2018 Annual Report of the Seattle City Council

Overview

The Seattle City Council pauses for a moment each year to measure progress on Council priorities. While each Councilmember has their own list of important priorities and investments for their districts, the Council had a shared vision of addressing the city's housing and homelessness crisis. increasing public safety, and investing in transportation and infrastructure. The Council also prioritized accessibility, opportunity and justice, and above all, accountability to constituents and good governance. While not every law, ordinance or resolution the Council passed is listed below, the Council's highlighted accomplishments are outlined below.   

The 2018-2019 Seattle City Council

Contents

Homelessness & Housing

homeless encampment in SeattleEstablished the Select Committee on Homelessness and Housing Affordability, creating a transparent working committee to develop strong policy, investment decisions, and enforcement strategies to address Seattle’s homelessness crisis. Broadened the definition of “reasonable accommodations” to ensure landlords, the Seattle Housing Authority and other voucher program administrators don’t discriminate against people with disabilities seeking housing, requiring appropriate accommodations. Updated disposition policies to prioritize using surplus Seattle City Light property for the development of affordable housing, and revenue from sales of City property will go toward building more affordable housing. Placed a moratorium on rent bidding apps in Seattle, which can cause “E-bay” like price escalation on rental units. Provided city-contracted human service providers a two percent inflationary wage increase to ensure Seattle is fairly compensating those caring for our most vulnerable people. Released the Final Environmental Impact Statement that evaluates the potential environmental impacts of proposed changes to the City’s Land Use Code intended to remove barriers to the creation of backyard cottages and basement apartments.

Public Safety

police person in uniform in front of crowdRequired safe storage of firearms. Increased civil penalties for those who fail to secure a firearm that is then obtained by a youth or used to injure, kill or commit a crime.
Confirmed Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best, who is a widely-respected law enforcement leader and had worked on police reform.
Confirmed Lisa Judge as the City’s first Inspector General, a position and office tasked with the oversight of police management, practices and policies, and ongoing police reform. Established a new standard for Seattle Police Officers to better enforce excessive vehicle noise, which impacts quality of life in neighborhoods. Extended the statute of limitations on sexual harassment claims brought to the Seattle Office of Civil Rights, from 180 days to a year and a half in instances of employment and contracting, and from 180 days to one year in public accommodations.

Transportation & Infrastructure

Councilmembers Rob Johnson, Debora Juarez and Sally Bagshaw at the bill signing ceremony of Key Arena. Authorized an agreement between Oak View Group (OVG) and the City of Seattle to redevelop KeyArena into a world-class, multi-purpose sports and entertainment arena using private money, while securing $10 million toward community grants, transportation mitigation and affordable housing commitments from the developer. Required businesses with more than 20 employees to offer pre-tax commuter benefits, allowing workers to set aside money pre-tax for transit costs, and saving businesses money on payroll taxes. Established a 10-year Business Improvement Area in South of Downtown (SODO), which will fund enhanced services, programming and management for the business district.

Workers' Rights

Councilmembers Teresa Mosqueda and Sally Bagshaw with domestic workers in Council Chambers. Passed a Domestic Workers Bill of Rights, which established new labor standards and protections for domestic workers and a Domestic Workers Standards Board. Passed a law that ends the practice of paying workers with disabilities a subminimum wage. Amended the Seattle City Light Strategic Plan, outlining strategic initiatives to improve workplace culture and worker safety.

Accessibility, Opportunity & Justice

Community members in classroom for programming held by Office of Immigration and Refugees Restored full funding to the City’s Legal Defense Fund, which provides free civil legal aid to immigrants at risk of deportation. Increased accessibility for hard-of-hearing individuals by adding closed captioning to Seattle Channel’s live cable TV broadcasts of City Council meetings. Unanimously passed the Families, Education, Preschools and Promise Levy, which was ultimately approved by Seattle voters. The levy continues Seattle’s educational investments in preschools and K-12, and created “Seattle Promise” affording eligible Seattle public high school graduates tuition dollars to those enrolling in local colleges for the first two years. Included Native Communities as part of a committee assignment for the first time in City history, and required City departments to review and improve data collection on Native Communities in Seattle. Fully funded Indigenous Peoples Day, a celebration observing Washington tribes' contributions and sovereignty.

Accountability & Good Governance

Councilmembers on dais in Council Chambers Passed the $5.9 billion 2019-2020 City Budget, a balanced budget that emphasizes increased resources to address homelessness and housing, substance use treatment, mental health and criminal justice reforms. Created the Office of Employee Ombud, an independent advocate and resource for City of Seattle employees experiencing harassment, discrimination, intimidation or misconduct. Increased capital project oversight and required the Council receive enhanced quarterly reports for projects on the “Watch List.” Amended the City’s Surveillance Ordinance by adding a Community Surveillance Working Group, which will advise the Council and Executive about how city departments will use new surveillance technology and how data is securely stored, accessed and audited by city departments. Confirmed Debra Smith the new CEO and General Manager of Seattle City Light. The industry veteran is the second woman to lead Seattle City Light in its 100-year-plus history.

Resolutions

National

Rejected the Trump Administration’s proposed “public charge” rule, which would allow the Department of Homeland Security to consider whether someone would use benefits such as an EBT card, medical assistance or housing vouchers when an immigrant applies for residency. Urged the Trump Administration to conduct proper environmental and scientific reviews of Pebble Mine in Alaska’s Bristol Bay, a proposed open pit gold and copper mine that would harm salmon habitat, therefore harming Seattle-based fisheries, restaurants and other businesses. Affirmed the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders and the validity of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Denounced the backlog of citizenship applications, including 18,000 immigrants in Seattle waiting to become U.S. citizens. Expressed opposition to the Trump Administration’s practice of separating and/or detaining migrant families seeking asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border. Firmly opposed offshore oil and gas drilling and exploration, calling on the Trump Administration to halt such activity.

Local

Committed to transfer city-owned buildings to nonprofits currently residing in city facilities by March 2019, through collaboration with the Mayor, as long as those entities continue to provide vital services and maintain the properties. Requested that city-contracted emergency medical services (EMT) are provided a living wage and benefits comparable to other emergency workers Affirmed the City of Seattle’s transportation investments should equitably benefit communities of color, low-income communities, immigrant and refugee communities, people living with disabilities, LGBTQ people, people experiencing homelessness, women and girls, youth and seniors. Established an implementation schedule for the Seattle Department of Transportation to complete the Seattle Center City Bike Network. Called for the review of current methods for collecting data on Native Americans, so the City can improve data collection on Native communities, which will be used to better understand and address issues facing Native communities. Expressed concern about the proposed liquefied natural gas facility in Tacoma, and urged Puget Sound Clean Air Agency to improve Tribal consultation procedures. Provided an honorary designation of 15th Avenue South from South Nevada Street to South Columbian Way as “Alan Sugiyama Way.” Urged Seattle voters to vote "Yes" on Initiative 940 on the November 6, 2018 general election ballot, an initiative that aims to decrease the use of deadly force by police in Washington.