Why I love being on the Beacon Alliance of Neighbors email list

June 30th, 2014

The Beacon Alliance of Neighbors list, like many neighborhood lists in the city, provides great information sharing opportunities about neighborhood clean-ups, crime news, new businesses in the area and more. They’re the modern equivalent of the photocopied newsletter on the porch or the bulletin board at the corner store. I learn a lot from these lists. From a string on the BAN list last Friday:

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On Friday, June 76, 2014 , Lawrence H > <xxxxxxxxx@xxxx.seattle.xxx>

Lost bird and owners have been reunited!  They just came to pick it up.

Thanks to everyone who gave good suggestions and to Craig for offering to provide shelter for the bird. One of the people in the group knew their neighbor has a bird and it turned out it was them. It’s actually a parakeet, not a canary (obviously I don’t know birds).

I did call the Seattle Animal Shelter and reported the found bird so that if someone did end up calling them to find their bird, it would show up as a found bird with info on who to contact to get it.  (Thanks Pete)

Larry

 

On Friday, June 27, 2014 1:10 PM, Craig T <caxxxx@xxxxx.com> wrote:

I just spoke with someone at the Seattle Animal Shelter. She suggested that we go down to the shelter and list the canary as a found bird, give our contact info, yet if we have a setup for the canary, to go ahead and foster it. That way the owner will have a chance to find his/her pet, and the canary will not have to go through any more stress of being handled. So, Ariel and I are open to foster the bird, if it’s a canary. If it’s a lovebird, well, that’s another story, as lovebirds can be extremely aggressive (except to other lovebirds).

Please take it to the Seattle Animal Shelter. Someone may be looking for  it and they will attempt to connect to an owner before putting it up for adoption.

thanks

Pete

On Thursday, June 26, 2014 9:32 PM, Lawrence H <xxxxxxxxx@xxxx.seattle.xxx> wrote:

 

I found a little bird (maybe a canary?) on my front porch just about 15 minutes ago. I put it in a shoe box and will keep it until mid day tomorrow. If no one claims it, I’ll take it to the pet store and let them have it. Nothing seems to be wrong with it. I think it’s just lost.mIt’s very cute and seems quite tame. I fed it some millet (hope that’s ok) which it seemed to enjoy.  If you or someone you know lost a bird today, let me know what color it is  and it’s yours. If it’s not yours and you want it, let me know also and it the owner  doesn’t claim it, you can have it.

Larry


Why We Raised The Minimum Wage

June 3rd, 2014

I just wrote an article for CNN about why we raised our minimum wage in Seattle.  Take a look:

 

http://edition.cnn.com/2014/06/03/opinion/clark-seattle-wage/index.html


Seattle is raising its minimum wage

May 29th, 2014

Over the past several months of minimum wage debate I’ve been told to adopt $15 now “because the rent won’t wait.”

I’ve been told raising the minimum wage will cost jobs.

In meetings I’ve heard questions, positions, opinions, pleadings, demands and accusations.

I’ve heard about what was compromised, what was horse-traded and what was a bait-and-switch.

I’ve heard heartfelt stories about small businesses and their “family” of workers.

I’ve heard ghastly stories of exploitation and manipulation.

I’ve heard compelling stories about small manufacturers and international cost competitiveness.

I’ve heard this is not an issue a city on its own can solve.

I’ve heard change must start in the cities.

I’ve heard pleas for an hour’s pay for an hour worked, nothing more nothing less.

I’ve heard compensation includes everything in box 1 of the W2, including tips.

I’ve heard raising the minimum wage will erase poverty and I’ve heard it will do nothing but move us toward being another San Francisco (a code term now for a pretty, expensive place imbued with nostalgia for a simpler, less expensive time).

I’ve heard we should “do the right thing” from every side.

When I try to apply the “do no harm” principle I’m left without knowing exactly what that means in this case. We voted today to raise the minimum wage in Seattle to a greater level than any other city in the country. That committee recommendation goes to the Full Council this coming Monday, June 2.

While it’s too soon to tell if we did the “right thing” what I do know is this: someone has to work the counter at the dry cleaners, someone has to learn to be a mechanic, and someone has to bus tables. People in these jobs have an increasingly tougher time making a life in Seattle. And after today, those someones will have more money to make everyday living just a little easier.


Small lot rules

May 21st, 2014

We adopted new rules on small lot infill houses Monday, rules I believe will stop the terrible “grain silo” and “alley skyscraper” houses that popped up on previously unrecognized lots all over the city. More on these new rules in a moment, though. First, context setting.

At a breakfast Monday someone asked me “what’s hot” in Seattle right now besides minimum wage and the nomination of a new chief of police. I almost always reply solving homelessness, but this morning I said “development.” Reaction (most often negative) to development in neighborhoods all over the city; the concern for trees as we densify; the desire for jobs in outer neighborhoods; the desire for affordability; the demand for good, respectful design – all of these fill and refill my inbox these days.

We live today in another development boom. The pace and scale can make you dizzy — and angry – depending upon where you stand. I hear from people in Capitol Hill, Wallingford, West Seattle, Ballard and elsewhere about quaint, older houses coming down and new apartments or micros going in; about poor transitions in the low-rise areas, view blockage and jagged height differences between old and new.

I also hear about the difficulty in finding a reasonably affordable place to live in Seattle, and about having great rhetoric about growth, but then not having the stomach for it.

Maybe I should have replied that the rhetoric about development is hot. Most Seattle-ites I talk with recognize that cities grow and change over time. Most people I talk with say they’re not anti-density; they just want density done right. And quite a few people these days are fed-up, organizing, protesting and lobbying for change. One Home Per Lot is an example of a new group focused on improving development standards and alerting neighbors earlier about neighborhood development.

Those voices helped shape the small lot development rules we put in place today and will help shape the Council’s upcoming action on new development rules for micro apartments and revisions to the low-rise zone regulations adopted in 2010.

Out of various conversations and emails I’ve defined a few guiding principles for this work.

  • Being for good design and neighborhood character isn’t anti-development.
  • Being for infill isn’t the same thing as wanting to destroy what make Wallingford, West Seattle, Ballard and Capitol Hill great.
  • The city’s urban village and urban center-based strategy continues to be the best blueprint for growth.
  • Density doesn’t necessarily lead to affordability.

OK, with those principles in mind, back to the small lot development rules we adopted today. As a reminder, I joined with colleagues in 2012 to severely curtail development on under-sized lots. We’d seen in the preceding year a new way of defining these smaller lots using historic tax records. Houses appeared on property neighbors never thought could accommodate a house. The negative impact on development patterns and the shock to neighbors was “significant” (bureaucrat-speak for really big).

Since the interim development controls were passed in 2012, Department of Planning & Development staff worked with neighborhood advocates and developers on a set of rules to guide development of under-sized lots – including defining how under-sized lots come to be.

Seattle’s single family neighborhoods are comprised of SF 5000, SF 7,200 and SF 9,600 (all square feet). You’d think that means that the lots in these zones are those sizes. Surprise – 45% of the lots in the SF 5000 zone measure less than 5,000 square feet. Plenty of you reading this live in houses on lots measuring less than 5,000 square feet. Many of you live next door to someone with a larger lot, one that could be divided.

There are unscrupulous developers looking for those opportunities and there are great developers looking for those opportunities. There are also perfectly well-meaning property owners who have planned retirement based on gain from an undeveloped small lot. The rules we passed need to yield good scale and “fit,” no matter the intentions of the owner.

The rules we passed today cure the most egregious of the fouls we saw before the 2012 interim controls.

  • New small lot houses will go no higher than 18 feet (plus five feet for a roof peak) or the average of surrounding house wall heights, whichever is higher. I had supported a height limit of 22 feet (plus five feet for a roof peak). I worry that the option to choose the higher of 18 feet (plus five for a roof peak) or the average of surrounding homes may yield some unfortunately tall structures. Seattle is a city of hills. We’ll see how this plays out.
  • No more use of historic tax lines to get a lot recognized. If it wasn’t a legal lot by 1957, it can’t be now.
  • The depth of a new small lot house will be limited to no more than twice the width.
  • We adopted new notice and comment requirements so neighbors know about a new small lot proposal before the backhoes arrive and can appeal the DPD decision to the City Hearing Examiner.

One much debated proposal that was killed at Full Council would have allowed a builder to build a house on a smaller lot at least equal in size to the average size of the surrounding lots. This new proposal would have primarily allowed development on lots in neighborhoods where the existing lot size was between 3,750 and 2,500 square feet. This was called the 100% rule. I supported the idea because, for me, it matched my goal of better scale and fit. If an area is already small-scale, and if we have the hard stop of 2,500 square feet, why not allow development that matches the existing scale? A majority of councilmembers felt differently and the provision was stripped from the final legislation.

That’s it for small lots for now. Get ready for micros. They’re next up for Council review.


Just say hello

April 9th, 2014

A few years ago architect Rex Hohlbein arrived at his office on the ship canal in Fremont and saw a guy sleeping, a few possessions around him, on the grass by the canal wall edge. That proved to be the end of his architecture career.

Rex built a friendship of sorts with the homeless man after many days taking his coffee or lunch outside and striking up conversations with the man. After a while he offered Chiaka bathroom and indoor rest privileges. After learning more about the man and his art, Rex let him store his supplies and even sleep in part of the building.

After posting and selling some of Chiaka’s art for him via Facebook and, ultimately, helping him reconnect with the family he lost a decade ago, Rex heard a new calling. That calling is to reshape how you and I “see” someone when they’re sleeping in a doorway, asking for change on a sidewalk, heading in and out of a shelter or camped along a place like the ship canal.

Through Homeless in Seattle (Just Say Hello) on Facebook, Rex posts rich black and white portraits and a bit of the stories of the homeless people he meets. He meets a lot of them because he works at it and because through this work his office has become an informal drop-in center. When I visited last Friday morning, I met a half dozen or more men, usually bent and hobbled in some way, looking for a cup of coffee, maybe a package of new socks and a little time with Rex. He listens wholly and engages with them in ways most of us don’t as we go about our lives.

In addition to the photos on Facebook, the site has proven to be an effective place to crowd-course help to solve emergency problems. Paying off parking tickets in order to avoid losing an RV/home, new shoes, some way to get into case management, temporary home for a dog while someone gets a hospital procedure – all of it gets posted with hope that social media will link the ask to someone who can.

Rex’s is the most grassroots of grassroots endeavors. Homeless in Seattle has started on the path to becoming a non-profit organization and he has great help in his board members, like public defender and former Seattle School Boardmember Nancy Waldman. Rex will move his office to Ballard this spring due and likely connect with a whole new set of faces in the neighborhood. Lucky for them.


Council vote today means you can soon catch a legal ride with UberX, Lyft or Sidecar

March 17th, 2014

Below are the notes I used in today’s Full Council vote on Seattle’s first rules expanding access to taxi ownership and defining operating rules for transportation network companies (TNCs) and their affiliated drivers. The Council, after debating several amendments, voted unanimously to put in place a framework for legal TNC operations in Seattle.

My experience on Council has been that every few years something about taxi regulations gets to the point where something has to be fixed; we can’t dodge it any longer. This seems true in most cities. Government performs a quick, band-aid fix, avoiding acknowledgement that the regulatory system is old and heavier than needed, then government jumps away from taxi regulatory reform as quickly as possible.

Avoiding a comprehensive fix is no longer possible. What we’re voting on today isn’t a complete fix, but it’s a start.

First meeting of the Taxi, Limo, For-Hire Committee – March 14, 2013.

We started not to address the operational rules for the new companies, but out of a need to resolve conflict between the taxis and the flat-rates and to better fund enforcement of the rules governing the existing, legacy players.

Previously, the laws of the universe were simple and constant – the taxis have been angry at the flat-rates, both have been angry at the limos.

Then, the laws of the universe changed.

The question for the committee quickly came to be: how do we bring new players with different business models into a regulatory framework built for a different time.

We met pretty much once a month, taking a break during Council’s consideration of the budget, then twice last month.

  • We’ve heard hours of testimony at the microphone.
  • Contracted for a study of the Seattle market to get a better idea of the demand for alternatives to the personal automobile and bus. (Reviewed in committee in September.)
  • We’ve been inundated with form emails, personal emails, personal phone calls and robo-generated calls.
  • We’ve been worked over by drivers, owners, riders, lobbyists, pundits and PR flacks.

Through all of this we’ve attempted to ground our work in three goals:

  • Safety
  • Consumer protection
  • Expanded mobility choices 

A lingering question is whether the City should regulate taxis and flat-rate cars – and now TNC cars — in order to accomplish a fourth goal:

Ensure drivers can make a living. This was a goal of re-regulation in the early 90’s and has been an underpinning of the cap on the number of taxi licenses up to now. Charge people a fair, managed rate – and allow as many operators as can make a decent living. That idea is greatly challenged in 2014.

A reminder that two state code definitions determine the boundaries of our work:

Rideshare: limited definition in state code to carpools and vanpools for commuters between home and work or school. Maybe you’re splitting gas. IRS keeps that at 56 cents/mile.

For-hire vehicle: any vehicle used for the transportation of persons for compensation.

UberX and Lyft aren’t ridesharing under state definitions. They are for-hire transportation – charging more than a share of the gas. That triggers a host of safety, training and operational requirements – requirements that admittedly need an overhaul.

Unfortunately, the limited access to taxi licenses in Seattle and King County coupled with driver and vehicle regulations that haven’t kept up with contemporary service expectations and technology, make disruption not only inevitable, but welcomed by many drivers and riders.

And disruption there has been – in cities across the United States and other parts of the globe. The companies have chosen to launch first, ask questions later. Every city and state looks to be playing out the same debate as we’re having here.

  • Cease & desist in multiple cities – NYC, Washington DC, Portland, Miami, Madison, WI
  • Austin – limited to IRS 56 cents/mile
  • Houston – strife
  • Chicago City Council — subpoena for insurance records.
  • CA defined transportation network companies for the first time, but didn’t dig into safety checks or insurance. San Francisco supervisors may seek authority to regulate, perhaps even cap car numbers
  • Violence in Paris against Uber cars and drivers

In Seattle, we’re about to define the regulatory framework under which UberX, Lyft, Sidecar and their followers can operate legally in the city. These rules recognize that times are changing – and that safety and consumer protection never go out of style.

What does this legislation do?

I like to think it hits on safety, consumer protection and expanded mobility choices from multiple angles.

Starting with the Council Bill:

  • The City will expand the opportunity to own a traditional cab by releasing 100 taxi vehicle licenses in 2014 and 100 in 2015. Potential owners will have to pre-qualify to show good driving records and they can’t already own a cab or a share of a cab.
  • Flat-rate cars – we discussed the future of this small segment of the provider market and decided to let them live. When this legislation comes into effect, flat-rate cars will be able to pick up street hails, but not be able to queue at taxi stands.
  • The bill loosens the requirements on owner/drivers of wheelchair accessible taxis, a more expensive and necessary service model.
  • The bill establishes a two-year pilot phase for operating a new form of for-hire transportation.
  • For the first time, Seattle will define a new entity engaged in for-hire operations – the Transportation Network Company. Think of this as the mother ship.
  • When this legislation comes into effect, anyone who drives a for-hire vehicle (including a TNC-affiliated vehicle) will go through the same training in order to receive a For-Hire Driver’s License.
  • All vehicles engaged in for-hire work (including TNC-affiliated cars), will go through a safety check. For TNC-affiliated cars, you’ll be able to do this with a certified mechanic.
  • TNCs and their affiliate drivers will have to provide insurance coverage while “live on the system” equal to commercial insurance required of other for-hire ride providers.

The companies’ announcements last week that they recognize the pre-match, trolling time live on the app as requiring their coverage is a step in the right direction. The companies should further recognize that people should have the same security in case of an accident in a car with a pink mustache as they do in a taxi.

  • For the at least the first year of this pilot, TNCs will be limited to having no more than 150 cars “live” on their system at any time. That’s an additional 450 cars serving passengers in Seattle if the systems max out.

The cap during the pilot phase allows a transition. It allows operations at a significant scale and minimizes the possible “rush to drive” seen in San Francisco. On the one hand, the migration of drivers to TNC work meets new demand. On the down side, it may sap drivers from modes other people depend upon. Crashing the taxi system isn’t a desired outcome. Too many people in our city depend upon taxis. The cap allows us a controlled test and transition.

  • After one-year, the city may raise, lower or remove entirely the cap on “live” cars. We’ll discuss in the amendments in a moment who has the authority to move the cap.

We’re not regulating the fare that TNC’s can charge. Fares will have to be filed with the City, they’ll be public record, but it will be up to consumers to decide who they want to pay.

The Resolution:

The great news is that we have much more work to do.

  • Driver training must be reworked with King County, focused on safety and customer service.
  • Vehicle licensing and re-licensing must be reworked with King County, simplified and streamlined.
  • The resolution states we’ll review insurance classification levels in pursuit of greater options for taxi and flat-rate drivers.
  • Council will receive regular
    reports
    on how the new taxi licenses are being distributed and on how the options and ride quality for passengers may be affected by opening up the provider market this way.
  • With King County we’ll review the composition of the Taxi Advisory Committee so that it better reflects the different provider models operating in Seattle.

SideCar reported a new harvest of $10 million in investment capital a few weeks ago.

Uber raised $237 million last year.

Lyft has raised $83 million in the last year.

I don’t bring these numbers up to say these massively successful funding rounds are necessarily a bad thing (that all depends upon how you treat drivers and passengers in the long run). But it does beg a question –

  • Riders tell us they love your service quality.
  • Drivers tell us they love the flexibility.

You’re doing so many things right. You have a lot to teach regulators about how to strip back over-weight and redundant regulatory constraints.  If only you would communicate and collaborate.

How can you raise this much money, have what I imagine are battalions of lawyers and not have a better plan for how to engage with policymakers? It’s amazing how many simultaneous city and state-level wars you’re waging.

To the taxi owners, this is a wake-up call. Or shout. Or cannon shot. Thousands of taxi trips happen in our city each day. Most are great are at least unremarkable.  Too many involve poor dispatch, poor driver comportment, a battle over presentation of a credit card or out-right refusal of a short hop ride.

We are moving several dials at the same time. We will be working with Mayor Murray as we track the impacts on passengers and drivers. I’m very glad to see his commitment to quick and focused revamping of the city’s for-hire regulations. I hope King County regulators, our partners in all of this, are as excited as we are to crack open licensing.

What is before Council today is not the complete fix, but it’s a start.


In the Northeastern University Blog – Rideshare Rundown

February 21st, 2014

I wrote an article for Northeast University’s blog” ReConnect” talking about what’s happening in the world of taxi, for-hire, UberX, Lyft, Sidecar, and limousine regulations.  Here’s the link – let me know what you think.

http://www.northeastern.edu/seattleblog/rideshare-rundown/

 


One Night Count 2014

January 28th, 2014

Another One Night Count to end homelessness has come and gone.  Every year, more than 900 volunteers in the Seattle/King County area take to the streets the last Friday morning of January, 2 a.m.-5 a.m., to count those who are living without shelter on our streets.

This year, I was assigned to walk under the West Seattle Bridge and cruise Harbor Island.  My team included a Seattle Fire Department captain (with a warm van), a Downtown Emergency Services contracts manager, a student pursuing a master’s in social work, and a shelter staff person. It was a clear night, a bit warmer than years past, but still chilly when standing still for more than a few minutes.  Definitely cold for those sleeping outside.

Last year my team walked through the cold dark into a profound moment when a couple of people found the body of Kathryn Ann Blair in the grass clover leaf of the Rainier Avenue South off ramp from westbound I-90. That was first – and I hope a never-again – for the One Night Count.

What was striking for me this year was not what stood out, but instead what continues to blend in – the campers, vans, and tents under Spokane Street or on the edge of the industrial area parking lots that we drive or bus by every day.  We counted half a dozen campers likely occupied. One had two children’s bikes leaned against each other.

West Seattle Bridge

I just became the chair of the Council’s Committee on Housing Affordability, Human Services, and Economic Resiliency and this night makes tangible the work that must be done in our committee.  I grumbled a bit to myself about staying up all night and then scheduling myself for a half-day planning session on our office workplan the next morning, but, really, participating in the One Night Count and then getting down to work is exactly what we must do.  This year we’ll be looking at boosting the city’s affordable housing strategies, preventing and mitigating foreclosure, strengthening job opportunities, connecting people with mental health services, crisis housing and a building a city-wide housing strategy.  That’s in addition to the likely bump in Seattle’s minimum wage. It’s not the answer to eradicating poverty, but it will help.

Thanks to all of you who participated in the One Night Count this year and thanks to Seattle/King County Coalition on Homelessness for organizing so many of us to do this important work.


Pics from the ceremonies

January 7th, 2014

I had a pretty good seat for yesterday’s swearing-in ceremonies for the newly-elected and re-elected in Seattle city government. This was definitely the best attended and most “pomp and circumstance” of the inaugurations I’ve seen.

01072014sawant 
After Councilmember O’Brien was sworn in by his sons (Elliott and Wyatt), Councilmember Licata by his wife (Andrea Okomski), and Councilmember Bagshaw by her husband (Brad), Councilmember Sawant took the stage to applause, hoots and chants to be sworn in by Nicole Grant of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. You’ve probably read a bit about Councilmember Sawant’s speech already. It didn’t disappoint.

010714murray

Former Washington State Governor and Ambassador to China Gary Locke swore in Mayor Ed Murray with Mayor Murray’s husband Michael Shiosaki holding the 18th century Gaelic bible for the Mayor’s left hand. The Mayor also had with him rosary beads brought from Ireland by his grandmother when she emigrated.  A proudly unreconstructed Democratic progressive, the Mayor’s speech also disappoint with good quotes from FDR and JFK.

Before the Mayor made his remarks, the Washington State Poet Laureate, Kathleen Flenniken, read a poem she built for the day. It does a wonderful job of name-checking scads of Seattle people, places and icons, but more than that it conveys both a yearning to do better and a love of place.

Pulling off yesterday’s event took a lot of work over the holidays by the City Clerk and her staff and the City’s Facilities staff. Nice work all around. And thanks to all of you who attended.

Now, onto the work of 2014.

 


End of year, end of Council presidency, thanks for a great two years

December 20th, 2013

The Council Presidency is over for me, long live the Council Presidency for someone else. In addition to chairing the Council’s Monday morning informal Briefings meeting and the afternoon Full Council session, the Council President serves as the head of the Legislative Department (Council, City Clerk, Central Staff, Legislative Operations, Archives and Records). You represent the Council welcoming dignitaries and you do the managerial work of department budget review and human resources juggling. It’s both an honor and a basic “herding cats” requirement for an 80-person department. And you do it in addition to your regular committee assignments and the work on policy initiatives.

At the end of the Full Council meeting this past Monday I made a few comments to close out the year. The notes below are pretty close to what I said in the meeting. I probably self-edited for length because after 68 agenda items and a wedding proposal, it seemed we’d been in Chambers for four or five days already.

 It’s been a great honor working as Council President on behalf of the whole. Organizing, structuring, facilitating, mediating – really never a dull moment. I hope I’ve represented you all well when called upon to do so.

 I looked back at what I said when I became Council President two years ago. In the remarks I said:

 “My goals as Council President are relatively simple:

  • That City Council continues to be a place of diligence and well-done decision-making;
  • That we be the place that emphasizes informed debate and respectful disagreement;
  • That we are connected to Seattle’s neighborhoods, families, and businesses taking on issues that matter;
  • That we collaborate aggressively with partners inside our city and in our region to ensure progressive action at other levels of government, and a widened circle of prosperity.”

I like to think we did pretty well hitting those marks in this two year cycle. I’m proud of what this Council has accomplished, including efforts seeded and growing now. A list of 2012-2013 high points would have to include:

  • Funding homeless services to both expand services where needed and make up for lost federal and state funds (A priority for all members)
  • Beginning to build a universal preschool plan (Lead by Councilmember Burgess)
  • Road to Housing expansion (Lead by Councilmember O’Brien)
  • Job Assistance legislation to help formerly incarcerated people get a fresh start (Lead by Councilmember Harrell)
  • Greenway policies to further safety for walkers and bikers (Lead by Councilmember Bagshaw)
  • Sending a successful library levy to voters (Triumphed by Councilmembers Conlin and Godden)
  • Making marijuana legalization work with rational zoning (Lead by Councilmember Licata and me)
  • Improving 3rd Ave. and supporting the Center City public safety initiative (Supported by Councilmembers Rasmussen and Bagshaw)
  • Passage of the seawall bond measure (a priority for all councilmembers)
  • Establishment of the City’s first Economic Development Commission (started by Councilmember Conlin and brought across the finish line by me)
  • Competing for and receiving a grant from the Allen Foundation to establish the city’s first Financial Empowerment Centers (Championed by me)
  • Adopting new zoning and equitable development requirements for the Yesler Terrace and South Lake Union neighborhoods (A priority for all)

This Council has made a difference in the welfare of our city. I should also note that each of the efforts I just identified was in collaboration with Mayor McGinn and his staff, contrary to a narrative put forward by a few that disagreements on a few issues prevented progress on other challenges. That narrative does a disservice to Mayor McGinn and the hard working staff in the city. Though it’s been an up and down four years between us, I thank Mayor McGinn for his ardent advocacy on behalf of our city and working to get Seattle urbanism right.

I want to thank Central Staff, the Legislative Operations crew, and the Clerks for a great couple of years. And I sincerely wish the best for the departing Ben Noble, the head of the Council’s policy shop, and Mike Fong, policy advisor extraordinaire, in their new adventures heading the Budget office and serving as deputy for the Office of Policy and Innovation respectively. We’ll miss you, but that you’re putting your talents to work in other parts of the city means you’re still at work for good of the city, and I can live with that.

Lastly, thank you to Richard Conlin for 16 years of service to Seattle through your work on this Council. Richard’s grasp of issues, commitment to progressive values, and dedication to fair decision-making are second to none.

I was fortunate to have succeeded Richard as both Council President and as chair of the economic development and intergovernmental relations committee. I got to witness and experience firsthand some of his visionary accomplishments.

I could go on about the Zero Waste Strategy that saved us from opening a new transfer station; pushing for better funding for parks and libraries; healthy fiscal skepticism about the reclaimed water business; tree policy development; the Seattle Food Action Plan; sowing the seeds for the Economic Development Commission and restaurant permit streamlining; about starting Seattle for Washington to improve Seattle’s collaborative cred across the state; about the Capitol Hill Light Rail station development plan and so much more from a 16 year career.

Thank you, Richard. You’ve been a great role-model for public service and you’ve made Seattle a better place.