Dear Neighbor,

I hope this message finds you in good health and that you are having a great start to this New Year. The City Council is in the process of developing our work program for 2018 and will be finalized over the next few weeks. I will present a resolution in early February describing the plan for this year. I look forward to working with our new Mayor, Jenny Durkan, and our new Councilmember, Teresa Mosqueda. Together, as a team, we will continue to work side by side to address the challenges facing Seattle, such as homelessness, affordability, education, public safety, transportation and ensure that Seattle is an equitable place for all. Below are some updates on Council action that may be of interest from the last month.

Council Sets 2018-19 Committee Assignments

The Seattle City Council adopted Resolution 31789 establishing committee assignments for 2018 and 2019. Each Councilmember is responsible for chairing a Council committee and managing legislation related to the committee's respective subjects.  I will chair the new Governance, Equity, and Technology Committee; I will Vice-chair the Human Services, Equitable Development, and Renter Rights Committee, and I will also serve on the Finance and Neighborhoods Committee and Sustainability and Transportation Committee.

The Full Council also went through the process of electing a Council President for 2018-2019. My colleagues elected me to serve again as Council President. I am extremely thankful for my colleague's confidence in electing me to my second term as Council President. The Council President is the presiding officer of the Council, sets the Full Council agenda, assigns and processes legislation to committees and is the primary point of contact for external agencies and regional coordination. When the Mayor is absent from the city or incapacitated, the Council President assumes the duties and responsibilities of the Mayor.

City Budget Investments

As required by State law, Council adopted a balanced 2018 City budget on Monday, November 20th. Council worked through the months of September, October, and November on the City budget. Below are highlights of budget actions for District 2.

•    Georgetown‐South Park Trail – $600,000: The project would create a walkable, bikeable path uniting the Georgetown and South Park neighborhoods. The path would enhance walkability between Georgetown and South Park's historic "Main Streets" and connect the heart of the Duwamish Valley.
•    Hiring more police officers: The budget adds 37 additional police officer positions, maintaining our schedule to hire 200 additional officers by early 2020. With a budget of 2,095.35 FTEs in 2017, SPD has the largest workforce of all City departments. Of that number, slightly over two-thirds (about 1,450) are commissioned officers, including about 900 authorized sworn positions distributed throughout the five precincts.
•    Additional funding to support the Office of Police Accountability, Office of Inspector General, and the Community Police Commission, as set forth in the police accountability Ordinance 125315.
•    $400,000 funding increase to support survivors of sexual assault.
•    Creation of Georgetown Public Safety Task Force: convene a Public Safety Task Force to formulate and report to Council recommendations regarding the public safety and vitality of the Georgetown neighborhood. The written report of the Special Task Force would: 1) identify strategies for a new model of neighborhood policing, which will build on the micro-policing plans and community policing plans initiated by the Police Chief and 2) identify strategies for a culturally and linguistically responsive data‐driven approach to improving the City's relations to and effectiveness with the Georgetown neighborhood. The report is due back to Council on June 1, 2018. 
•    Divine Alternatives for Dads Services (DADS) – $150,000: fund advocates who would assist parents in overcoming barriers that would prevent them from reclaiming their children from Child Protective Services.
•    Priority Hire Program – $204,000: The City established the Priority Hire Program in 2015 to increase access to training programs and construction jobs for local workers, and to increase the number of women and people of color working on City-funded capital projects. Priority Hire applies to City‐funded projects of $5 million or more. The additional funding will go towards expansion of the work related to monitoring work sites, tracking compliance, providing training and technical assistance to contractors, and working with other businesses, unions, and regional leaders to potentially expand Project Hire to additional trades and contract types. 
•    $50,000 to fund a feasibility study to explore contracting with an organization providing supportive and secure housing alternatives to detention for non‐violent youth offenders. The study should explore the potential of having the contracted organization partner with government and/or community groups including, but not limited to, the King County Prosecuting Attorney's Office, Choose 180, or Pioneer Human Services. This funding furthers the goals of Resolution 31614, adopted by Council in 2015, endorsing a vision for Seattle to be a City with zero use of detention for youth. 
•    $60,000 in additional funding for more frequent garbage pickup and street cleaning in the Chinatown‐International District (CID), specifically in alleys where dumpsters and grease containers are located.  
•    $25,000 to support training staff for a pilot program using a holistic approach to create adolescent programming for youth and young adults engaged in the criminal justice system, such as Habilitation Empowerment Accountability Therapy (HEAT) for Youth.

The complete list of Council amendments to the budget can be viewed here:

The City budget is thousands of pages, but below are three charts that illustrates how all city funds are allocated by service area, general fund services, and sources of revenue.

Seattle Center Civic Arena

On December 4, 2017, the Council passed Council Bill 119088, authorizing the Mayor to execute a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Oak View Group (OVG) to redevelop KeyArena into a new world-class multi-purpose sports and entertainment arena. As co-chair of the Select Committee on Civic Arenas, the City negotiated one of the strongest arena agreements you will find in the country. The agreement will protect our taxpayers and the City. The community benefits agreement is unprecedented with investments to help address issues like homelessness and other social needs. I am confident this will be a partnership of success with OVG in building a state-of-the-art arena, generating economic vitality, and the ultimate goal of getting an NHL team and bringing back the Sonics. Following Council's action approving the KeyArena redevelopment agreement, the NHL announced they will accept and consider an expansion application from Seattle for a new NHL team.

Key provisions from the agreement: 

•    Construction of OVG's tenant improvements to the Arena will be financed privately by OVG with no City financing; the current project cost estimate is $600 million. All costs and potential cost-overruns of construction and arena operations are the responsibility of OVG.
•    A new arena design ready for NBA and NHL teams.
•    Redevelopment construction is estimated to begin at the end of 2018 for opening in October 2020.
•    A Community Benefits Agreement with community organizations to foster equity and social justice and provide benefits to the communities that will be affected by the Arena, including supporting programs and services for youth, arts, sports, music, and culture.
•    $20 million in-kind or cash to non-profit organizations, including $10 million dedicated for YouthCare. At least half the contributions must be made in cash.
•    $40 million payment for transportation improvements over the 39-year lease term (approximately $1 million per year), as informed by the mobility action plan.

Council Vacancy Process

Former Mayor and Councilmember Tim Burgess (Position 8, Citywide) took the oath to become the 55th Mayor of Seattle from September 18, 2017 to November 28, 2017. As a result, Council Position 8 became vacant. The City Charter provided the Council 20 days to fill a vacant Council position and the 20-day period occurred from September 18 to October 8, 2017. In the true spirit of democracy, I proposed a 20-day process to ensure it was open and transparent, making sure the community was included. Council formally endorsed the 20-day vacancy process I sponsored through Resolution 31778. Council received 14 applications. After careful examination and discussion with my colleagues, I nominated Kirsten Harris-Talley, who was selected by Council to fill the vacancy until November 28, 2017.

Seattle Promise College Tuition Program

On November 29, 2017, I joined newly-elected Mayor Durkan at South Seattle College, where Mayor Durkan signed an Executive Order creating the Seattle Promise College Tuition Program. The Seattle Promise initiative builds upon the 13th Year Promise Scholarship Program I have long supported.  As you may recall, last year in the budget, we added $1.5 million to expand the 13th Year Scholarship Program to more Seattle area high schools. The program guarantees all high school graduates a free year of college at South Seattle. It is offered at Rainier Beach, Cleveland, and Chief Sealth High Schools and the additional funding added two more Seattle high schools to the program. Mayor Durkan's Executive Order to create the Seattle Promise College Tuition program will provide two full years (90 credits) of courses for students graduating from a Seattle Public School. By 2020, 70% of all jobs will require post-secondary education in Washington State, so we need to make sure Seattle’s students are first in line for those opportunities – whether it’s building code or building skyscrapers. Kudos to Mayor Durkan for this commitment!

Nelson Mandela

A point of personal privilege. Last winter, my wife and I took a personal trip to Johannesburg, South Africa and viewed the actual prison and prison yard where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned. We spoke with former prisoners who were imprisoned with Mr. Mandela, as well as those who lived under apartheid conditions between 1948 and 1991. In addition to the rich history and museums that we were privileged to experience and learn about, we observed some of the most beautiful natural sceneries we had ever encountered. We also had many conversations with local residents regarding their efforts to build a city and a country where they are trying to be very intentional about addressing the effects of institutional racism and poverty.

University of Washington Award

I want to thank the University of Washington for selecting me as the Dave and Ruth Cohn Award winner for 2017. The award is for outstanding public service and support to the University by a former letter-winner. The recognition took place at the home game when UW beat Oregon on a very rainy, but great night.

Take care and stay tuned for more exciting news from City Hall.

Bruce A. Harrell
President, Seattle City Council - District 2
Chair: Governance, Equity, and Technology Committee
206-684-8804 | Office: 206-684-8804 | PO Box 34025 Seattle, WA 98124-4025

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