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West Seattle Bridge Update; Economic Forecast Improves; Apply for Market Vouchers; Citywide Hiring Analysis; PayUp Heard in Committee; OPA Annual Report; Youth/Young Adult Behavioral Health Services Funding; Welcoming a Delegation from Nantes, France; Landmark Preservation Board to Consider Alki Elementary

West Seattle Bridge Update April 15

SDOT reports that the first delivery of the specialized concrete needed for the West Seattle Bridge repair will arrive this weekend! This is the concrete that will anchor and guide the post-tensioning steel cables to prevent cracking of the concrete in the bridge. SDOT estimates that 35 cubic yards of this concrete will arrive this weekend; 245 cubic yards is needed.

SDOT says they will not establish the schedule for completing repairs until all the concrete is successfully scheduled, delivered, and poured. With the return to work of the mixer drivers, there are now a total of three companies with pre-approved design mixes for the specialized concrete with whom contractors needing this specialized concrete (KNA) can work.

The interior carbon-fiber wrapping and epoxy injections have been completed in the central span of the bridge, as has core drilling through the bridge pier structures for post-tensioning:

On April 21st the West Seattle Bridge Community Task Force will meet at 2 p.m.

Traffic volumes remain high on alternate routes, especially West Marginal Way and Highland Park Way; SDOT has completed West Marginal Way and Highland Park Way intersection improvements with four CCTV cameras, including new fiber, to provide reliable communications. The cameras allow for real-time monitoring of intersection conditions and signal adjustments.

For Home Zone projects, SDOT has six projects to complete in South Park in the first half of 2022; three of them are conveyance swale with planting and wheel stope projects – one is in construction now; and two are in the queue for construction within the next few weeks.

For Highland Park, SDOT has eight projects to complete in the first half of 2022; three are conveyance swale with planting and wheel stope projects; three are in the queue for concrete.

SDOT will be installing a flashing crosswalk beacon on 45th Avenue SW and SW Admiral Way this weekend.

In a separate project, the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) will be closing the South Spokane Street/West Seattle Bridge on-ramp to SR 99 for two weeks starting on April 18th. This work is necessary to repair a portion of the onramp where there is a hole on the bridge deck. The hole is currently covered by a patch and a steel plate, which makes it safe for driving. The map from WSDOT below shows the location of the work. Additional information (and visuals of the hole) are on WSDOT’s website. WSDOT has updates on closure and reopening dates here: https://twitter.com/wsdot_traffic.

City of Seattle Economic Forecast Modestly Improved

Last Friday, the new Office of Economic and Revenue Forecasts delivered its updated April revenue forecast for the City, the first since the independent office was created last year by Seattle City Council.  The headline: The City’s revenue is faring somewhat better than expected, while global volatility and inflation are introducing challenges.  You can view the full presentation here.

The newest forecast shows an increase in projected revenue: roughly a $32.5 million increase for the City’s General Fund resources, and an increase of $57.3 million to Non-General Fund resources. JumpStart, the payroll expense tax Council approved in 2020, is performing particularly well.  JumpStart is now expected to bring in $277M this year, an almost $44M improvement over the last fall’s projection.  The spending plan for the JumpStart funds includes:  increased affordable housing, small business support, green new deal, and Equitable Development Initiative investments.

Forecast Council members agreed with Director Noble’s recommendation that the Baseline forecast continue to serve as the basis for the City’s forward-looking revenue estimates.  That means that as the Executive departments, under Mayor Harrell’s leadership, build their proposed 2023 budget, they will use the Baseline forecast as a starting point.

I’ll join my colleagues to discuss this new economic forecast, along with additional revenue estimates from the Central Budget Office, at the Finance & Housing Committee on April 20th at 9:30 a.m. The committee can be watched live on the Seattle Channel.

Though there are budget challenges ahead, those challenges are likely to be greatly reduced by the revenue that JumpStart is providing to the City budget.  Today we heard the City of Seattle defend the tax in the Court of Appeals against the Greater Seattle Chamber of Commerce.  King County Superior Court Judge Mary Roberts dismissed the challenge last June.  Despite that the Jumpstart revenue was critical in offsetting lost revenue during the pandemic – avoiding lay offs and cuts – and that it will enable the City double investment in affordable housing, as well as support small businesses and support communities, the Chamber appealed that decision.   You can watch the arguments here.

Seniors: Apply Now for Farmers’ Market Vouchers

Older, low-income residents can now apply for one-time $40 “checks” (vouchers) that can be exchanged for fresh produce at farmers markets throughout King County. To apply, all of the following must be true:

  • Age 60+ (or age 55+ if you are American Indian/Alaska Native) by June 30
  • Low income—no more than:
    • $2,096 monthly ($25,142 annual) income for one person
    • $2,823 monthly ($33,874 annual) income for two people
  • For larger households, add $728 for each additional person
  • King County, Washington resident

Download application forms in 11 languages at www.agingkingcounty.org/SFMNP/. Or, use a new online application that saves time and doesn’t require a postage stamp. Applications must be submitted (postmarked, if mailed) on or before April 29, 2022.

For information about SFMNP, other food programs, and other local services for older people, adults with disabilities, caregivers, and family members, call Community Living Connections at (toll-free) 1-844-348-5464.

 

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month

On Tuesday, I was honored to present a proclamation declaring April Sexual Assault Awareness Month to representatives of Coalition Ending Gender-Based Violence and Sexual Violence Law Center.  Sexual violence includes a continuum of behavior and includes racist, sexist, transphobic, homophobic, ableist or other hate speech. Harassing comments and behaviors that take place online can and do traumatize victims, and their impacts should not be minimized.

The proclamation notes that, working together as a community, we can alleviate the trauma of sexual violence by ensuring supportive resources are available to all survivors, while standing up to and actively disrupting harmful attitudes and behaviors that contribute to sexual violence.

I am grateful to King County Sexual Assault Resource Center, Coalition Ending Gender-Based Violence, Sexual Violence Law Center, and the many organizations and individuals who work every day to bring justice and support to survivors.  If you or someone you love needs help, click here or call 888.998.6423 (English) or 425.282.0324 (Spanish).  Request assistance in another language here

Water Taxi Summer Schedule Begins April 21 with Weekend Service until 11 p.m.

The West Seattle Water Taxi will begin its summer sailing schedule on April 21. This will include departures on Fridays and Saturdays through 11 p.m. You can view the sailing schedule here.

The summer schedule will run through October 14th.

More information is available at the King County Captain’s Blog website.

Public Safety and Human Services Committee Updates

The Public Safety and Human Services Committee met earlier this week.  We heard items related to public safety, hiring, Seattle Municipal Court, and the PayUp proposal I am co-sponsoring.

Interim Chief Diaz presented an overview of SPD’s participation in 5 separate federal law enforcement task forces. The work on these task forces involves, for example, a focus on reducing gun violence; as Diaz noted, 24 ghost guns have been recovered as of April 12th, compared to 3 during the same time last year. 150 firearms were seized by the FBI Safe Streets Task Force during 2021. Another task force seized 100 firearms.

Here’s the report and the presentation.

The Seattle Department of Human Resources (SDHR) presented their response to the Council’s request for a Citywide Hiring analysis.  One finding from their report is that under the City’s personnel rules, the relocation expenses of new employees moving to Seattle – from other places – to work for the City can only be funded for employees in higher salary bands.  In addition to SPD, there are other City departments with vacancies, who are doing nationwide searches, in a very competitive job market, to fill those vacancies.  Why would we only pay the moving expenses of very high earning employees moving to Seattle to serve the public?  This is an equity issue that I believe needs to be addressed not only for SPD but other departments who are recruiting nationwide to fill vacancies. In addition, SDHR noted that the Seattle Police Department has only one recruiter working to help encourage people to apply to work for SPD.

The Seattle Municipal Court (SMC), and Presiding Judge Willie Gregory, presented an update on the evolution of their probation program. The SMC handles all misdemeanor crimes and civil infractions in the city, and they process thousands of criminal cases and hundreds of thousands of vehicle infractions every year. Probation is post-trial case management with supportive services to individuals with court-ordered obligations to address underlying challenges, such as drug addiction, mental illness, and homelessness. In 2020, the Vera Institute of Justice released a report on the SMC’s Probation Services.  I wrote previously about this report here. The SMC continues to make progress on implementing the recommendations, and notably, effective on March 21, 2022, the SMC eliminated the use of the risk assessment tools. The intended purpose of risk assessment tools is to minimize human bias.   However, studies show that they, instead, perpetuate bias towards people of color, a form of institutional racism. I am happy to see the court move away from this approach.

Finally, the PSHS committee had our first discussion of the bill in the PayUp policy package which addresses minimum payment, transparency, and flexibility.  I wrote about the bill introduction last week.  Central Staff gave a presentation on the history of the stakeholder process, and the changes to the bill since a draft was last heard in committee on February 8. We will discuss the bill again on April 26, and May 10 where we hope to pass final amendments before sending to Full Council. If you haven’t already, checkout the PayUp website including background on the issue, our extensive stakeholder process, and includes links to media articles, as well as a FAQ.

Office of Police Accountability Annual Report

The Office of Police Accountability (OPA) released their 2021 Annual Report. OPA investigates allegations of misconduct.

During 2021, OPA received 2,866 contacts, and investigated 52% of complaints, and opened 558 cases. 26% of allegations in investigations were sustained, meaning the investigation found that a violation of policy had occurred.

OPA issued findings for 1,208 allegations in 312 investigations (more than one allegation can be included); the 26% of investigations that included one or more sustained finding is an 8% increase from 2020:

The three most common complaints were regarding professionalism; bias-free policing, and investigations and reports:

Management Action Recommendations

A little-known function of the OPA, in addition to recommending discipline for individual officers, is the Management Action Recommendations (MARs) they make, principally to SPD. OPA issues MARs when they identify issues “with SPD policies or practices that have implications beyond the case at hand,” and send a recommendation to the Chief of Police identifying specific issues and recommending changes.  The appendix at the end of the report lists the recommendations, SPD actions, and status.

MARs from 2018 to 2022 are listed on the OPA Policy Recommendations website.  MARs are listed by year, date, topic, and status, including responses from SPD. OPA identifies the status as Active, In Progress, Fully Implemented, Partially Implemented, or Declined Action.

2022 MARS issued include policies changes regarding topics such as Subjects with Knives, Bicycles as Impact Weapons, and Vehicle Pursuits.

I thank SPD for their work implementing OPA’s management recommendations.  Management action recommendations were made in 22 policy areas and nine are fully or partially implemented and ten are in progress.  This is how SPD, working with OPA, is proactive in preventing future misconduct.

I am concerned that the racial disproportionality in OPA cases has continued to increase over previous years.  23% and 22% of cases in 2019 and 2020 respectively originated with Black/African American complainants, increasing to 27% in 2021.  Only 7% of Seattle’s population is made up of Black/African American residents.

Closed Case Summaries are posted when OPA investigations are completed.

OPA offers Case and Policy Updates approximately once a month by e-mail, “highlighting cases of significant officer interest, cases that contain information that may inform officers’ day-to-day work, and pertinent policy recommendations.” You can subscribe on the webpage and view previous updates.

Funds Available for Youth/Young Adult Behavioral Health Services

The Seattle Human Services Department (HSD) is now seeking applications from organizations to provide behavioral health support to young people. Eligible services through this Request for Proposals (RFP) include non-residential behavioral health support through clinical treatment and/or non-clinical, culturally specific approaches. Organizations must have documented experience:

  • engaging Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) youth and/or Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer or Questioning (LGBTQ+) youth of color;
  • providing culturally appropriate behavioral health services; and
  • engaging with Seattle’s young people between 8 and 24 years old.

This RFP is investing $938,841 for the period of January 1 to December 31, 2023.  Learn more and find application materials here.

Nantes Park Welcome

My office participated in welcoming a delegation from Nantes, France, on their long-delayed visit to celebrate the 40th anniversary of our Sister City relationship.  First on their agenda was a beautiful water taxi trip to West Seattle to celebrate a new art installation and improvements at Nantes Park in Admiral.  This effort benefitted from more than 500 volunteer hours from Seattle-Nantes Sister City Association, Admiral Neighborhood Association, West Seattle Garden Tour, and others – thank you!

As Seattle’s Nantes liaison throughout the pandemic, I’ve enjoyed virtual exchanges with Deputy Mayor Pierre-Emmanuel Marais, who shared greetings and appreciation for the Nantes Park welcome.  My legislative aide Christena Coutsoubos welcomed the group to District 1, and thanked everyone involved in the Nantes Park beautification project, including the City of Nantes, Seattle Parks & Recreation, and Seattle Department of Neighborhoods.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Art installations designed by Claude Ponti, beloved and prolific French children’s author and illustrator.

Landmarks Preservation Board Considers Nomination of Alki Elementary School

The Landmarks Preservation Board will consider the nomination of Alki Elementary School at 3010 59th Avenue SW / 5817 SW Stevens Street on Wednesday, April 20, 2022 at 3:30 p.m.

Here is a link to the meeting agenda. The agenda includes three links for this nomination: the staff report; the nomination application; and the nomination presentation.

The meeting will be held virtually. The agenda includes links to attend the meeting and to provide public comment.

You can also send written comments to erin.doherty@seattle.gov and/or sarah.sodt@seattle.gov. They encourage written comments in advance of the meeting in order for board members to have time to review.

A landmark nomination provides a physical description of the building, object, or site, and information on its history, current and historic photos, site plans, maps, drawings, and more.

To be designated as a landmark, an object or site must be more than 25 years old and meet one of the six categories listed in SMC 25.12.350.

The staff report states, “Staff does not recommend nomination of Alki Elementary School at 3010 59th Avenue SW /5817 SW Stevens Street as it does not appear to meet any of the designation standards”, and provided additional explanation.

If you support nomination, convincing the Board members that this nomination meets one of the six categories in SMC 25.12.350 will be necessary to attain their approval.

Virtual Office Hours

On Friday, April 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, please contact my scheduler Alex Clardy (alex.clardy@seattle.gov) to receive the call-in information and schedule a time.

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, May 27, 2022
  • Friday, June 24, 2022
  • Friday, July 29, 2022
  • Friday, August 19, 2022
  • Friday, September 30, 2022
  • Friday, October 28, 2022
  • Friday, December 16, 2022

 

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