Notes from today’s Council meetings

They’re back from their August recess, and they’re busy.  Here’s what went down in Council chambers today.

This afternoon, the Council passed an ordinance aligning the city’s rental regulations with recent changes in state law, including extending the length of a pay-or-vacate notice from 3 days to 14; making the notification requirement a uniform 60 days for all rent increases; and defining what is included in “rent.”  Council member Herbold, the sponsor of the bill, said this morning that she has several other tenant-rights bill in the queue to be discussed at her next committee meeting on September 10th. Those include:

  • protecting survivors of domestic violence from liability for damage done by the perpetrators (which turns out to be trickier than it appears);
  • restricting (somewhat) landlords’ ability to limit the number of roommates and family members living in a rental unit;
  • strengthening compliance under the city’s existing Rental Registration and Inspection Ordinance;
  • requiring landlords to accept non-electronic payment of rent;
  • promotion of information on city resources to tenants in the packet of information landlords must give them.

Three bills passed this afternoon related to bicycle lanes:

  • A resolution asking SDOT to develop a budget proposal for creating on-street bike and e-scooter parking;
  • An ordinance requiring the building out of protected bike lanes in the Bicycle Master Plan whenever SDOT repaves those streets;
  • A resolution requesting that the Mayor commit to building out the Bicycle Master Plan Implementation Plan, and in particular identify funding for a short list of specific projects. Sponsored by Council member O’Brien, the original list in the resolution included three segments to connect southeast Seattle to downtown, as well as some downtown segments and a part of Alaskan Way. However, Council members Herbold and Bagshaw pushed through last-minute amendments to add needed segments in their districts: the Georgetown-South Park Trail in District 1, and Vine Street from 2nd Avenue to Thomas St. downtown.

This afternoon, the Council also voted to authorize Seattle City Light to join the Western Energy Imbalance Market, an effort several years in the making.

This morning, Council member Juarez announced that her committee meeting tomorrow afternoon will cover:

  • a resolution related to improvements to Victor Steinbrueck Park;
  • a Parks Department land acquisition along Thornton Creek;
  • her resolution on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.

Juarez also let it be known that the annual “Live in D5!” event is tentatively being rescheduled for September 28th.

Council member Mosqueda noted that her Thursday morning committee meeting will begin at 9am, and will cover three of the four hotel-worker protections bills that she has been working on for several weeks. Mosqueda thanked her colleagues for submitting amendments to her office, and said that she expects to disseminate them for review tonight or tomorrow.

The fourth bill, which covers health care for hotel workers, will be held another week and taken up at her committee meeting next week. Her intent is for the full Council to vote final passage of the bills on September 16th.

Council member O’Brien announced this morning that his Friday afternoon committee meeting would take up:

  • the Mercer Megablock sale. O’Brien noted that they have asked the city to come back to the Council with more information on the likelihood of on-site childcare, either in the community center or elsewhere in the developemnt project.  He also said that the exact plans for how the sale proceeds would be spent will be taken up in the Council’s budget process next month rather than when they approve the sale.
  • an ordinance creating a Green New Deal oversight board.
  • a first discussion of “healthy homes, healthy buildings” legislation that he is developing. Noting that  in order to meet the city’s greenhouse emissions goals all buildings will need to be all-electric in the next decade, the legislation will prohibit new buildings from being hooked up to natural gas. O’Brien said that the bill will be heard in committee twice more after this Friday’s first hearing.