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COVID Vaccination Newsletter and Answers to Frequently Asked Questions; Expanded Curbside Pickup at D1 Libraries; Resolution in Support of Impeachment of Donald Trump; Testimony at State Legislature on Police Accountability/Arbitration Bills; Less Lethal Weapons and Consent Decree; 2021 Office Hours

COVID Vaccination Newsletter and Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

Seattle has just launched a vaccination website and weekly newsletter.   The newsletter will provide weekly updates on eligibility criteria, vaccination progress in Seattle and King County, and new City of Seattle vaccination efforts.  Sign up for the weekly vaccination newsletter

Vaccines are in limited supply and how many doses Seattle gets and who gets them is determined by the state and federal government. Washington State Department of Health developed an eligibility timeline that aims to reduce hospitalizations and death and slow the spread of COVID-19.  You can learn more about this work and the vaccination rollout plan here, and provide feedback on the plan here.

Who can get vaccinated right now?  The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) determines who is eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine. Right now the following groups can get vaccinated:

  • Health care workers
  • High-risk first responders
  • Residents of long-term care facilities
  • All people over 65 years-old
  • All people over 50 years-old who cannot live independently

Where can I get a vaccine?  If you’re currently eligible, FindYourPhaseWA.org will verify your eligibility and help you find out where you can get vaccinated in Seattle.

You can also get help over the phone from the Washington State COVID-19 Assistance Hotline: Dial 1 (800) 525-0127, then press #. The hotline is available from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday-Friday, and 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, and observed state holidays. Phone interpretation is available.

The Seattle Fire Department is currently vaccinating residents and workers in Adult Family Homes by invitation only.

When can I get the vaccine?  Right now, only a small number of people in the highest risk communities are eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine and vaccine supply from the federal government has been limited. In the coming weeks and months, more individuals will become eligible and more vaccines will become available.

The State’s vaccination timeline was developed to keep people safe and to prevent continued deaths and COVID-19 spread among our highest risk communities.  To contain COVID-19 and fully re-open the region, Public Health — Seattle & King County estimates that it will be necessary to vaccinate at least 70 percent of all adults, or approximately 1.5 million people.

What does vaccination cost?  COVID vaccine will be covered by Medicare, Medicaid and most private insurance, and the cost of the vaccine will be covered for people who are uninsured. There may be a copay or office visit fee, depending on your insurance plan or the doctor you see to get vaccinated.

Public Health also is planning free vaccination clinics when supplies of vaccine are available.

Can I stop taking public health precautions once I’m vaccinated?  The short answer is no.  The vaccine will give you a high level of protection against developing COVID disease, but the protection is not 100%. Also, we don’t yet know how well the vaccine prevents people from spreading the virus. That means it’s possible that someone who is vaccinated may get infected—even if they don’t get sick it’s possible that they could still spread COVID-19 to others. Studies are in progress to answer this question.

Even after vaccination, protect others by:

  • continuing to wear masks
  • limit indoor activities outside of the home
  • avoid crowded indoor spaces
  • keep contacts with others brief and distanced
  • improve ventilation indoors
  • wash your hands.

While experts learn more about the protection that COVID-19 vaccines provide in real-life conditions, our continued use of all COVID-19 precautions will help to end this pandemic.

How is the City assisting with vaccination?  Last week I wrote that the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) approved the City to serve as a vaccine distributor, meaning the City is eligible to receive weekly shipments of vaccine from DOH and can administer vaccine to Seattle residents and workers. Seattle Fire Department has already acted creatively and heroically to provide more than 560,000 free COVID tests for Seattle residents, and now will speed efforts to vaccinate vulnerable Seattle residents, starting with mobile teams that will vaccinate up to 1,000 residents and staff of adult family homes.

In terms of what’s coming next, Seattle will continue to focus its limited weekly doses on its highest risk communities. The City has the infrastructure in place to quickly turn at least one of the existing COVID testing sites into a mass vaccination site – what we don’t have is access to the necessary vaccine supply. The need for increased supply is why Mayor Durkan joined mayors across the country in calling for the Biden-Harris administration to allocate vaccines directly to cities, and is hopeful the new administration will act on that soon.

Where can I learn more about vaccination?


Expanded Curbside Pickup at D1 Libraries

You can place holds on Seattle Public Library items to pick up through curbside service at select branches, including two District 1 libraries:

Southwest Branch: Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays – Noon to 6 p.m.

High Point Branch: Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays – Noon to 6 p.m.

Learn more about SPL’s Curbside Services here.

You can return borrowed materials at the Southwest, High Point, West Seattle, and South Park branches.

Need a (free) Library Card?  Apply here.

Resolution in Support of Impeachment of Donald Trump

Last Monday, on January 11, I introduced and the Council voted unanimously in support of a resolution calling on the federal government to immediately remove President Donald J. Trump from office by any means permitted by the Constitution, including impeachment, for violating his oath of office and for committing high crimes and misdemeanors.

The resolution was written with support from Councilmember Pedersen and Local Progress, a movement of local elected leaders who build power with underrepresented communities, share bold ideas and policy among our network, and fight to reshape what is possible in our localities all across the country.  The resolution language was based on the resolution accompanying articles of impeachment proposed by Representative Ilhan Omar and supports the impeachment article which charges him with “incitement of insurrection” in violation of his constitutional oath to faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States.

It further states that Donald Trump suggested that the Georgia Secretary of State should overturn the verified Georgia state results of the Presidential election and repeatedly made false claims that he won the election.

This person used the Presidency to incite violence and orchestrate an attempted coup against our country that injured and killed law enforcement personnel, menaced Members of Congress, the Vice President and staff, and interfered with the Joint Session’s solemn constitutional duty to certify the election results. As demonstrated with his words and actions, he will remain a threat to national security and democracy and warrants an impeachment trial, removal from office, and disqualification to hold any future office in the United States of America. The Senate should move forward to swiftly convict him to bar him from holding future office, receiving a pension from the American people, and to send a clear message that Democracy has and will continue to prevail.

Testimony at State Legislature on Police Accountability/Arbitration Bills

On January 14th I testified at the Labor, Commerce & Tribal Affairs Committee of the State Senate about two bills in support of police accountability, and work to implement the state legislative recommendations of the Community Police Commission and the City’s state legislative agenda.

The two bills are SB 5134, Enhancing public trust and confidence in law enforcement and strengthening law enforcement accountability for general authority Washington peace officers, excluding department of fish and wildlife officers, and SB 5055, Concerning law enforcement personnel collective bargaining.

Thanks to Senators Nguyen and Salomon for introducing these bills. My testimony is below.

I thank the sponsors of both SB 5055 and 5134.

In Seattle we have an appeals backlog – 80 and growing – with misconduct findings of the chief challenged, some unresolved cases of misconduct from five years ago.  In 2019, we only resolved two.

I believe thorough discussion of both bills can lead to enhanced public confidence in police. Seattle’s State Legislative agenda supports both reform of arbitration and removing private arbitration in law enforcement discipline. In this spirit I support both bills.

On SB 5055, I support standards that benefit jurisdictions outside Seattle and, with amendment, potentially benefit Seattle, including:  

  • Appeals deference to the Sheriff or Chief decision
  • Appeals based on the same record as discipline imposed
  • Requiring a preponderance burden of proof in appeals
  • A duty to record hearings.

If outright elimination of arbitration is not the path forward, I request that elements of SB 5134 be considered and recognize, as it does, that:  “Policing is unique due to discretion to engage in state sanctioned force, taking of life, and taking of liberty” and prohibit collective bargaining agreements from requiring: 

  • Waiting periods for misconduct interviews,
  • Allowance for secondary employment
  • Time limits on complaint filing
  • Limits on use of civilian supervisors and investigators and
  • Limits on use of subpoena authority.

Less Lethal Weapons and Consent Decree

The Public Safety and Human Services committee has met several times about legislation to limit use of less lethal crowd control weapons, and will meet again next Tuesday.

The Council adopted legislation in June to prohibit most uses of crowd control weapons.  Under the Consent Decree, any SPD policy regarding use of the force must be sent to the Monitor and the DOJ and approved by the Court; this applies to Council legislation regarding use of force as well.

In the June legislation, I proposed and the Council adopted, an amendment acknowledging that the Council would have to submit the bill, under the requirements of the Consent Decree to the Monitor, DOJ and the Court for their review. US District Court Judge Robart issued a temporary restraining order, sought by the US Department of Justice (DOJ), which has prohibited the ordinance from going into effect.

Judge Robart must ultimately approve the legislation, so before he considers the bill, I believe that it’s worth considering his perspective.  In addition to his wanting to hear from the accountability bodies, Judge Robart was critical of the ordinance adopted by the Council in June, saying “it does not increase public safety.” So, it appears unlikely he would approve the legislation earlier adopted by the Council.

We must also consider the perspective of the accountability bodies, the Office of Police Accountability, the Office of the Inspector General, and the Community Police Commission, and the recommendations that they have made in their reports issued after the Council passage of the June ordinance.  In recognition of their role in policymaking under the Seattle Municipal Code and under the Consent Decree, I proposed an additional amendment to the June legislation that the Council approved, seeking their input to the legislation.  Judge Robart also, as mentioned above, has been clear that he expects the Council to consider their input, and he wants to receive it himself.  This is why the three committee discussions on this bill since December have been focused on review and consideration of their recommendations.

Under the Consent Decree the Court-appointed Monitor can approve the proposal, or determine that it conflicts with the terms of the Consent Decree Settlement Agreement. If the City or DOJ object to the Monitor’s determination, they can meet and confer with the Monitor, and if they choose, petition the Court. Ultimately, Court approval is needed.

Consequently, the Public Safety and Human Services committee will submit draft legislation for review by the Monitor and DOJ, in line with the Consent Decree process and Judge Robart’s decision. The Full Council will not consider legislation until after this review has taken place.

The committee will consider draft legislation on January 26th in the fourth of a series of meetings.

On September 11, at the Public Safety and Human Services committee meeting, the Community Police Commission, the Inspector General, and the Office of Policy Accountability each presented their recommendations.

On December 17th, there was a roundtable discussion with the accountability bodies and SPD.

On January 12th, the committee considered a draft bill that amended the bill adopted by the Council   based on the consensus recommendations of the three accountability bodies, and considered a decision agenda for items where the accountability bodies recommendations varied.

My goal is for this next Public Safety and Human Services Committee to adopt limitations on less lethal weapons, especially in a crowd control context, that will pass the muster of the Court.

There is no city law currently in effect prohibiting the use of less lethal or crowd control weapons.  If the court does not authorize the  Full Council to vote on the Council Bill that the Public Safety and Human Services committee recommends, then we will be in the same position we are now, without any City law in effect. Current limitations on use are a result of the Black Lives Matter/ACLU lawsuit.

2021 Office Hours

On Friday January 29, I will be hosting virtual office hours between 2pm and 6pm, with the last meeting of the day beginning at 5:30pm.

Due to the nature of virtual office hours, you will need to contact my scheduler Alex Clardy (alex.clardy@seattle.gov) in order to receive the call-in information and schedule a time.

Additionally, here is a list of my tentatively scheduled office hours which will continue as virtual office hours until indicated otherwise. These are subject to change.

  • Friday, February 26, 2021
  • Friday, March 26, 2021
  • Friday, April 30, 2021
  • Friday, May 28, 2021
  • Friday, June 25, 2021
  • Friday, July 30, 2021
  • Friday, August 20, 2021
  • Friday, September 24, 2021
  • Friday, October 29, 2021
  • Friday, December 17, 2021
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