Notes from today’s Council meetings

Here’s what the Council was up to today.

This afternoon, the City Council had 35 items on its agenda. Here are ten notable ones:

  • The Council passed a set of four bills enacting protections for hotel workers in a rewrite of Initiative 124. The Council also introduced a bill to repeal I-124, and in anticipation of that, last week the state Supreme Court cancelled the scheduled oral arguments for a pending legal challenge to I-124.¬† Here is the Council’s press release celebrating the passage of the four bills.

    Council member Teresa Mosqueda discussing her bills extending protections for hotel workers
  • The Council also approved the sale of the “Mercer Megablock.”
  • The Council approved an ordinance creating a Green New Deal Oversight Board. Before passing the ordinance, the Council added two more labor representatives to the board, expanding the total board members to 19. It also rejected an amendment by Council member Pacheco to (among other things) add a representative from the tech industry and one from a “green” business. Here’s the Council’s press release.
  • The Council passed an ordinance authorizing a 30-year lease to the Low Income Housing Institute for a property at Magnuson Park where 25 cottages will be built for formerly homeless households; and a lease to Plymouth Housing Group of a property in South Lake Union for low-income housing.
  • The Council passed a resolution requesting the city to take one more shot at creating a policy to protect and expand the city’s tree canopy. There have been several attempts at this in the past few years, all of which have ended in impasse as city officials try to find a workable compromise between saving trees and continuing to encourage¬† infill of denser housing.
  • The Council passed a resolution indicating its support for Friday’s Global Climate Stand, including for student and city employee participation.
  • The Council passed a resolution indicating the city’s commitment to not purchasing goods and services — particularly oil — from companies that drill in the Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge. This morning, Council member O’Brien, the resolution’s sponsor, said that the intent for Seattle and other jurisdictions is to communicate to those companies that there won’t be a market for oil drilled in ANWR.

 


This morning, Council member Sawant confirmed that she will be introducing her rent control ordinance next week. This afternoon, she also formally introduced her ordinance expanding the number of sanctioned homeless encampments and “tiny home” villages in Seattle; however, she and Council President Harrell noted that the Hearing Examiner will hear the appeal of the SEPA determination of non-significance on December 17-19, which means that a decision won’t be handed down until next January at the earliest. The Council is prohibited from taking final action on Sawant’s bill until the SEPA appeal is resolved, though Sawant plans to discuss it in her committee and hold a required public hearing before then.


Council Member Bagshaw announced that her committee meeting on Wednesday will take up the Mayor’s “RV Ranching” ordinance, as well as the condemnation of a building in Pioneer Square. Bagshaw stressed that the building has been an issue for many years and while the city doesn’t want to condemn it, she wants to give the city the tool to put additional pressure on the building’s owner to address it.

Bagshaw also announced on behalf of Council member Juarez that her next committee meeting — and liekly the last one for the year — will be on December 4th.


Council member Mosqueda gave more details on the two upcoming meetings of her committee.

On September 19th, the committee will take up:

  • the renewal of the Multifamily Housing Tax Exemption;
  • a first interview of Emily Alvarado as part of her confirmation as Director of the Office of Housing;
  • a rental housing assistance pilot program;
  • appointments to the Seattle Housing Authority;
  • the repeal of Initiative 124;
  • the Office of Housing’s Race and Social Justice Initiative report.

On September 24th, the committee’s agenda will include:

  • an appointment to the Seattle City Light review panel;
  • an SCL property sale;
  • granting SCL authority for a rate pilot program;
  • adjusting rates for SCL’s customers in Burien;
  • SCL’s Northern Grid authorization;
  • a discussion of how SCL handles power shutoffs for non-payment, and ensuring that confusing or threatening messages don’t get sent out by the utility without a clear explanation of the alternatives to shutoff;
  • the emergency low-income assistance program.

Council member Gonzalez announced that her Thursday committee meeting will cover:

  • granting the Seattle Fire Department authority to issue citations to enforce the Seattle Fire Code;
  • an update on SPD’s hiring and retention efforts, including a quarterly update on the hiring bonus program;
  • a report-out from a city working group on recommendations to improve SPD’s hiring and retention efforts.

Council member O’Brien announced that his Friday committee meeting will include on its agenda:

  • several appointments;
  • a resolution related to sidewalk maintenance;
  • a resolution related to traffic signals;
  • a discussion of the MASS Coalition’s “ORCA for All” campaign;
  • a proposed street vacation.