in a world where giving – and receiving public comment – are important, thoughtful and preferably joyful exercises in our commons to strengthen our constitutional republic again. We are a long ways from there with the current Seattle Council President and at least one Sound Transit Committee Chair failing to defend our commons from blatant bullying; both of whom have lost my confidence due to their ineptitude and addiction to “Seattle Process”. We can have 1,001 rules but if they are not enforced they are just pieces of paper… and this is not SimSeattle or SimSoundTransit, this is Seattle and Sound Transit.
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