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Countdown to September 18 – West Seattle Bridge Opening!; Prohibiting False and Misleading Speech by Crisis Pregnancy Centers; Park District Cycle 2 Budget; Mayor Announces Three Finalists for Police Chief Search; Volunteer for Seattle/King County Vision Clinic; Getting Ready for the Budget; Independent Contractor Protections; Seattle Redistricting Commission Meeting; Office Hours

Countdown to September 18 – West Seattle Bridge Opening!

The West Seattle Bridge remains on track to be re-opened on Sunday, September 18th, just nine days away. Below is a chart showing the remaining tasks:

In the summer of 2020, SDOT surveyed people who live and/or work in West Seattle to learn more about how they travel and their challenges resulting from the closure of the bridge. That survey informed SDOT investments intended to reduce the impacts of traffic along bridge closure detour routes.

SDOT is conducting a follow up survey asking how you have been getting across the Duwamish when the bridge has been closed. If you live and/or work in West Seattle, here’s a link to take the survey. Options in additional languages are linked below.

Late Friday afternoon SDOT released the following update about work this weekend to prepare for the opening of the bridge: 

“We’ll also be completing several projects this weekend to prepare for the West Seattle Bridge reopening. If you are traveling on the detour route this weekend, expect slowdowns in the work areas. 

  • On Friday night, starting around 8:30 PM through Saturday morning at 6 AM, we’ll be removing barriers from southbound SR 99 that close off the exit to the West Seattle Bridge. 
  • Also on Friday night from 8 PM through Saturday morning at 6 AM, we’ll be restriping the travel lanes near the Chelan 5-way intersection to what it looked like before the West Seattle Bridge closed. After this work is done, the intersection will still operate the same, until next weekend when the West Seattle Bridge reopens. 
  • On Saturday from 7 AM through 4 PM, we’ll be working at Chelan Ave SW and SW Spokane St (west of the Chelan 5-way intersection) to return the signal to how it operated before the bridge closure. The signal will be turned off for some time, and uniformed police officers will be directing traffic while we complete this work. 
  • On Sunday night from about 8:30 PM through Monday morning at 6 AM, we’ll be working on the southbound onramps to the West Seattle Bridge to update the travel lane striping.   
  • We’ll be removing the red bus lane paint on 1st Ave S in the vicinity of S. Horton St in the SODO neighborhood and on both sides of the Spokane St Swing Bridge (low bridge) entrances. This work is scheduled to begin Saturday night at 8:30 PM and we expect to be done on Sunday around 6 AM. 
  • On Saturday and Sunday, we’ll be installing new directional signs at the Chelan 5-way intersection. Work is anticipated to begin as early as 7 AM and conclude by 4 PM on both days.”

Prohibiting False and Misleading Speech by Crisis Pregnancy Centers

This week, Council unanimously approved legislation I sponsored with Councilmember Morales to prohibit false and misleading statements made by crisis pregnancy centers, including statements of omission.  Violations could result in fines up to $1,000 per infraction; and under certain circumstances the City Attorney could be requested to prosecute misdemeanor criminal violations.  Since Seattle will remain a safe place for people seeking abortions, crisis pregnancy centers are likely to proliferate here, making vital this week’s vote to prohibit their false and harmful claims.

Crisis Pregnancy Centers are pernicious organizations that attempt to persuade pregnant people against accessing medically-accurate, unbiased healthcare – exactly when they need it the most.  They may masquerade as healthcare facilities to confuse pregnant people, by having their non-medical staff wear white coats and providing “souvenir” ultrasounds, even though their staff are not qualified to read or interpret medical imaging.

And worse, as Planned Parenthood notes, “Most crisis pregnancy centers aren’t legitimate medical clinics, so they don’t have to follow HIPAA and keep your information private, like most real health care providers do. These crisis pregnancy centers could even give your information to other anti-abortion organizations or use it to harass you. This could be especially concerning if you live in a state with anti-abortion laws.”

I am grateful to Kim Clark at Legal Voice for lending her expertise to the development of this legislation, and for their research into the harmful impact of crisis pregnancy centers, released last year in Designed to Deceive, a report on the crisis pregnancy center industry in 9 states including Washington.

If you need accurate, unbiased information about how to access reproductive healthcare here in Seattle and King County, please check out Abortion services – King County.  To learn more about Council’s work to keep abortion safe and legal here, learn more at Protecting Abortion Access in Seattle – Council | seattle.gov.

Park District Cycle 2 Budget – Final Vote 9/23

Back in June, I wrote about the beginning of Council’s deliberations on the next six years of funding from the Metropolitan Park District, known as “Cycle 2.”  As background, in 2014, voters in the City of Seattle approved Proposition 1, which created the Seattle Park District. Property taxes collected by the Seattle Park District provide funding for City parks and recreation; read more here.

We began by learning about the recommendations of the volunteer Board of Parks & Recreation Commissioners.  Broadly speaking, they recommended:

  • Continuing funding from Cycle 1 investments
  • Funding projects that were planned for – but not completed in – Cycle 1 (including development of 3 landbanked sites in District 1 at West Seattle Junction, Morgan Junction, and 38th and Charlestown)
  • $30 million in new investments.

This week, Mayor Harrell unveiled his proposed Cycle 2 budget.  It largely builds upon the Commissioners’ recommendations, with some changes to fund a handful of new priorities.  You can watch the Mayor’s Office presentation of their proposal at the September 6th meeting of the Park District Board here, at about the 10:45’ mark: Seattle Park District Board Meeting 9/6/22 | seattlechannel.org.

Here are Council’s next steps:

Date & Time Topic
Thursday September 15 – 2:30 p.m. Discussion of Mayor’s Proposed Six-Year Spending Plan and Performance Metrics and Accountability Measures
Monday September 19 -2:00 p.m. (after Council Briefings) Discussion of Proposed Modifications to Proposed Six-Year Spending Plan
Friday, September 23 – 2:00 p.m. Vote on approval of 2023-2028 Park District Spending Plan

If you’d like to stay informed of Park District deliberations, you can sign up to receive email notifications of upcoming Park District Board meetings at Agenda Sign Up – Council | seattle.gov.

 

Mayor Announces Three Finalists for Police Chief Search / Q&A Session September 15th

Yesterday afternoon Mayor Harrell announced the three finalists for a permanent Police Chief in Seattle: Interim Seattle Chief of Police Adrian Diaz, Seattle Assistant Chief of Police Eric Greening, and Tucson Assistant Chief of Police Kevin Hall.

You can read about them in the Mayor’s press release. As the release states, “The City’s Charter sets specific requirements around the hiring of a permanent police chief. To meet core Charter responsibilities, a competitive examination must be held to identify the three finalists from which the mayor will select the next chief. This position also requires City Council confirmation.”

The release further notes, “On September 6 and September 7, the charter-required competitive examination was administered by four public safety experts. The three finalists were unanimously selected to be advanced to the Mayor’s Office for consideration.” The public safety experts who administered the test include former Seattle Police Department Chief Kathleen O’Toole.

The release also announced a Q&A session on September 15th that will be televised on the Seattle Channel, and says “Community members can submit questions for the candidates to address here.”

I thank my fellow search committee members for rolling up their sleeves, doing the work, and representing their communities. I would also like to thank every community member who has engaged in the forums held by the search committee and told us what qualities they want in our next police chief.

I appreciate Mayor Harrell including me in this process. Choosing a police chief is one of the most important decisions the Mayor will make. Through it, he will establish his vision for the future of community safety and police accountability in Seattle.

 

Volunteer for Seattle / King County Vision Clinic

Seattle/King County Clinic is a giant, free vision clinic at Seattle Center.  This year, the four-day volunteer-driven clinic will provide free vision care to anyone in the region who struggles to access and/or afford healthcare.  Learn more about the Clinic here, and about volunteering here.

Volunteers are particularly needed for these roles:

  • Health Insurance Navigators – All Days
  • Interpreters (Amharic, ASL, Cantonese, Korean, Mandarin, Russian, Spanish, Vietnamese)- All Days, no medical certification required
  • Ophthalmic/Optometric Assistants/Technicians – All Days, please consider Full Day shifts
  • Ophthalmologists – All Days, please consider Full Day shifts
  • Opticians – All Days, please consider Full Day shifts
  • Optometrists – All Days, please consider Full Day shifts
  • Social Workers – All Days

Getting Ready for the 2023/24 Budget

In just a few weeks, Council will begin its deliberations on the City’s 2023 and 2024 budgets.  The process kicks off formally on September 27th – the day that the Mayor transmits his budget proposal to Council. In other words, on September 27, Councilmembers and the general public will be able to review the Mayor Harrell’s proposed 2023 and 2024 budgets.

Key dates:

Week of October 10th Council hears presentations from City departments on the Mayor’s proposed budget
October 11th at 5pm Public Hearing
Week of October 25th Councilmembers discuss their proposals for budget changes
November 7th at 11am Public Hearing
November 8th Budget Chair presents her proposed budget, known as the “Balancing Package”
November 15th at 5pm Public Hearing
November 16th Councilmembers vote on changes to the Balancing Package
November 22nd Councilmembers vote on the final 2023/24 budgets

 

If you’d like to follow along with Council’s work on the budget, I recommend signing up to receive agendas for the Select Budget Committee: Agenda Sign Up – Council | seattle.gov.  You’ll receive an email before each meeting with an agenda for that day.

 

Independent Contractor Protections Ordinance Now in Effect

In 2021, I sponsored, and the Council passed CB 120069 which entitles workers classified as independent contractors with pre-contract disclosures, timely payment, and payment disclosures for services valued at $600 or more.  These workers do not have the same labor law protections as workers defined as employees.

Over the summer the Office of Labor Standards (OLS) sought comment from the public on their draft rules with the intention of finalizing them by September 1. The OLS finalized their rules, and as of September 1, are enforcing the Independent Contractor Protections (ICP) Ordinance. In the OLS press release two local artists and independent contractors were quoted:

“When I first started as an independent art contractor, sometimes I felt like I was being treated less than or taken advantage of with my time or asked for extension of payment, only because there was no specific law attached. I’m glad to know that the city has created this ICP Ordinance and thought about independent contractors like me. I remember when I first got my business license to start taking work — this would’ve been helpful then, especially as a new, younger artist and design contractor to know there’s a law to back you,” said Shayla Hufana, Independent Contractor and Artist. “I suggest independent contractors take advantage of using a contract and sharing this ordinance, especially if a hiring entity is being difficult. I believe this new ordinance will help everything to run smoothly.”

“This ordinance will make the discussion I have with potential art and design clients easier and more straightforward. The pre-work written notice requirement will make sure I have the terms and conditions of the project in writing before I’m expected to start work. I’ve had potential clients ask me to start work before we’ve signed anything and that’s often an awkward conversation. Timely payment within 30 days is also important for my business accounting and operations,” Jasmine Iona Brown, Independent Contractor and Artist. “As a public artist I often have sub-contractors that I need to pay. It helps with my cash flow to get timely payment from my clients to pass on to my subcontractors. My CPA and I would also appreciate written payment notices to help with my bookkeeping and taxes. Payments for my public art projects are often split into multiple payments stretched out over months or even years.”

As I wrote about in June, this work was born out of a long-standing priority of mine to address worker misclassification. Misclassified workers are among the most vulnerable workers and independent contractors are a quickly growing segment of our workforce. During my first committee assignment, I had oversight of the OLS, and I sponsored Resolution 31863, which requested that the Labor Standards Advisory Commission (LSAC) work with OLS on the issue of misclassification and provide input on effective strategies. This work led to the passage of the IPC Ordinance.

 

Seattle Redistricting Commission Public Comment Meeting September 15

The Seattle Redistricting Commission announced public forums for September 15th and October 8th, where you can participate in-person, or online:

The Commission has proposed a draft map for Seattle’s 7 Council districts for the next 10 years. The  draft map shows existing and proposed boundaries.

The 2020 census showed a 21.1% increase in Seattle’s population since 2010. The increase has not been equally divided in the seven districts, and redistricting criteria requires each district have the same population, within 1%, which is about 105,288 people per district. This means that Districts 1, 2, 5 and 6 must increase in population, and Districts 3, 4, and 7 must decrease in population, per the chart shown with the draft map.

The Commission recommends the following questions to guide feedback:

  • Where is your neighborhood? Can you share specific boundaries of your neighborhood?
  • Does your neighborhood have a shared culture, characteristics, or bond?
  • Think about your neighborhood’s relationship with City government. Would the district boundary changes impact how you work with your representatives?
  • What are ways district boundary changes may benefit your neighborhood?

The Commission is scheduled to vote on November 15th. Under the ballot measure approved by voters, they have decision-making power to set the Council district boundaries.

If you would like more information or to request interpretation services for any of the public forums, please contact Elsa Batres-Boni at Elsa.Batres-Boni@seattle.gov or (206) 256-6198.

 

In-Person Office Hours

On Friday, September 30, I will be hosting in-person office hours between 3pm and 7pm, with the last meeting of the day beginning at 6:30pm.

As we move back to in-person office hours I am asking that you still please contact my scheduler Alex Clardy (alex.clardy@seattle.gov) to schedule an appointment to ensure too many people aren’t gathering in a small area.

Here is a list of my tentatively scheduled office hours. These are subject to change.

  • Friday, October 28, 2022
  • Friday, December 16, 2022
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