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Councilmember Statements Regarding Final Adoption of City Budget

City of Seattle

Councilmember Statements Regarding Final Adoption of City Budget

SEATTLE - The City Council gave final approval to the 2015 City Budget by a 8-1 vote at the today's Full Council meeting.

Councilmember Nick Licata, chair of the Budget Committee, said, "I'd like to thank members of the public for their involvement in helping the Council craft the 2015 City budget. Public involvement resulted in a more responsive city budget that emphasizes human services, social justice and labor standards."  Councilmember Licata added, "In an effort to reach out to more people than in the past, I'll be initiating a community participatory budget process for next year's budget."

In a letter to the Mayor in early August, the Council identified the Council's highest priorities for the 2015-2016 biennium. Councilmembers voted to enhance the proposed budget Mayor Ed Murray delivered on September 22 with greater emphasis on human services, social justice and labor standards. A summary of the major Council's budget modifications is available online.

"From public health funding to enhanced worker protections to early learning investments, the 2015 budget responds to our city's critical needs and advances groundbreaking policies," said Council President Tim Burgess.

Councilmember Jean Godden said, "I'm tremendously proud of the Council's support to set aside funds to establish paid parental leave in 2015. It is one example of our commitment to end the gender wage gap and support our valued employees."

"We continue to focus on adding more police officers, but it is not just about more people. We need to more effectively deploy the current officers into our neighborhoods and ensure communities feel our officers are helping in the prevention of crime. Chief O'Toole is leading Seattle in the right direction with the mantra of using accurate and timely data, rapidly deploying crime reduction plans and commanding relentless follow-up," said Councilmember Bruce A. Harrell. "Additional public safety investments include alley activation in the Chinatown/International District, block watch academies, summer safety activities, mobile domestic violence assistance and a potential pilot for an acoustic gunshot locator system."

"I am proud of the steps City Council is taking to address income inequality in our city through this budget," said Councilmember Mike O'Brien. "We've passed some great laws recently to support workers - from $15/hour to paid sick leave to protections against wage theft - but I led Council's effort to significantly increase funding for the new Office of Labor Standards to ensure that workers know their rights and know how to exercise them. I also helped provide additional funding for our upcoming priority hire legislation, which aims to employ those people in our city who most need the work on City construction projects. I'm also happy the Council sped up $15/hour for all City employees to take effect next year."

"The 2015-2016 budget package includes investments in many areas important to me, including human services, public health and public safety to make Seattle a safer, healthier place for everyone," said Councilmember Sally Bagshaw. "It also emphasizes commitments to improve our public spaces, making every Seattle neighborhood more welcoming and connected. Thanks to my colleagues and the Mayor's Office for their collaborative spirit and willingness to find new solutions."

"I am excited that the Council agreed to fund the Neighborhood Conservation District program. When the program is established next year, neighborhoods will have a strong land use tool to accommodate growth and development that respects community history and character," said Councilmember Tom Rasmussen, the sponsor of the new program.

Councilmember Sally J. Clark said, "With this budget, we're making strong investments that will save lives across our city. Thank you to the advocates, community members and program participants themselves who have shaped those investments."

"The movement for a People's Budget has won important improvements to the Mayor's business-as-usual budget, and we will not stop fighting until the needs of regular people in Seattle are met, such as affordable housing and an end to regressive taxation," said Councilmember Kshama Sawant.

[View in Council Newsroom]


Council Adopts Bill to Improve High-Speed Fiber Network Deployment

City of Seattle

Council Adopts Bill to Improve High-Speed Fiber Network Deployment

SEATTLE - City Council unanimously approved legislation today that will help expand high-speed fiber network deployment by removing excessive administrative requirements for siting of new broadband cabinets, incentivizing smaller cabinets that deliver higher speeds and requiring landscaping and screening in neighborhoods.

All neighborhoods will benefit, but the changes will initially help companies like CenturyLink launch one-gigabit-per-second (Gbps) fiber internet service to Beacon Hill, the Central District, Ballard and West Seattle. New cabinets are necessary for the delivery of 1 gigabit-per-second (Gbps) service. One-gigabit-per-second is equivalent to 1,000 megabits-per-second (Mbps). According to speedtest.net in Seattle, the current average download and upload speeds are 34.95 Mbps and 19.85 Mbps.

"This critical change will bring next-generation broadband to unserved and underserved neighborhoods," said Councilmember Bruce Harrell, chair of the Public Safety, Civil Rights and Technology Committee. "We have gone through an extensive community process to get to this point, balancing the concerns of home-owners, street character and the desire to push fiber further out into neighborhoods. Next-generation fiber broadband is vital for our students' education, helps mitigate traffic by allowing residents to work from home, and businesses and startups benefit by stimulating innovation and jobs. We must continue to think outside the box to create an environment competitive for companies to build fiber to your home and business."

"This legislation is a win-win for neighborhoods. Underserved neighborhoods will receive a lightning-fast level of broadband service, while the visual clutter typically associated with these communications cabinets will be greatly reduced. I look forward to the expansion of this service throughout the city," said Councilmember Tom Rasmussen, chair of the Transportation Committee.

Robert Kangas, chair of Upping Technology for Underserved Neighbors, said, "This is a great first step to opening our neighborhoods to improved broadband. Thank you to the Mayor's office and the Seattle City Council for working with members of the community and the broadband providers to give us more competition and improved service. This will help Seattle remain a leader in the tech community for years to come. While this is an immediate win for the under-served areas of Seattle, it will benefit the entire city."

Brian Hsi, chair of the Citizens' Telecommunications and Technology Advisory Board’s Broadband and Cable Committee, said, "I'm pleased to see progress being made toward bringing more broadband choices for Seattle residents. For too long parts of our City could not receive the infrastructure necessary to build out affordable, quality, high speed broadband options. That changes today with the passage of this legislation."

Beginning in January 2013, SDOT began engaging with stakeholder groups and sought feedback on siting issues for new telecommunication cabinets in the public right-of-way and held meetings with stakeholders from North Beacon Hill, Seattle Pedestrian Advisory Board, Seattle Commission for People with Disabilities, Citizens' Telecommunications and Technology Advisory Board, Public Space Management Task Force, Department of Information Technology, Department of Planning and Development, Office of Economic Development, Seattle City Light, CenturyLink, AT&T, Comcast, Wave, Verizon and various other community groups. The consensus of the group concluded that new legislation must prioritize:

  1. Improving broadband deployment, especially in underserved areas;
  2. Keeping our public spaces and rights-of-way free from visual clutter; and
  3. Maintaining other priorities for the public spaces and rights-of-way for community activation goals.

Council Bill 118208 will help broadband deployment by:

  1. Incentivizing smaller cabinets (less than 36") that deliver faster connection bandwidth by streamlining the permitting and outreach requirements.
  2. Providing a dis-incentive for siting larger cabinets by requiring additional public outreach and visual mitigation for cabinets taller than 36".
  3. Eliminating "veto power" from adjacent property owner as currently required in SDOT Director's Rule 2-2009.
  4. Eliminating requirement of obtaining 60% approval from within 100 feet on proposed installation as currently required by SDOT Director's Rule 2-2009.
  5. Requiring written notification to all residents, businesses, and property owners within 100-foot radius if the proposed installation cabinet is greater than 36 inches in height.
  6. Requiring screening mitigation such as landscaping and vinyl wrap for new cabinet installations in residential zones above 36 inches.
  7. Removing graffiti in a timely manner.
  8. Requiring all service providers to submit quarterly reports to SDOT that describe each complaint received, how complaint was resolved, and how long it took to resolve the complaint.

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[View in Council Newsroom]


Council Confirms New Transportation Director

City of Seattle

SEATTLEThe Seattle City Council unanimously voted to confirm Scott Kubly as the next Director for the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) today. Mayor Ed Murray selected Kubly on July 2. Kubly joins SDOT after having served as deputy commissioner of the City of Chicago Department of Transportation and former associate director of the District of Columbia Department of Transportation.

"People want reliable transportation options to get around Seattle, and SDOT is the department responsible for making that happen," said Councilmember Tom Rasmussen, chair of the Council's Transportation Committee.  "I'm excited to have Scott Kubly bring his extensive experience to our transportation department."

Kubly will appear regularly before Rasmussen's Transportation Committee to report on the department's progress on pursuing the City's transportation-related priorities. Kubly's early priorities include:

  • Communicating with the public the work SDOT is currently doing and planning to do;
  • Ensuring that near-term high visibility projects are successful;
  • Working with City partners to deliver large capital projects;
  • Improving construction coordination to better manage growth;
  • Ensuring SDOT's workforce – both in-house and contractors – reflects the diversity of Seattle; and
  • Ensuring we have adequate funding to build and maintain our transportation system.

"I've been working closely with Scott since he arrived in Seattle.  I am impressed with his strong start as Director and with his energy in getting out into the community to become familiar with the neighborhoods and their issues," said Rasmussen.

Mayor Murray announced Kubly as his nominee following a multi-month national search for candidates. The Council's Transportation Committee conducted confirmation review meetings on August 12 and September 9, as the SDOT Director nominee is subject to Council confirmation.  The Council also presented several written questions to Kubly, to which he responded prior to his confirmation vote. 

The Director of SDOT will manage an annual operating budget of approximately $400 million and will be responsible for leading and managing more than 750 employees at SDOT. 


Council Calls for End to Blood Donation Ban for Gay and Bisexual Men

City of Seattle

Councilmember Sally J. Clark
Councilmember Tom Rasmussen

Council Calls for End to Blood Donation Ban for Gay and Bisexual Men

SEATTLE - City Council sent a letter to the Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) yesterday requesting an end to the lifetime ban on blood donations from men who have sex with men.  The Puget Sound Blood Center, Seattle Mayor Edward Murray and the American Medical Association have each made similar requests.

An excerpt from the letter reads, "Denying gay and bisexual men the opportunity to donate blood based on their sexual orientation is an outdated and discriminatory practice.   We've advanced in our medical knowledge of HIV transmission and know transmission depends on behavioral risk factors.  Donor screening for gay and bisexual men should be the same as for all other people and be based on a risk assessment of behaviors, rather than on sexual orientation."

"Sexual orientation shouldn't dictate whether someone is able to help save a life," said Councilmember Sally J. Clark.  "Any other person would be screened based on a risk assessment of their behavior.  We're only asking that gay and bisexual men also have that opportunity."

"The current ban should be repealed," said Councilmember Tom Rasmussen.  "It undermines the understanding of HIV risks and reinforces stereotypes and fear."

"On behalf of the City of Seattle LGBTQ employees for Equality, SEqual, we are encouraged by the action of the City Council to raise awareness of the FDA's discriminatory policy excluding gay men and women that have sexual contact with bisexual men from giving blood.  For nearly 30 years our gay city employees have been unable to donate blood at City co-sponsored blood drives because of this federal policy.  It is long overdue that the FDA enacts a policy based on science and risk factors, not fear and ignorance.  Thank you, Seattle City Council, for recognizing this inequity," said Aretha Alexander and Travis Taylor, Co-chairs of SEqual.

[View in Council Newsroom]


Councilmember Rasmussen to Host ‘Little City Hall’ on Queen Anne

City of Seattle

Councilmember Tom Rasmussen

Councilmember Rasmussen to Host 'Little City Hall' on Queen Anne

SEATTLE - Councilmember Tom Rasmussen will host a "little City Hall" at the Queen Anne Community Center this Tuesday evening to chat with anyone interested in engaging with their Seattle City Councilmember.  Members of the public can drop-in to talk about any issues of their choosing.

"Making the hike down to City Hall and back from Queen Anne Hill can be pretty exhausting, so I thought I should bring City Hall to you," said Councilmember Rasmussen. "I hope you'll stop by to chat about any issues important to you."

The "Little City Hall" is free, open to all-ages and no advance registration is required.

WHAT: "Little City Hall" with Councilmember Rasmussen

Tuesday, July 29, 2014, 6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
Queen Anne Community Center
1901 - 1st Avenue W.

Councilmember Tom Rasmussen

[View in Council Newsroom]


Federal Transportation Dollars Approved for Seattle Projects

City of Seattle

Mayor Ed Murray
Councilmember Tom Rasmussen

Federal Transportation Dollars Approved for Seattle Projects

SEATTLE - Mayor Ed Murray and Councilmember Tom Rasmussen announced today that The Puget Sound Regional Council Executive Board approved over $27,000,000 in Federal transportation dollars for an array of transportation purposes in Seattle.  Projects that will be funded include basic road maintenance, bicycle lanes and extending the First Hill Street Car on Broadway north to Roy Street.  Mayor Ed Murray, and Councilmembers Tom Rasmussen, Bruce Harrell and Tim Burgess represent Seattle on the Puget Sound Regional Council’s (PSRC) Executive Board.

"Thank you to the PSRC for these project grants. The areas funded will have a direct impact on our transportation system, and I look forward to using the funding to increase mobility and keep Seattle moving," said Mayor Ed Murray.

"If there are federal dollars available for local transportation projects, I’m going to work hard to send those dollars to Seattle," said Councilmember Tom Rasmussen. "We have some exciting opportunities to repair and maintain our roads, create safer bicycle routes and improve transit services."

PSRC receives federal funds from the Federal Highway Administration and Federal Transit Administration, to be allocated to state and local jurisdictions. Funds are awarded via a competitive application process every two to three years.

Summary of City of Seattle Projects Recommended for Funding:

  • $200,000 for Route 48 Electrification (23rd Avenue)  (design only)
  • $2,627,528 for Center City Gateway ITS (Next Generation ITS)
  • $8,500,000 for Broadway Streetcar Extension

Countywide, Large Jurisdiction

  • $1,383,000 for Michigan St ITS (Next Generation ITS)
  • $4,300,000 for Center City Protected Bike Lanes, Phase I (2nd Ave and/or 4th Ave)

Countywide, Non-motorized

  • $700,000 for Center City Protected Bike Lanes, Phase I (2nd Ave and/or 4th Ave)
  • $800,000 for 7th Ave Protected Bike Lanes
  • $397,900 for Low-Income Access to Bike Share Network

Countywide, Preservation

  • $1,500,000 for Renton Ave
  • $1,500,000 for Roosevelt Ave


  • $1,500,000 for Broadway Streetcar Extension
  • $4,383,799 "earned share" (aka "formula") operations and maintenance funds (SLU streetcar, Monorail)

[View in Council Newsroom]


Councilmember Rasmussen Proposes Legislation to Avoid Future Cuts to Metro

City of Seattle

Councilmember Tom Rasmussen

Councilmember Rasmussen Proposes Legislation to Avoid Future Cuts to Metro

SEATTLE – This afternoon Councilmember Tom Rasmussen, acting in his capacity as Chair of the Seattle Transportation Benefit District (STBD) Board, proposed a resolution relating to the STBD. The resolution formalizes the Executive's proposal for a ballot measure which was announced in May.

In April, Seattle voters approved Proposition 1 by a margin of two-to-one, but the measure ultimately failed County-wide. Rasmussen's legislation seeks voter-approval for vehicle license fees and a sales and use tax to fund Metro Transit service in Seattle. The legislation must be passed by the Seattle Transportation Benefit District Board by August 5 in order to be placed on the November 2014 ballot.

"I'm pleased to be working in cooperation with Mayor Murray to give voters another opportunity to avoid these crippling cuts to their bus service," said Rasmussen. "Next week's hearing will provide the public with an opportunity to signal their support for saving Metro service in Seattle," Rasmussen added.

The STBD Board Summer Meeting schedule is available online.

Seattle Transportation Benefit District Board Summer Meeting Schedule

Tuesday, June 24, 10:30am (following City Transportation Committee meeting) – BRIEFING AND DISCUSSION
Thursday, June 26, 5:30pm – PUBLIC HEARING
Thursday, July 10, 2:00pm – DISCUSSION
Thursday, July 17, 2:00pm – DISCUSSION AND POSSIBLE VOTE
Thursday, July 31, 2:00pm (if necessary) – DISCUSSION AND POSSIBLE VOTE

Seattle City Hall, Council Chambers
600 Fourth Avenue, Floor 2
Seattle, WA 98124

STBD Board Chair Tom Rasmussen
Members of the STBD Board

Interpretation can be available for the following. Please contact Councilmember Tom Rasmussen's office to request service:

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[View in Council Newsroom]