Popular on Capitol Hill — and possible mother of the Pike/Pine ‘superblock,’ Mosqueda says she’ll run to keep seat on City Council — not join race for mayor

(Image: City of Seattle)

After leading Seattle through a sometimes fractious effort to begin the process of redirecting the city’s budget from policing to social and community spending in the midst of a summer of Black Lives Matter protests, citywide City Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda announced Wednesday she will seek to retain her seat at City Hall in November’s election ending speculation of a possible run for mayor.

“As we turn the page on a tumultuous period for our City and nation, we need leaders who can bring people together to solve complex problems,” Mosqueda said in her announcement sent to media Wednesday morning. “My team and I have led on major policy initiatives, and delivered impactful change by creating diverse coalitions. There are many challenges ahead as we leave the COVID-19 era; to restart our economy and get people into housing, a proven track record of delivering will be needed. My team and I are ready to do the work.”

CHS reported on Mosqueda’s election to the council in November 2017, calling the Washington State Labor Council lobbyist a worker rights advocate who had focused on immigrant and refugee rights against workplace discrimination. Continue reading

City Council strengthens police accountability subpoena powers — and, they hope, Seattle’s leverage in contract fight with police union

The City of Seattle has new leverage in its upcoming contract fight with the city’s police union. The City Council voted Monday to strengthen the subpoena powers of the Office of Police Accountability and Office of Inspector General.

The legislation passed Monday will empower the offices to subpoena witnesses and officers involved in incidents of reported police misconduct, clarifying the powers that had been weakened in recent SPD union contracts.

“For our civilian-led police accountability system to work, investigators must have access to key information in pursuing misconduct complaints,” said Councilmember Lisa Herbold representing West Seattle and chair of the Public Safety and Human Services Committee. “The City will negotiate aspects of this legislation in the next police union contract to keep us on the path toward realizing true accountability and transparency.” Continue reading

Washington Build Back Black Alliance forms to ‘speak with one voice’ in Olympia at Seattle City Hall

When Paula Sardinas moved to Washington, she noticed that despite lawmakers’ rhetoric, “Black Lives Matter” was not reflected in policy.

Sardinas, president of a government relations firm, said she’s been advocating for equity in Olympia, but has always come up against better-funded special interests, noting specific fights in the cannabis industry that activists have argued has kept out Black business owners. So she asked herself: “How can we create a concentric circle which centers around social and equitable racial justice in policy and bring all the members to the table?”

Sardinas and colleagues hope they have answered this question by forming the Washington Build Back Black Alliance this fall, which includes members from Tacoma to the Tri-Cities, to both develop policies and give feedback on existing legislation that could affect the wellbeing of Black people.

“Every piece of policy we draft we need to ask ourselves one simple question: Does this hurt or advance the cause of Black lives and if it does, how is it helping us to create generational wealth and equity,” Sardinas told CHS this week. “If a bill or piece of legislation doesn’t answer those two questions, then why are we hearing the bill?”

Some elements of the group’s 2021 agenda are already taking shape. Monday, Gov. Jay Inslee unveiled his equity plan for the state’s next budget including “$365M for equity-related decision packages and budget items.”

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City Council passes disclosure rules targeting ‘indirect lobbying’ like Move Seattle Forward

This summer, the Move Seattle Forward group helped organize opposition to the City Council’s efforts to cut back on police spending in the city. it was a slick effort. And it probably helped shape the final budgets that followed.

Monday, the City Council passed new rules based on recommendations from the Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission to clamp down on so-called “indirect lobbying” efforts that shape public opinion without having to disclose who was calling the shots and where the money was coming from. Continue reading

Seattle City Council set to approve $1M no-interest loan to help affordable developer Community Roots Housing overcome COVID-19 losses

The Seattle City Council’s Finance and Housing Committee found little satisfaction Wednesday as it struggled to understand yet another loose end in the Seattle Police Department’s spending but it did make progress in addressing challenges from the COVID-19 crisis faced by the largest provider of affordable housing on Capitol Hill.

The committee voted unanimously Wednesday to extend an up to $1 million, no interest loan to Community Roots Housing as it tries to recover from the financial impact of the pandemic. Continue reading

One and done — Durkan says won’t seek reelection in 2021

After a year battling the COVID-19 crisis and struggling with ongoing Black Lives Matter and anti-police unrest in the city, Jenny Durkan has announced she will not seek reelection after finishing her term as Mayor of Seattle next year.

“I have decided not to run for reelection because Seattle, we still have some tough months ahead,” Durkan said in a video statement on the decision. “I will focus on leading our city as we plan to reopen and distribute a vaccine, support our workers and small businesses, continue reimagining community safety, and addressing challenges like the West Seattle Bridge, homelessness, and climate change.” Continue reading

State Supreme Court will consider appeal in Sawant recall case in January

(Image: @try_thinking0 via Twitter)

December will bring new developments in Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant’s appeal of the recall case against her to the State Supreme Court.

Sawant’s legal team launched the appeal in October following a King County Superior Court judge’s decision that allowed the recall effort against the District 3 representative and longest serving member of the council to move forward.

The Supreme Court is scheduled to take up and decide on the appeal January 7th in a session in which legal briefs from Sawant’s team and lawyers for the Recall Sawant campaign will be considered but there will be no oral arguments. Continue reading

With applications due for $4M next round, 10 Capitol Hill and Central District $10K Seattle small business relief fund grantees weigh in

If you own one of the 9,000 Seattle businesses that applied for a $10,000 city grant early on in the pandemic but weren’t chosen during the first three rounds, there may be hope once again.

Seattle’s Small Business Stabilization Fund, rolled out in March, has now been revitalized as part of the City Council and Mayor Jenny Durkan joint $5.5 million COVID-19 small business relief package passed in August. Of the businesses selected in this upcoming round, at least two thirds must have five employees or less and identify as “high risk of displacement or highly disadvantaged.”

So far, 469 businesses have received grants through this fund and over 60 of them are in District 3 neighborhoods including Capitol Hill and the Central District. The application period for this next round closes on Monday. You can learn more here.

For some Capitol Hill and Central District businesses, the grant was a necessary part of staying afloat during a time when federal and other sources of funding weren’t panning out. For others, it’s just one part of a larger effort to withstand the ongoing pandemic, especially in light of recently  tightened COVID restrictions.

  • SugarPill: The Pine and Broadway apothecary was one of the first businesses to receive a city grant. Owner Karyn Schwartz says it was the first type of governmental funding SugarPill received, coming through at a much needed time when invoices from the previous holiday season were piling up along with rent and payroll. “Without that grant, SugarPill would quite possibly have not survived,” she said. “It was a godsend in the early days of the pandemic.” Situated just down the block from 11th and Pine, she says the grant carried SugarPill through six straight weeks of near total closure as limited capacity shopping and curbside pickup were halted during this summer’s Capitol Hill protest zone. “It provided me, most importantly, with a little extra time to think about my next move, and to do the horrific work of applying for every other kind of assistance with a slightly less paralyzing sense of panic,” Schwartz said. Continue reading

Seattle’s Equitable Development fund awards COVID-19 grants

The City of Seattle has announced $1.77 million in additional grants from its Equitable Development Initiative Fund for “community organizations for projects and programs that respond to displacement pressures.” The new awards are earmarked for “groups that are supporting communities of color and small businesses responding to the devastating economic dislocation caused by the COVID-19 global pandemic,” the city says.

The money will be spread across 36 different organizations. The full list is below.

The fund began its awards in 2018. The COVID-19 funding joins what the city says is about $6 million in boosts that will put three Central District-area properties into community ownership awarded as part of the EDIF’s annual process. Continue reading

Council rejects ‘No New Cops’ bid in 2021 budget, adding to Seattle’s list of #defundSPD compromises

After months of protest and activism for Black Lives Matter causes and defunding the police, the political accomplishments for the movements in Seattle continue to be a work in progress.

Thursday, a bid to freeze any new hiring at the Seattle Police Department next year grown out of the activist-backed “Solidarity Budget” effort and championed by Councilmembers Kshama Sawant and Tammy Morales failed as the council wrapped up a marathon two days of amendments to pound out the city’s final 2021 budget.

A final vote on the budget comes Monday when the hiring issue is unlikely to again hit the table.

The “No New Cops” proposal would have redirected $9 million in officer salaries to social and community service spending Inspired by the Solidarity Budget, a slate of spending proposals from a coalition of community and activist groups, only Morales and Sawant backed the proposed budget amendment Thursday as council president Lorena González and others argued that attrition fears pushed forward by Mayor Jenny Durkan and budget cuts to the department could hinder SPD’s public safety efforts. Continue reading