2019 Annual Report of the Seattle City Council

Overview

At the end of each year, the Seattle City Council reflects on its accomplishments, and the impact legislation has made on improving the lives of Seattle residents. Each Councilmember made important and significant investments, across every Council district. The Council's collective priorities included addressing homelessness and housing; public safety; transportation and the environment; workers rights, marginalized communities and families; and accountability and good governance. The Council is proud of its accomplishments, and will continue its commitment to serve Seattleites through its sincere, compassionate and diligent work to make Seattle a more just, equitable, affordable and environmentally conscious city.

The 2019 Seattle City Council

Contents

Homelessness & Housing

Councilmember Lorena Gonzalez at news conference in support of Mandatory Housing Affordability.Passed Mandatory Housing Affordability, or MHA, linking affordable housing to growth across Seattle by requiring new commercial or multi-family development to contribute to affordable housing in exchange for additional development capacity (increased height or floor area).  As a result, developers must either build affordable housing on-site or pay into a fund for affordable housing. Approved the Fort Lawton Redevelopment Plan. The 34-acre property will be developed to house low-income families and homeless seniors. The property will also have affordable homes for sale, athletic fields, and additional property transferred to be part of Discovery Park.
Required more property owners of affordable multifamily residential buildings to give the City, tenants, and nonprofit affordable housing developers notice of intent to sell their buildings. Eased restrictions on backyard cottages, also known as Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs)  increasing the supply of affordable housing and homes for multi-generational families while decreasing the expected number of teardowns of existing single family homes. Strengthened tenant protection laws to protect survivors of domestic violence from being held liable for damages to a unit caused by their abuser. Prohibited landlords from restricting legal occupancy limits already established by local, state and federal law.Updated the City's environmental review process to better align with the State Environmental Policy Act, allowing the City to better protect the environment and advance its climate goals, while responding to Seattle's housing shortage crisis.
Prioritized the homelessness crisis in the 2020 Budget, adding $2 million to increase the number of tiny house villages and 24/7 shelters by as many as 100 beds; dedicated money to open an overnight-only safe parking lot at University Heights Center; increased homeless outreach services to people experiencing homelessness in North Seattle and for Native Americans; expanded the city's encampment trash pickup program. Funded hygiene programs for homeless populations, including five staffed mobile bathrooms, which would include handwashing stations, a needle exchange and pet waste disposal, and expanding access to community centers with showers for homeless populations. Created a rental assistance pilot for individuals age 50 or older who have income limited to federal disability benefits and are at risk of or are currently experiencing homelessness. Added funding for Community Preference, a strategy to prioritize new affordable homes for community members impacted by displacement. Secured an additional $19.75 million to invest in shovel-ready affordable housing projects and sponsored legislation to act on state-authorized opportunity to collect a portion of existing sales tax revenue for affordable housing

Public Safety

police person in uniform in front of crowdPrioritized police recruitment by providing an additional hiring bonus for lateral hires (police officers hired from other jurisdictions), and increased the bonus for new police recruits, who are more likely to come from diverse communities.  Launched Health One, a specially trained team of firefighters and a social worker, to respond to non-emergency 911 requests for issues like substance abuse, non-emergency medical issues, and a need to access services. Updated the Seattle Municipal Code to allow Seattle to upload data from hundreds of DNA kits collected in sex-based and domestic violence convictions in the city to the federal Combined DNA Index System (CODIS) database, which could help identify suspects in sex crimes across the country. Relaunched Seattle’s Community Service Officer program, which the Council has championed since 2016. CSOs are civilian law enforcement representatives who provide public safety resources to community allowing sworn officers to focus on crime prevention and investigations.

Transportation & Environment

Woman signing up for an ORCA card. Expanded the ORCA Opportunity Program to provide free transit passes to 1,500 low-income Seattle residents. Passed the Green New Deal for Seattle, establishing a Green New Deal Oversight Board, which would work with the Office of Sustainability and Environment to establish policies and recommend investments in programs to address climate change. Maintained Seattle City Light's status as the country's largest publicly owned, green energy utility, by establishing a new program for buildings with large-scale solar panels, and prepared SCL to join the Western Imbalance Market, increasing grid reliability and cost savings. Passed a resolution in support of the youth-led Global Climate Strike on Sept. 20, affirming City employees could participate using unpaid leave and urging Seattle Public Schools to support its students’ right to assemble and participate in the strike.Requested the Seattle Department of Transportation develop an on-street bike and e-scooter parking program.Requested the City to construct protected bicycle lanes when the city undertakes major paving projects.

Workers' Rights, Marginalized Communities & Families

Councilmember Debora Juarez with supporters of the Council's resolution on the Missing, Murdered, Indigenous, Women and Girls crisis. Supported the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG) crisis by acknowleding the disproportionally high rate of violence against women of Indigenous communities, and increasing funding for a Native American Liaison to work with the Seattle Police Department for MMIWG cases. Invested in frontline workers by passing the first-ever automatic inflationary increase on City contracts for human services, taking care of the people who tend to some of our most vulnerable residents
Passed legislation to protect Seattle's hotel workers from harassment and discrimination, supporting safe workloads, promoting economic stability through worker retention and providing healthcare benefits. Approved the "Fare Share" plan, providing protections for app-based drivers, a resolution center for drivers, investments in affordable housing and transportation projects, and a study to determine a fair wage floor for Uber and Lyft drivers in the City of Seattle.  Added funding to contract with organizations providing health and safety information and materials to sex workers. Requested the Mayor institute an Infants at Work pilot program, allowing city workers to bring infants up to 6 months to work, increasing employee retention and supporting the health of babies and parents. Created incentives to include childcare in City affordable housing and capital projects, such as Fort Lawton and the development of the Mercer Megablock. Passed Bea's Law, providing City employees who lose a child access to Paid Family Care Leave, inspired by a City employees advocacy after losing her daughter. Required businesses with televisions in public places to turn on closed captioning, shifting the onus from having to request closed captions as a public accommodation.

Accountability & Good Governance

A rendering of the future Seattle Waterfront. Created the Waterfront Local Improvement District, 20-acre park, reconstruction of Pier 62, a new promenade from Pioneer Square to Pike Place Market, small greenways and connects that serve as connectors between the waterfront and Downtown Seattle. Passed the implementation and evaluation plan for the Families, Education, Preschool and Promise Levy, which will nearly double the number of slots in the Seattle Preschool Program, invests in K-12 education, funds school-based health clinics, and expands the Seattle Promise, which provides two free years of college for local high school graduates. Renewed the 2012 library levy and expanding it to $213 million over seven years, increasing library hours, eliminating overdue library files, and making seismic retrofits to existing libraries, expansion of 0-5 years old education, expanded community resource specialist program for youths. Additional open hours at 26 libraries. Created dedicated funds for the sweetened beverage tax and short term rental tax, ensuring revenues for those taxes are used for their intended purposes, and not to supplant the city's general fund budget. Established a Watch List of large, complex capital projects requiring enhanced quarterly monitoring reports.  Established a Code Reviser Position that will work to provide a more accurate, understandable and accessible municipal code, eliminating barriers between residents and the laws that govern them.