Notes from today’s Council meetings

There was plenty of talk today about the events of last Wednesday.

 

This afternoon, the City Council passed a resolution “calling on federal government officials to immediately remove U.S. President Donald J. trump from office by any means permitted by the U.S. Constitution, including impeachment, for violating his oath of office on January 6, 2021 or for committing any other high crimes and misdemeanors.” The resolution was sponsored by Council members Herbold and Pedersen, who according to Council President Gonzales independently wanted to bring forth such a resolution and subsequently came together to write a single one.

This morning several Council members also commented on the local connections to last Wednesday’s riot: the report that two SPD officers were in D.C. last Wednesday (though there has yet to be any information on what they were doing there, or if they participated in the storming of the Capitol); and the incendiary comments by SPOG President Mike Solan that have led to calls for his resignation. Council members Herbold, Lewis, Morales and Pedersen all explicitly singled out Solan in their comments this morning, saying that he was not the right person to lead SPOG through the upcoming contract negotiations and calling on him to resign or for SPOG to replace him.


 

The Council members also signed a proclamation recognizing Tim Harris, who recently retired from Real Change, for his contributions to the community. Council member Herbold called Tim “the conscience of the city” on poverty and homelessness issues.


 

Council member Juarez shared the Parks Department’s weekly status report on COVID-19 response and its efforts to address homeless encampments in the parks. According to the report, between December 28 and January 3 as part of the city’s “Clean City Initiative” the Parks Department removed 636 needles and 185,000 pounds of trash from ten encampment locations. It also served 344 individuals at the shower programs at five community centers.

Parks has also been partnering with Curative, a medical testing company, to offer COVID-19 tests at three park locations: Northgate Community Center, Garfield Community Center, and Lower Woodland Park. Between December 29 and Janaury 5, 3,438 people were tested at the three sites.

 


 

Council member Pedersen announced that his Transportation and Utilities Committee will meet next on the afternoon of January 20 (after Biden’s inauguration). Pedersen said that the agenda would include various appointments to advisory boards, as well as “technology matters.”

Council member Strauss’s Land Use and Neighborhoods Committee meets next this Wednesday. According to Strauss, the agenda will include a vote on an extension to the interim floodplain regulations; an application to extend a contract rezone; and updates to the construction code and the energy code.

Council member Herbold’s Public Safety and Human Services Committee meets tomorrow. The meeting will include a briefing and discussion of a “decision agenda” for the Council to make amendments to the ban on crowd-control weapons that it hastily passed last summer and that Judge Robart enjoined for violating the consent decree. Herbold has been working with Council staff and the city’s police accountability bodies to assemble a matrix of the various issues at hand and the groups’ recommendations on each.  However, Council member Sawant made it clear this morning that she opposes any efforts to “water down” the ban that the Council originally passed.


 

With today’s opening of the state legislative session, starting next week the Office of Intergovernmental Relations will begin making weekly status reports on its lobbying efforts as legislation makes its way through the Legislature’s process. There are several efforts the Council is watching closely, including those around police reform and taxation. During the legislative session the OIR generally posts weekly legislative updates to its web site that are helpful for tracking relevant bills.


 

Finally: with the observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day next Monday, City Hall will be closed and the regular Council Briefing and City Council meeting will be on Tuesday, January 19th. The usual Tuesday meetings are moved to Friday, January 22nd, with Morales’ Community Economic Development Committee in the morning, and Mosqueda’s Finance and Housing Committee in the afternoon.

 


 

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