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    Arena proponents, neighboring teams reach scheduling and access agreement

    The Council received language today from representatives of ArenaCo, the Seattle Seahawks/First & Goal, Inc., and the Seattle Mariners that places conditions on the scheduling of events if a new arena is built in Sodo. At the Council’s request, the parties came together to draft the mutually agreeable language regarding scheduling and access. “At the […]

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    Council Endorses Prescription Drug Take-Back Program

    City Council unanimously approved legislation today sponsored by Councilmembers Tim Burgess and Lorena González encouraging local pharmacies and police precincts to set up drop-boxes for unused, surplus prescription medicines, including controlled opioid drugs such as OxyContin, Vicodin, Valium and Ritalin. “Prescription drug abuse is a serious threat to our community and often leads to addiction […]

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    Councilmembers to Participate in ‘Workers Voice Summit’ Thursday

    Seattle – Councilmembers will participate in a “Workers Voice Summit” this Thursday to hear experiences and policy ideas from workers from a cross section of low-wage jobs in the region. The event, organized by a coalition of organizations representing workers, was developed to provide employees themselves the opportunity to address public officials regarding challenges relating […]

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    City to Celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. with ‘Unity’ Events


    City to Celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. with ‘Unity’ Events

    Mayor, Council and Community to Celebrate MLK with Workshops, Musical Performances

    SEATTLE – Mayor Ed Murray, Council President Bruce A. Harrell and members of the Seattle City Council, along with community leaders, and City employees, invite the public to celebrate Dr. King’s legacy, and to live out his vision, by participating in the second annual Martin Luther King Day Celebration at Seattle City Hall.

    Thursday’s all-day event will include exhibits, workshops, remarks from the Mayor, Councilmembers and the City Attorney, as well as a reading by the City’s first-ever Civic Poet, and musical performances.

    The event is free and the public is welcome to attend.

    WHAT: Martin Luther King, Jr. ‘Unity’ Events

    WHEN:  7:15 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. (NOTE: A complete schedule of events is available ONLINE)

    Selected highlights include:

    • 8:30 – 10:55 a.m. Workshop Presenters -Former Assistant Superintendent Erin Jones and Gerald Hankerson, NAACP Director 
    • 11:15 a.m. Walter Kilgore Memorial Color Guard – US National Anthem / Black National Anthem Medley presented by Pat Wright, Seattle’s First Lady of Gospel
    • Remarks by Honorary Chair Mayor Edward Murray, Council President Bruce A. Harrell, Councilmember Tim Burgess, City Attorney Pete Holmes and Former Assistant Superintendent Erin Jones
    • Emcee Isiah Anderson,CaptainJohn Hayes (Seattle Police Department), and featuring the City’s Civic Poet Claudia Castro Luna
    • Key Note Speaker – Director Stephan Blanford, Seattle Public Schools
    • Introduction of Musical Guest Josephine Howell

    The celebration will close with music by Gabriel Teodros, D.J. Sureal.

    WHERE: City Hall, 600 4th Avenue, Seattle, WA

    WHO: Elected officials, community leaders and the public


    Seattle City Council meetings are cablecast live on Seattle Channel 21, HD Channels 321 Comcast, 721 Wave and on the City Council’s website. Copies of legislation, Council meeting calendar, and archives of news releases can be found on the City Council website. Follow the Council on Twitter,Facebook and on Flickr.

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    Council Approves Sustainable City Employee Pension Program, Saves Taxpayers $200 Million Over 30 Years


    Council Approves Sustainable City Employee Pension Program, Saves Taxpayers $200 Million Over 30 Years

    SEATTLE – Council unanimously approved legislation today that will lead to a new defined benefit retirement plan for City employees expected to save the City $200 million over the next 30 years. The legislation, Council Bill 118604, implements a new collective bargaining agreement with four City labor unions that includes the new pension program alongside salary adjustments and other changes.

    The retirement plan, called Seattle City Employees’ Retirement System (SCERS) II, will be available for new employees hired on and after January 1, 2017.  The new retirement system benefits better align with other public agencies in the Puget Sound region and were developed collaboratively with City labor unions.

    “This new retirement plan is a win-win-win,” said Councilmember Tim Burgess, Chair of the City’s Retirement Board. “We’ve managed to retain a defined benefit pension system, which will help attract top talent to City agencies. Employees will contribute less from their salary, which means more money in their pockets now. And, over time, the City will save hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars.”

    Following the 2008 recession, the City’s retirement system faced financial challenges after experiencing a 26.8% loss. In 2011, a City Council-sponsored report defined the challenges facing the system and offered alternatives to ensure the future sustainability of the system.

    “We will maintain a strong defined benefit plan for our retirees, while ensuring that our pension system will be sustainable over the long term,” said Mayor Ed Murray. “City employees’ commitment to public service means they often make far less than they would in the private sector. We reached agreement with our union partners to generate substantial savings for the taxpayer, while also compensating our employees with a stable pension for their lifetime of work.”

    The plan approved today is structured similarly to the current retirement plan, SCERS I, and will still provide an adequate retirement benefit to employees. Both employees and the City will contribute less to the program.  Currently the City and its employees contribute 15.8% of payroll to fund the benefits earned during the year.  In the new plan the contribution will drop to 11.9% of payroll.

    “We’re saving money, ensuring a healthy retirement system going forward, and providing competitive benefits for our employees,” added Councilmember Burgess. “I’m grateful for the collaborative effort by the Mayor, Council and the City’s labor unions to reach this outcome.”

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    Councilmembers Inaugurated in First District-Based Representation System Since 1910, Harrell Elected Council President


    Councilmembers Inaugurated in First District-Based Representation System Since 1910, Harrell Elected Council President

    SEATTLE – All nine Seattle City Councilmembers took their oaths of office in the traditional inauguration ceremony in City Council Chambers today, following their successful victories in last November’s election. Newly elected Councilmembers Lorena Gonzalez, Lisa Herbold, Rob Johnson and Debora Juarez joined returning re-elected Councilmembers Sally Bagshaw, Tim Burgess, Bruce Harrell, Mike O’Brien and Kshama Sawant in taking their seats at the Council dais.

    Family, friends, colleagues and community members filled the Seattle City Council chambers to celebrate the new and returning local government leadership. Each elected official was sworn in by someone of their choice and gave brief remarks.

    Following their oaths, Councilmembers elected Councilmember Bruce Harrell to the position of Council President. Harrell has served as Seattle City Councilmember since 2008 and most recently chaired the Public Safety, Civil Rights and Technology Committee.  The Council President is the presiding officer of the Council, sets the Full Council agenda, assigns legislation to committees and is the primary point of contact for external agencies.  When the Mayor is absent from the City or incapacitated, the Council President assumes the duties and responsibilities of the Mayor.

    Today’s historic oath of office ceremony ushered in first district-based representation system since 1910. Seven of the Councilmembers will now each represent a geographical district, while two Councilmembers will each represent the entire city:

    • District 1 (West Seattle, South Park): Councilmember Lisa Herbold
    • District 2 (Southeast Seattle): Council President Bruce Harrell
    • District 3 (Central Area, Capitol Hill): Councilmember Kshama Sawant
    • District 4 (Ravenna, Wallingford): Councilmember Rob Johnson
    • District 5 (North Seattle): Councilmember Debora Juarez
    • District 6 (Fremont, Ballard): Councilmember Mike O’Brien
    • District 7 (Downtown, Magnolia): Councilmember Sally Bagshaw
    • At-Large (city-wide): Councilmember Tim Burgess
    • At-Large (city-wide): Councilmember Lorena Gonzalez


    Click here for an interactive tool to help find which Council district you live in.

    Today’s inaugural ceremony also marked a series of notable firsts in Seattle local government history:

    • First Enrolled Native American Councilmember – Debora Juarez
    • First Latina Councilmembers – Lorena Gonzalez and Debora Juarez
    • First Japanese American/African American Council President and first African American Council President since Council President Sam Smith in 1986-1989 – Bruce Harrell
    • First Female Majority City Council since 1998 – Sally Bagshaw, Lorena Gonzalez Lisa Herbold, Debora Juarez and Kshama Sawant


    Councilmembers also took their first votes in their 2016-2017 term and assigned committee chairs. Each Councilmember is responsible for heading a Council committee and managing legislation related to that committee’s focus:

    • Council President Bruce Harrell, Chair: Education, Equity and Governance
    • Councilmember Tim Burgess, Chair: Affordable Housing, Neighborhoods and Finance
    • Councilmember Sally Bagshaw, Chair: Human Services and Public Health
    • Councilmember Lorena Gonzalez, Chair: Gender Equity, Safe Communities and New Americans
    • Councilmember Lisa Herbold: Chair: Civil Rights, Utilities, Economic Development and Arts
    • Councilmember Rob Johnson, Chair: Planning, Land Use and Zoning
    • Councilmember Debora Juarez, Chair: Parks, Seattle Center, Libraries and Waterfront
    • Councilmember Mike O’Brien, Chair: Sustainability and Transportation
    • Councilmember Kshama Sawant, Chair: Energy and Environment


    For more information on the 2016-17 committee assignments click here. To sign up to receive forthcoming committee agendas via email, click here.

    Today’s inauguration ceremony served as an opportunity for the public to witness and participate in their local government. The ceremony was broadcast live on the Seattle Channel and can be viewed beginning tomorrow at http://www.seattlechannel.org/mayor-and-council/city-council/full-council.

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    Seattle City Council meetings are cablecast live on Seattle Channel 21, HD Channels 321 Comcast, 721 Wave and on the City Council’s website. Copies of legislation, Council meeting calendar, and archives of news releases can be found on the City Council website. Follow the Council on Twitter and on Facebook.

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    Burgess Statement on Court Ruling Upholding Seattle’s Gun Violence Tax


    Burgess Statement on Court Ruling Upholding Seattle’s Gun Violence Tax

    SEATTLECouncil President Tim Burgess, sponsor of the City’s gun violence tax legislation, issued the following statement in response to King County Superior Court Judge Palmer Robinson’s ruling upholding the tax:

    “We established the gun violence tax as a legitimate and appropriate way to raise revenue for gun safety research and prevention programs. The NRA and its allies always oppose these common sense steps to shine light on the gun violence epidemic. They have blocked funding for basic gun safety research at the federal level for decades. But in Seattle it is different. Judge Robinson saw through the NRA’s distorted efforts to put gun industry profits ahead of public safety.”


    Approved in August, the gun violence tax would require firearms dealers to pay $25 for every firearm sold and $0.05 or $0.02 for every round of ammunition sold, depending on the caliber of ammunition. The City Budget Office estimates the gun violence tax will raise between $300,000 and $500,000 a year to be used for gun violence research and prevention programs.

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    Seattle City Council meetings are cablecast live on Seattle Channel 21, HD Channels 321 Comcast, 721 Wave and on the City Council’s website. Copies of legislation, Council meeting calendar, and archives of news releases can be found on the City Council website. Follow the Council on Twitter and on Facebook.

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    Seattle City Council Announces 2016 Committee Assignments


    Seattle City Council Announces 2016 Committee Assignments

    Councilmembers to elect Council President and assign committees on January 4, 2016

    SEATTLESeattle City Council announced its tentative plan for committee assignments today, in preparation for work in 2016. Each Councilmember is responsible for chairing a Council committee and managing legislation related to the committee’s focus. Councilmembers also serve as a vice-chair on one committee and as a member on another. Councilmembers can also sponsor legislation on other committees under certain conditions. Committee assignments are made official at the first Full Council meeting of the year, on Monday January 4, 2016, at 2:00 p.m. Councilmembers will also elect their 2016-17 Council President at the meeting. Committee assignments last for two years.

    Councilmember Sally Bagshaw will chair the Human Services and Public Health Committee. Councilmember Bagshaw will oversee Council’s work on issues relating to services provided by the Human Services Department, including programs that meet the basic needs of the most vulnerable people in our community. The committee will also consider matters involving public health and Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD), which allows law enforcement officers to redirect low-level offenders engaged in drug or prostitution activity to community-based services.

    Councilmember Tim Burgess will chair the Affordable Housing, Neighborhoods and Finance Committee. As chair of this committee, Councilmember Burgess will focus on issues relating to housing—investing and promoting the development and preservation of affordable housing, and building strong neighborhoods through outreach and engagement. Councilmember Burgess will also chair the Budget committee, overseeing the review of the Mayor’s proposed budget.
    Councilmember Lorena González will chair the Gender Equity, Safe Communities and New Americans Committee. As chair, Councilmember González will consider policies to address gender equity and help improve the lives of Seattle’s immigrant and refugee residents.  The committee will also focus on fostering safe communities, improving police accountability, crime prevention, criminal justice, emergency preparedness, and fire and medical services.

    Councilmember Bruce Harrell will chair the Education, Equity and Governance Committee. As chair, Councilmember Harrell will focus on issues relating to public schools and improving student success rates, intergovernmental relations, technology, ethics and elections, prisoner reentry and equity issues for underserved communities.

    Councilmember Lisa Herbold will chair the Civil Rights, Utilities, Economic Development and Arts Committee. Councilmember Herbold’s committee will manage issues relating to labor standards, civil rights, Seattle Public Utilities, and economic development. The committee will also manage issues relating to arts and culture in Seattle, which includes nightlife issues.

    Councilmember Rob Johnson will chair the Planning, Land Use and Zoning Committee. As chair of this committee, Councilmember Johnson will take up issues involving City zoning, planning, major institutions, quasi-judicial decisions, community development, and land use regulations.

    Councilmember Debora Juarez will chair the Parks, Seattle Center, Libraries and Waterfront Committee. As chair, Councilmember Juarez will focus on issues relating to City parks, community centers, and public grounds, including the Seattle Center.  Her committee will also manage legislation relating to the Seattle Public Library system.  Councilmember Juarez will also chair the Central Waterfront committee.

    Councilmember Mike O’Brien will chair the Sustainability and Transportation Committee. Councilmember O’Brien’s committee will handle matters pertaining to city-wide and regional transportation policy and planning. These issues range from pedestrian and bicycle programs, traffic control and parking policies, and overseeing the City’s coordination with regional and state departments of transportation. The committee will also have a shared-focus on Seattle’s Climate Action Plan to reduce carbon emissions.

    Councilmember Kshama Sawant will chair the Energy and Environment Committee. Councilmember Sawant’s committee will handle policies relating to Seattle’s energy usage, as well as issues relating to alternative energy sources, air pollution regulation, energy utility rates, and Seattle City Light finances. In addition, Councilmember Sawant will take up matters that relate to climate and environmental protections, conservation programs, and green infrastructure.


    Standing Committee

    Committee Members

    Committee Meeting Days and Times

    Affordable Housing, Neighborhoods & Finance

    Chair:  Tim Burgess
    Vice-Chair:  Lisa Herbold
    Member:  Rob Johnson
    Alternate:  Mike O’Brien

    1st and 3rd Wednesdays
    9:30 a.m.

    Civil Rights, Utilities, Economic Development & Arts

    Chair:  Lisa Herbold
    Vice-Chair:  Kshama Sawant
    Member:  Mike O’Brien
    Alternate:  Bruce Harrell

    2nd and 4th Tuesdays
    9:30 a.m.

    Education, Equity & Governance

    Chair:  Bruce A. Harrell
    Vice-Chair:  Lorena González
    Member:  Debora Juarez
    Alternate:  Tim Burgess

    1st and 3rd Wednesdays
    2:00 p.m.

    Energy & Environment

    Chair:  Kshama Sawant
    Vice-Chair:  Debora Juarez
    Member:  Lorena González
    Alternate:  Sally Bagshaw

    2nd and 4th Tuesdays
    2:00 p.m.

    Gender Equity, Safe Communities & New Americans

    Chair:  Lorena Gonzalez
    Vice-Chair:  Tim Burgess
    Member:  Sally Bagshaw
    Alternate:  Debora Juarez

    2nd and 4th Wednesdays
    9:30 a.m.

    Human Services & Public Health

    Chair:  Sally Bagshaw
    Vice-Chair:  Bruce Harrell
    Member:  Tim Burgess
    Alternate:  Rob Johnson

    2nd and 4th Wednesdays
    2:00 p.m.

    Parks, Seattle Center, Libraries & Waterfront

    Chair:  Debora Juarez
    Vice-Chair:  Sally Bagshaw
    Member:  Bruce Harrell
    Alternate:  Kshama Sawant

    1st and 3rd Thursdays
    9:30 a.m.

    Planning, Land Use & Zoning

    Chair:  Rob Johnson
    Vice-Chair:  Mike O’Brien
    Member:  Lisa Herbold
    Alternate:  Lorena González

    1st and 3rd Tuesdays
    9:30 a.m.

    Sustainability & Transportation

    Chair:  Mike O’Brien
    Vice-Chair:  Rob Johnson
    Member:  Kshama Sawant
    Alternate:  Lisa Herbold

    1st and 3rd Tuesdays 2:00 p.m.

    Seattle City Council meetings are cablecast and Webcast live on Seattle Channel 21 and on the City Council’s website. Copies of legislation, Council meeting calendar, and archives of news releases can be found on the City Council website. Follow the Council on Twitter and on Facebook.

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    City adopts resolution to support Muslim community


    City adopts resolution to support Muslim community

    SEATTLE – The Seattle City Council today adopted a resolution in support of Seattle’s Muslim community and speaking out against the rise in hateful rhetoric and violence targeting Muslims.

    “We must never allow a religious test for families seeking refuge in the United States or in Seattle,” said Mayor Ed Murray. “Since our nation was founded, America has always stood as a beacon of freedom and religious pluralism. We stand united in opposition to racism and bigotry that targets any faith community.”

    Approximately 100,000 Muslims call Washington State home, where they serve our community in every walk of life — as doctors, police officers and school teachers.

    “Elected leaders hold a responsibility to speak truth against the anti-Muslim hate rhetoric and violence increasing in the national discourse,” said Councilmember Tim Burgess. “The City of Seattle welcomes and affirms our Muslim residents, both native born and immigrant, and recognizes the enormous value they add to the cultural and economic life of this city. When we respond from fear, we respond from weakness. We all want our community to be safe, but fear does not lead to safety.”

    The resolution encourages Seattle residents to take extra efforts to ensure the safety of their Muslim neighbors, and encourages all City departments to direct appropriate resources to supporting those targeted by hate speech and hate crimes.

    “I came to this country as a refugee from Viet Nam with my family in 1975, fleeing war like today’s Syrian refugees,” said Cuc Vu, director of Seattle’s Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs. “This resolution truly reflects who we are as a city. Seattle and Washington State have long been a welcoming home for immigrants and refugees, benefiting our economy and our culture. It is very important that government do all it can, now as we have for centuries, as a beacon of home for those in need.”

    A RESOLUTION declaring support for Muslim communities, affirming the religious pluralism of the United States, and urging Seattle residents to stand together for peace and understanding.

    WHEREAS, Muslims are part of our society and, inspired by their faith, give back every day as U.S. military personnel, police officers, doctors, nurses, caregivers, teachers, and in many other roles contributing to the success of the United States of America and the City of Seattle; and

    WHEREAS, our nation’s founding documents emphasize the freedom of religion and a society that embraces religious pluralism; and

    WHEREAS, The City of Seattle values the many different cultures, religions and traditions our residents embrace; and

    WHEREAS, The City of Seattle continues to work toward a more inclusive society and welcomes cultural, ethnic, and religious diversity; and

    WHEREAS, Muslims, both native born and immigrant, represent an increasingly important thread in the tapestry of American society; and

    WHEREAS, the Muslim population in Washington State is estimated to be approximately 100,000 people, many thousands of whom live in Seattle, and who share the same American values and freedoms that we all cherish; and

    WHEREAS, a significant percentage of Seattle’s immigrants and refugees are Muslim and have come to Seattle seeking a safe place to work, study or raise a family; and

    WHEREAS, throughout history the United States has welcomed wave after wave of immigrants and refugees who add enormous value to the economic and cultural life of our nation; and

    WHEREAS, presently, anti-Muslim rhetoric has increased in the national discourse and rates of hate violence targeting Muslim families and children are at record highs across our nation, which is detrimental to all people who cherish freedom and liberty; and

    WHEREAS, some of the darkest moments in our nation and our city’s history have emerged from similar climates of fear; and

    WHEREAS, this fear-based rhetoric distorts the reality of terrorism in the United States, where more individuals have been killed since September 11, 2001 by those who espouse other extremist ideologies like white supremacy or antigovernment fanatics than by those who espouse a perverted form of Islam; and

    WHEREAS, hateful rhetoric only enables extremist ideologies to flourish in the dark corners of global society; and

    WHEREAS, The City of Seattle finds this anti-Muslim rhetoric and hate violence to be against American principles of religious freedom and fairness and contrary to the vision we hold as a nation that welcomes all people; and

    WHEREAS, all of Seattle’s residents deserve to live in a safe environment free of hate and discrimination; and

    WHEREAS, The City of Seattle wishes to extend the traditional Islamic greeting of “Peace be upon you” to all of its Muslim residents and visitors; NOW, THEREFORE,


    Section 1. The City of Seattle does not tolerate anti-Muslim hate speech and violent acts committed against those who are Muslim or perceived as being Muslim, their places of worship, businesses, schools, and community centers. These are in direct contradiction to values of The City of Seattle and our open American way of life. We encourage our residents to recognize and celebrate the cultural, ethnic, and religious diversity that is represented in our City. We encourage residents to take extra efforts to ensure the safety of their Muslim neighbors. We encourage all City departments to direct appropriate attention and resources to supporting those targeted by hate speech and hate crimes.

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    Office of the Mayor

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    Murray, Councilmembers seek increased investment in youth arts programming, cultural space preservation


    Murray, Councilmembers seek increased investment in youth arts programming, cultural space preservation

    SEATTLE – Today Mayor Ed Murray, Seattle City Council President Tim Burgess and Seattle City Council Budget Chair Nick Licata announced a proposal to increase the City’s investment in youth arts education and preservation of cultural spaces.

    “Seattle is stepping up and providing arts education in schools that have not had it in years,” said Murray. “This investment aligns new and expanding programming with my vision for a vibrant, equitable city. Every child must have the same opportunity to learn through the arts and every resident must have access to the creative economy.”

    Murray, Burgess and Licata are endorsing an increase in funding to the Office of Arts & Culture from the existing admissions tax levied on tickets at entertainment venues. The increased allocation from seventy-five percent to eighty percent of the admissions tax will add $400,000 per year for arts in the City budget. The mayor will introduce his full budget on Monday.

    “As our city grows, we must invest in the culture of Seattle that has given us our unique identity and strength,” said Councilmember Tim Burgess. “Seattle is the entertainment and cultural center of the Pacific Northwest. Let’s make certain we provide strong public support for this vital sector of our economy.”

    “Having requested this increase at the urging of the Seattle Arts Commission when I met with the Mayor in August of 2014, I am grateful to see him include it in his 2016 budget,” said Councilmember Nick Licata. “I urge Mayor Murray to work toward raising it to one hundred percent in the following years. The pressing need for affordable cultural space, quality arts education, and the imagination working artists bring to our city will not lessen anytime soon.”

    The increase will fund expansion of The Creative Advantage and other education initiatives that support work readiness and job training through the arts. Creative Advantage brings together the City of Seattle, Seattle Public Schools, private nonprofit organizations, and the philanthropic sector to expand the availability of arts education in the schools.

    Studies show that at-risk youth who have access to the arts in or out of school tend to have better academic results, better workplace opportunities and more civic engagement. Arts-infused learning in reading and math helps close the achievement gap between low-income children and children of color in comparison to white and more affluent students.

    The mayor’s budget will also provide additional grant funding to support retention of arts and ethnic cultural spaces in our neighborhoods. Cultural spaces ensure neighborhood livability and vibrancy, and are anchors for many communities, including immigrant and refugees.

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    Office of the Mayor

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