A long morning meeting, a short afternoon meeting. Here’s what went down.
This afternoon, the Council approved by a 7-1 vote eight appointments to the Seattle Planning Commission. The sole “no” vote was Councilmember Pedersen, who did not explain his dissent.
I have an inquiry into his office and will post and update if and when I find out his reasoning. UPDATE: Pedersen’s office provided this statement from him:
“These are all new appointees to the Seattle Planning Commission, but we did not have the opportunity to interview these new appointees at the Committee. The Seattle Municipal Code (Section 3.64.020) states that, ‘The membership as a whole shall reflect a broad range of opinion, experience, and expertise with the objective of providing sound advice representative of the citizenry.’ It’s mainly due to my not having the opportunity to publicly interview these candidates at Committee level to better understand the range of their opinions that I respectfully voted No on these appointments. I know it’s often difficult to find enough qualified volunteers to serve on the dizzying array of advisory commissions that have been created, and so I appreciate all applicants stepping forward to offer their service and insights.”
The Council also approved unanimously an agreement between SDOT and King County Metro for supplemental transit service in Seattle, paid for with Seattle Transportation Benefit District revenues.
Finally, the Council approved a resolution endorsing the state legislature’s creation of the Rainier Valley Creative District.
Here’s an update on upcoming committee meetings:
Councilmember Herbold’s committee meets tomorrow morning, and will take up the twice-delayed bill cutting $5.4 million from SPD’s budget. Herbold said this morning that this is the first of three meetings on the bill, and tomorrow’s will only involve a briefing by Council central staff. Herbold is waiting for feedback from the court-appointed police monitor on the bill. She also said that at the following meeting SPD will be invited to present its proposal for why it should hold on to the funds and for what purposes.
Herbold said that she originally planned for tomorrow’s meeting to include a status update from the executive branch on the plan to spend $12 million in community safety investments, but she is punting it to the next committee meeting because the relevant city officials were unavailable to present.
Councilmember Strauss’s committee meets on Wednesday morning. On the agenda:
- Strauss’s bill loosening regulations for businesses being run out of a home during the COVID emergency;
- a briefing from the Department of Neighborhoods on its Race and Social Justice Initiative report;
- a briefing from the Urban Forestry Commission, including their 2020 report and 2021 work plan.
Councilmember Lewis’s committee meets Wednesday afternoon The agenda will include:
- His bill loosening regulations on permanent supportive housing. Lewis expects to vote it out of committee.
- A presentation from the city on the progress of the “shelter surge.”
Councilmember Morales’s committee meets Friday, and will hear the final report of the Black Brilliance Research Project. Morales said that she is meeting with executive branch representatives this week to discuss implementation of the participatory budgeting program, and she will be preparing an ordinance for the Council to approve that would lift the proviso on the participatory budgeting funds.
Councilmember Mosqueda’s committee will meet on March 2, and will vote out of committee the Council’s capital project watchlist.
Councilmember Juarez’s committee will also be meeting on March 2, and will begin the process of hearing the appeals of Waterfront LID assessments. Juarez said that so far 70 appeals have been filed; she expects the first 30 will be heard at the March 2 meeting, with the remainder heard on April 6.
Councilmember Sawant’s committee will meet on March 4th. The agenda will include her bill guaranteeing the right to legal counsel for tenants in eviction proceedings. Sawant said that the bill will be on next Monday’s Introduction and Referral Calendar. Sawant said that the agenda will also include four appointments to the Seattle Renters Commission.
Councilmember Mosqueda said this morning that the city is expecting to receive about $220 million in COVID relief funds as part of the bill working its way through Congress now. She is drafting a resolution to express the Council’s spending priorities for those funds.
Mosqueda also said that she is working on a resolution condemning the increase of hate crimes against Asian-American since the beginning of the COVID outbreak.
Councilmember Sawant announced that her office is beginning to work on appointments to the Green New Deal Oversight Board. Anyone interested in applying should contact her office.
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Thanks for follow up on planning commission appoint no vote. That’s intuitive.
Are there any ethics requirements for elected officials and their staff on the City Council to disclose direct or indirect connections between them and various groups that the city seems to be directing more and more funds to, or in some cases there were examples of public lands being given to groups (this is a county situation)? It is seemingly possible to imagine a situation where the council gives money to a group, that in return can direct some money to the reelection of some of the council members. For example, Morales was at least in theory with Rainier Beach Action Coalition, then was elected to the council, and RBAC was given 2.1 M by the city for the purchase of a building (in the midst of COVID), for a project that has been in the work since 2007.
Yes, the Seattle Ethics Code requires disclosure and in many cases recusal when there are conflicts of interest.
Thanks! I thought as much. However, who is responsible for monitoring this process and disclosures or lack thereof? Where we are headed, there would be so many groups involved with moneys flowing in some many directions that it would make it almost impossible top track every connection. It could be that as an immigrant I am not used to the one party/one mindset system. In a full democracy, there would be an opposition party or parties that would monitor everything and raise questions. Also, is it just me who is noticing something about this RBAC/Morales thing? I mean, there’s optics at least: I mean, why give 2.1 M to a group with ties to a cuncilmember, in the midst of pandemic, when the same group has already been gifted 2 buildings by Forterra in 2018 for the same project?
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