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Downtown Shootings This Week; External Committee Assignments; West Seattle ST3 Draft EIS Options Update; KCHA Section 8 Waitlist; Select Committee on Homelessness

Downtown Shootings This Week

On Thursday I attended a press conference with the Mayor, Police Chief and Fire Chief at the West Precinct headquarters. At the press conference the Seattle Police Department announced they are placing a mobile precinct near the location where the shooting took place; bringing in additional officers to the area, including extra gang detectives, and working with area business owners to determine what changes can be made to the physical environment using Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) to make the area safer.

We need more police officers. I support hiring additional officers. During the last few years the Council has voted to:

  1. Add over $100 million to the SPD budget to increase staffing;
  2. Approve funding for strategies to grow our police department included in the 2019 Officer Recruitment and Retention Report;
  3. Fund emphasis patrols; and
  4. Fund the re-creation the Community Service Officer (CSO) program. 12 CSOs are scheduled to begin work soon, and will ease the burden on uniformed officers.

Wednesday evening, more than 100 police officers and 55 Fire Department first responders were at the scene. Police officers and the Fire Department each responded within a minute, the former because there were emphasis patrols already in the neighborhood.

Below is a statement I released along with District 7 Councilmember Lewis released this morning:

Councilmembers Herbold & Lewis Express Grief, Call for Action

Tragedy must not be Seattle’s new ‘normal’

SEATTLE – Council President Pro Tem  Lisa Herbold (District 1, West Seattle – South Park), and Chair of the Public Safety and Human Services Committee and Councilmember Andrew J. Lewis (District 7, Pioneer Square to Magnolia) issued the following statement in response to last night’s shooting, which tragically left one person dead and seven injured:

“This morning our hearts are filled with grief for the loss of life that occurred as a result of last night’s shootings.  We are deeply saddened for all of the people affected by last night’s tragedy and by the recent spate of gun violence, downtown and in other parts of the city.   

“To our first responders: Your rapid and diligent service – and willingness to risk your own lives – prevented an already-horrific situation from becoming even worse. Thank you.

“This cannot become Seattle’s new ‘normal’.  Seattle must be a place where everyone feels safe to work and play. Our downtown core is no exception and we share the safety concerns of businesses and residents alike.  The Seattle Police Department is working to grow the size of our force so police can do more proactive policing. We’ll have more to say soon about how the Council is supporting that work.  

“In the meantime, we will support continued implementation of emphasis patrols, the Community Service Officer program and other efforts that last year’s Council invested in and that we know are effective. 

“The violence our community has experienced this week must end. We call for peace, and the space and time necessary to heal.”

There is no one action that will end violence in our community.  All jurisdictions must work together.  The City of Seattle, each year develops a State Legislative Agenda.  For 2020, the following describes our legislative priorities:  “We support common sense, responsible solutions to reduce gun violence, including efforts to limit high capacity magazines and expanding gun free zones, and we believe that local governments should have the ability to regulate firearms or weapons to ensure the safety of their communities in accordance with local circumstances.”  If you want to learn more, contact the Alliance for Gun Responsibility at the link here.

Finally, the Public Safety and Human Services committee that I chair will hear from the Chief on Tuesday morning and at a later date also host a briefing on the status of Police Department Staffing and meeting their 2019 hiring and retention goals.  If you want to be informed of when that is scheduled, please sign up for agendas here.  If you’d like a copy of the 2019 report, let me know and I will send you a copy.

External Committee Assignments

In addition to the City Council committees that Councilmembers serve on, Councilmembers also serve on other City and regional committees. The Council adopted a resolution establishing membership on these external committees.

Here are the external committees I serve on:

King County:

  • King County Regional Policy Committee
  • King County Regional Water Quality Committee

Regional:

  • (alternate) King County Regional Homelessness Authority Governing Committee
  • Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion Policy Coordinating Group
  • Regional Law Safety & Justice Committee
  • WRIA 9:  Green-Duwamish (Duwamish-Green Watershed Restoration and Enhancement Committee)
  • (alternate) King County Regional Homelessness Authority Governing Committee

City of Seattle:

  • Domestic Violence Prevention Council
  • Firefighters Pension Board
  • Labor-Management Leadership Committee
  • Police Pension Board

West Seattle ST3 Draft EIS Options Update

Last week Sound Transit released updated additions for the Draft Environmental Impact Statement, scheduled for early 2021.  The alternatives section of the project webpage says:

“Recent additions to this map include connection from the Yancy/Andover alternative to an Avalon underground station and connection from the elevated Avalon Station with a shorter tunnel to the Alaska Junction. These updates respond to the Sound Transit Board’s request in recent Board Motions to explore cost savings opportunities as well as ensure the Yancy/Andover alternative connects to previously-identified DEIS alternatives.”

New elements in Delridge include a second version of the “Yancy Street” option, in blue, with an alternative that would be at-grade with a retained cut.

In the Alaska Junction, the Preferred Alternative (the pink elevated line), Sound Transit is examining two station options, one at Fauntleroy Way SW, and a second south of SW Alaska Street between 41st and 42nd.  The guideway location along Fauntleroy is slightly different for the two alternatives.

Two new additions in the East Junction neighborhood include tunnel portals near 37th or 38th Avenue SW, leading to a tunnel station at 41st Avenue SW. The line would be either elevated or at-grade leading into a tunnel.

These additional alternatives would have impacts to residents and businesses, so I want to ensure the community is aware.

After the Draft EIS is published, there will be a public comment period, and the Board will confirm or modify preferred alternatives.

Additional information is available on the update on the project webpage.

KCHA Section 8 Waitlist

Would you or someone you know benefit from the opportunity to gain rental assistance?  Consider applying to join the King County Housing Authority Section 8 waitlist.  Between February 12th and 25th, you can apply to join the Section 8 waitlist lottery at kcha.org/lottery; applying is free.

Find out if you are eligible to apply here and learn more about the program. 

2,500 households will be selected at random to join the voucher waitlist, from among all the households who apply.  The waitlist lottery does not happen regularly; if you or someone you know is eligible, I urge you to learn more at kcha.org/lottery, and apply between February 12th and February 25th.

Select Committee on Homelessness

On Tuesday, January 22nd, the Council’s Select Committee on Homelessness Strategies and Investments met for the first time.  Councilmember Andrew Lewis chairs this committee.  As a Select Committee, all City Councilmembers sit on this committee.  This committee’s work will be central to our efforts to help more people struggling without adequate housing find homes.

You may have heard about the new Regional Homelessness Authority, which was established by an Interlocal Agreement between the City and King County in December.  Eventually, this Authority will oversee policy, funding and services for people experiencing homelessness countywide.  This year, it’s important that we ensure the Authority is set up thoughtfully, and its work is guided by experts with deep experience and knowledge about what works.  Councilmember Lewis and Council President Lorena González will serve on the Authority’s Governing Committee.  I will be an alternate in the case that one of them is unable to attend a meeting; and I will be watching its implementation carefully.  Council President González is on family leave until April, so I will be serving in her stead.

On Tuesday, the Select Committee also discussed legislation (see link for memo) that would allow for the establishment of additional encampments throughout the City, such as Camp Second Chance in Highland Park.  Here are the current locations and sizes.

Sanctioned encampments are self-managed communities that allow residents to have their own, secure place to live with their families, pets, and belongings.  People live in encampments temporarily, while they receive assistance to identify and move into permanent housing.  All of the encampments above started as tent encampments and are now all “tiny house villages.”

Under current law, encampments that are not a. sponsored by religious institutions or b. permitted by a special temporary use permit are only allowed in the green-blue areas of the map below.

The Mayor’s Proposed 2020 Budget included ongoing funding for operation of these eight transitional encampments. The Council added additional funding to site and support two additional transitional encampments.  We will be receiving a report by February 1, 2020, on potential transitional encampment locations.

The Select Committee on Homelessness will be meeting TBD again next month before the regularly scheduled February 26th meeting.  To find out when, see here:  http://www.seattle.gov/council/committees/homelessness-strategies-and-investments.

I am particularly interested in ensuring geographic equity in the placement of any new villages, so that communities who are already generously hosting villages are not overburdened.

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