$23.7 million in Human Services Funding and $10.2 million in Public Health funding for
2004 will continue.
In the last three years, $100 million has been reduced from the City's budget. These
cuts have been driven by the economic downturn, declining revenues and increasing costs to
deliver basic services to our residents. More reductions for the 2005-2006 budget are
anticipated. These circumstances highlight the need to create a sustainable budget for
the long-term financial health and stability of our City.
I welcome your input as we continue the process of prioritizing City services. Your
thoughts in reducing the City's costs and/or enhancing its revenues are important to me as
we examine the long-term implications of the growing divergence between the City's revenues
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Seattle has historically been a leader on civil liberties and equal rights for all its
residents. With the growing national debate over gay-marriage, the Mayor, Councilmembers
David Della, Jean Godden and I announced on Monday, March 8th, that legislation would be
introduced to recognize the validity of all marriage licenses, regardless of gender, from
other jurisdictions and extend protections afforded under the City's equal protection
ordinance to these individuals.
The City has no legal authority to issue marriage licenses. This is a county authority in
Washington State. Since 1990, the City has recognized domestic partnerships and extended
equal benefits to its employees with domestic partners. Taking this action is a positive
step in the right direction. This new legislation was acted on by the City Council's Civil
Rights Committee on April 6th and will be voted on by the Full Council next Monday, April
12th. As we identify other ways to extend equal protection at the City level, more
legislation will follow.
As we take action locally toward protecting basic human rights, action is still needed in
Olympia. Washington State lawmakers need to pass legislation outlawing discrimination based
on sexual orientation. Such action is long overdue. On Monday, March 8, the Council joined me
in unanimously supporting a resolution calling for the adoption of a gay-rights bill by the
state legislature. Unfortunately, the Senate adjourned its 2004 session without adopting
For more information about the legislation, please visit
http://clerk.ci.seattle.wa.us/~public/CBOR1.htm and in the search field titled
"Council Bill No.," enter 114845, 114846, or 114847.
Click here to see the press conference announcing the City's recognition of gay-marriage on Monday, March 8.
Click here for more information about the resolution and the bill in Olympia.
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Canadian Prescription Drugs
One of the largest areas of expense for the City is health insurance for its employees. In
2002, the City's healthcare costs were nearly $80 million with more than $7 million spent on
prescription drugs alone. These costs are taking away our ability to fund direct services for
On Tuesday, March 16th, I hosted a public forum on the feasibility of the City creating
a voluntary program for its employees to purchase prescribed medications from Canada. The
City's Personnel Department announced that their preliminary findings suggest that giving
employees this option could save the City as much as $1 million. Many public policy questions
need to be addressed and we will continue this discussion in the Housing, Human Services and
On Wednesday, March 10th, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer ran an editorial that I have
written on the Canadian prescription drug issue.
Click here to read the editorial.
Both the Seattle Times and Puget Sound Business Journal have expressed their support in
their editorial pages for a Canadian prescription drug policy for City employees.
Click here to read the Times editorial and
here to read the Business Journal Editorial.
If you would like to view the March 16th forum in streaming video,
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A few weeks ago during a discussion in the Council Transportation Committee, I learned that
as part of the High Point redevelopment project in West Seattle, the street-grid in that area
would be modified and some streets would be eliminated entirely. One such street was named
Bataan Place, which memorializes Filipino and American lives lost during World War II.
This concerned me because the street name was clearly intended to honor and preserve the
historical and cultural significance of the events in the Bataan Peninsula during World War
II. I have heard from several members of the Filipino community about the importance of
remembering these events.
On Monday, March 8th, the City Council passed legislation which Councilmember David Della
and I introduced renaming a portion of another street in the High Point Community as Southwest
Bataan Street. I hope this issue heightens the awareness of the importance of cultural
preservation in Seattle. Keeping the Bataan name is a powerful reminder of our history and
the sacrifice of others.
Click here to see the Bataan press conference on Monday, March 8.
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Community Visits Report
Homeless Shelter Visits
I want to get out of the office as much as possible to see and hear how our human services
are being provided. Recently I spent part of the day visiting two sites of temporary shelter
for homeless families.
First, I toured the Broadview Shelter operated by Fremont Public Association. The shelter
provides emergency and transitional housing for homeless women and their children for up to
12 months. Unlike many shelters that offer only group living situations, each Broadview family
stays in their own apartment.
Domestic violence is a leading cause of homelessness of women. The women are provided
support and legal advocacy services. Job training, housing stability programs, mental health
services and drug and alcohol rehabilitation assistance is also provided. For more information
about Broadview Shelter please call 206-299-2500.
Next, I drove to the Sacred Heart Shelter (SHS). There I met Joan Plough who described
the services of the shelter. SHS is a non-profit program of the Archdiocesan Housing
Authority. SHS provides a temporary home, up to three months, for families (including men).
A variety of services are provided to help the families find long-term solutions to the
causes of their homelessness.
Volunteers are a major part of the success of SHS. Volunteers are needed to cook
dinners, supervise the children while the parents take some time for themselves and help
the staff by answering the phone and door. For more information contact the Volunteer
Coordinator at 206-285-7489.
Special thanks to Katy Thomas Miller, Co-Chair of the Seattle/King Council Coalition for
the Homeless for organizing my visits.
Kiwanis Ravine Overlook
On Saturday April 3rd, I visited the Kiwanis Ravine Overlook located near Discovery
Park. Yvonne Sanchez, Director of Seattle's Department of Neighborhoods also participated
in the visit because the work of those who restoring the Ravine is being supported with some
Neighborhood Matching funds. It was a beautiful morning.
I was amazed at what is being done and what I saw. The Ravine is an extraordinary
habitat of the great blue heron. Huge beautiful herons circle the area and make their
homes there. There are more than a dozen large nests located high in the Maple trees. The
scene was as enthralling as anything I have seen in the forests of Central America.
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