Hope Springs Ahead with Day of Service

Friends and Neighbors,

This past November delivered hope to many Seattleites by electing a new Mayor, a new citywide Councilmember, and a new City Attorney — followed in January by a new Council President. This past weekend, Mayor Harrell’s “Day of Service” transformed that hope into tangible action.

Seahawks Football head coach Pete Carroll joins Mayor Harrell and 4,000 other volunteers across the Emerald City for the Mayor’s hugely successful “One Seattle: Day of Service.” Together, we picked up litter, removed graffiti, rooted out weeds and provided much tender loving care for our city. You can continue this spirit of beautifying our city by using the “Find It, Fix It” app or organizing an “Adopt-A-Street” clean up event anytime. And, hopefully, we’ll enjoy another citywide “Day of Service” soon again.  On a side note, I will think twice before challenging the mayor to a push-up contest.

In this month’s newsletter

  • District 4: engaging in Cowen Park, the U District, Magnuson Park, Wallingford, and more
  • Homelessness: Seattle’s Customer Service Bureau and tiny homes
  • Public Safety: compromise on hiring incentives; safety stats on homicides, fires, and traffic fatalities; assessment of SPD; new Crime Prevention Coordinators; City Attorney and Seattle Municipal Court
  • Preventing Displacement: taming taxes
  • Internet for All: President Biden boosts our vision 😊
  • Transportation & Seattle Public Utilities Committee: “Ride Transit Month,” recommendations for Sound Transit, tackling utility bills, and more
  • COVID Updates: public health stats
  • Ways to Provide Input


Day of Service May 21: Cowen Park

Councilmember Pedersen (center) cleaning up Cowen Park with dozens of eager volunteers, including fellow civic leaders Christa Valles and Gabe Galanda.  In the background, Legislative Aide Gabby is wondering when they’re going to stop posing and get back to work 😊.  Mayor Harrell’s idea for the “One Seattle: Day of Service” was a big success, with a reported 4,000 Seattleites participating across our city.


During the “Day of Service,” we heard a theme from the volunteers: Let’s Do This Again Soon! If not every year, how about every 3 months.  We have a program for that!  Our own Seattle Public Utilities provides “Adopt a Street” trash bags, trash grabbers, gloves, and orange vests to community groups that want to clean up streets or parks.  To get Adopt-a-Street supplies for your community, CLICK HERE or call (206) 684-7647 or email adoptastreet@seattle.gov. Legislative Aide Gabby Lacson displays the Adopt-A-Street logo and phone number while cleaning up Cowen Park in District 4 in May. As with the community clean ups I attended in Roosevelt and Wallingford a few weeks ago, you can do it anytime during the year.


U District Street Fair Celebrates Return with Funky Fun Flair

Councilmember Pedersen (in the shades) thanking Don Blakeney (in the blazer), his team at the nonprofit U District Partnership, and all the sponsors of the wildly successful and U District Street Fair. Springing forth from the new light rail station were tens of thousands of visitors dazzled by the energy of Seattle’s best destination for funky fun: the University District adjacent to our world-class university. The variety and volume of the music, food, and arts were energizing and the smiles on the throngs of people were uplifting as we all celebrated the return of the Street Fair and each other to the neighborhood.

NeighborCare Re-Opens at Magnuson Apartments and New Crosswalk On Its Way

As you’ve seen in our newsletter a lot, there are more than 850 low-income families who call Magnuson Park home, both with the Solid Ground housing and Mercy Magnuson housing.  We are fortunate that the newly renovated Mercy Magnuson buildings also offer many services including health care. Neighborcare Health at Magnuson recently re-opened (only Mondays 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. for now). For more info, CLICK HERE or call 206-548-5790 and press 1 for an appointment.

I am very grateful that SDOT’s new Traffic Engineer was willing to visit this location with me and agreed to install a new crosswalk there later this year. Many neighbors requested the new crosswalk to safely link the low-income apartments to the Magnuson Park Community Center that is finally undergoing a light renovation.

Wallingford Farmers Market: re-opened  Wednesday afternoons

Update After Dog Attack in Eastlake:

You may have heard about or seen on TV news earlier this month two dogs attacking a pedestrian on Fairview Ave in the Eastlake neighborhood. For an initial update from the Seattle Animal Shelter, CLICK HERE.


Reporting Homelessness Encampments:

So that the Harrell Administration and Regional Homelessness Authority know where to go to offer help, to track trends, and to address dangerous encampments, the Mayor’s Office is asking everyone to use the “Find It, Fix It” app or the Customer Service Bureau online form:

(The Customer Service Bureau database and the “Find It, Fix It” database are linked.)

Building More Tiny Homes in D4

Even though we finished our work siting, funding, building, and occupying the Tiny Home Village in the University District, nonprofits and volunteers are still building tiny homes to make available throughout the city and region, including the Wedgwood residents shown above.

While tiny homes might not be permanent housing solutions for those experiencing homelessness, when paired with professional case management and located near transit, they can be an important temporary shelter during the homelessness crisis and are much better than tents on sidewalks and in parks. I want to thank residents of Wedgwood including the leadership of Dr. Tom G. who helped to organize efforts and “donated” his driveway for the construction of these temporary, but welcoming and life-restoring homes.


Police Hiring Compromise Just a First Step: Bold Safety Plan Needed Soon

Two recent surveys gauged concerns about public safety in Seattle.

In my newsletter last month, I detailed the alarming reduction of officers and detectives at SPD – losing approximately 25% of our in-service officers (see graph above), even as our city’s population has gone in the opposite direction:  growing by 25% in the past 10 years — from 600,000 people in 2010 to nearly 750,000 people today.  Meanwhile, we still don’t see sufficient emergency response alternatives in place yet.

On Tuesday, May 24, we finally approved a Council Bill and Resolution aimed at providing hiring incentives to try to restore some of the lost officers.

  • Resolution 32050 passed 6 to 3. I supported it. (Morales, Mosqueda, Sawant voted No.)
  • Council Bill 120320 passed 6 to 3. I supported it. (Morales, Mosqueda, Sawant voted No.)

My remarks at Committee:

“I want to thank both Chair Herbold and Councilmember Nelson for putting forward both legislative measures and I want to thank Mayor Bruce Harrell for his leadership to coordinate today’s collaboration and compromise. Mayor Harrell once again demonstrated his skill at unifying perse viewpoints and finding common ground. This was a timely, healthy, and necessary process for good governance of our perse City. 

This amended Resolution and this amended Council Bill for moving expenses and enhanced recruitment can serve as an acceptable first step – a sturdy shovel to start to dig ourselves out of the severe staffing shortage hole in public safety created over the previous two years.

The exit interviews of SPD officers revealed the theme about a perceived lack of support from City Hall. I hope this action today indicates our renewed support for our City government employees who serve as our front-line emergency responders. 

We must also acknowledge that Summer is Coming. Summer is coming – it will be here in just days.  We know that, historically, summer brings a spike in crime and gun violence. This spike coincides with the warmer months when hundreds of thousands of Seattle residents deserve to feel safe to enjoy ALL their City parks, such as Gas Works Park in Wallingford where the City hopes to host a large July 4th celebration.

Yes, we must reform the police union contract and, yes, City Hall is overdue in launching alternative emergency responses to many lower risk 9-1-1 calls. At the same time, the staffing shortage at SPD is so severe that we’ll need more than a shovel to dig ourselves out; we’ll need a high-speed elevator and we’ll need it soon. So, I look forward to us all receiving from the Mayor’s Office and SPD a bigger and bolder recruitment and retention plan – with details — ready to implement for achieving success to hire and keep our frontline public safety workers here in Seattle before the summer crime spike is upon us. Thank you.

— Councilmember Alex Pedersen

Hiring incentives are not spent until the person is hired, so if they don’t work, the funds are still available for other issues. Let’s give them at least 9 months to work.

  • To apply to be a Seattle police officer, CLICK HERE.
  • For the Seattle Times May 20 editorial entitled, “Mayor Harrell, stem the blue drain with Seattle Police Department hiring incentives,” CLICK HERE.

Seattle safety statistics: a grim start to 2022

Homicides and Shootings: As of May 19, 2022, homicide events are up 73% (+8) with 19 incidents (2 pending coding) year-to-date compared to 11 during the same time last year. Shootings & Shots Fired events are up 76% (+118) with 273 events year-to-date compared to 155 events during the same time last year. Shootings are up 72% (+31) with 74 events year-to-date compared to 43 during the same time last year. (Source: Seattle Police Department.) Highly trained detectives leaving the department make it harder to investigate these crimes, including last week’s stabbings outside the U District light rail station.

Fires:  While emergency calls increased by “only” 13% from 2020 to 2021, our fire fighters have had to deal with an overall 33% increase in fires from 2020 to 2021.  This includes 854 encampment fires in 2020 increasing to 1,446 encampment fires in 2021 (a 69% increase in encampment fires). The trend for 2022 is off to a dangerous start, too:  during the 4-month period from January through April 2022, there have been 580 encampment fires already (as compared to “only” 393 for the same period in 2020 and 202 for the same period in 2019). To reduce fire risk for those living outside, for our neighborhoods, and for our firefighters, we need to bring more people inside, faster.

(Source: Seattle Fire Department 2021 Annual Report)

Traffic Fatalities:  Seattle’s official policy is “Vision Zero” which strives to have zero traffic deaths by 2030. I have asked SDOT’s Vision Zero team to return to our Transportation Committee soon to discuss their strategies for reducing fatalities and injuries on Seattle’s streets. Pedestrians are, by far, the greatest percentage of victims of traffic-related deaths in Seattle. While people driving cars or motorcycles comprised 23% of fatalities in 2021, pedestrians comprised a whopping 63% in 2021, which is up from the average of 52% over the past 7 years.

(Source: Seattle Department of Transportation, Vision Zero team)

Notes: *2022 is just through March 31, 2022 (1st quarter). If figures from the first 3 months were annualized (i.e. if the early 2022 trend continues), it would total 16 fatalities, but it is likely to be a higher figure.

Another key metric:  the # of victims of traffic fatalities experiencing homelessness. Since 2016 (2015 is not known), an average of 13% of the victims were experiencing homelessness, but in 2021 (and for the first quarter of 2022) that percentage doubles to 26% on average. To reduce traffic fatalities, we need to bring more people inside, faster.

For a Seattle Times article on the first few months of 2022, CLICK HERE.  For the Vision Zero website, CLICK HERE.

Judges Agree with City Attorney Davison to Exempt “High Utilizers” from Release Through Community Court; King County’s Booking Restrictions Still an Issue

Seattle’s new City Attorney noted on April 27, 2022, “many inpiduals who repeatedly commit serious crimes or have dozens of police referrals are automatically sent to Community Court even though data shows that this type of intervention fails to address their activity or deter them from reoffending.” On May 9, the Seattle Municipal Court judges announced that they “agreed to the Seattle City Attorney’s proposed changes to Seattle Community Court. The City Attorney requested that certain inpiduals they have identified as ‘high utilizers’ be excluded from participating in the program...”

The Seattle Municipal Court pointed to King County jail booking policies as a cause of the problems, stating, “As a pandemic response, the King County Jail implemented booking restrictions, and inpiduals accused of low-level crimes are no longer booked into the jail. Instead, they are cited by the police and then released, many times without a future court date. When a court date is set for these cases, many cannot be reached…” It’s unclear whether the King County Executive has updated their booking restrictions at the jail. To encourage updated booking policies at our shared jail to allow those eligible and in need to be held there for an official handoff to services, you can contact the King County Executive at Dow.Constantine@kingcounty.gov

  • For CAO Davison’s request to the Seattle Municipal Court, CLICK HERE.
  • For the May 9, 2022 press release from the Seattle Municipal Court, CLICK HERE.
  • For the Seattle Times article on this issue, CLICK HERE.

Two New Crime Prevention Coordinators On Board in North Seattle!

I was proud to secure the funding to add a Crime Prevention Coordinator to the largest geographic area of our city: North Seattle. Both new experts are on board now. As stated on SPD’s website, “Crime Prevention Coordinators (CPCs) are experts in crime prevention techniques. You can contact your CPC to inquire about general crime prevention tips, get involved or start a Block Watch group, request their presence at an upcoming community meeting and to discuss ongoing crime concerns in your neighborhood.”  Crime Prevention Coordinators are civilians who work for SPD and who use their expertise to help anyone (businesses, homeowners, renters) with crime prevention tips such as adding lights, securing doors, trimming bushes to increase visibility, and getting to know your neighbors. While the City Council has the power to fund things, we need the executive departments to implement them and the Harrell Administration got it done. For more about Crime Prevention Coordinators, CLICK HERE.

Police Reform Update


The federal monitor of the consent decree over the police department reported good news on May 19: “Seattle has accomplished a great deal under the consent decree,” Dr. Antonio M. Oftelie wrote in a foreword to his 150-page assessment. “The vast majority of SPD officers have embraced a new mission and values; worked to create a service-oriented culture; expanded knowledge and skills on crisis intervention, de-escalation and less-lethal tactics; and committed to new policies and practices.”

In reaction to this positive report, I could not say it better or with more authority than Mayor Harrell who said,

My administration is committed to ensuring that SPD is an effective public safety department – centered on good police work, accountability, innovation, and true community engagement. Every day I speak with officers who share my vision for a police service defined by a culture of helping others and keeping all people in Seattle safe.

“The results of this comprehensive assessment make clear that SPD has made – and continues to make – meaningful strides since the implementation of the consent decree. I’m grateful for our officers – their dedicated work has driven a significant 48% reduction in the use of force, led to better handling of crisis events, and shown consistent improvement through difficult circumstances.

“There remains work to be done, but I believe our department can deliver on my administration’s commitment – and our community’s demands – to stamp out racial disparities in policing and eliminate unwarranted use of force.

“We look forward to continuing to work with the Department of Justice and the monitoring team as we move into a final phase of the consent decree. From a period of sustained compliance to one of institutionalized reform, we will work together with these partners and our community to ensure the City and its accountability entities are equipped to deliver perpetual police oversight.”

I would only add that one of the keys to more sustainable and durable reform is to ensure such reform is embedded in the police union contract. This contract expired December 31, 2020. While I have been talking about the need for a better contract that everyone can be proud of – from frequent protesters to longtime officers – I was appointed to serve on the Labor Relations Committee only a few month ago. I look forward to negotiating a just employment contract, which is vital for an accountable, affordable, and effective police department.  In 2017, City Council passed a stronger, more detailed accountability ordinance, but not all those reforms were embedded in the employment contract with police officers.

For more about the connection between the federal monitor’s assessment and the police union contract, you can read a recent Seattle Times article by CLICKING HERE. Here’s a key excerpt:

“[Federal Judge] Robart three years ago ruled SPD had fallen partly out of compliance with the decree over the city’s decision to accept a guild contract that protected officers from discipline.

The incident that brought the issue to a head was the reinstatement through arbitration of a fired officer, Adley Shepherd, who had punched a handcuffed suspect in the face, breaking her cheekbone. Shepherd was eventually terminated but has sued the department to get his job back.

Robart has said the city must address the guild contract, which will almost certainly be a topic during ongoing collective-bargaining talks between the city and SPD which has been without a contract since Dec. 31, 2020.

In his report, Oftelie said the monitoring team “will be tracking progress on collective bargaining agreements and advising the court on progress and challenges to upholding accountability.”

He said in an interview that accountability “remains a huge red-flag area” for SPD when it comes to convincing Robart to release the agency from the consent decree.”

To read the full May 2022 Comprehensive Assessment of the Seattle Police Department by the Federal Monitor,  CLICK HERE.


The Seattle Times recently reported what you might already expect about tax increases: “Property tax bills arriving soon will deliver tax hikes for King County homeowners…Seattle homeowners will see an average increase of about 7%…[V]oter-approved tax measures, such as school levies, are a bigger driver of property tax increases than rising values.” While not widely discussed, many renters will also feel the increase in property taxes because landlords can pass along those same increases to their tenants. That’s why it’s a myth that property tax increases impact only homeowners.

The economic displacement of existing Seattle residents happens for a variety of reasons and increased taxes can be one of the causes of displacement, especially for people on small, fixed incomes such as Social Security for seniors. When I knocked on doors throughout our District 4, I listened to many seniors concerned about their financial vulnerability to increasing property tax bills.

For Seattle residents, the impact to your household budget is much bigger than for most other jurisdictions in King County. As the pie charts below indicate, countywide cities take 15% on average, but in Seattle, our city comprises 25% of your property tax bill. That’s due, in large part, to politicians asking you to “lift the lid” on the property tax levy for a different program each year or so.

After voters increased the Seattle library levy in 2019, we are starting another round of property tax increases – just last week King County Executive Dow Constantine proposed increasing property taxes for open space elsewhere in King County for which Seattle residents will have to pay. Then we’ll see proposed increases for Seattle Parks, the Seattle Housing Levy, and other important City programs.

Pie chart above: For the average homeowner within the city of Seattle, their city property taxes are 25% of their tax bill, which is a much higher portion than for homeowners elsewhere in King County.

For the average homeowner within all of King County, their city property taxes are only 15% of their tax bill as shown in the pie chart above.

What can be done? Encourage local government to manage costs better. Could they implement something in a more cost-effective manner? How much of the spending plan is going to pay for overhead / administration rather than for direct services to communities in need? Even for programs you love, be sure to ask policymakers to consider the CUMULATIVE impact on your property tax bills and especially for those on fixed low-incomes such as many seniors.

Also, consider the other things City Hall does to increase your tax bill – not just your tax rate for the programs mentioned above, but also the assessed value. Over time, upzoned areas can lead to property tax increases, especially when neighboring parcels sell after maxing out the upzone changes. This is relevant as City Hall discusses updating its “Comprehensive Plan” for zoning. Targeted upzones to create low-income housing quickly can be beneficial, but some blanket upzones requested by real estate developers could lead to more widespread increases in property tax bills without corresponding public benefits.

Previously, some politicians paid lip service to concerns over displacement, but plowed ahead to enact widespread upzones without putting in place displacement preventions beforehand. Some “naturally occurring affordable housing” has been demolished for higher-priced developments and City policymakers failed to track the losses.  To rectify this going forward is one of the reasons I introduced Council Bill 120325 — let’s have a research university finally collect the data we need to learn from past mistakes and not inadvertently incentivize demolitions of low- and moderate-income housing that still exists.

Council Bill 120325:  “AN ORDINANCE relating to housing and displacement mitigation; expanding the information required for submission under the Rental Registration Inspection Ordinance for rental housing units; requiring submission of rental housing-related information; and amending Chapter 22.214 of the Seattle Municipal Code


Want a discount on high-speed internet service? If your household earns an annual income of less than 200% of the federal poverty level [ranging from $27,000 for a person living alone to $55,000 for a family of four] or if a member of your household participates in another federal program, such as Medicaid, federal public housing, a veteran’s pension, or a Pell Grant, you can receive a $30 discount per month on your internet bills. To apply, CLICK HERE or go to https://www.whitehouse.gov/getinternet/

During May of 2020, in the midst of the COVID pandemic where the inequities of the digital pide were exacerbated as families had to work and study from home, I crafted the “Internet for All” resolution “establishing the City Council’s goal to implement Internet for All Seattle, a vision of making broadband internet service accessible, reliable, and affordable to all residents in Seattle.

During that tumultuous year, support for this Resolution was one of the moments of common ground. It called for a Gap Analysis and Action Plan which Seattle’s information Technology Department completed.

Since then, the Biden Administration has adopted a similar approach and then even adopted our vision calling it “Internet for All.” (California also started an “Internet for All” effort in December 2020.)

Much of the infrastructure funding is appropriately for rural areas where there is no internet capability. In addition to that connectivity and reliability, there needs to be affordability. So the Biden Administration is also expanding an earlier pilot program that lowers the cost for low-income households everywhere, including Seattle: the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP). I have written about this program in previous newsletters, but it was then just an interim pilot program. Now the White House has extended it and branded their overall effort as we did two years ago as “Internet for All.”

  • For an excellent summary from the Seattle Times on how to access these benefits, CLICK HERE.
  • For the “Fact Sheet” on Biden’s new “Internet for All” programs, CLICK HERE.
  • For more specifics on the Affordable Connectivity Program that directly benefits low-income households, CLICK HERE.
  • For my original Resolution from May 2020, CLICK HERE. For the final adopted version of Resolution 31956, CLICK HERE.


(This is the Committee currently chaired by Councilmember Pedersen, so we provide extra information on its issues.)

West Seattle Bridge:  All Concrete Poured!

We have exciting news about the progress on West Seattle Bridge final repairs:  Yesterday (May 26, 2022) our construction contractor finished pouring structural concrete inside the bridge, forming the structures that will hold new steel cables essential to strengthening the bridge. Completing this crucial project milestone marks the end of a challenging process that affected our reopening schedule.

We still expect to reopen the bridge in mid-2022 and can now work with our construction contractor to finalize the sequence of the remaining work. For the announcement from our Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT), CLICK HERE.

“Ride Transit Month” = June

Councilmember Pedersen (trying his best to look natural and relaxed 🙂 tapping to finalize payment when exiting Sound Transit’s Roosevelt station on NE 65th Street at 12th Ave NE. (disclaimer: Seattle city government – your tax dollars — generously provide our government employees with an ORCA card. More employers should do that, right?)

This column is not for preaching to the choir of transit lovers or to persuade parents whose childcare situation makes transit infeasible, or to exhort workers who need a car for their jobs. This column is for everyone else who has thought about taking the bus or light rail, but hasn’t tried it yet. Or it’s for those who took transit before the pandemic and are hesitating to start again perhaps because the transit agency changed your favorite route. (I miss the old #74 Express!)

You already know transit is going to be better for Mother Earth and more affordable (especially with today’s high prices for gasoline).  So how about a doable goal for June: take transit just 5 times next month. That’s “The Pledge” encouraged by the advocacy groups Transportation Choices Coalition (TCC) and Commute Seattle.

To take the pledge with them or to see events sponsored by Commute Seattle and TCC during Transit Month, CLICK HERE.

As Transportation Chair, I even set aside my infamous eschewing of symbolic proclamations and resolutions to work with the Mayor’s Office on the Proclamation designating June as “Ride Transit Month.” June is traditionally Ride Transit Month across the nation, but it was not widely celebrated during the pandemic. As we emerge from the pandemic, we are eager to have mass public transit once again serve as a cornerstone of getting around the Seattle and the region in a way that is safe, affordable, and good for our planet. Here’s an excerpt from the proclamation:

“WHEREAS, public transportation is critical to expanding equitable and affordable access to greater opportunities including better paying jobs, educational opportunities; healthcare treatments; social and cultural opportunities; and

WHEREAS, a just and sustainable recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic requires transit and we are proud that Seattle residents, workers, and students are leading the way in returning to transit as pandemic restrictions are gradually lifted; and

WHEREAS, Commute Seattle, Disability Rights Washington, Transportation Choices Coalition, City of Seattle employees and departments, and local schools, hospitals, companies, and civic groups throughout Seattle will be promoting transit ridership as a cleaner, healthier, more equitable, affordable and sustainable means of travel through the month of June 2022;

NOW, THEREFORE, the Mayor and the Seattle City Council proclaim the month of June 2022 is:  ‘Ride Transit Month.’”

Sound Transit is acutely aware it needs to improve the experiences of their riders by ensuring cleaner, safer, more functional stations, especially as they work so hard to expand the regional light rail system. Those who ride transit today typically need to ride it or they are extremely dedicated to transit’s environmental benefits. To attract additional new paying riders, though, Sound Transit needs to fix its escalators and improve the perception that riding can be unpleasant at times. On the bright side, once you get into a rhythm of riding transit, you may wonder why you previously paid for gas and hurled your single metal box down the road to get stuck in traffic.  I realize transit does not work for everyone all the time, but go ahead and try it in June.

Sound Transit Expansion in Seattle:

There are lots of decisions for the 18-member Sound Transit board to make over the next two months on how best to expand light rail system, including the 9 segments of the West-Seattle Ballard Link Extension (WSBLE). From the options in the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS), they will decide their “preferred alternatives” to study for the final EIS. Rather than sitting back and letting more than a dozen policymakers from outside of our City decide what’s best for us, the executive departments and City Council are working together on a joint Resolution to strongly voice our Seattle consensus and support Mayor Harrell and Council President Juarez who serve on the Sound Transit board.

For the initial draft of that Resolution being published on our proposed Introduction & Referral Calendar as early as today, CLICK HERE.

Seattle is arguably the biggest supporter of Sound Transit and the crucial linchpin for the entire regional system. Doing right by Seattle will speed implementation (construction permitting, etc) which will help the entire regional transportation system come online faster. Here are some principles to inform the Resolution:

  • “District” City Councilmember Knowledge:  Tap their on-the-ground expertise as accountable resources for their 1/7 of the city (100,000 people).
  • Boost Transit Riders: Locate and design stations to maximize ridership and access to the Sound Transit system. Provide for safe access and circulation that minimizes pedestrian risk.
  • Equity and Community: Promote equitable benefits and avoid disparate impacts. Minimize residential and business displacement and impacts to existing neighborhood assets; ensure compatibility with housing, employment, and industrial land uses; and maximize opportunities to further equitable TOD and other community-identified priorities.
  • Environmental Protection: Minimize impacts to sensitive environmental areas.
  • Financial Stewardship: Facilitate responsible stewardship of taxpayer dollars by seeking highest benefit for dollars spent, helping maintain the project schedule and budget, and optimizing future expansion opportunities in planning and design. Third Party funding – if needed after costs are refined – should be decided later and could include support from the federal government, private sector, and land leases.

Tentative Schedule for our Seattle Resolution:

  • Tuesday, May 31: Mayor draft onto introduction calendar
  • Tuesday, June 7: 1st reading at Committee
  • Tuesday, July 5 or 19: 2nd reading & vote at Committee
  • Tuesday, July 19 or 26: adoption by full City Council

For Sound Transit expansion info, CLICK HERE.

Vision Zero: Traffic Safety

Seattle’s official policy is “Vision Zero,” which strives to have zero traffic deaths by 2030. I have asked SDOT’s Vision Zero team to return to our Transportation Committee soon to discuss their strategies for reducing fatalities and injuries on Seattle’s streets. For the latest statistics, please see above for the “Public Safety” section of this newsletter.  For Vision Zero’s updated SDOT website, CLICK HERE.

Utility Bill Relief:

The Council unanimously adopted three bills Councilmember Sara Nelson and I co-sponsored from the Executive to help Seattle City Light and Seattle Public Utilities customers still struggling with their utility bills. Council Bill 120327 extends the waiver of interest fees on customer bills for both City Light and Seattle Public Utilities.  Council Bill 120328 extends the additional flexibility for the Emergency Assistance Program for City Light and Council Bill 120329 extends it for Seattle Public Utilities. For the press release on this utility relief with more information, CLICK HERE:

Wastewater Bills from King County:

Utility bills are regressive because the poor pay more — specifically, lower income households pay a bigger percentage of their income for the same utility bill when compared to higher income households. Regardless of each customer’s financial situation, utility companies have an obligation to be fiscally responsible. I’m proud that both of our City-owned utilities have worked hard to manage their costs and have successfully reduce the planned rise in rates for electricity, solid waste, and drinking water. Seattle City Light (SCL) and Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) also offer Flexible Payment Plans, a Utility Discount Program, an Emergency Assistance Program, and a Low Income Housing Water Assistance Program. (Conversely, if you want to donate $$ to help low-income neighbors pay their Seattle utility bills, CLICK HERE for the Community Donation Fund.)

But there is a huge wild card cost-driver impacting your utility bills: wastewater charges. Why? Because Seattle does not decide. Instead, the King County Executive and King County Councilmembers passthrough to your SPU bill whatever rate increase they decide they need for wastewater — and the wastewater charge can comprise nearly half of our SPU bill!

King County is making their decisions now on how much they will increase your SPU bill next year and for the next several years. Tell them what you think about your wastewater rates before it’s too late.  I have already implored the King County officials to control their rate increases for wastewater treatment. But they need to hear from you directly. Click on the button below to ask King County elected officials not to raise rates excessively.

Email King County officials: Don’t Raise Our Wastewater Rates!


Still Waiting for “Normal”

For a reflection on the rollercoaster of COVID case trends and the multiple impacts, CLICK HERE to read local columnist Derrick Nunnally’s piece in the Seattle Times entitled, “No return to ‘normalcy’ for me after visit to cardiologist.’”

Cases and Hospitalizations Rose in May

For the latest official data from King County Public Health, CLICK HERE or use this website: https://kingcounty.gov/depts/health/covid-19/data/daily-summary.aspx

Thanks, in large part, to our relatively high vaccination rate, COVID cases and hospitalizations in Seattle continue to remain manageable. (This snapshot was as of May 25, 2022 for the city of Seattle.)

  • To register to receive the vaccine or booster in Seattle, CLICK HERE. Information is also available in Amharic, Chinese, Korean, Somali, Spanish, and Vietnamese.
  • For the most recent information on combating COVID from King County Public Health, CLICK HERE.
  • If you need language interpretation, help finding a vaccination or testing site, or ADA accommodation, call the King County COVID-19 Call Center at 206-477-3977, 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.


Ways to Provide Input

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.

NEW IN 2022:  Our City Council meetings moved to Tuesdays at 2:00 p.m. Even after we return to in-person meetings, the public will still be able to call in their comments at City Council meetings – this is an important upgrade for public input. I would have supported moving our main Council meeting to the evenings to make it easier for people with day jobs to visit us, but the technological upgrades to enable calling in will still enable more of the public to participate even with meetings remaining in the daytime.  We also updated our City Council Rules and parliamentary procedures in hopes of improving the efficiency of the City Council, including enabling Councilmembers to focus their work on city government business rather than international affairs.

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 in to 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 Webex. Please continue to sign up through my website or by CLICKING HERE so I can hear your ideas, concerns, and requests. I hope to return to in-person office hours Friday afternoons in July 2022.  You can also just send an e-mail to alex.pedersen@seattle.gov.

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

We are getting through this together, Seattle!

With gratitude,


Councilmember Alex Pedersen

Seattle City Council, District 4

Email: Alex.Pedersen@seattle.gov

Find It, Fix It

Copyright © 2022 Seattle City Council, All rights reserved

© 1995-2016 City of Seattle