City Council’s Statement on ICE Targeting Immigrant Rights Activist Maru Mora-Villalpando

New Americans Committee Chair M. Lorena Gonzalez and Vice Chair Teresa Mosqueda issued the following statement jointly with all nine members of the Seattle City Council in response to Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s initiation of deportation proceedings against immigrant rights activist, Maru Mora-Villalpando:

“We, members of the Seattle City Council, are angered that Seattle’s office of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has served a ‘Notice to Appear’ to Washington-based community activist and mother, Maru Mora-Villalpando. This deportation notice appears to be a purely retaliatory action towards a known immigrant rights activist and community leader.

“Targeting of activists and those willing to speak up about injustices by ICE is received by immigrant communities as a clear intent to intimidate and silence immigrant leaders.  The detainment and threats of deportation of Baltazar Aburto Gutierrez, Ravi Ragbir, and Jean Montrevil, and now Mora-Villalpando, appear to be an act of political oppression meant to silence a growing movement highlighting injustices in detention centers as well as with our broken immigration system. We stand with Mora-Villalpando, and the immigrant community at large, and are deeply troubled by the recent direction of ICE in their enforcement actions that result in families being torn apart and communities across the country being upended and divided.

“Mora-Villalpando is a courageous advocate for social justice issues and immigrant rights in the Puget Sound region and nationally. Her leadership was crucial in building awareness of inhumane conditions, labor practices, and mistreatment of detainees at the Northwest Detention Center (NWDC). The immigrant detention facility is operated by the for-profit GEO Group, a corporation with a history of corruption and human rights violations in facilities across the country. Mora-Villalpando has also brought attention to the targeting of immigrants and refugees by ICE throughout our community and country, before becoming a target herself.

“Seattle is a Welcoming City, in a Welcoming State, and we condemn the targeting of activist and community leaders and cannot stay silent on this un-American activity by ICE. Mora-Villalpando is a trusted leader of our community. ICE’s action will likely spread more fear and anxiety across our immigrant communities; the outcome of this – intended or unintended – has a negative impact on public safety and the health and wellbeing of not just immigrant communities, but also their neighbors. Our city and our state is safer when immigrants feel trust in institutions and agencies tasked with keeping everyone, regardless of status, safe to live their daily lives. This act appears to be retaliation against Mora-Vilapando and a signal that can result in individuals afraid to speak up, either in acts of protest or when assistance is needed, and that is harmful for our community.

“The U.S. Constitution guarantees rights for everyone, regardless of status, and this includes the First Amendment which protects free speech, the right to peacefully assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances. It is disappointing we must remind our federal government of this inalienable right. Targeting Mora-Villalpando shows a disregard for human rights, and exacerbates broken trust between immigrant communities and our federal government. We demand Seattle ICE immediately stop targeting activists and community leaders. We will not be intimidated, and we stand in solidarity with Mora-Villalpando and the thousands of immigrant and refugee activists, DREAMers, community leaders and others who bravely stand, undocumented and unafraid, for justice.”

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Council President Bruce A. Harrell                    Councilmember Debora Juarez

Councilmember Sally Bagshaw                          Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda

Councilmember M. Lorena González                 Councilmember Mike O’Brien

Councilmember Lisa Herbold                             Councilmember Kshama Sawant

Councilmember Rob Johnson

Council Sets 2018-19 Committee Assignments

The Seattle City Council today adopted Resolution 31789 establishing committee assignments for 2018 and 2019. Each Councilmember is responsible for chairing a Council committee and managing legislation related to the committee’s respective subjects. In addition, each Councilmember serves as vice chair, member and alternate on three additional committees.

Councilmembers elected Council President Harrell to continue serving as Council President. The Council President is the presiding officer of the Council, sets the Full Council agenda, assigns legislation to committees and is the primary point of contact for external agencies. When the Mayor is absent from the city or incapacitated, the Council President assumes the duties and responsibilities of the Mayor.

“I’m honored to work alongside some of the most dedicated and compassionate people I’ve ever known,” said Council President Bruce Harrell. “I’m thankful for my colleague’s confidence in electing me to my second term as Council President. Together, as a team, we will continue to work side by side to address the challenges facing Seattle, such as homelessness and affordability, and ensure Seattle is an equitable place for all.”

Councilmember Sally Bagshaw (District 7, Pioneer Square to Magnolia) will chair the Finance and Neighborhoods Committee. The committee will be responsible for reviewing the City’s financial management policies and will also focus on Seattle neighborhoods, building strong communities through outreach and engagement. Councilmember Bagshaw will also chair the Budget Committee, overseeing the review of the Mayor’s proposed budget.

Councilmember M. Lorena González (Position 9, Citywide) will chair the Gender Equity, Safe Communities, New Americans, and Education Committee. As chair, Councilmember González will consider policies to address gender inequality and help improve the lives of Seattle’s immigrant and refugee residents. The committee will also focus on public safety, including emergency preparedness and the provision of fire and emergency medical services, to foster safe and resilient communities.  Councilmember González’s committee will also continue its work to improve police accountability systems and ongoing police reform, reducing crime and violence and reforming the criminal justice system. New to Councilmember González’s committee are policies related to education. The committee will work on issues relating to education and early learning initiatives, Seattle Public Schools, improving student outcomes, and reducing the opportunity gap.

Council President Bruce Harrell (District 2, South Seattle) will chair the Governance, Equity, and Technology Committee. The committee will work on issues relating to technology, intergovernmental relations, regional legislative priorities, ethics and elections, and equity issues in the taxi, transportation network companies, and for-hire industry. As chair, Council President Harrell will also focus on issues relating to youth justice, alternatives to youth detention, and alternative options to youth incarceration.

Councilmember Lisa Herbold (District 1, West Seattle & South Park) will continue chairing the Civil Rights, Utilities, Economic Development, and Arts Committee. Councilmember Herbold’s committee will manage issues relating to civil rights and Seattle Public Utilities. As chair, Councilmember Herbold will also consider economic development policies, including small business development and support, workforce development, and improving access and opportunities to education and training for low- and middle-income workers, youth and communities of color. The committee will also manage issues relating to arts and culture in Seattle, which includes nightlife issues.

Councilmember Rob Johnson (District 4, Northeast Seattle) will continue chairing the Planning, Land Use and Zoning Committee. As chair of this committee, Councilmember Johnson will take up issues involving city zoning, community planning, design guidelines, major institutions, quasi-judicial decisions, community development, and land use regulations.

Councilmember Debora Juarez (District 5, North Seattle) will chair the Civic Development, Public Assets, and Native Communities Committee. As chair, Councilmember Juarez will focus on issues relating to City parks, community centers, the Office of the Waterfront, the Seattle Public Library system, and public grounds, including the Seattle Center. The committee will also bring attention to Native American issues, including housing affordability, health and mental health services, services for youth, access to justice, art and culture, and historic preservation.

Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda (Position 8, Citywide) will chair the new Housing, Health, Energy, and Workers’ Rights Committee. Councilmember Mosqueda’s committee will focus on housing policies and programs, investing in and promoting the development and preservation of affordable housing for workers, families, and retirees. The committee will also handle policies relating to Seattle’s energy usage, utility rates, and Seattle City Light finances. The committee will attend to matters of public health, including a Regional Health Plan and take the lead on issues relating to the Office of Labor Standards, especially workers’ rights.

Councilmember Mike O’Brien (District 6, Northwest Seattle) will continue chairing the Sustainability and Transportation Committee. Councilmember O’Brien’s committee will handle matters pertaining to city-wide and regional transportation policy and planning. These issues range from pedestrian and bicycle programs, traffic control and parking policies, and overseeing the City’s coordination with regional and state departments of transportation. The committee will also have a shared-focus on Seattle’s Climate Action Plan to reduce carbon emissions. In addition, Councilmember O’Brien will take up matters that relate to climate and environmental protections, conservation programs, and green infrastructure.

Councilmember Kshama Sawant (District 3, Central Seattle) will chair the new Human Services, Equitable Development, and Renter Rights Committee. Councilmember Sawant will oversee Council’s work on issues relating to services provided by the Human Services Department, including programs that meet the basic needs of the most vulnerable people in our community. The committee will also consider matters involving public health and Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD), which allows law enforcement officers to redirect low-level offenders engaged in drug or prostitution activity to community-based services. The committee will also focus on renter rights, including but not limited to legislation intended to protect renters facing gentrification, economic evictions, excessive background checks, and unaffordable rent.

 

Standing Committee Committee Members Committee Meeting Days and Times*
Civic Development, Public Assets, and Native Communities Chair:  Debora Juarez

Vice-Chair:  Sally Bagshaw

Member:  Lorena González

Alternate:  Kshama Sawant

1st and 3rd Wednesdays

2 p.m.

Civil Rights, Utilities, Economic Development, and Arts Chair:  Lisa Herbold

Vice-Chair:  Kshama Sawant

Member:  Mike O’Brien

Alternate:  Rob Johnson

2nd and 4th Tuesdays

9:30 a.m.

Finance and Neighborhoods Chair:  Sally Bagshaw

Vice-Chair:  Lorena González

Member:  Bruce Harrell

Alternate:  Mike O’Brien

2nd and 4th Wednesdays

2 p.m.

 

 

Gender Equity, Safe Communities, New Americans, and Education Chair:  Lorena González

Vice-Chair:  Teresa Mosqueda

Member:  Rob Johnson

Alternate:  Debora Juarez

2nd and 4th Wednesdays

9:30 a.m.

Governance, Equity, and Technology Chair:  Bruce Harrell

Vice-Chair:  Lisa Herbold

Member:  Teresa Mosqueda

Alternate:  Sally Bagshaw

1st and 3rd Tuesdays

9:30 a.m.

Housing, Health, Energy, and Workers’ Rights Chair:  Teresa Mosqueda

Vice-Chair:  Debora Juarez

Member:  Sally Bagshaw

Alternate:  Lisa Herbold

1st and 3rd Thursdays

9:30 a.m.

Human Services, Equitable Development, and Renter Rights Chair:  Kshama Sawant

Vice-Chair:  Bruce Harrell

Member:  Debora Juarez

Alternate:  Teresa Mosqueda

2nd and 4th Tuesdays

2 p.m.

Planning, Land Use and Zoning Chair:  Rob Johnson

Vice-Chair:  Mike O’Brien

Member:  Lisa Herbold

Alternate:  Lorena González

1st and 3rd Wednesdays

9:30 a.m.

Sustainability and Transportation Chair:  Mike O’Brien

Vice-Chair:  Rob Johnson

Member:  Kshama Sawant

Alternate:  Bruce Harrell

1st and 3rd Tuesdays

2 p.m.

             

 

Councilmembers O’Brien, Harris-Talley Announce ‘HOMES’ Proposal aimed at alleviating factors fueling homelessness

SEATTLE – Councilmember Mike O’Brien (District 6, Northwest Seattle) and Councilmember Kirsten Harris-Talley (Pos. 8, Citywide) together announced a proposal intended to help meet the costs associated with alleviating the factors contributing to Seattle’s homelessness crisis – namely, places for people to live in the short- and long-term.

Three critical changes to the City’s approach to more permanent housing could make a significant difference for living unsheltered in Seattle.  First, increasing the number of 24 hour shelters and additional safe zones for vehicles to help stabilize people in need; second, increasing outreach and assistance, such as the expansion of the nationally recognized L.E.A.D. program third, creating more permanent housing options — including rental assistance vouchers — for those making 0-30% of area median income.

The 2018 Proposed Budget from the Mayor provides ongoing funding for these efforts.  While the investments made in housing are significant, they still don’t meet the need.  In addition, the Mayor’s budget does not provide adequate resources for 24-hour shelters, including but not limited to encampments and tiny homes. There is also currently no City-sponsored or private sector plan for additional permanent housing or rental assistance beyond current investments.

“We can’t ignore the displacement caused by growth in Seattle,” said O’Brien.  “Without more 24-hour shelter so people can come inside and new short- and long-term housing solutions, our existing system is setup to fail,” O’Brien added.

O’Brien and Harris-Talley introduced H.O.M.E.S. proposal, (Housing, Outreach and Mass-Entry Shelter) to address short-term needs, like outreach, the citywide expansion of L.E.A.D., and 24-hour shelters, along with more permanent, long-term housing. The proposal would be funded by a new business tax on large employers.  The tax is assessed at $0.048 (4.8 cents) per hour, per employee and would affect the top 10% of the highest-grossing businesses in Seattle.

“It is our large employers who have benefited most from Seattle’s economic boom,” said Harris-Talley. “As a result, big business is best positioned to help relieve some of the pressure created by rapid economic growth. We need a systemic fix to help address the resulting lack of affordable housing and dearth of places for people to go. This is a solution that protects the most vulnerable in our city and will help small businesses thrive.”

The H.O.M.E.S. proposal will generate up to $24 million, which is equivalent to approximately $100 per employee on an annual basis.  The tax should take effect early 2018.

Councilmembers will be briefed during Budget Deliberations, which are scheduled to begin at 10:30 a.m. on Monday, October 16.

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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.

Harrell, O’Brien Announce Updates to Community-led Forum, Council Vacancy Schedule

SEATTLECouncil President Bruce Harrell (District 2, South Seattle) and Councilmember Mike O’Brien (District 6, Northwest Seattle) announced updated dates for the community forum as part of a process to fill the vacancy in Council Position 8. During today’s Full Council meeting, Council formally endorsed the 20-day vacancy process through Resolution 31778.

At the request of members of Transparent Seattle, a community-based coalition advocating for a more transparent process in filling the Council vacancy, there will be a community-led forum on the evening of Tuesday, October 3, 5:30 p.m., in Bertha Knight Landes Room at City Hall (format to be determined).

Given the October 6 deadline for deciding who will fill the vacancy, the Council is able to provide logistical support for the community forum by reserving a large meeting room and dedicating some support staff on Tuesday, October 3.

This process may be facilitated by interested Councilmembers and is intended to be led by community groups. The purpose is to allow community members to meet and ask questions of the applicants.

The Seattle City Council invites community members, both individuals and organizations, to engage in the vacancy process by participating in the community forum on Tuesday, October 3, or in the City Council Public Hearing on Wednesday, October 4, 5:00 p.m. in Council Chambers at City Hall. Council expects applicants to attend at least one of these evening meetings.

There is no change to the application period, which opened on Monday, September 25 and closes on Sunday, October 1, 2017 at 5:00 p.m.

Candidates for appointment should demonstrate an understanding of Seattle government operations, budgeting, and legislative processes; demonstrate knowledge of the public policy issues associated with potential Committee assignments; demonstrate a commitment to social justice and the ability to communicate and collaborate effectively across cultures and with diverse populations; and desire to serve the people of Seattle as a public official.

On Monday, October 2 during Council Briefing the City Clerk will provide Councilmembers with the names of all candidates who submitted application materials by the October 1 deadline.  All applications will be posted on the Council website and City Clerk’s website on October 3, affording the public an opportunity to review the applications and submit comments via council@seattle.gov

The remainder of the process will occur as memorialized last week in Council President Harrell’s press release:

  • Councilmember conferences, (optional) between October 2 to October 5:  Each Councilmember may meet and confer with any and all candidates of their choice in order to make an informed decision within the 20-day deadline.
  • Special Full Council Meeting at City Hall:  Wednesday, October 4, 5:00 p.m.:  Applicants for the vacant Council seat may address the Council and the public followed by a public comment period for community members.
  • City Council Executive Session to Discuss Qualifications: Thursday, October 5, 9:30 a.m.:  As permitted by the Open Public Meetings Act, (OPMA), RCW Chapter 42.30, the Council will meet in executive session to discuss the qualifications of candidates. No decisions will be made in executive session.
  • City Council Appointment at Special Full Council Meeting: Friday, October 6, 2:00 p.m.:  The Council will vote to fill the vacancy at the Special Full Council meeting.

The City Charter gives the City Council 20 days to fill a vacant Council position. The 20-day period runs from Monday, September 18 to Sunday, October 8, 2017. As such, the last regular business day to make the decision within the 20-day period would be Friday, October 6, 2017. In the event the Council fails to fill the vacant position by the end of that 20-day period, the Council must meet every business day thereafter until the vacancy is filled (Charter Article XIX, Section 6). Once appointed, the new Council Position 8 Councilmember will serve until November 28, 2017.

Contact:
Vinh Tang, Council President Harrell’s Office, 206-684-8804
Jasmine Marwaha, Councilmember O’Brien’s Office, 206-684-8800
Dana Robinson Slote, Council Communications, 206-615-0061

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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.

Councilmember O’Brien Unveils Proposal to Aid People Living in Vehicles

Councilmember Mike O’Brien (District 6, Northwest Seattle), Chair of the Council’s Sustainability and Transportation Committee, issued the following statement regarding his proposed legislation intended to help respond to the needs of people living in their vehicles:

“In 2016, City of Seattle funding helped thousands of people exit homelessness and move into permanent housing, and I’m proud that the City continues to build on these efforts. However, the vast majority of the City’s focus is on individuals completely without shelter, while vehicle residents account for more than 40% of the unsheltered homeless population in Seattle. Moreover, during the past seven years, as the number of people unsheltered has increased by over 50%, the number of vehicle residents have more than doubled, from 590 individuals in 2010 to 1,550 in 2017.

“It’s clear what we’re doing hasn’t been working at the scale we need, and the challenges of vehicular living continue to increase without a clear policy direction. We’ve made efforts to help serve that population through our Road to Housing program, and through our previous attempts to provide supervised safe lots and safe zones.  But our current approach to vehicular residency elsewhere often leaves vehicle residents with parking tickets, fines, and towing fees that puts them further away from housing, and isolated from services that they need.

“Today I’m putting forward draft proposals that take lessons from these previous efforts and expands on what has worked.

“Firstly, we need more parking options for people living in vehicles.  Our previous attempts to provide parking have been unnecessarily expensive, and I intend to work with our Departments to develop a streamlined, more cost-effective parking program for vehicles to move to during their pathway to housing.  In addition to identifying City-surplus property, I am confident that prioritizing social service and real estate management can also leverage spaces at faith-based organizations, non-profits, and business properties.  It will still require a significant financial investment, and I intend to work with my colleagues and the City Budget Office during the budget review process this fall to identify available funding.

“Further, I’m putting forward a resolution that calls on the City to do additional analysis into recreational vehicle campgrounds, an auto-maintenance training program, and increasing mobile healthcare services for vehicular residents.  I also plan to pursue a community needs assessment on the vehicular living population to further inform our policy directions.

“Next, I am putting forward draft legislation that would set up a Vehicular Residences Program in which social service providers would directly connect with people living out of their vehicles.  Only when a user or users participate in the program would they be deprioritized for booting and impoundment from Scofflaw eligibility and diverted to an alternative enforcement mechanism through a social service program. People living out of their cars and minivans would be provided amnesty from monetary penalties resulting from parking enforcement, again, only if they’re participating in the program.  For people living in RVs or other commercial vehicles, this amnesty would only apply if they are parked in industrial zoned areas. Seattle Police would still have every right to arrest people for breaking laws, including sexual exploitation. Nothing would prevent SPD or a social service provider from asking a vehicle to move and assisting them to move their vehicle.

“To be clear, the legislation I’m announcing today differs from the outdated version that some news media were provided and reported on that I had not intended to advance.  The outdated version resulted in several news stories that have inspired constituents to call-in to express their opposition to elements that are not included in the newer version of the bill. I’m glad the public will now have an opportunity to respond to the complete proposal I had intended.

“In currently allowing vehicle residents to continue to accrue parking and impoundment fines, we only exacerbate their challenges in a pathway to housing. If someone is willing to work with a service provider and is committed to stabilizing their living situation, I think we should enthusiastically try to meet that need.

“This legislation is a starting point, and I don’t intend to introduce or consider this bill in August.  I’m very receptive to any ideas to improve this legislation or to entirely new solutions.  But I know that doing nothing is not an option.”