Budgeting with Lorena // Tunnel 99 // Booktoberfest is here!

October 4th, 2018

Budgeting with Lorena

The Seattle City Council’s budget deliberations are in full swing! Mayor Jenny A. Durkan delivered her 2019-2020 proposed budget to the Seattle City Council on September 24, 2018. I remain committed to sharing with my constituents accessible information about the City Council’s budget deliberations and my budget priorities.

To that end, we hope you have been watching our “Budgeting with Lorena” videos to help walk you through the most pressing items proposed in the City of Seattle’s 2019-2020 budget.

And in case you missed last week’s episode, you can watch it here!

Please continue to submit your budget questions. 

Episode 3 will be out next week!

ICYMI: #REALIGN99 Tunnel Changes

Many Seattle residents and workers have been anticipating the closure of the Alaskan Way Viaduct. While originally slated to close in October 2018, the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) recently announced that the closure will now occur on January 11, 2019. This closure will be one the longest major highway closures to ever hit the Puget Sound Region and Seattle in particular.

Now is a great time to begin planning for this closure and avoid contributing to the anticipated gridlock. Here is how you can think about changing your commute patterns:

  • Shift your travel time to avoid the busiest times on the roadway
  • Bike or walk to work or school
  • Start or join a carpool, vanpool or vanshare
  • Start a telecommute program for employees
  • Use transit, particularly light rail and the King County Water Taxi
  • Stay off the road: work from home, postpone discretionary trips, take time off

Be prepared for your new route when the closure ends and the new tunnel opens.

If you need access to this information in Spanish, Chinese, Vietnamese or Somali, click here!

Seattle Public Library Booktoberfest is Here!

How is it October already?! To kick off the month of all things spooky, our Seattle librarians are returning to your favorite bars and pubs for Booktoberfest, an SPL annual celebration of books, beer and good cheer. Join them for bookish happy hours, librarian-hosted trivia nights, spooky stories in bars and libraries, a Northwest literary survival kit, karaoke, vampire movies and more!

View the Booktoberfest calendar here!

Share


Budgeting with Lorena

September 24th, 2018

Today is the start of the budget season. The City Council is required by law to pass a balanced budget, which is how we outline city priorities and show you, the taxpayers, how we are spending your tax dollars on city services.

Each week, I’ll be sharing with you an inside look at how the city’s budget is formed, and why you should care about how your tax dollars are being spent.

Watch the video below for my budget priorities, and how you can engage with my office and in the budget process.

Share


Back to School; Free ORCA Cards for Students; Free Health Care Clinic; Budgeting with Lorena

September 14th, 2018

September Means #BackToSchool!

Congratulations to all of the students who returned to school this month!  And a mighty congratulations to Seattle Public Schools and the Seattle Education Association on reaching an agreement on a new teachers’ contract.

To celebrate the kick off of another school year, my office delivered more than 20 backpacks and #BackToSchool supplies for Seattle students to YWCA.

Every year, thanks to generous donations from YWCA supporters, the YWCA provides nearly 2,000 backpacks, with much needed school supplies, to every child in its program, from kindergarteners to high school seniors.

We appreciated the opportunity to give back to our community in this manner and want to give a special thank you to Sunrise Identity, who donated the backpacks! Thanks also go to our City Council Communications team and Councilmember Rob Johnson’s office for participating!

Click here to open Seattle Public Schools’ 2018-2019 Academic Calendar.

 

ICYMI: Free ORCA Cards for All Public High School Students Now Available

Thanks to the leadership of Mayor Durkan, Councilmember Rob Johnson (Dist. 4, Northeast Seattle) and Councilmember Mike O’Brien (Dist. 6, Northwest Seattle), the ORCA Opportunity program will provide free ORCA passes beginning this year to all high school students at Seattle Public Schools and Seattle Promise scholars!

The pass provides students unlimited access to public transportation throughout the year.  ORCA Opportunity will continue to allow free ORCA cards for eligible middle school students enrolled in Seattle Public Schools that are not eligible for an ORCA card from the Seattle Public Schools.

If your high school student still needs their free ORCA card or if you have questions about the program, please email YouthORCA@seattle.gov or call 206-256-ORCA (6722).

Thank you to our partners at Seattle Public Schools, King County Metro, Seattle Colleges and the Seattle Department of Transportation for their work to make this a reality.

FREE Medical, Vision & Dental Clinic in 1 Week!

In just one week, volunteers with the Seattle/King County Clinic will convene healthcare organizations, civic agencies, non-profits, private businesses and volunteers from across the State of Washington to produce a free health clinic at the KeyArena at Seattle Center. The four-day volunteer-driven clinic provides a full range of free dental, vision and medical care to underserved and vulnerable populations in the region.

The upcoming clinic is scheduled for September 20–23, 2018 at the KeyArena at Seattle Center located at 305 Harrison Street, Seattle, WA 98109.

Patients seeking care should know the following:

  1. All are welcome! Patients DO NOT need ID or proof of immigration status
  2. Limited number of admission tickets distributed at 5:00 AM each day in the tent on Fisher Pavilion at Seattle Center (corner of 2nd Ave N & Thomas St)
  3. One ticket per person, good for that day only
  4. Tent opens at 12:30 AM each day
  5. Patents admitted to Clinic in KeyArena starting at 6:30 AM in ticket number order
  6. Highest demand for tickets is Saturday & Sunday
  7. No advance registration: FIRST-COME, FIRST-SERVED
  8. Patients cannot receive dental and vision care in the same day
  9. FREE PARKING in two locations:
    1. 1st Ave Garage, 220 1st Ave N
    2. Mercer St. Garage, 650 3rd Ave N
  10. Come prepared for a long day with food, comfortable clothing, and any daily medications
  11. See flyers linked below for additional details

Prospective patients can click here for a one pager to learn more about the clinic.  All materials and information are available in multiple languages here.

Coming Soon: Budgeting with Lorena

Budget season is right around the corner! And that means a lot of things: long meetings, confusing acronyms, and the deliberation of our 2019-2020 Biennium City Budget.

My office wants to make this budget season as easy to digest as possible. With that said, I’m excited to introduce our new project in the next couple of weeks: Budgeting with Lorena!  Each week, I hope to answer your budget questions, provide you with a brief overview of what to expect in the week to come, and give you the NEED-TO-KNOW information items.

Click here to start submitting your budget questions. Our first episode will be posted on September 24th — stay tuned!

Ask Your Budget Questions

Share


Education Levy, Summer Lunch Program, and Goodbye to a Member of our Team

June 14th, 2018

Families, Education, Preschool, and Promise Levy Ordinance

On Monday, June 11, the Seattle City Council unanimously passed revised CB 119258 out of the Select Committee for Families, Education, Preschool, and Promise Levy. The revised package proposed by my committee co-chair, Councilmember Rob Johnson (District 4, Northeast Seattle) and I, reflects a proposal that investment in preschool, K-12, and postsecondary education.  These education investments,build a strong pipeline to help Seattle’s kids get onto and stay on a path of academic success and achievement.

At a Glance: The proposed Families, Education, Preschool and Promise Levy would:

  1. Expand access to preschool by nearly 1,000 children per year by the 2025-26 school year to serve a total of 15,000 three and four year olds;
  2. Continue K-12 and community-based investments, including funding four new student health centers, supports for students experiencing homelessness and increasing teacher diversity in our classrooms;
  3. Create the Seattle Promise to allow public high school graduates to attend Seattle Colleges to obtain a college or postsecondary degree; and

We have created an infographic to help you learn more about Council’s Revised FEPP levy proposal. The Full Council will take a final vote on this legislation on Monday, June 18th at 2:00 pm.

Team Lorena Bids Farewell to Brianna Thomas

It is true: all good things must come to an end. This week Team Lorena is saying farewell to our Senior Legislative Aide, Brianna Thomas! A few months ago, we received the wonderful news that Brianna was accepted into the prestigious Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government graduate program.  After deciding to take a year deferral, Brianna will be leaving our office to further sharpen her skills and talents as the Chief of Staff at the new Office of Inspector General for Public Safety.

The work of my office would be impossible to accomplish without dedicated public servants, like Brianna.  She has been a core member of #TeamLorena for my entire time in office (2 ½ years!).  Her contributions to the work of my office and the residents of Seattle have been remarkable and steadfast.

Brianna was the lead legislative aide on secure scheduling, which provides thousands of minimum-wage restaurant and retail workers relief from unpredictable scheduling practices.  Brianna also worked countless hours on the community-driven Police Accountability Ordinance that established a historic civilian accountability framework to continue our city’s ongoing police reform efforts.

Schools Out, but Summer Meals aren’t!

Every summer, The City of Seattle funds a summer meal program, providing no-cost breakfasts, lunches, and snacks for kids and teens ages 1-18 years old at locations throughout the entire city. This year’s summer meals program runs from Tuesday, June 26, 2018, through August 24, 2018.

Click here to find the summer meals site nearest you!

 

Share


Seattle Stands United

February 6th, 2018

This past weekend, the City of Seattle, in partnership with dozens of community-based organizations and coalitions, hosted Seattle United for Immigrants and Refugees Mega-Workshop where 491 legal permanent residents received citizenship assistance and 535 people received immigration legal consultations. The event brought together 800 volunteers to provide a meaningful service for many of our neighbors pursuing their American Dream.

The efforts and outcomes that went into Saturday’s mega-workshop are Seattle values in action as a welcoming, inclusive, and safe City against a backdrop of unprecedented and troubling changes in immigration enforcement by the federal administration’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency. From multiple ‘Muslim Bans’ to revoking protected status for DREAMers or individuals from TPS countries like El Salvador and Haiti; this administration continues to abuse its power to make immigrants and refugees feel like targets, unwelcomed, and unwanted.

The increase in ICE threats, activities, arrests, and raids is deeply concerning. This direction by ICE undermines the public safety of our city by undermining trust between community and all law enforcement. We have a duty to ensure public safety and protect all of our residents and workers in Seattle from increased, unjust enforcement actions. We believe it is possible to prioritize public safety and follow federal law, as the Department of Justice has already ruled that our actions as a Welcoming City is in compliance with federal laws.

In the few weeks of 2018 thus far, we have already seen stories of both sensitive data of immigrant residents being shared with ICE and increased ICE enforcement activity across the country. This has created an urgency that we, as a City, must be more pro-active and add another layer of protection for our immigrant residents and workers. We are working to create robust protocols for all City departments because not only will this bolster public safety but we believe every resident, regardless of their status, should be able to do everyday activities like call 9-1-1, visit the library, or access our City’s services knowing that they are protected.

Seattle’s laws are clear that no City employee is permitted to ask the immigration status of our residents or of those accessing City services. To strengthen this law, today a Mayoral directive was issued to create a clear process for any and all requests by ICE authorities to the City of Seattle. All requests from ICE to any City Department must be directed to the Mayor’s Office legal counsel in coordination with the City Attorney’s office for further assessment on the merit of the request. This includes access to non-public areas in City buildings and venues as well as data or information requests about City employees, residents, or workers.

In addition, the City of Seattle, in coordination with City Council, is conducting an assessment of City policies and practices – including but not limited to employment, law enforcement, public safety, IT, and social service delivery.  The purpose of this assessment is to ensure compliance with our City’s current laws. This will also help us gain a better understanding of procedures or best practices by departments to ensure interaction with this administration’s federal immigration enforcement keep our residents and workers safe.

The changing direction of ICE enforcement is designed to distract and drain resources from real public safety threats with an explicit outcome of causing widespread fear and uncertainty for all immigrants in their daily lives. Let’s be clear: we won’t be bullied and we stand with our immigrant communities because it is who we as a City. Together, we will keep working to fight injustice and ensure that immigrants and refugees feel welcome in Seattle.

Read the letter from Councilmember Lorena González and Mayor Jenny Durkan here.

***

If you believe you are seeing an enforcement action taking place, report it to the Washington Immigrant Solidarity Network hotline at 1-844-RAID-REP (1-844-724-3737). To sign up for text message alerts regarding immigration raid activity in Washington, text JOIN to (253) 201-2833. Resources, in multiple languages, to Know Your Rights can be found at: OneAmerica, Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, or with civil rights organizations like ACLU.

Share


Why I plan to support Kirsten Harris-Talley for Council Position 8

October 6th, 2017

For almost 15 years, I have worked on championing civil rights for the people of Seattle and Washington State. That work has included advocating for an inclusive work force, suing large corporations and government when anti-discrimination laws were violated and mentoring young people of color, especially women of color. Indeed, in my office, three of my aides are highly-qualified, young women of color. But this is not about identity. It’s about extending opportunity and recognizing the intrinsic and often undervalued skills of women in the work force. We live our values of equity by ensuring that we bring these different lived experiences into the halls of power.

Ms. Harris-Talley is a remarkable candidate that I believe is well-equipped to quickly learn and study our budget process. Budgeting and making complex decisions about how to prioritize limited resources is not new to Ms. Harris-Talley. As the Program Director at Progress Alliance, she has ten years of experience in program and organizational development and evaluation. Part of our budgeting process is evaluating the effectiveness of the programs we fund and how we can shift funding to create the greatest impact for those with the greatest need.

Additionally, her work has focused on building capacity within community to bolster engagement, education, and policy advocacy for racial and reproductive justice.  Supporting and funding capacity building programs are efforts that I have in the prior budget cycle funded and intend to fund again this cycle.

As one of the newer council members, I can attest to the complex nature of the budget process. However, these are not insurmountable challenges. With the aid of my able staff, Central Staff and the City Budget Office, I was able to successfully advance virtually every single budget proposal I submitted for the 2017-2018 biennium budget. I know that Ms. Harris-Talley is capable of rising to the same challenge.

In spite of Ms. Harris-Talley’s love of karaoke, I am proud to support a fellow woman of color as my next colleague on the Seattle City Council. I urge my colleagues to join me.

 

Share


I Believe in You, I Believe in Us

November 21st, 2016

Friends,

It’s been almost two weeks since we found out who the 45th President of the United States will be. In the wake of the presidential election, many members of our community have expressed fear and concern with the uncertainty of how this new president will govern based on the divisive language he used and the policy proposals he advocated for during his campaign. Accordingly, many of us have already started organizing around what we can do in the wake of potential federal policy proposals with daunting and real implications for our communities, particularly immigrants, refugees, women, Muslims and the LGBTQ community. In the coming weeks and months, my priority is to work with community to advance local policies and advocate for federal policies that will continue to protect these communities. As Chair of the Gender Equity, Safe Communities and New Americans committee, I will be doubling down on my work to ensure each and every Seattle resident feels safe and respected.

To my brothers and sisters in the struggle for immigrant rights, I continue to stand in solidarity with you. I take my role in this historic moment in our struggle for justice very seriously not because I’m an elected official, but because my own parents first emigrated to the U.S. from Mexico as undocumented immigrants before adjusting their status and, in my mother’s case, becoming a naturalized U.S. citizen. Just after the election I stood with the Mayor as he announced our City’s continued commitment to protecting immigrant and refugee communities. I wholeheartedly stand by the Mayor’s pledge to continue enforcing our own policies that prohibit our employees, including police, and contracted providers from inquiring about a person’s immigration status. Our city will continue to provide critical human, public safety and health and human services regardless of immigration status.

My office has received many inquiries related to resources for immigrants and refugees, in that spirit, I share with you some valuable, bilingual resources for the immigrant and refugee community that can be shared with your networks.

I look forward to partnering with community and other elected leaders to provide all Seattle residents’ unfettered opportunities to succeed in our community.

Resources for members of the immigrant and refugee community:

 

A budget we can be proud of:

While the aftermath of the election was unfolding, here at City Hall we continued to craft a budget for 2017-2018 that reflects Seattle’s values of equity. Today, that budget passed with majority support.

This budget was my first budget cycle as a councilmember. My priorities included investments in public safety, housing, paid family leave, and support for immigrants, refugees, non-English speakers, LGBTQ youth and seniors, and domestic and sexual assault survivors.

Here are a few highlights but you can check out my website for a full list of budget items that I championed on behalf of community.

  • Public Safety.  Making sure that residents of South Park and Chinatown-International District have the resources they need to spur community-driven public safety improvements.  For South Park, that means the creation of a Special Task Force to provide the City with concrete policy recommendations that will improve overall public safety and livability of that neighborhood.
  • Housing.  Funding an affordable housing needs assessment analysis for LGBTQ seniors and funding resources for development of a homeless youth housing project to ensure some of our most vulnerable neighbors have access to stable housing and the services they need.
  • Paid Family Leave.  Advancing the City’s paid family leave benefits by funding a paid parental benefits coordinator at the Seattle Department of Human Resources, who will help City employees navigate benefits available to them when there is a birth of a child or a family member becomes ill.
  • Immigrants & Refugees. Ensuring that immigrants and refugees become New Americans by increasing the funding for the Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs Citizenship Workshops.  These workshops will help eligible immigrants to naturalize and further integrate into our democracy by registering to vote and voting.
  • Survivors of Domestic & Sexual Violence.  Funding four mobile advocates for survivors of domestic and sexual violence and a legal navigator at the King County Courthouse. These budget actions will allocate funds to directly assist survivors of domestic and sexual violence through the labyrinth of the legal and social services system, which can be very confusing and burdensome in an already stressful and uncertain moment for survivors.

As a whole, I believe that our 2017-2018 budget demonstrates bold and creative action towards investing in our community by prioritizing the needs of working families and underrepresented communities. Thank you to all of those that participated in the year’s budget by meeting with me, my staff, attending public comment or sending us a note.  Your continued engagement is valued.

 

Wow; it’s been a year!

Can you believe that it’s been a year since I’ve had the privilege of serving as your councilmember? I can’t either!  It feels auspicious that this year Thanksgiving falls on the same day I was sworn in to be the first Latina to serve on the Seattle City Council.  And, in spite of the work that has yet to be completed, we have much to be thankful for here in Seattle.  Perhaps, my colleague Councilmember Debora Juarez (Dist. 5) said it best when she said that on this Thanksgiving Day we should pray for the struggle of our Native communities who are fighting every day to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline Project.  Here in Seattle we are finding new ways to celebrate Native communities and today the Council proclaimed November to be Native American Heritage Month.

On the eve of my one-year anniversary in office, I want to convey my gratitude to the people who have made this year one of immense growth and success. In 12 short months, thanks to your support and counsel, we:

  1. Became the second major city to pass a secure scheduling ordinance;
  2. Banned the practice of so-called “conversion” therapy on minor children;
  3. Proposed an expansion of the City’s paid parental leave policies to add more weeks and coverage for paid family leave; and,
  4. Submitted the City’s proposed police accountability and reform legislation to the U.S. District Court.

None of this would have been possible without my City family.  Many of you have had the pleasure of working with my staff and interns.  This work is one of love and it could not be done without the dedication to public service exemplified by my team: Orlando Cano, Cori Simmons, Cody Reiter, Brianna Thomas, Genevieve Jones, Cory Dahl and Roxana Gomez.

I also want to thank so many of you for inspiring me to do this work every day.  In the last two weeks we have seen how this community mobilizes into action to express our love of community and our collective resilience. There was a legal clinic and vigil at El Centro, people encircling Greenlake, peaceful protests by students and local leaders getting together to determine #WhatWeMustDoNow. And tonight I’ll be going to Rainier Vista at the request of eight young, powerful Muslim women to talk about where we go from here.

Combined, these efforts demonstrate that we remain committed to protecting one another and our shared values. Moreover, people who have never participated in politics are taking it upon themselves to understand and involve themselves in the civic fabric that weaves our lives together. I tell you with full confidence that we have the networks of support and resilience necessary to meet the coming challenges. I am certain that we will strengthen an already powerful movement that is based in our values of opportunity, safety and equity for all.  And for that I am very thankful.

In gratitude and solidarity,

Lorena

Share


You City Dollars at Work

November 7th, 2016

With the fall days getting darker and darker we’ve been burning the midnight oil at City Hill to craft a budget that is attuned to the needs of all Seattleites. As we head into another round of negotiations I want to give you a quick update of where we are in the process, and my priorities for the budget.

Where we are:

The 2017-2018 Budget approval process officially began with the Mayor’s Budget Address on September 26th. Since then we have been analyzing the Mayor’s proposals, meeting with countless advocates to hear community needs, establishing our priorities and crafting them into proposals. On November 2nd the Budget Committee Chair, Councilmember Burgess, presented his work reconciling all initial requests into one big balancing package. Additional proposals and ones that did not make it into the Initial Balancing Package were submitted last Friday. This week we will be discussing this second round of submissions. The week thereafter we will vote on the Revised Balancing Package. On November 21st we will cast the final vote on the 2017-2018 Budget. The Proposed Budget, full calendar and documents database reside here if you want to learn more: http://www.seattle.gov/council/committees/select-budget-committee.

budgetcalendar

 

My proposals included in the Initial Balancing Package:

Chinatown-International District (CID) Public Safety Coordinator

($75,000 in 2017 / $75,000 in 2018)
As Chair of the committee that oversees public safety I took this year’s CID Public Safety Task Force recommendations to heart. One of their top priorities was the funding of a public safety coordinator who would act as a liaison with the City, advocate for the community, help determine appropriate action for daily public safety/human service situations, and build trust between non/limited English speaking residents, small businesses, community organizations and the police. The public safety coordinator would also serve as co-chair of the CID Steering Committee formed in response to the CID Public Safety Task Force recommendations.

 

CID Public Safety Surveys

($20,000 in 2017 / $20,000 in 2018)
This project, also a recommendation of the CID Public Safety Task Force, would provide funds to contract with a local community based organization and partner with an academic institution to perform culturally competent public safety surveys in the CID, including Little Saigon. The surveys will provide data to help the City make informed policy decisions on public safety matters facing the CID. For example, a similar study conducted in early 2016 by two local community development associations found that respondents did not report witnessing a crime to the police 73% of the time for non-violent crimes and 60% of the time for violent crimes.

 

Danny Woo Park Improvements

($200,000 in 2017 / $200,000 in 2018)
Danny Woo garden is a historic community hub in the CID. The 1.5 acre garden contains at least 88 plots that are cared for and cultivated by Asian and Pacific Islander immigrant residents of the neighborhood. It serves as an important part of these individual’s lives, giving them purpose, an opportunity to exercise and way to engage with their neighbors. Originally, established in 1975 it’s in need of some TLC. Some of the proposed improvements include new native drought tolerant plantings, multi-lingual interpretive signage and infrastructure updates for pathways, stairways and retaining walls using sustainable practices.

 

Paid Parental Leave Benefits Coordinator for Municipal Workers

($144,050 in 2017 / $148,369 in 2018)
This budget action would provide funding to the Seattle Department of Human Resources (SDHR) for one full time Strategic Advisor who would work as a benefits coordinator. This position would help implement the City’s paid leave benefits including paid parental leave, sick leave, and vacation, consistently across City departments and help employees understand and coordinate their leave benefits.

 

Mobile Advocates for Survivors of DVSA

($491,000 in 2017 / $491,000 in 2018)
Unfortunately, we are all too aware that 1 in 5 women, and 1 in 7 men have been severely physically abused by an intimate partner (National Coalition Against Domestic Violence). This budget action would allocate funds to the Human Services Department (HSD) for four full time, mobile advocates to assist survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault (DVSA). As a member of the Domestic Violence Prevention Council and someone who has represented survivors it is abundantly clear to me that we need advocates that are adaptive to the needs of survivors. This means advocates who can provide individualized, flexible, and mobile assistance within survivors’ chosen communities; work directly with landlords and public housing authorities to expand options for survivors; and use a trauma-informed lens to respond to survivors’ and children’s needs related not only to past victimization but ongoing threats, sabotage and violence.

 

Legal Navigator at King County Courthouse

($76,000 in 2017 / $76,000 in 2018)
This navigator would be the point person in the downtown King County Courthouse to both assess the victim’s civil legal needs and refer them to a civil legal aid provider to provide legal assistance as appropriate to the victim’s needs and circumstances. This would include on-site legal consultation, assistance, and/or “day of” representation for DVSA survivors. Additional services may include legal clinics to provide training, assistance, and support for survivors, advocates, and attorneys on domestic violence protection order declarations, sexual assault protection orders, family law, immigration law, assistance with U Visas and related, referrals to other agencies and attorneys network. The goal is to serve 500 Seattle residents in the initial 12 month period.

 

Increase in Juror Pay

($61,770 ongoing)
This budget action would increase appropriations to the Seattle Municipal Court on an on-going basis to allow the Court to increase juror pay from $10 to $25 per day. This is especially important because while Seattle has recently fought for and won a higher minimum wage, juror pay has remained frozen for decades. Increasing juror pay is necessary to ensuring that the Court is able to assemble a jury that is truly made up of our community’s peers.

 

Democracy Vouchers Outreach!

(No budget action, just a Statement of Legislative Intent)
This Statement of Legislative Intent would ask the Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission (SEEC), in collaboration with OIRA and Department of Neighborhoods (DON), to identify and report on best practices related to outreach to Legal Permanent Residents (LPRS) and limited English proficient residents regarding the Democracy Vouchers program. With the passage of Initiative 122, the SEEC now administers the Democracy Voucher program, a public campaign financing program with funding provided by a voter-approved levy. Consistent with the language of Initiative 122, LPRs are eligible to opt in to the program, receive Democracy Vouchers and assign their vouchers to participating candidates, but unlike registered voters will not automatically receive vouchers under the Initiative. The report, due to Council by April 15, 2017, would identify a plan to ensure LPRs and limited English proficient residents are fully included in the Democracy Voucher program.

 

My additional proposals:

Home and Hope

($200,000 in 2017 / $200,000 in 2018)
This three year project aims to transform vacant or underutilized tax-exempt sites owned by public agencies and not-for-profit organizations into well-located, quality affordable housing and mixed-use, public benefit development projects. Specifically these funds would produce an inventory and functional database of properties that possess suitable elements for development in the near future; organize community partners and build their capacity to develop the sites as well as coordinate the necessary negotiations between the partners and the public agency that owns the property; and support the delivery of one or two sites in 2017 and an estimated 3 sites per year starting in 2018. Within 5 years we would expect to develop enough sites to produce at least 1500 units of affordable housing.
OIRA Citizenship Workshop

($150,000 in 2017 / $150,000 in 2018)
To meet the demand for citizenship services among the estimated 70,000 eligible Seattle residents OIRA’s New Citizen Campaign would provide expanded, free services through a “mega workshop” for up to 1,000 eligible residents, as well as monthly clinics and work-site programs. The immense success of their first citizenship workshop in October, and increased demand for the next workshop on December 4th, demonstrates the need for further funding.

 

If you would like to provide your input on the budget you are welcome to offer public comment at upcoming budget committee meetings, send me an e-mail or call my office.

Share


Revisiting the North Precinct Project

September 15th, 2016

I continue to believe that the existing North Precinct police station must be replaced to meet the needs of North Seattle residents and the operational needs of North Precinct officers. However, after reviewing hundreds of pages and hearing from a wide variety of community members, it is clear that we must take a step back from the North Precinct project. This is the only way the City can have a meaningful impact on the design and significantly reduce the cost of a new police precinct. Hitting pause to re-evaluate the costs of this project is the only acceptable path forward if the City is truly committed to using our finite resources responsibly.

We need to explore establishing an Expert Review Panel that would be charged with fiscal oversight of this project. We also need to explore contracting a project manager with deep experience in delivering complex, public safety facilities and public financing models.

Since mid-August, I have continued to hear from a variety of community members who continue to express the need for increased police resources in North Seattle but have concerns regarding the cost, design and scope of this proposed precinct. That input, the cost and my growing concerns about the prior lack of project oversight and public process, has lead me to the conclusion that the only responsible next step is to return to the drawing board.

Share


Councilmember González’ Statement on Introduction of Encampment Legislation

September 6th, 2016

Councilmember Lorena González issued the following statement regarding today’s upcoming decision to introduce legislation to revise the City’s encampment clear out policy:

“In two months, the City of Seattle will be recognizing the one-year anniversary of the declaration of a State of Emergency on Homelessness.  Sadly, in the almost twelve months since that declaration, we are only slightly closer to making homelessness a one-time, short-lived experience. There are many reasons for a lack of progress, but it’s clear that the City’s current protocols on managing outdoor unsanctioned homeless encampments have come up short.  Status quo is not acceptable. A new strategy for managing the growing encampments crisis in our city has never been more urgent.

“Today, I will vote in favor of introducing legislation that refers to the Human Services & Public Health Committee potential standards for when and how encampment sweeps may occur and requires the City either provide housing options or an alternative legal encampment location before evicting residents. The legislation was developed in consultation with advocacy organizations and homeless service providers who have direct experience in case management for the unsheltered, including the Seattle/King County Coalition on Homelessness, ACLU of Washington, Columbia Legal Services, Public Defender Association, Seattle Community Law Association, Real Change, and people experiencing homelessness. It is my expectation that this proposed legislation will undergo a robust legislative process that will include community engagement with businesses, neighborhood groups and homeless service providers. Introduction of this bill is not the final destination. It is, however, a bookend in the conversation I expect will unfold over the next several weeks.

“Simultaneously, the Mayor’s Unsanctioned Encampments Cleanup Protocols Task Force is a volunteer group of homeless and human services advocates, neighborhood groups and business owners who are meeting, on an expedited basis, to develop recommendations for new encampment clean up protocols. The Mayor has indicated that the task force will complete its work by the end of the month, and I believe that the task force’s recommendations will further assist in shaping this initial bill.

“September will be a busy month as we concurrently consider the legislation and the Mayor’s Task Force’s findings, and, although some may see both options working at cross-purposes, it’s my belief that these efforts will complement, not contradict, each other. By introducing the legislation today, we’re not precluding amendments from City Council or from the Mayor.

“As I consider the options for how to humanely deal with the almost 3,000 people living outside in Seattle, I also commit to listening to community concerns about the full spectrum of options that will come before City Council this month.

“I want to thank the volunteers on the Mayor’s Task Force, the Mayor and Councilmember Sally Bagshaw for their continued leadership in finding a balance that is swift, humane and sustainable.”

Share


© 1995-2016 City of Seattle