City Council Notes | 11th Ave construction concerns, homeless encampment hearing, First Hill Streetcar ‘eyebolts’

Here’s a look at this week’s Capitol Hill-centric highlights from the City Council’s chambers:

  • Though the First Hill Streetcar is facing further delays thanks to manufacturing problems with its hybrid trams, the City Council is expected to make progress this week on the project with a rather un-sexy sounding bit of legislation. The Council’s transportation committee this week will take up the First Hill Streetcar Eyebolt Easements Acceptance Ordinance.Screen Shot 2015-02-23 at 4.06.15 PM Continue reading

Sawant leading Capitol Hill forum on LGBTQ hate crime

#caphillpsa poster by Greg Lundgren

#caphillpsa poster by Greg Lundgren

Seattle City Council member and District 3 candidate Kshama Sawant has announced an upcoming forum on LGBTQ-related hate crime on Capitol Hill.

The forum will take place on March 3rd at 7:00 PM in Broadway’s All Pilgrims Church.

Councilmember Sawant’s Town Hall Meeting – End Hate Crime against LGBTQ People! – Find Real Solution on Capitol Hill
WHEN Tuesday, March 3, 2015, 7 p.m.

ADDRESS All Pilgrims Christian Church, 500 Broadway E
Town Hall Description: There has been an alarming spate of hate crimes on Capitol Hill against LGBTQ people. This is outrageous! Our community has long been a bastion of the LGBTQ struggle – not a place where we can’t even feel safe walking home at night.

Join Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant as she hosts a Town Hall, where we’ll hear testimony from those directly affected on the Hill. The discussion will bring LGBTQ activists together with human service providers, housing justice advocates, and public safety representatives. The goal? To find bold and lasting solutions to address the crisis.

“[I]t’s not about drawing blame, but about addressing the fundamental causes of what’s changing on the Hill,” Sawant said. “We’re going to have speakers outline various solution-based points,” said Sawant as she announced the forum at the Capitol Hill Community Council Thursday night.

With statistics and anecdotal accounts pointing to an increase in bias crime incidents and the disturbing, higher profile attacks like the Neighbours arson and the Ahmed Said and Dwone Anderson-Young murders, the are more concerns along with more awareness of the issue. Police increased their presence in Pike/Pine late last summer to address an overall increase in street crimes in the area. Some efforts like the #caphillpsa poster campaign have been formed to also bring more attention to keeping Pike/Pine and Broadway safe for LGBTQ people. Organizers from Social Outreach Seattle say they are also planning a weekend shuttle described as “the most obnoxious, gay van you’ve ever seen in your life.” CHS reports on hate crime incidents can be found here.

Sawant will be on the panel, discussing the economic side of the changing face of Capitol Hill, along with the community council’s vice president Zachary Pullin.

Sawant said that there will be “collective testimonies” from the LGBTQ community — specifically from racial minorities — about hate crimes and safety on Capitol Hill.

“The solutions can’t always be legislated,” Sawant said, “they have to also be something that ordinary people, working people take charge of.” She said that while she and others are organizing the event, she would like the solutions to come from those who are most affected by the issue. The council member also said she wants some “concrete” and “immediately doable” services to be identified to help better serve the LGBTQ community, particularly the trans community, so that public funding appropriations can get underway.


City Council Notes | Renters advocate enters race, city forming Seattle Transit Advisory Board

Here’s a look at this week’s Capitol Hill-centric highlights from the City Council’s chambers:

  • Grant (Image: Tenants Union of Washington State)

    Grant (Image: Tenants Union of Washington State)

    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:Screen Shot 2015-02-10 at 10.38.52 AMThe announcement outlines his platform with a set of priorities that will likely please many renters: Continue reading

Council considers using eminent domain, land bank to bail out underwater mortgages

Compared to other major cities, Seattle’s housing market is rebounding wonderfully since the 2007 crash and Capitol Hill properties fare much better than in the rest of the city. But there are still thousands of residents facing foreclosure or struggling to pay mortgages higher than the value of their home. And the next bump in the economy — whenever it may come — could drag thousands more down with it.

The Seattle City Council’s Housing, Human Service, Health, and Culture Committee passed a resolution Wednesday that would enable City Hall to study how to use public resources, including eminent domain, to save underwater mortgages. The resolution now moves on to the full council.

Several homeowners who faced foreclosure or underwater mortgages spoke in favor of the city getting directly involved with reducing mortgage principals. “If my husband lost his job we’d be on the streets, the banks won’t give us a chance,” said Joelle Craft, a mother of three and volunteer with Washington Community Action Network.

Continue reading

City Council plan would target Seattle leaf blower noise

Autumn Sidewalk, originally uploaded by sea turtle.

Buried in the line items of the Seattle City Council’s changes for the 2014 budget is a “Statement of Legislative Intent” that will make Capitol Hill resident Dan Savage very, very happy. “The Council requests that the Department of Planning and Development (DPD),” it reads, “provide recommendations describing options for regulations and incentives to reduce or eliminate leaf blower noise and emissions in Seattle.”

Amen, sister.

The statement, part of the process to declare potential planning that could impact a department’s budget, provides DPD with six requirements for the final recommendations:

  1. Evaluate the older models of leaf blowers still in use in Seattle and the new models available for sale in Seattle to identify the noise and emissions associated with those models. Continue reading

City Council talks public finance of Council elections, hears from SDOT on ‘time of day’ parking pricing

    • The Seattle Districts Now plan

      The Seattle Districts Now plan

      The City Council will hold a public hearing Monday to discuss proposed legislation to put public campaign finance for Council election on Seattle’s November ballot with goals of increasing electoral competitiveness, reducing financial barriers to running for office and increasing the role of small donors. The 2:30 PM hearing will be the first public discussion of the program that would raise about $1.5 million a year from a proposed property tax, according to the Seattle Times. To qualify for the financing, a City Council candidate would need to attract “a minimum of 600 donors of $10 or more” in the election year up to the end of the filing period.

    • Also gearing up for November’s ballot, Seattle Districts Now, the group that has been working to gather signatures to put its initiative to transform Seattle’s City Council into a district-based structure, say it has surpassed its goal and will be turning in its roster this week. “Seattle Districts Now will be presenting over 45,000 signatures on petitions to the City Clerk to place City Charter Amendment 19 on the November 5 ballot.  Only 30,943 signatures are required,” a statement sent to media Sunday night read. CHS wrote about the district effort here last fall.

      2012's adjusted parking rates will get an update later this sumer

      2012’s adjusted parking rates will get an update later this sumer

    • SDOT’s parking managers will brief the Council’s transportation committee Tuesday on the city’s efforts to continue moving toward “performance-base” pricing for street parking. The presentation will explain how SDOT works to “adjust rates higher or lower in neighborhood parking areas based on measured occupancy so that approximately one or two open spaces are available on each blockface throughout the day” — with an emphasis on throughout the day. According to the presentation, SDOT won’t consider moving to adjusting its rates based on “time of day” until 2014 or 2015. The department’s annual study of parking trends in the city is expected later this month.
How "other cities" handle target occupancies, time of day segments (Images: SDOT)

How “other cities” handle target occupancies, time of day segments (Images: SDOT)

Civic Duty | City Hall to fly Pride flag (for two days), final pot plan, Uber rules, RPZ changes?

The Pride flag flew from the Space Needle in 2010

The Pride flag flew from the Space Needle in 2010

  • Long may she wave: The Pride flag will fly above City Hall June 1st to celebrate the start of Pride 2013:

    Mayor Mike McGinn announced today that the Pride Flag will be flown on the City Hall flagpole for the first time on June 1st, to celebrate the beginning of Gay Pride month at a 3:30 pm event at Seattle City Hall. This historic ceremony will be hosted by the Seattle LGBT Commission. The flag will also be raised on the day of the Pride Parade itself, on Sunday June 30th.

    “The Pride flag is a symbol that represents Seattle’s longstanding commitment to equality”, said Mayor McGinn. “By flying the flag over Seattle City Hall we honor that commitment to leading by example in the march toward equal rights for all.”

  • Seattle pot plan finalized: The Council’s Housing, Human Services, Health and Culture Committee last week agreed on legislation that creates zoning for the growing, manufacturing and retailing of recreational marijuana in Seattle. The full Council will vote on the plan at its June 3rd session.
  • Uber rules? The City Council is also considering how the proliferation of technology-enabled ride share and vehicle rental programs should be regulated in the city. You can review a recent presentation on the status of the services in the area here as the Council ponders possible rule sets related to safety, pricing and driver regulation.8868293235_f2cc9fbc70_b
  • “Take the money out of Seattle politics” — A public hearing will be held this afternoon (Tuesday, May 28th) on proposed legislation to enable the public financing of campaigns in Seattle. The Council has been pushing forward on a plan since the start of the year. “The proposal would, for example, give candidates who raise $15,000 in small contributions of $10 to $25 each a four-to-one match of public money,” according to KPLU.
  • RPZ stickers for employees? As hard as it can be to find available street parking near the Capitol Hill core for residents, people who work here can be doubly challenged by the many Restricted Parking Zones designed to open up space for people who live on the edges of the neighborhood’s commercial centers. Publicola reports that the City Council’s transportation committee is considering changes to the zones that would open up the stickering process to employees — but don’t expect things to change on the Hill:

Rasmussen says the legislation factors in that concern, by requiring SDOT to consider whether a neighborhood has easy and plentiful access to transit.

“If a neighborhood is well-served by transit, such as Capitol Hill, then it’s highly unlikely that that would be one of the neighborhoods that would get permits,” he says. Additionally, areas like 15th Ave. on Capitol Hill near Group Health, which operates 24 hours a day, probably wouldn’t be eligible for permits because the residents-out-employees-in daytime model wouldn’t work there.

Reminder: City Council coming our way to talk microhousing

Screen-shot-2013-04-19-at-11.26.03-AM (1)

This map presented at the April hearing shows that, yes, Capitol Hill has a lot of microhousing planned

Whether it riles you up, makes you cringe, or makes you ZZZZzzzz, Capitol Hill has become the center of debate in the City of Seattle’s march toward increased regulation of microhousing development.

Monday night, the City Council comes to First Hill to offer more testimony and collect more public feedback as legislation to create a more stringent review process for the projects is considered.

Here’s what went down at the first hearing in April.

City Council micro-housing development discussion

May 6, 2013 – 6:00 pm @ 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM

Seattle First Baptist Church Fellowship Hall (downstairs) — on First Hill
1111 Harvard Avenue
Seattle,WA 98122