MAKING IT WORK
The purpose of this newsletter is to provide information, inspire involvement, and make things work in this great city.
COUNCIL PRIORITIES FOR 2009
On Monday, January 12, before an overflow crowd at the Council Chambers, the Council announced its priorities for 2009. The City Council priorities are the issues that we must and will focus on to achieve our goals for Seattle. The Council has a very large work program, with dozens of major issues and scores of minor ones. While we will work on all of those, our priorities are the ones that are most critical to emphasize.
In 2008, the Council chose three themes for this biennium, and thirteen priorities to work on in 2008. Thirteen sounds like a lot, but there are nine of us, and we work together, so each Councilmember can take the lead on one or two issues and know that the work load will be shared.
It is now 2009, and we can report a very productive year in 2008 (see following article). On every item, we made significant progress forward. It’s a track record of accomplishment, of promises made, and promises kept.
For 2009, we have selected fifteen priorities – again, one or two for each of us to concentrate on.
We are all aware of the current economic situation. Seattle prudently set aside money rather than creating spending bow waves in the last couple of years, so we were able to create a budget that balanced without major cuts in services. But the council is under no illusion that 2009 and 2010 will be easy ones for City government or for our people.
My two priorities reflect that reality. First, I will work on reducing hunger and malnutrition. We know that the lines at the food banks are lengthening, and that we also know that food security and good nutrition are critical for health and for so many other things as well – like performance in schools. The Council has consistently increased funding for food banks, delivery of food to the homebound, and other programs to combat hunger.
It is time for us to take a more coordinated approach to bring together public and private resources around this critical issue. Our area has boldly approved a Ten Year Plan to End Homelessness, because we believe that no one should go homeless in our affluent society. We should also take the position that no one should have to go hungry or malnourished in Seattle – and take major steps towards that goal in 2009.
My other priority is to create a coordinated economic recovery strategy for Seattle. We know that the health of our economy will impact us in many ways. Our challenge is to turn this into an opportunity for a better economy in the future. We must make our priority clear – to improve the business climate, do what we can through city capital investments, find ways to support small business, improve job training and help for the laid-off and foreclosed, set priorities for the coming federal funds, and keep working on strategies for green business and other economic growth sectors.
As a Council, we seek to develop choices, hear from the public, seek consensus, and make decisions. We won’t always agree with everyone – we won’t always agree with each other – but we will do our best to make sure that Seattle moves forward, weathers both our real and figurative storms, and continues to be a great city that puts people first, achieves our goals of economic opportunity and environmental stewardship, and works together to make good choices for the future of the Seattle community that we all share and love.
Here is the complete list of fifteen priorities, organized under our three themes:
Foster safe, just and healthy communities for all
- Implement a coordinated program to reduce youth violence and increase public safety for all Seattle residents.
- Review and decide on a proposal for renewing the Housing Levy.
- Make sure that initial neighborhood plan updates are effective and responsive to communities.
- Partner with the Seattle School District to strengthen our public schools and ensure that all of our children achieve academic success.
- Bring City and community organizations together to reduce hunger and malnutrition in Seattle.
Invest public resources fairly and effectively
- Take major steps forward on the replacement of the Alaskan Way Viaduct and the Central Waterfront Public Space Design.
- Continue to put people first in any budget revisions, ensuring support for critical human services; make budget decisions through a process that is transparent and accessible to the people of Seattle.
- Act to keep City Light an effective organization that uses well-designed and comprehensive strategies for capital projects, operations, and human resources.
- Implement new transit opportunities to provide greater access to public transportation, including Sound Transit light rail to the University and Northgate, expanded bus service, and the First Hill streetcar.
- Create new ways to make government more accessible and responsive to citizens, and create an online citizen engagement portal.
- Manage a tightened budget by using our resources wisely and improving customer service.
Build a livable city for our future
- Create a coordinated action strategy for Seattle’s economic recovery.
- Implement the Parks for All Levy and ensure that open space and parks are available, accessible, and maintained throughout Seattle.
- Support arts and cultural development through a Cultural Overlay District that provides incentives for creating and maintaining cultural facilities.
- Revise zoning in key areas of the City where greater height and density will promote the public interest.
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COUNCIL ACCOMPLISHMENTS FOR 2008
As noted above, in January 2008, the Seattle City Council promised residents that it would focus on three critical themes and thirteen underlying priorities. Here are our results:
Foster safe, just, and healthy communities for all
Protect public safety and challenge gang violence by investing in human services and police resources
- Approved an $8 million Youth Violence Prevention Initiative.
- Strengthened the police accountability system.
- Funded 20 new officers per year at an annual cost of approximately $2 million.
- Increased police officer compensation so that Seattle can compete for the best recruits. Officer salaries will increase by an average of 35+% over the next four years.
- Continued pilot programs to help drug offenders exit the cycle of addiction and crime. Allocated $1 million in 2009.
- Secured funding for crisis intervention teams of police officers and mental health professionals through King County’s new Mental Health and Drug Dependency (MIDD) program.
- Secured funding for safe housing and treatment for children involved in prostitution through King County’s new Mental Health and Drug Dependency (MIDD) program.
Increase affordable housing through incentive zoning and innovative financing
- Approved Incentive Zoning Ordinance. (Ordinance 122882)
- Supported low income housing at Fort Lawton.
- Approved revisions to the multi-family property tax exemption program for affordable housing. (Ordinance 122730)
- Approved rezone of Interbay neighborhood with incentives for affordable housing. (Ordinance 122835)
Take action to improve pedestrian safety
- Moved Pedestrian Master Plan forward.
- Approved funding for sidewalks, red light cameras, and speed enforcement vans in school zones.
Keep neighborhoods in the driver’s seat of neighborhood plan updates
- Created a neighborhood planning advisory committee. (Resolution 31085)
- Provided $150,000 per year in staffing and consultant resources to support the work of this committee and to provide additional planning outreach.
Maintain and enhance our built environment to promote sustainable communities and a strong economy
- Made more than $45 million in 2008 Bridging the Gap investments in street maintenance, new bike facilities and pedestrian safety measures.
- Seattle Public Utility and City Light have continued capital maintenance and enhancement investments.
Increase City support for the most needy
- Provided additional funding of nearly $600,000 annual funding for shelter services and basic food provision.
- Expanded annual City funding by $180,000 for domestic violence prosecution and victim support.
Invest public resources fairly and effectively
Move forward regional decisions on light rail, the Viaduct, and SR520
- Supported Sound Transit 2.
- Worked to move Viaduct and SR 520 decisions forward.
Make the transportation system work by investing Bridging the Gap funds in bicycle and pedestrian facilities
- Thirty-nine blocks of new or repaired sidewalks
- More than three miles of new bike lanes
- Nineteen miles of new sharrows
Ensure equal access to technology and pioneer new ways to engage the community through technology
- Began program development and provided $175,000 funding for a Citizen Engagement Portal.
- Increased funding available through the City’s Technology Matching Fund. (An additional $75,000 per year)
Take action to maintain a sustainable Seattle City Light, in partnership with its employees, customers, and suppliers
- Cut $18 million in unjustified expenditures from the proposed City Light budget.
- Kept rates stable and financial policies strong.
- Approved a new integrated resources plan with emphasis on conservation and renewables. (Resolution 31076)
- Approved a new five-year aggressive conservation acquisition plan and provided funding in the 2009-2010 budget.
- Approved a new long-term contract for low-cost and environmentally sound power from the Bonneville Power Administration. (Ordinance 122805)
- Approved two new contracts for renewable resources. (Ordinances 122808 and 122672)
Find new ways for meaningful public involvement to develop a balanced 2009-2010 budget that meets community needs by spending every dollar wisely
- Pioneered better access to budget documents and conducted extensive community outreach.
- Approved a balanced budget that preserves vital services while staying within lower revenue projections.
Build a livable city for our future
Ensure that Seattle’s Parks, Seattle Center and the Pike Place Market continue to meet the diverse needs and interests of the people of Seattle
- Created successful Parks for All Levy.
- Approved new Seattle Center Master Plan. (Resolution 31071)
- Placed successful Pike Place Market Levy on the ballot.
- Approved land use code changes to control redevelopment at Magnuson Park. (Ordinance 122829)
- Adopted guiding principles for potential transition of Seattle Aquarium Management. (Resolution 31080)
Implement the Zero Waste Strategy
- Approved new solid waste contracts with expanded food waste recycling services. (Ordinances 122653 and 122760)
- Passed a ban on foam food containers. (Ordinance 122751)
- Authorized a new construction and demolition waste recycling program. (Ordinance 122760)
- Provided funding for a new matching grant program to promote waste reduction.
- Passed a waste reduction measure to eliminate tens of millions of disposable shopping bags. (Ordinance 122752)
Protect the urban forest and plant more trees
- Consolidated tree provisions in the Comprehensive Plan. (Ordinance 122832)
- Approved a resolution directing the Department of Planning and Development to develop codes extending the City's tree protection efforts to include groves or groups of trees. (Resolution 31065)
- Introduced and took community input on an Interim Tree Protection Ordinance. (Council Bill 116404)
- Launched community discussions about how to protect and enhance the urban forest.
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PRESIDENTIAL INAUGURATION VIEWING IN COUNCIL CHAMBERS
On Tuesday, January 20, at 8:30 AM, the Council will host a viewing of the Presidential inauguration ceremonies in the Council Chambers. This viewing will replace the Council Briefings session for that day. The following is the schedule of events:
The United States Marine Band
The San Francisco Boys Chorus and the San Francisco Girls Chorus
Call to Order and Welcoming Remarks
The Honorable Dianne Feinstein
Dr. Rick Warren, Saddleback Church, Lake Forest, CA
Oath of Office - Vice President-elect Joseph R. Biden, Jr.
By Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, The Honorable John Paul Stevens
Musical Selection, John Williams, composer/arranger
Itzhak Perlman (Violin), Yo-Yo Ma (Cello), Gabriela Montero (Piano), Anthony McGill (Clarinet)
Oath of Office Administered to President-elect Barack H. Obama
By the Chief Justice of the United States, The Honorable John G. Roberts, Jr.
The President of the United States, The Honorable Barack H. Obama
The Reverend Dr. Joseph E. Lowery
The National Anthem
The United States Navy Band "Sea Chanters"
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"If we are to go forward, we must go back and rediscover those precious values - that all reality hinges on moral foundations and that all reality has spiritual control."
-- Martin Luther King, Jr.
"If you view green as a cost, it is a failure. If you view it as an ordinary investment, it is a failure. If you view it as an extraordinary investment that will bring transformational rewards and dramatic benefits, and therefore a huge opportunity, you will find success."
-- Ramalinga Raju
Citizen participation and engagement are critical for maintaining democracy -- fostering it is a key task of elected
officials. It's my hope that this newsletter will inform you about issues, inspire you to get involved, and that together
we can make things work better in this great city. Please send me your feedback, so we can keep things lively, interesting,
Your Seattle City Councilmember
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