All posts by Kevin Schofield

Kevin Schofield is a freelance writer and the founder of Seattle City Council Insight, a web site providing independent news and analysis of the Seattle City Council. After graduating from Dartmouth College with a Bachelor of Arts degree, he worked for Microsoft Corporation for 26 years. That culminated in a term as Chief Operations Officer for Microsoft Research, the division of the company focused on advancing the state of the art in computing. Upon leaving Microsoft in 2014 he decided to embrace his love of writing. Kevin volunteers at the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, where he also serves on the Board of Directors. He is also Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees of Harvey Mudd College in Claremont, California. Beyond writing, his personal passions are his twin daughters, photography, cooking, and playing the guitar. He lives in Seattle, Washington.

This week in Council Chambers: Budget!

The 2020 budget process officially kicks off this week, with the unveiling of the Mayor’s proposed budget tomorrow morning. But first, the City Council is madly rushing to finish a long list of other items…


Monday morning’s Council Briefing will have an executive session to discuss pending litigation with the city’s attorneys.

At 11:45am tomorrow, the Mayor will give a speech at Franklin High School to unveil her proposed 2020 budget.

Monday afternoon’s full City Council meeting will include the official delivery of the Mayor’s budget proposal to the Council, plus final votes on:

  • the confirmation of Emily Alvarado as Director of the Office of Housing;
  • the repeal of I-124;
  • the renewal of the Multifamily Housing Property Tax Exemption Program;
  • an ordinance approving SDOT’s use of two surveillance technologies: traffic cameras and license-plate readers;
  • an ordinance raising the minimum age to buy tobacco and marijuana from 18 to 21 to match recent changes in state law;
  • an ordinance increasing the penalties for certain offenses involving animals;
  • several appointments to the Seattle Housing Authority Board of Commissioners;
  • an extension to the lease for Seattle Children’s PlayGarden;
  • an ordinance authorizing the Monorail to join the ORCA Card system;
  • an ordinance transferring the Chester Morse Collection of Native American artifacts from SPU to the Muckleshoot tribe;
  • an ordinance imposing a tax on heating oil;
  • an ordinance updating the city’s traffic code to match recent changes in state law;
  • an ordinance adding additional penalties to the city’s Street and Sidewalk Use code;
  • an update to the city’s rules on sidewalk cafes;
  • an ordinance granting citation authority to the Seattle Fire Department for enforcement of the Fire Code.

This week’s Introduction and Referral Calendar includes the following pieces of new legislation:

  • a re-introduction of an ordinance releasing tenants who are victims of domestic violence from liability for damage done by the perpetrators (the title of the ordinance needed to be updated to reflect amendments in the underlying bill);
  • an ordinance adjusting the city’s program for emergency assistance to low-income residents who can’t pay their utility bills.

Monday evening at 6pm, the Human Services, Equitable Development and Renter Rights Committee will meet for the unveiling of Council member Sawant’s bill imposing residential rent control in Seattle.

Tuesday morning, the Civil Rights, Utilities, Economic Development and Arts Committee meets. On its agenda:

  • the ordinance providing relief from liability for tenants who are victims of domestic violence;
  • an ordinance restricting a landlord’s ability to limit the number of roommates in a rental unit;
  • an update to the ordinance specifying the information that a landlord must supply to a tenant;
  • an ordinance requiring landlords to accept payment in non-electronic forms;
  • an ordinance requiring landlords to register under the city’s Rental Registration and Inspection Ordinance before issuing notices to terminate a lease;
  •  a briefing on cultural spaces;
  • a continuation of the committee’s conversation on switching to every-other-week garbage collection.

Monday at noon, the Planning, Land Use and Zoning Committee meets, in what will likely be Council member Pacheco’s last time chairing the committee before he leaves office. It will take up:

  • a resolution recommending the building of a second Montlake Bridge;
  • a contract rezone in South Seattle;
  • a briefing on the Green Seattle Partnership;
  • a briefing on micromobility benefits and job access in Seattle.

Monday at 2pm, the Housing, Health, Energy and Workers’ Rights Committee meets. On its agenda:

  • the transfer of two former Seattle City Light substation sites to the Office of Housing for affordable housing projects;
  • an ordinance approving a change in Seattle City Light’s rates in Burien;
  • an ordinance approving Seattle City Light’s NorthernGrid funding agreement;
  • the previously-mentioned ordinance updating the city’s emergency assistance program for low-income residents having trouble paying their utility bills;
  • an ordinance authorizing Seattle City Light to run pilot programs fordemand-response and low-income programs.

Monday at 4pm, the Finance and Neighborhoods Committee meets, and will take up once again the proposed ordinance on “RV ranching.”

Wednesday, Thursday and Friday the Council will hold Budget Committee meetings to walk through the Mayor’s proposed 2020 budget. The detailed agendas for these meetings has not yet been published.


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Hearing Examiner issues a mixed ruling on Transportation Impact Fees SEPA review

This afternoon the Seattle Hearing Examiner issued a long-awaited ruling on an appeal of the city’s SEPA Determination of Non-significance (DNS) for its first step in establishing Transportation Impact Fees (TIFs). He found that the city had impermissibly left a section of the SEPA checklist blank, and remanded it back to the city to at least partially complete it.

Continue reading Hearing Examiner issues a mixed ruling on Transportation Impact Fees SEPA review

Mayor proposes increasing tax on Uber & Lyft rides, minimum wage for drivers

(update below)

Tomorrow morning, Mayor Durkan will unveil another of her 2020 budget initiatives: increasing the tax on Uber and Lyft rides in the city. In combination with that, she will announce a proposal to institute a minimum wage for Uber and Lyft drivers.

Mayor Jenny Durkan and Deputy Mayor Shefali Ranganathan briefing the press on the proposed new tax on Uber and Lyft rides and minimum wage for TNC drivers

Continue reading Mayor proposes increasing tax on Uber & Lyft rides, minimum wage for drivers