February Updates: District 4 Projects, Small Businesses, Safety, Homelessness, Vaccines, and More



Friends and Neighbors,

In addition to advancing legislation in February, I toured our aging University Bridge that connects several District 4 neighborhoods to the rest of our city; visited with the owner of small businesses in Eastlake; participated in an online meeting of the Maple Leaf Community Council; and appeared on the Seattle Channel’s “Council Edition” program. I continue to work hard to support District 4 residents and small businesses through the pandemic. This newsletter contains updates on that work as well as other developments in transportation, public safety, and our homelessness response.

Visiting with the owner of 14 Carrot Café in Eastlake.

IN DISTRICT 4

Another commendable response to winter snowstorms

Sledding at Gas Works Park in our District 4. (photo from Seattle Times, Feb 13, 2021)

During the snowstorm earlier this month, I was impressed to see our University District Farmers Market still operating! We are so fortunate to have a hearty, year-round market — every Saturday morning on “The Ave” at NE 50th Street.  I want to thank all the city government work crews and their managers for working around the clock that weekend, especially those departments we see at my Committee:  the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) with help from Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) clearing arterial roads and Seattle City Light (SCL) restoring power.  It is a testament to our Mayor Jenny Durkan and her team that they were, once again, so prepared and then so ably launched into action – just as they did during last year’s snowstorm.  This is your local government doing the important, basic work it was meant to do.

For information about the February 2021 snowstorm and useful information on preparing for future storms, CLICK HERE.

Supporting transportation connections: University Bridge tour

Venturing underneath the University Bridge earlier this month was a riveting experience.

This month I ventured inside and underneath the aging University Bridge, which connects the University District, Roosevelt, and Wallingford to Eastlake and downtown. I’d like to thank SDOT for arranging the bridge tour and for the bridge operator who welcomed us. She popped out to say Hello before we walked underneath the bridge to examine some of the components which are still operating after 100 years!  This major transit bridge was ranked in “Poor” condition by the City Auditor in his report that we ordered last year after the West Seattle Bridge closed due to cracking. In a city carved by waterways, the University Bridge is just one of many examples of bridge projects that need more money if we want to take care of the basics and keep all modes of travel moving as our economy reopens and recovers.  I will continue to advocate for us to prioritize more funding for bridges across our city. CLICK HERE to read the City Auditor’s report. Some stakeholders who want to use transportation dollars for purposes other than bridges often claim that fixing our bridges costs too much to make a difference with the various pots of money that we have. But I believe we can – and should — be strategic. For example, we now know that our City’s older bridges with moveable parts (such as the University, Ballard, Fremont, and Spokane bridges) have immediate needs of just $8 million to replace their aging components. Why not replace those old components RIGHT NOW before they fail?  When draw bridges / bascule bridges / swing bridges get stuck, they prevent all modes of transportation — including buses and bikes — which could impede Seattle’s fragile economic recovery.

District 4 transit projects are moving forward

Test trains at UW Husky Stadium Station preparing for the quick trip to new stations at Brooklyn Avenue and Roosevelt (both in District 4) on their way to Northgate. Photo from SDOT.
  • TRANSIT: Test trains are now running from UW Husky Stadium Station through both the Brooklyn Ave / U District station and the Roosevelt station, thanks to funding from the Sound Transit 2 measure approved by generous voters in 2008! I am so excited for the game-changing mobility these stations will offer District 4 residents when they open this September. Read more HERE and HERE.
  • 520 BRIDGE: The 520 bridge will be closed westbound from 11:00 pm on Friday, February 26 through 5:00 am on Monday, March 1 and eastbound between 11:00 pm on Friday, March 5 and 5:00 am on Monday, March 8. CLICK HERE to learn more about the closures and the Montlake Project.
  • 15TH AVE NE REPAVE: Starting February 25, SDOT is hosting monthly virtual office hours to answer questions about the 15th Ave NE paving project, which includes bike lanes to connect riders to Roosevelt High School and the incoming light rail at Roosevelt. (No small businesses should be negatively impacted by these bike lanes.) The office hours will take place 3:00-4:00 pm the fourth Thursday of each month and THIS LINK has the details for attending.

Disappointing decision by Kroger Company to shut down two of its 15 Seattle stores

The Wedgwood QFC store. Photo from The Seattle Times.

I was very disappointed by the recent decision of the Cincinnati-based Kroger Company to shut down on April 24 two of their 15 QFC stores in Seattle, including the beloved QFC in Wedgwood.

As soon as I learned of this (February 16), I called Corporate Affairs at Kroger/QFC to ask if they would reconsider. They confirmed that both stores had been already underperforming financially. While Kroger’s November 2020 financial statements show the company sitting on over $2 billion in cash and larger chain stores typically have the “economies of scale” to handle temporary financial fluctuations, Kroger seeks to have each store stand on its own profits, which is difficult because grocers typically operate with thin margins. Despite the “cause and effect” framing by some local media outlets, the City Council’s recent decision to require temporary hazard pay to frontline grocery workers during the rest of the COVID pandemic was not the cause of the closures, but rather solidified and potentially sped up the inevitable.

Kroger/QFC appreciated my reaching out and they are well aware of my ongoing efforts to provide a positive business environment for long-term employers in our city, including my votes against new payroll tax proposals during this recession and my recent economic strategy for an inclusive recovery. We discussed the extraordinary stress and uncertainty caused by the COVID pandemic, which makes our legislative votes as well as decisions by business owners more difficult and complex.

I offered to do whatever I could to help to retain the store and/or to have it reconstituted in some form.  I also connected with both the store manager to offer any assistance that we can provide and the union leaders representing the workers at both stores to ensure any transition to new workplaces within the Kroger family of companies happens as smoothly as possible. (I had already connected with the business community – as well as with labor leaders — prior to my vote on this temporary measure.)

I realize this detailed and nuanced explanation from an elected official makes no difference if a beloved store closes in our neighborhood. (I often shop at that QFC, too!) I will do whatever I can as the District City Councilmember to help secure a good grocery store there. (The store is located in District 4 at the border of District 5.)

The QFC will remain open at least through April 24 and, while not a permanent substitute for those shopping in person, nearby grocery stores include Safeway on 35th Avenue NE at NE 75th Street, the larger University Village QFC store, the PCC Market on 40th Avenue NE and NE 65th Street, and the Metropolitan Market at 5250 40th Avenue NE. The Traders Joe’s in the University District (5555 Roosevelt Way NE) is probably too far away for most Wedgwood residents, though fans of that store will often go the extra mile.

While this particular bill felt overly rushed, the pandemic has thrust us into a fluid and extraordinary emergency situation and I was able to get answers to the following key questions as I considered how to vote on the proposal:

  • Is it a temporary measure? YES. (The bill calls for a review within 4 months. We need to make sure the bill sponsors keep their word to conduct that review and we need to speed vaccines to all front-line workers, including grocery workers.)
  • Is it providing relief to frontline workers during COVID? YES
  • Do my constituents generally support temporary measures providing relief to frontline workers during COVID? YES.
  • Does it exempt struggling small businesses? YES.
  • Have I consulted stakeholders (in this case, the business community and the labor union)? YES, though I wish I had more time to engage everyone.
  • Did it pass review by our City Council’s Central Staff Analysts? YES.
  • Did Mayor Durkan signal early support for the bill? YES.
  • Does the final bill contain a provision that requires review of the impact after a few months? YES.

For additional context, here are the remarks made last month when this temporary COVID relief measure passed.

Councilmember Pedersen remarks, January 25, 2021 when the bill passed unanimously after the Mayor confirmed she supported it and would sign it: “After rapidly reviewing and researching this proposed ordinance to have larger grocery stores boost the pay of their frontline workers during the pandemic, I have decided to support it.  I consulted with both labor and employers.  I personally want to acknowledge that I think this legislation moved very fast. To hear the legislation at a Friday Committee and then adopt it on Monday can make it difficult for everyone to review it thoroughly. At the same time, I recognize we are in the midst of an public health and economic emergency and, therefore, would not want to further delay the temporary pay boost these workers should be receiving for the hazards they are facing until both shots of the vaccine are administered to everyone.  I will be voting Yes today. Thank you.”

Mayor Jenny Durkan remarks, January 29, 2021: “A disproportionate number of people of color are essential workers, and Seattle must continue to lead the way to provide relief and respect to those that have served our community throughout this pandemic. Grocery store workers have continued to work every day of this challenging time and I am glad we are finally able to recognize and compensate the effort that has kept stores open and communities fed over the past year.”

MORE INFO:

  • For the February 16, 2021 Seattle Times article about Kroger’s announcement to close by April 24 the two QFC stores (Capitol Hill and Wedgwood), CLICK HERE.
  • For statements from the bill’s sponsors in reaction to Kroger’s announcement on February 16, 2021, CLICK HERE and HERE.
  • For Mayor Durkan’s January 29, 2021 press release celebrating the passage of Council’s bill which would go into effect February 3, 2021, CLICK HERE.
  • For a link to Council Bill 119990, the “Grocery Employee Hazard Pay Ordinance,” which the Council adopted January 25, 2021 CLICK HERE.
  • For some historical perspective, check out this 2012 piece called “Groceries and Growth in Wedgwood” by the blog called Wedgwood in Seattle History: CLICK HERE.

Ongoing work of the Clean City Initiative

The Clean City Initiative is a new effort from Mayor Jenny Durkan investing an initial $3 million  to clean up our city. The Initiative pulls together and expands efforts from Seattle Public Utilities, Seattle Parks and Recreation, and Seattle Department of Transportation to address the backlog by activating additional SPU litter routes, paying greater attention to parks, increased trash pick-up from encampments and additional needle collection efforts.

We cherish our parks and so I’m pleased to see our Clean City Initiative boosting removal of graffiti, garbage, and needles,” said Councilmember Alex Pedersen (District 4). “Litter and illegal dumping have increased in our beautiful city during the pandemic and we all want to see a cleaner Seattle.  To see the benefits of the Clean City Initiative firsthand, I joined a crew to pick up trash in the heart of our district a few weeks ago. The challenge is enormous, but having multiple departments working together to clean up our city is the kind of back-to-basics approach Seattle desperately needs to emerge stronger than ever.” 

The Clean City Initiative can improve its focus further with reports from the public, so please call 206-684-CITY or use the “Find It, Fix It” smartphone app report issues to your city government. Learn more about the app HERE.

The “Find It, Fix It” app enables you to report problems to your city government.

 

Lyles case is finally proceeding

The case of the tragic killing in 2017 of Charleena Lyles (a District 4 resident) by two Seattle police officers still needs action. There is a promising new headline regarding the case: “Appeals Court Rules Charleena Lyles Wrongful-Death Suit Against Seattle Police Can Proceed.” For the Seattle Times article from February 16, 2021, CLICK HERE.  In addition, King County needs to complete the inquest into her killing. Back in August 2020,  a King County Superior Court judge August 21 unfortunately ruled in favor of other King County jurisdictions challenging the reformed inquest process established by our King County Executive. One of the key demands of Lyles family members is to allow the inquest to proceed, as they reiterated at the vigil I attended for her in June 2020. The City of Seattle thankfully withdrew its challenge of the inquest process and I sent a demand letter to the other jurisdictions calling on them to allow the process to proceed. That tragedy also reinforces the need for trained professionals other than armed police officers to respond to those who need help in many situations — a key rationale for re-imagining public safety. 
 

Supporting D4 businesses through the pandemic

Edouardo Jordon, owner of JuneBaby restaurant in Ravenna, which is currently available for takeout or delivery. (photo from PR newswire)

During the pandemic, I have been able to interview several owners of small businesses in our District 4 to hear their struggles and find ways for government to be supportive.  As we rollout the COVID vaccines and our economy re-opens, I hope you can mask up and venture out to your favorite local stores and restaurants. Our District is full of special local businesses such as Eastlake’s 14 Carrot Café, JuneBaby restaurant in Ravenna (see photo), The Bryant Corner CafeRick’s Big Time Brewery on The Ave in the University District (see “streetery” photo), Uncle Lee’s Kitchen between Laurelhurst and Hawthorne Hills, and Wedgwood Barbershop. Some small businesses have had to adapt during the pandemic or find a new niche to survive. For example, as more and more people work remotely and as small businesses move ahead without fulltime, inhouse IT employees, they can thrive by engaging the friendly and talented local computer professionals from Roosevelt’s Progressive Tech to take care of all their technology needs.  For a list of many small businesses open throughout D4 and Seattle, explore this website https://intentionalist.com/to find and support local businesses and the diverse people behind them through everyday decisions about where we eat, drink, and shop.”

Behold the brewer’s bold New “Streetery” in the University District in the heart of District 4: Rick’s Big Time Brewery on “The Ave” near NE 42nd Street

New Bill to Loosen Land Use Restrictions in Residential Areas for Small Businesses

Other Councilmembers introduced a new bill this past Monday, February 22 that would, for at least the next 12 months, remove several existing land use restrictions to allow more small businesses to be run out of homes/garages in residential areas.  Thanks to the Committee Chair Dan Strauss, both Councilmember Debora Juarez and I were able to ask all our questions. You can watch the committee meeting on Seattle Channel by CLICKING HERE (and going to 1:21:00). To review Council Bill 120001 and other materials, CLICK HERE.  We look forward to a memo from City Council’s “Central Staff” analyst before the next Land Use & Neighborhoods Committee on March 10. To communicate your views on Council Bill 120001, you can email all 9 Councilmembers at council@seattle.gov


IN THE NEWS

On Council Edition with host Brian Callanan and Councilmembers Juarez and Strauss.

I enjoyed appearing on the Seattle Channel’s Council Edition program with my colleagues Councilmembers Juarez and Strauss last week. CLICK HERE to watch our wide-ranging discussion on our city’s award-winning municipal television station. Thanks for having us, Brian Callanan!
Here is some more local media from the past month if you have an extra few minutes:

  • My letter to the editor about the steps we’ve taken to boost public transit published in the Seattle Times – CLICK HERE.
  • My Seattle Times Op Ed with an economic strategy that involves working with Seattle employers instead of against them – CLICK HERE.
  • I was quoted in the Seattle Medium about the Clean City Initiative – CLICK HERE.

TRANSPORTATION & UTILITIES

(because I happen to chair that Committee)
 

City Council approves Transit Service Agreement for more bus service

Graphic from SDOT.

On Monday, February 22, City Council unanimously approved the legislation I sponsored to renew and improve our Transit Service Agreement with King County Metro for expanded and reliable bus service throughout Seattle. After voters overwhelmingly approved funds (0.15% sales tax) for our Seattle Transportation Benefit District (STBD), we needed to update this intergovernmental agreement to guide how we allocate additional bus service hours and get more people back onto transit as our economy recovers and our regional transportation networks grow. King County is poised to approve the same document. Every year we will review the details, in case any future changes are needed. In my next newsletter, I hope to share more details about some of the other “puzzle pieces” of the Transportation Benefit District, namely how we will invest both one-time and ongoing Vehicle Licensing Fee (VLF) revenues. In my role as Transportation Chair, I am committed to finding truly regional solutions to fund and operate our infrastructure and transit systems (both light rail and bus networks), because fracturing transportation systems by each jurisdiction could become overly inefficient and impede our regional economy. 

To read the legislation and see the presentation to the City Council, CLICK HERE

For an excellent article by the “The Urbanist” blog regarding the Transit Service Agreement and other STBD-related issues, CLICK HERE.

Transportation Tidbits

  • Take King County Metro’s survey to help them plan post-COVID-19 bus service decisions! Read more about the survey at THIS LINK and give your input at THIS LINK.
  • The Seattle Pedestrian Advisory Board is looking for three new members. You can learn about the opportunity and how to apply at THIS LINK.
  • King County Metro is working to install mask dispensers on its entire bus fleet by the end of March. You can read more at THIS LINK.

An Electrifying Opportunity:  City Light Review Panel Seeks a Residential Customer Representative

The City Light Review Panel is seeking a candidate to represent our residential rate-paying customers. The Review Panel plays an important role in providing input and engagement of City Light ratepayers in the development and review of the utility’s biennial update to the six-year Strategic Plan. The Review Panel is also tasked with reviewing electricity rate proposals, assessing City Light’s electricity rate design, and considering the implementation of cost allocation changes among customer classes. The current vacant panel position is designated for a City Light “Residential Customer representative,” preferably with knowledge and interest in the electricity industry. City Light is committed to racial diversity and inclusion in recruitment for this position. CLICK HERE and HERE to learn more. To be considered, please send a letter of interest and resume by Friday, March 19, 2021 to SCL_CLRPquestions@seattle.gov.


CRUSHING COVID

Ongoing vaccine distribution work

My office is working with the Mayor’s office to ensure that vulnerable, high-risk individuals across D4 will be a focus area as soon as more vaccines are available.

Do you have questions about the COVID-19 vaccine or want to know when you are eligible to get vaccinated? Sign up to receive weekly email vaccine updates at the City of Seattle COVID-19 vaccine website and learn more about how vaccines are being distributed in Seattle to those who are eligible. Currently, adults 65 or older are eligible to get vaccinated as are adults 50 or older who live in a multigenerational household. To learn more, CLICK HERE.  (translated information is also available).

Looking for more information about vaccine distribution? Use some of these resources:

Nearby testing sites

COVID-19 testing is available at the University of Washington site in their  E01 parking lot (in between Husky Stadium and University Village off Montlake Boulevard). This location is NOT for pre-surgery patients and is in addition to the Husky Coronavirus Testing program for UW students, faculty and staff.

This location is a self-swab site, where individuals conduct their own swab while being observed by a healthcare provider. Follow these links to schedule a COVID-19 test at this location.

Updates from Seattle-King County Public Health

I was pleased to be a speaker at the Maple Leaf Community Council meeting on February 10. The presentation by Seattle King County Public Health Department at THIS LINK was full of informative materials regarding how vaccines work. We are not out of the woods yet, but we are on the path out of this crisis stage of the pandemic with the distribution of vaccines.

State Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) K-12 Internet Access Program

We know how important the internet is during the pandemic, especially for school-age children attending remote school. One of the key strategies from the Internet for All Resolution I sponsored is to assist families with access and adoption of internet services. CLICK HERE to learn about OSPI’s K-12 Internet Access Program, its eligibility requirements, and how to sign up.


PUBLIC SAFETY

U.S. District Court Judge James Robart, commenting on the local political environment and the challenges it creates for police reform (photo from SCC Insight)

Federal Court Judge rebukes City Council

At a recent hearing with the federal court overseeing the consent decree that requires and monitors Seattle Police Department (SPD) reforms, Judge Robart “…took the Council to task for announcing a 50% reduction in SPD with headcount and salary cuts ‘without talking to the police and ignorance to the consequences…” (as reported by SCC Insight).  Even with  Judge Robart’s caution to the City Council regarding further budget cuts,  the Council’s Public Safety Committee on February 23 again entertained a $5.4 million cut to SPD.  As I have previously shared, I believe the most critical path toward police reform is to revamp the unjust, unfair and expensive police union contract. I explain my concerns below…

Continued concerns about proposal to cut more from Seattle Police before alternatives are ready

Earlier this week, the City Council’s Public Safety Committee discussed a controversial proposal to cut more from the Seattle Police Department.  As I mentioned in my newsletter last month, I oppose more cuts to Seattle Police at this time. I will continue to demand accountability from our police department and to attack institutional racism and, at the same time, I am deeply concerned that some City Council colleagues are considering harsher cuts now to Seattle Police with Council Bill 119981 — even after an alarming number of SPD officers are leaving the department and before we have a detailed public safety plan. Let’s first receive research results and put in place proven emergency response safety alternatives – such as hiring enough mental health professionals to respond to certain crisis calls 24/7.

To explain my reasoning in greater detail, please see my blog post titled “Twelve Reasons to Oppose More Cuts to Seattle Police at this Time,” please CLICK HERE.  Here’s a quick summary list:

  1. To deliver justice and save money, let’s focus now on revamping the police contract – it’s expired!
  2. We need a plan, not a percentage.
  3. We need alternatives in place first.
  4. Studies show we have too few officers already.
  5. We need sufficient police budget and staff to comply with required reforms.
  6. We need more SPD staff to comply with public disclosure requests.
  7. We need to restore community policing efforts.
  8. Officer are leaving SPD at alarming rate (attrition of 186 officers in 2020; net loss of 135).
  9. The City Charter requires adequate police protection in each district.
  10. 911 response times have slowed.
  11. Some crime stats are up.
  12. While the State legislature is meeting now, let’s focus on getting statewide reforms enacted.

For the details underlying each these points, please CLICK HERE for the full blog post.

The new reforms monitor for the federal consent decree, Antonio Oftelie, stated similar sentiments in his February 24 Op Ed in the Seattle Times (CLICK HERE): “For the City Council, mayor and other city stakeholders, taking a long-term view will be essential. Knee-jerk and short-term responses to long-term public safety challenges risk setting the city back. Through the consent decree, the city made a set of binding promises about how SPD will promote public safety. Compliance with the decree requires that the city provide resources necessary to carry out those promises. Stripping away funding from SPD without meaningfully standing up the alternative community resources and social programs necessary to provide for community well-being risks undermining the progress that Seattle has made over the past eight years.”

You can communicate your views on Council Bill 119981 (or the police budget in general) to all 9 Councilmembers at the same time by e-mailing to council@seattle.gov

Ongoing state police reform efforts

Last week I raised the importance of Senator Jesse Salomon’s bill SB 5134, which was the strongest police reform bill because it removed private arbitration for those with a license to kill.  It’s a shame that SB 5134 did not advance and, since our meeting last week, The Seattle Times published an editorial that also supports SB 5134. SB 5134 was supported strongly by the ACLU and I hope to see it back again next year.  In the meantime, the lack of support from other State legislators and interest groups for the strongest reforms did not do any favors for our labor negotiators here in Seattle who may now have a harder time crafting a just police contract, which expired two months ago.  (To be clear SB 5134 is much stronger than SB 5055 because SB 5134 would have eliminated a complex arbitration appeal process that has historically allowed police officers who committed misconduct to be reinstated to their jobs.)


HOMELESSNESS

A Tiny Home Village. (photo from Seattle Human Services Department)

I want to acknowledge the many concerns my office has been hearing from constituents about the rise in homelessness they are seeing in the parks, greenways, and sidewalks (unsheltered homelessness). As some of you may know, the COVID pandemic has made things worse for our homelessness crisis, partly because the shelters had to be “de-intensified” to create social-distancing space, which resulted in their capacity decreasing dramatically.  In addition, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control issued guidance during the COVID pandemic that said, “If individual housing options are not available, allow people who are living unsheltered or in encampments to remain where they are. Clearing encampments can cause people to disperse throughout the community and break connections with service providers. This increases the potential for infectious disease spread.”  This is on top of the 2018 9th Circuit Court case (Boise, Idaho, but affecting West Coast) that many believe reduces the ability of public agencies to move those living unsheltered unless there are clear housing alternatives for them.

Currently City Hall is knitting together various interventions (listed below), but ultimately we need everyone vaccinated so that we can maximize the use of our shelter space and we need more supportive services for behavioral health challenges (mental health and substance use disorder/addiction) as we strive to create a sufficient amount of affordable housing for those with extremely low or no income. We also need to do a better job preventing economic displacement and homelessness in the first place. Here is the current patchwork of efforts to reduce homelessness, which I believe we must improve:

  • Seattle’s Human Services Department programs:  Continue to invest over $100 million per year from the City government (which includes pass-through from the federal government, but does not include “public housing” from the public housing authorities) to house and help those experiencing homeless – in addition to the funding our King County government spends. (City Operating budgets for Human Services Department page 184 and Office of Housing, Low-Income Multifamily Housing page 248).  This includes contracts to nonprofits to serve those experiencing homelessness and to prevent homelessness. These contacts must be performance-based so we ensure our tax dollars are being used effectively to help people stay out of homelessness.
  • Outreach:  As you may recall, I did not support the vote of the majority of the Council to dismantle the inter-departmental (“Navigation”) team that engaged with unauthorized homeless encampments. As part of the recently approved 2021 budget, funding was included for an untested, less centralized outreach model called “Homelessness Outreach and Provider Ecosystem” (HOPE). Thankfully, the Council adopted my amendment to make sure we measure the results of this new effort so that we can gauge its effectiveness.
  • Shelter Surge: Mayor Durkan’s Deputy Mayor Casey Sixkiller is overseeing a “shelter surge” during 2021, including use of vacant hotel space aiming for 125 hotel rooms, plus 300 shelter beds, for a total of 425 additional spots.  The Mayor released a press release February 23 regarding 350 new units of shelter, which is a step in the right direction.  To view the press release, CLICK HERE.
  • Tiny Home Villages:  Chair of the Homelessness Strategies Committee (Councilmember Andrew Lewis) is proposing several new Tiny Home Villages in addition to the one I am shepherding in the University District. This will hopefully alleviate some of the suffering in the parks and near I-5.
  • New Regional Authority:  We must quickly staff the new Regional Homelessness Authority because a regional problem needs a regional solution and the surrounding cities in King County are not pulling their own weight or helping those whose homelessness may have originated there. After months of delay, RHA finally picked a CEO earlier this month, but unfortunately, she declined the job offer this week. We need a qualified CEO in that position ASAP. I look forward to working with that sorely needed regional leader.
  • More Permanent Housing:  Continue to build permanent affordable housing from our Seattle Housing Levy (approximately 2,400 new units per year), which includes a range of 240 to 450 permanent SUPPORTIVE housing units for chronically homeless suffering from behavioral health challenges. Regarding the new legislation sponsored by Councilmember Lewis to speed the production of permanent supportive housing, I was grateful to colleagues for adopting all three of my amendments at the Homelessness Committee this past week. Due to my amendments, we will encourage broadband internet in low income housing, require at least one community meeting for new projects, and ensure that critical human services are made available to residents of the new projects that skip the design review process.

WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU

City Council Meetings on the Internet

Listening: Even though City Council is not currently holding meetings in person in order to follow public health guidelines, you can still follow along by listening on your computer or phone by CLICKING HERE. You can also listen on your phone by calling 253-215-8782.

Commenting: You can also submit public comment by sending an e-mail to me at Alex.Pedersen@seattle.gov or to all 9 Councilmembers at council@seattle.gov. Please remember to add “For City Council Meeting” in the comments. Now you can also phone into the meeting to speak directly to the Council live. For the instructions on how to register and call in, CLICK HERE. Sign up begins two hours prior to the meeting start time.

Virtual Meetings with Your Councilmember Pedersen

I continue to schedule virtual in-district office hours, so we can chat by telephone or via Skype. Please continue to sign up through my website or by CLICKING HERE so I can hear your ideas, concerns, and requests. You can also just send an e-mail to alex.pedersen@seattle.gov

For previous e-newsletters, visit my blog by CLICKING HERE.

We will get through this together, Seattle!

With gratitude,


 

 

Councilmember Alex Pedersen
Seattle City Council, District 4

Email: Alex.Pedersen@seattle.gov
Find It, Fix It

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