It was a short agenda this afternoon, but there are still some useful updates today.
This afternoon the Council passed an ordinance approving contract amendments with all but one of the unions representing city employees. The contract amendment allows for lump-sum payments of up to $1,750 for front-line city workers required to work at a city site during the pandemic. SPOG is, of course, the one union not represented by the contract amendments approved today; according to Council President Gonzalez, SPOG was offered the same terms as the other unions and rejected them.
Budget chair Teresa Mosqueda reminded her colleagues that the first of three public hearings on the 2022 budget is tomorrow (Tuesday) evening at 5:30. Members of the public who wish to speak can sign up starting at 3:30.
Councilmember Strauss also reminded his colleagues of upcoming Land Use and Neighborhoods Committee meetings on October 25 and November 1 to consider a contract rezone application.
Councilmember Sawant announced that there will be a special meeting of her Sustainability and Renters Rights Committee on November 30.
Councilmember Juarez highlighted that the Parks District Board (consisting of the nine Councilmembers) will meet next Monday afternoon immediately following the full Council meeting. It will hear a presentation from Parks director Jesus Aguirre on the proposed Parks District 2022 budget, then it will hold a public hearing on the proposed budget. The board will vote on approving the budget after the full Council approves the city’s 2022 budget.
Councilmember Sawant also noted this morning that she is working on legislation to require construction companies to pay for parking for its workers near job sites, since workers are required to bring their own tools to a site. This is another case of the Council legislating specific forms of compensation and benefits for unionized employees where their union failed to negotiate them, following on healthcare coverage for hotel workers and “hazard pay” for grocery workers. The public comment session at this afternoon’s City Council meeting was filled with Sawant’s supporters demanding that the Council immediately pass Sawant’s bill — even though she hasn’t introduced it yet.
Councilmember Juarez today introduced a bill to create a new Indigenous Advisory Council for the city. The council would have nine members, with dedicated seats for elders, youth, and other specific constituencies. The bill will be discussed in Juarez’s committee on December 7, and Juarez hopes to bring it in front of the full Council for final approval on December 13.
This morning Councilmember Lewis published a report compiled by the Council’s central staff on the “COVID-era restraints” on the city’s homeless response system. The report provides details on shelter capacity, the HOPE team’s outreach coordination work, and the growth of new affordable housing targeted to the city’s homeless. It also discusses why some of the investments that the Council has funded have been slow to roll out.
Councilmember Juarez noted this morning that in response to a request from her office, she has received a memo from the Director of Seattle Public Libraries detailing $434,000 of damage done to library buildings over the past eighteen months that will need to be repaired. The damage was done to the Central library building, as well as Ballard, Fremont, Lake City, Northgate, Northeast, University, Rainier Beach, Beacon Hill, and South Park branches. Much of the damage consists of broken windows. The memo explains that the increase in homeless encampments on and around the library branches is tied the much of the damage, and that patron and library employees are increasingly complaining that they feel unsafe at the libraries.
Councilmember Juarez also reported this morning that a Sound Transit board committee voted to approve changing the name of the University Street station to “Symphony Station,” to reduce the confusion between it and the two stations at the University of Washington. Juarez said that the final vote to approve the name change will be held on October 28.
Councilmember Herbold reiterated the news reports that as of last week 292 SPD officers had not yet provided proof of COVID vaccination as required under the city’s mandate (though there is still time before the deadline). In response, SPD will be moving to “Stage 3” operations, under which all sworn officers reporting to work will be required to wear their uniform so that they may be deployed as necessary during their shift.
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