Council President Harrell Establishes Select Committee on Homelessness and Housing Affordability

Council President Bruce Harrell (District 2, South Seattle) today announced the establishment of a Select Committee on Homelessness and Housing Affordability.

Select Committees are created by the Council President and comprised of all nine Councilmembers to comprehensively and effectively conduct the business of the Council, as outlined by Council Rules (SECT. VII)

Councilmembers Sally Bagshaw (District 7 – Pioneer Square to Magnolia), Teresa Mosqueda (Position 8 – Citywide) and Kshama Sawant (District 3 – Central Seattle) will serve as co-chairs. The complete committee meeting schedule will be announced at a later date.

“As President of the Council, I feel compelled to change our approach to coordinating and communicating to the public about the city’s homelessness response. While we have made progress with our standing committees that oversee the Human Services Department in defining outcomes and reporting and executing a plan, the public demands more. With that in mind, I am proposing a new and more centralized approach through a committee of all nine Councilmembers focused on this issue,” said Council President Harrell.

“Whether you are an individual experiencing homelessness, an advocate, a homeowner, a renter, business owner, or employee, we as a City remain compassionate for the plight of those experiencing homelessness. There also seems to be a growing intolerance of the current conditions where individuals are living in tents on public right of ways or unsafe areas. We should have the highest standard and, in fact, share a common goal of striving to help all individuals experiencing homelessness transition into permanent housing and providing help to those with mental illness.

“This has been one of the most difficult and complicated problems Seattle has ever been asked to solve. We hear from advocates saying that because we don’t have the affordable housing resources, camping should be tolerated. Conversely, we hear from property owners and business owners saying they pay a large portion of the city’s taxes and expect the city to enforce the law.

“There are clearly different views on how to address Seattle’s homelessness crisis. While there are differences of opinions on homelessness enforcement and taxation to generate additional resources, I think we will continue spinning our wheels if we label those differences as simply opposing sides. My expectation of the Select Committee is to have a transparent working committee that develops strong policy and investment decisions, as well as enforcement strategies.”

Objectives of the Select Committee:

  1. Establish the groundwork by clearly defining the homelessness problem to aid the Council’s budget deliberations in October-November. This includes describing the City’s current efforts to address homelessness and any resource gaps.
  2. Describe comprehensively the City’s efforts in homelessness response. As many as 16 City departments and offices are involved in the city’s homelessness response. The City departments and offices include Office of the Auditor, City Budget Office, Department of Construction and Inspections, Finance and Administrative Services, City Attorney’s Office, Fire Department, Police Department, Office of Housing, Human Services Department, Department of Neighborhoods, Parks and Recreation, Seattle City Light, Seattle Public Utilities, Libraries, Office for Civil Rights, and Department of Transportation.
    1. What are the City’s overarching rules and/or policies on addressing homelessness? What are the department’s current homelessness response procedure(s) for unauthorized encampments?
    2. Each department (except Office of the Auditor, City Attorney’s Office, and City Budget Office) will describe its:
      1. Function and responsibilities in addressing homelessness.
      2. Performance measurements.
      3. Characteristics of the homeless population served.
      4. Annual budget and number of employees allocated to addressing homelessness over the past five years, and what, if any, departmental work has been or continues to be displaced.
      5. Costs to deliver services compared to other jurisdictions and any lessons learned.
      6. Need for additional resources to improve performance.
      7. Description of coordination efforts with the other City departments.
    3. Quantitative and/or qualitative data used to assess needs such as the “Find It/Fix It” submittals.
  3. Examination of budgetary allocations and consideration of creative solutions for additional resources.
  4. Define “Clarity of Instructions” to our city departments involved with the city’s homelessness response.
  5. Learn about and enhance regional partnership efforts with King County and Washington State, and partnerships or opportunities for partnerships with philanthropic institutions, as well as faith-based organizations.
  6. Explore “outside-the-box” thinking and strategies other jurisdictions have used such as different safe parking models.

The schedule for the Select Committee is forthcoming and will be available online at a later date.

Council Honors Activist Alan Sugiyama through Street Naming

The City Council passed Resolution 31827 today to honor the legacy of community activist Alan “Al” Sugiyama. 15th Avenue South between South Nevada Street and South Columbian Way will have an honorary designation of “Alan Sugiyama Way.”

Mr. Sugiyama, a life-long Seattle resident, community activist, and educator lived over 40 years in the Beacon Hill neighborhood. He founded the Asian Family Affair newspaper in Seattle in 1972. In 1989, Sugiyama was the first Asian American elected to the Seattle School Board where he served two terms, advocated for educational equity, and honorably served as President of the Seattle School Board.

Sugiyama established the Center for Career Alternatives in 1979, an organization that provided free education, employment and career training for disadvantaged adults and youths in King and Snohomish counties. He later served as executive director of the Executive Development Institute.

Sugiyama passed away January 2, 2017 after a long battle with cancer.

“Al Sugiyama served as an inspiration to us all. He stood up against inequity, racism, and as founder of an Asian newspaper, fought back against the misrepresentation of Asian Americans in the media. He helped countless people reach their full potential through his career alternatives program,” said Council President Bruce Harrell (District 2, South Seattle). “Al had a contagious, determined spirit, and believed one person could create change. Even while battling cancer, his community work didn’t stop. His legacy lives on, and with this street naming, Seattle will always be reminded of the impact he had on our city.”

Members from the community and street naming committee added, “This is a great honor for a great Seattleite and a wonderful way to recognize Al’s achievements. It is a reminder for all of us that we have a responsibility to lend a helping hand to those in need. The recognition is a reminder that leaders should be honest and hardworking people who place service above personal gain. Al and his selfless work on behalf of others made him a hero every day for over thirty years.”

The Resolution was approved unanimously during the July 23rd Full Council meeting at 2:00 p.m. At the conclusion of that meeting, Council President Harrell will host a reception in the Bertha Knight Landes room, located on the first floor (main lobby) of City Hall, 600 4th Ave, Seattle, WA 98104.

The street signs are scheduled to be installed in August.

A bill signing by Mayor Jenny Durkan will take place in early August.

Photo of Alan Sugiyama below.

Select Committee on Families, Education, Preschool and Promise Move $637.8 Million Education Levy to Full Council

The Select Committee on Families, Education, Preschool and Promise Levy unanimously voted to advance to Full Council a proposed ordinance to continue the City of Seattle’s investments across the education spectrum. If approved, the levy will expand quality preschool classrooms, continue investments in K-12, and establish tuition subsidies and support for college or post-secondary job training. In addition, it sets aside funds for wraparound education and health services, such as four new student health centers, dedicated resources for students experiencing homelessness, and funding to grow teacher diversity in our classrooms.

The proposed ordinance will go before the full City Council on Monday, June 18 at 2:00 p.m.

At a GlanceThe proposed Families, Education, Preschool and Promise Levy would:

  • Expand access to preschool by nearly 1,000 children per year by the 2025-26 school year to serve a total of 15,000 three and four year olds;
  • Continue K-12 and community-based investments, including funding four new student health centers, students experiencing homelessness and increasing teacher diversity in our classrooms; and,
  • Create the Seattle Promise to allow public high school graduates to attend Seattle Colleges to obtain a college or postsecondary degree.

The proposed levy, totaling $637.8 million over seven years, dedicates 54 percent of the dollars toward preschool and early learning. Expanding access to high quality early learning is a research-proven strategy to help close the school-readiness gap. Over the span of the 7-year levy, Seattle will have served 15,000 children in preschool classrooms.

“The renewal and expansion of the education levy is an unrelenting commitment to ensure all of our children receive a quality education, have the resources to succeed, and graduate from high school with opportunities for college and career,” said Council President Bruce Harrell (District 2, South Seattle). “I want to thank our residents for their support in closing the opportunity gap in Seattle schools and creating more equitable communities. When our students succeed, our communities thrive, and our economy prospers.”

“Supporting the educational achievement of all children is one of the single most important investments the City of Seattle can make. This renewed and enhanced levy represents critical and strategic investments that will transform the lives of Seattle’s children beginning with quality preschool and ending with college access and support. This levy also recognizes the impacts of our affordability challenges by providing resources to support the estimated 4,280 students in Seattle Public Schools experiencing homelessness or housing insecurity,” said Councilmember M. Lorena González (Position 9, Citywide), and co-chair of the FEPP Committee. “Our past levy investments have made a measurable difference in reducing the readiness and opportunity gap. This proposed levy continues many of those evidence-based investments, which means more of our kids will graduate and be prepared for post-secondary education with the skills necessary to take advantage of the jobs of tomorrow.”

Nearly 29 percent of the levy would go toward K-12 investments, improving graduation rates, especially for students who are impacted by the opportunity gap.

“As a father of three school-aged children, I know first-hand the importance of investments in early education and grade school classrooms” said Councilmember Rob Johnson (District 4, Northeast Seattle) and co-chair of the FEPP Committee. “I feel proud that this levy represents a strong continuum for our students, from preschool through their 14th year, that it reflects feedback we heard from community members, and that it continues this levy’s history of investing in research and evidence based strategies to help our students succeed.”

“Investing in our earliest of learners — and the workforce that cares for them and teaches them — ensures we have a resilient economy, encourages equity through closing opportunity gaps and promotes healthy communities,” said Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda (Position 8, Citywide). “Families across this City are experiencing long waitlists, long commute times and increasingly expensive childcare.  Through this levy, we increase the number of better trained educators for our children ages 0-3, investing in the long-term health and stability of our community.”

Health programs would account for 11 percent. The final six percent would go to the Seattle Promise, which proposes tuition assistance to graduating Seattle students attending local community colleges for the first two years.

Seattle first passed a seven-year education levy in 1990. It was renewed again in 1997, 2004 and 2011. In 2014, voters also approved a four-year preschool program levy. History of education levies in Seattle. The Families, Education, Preschool and Promise Levy combines the traditional education levy with the preschool levy, and expands it.

Seattle residents living in a median-priced home pay $136 per year for the two existing levies. With this new levy, those same residents will pay $248 per year.  Low-income seniors, people with disabilities and veterans will be eligible for exemptions.

The passage of this levy follows robust community engagement. The levy was first considered in the Gender Equity, Safe Communities, New Americans and Education Committee in February. Following, the Select Committee on FEPP held six committee meetings, beginning on March 26, and two public hearings.

To download a full resolution PDF of the infographic, click here.

 

Council President Harrell Schedules Special City Council Meeting to Consider Repealing Employee Hours Tax

Council President Bruce Harrell has scheduled a Special City Council meeting for Tuesday, June 12, and will sponsor legislation that repeals the Employee Hours Tax Legislation.  A City Council vote is expected to occur during the special meeting.

The legislation will repeal Ordinance 125578, passed on May 14, 2018 and signed by the Mayor on May 16th. This new ordinance will repeal the Employee Hours Tax that would have otherwise taken effect on January 1, 2019.

WHAT:

Special City Council Meeting to Consider Repeal of Employee Hours Tax Legislation

WHEN:        

Tuesday, June 12
12:00 p.m.

WHERE:

Council Chambers, 2nd floor
Seattle City Hall
600 Fourth Ave., Seattle 98104

WHO:

Councilmembers

# # #

Seattle City Council meetings are cablecast and Webcast live on Seattle Channel 21 and on the City Council’s website. Copies of legislation, Council meeting calendar, and archives of news releases can be found on the City Council website. Follow the Council on Twitter and on Facebook.

 

Council President Harrell Schedules Special City Council Meeting to Consider Repealing Employee Hours Tax

Council President Bruce Harrell has scheduled a Special City Council meeting for Tuesday, June 12, and will sponsor legislation that repeals the Employee Hours Tax Legislation.  A City Council vote is expected to occur during the special meeting.

The legislation will repeal Ordinance 125578, passed on May 14, 2018 and signed by the Mayor on May 16th. This new ordinance will repeal the Employee Hours Tax that would have otherwise taken effect on January 1, 2019.

WHAT:

Special City Council Meeting to Consider Repeal of Employee Hours Tax Legislation

WHEN:        

Tuesday, June 12
12:00 p.m.

WHERE:

Council Chambers, 2nd floor
Seattle City Hall
600 Fourth Ave., Seattle 98104

WHO:

Councilmembers

# # #

Seattle City Council meetings are cablecast and Webcast live on Seattle Channel 21 and on the City Council’s website. Copies of legislation, Council meeting calendar, and archives of news releases can be found on the City Council website. Follow the Council on Twitter and on Facebook.