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    Court Victory, Highland Park Mudslide, Landmarks Preservation Board, Update on $29 Million Housing Bond, Delridge Action Plan Tour Follow Up, Guaranteed OLS Funding, African-American History Month, In-District Office Hours

    Court Victory

    With pronouncements, unconstitutional Executive Orders, alarming nominations, and immigration raids coming from Trump administration, many of our neighbors, family, and loved ones are rightly feeling vulnerable.  In light of these daily events, today’s news was a huge victory for the values of nondiscrimination, in particular beneficial to members of the LGBTQ community. Today’s ruling in State of Washington v. Arlene’s Flowers, the court found that a Richland florist, Barronelle Stutzman, violated anti-discrimination law when she refused to serve a gay couple in their order for flowers for their wedding. I am proud and relieved to learn that the Washington State Supreme Court unanimously upheld the Washington statute that guarantees people the “full enjoyment” of public accommodations and prohibits “all discriminatory acts,” including those that “directly or indirectly” result in “any distinction, restriction, or discrimination” based on sexual orientation.

      

    Highland Park Mudslide

    You’ve likely heard that there was a significant mudslide on Highland Park Way in the early hours of Wednesday morning that not only knocked out power but also closed Highland Park Way.  Though the power was restored the road is still closed.  As I am writing this blog post, City Light is on site removing the line from the leaning pole and working to clear debris from the road.  They will then remove the pole to allow cleanup to continue.  The Seattle Department of Transportation reported Wednesday that “the landslide area seems to be stable and there were no new slides overnight.”  Once the pole is removed, it is the assessment of SDOT’s geo tech, that SDOT can then begin to clean up the street.  SDOT says they made significant progress on Thursday, and resumed cleanup operations this morning at 7 a.m. I understand that residents can access SW Othello via SW Austin and 7th Ave SW.

    I’ve asked SDOT what kind of assessment they’ll be doing about the long-term safety of this area from future slides, and what improvements we can expect after the cleanup.

    I thank King County Metro for their quick rerouting of Route 131 to accommodate bus riders in the area (myself included).  The incident highlights for me – once again – the need for an emphasis upon improvements on Highland Park Way. So many people (from all over West Seattle) use this corridor to get off the peninsula.  What might have once been a little-known egress is not any longer.

    The Highland Park Action Committee has long been an advocate for improvements to the Holden and Highland Park intersection to slow down and make traffic flow more efficient.  The focus of those efforts has been on the design and development of an arterial roundabout.  SDOT agrees that improvements to this corridor are warranted.  It is not funded at this time.  I have inquired with SDOT about the funding estimate for the design portion alone to see if I can help identify some funding to give the project some momentum.

    Though the focus of the community has been on the roundabout, I am inquiring with SDOT whether they’ve considered lane separation as an improvement.  Many people I know who are familiar with this road drive in the outermost lanes and avoid the opposite direction inner lanes because of the driving practices of people less familiar with the route, or practices of those who are familiar but speed hazardously nonetheless.

     

    Landmarks Preservation Board designates Crescent-Hamm Building, nominates Campbell Building

    Yesterday the Landmarks Preservation Board voted to designate the Crescent-Hamm Building as an historic landmark; this is the building where Easy Street Records is located, on the northwest corner of California Avenue SW and SW Alaska Street in the West Seattle Junction.

    I attended the meeting and testified in support during public comment.

    The Board also voted in favor of nominating the Campbell Building as an historic landmark.  Nomination is the first step prior to formal historical designation.  They will consider the designation of the Campbell Building at the April 15 meeting. The Campbell Building is across the street, on the northeast corner of California and Alaska, where Cupcake Royale is located.

    Earlier this month I sent a letter to the Landmarks Preservation in support of designating the Crescent-Hamm Building as an historic landmark, and in support of the nomination of the Campbell Building.

    To be designated, a building must be at least 25 years old and meet at least one of the categories listed under SMC 25.12.350. The first step the Board takes is to approve the nomination; the next step is to approve its designation.

    Once designated by the Board, a Controls and Incentives agreement is negotiated with the property owner; once signed, it is forwarded to the Board for approval at a public meeting, then sent to the City Council for approval.

    Hearty congratulations are due to the Southwest Seattle Historical Society who proposed the nominations.  Historic preservation is critically important in the areas where we are seeing change and new development.  With preservation of precious historic assets, we are able to maintain a bridge to our history, our culture, and what makes the Junction special.

     

    Update on $29 Million Housing Bond

    On Wednesday, 2/15/17, the Affordable Housing Neighborhood and Finance Committee approved two pieces of legislation that get us closer to using the $29 Million allocated during the Budget process to expand financing for affordable housing in 2017.  The Full Council will vote on 2/21/2017.

    The first, CB 118196, essentially creates a line of credit to spend all or some of the $29 million in 2017 because we cannot issue the bonds until 2018.  The second, CB 118917 allows the City to create a new fund account – or simply – a place to put the funds.

    in December, after passage of the $29 Million Housing Bond in the November budget, my office worked against the clock with the Office of Housing (OH) and the City Budget Office (CBO) to identify projects in time for a 2017 bond issuance. Unfortunately, we were not able to determine the specific eligible projects by the January deadline for the 2017 bond issuance that occurs only once a year in April.  The actions described above will give us more time while allowing the City to use some or all of the $29M for affordable housing projects in 2017.

    OH plans to issue more than one “Notice of Funding Availability” (NOFA) opportunity in 2017.  This will either allow eligible projects to be vetted through the OH’s existing Housing Levy competitive funding process or the OH can issue a special Request for Proposal if a housing project that we want to fund is outside of the scope of the Housing Levy.

     

    Delridge Action Plan Tour Follow Up

    On Tuesday I toured Delridge to explore some items in the Delridge Action Plan. The Action Plan establishes five priorities including: “a community where all people can live their lives to the fullest potential; parks and natural environment that support a healthy neighborhood; great neighborhood destinations; a complete transportation network where walking biking and taking transit are easy choices; and access to affordable, healthy food. Each priority includes a vision discussion, associated goals, policies and implementation strategies.”

    We started at the Youngstown Cultural Arts Center where we met up with a few members of the Advisory Board and department staff. We received a briefing from staff and talked about the multimodal transportation project in the Delridge Corridor, the plan to improve the natural drainage systems for Longfellow Creek, the wetlands & stewardship project, the proposed Delridge Grocery Co-op – the recent recipient of a $100,000 grant from the King County Conservation District funding – at Cottage Grove Apartments, and finally a Delridge business survey to catalogue businesses and their needs in the area.

    Later we all loaded into a van and visited the newly dubbed “Brandon Junction” where more investments are needed to add sidewalks to create pedestrian connections with High Point.  The community has successfully applied for and received funding for piecemeal sidewalk installation, but more is needed to make the well-used travel route safe for walkers. We also visited Longfellow Creek, and the wetlands just off the Brandon Junction where community members are interested in opening visual sightlines from the street to the golf course, currently obstructed by foliage. Coincidently, while we were visiting the wetlands the Energy and Environment Committee voted unanimously to transfer the former Delridge Substation property from Seattle City Light to the Parks and Recreation Department. With the financial backing from the Delridge Neighborhood Development Association (DNDA) the City will acquire the property for open space and a natural wetland.  The wetland will detain storm water runoff, alleviating flooding of neighborhood yards and driveways, and will provide biofiltration of storm water runoff before it enters Longfellow Creek.  The DNDA will partner with Seattle Tilth, the Nature Consortium, and staff and students from Louisa Boren STEM K-8 school, to develop and manage part of the property as a permaculture food forest. This land management system combines aspects of the native habitat with edible forest gardening. A children’s garden will link classroom and field experience to educate local youth in environmental science and stewardship.

    This is an exciting opportunity for the neighborhood, and I am thankful that DNDA was able to support this project. Preservation of green space maintains livability in a growing city.

     

    Guaranteed OLS Funding

    This week in the Affordable Housing, Neighborhoods and Finance Committee we heard bill that would identify a guaranteed revenue source for the Office of Labor Standards (OLS), and create a new dedicated fund for that revenue to be used for the costs of the operations and activities of the OLS. This revenue would support enforcement activities, including the investigation of complaints and directed investigations, as well as the education and outreach to employers and employees. Additionally, this legislation would require the Director of the OLS to certify by September 1, of each year, the level of funding required to maintain the office’s enforcement activities to ensure the necessary funding is reflected in the Mayor’s proposed budget.

    The revenue source for the OLS’ enforcement activities is the existing City’s business license tax, commonly known as the business & occupation tax.

    The OLS is responsible for administering and enforcing six local labor laws. The threat loss of Federal funding has never been more real, and this proposal will provide a stable funding source for the OLS to ensure that the $15 minimum wage and our other labor laws will be enforced.

    A University of Washington study last April found that 72 percent of workers, including 91 percent of immigrant workers, did not know about or had just a vague understanding about their rights under the minimum wage. Outreach to workers is crucial because when all employees know their rights, this ensures for employers that businesses who do not adhere to our laws do not have an unfair business advantage over those good employers that adhere to our labor standards law.

     

    African-American History Month – Black Heritage Society of Washington State 40th Anniversary Tribute

    During the month of February I am featuring upcoming events in my emails to help promote the dozens of events that are happening in honor of Black History Month. Here is one such event:

    The Black Heritage Society of Washington State will be celebrating its 40th Anniversary with a program that pays tribute to Northwest Black Pioneers. They will honor the community collaboration for the 1987 award-winning exhibit, Northwest Black Pioneers, A Tribute that traveled to more than 100 cities and towns throughout the Pacific Northwest and Alaska.

    The Tribute will include a presentation titled: Upwardly Mobile: The African American Experience by Pamela Phillips, Faculty at Olympic College. Additionally, there will be a performance by Carlynn Newhouse, Ana Walker, and Umeme Dinish.

    When: February 19th, between 2:00pm and 4:00pm

    Where: Northwest African American Museum, 2300 S Massachusetts St

    Cost: Free

    For more information visit the event page here.
    In-District Office Hours

    I will be at the South Park Community Center (8319 8TH Avenue S) on Friday, February 24th from 12:00pm – 7:00pm.  The final meeting of the day will begin at 6:30pm. These hours are walk-in friendly, but if you would like to let me know you’re coming in advance you can email my scheduler Alex Clardy (alex.clardy@seattle.gov).

    Additionally, here is a list of my tentatively scheduled office hours. These are subject to change, but I wanted to make sure you had a rough idea of when I would be available and where.

    Date Location Address
    Friday, February 24, 2017 South Park Community Center 8319 8TH Avenue S
    Friday, March 24, 2017 Senior Center of West Seattle 4217 SW Oregon St
    Friday, April 28, 2017 Southwest Neighborhood Service Center 2801 SW Thistle St
    Friday, May 26, 2017 Senior Center of West Seattle 4217 SW Oregon St
    Friday, June 23, 2017 South Park Community Center 8319 8TH Avenue S
    Friday, July 28, 2017 Southwest Neighborhood Service Center 2801 SW Thistle St
    Friday, August 18, 2017 Senior Center of West Seattle 4217 SW Oregon St
    Friday, September 22, 2017 South Park Community Center 8319 8TH Avenue S
    Friday, October 27, 2017 Southwest Neighborhood Service Center 2801 SW Thistle St
    Friday, December 15, 2017 South Park Community Center 8319 8TH Avenue S

     

     

     

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