Notes from today’s Council meetings

Here’s what went down today in the virtual Council Chambers.

This afternoon the Council unanimously approved three appointments to the Seattle Renters Commission. The Commission currently has a large number of vacancies, due in no small part to the Mayor’s failure to nominate anyone to the five open positions waiting for her to fill. The vacancies have made it challenging for the Commission to meet quorum requirements for its meetings.

This afternoon Councilmember Sawant tried to “walk on” to the weekly Introduction and Referral Calendar a new bill that would require contractors to provide paid parking for construction workers on downtown sites. The bill would have skipped the committee process and would instead go straight to the full Council for adopting on November 1st. However, her motion to amend the Introduction and Referral Calendar failed for lack of a second. Sawant begged her colleagues for a “courtesy second” so she could address the issue (and give a speech about the bill, as she did in the morning Council Briefing) but Council President Gonzalez cut her off since by the Council’s rules unless there is a second to her motion she is not allowed to speak about the motion or the bill. This infuriated Sawant, and she lashed out first at her colleagues for not seconding her motion, then at Gonzalez for enforcing the Council’s rules. Gonzalez threatened to ask the IT department to mute her (on their Zoom meeting), which just further enraged Sawant — though she eventually stopped arguing and let Gonzalez move on with the meeting. You can watch the interaction here — jump to 12:10.¬† Sawant is fond of walking on her bills on Monday afternoon instead of submitting them through the normal process the prior week, perhaps because it gives her an opportunity to deliver a speech about her bill at the Council meeting. This time, however, it looks like she will be forced to use the regular process, which unfortunately for Sawant leaves it up to the Council President to decide whether to refer it to committee or to the full Council. Gonzalez would probably send it to committee first, and the most likely committee would be Mosqueda’s since it handles labor-related issues. That would push the bill at least into December and possibly into January, when the Council will reshuffle its committee assignments after new Councilmembers are seated. It would also push it past the recall election for Sawant — meaning that she might not get a chance to see it over the finish line at all if things don’t go her way.

Today Councilmembers Strauss and Lewis attended the grand-opening of the Ballard Food Bank’s new location.

Councilmembers Lewis, Morales, and Mosqueda will be attending a King County Board of Health meeting on Thursday, where the Board is expected to discuss COVID-19, gender-based violence, and the county’s bicycle helmet law.

Councilmember Herbold noted this morning that beginning next Monday, October 25, people ages 12 and up will be required to show proof of vaccination or a negative¬† COVID test in order to enter many public facilities. Today was the deadline for Seattle city employees to certify that they have been vaccinated; as of late afternoon, the city said that 99% of city employees had either certified or applied for an exemption from the order. Within SPD, 90% of sworn officers are vaccinated, and 8% filed for an exemption, leaving only 24 who had done neither — a dramatic reduction from the 350 officers two weeks ago.

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