2017 Budget Wins
Here is a complete list of the budget items I worked with community craft for the 2017-2018 cycle. In total this is approximately $1.7 million for 2017 and $1.5 for 2018. Please see the Council’s glossary for clarification of any budget terms.
($144,050 in 2017 / $148,369 in 2018)
As Chair of the committee that oversees Gender Equity, Paid Family Leave is a top priority. That’s why I created this budget action to provide funding to the Seattle Department of Human Resources (SDHR) for one full time Strategic Advisor who will work as a benefits coordinator. This position will 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.
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 will 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.
This navigator will 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 will 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.
This part of the budget will ask the Executive to convene a Special Task Force to formulate recommendations regarding the public safety and vitality of the neighborhood. Comprised of South Park residents, business owners and service providers this Task Force will identify strategies for a new model of neighborhood policing, which will build on the micropolicing plans and community policing plans initiated by Chief Katherine O’Toole. As a neighborhood that is home to a thriving immigrant community it will be vital for the Task Force to identify strategies for a culturally and linguistically responsive data-driven approach to improving the City’s effectiveness with the South Park neighborhood. Check back-in with me in June 2017 to see the report-back from this Task Force in my committee.
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 will 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 will also serve as co-chair of the CID Steering Committee formed in response to the CID Public Safety Task Force recommendations.
This project, also a recommendation of the CID Public Safety Task Force, will 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. 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. The surveys will provide data to help the City make informed policy decisions on public safety matters facing the CID.
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.
This proviso has four parts to be completed by February 1st 2017: (1) SPD reconvenes the stakeholder workgroup formed last year and seeks their advice regarding any outstanding issues or community concerns related to BWV protocols and policies; (2) SPD, in consultation with the stakeholder workgroup and Council, develops a detailed action plan for community engagement on body-worn video by December 2, 2016, that includes a plan for regularly sharing with my Committee a status update on community engagement efforts; (3) SPD submits to the Council a final report that summarizes the results of the Department’s community outreach, describes how the draft BWV policy is responsive to community input and the operational needs of the department, and identifies unresolved questions or issues related to the BWV policy and implementation protocols; (4) SPD documents how the Department will continue to engage and seek the advice of the stakeholder workgroup on the use of BWV equipment. While SPD conducted meetings with some of the stakeholders named in the 2016 BWV proviso, there does not appear to have been an extensive engagement process with the community. Members of the community may still have questions about the policies and privacy impacts governing the use of body-worn videos. This budget action is intended to ensure that there has been adequate public comment and outreach and engagement to the satisfaction of the Council, as originally contemplated in the 2016 proviso, prior to the acquisition of body-worn video equipment. It is expected that planning and other preparatory work may be occurring in the meantime.
This Statement of Legislative Intent will ask the Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission (SEEC), in collaboration with Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs (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, will identify a plan to ensure LPRs and limited English proficient residents are fully included in the Democracy Voucher program.
To meet the demand for citizenship services among the estimated 70,000 eligible Seattle residents OIRA's New Citizen Campaign will 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. This funding is on-going.
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 will 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 will expect to develop enough sites to produce at least 1500 units of affordable hou
It’s no secret that Seattle’s rental laws are complex and can be difficult to navigate. This budget item allocates $50,000 to Seattle Department of Construction and Inspection (SDCI) to support coordinated outreach efforts and prepare educational materials to better inform tenants and landlords of their rights and responsibilities under Seattle’s rental regulations. This will include focused outreach to communities with limited English proficiency and immigrant and refugee communities. Stay tuned for a work plan from SDCI to my committee in 2017.
This budget item will add one-time funding of $50,000 to the Office of Housing (OH) to develop a proposal for a youth homeless housing project. OH will work with an experienced service provider who wants to develop housing for homeless youth.
The OH will also receive $54,000 to conduct a housing needs and opportunities assessment for low-income LGBTQ seniors. This study will include: 1) information on the demand for affordable housing by LGBTQ seniors; 2) identification of barriers and recommendations for reducing barriers to accessing housing for this population; 3) strategies for providing housing assistance to such seniors; and 4) a proposed work plan to implement identified recommendations and strategies. To fully confront the issue of housing affordability we need to understand how it particularly affects marginalized communities.
More Important Issues
This budget action will 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.
This is a request that the Office of Economic Development (OED) explore ways to increase the number of internships the City offers through the Mayor’s Youth Employment Initiative (MYEI). The MYEI began in 2015 in partnership with dozens of private employers and provided 2,000 internship and employment opportunities to Seattle’s youth. The program is steadily expanding while supporting internships for 2,700 young people in 2016 and targeting an increase to 3,000 in 2017. As OED continues to develop external partnerships and increase the number of private-sector youth employment opportunities, it will be prudent to explore the capacity of the City’s executive departments to develop internal internship programs for our youth. The development of internal internship opportunities could focus aligning with Seattle’s commitment to the creation of the Green Pathways Program by supporting employment opportunities in green careers for people of color and from under-served communities. This effort could further expand the number of quality employment opportunities our youth are able to access and experience, while also preparing the next generation of workers and leaders for careers in both the private and the public sectors.
This budget item will add $150,000 in both 2017 and 2018 to the Department of Neighborhood's budget to support fellowships to support community-based organizations that provide leadership development opportunities and increase organizational capacity at community-based organizations. It will place 10 to 15 fellows in a program that provides training and mentorship to emerging community leaders and places them in community-based organizations.