Here’s a look at this week’s Capitol Hill-centric highlights from the City Council’s chambers:
Tenants Union director seeks at-large seat: The director of the Tenants Union of Washington State announced Tuesday he is entering the race for one of the City Council’s two at-large positions. Here’s Jon Grant:
“We need bold leadership on City Council if we are going to successfully advance the effort to eliminate economic inequality. We could lose the gains made from raising the $15 minimum wage and requiring paid sick leave if our housing costs continue to soar. If elected I will bring the needed urgency our communities require from City Hall.”
CHS spoke with Grant in July as we looked at the Tenants Union’s role in helping the community against spiraling housing costs on Capitol Hill and across the region. “In the last three years we’ve seen rising rents and displacement becoming the number one issue in Seattle,” he told us. In a CHS survey on City Council District 3 priorities posted in January, respondents identified “affordability” as their number one issue for candidates to tackle:The announcement outlines his platform with a set of priorities that will likely please many renters:
Jon’s policy platform includes economic relief for renters and homeowners, greater police accountability, and campaign finance reform to level the playing field against moneyed interests in politics. With rents rising in Seattle faster than any other city in the nation, tenants must have immediate relief by enacting limits on move-in deposits and capping fees, including a resolution directing the state to reinstate local authority to limit rent hikes. A principal reduction program must be instituted and fully funded to save homeowners who are currently underwater on their mortgage. Greater measures to ensure police accountability in cases of excessive force must be put in place, especially in light of the recent deficiencies reported by the Federal Monitor overseeing compliance with the city’s consent decree, and recent racial profiling and arrest of one of our seniors. Jon firmly believes that to make all these changes possible, we must get money out of politics as too many on the City Council accept campaign contributions from developers, and he would push for public financing for local elections.
In the announcement, Grant said he would determine which of the two at-large seats he will seek in coming weeks. Central District slow-growther Bill Bradburd has already announced he will enter the race against de facto incumbent Sally Clark.
The diverse backgrounds of candidates throwing their hats into the ring for the new districts-based City Council elections is an interesting twist on the new system which seems destined to include a more “in the weeds” focus for neighborhood issues great — and small. Though people of color are so far not part of the early wave of new candidates, District 3 covering Capitol Hill and Central Seattle neighborhoods includes a women’s rights advocate and an LGBTQ advocate in its ranks. Meanwhile, one of the most successful Socialist Alternative politicians in the nation — and, as noted below, a person of color — is in to win. You can view CHS District 3 coverage here.
- Seattle Transit Advisory Board plan: Tuesday morning, the council’s transportation committee unveiled the legislation to create a Seattle Transit Advisory Board as part of the Prop 1 bus system improvements of the city’s new Transportation Benefits District. “The Advisory Board will serve as a public oversight committee,” a statement on the legislation reads. “The Advisory Board will provide recommendations to the City on the spending of the $45 million, monitor the results of the additional service and provide comments and information relating to any changes that may be needed to Metro bus service.”The board will include 11 members appointed by the council and mayor. After the legislation is adopted by the full council in late February and signed by Mayor Murray, “an application process will be opened for interested Seattle-residing applicants,” according to the announcement.
- Land swaps: Monday, the full council finalized the approval of Council Bill 118320 approving City Light’s donation of land in Yesler Terrace for a park and CB 118321 approving an “exchange of City-owned property at Garfield Playfield for District-owned property adjacent to the Rainier Beach Community Center” and updating the lease for the Garfield Teen Life Center. A public hearing on the transfer will be held later this month. “The exchange has been arranged in order to allow the Parks Department to rebuild and expand the Rainier Beach Community Center in 2012 and the District to rebuild and expand Garfield High School in 2008,” according to the public notice on the transaction.
- Privacy legislation: Seattle privacy advocates are asking citizens to review a draft of City of Seattle privacy principles:
— Seattle Privacy (@SeattlePrivacy) February 5, 2015