Councilmember Rivera: Existing EDI Projects Would Remain Funded

Rivera responds to disinformation about legislation in full council meeting

SEATTLE – “Today I moved to remove my amendment to Council Bill 120774 from the agenda in order to have time to correct disinformation that was irresponsibly given to community about the proposed amendment,” said Councilmember Rivera. The Council voted 6-3 to table the amendment until next week’s full council meeting.

“The amendment does not cut the Equitable Development Initiative (EDI) program. The amendment does not pull money away from existing projects. All 56 ongoing EDI projects would remain funded. That was made clear in the amendment. I am deeply disappointed that the objective of this amendment has been grossly mischaracterized.”

Rivera’s amendment places a proviso on funds from the 2024 adopted budget for the Office of Planning and Community Development (OPCD) in the amount of $25.3 million. OPCD has not yet opened up the Request for Proposal (RFP) process for this additional funding, so the money has not been awarded.  

The amendment would require that the $25.3 million in funds be held until OPCD provides the following:

  • A status report to the City Council on the existing projects funded through EDI, along with any lessons learned from the program evaluation currently underway.
  • This report should identify, where knowable, potential funding requests for these projects and what the projected timeline is for completion.
  • If not known, the report should describe activities completed to date for the projects and the next steps in the development process.
  • The report should be submitted before or concurrently with the transmittal of legislation to lift the proviso; this should occur no later than September 24, when the Council anticipates the transmittal of the Executive’s proposed 2024 year-end supplemental budget ordinance.

“As a Latina woman who grew up in a low-income, underserved neighborhood, I know all too well the impacts of displacement and the importance of investments in our BIPOC community that are being supported with this funding. We are not serving our community well if we do not ensure that programs can be properly implemented and completed. Funding alone does not ensure completion. OPCD needs to review its EDI program to determine why projects are taking so long to complete and if changes are necessary to better serve our community,” continued Rivera.

Rivera retorts the claims that she intentionally submitted the amendment before a holiday weekend as untrue. She said she has been asking OPCD for information about the EDI program since March, after the department presented about EDI at the Land Use Committee, and again when it submitted the request for the carry forward.

“I met with OPCD early last week,” Rivera said. “If OPCD had been responsive to my original requests for information in March, this late action would not have occurred.”