Urban Politics #112: Special Events Taskforce Report

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By City Councilmember Nick Licata.

With assistance from my Legislative Assistant Newell Aldrich on this issue.

Urban Politics (UP) blends my insights and information on current public policy developments and personal experiences with the intent of helping citizens shape Seattle’s future.



  • Special Events Taskforce Report
  • Monorail News
  • Youth Sought For The Park Board

Special Events Taskforce Report

As Chair of the Culture Arts and Parks Committee I strongly support the Taskforce’s recommendations to better fund the Special Events Committee and streamline the City’s assistance efforts. Their report clearly stated that “special events help build a sense of belonging and community pride…” and that the “City of Seattle nurture and support events that build our community.”

Our specific goal should be to provide better assistance for producers of new and smaller events. We also need a process responsive not only to the needs of special event promoters but also to the communities they serve. In order to achieve these goals, I will work to do three things:

1. Avoid instituting bureaucratic paperwork and regulations that may negatively impact small event producers and neighborhood applicants.

In bold type the Taskforce Report stated the “The City should NOT hinder the creative development of community-building special events, and rather, should seek to help all events be safe and successful.”

I will not support creating a more costly bureaucracy with an endless loop of regulations. Large event promoters, who were at the table in drawing up these recommendations, are better staffed and financed to handle additional paperwork. I recognize that as regulations become burdensome we threaten to keep new and smaller (especially neighborhood and community events) events from happening. And without them, we would never have had the growth of successful celebrations such as Bumbershoot, the Folk Life Festival and the Fremont Solstice Parade.

2. Demand that rules and guidelines allow for non-biased enforcement of sanctions issued for permit violations.

Any new regulations that might come before my Committee for adoption must focus on the level of activity rather than on age, income, or ethnic characteristics. And let’s not be redundant. For instance, the activity levels of audiences are already taken into consideration by the Fire Department when considering safety factors before issuing an occupancy permit for an event.

3. Ensure that special events permitting legislation does not violate the US Constitution.

Considering that the City’s has seen legal rulings that have questioned some of our laws based on constitutional restrictions, the City should avoid qualifying the identity of sponsors as a condition of issuing event permits. This would include media sponsors. Otherwise, if the city were to deny a permit to a media sponsor who has been critical of the City, or our policies, we could be accused of biased enforcement. We need a permit process where questions concerning appearances of fairness procedures will not be raised.

Finally we should also keep in mind that the Mardi Gras incident earlier this year does not demonstrate a need for fundamental changes to the City’s permitting process for small event organizers and neighborhoods as we consider the Task Force’s recommendations.

Monorail News

New Legislation Passed —

In November 2000 Seattle voters passed Initiative 53, which provided $6 million to study a monorail for Seattle. I-53 further required the City of Seattle to seek “any waivers or changes in any state or other superior law that may be needed, such as obtaining a waiver from King County Metro to allow a monorail to operate in the City of Seattle.”

In the spirit of fulfilling this requirement, I introduced Resolution 30338 to the Seattle City Council, which passed unanimously on July 9. The operative portion of the resolution states:

“The City Council requests that King County take necessary action to provide its consent, pursuant to RCW 35.58.260, or take other steps as may be required, and that Sound Transit take action to provide any consent that may be necessary, pursuant to RCW 81.112.100, or take other steps as maybe required, for the City of Seattle or a future Seattle Popular Transit Authority (SPTA) to pursue constructing and/or operating a monorail transit system for the benefit of Seattle residents, workers, and visitors.”

Resolution 30338 can be viewed here.

This resolution is needed because under State law, the City of Seattle cannot operate a transit system without authorization of King County Metro. However, a letter sent by County Executive Ron Sims to Mayor Paul Schell in 1998, after the passage of I-41, the first monorail initiative, indicated that the County’s consent power might have been vested in Sound Transit. For this reason, the resolution also requested that Sound Transit take any necessary action.

On July 30, the King County Council passed a measure sponsored by Council Member Greg Nickels that requests “the executive transmit the needed legislation to the council allowing the city of Seattle to continue their investigation.” For more info click here.

ETC Chooses a Corridor —

The Elevated Transportation Council(ETC) (at www.elevated.org) has selected a preliminary corridor from West Seattle to Downtown to Ballard. From my discussions with the Elevated Transportation Company Council, they chose the proposed West Seattle to Downtown and Downtown to Ballard corridors, among other reasons, to avoid competition with the planned Sound Transit Link Light Rail line. This is the same corridor that was studied in my Monorail Survey Report reported in Urban Politics Issue # 98.

The ETC will be holding open houses for their Environmental Impact Statement as they develop specific routes at:

6:00 pm — Tuesday, August 7, 2001
Brockey Student Center
South Seattle Community College (West Seattle)
6000 16th Avenue SW

6:00 pm — Wednesday, August 8, 2001
Ballard High School Library
1418 NW 65th Street

6:00 pm — Thursday, August 9, 2001
Town Hall (Downtown)
1119 8th Avenue

Comments and more information are available at the ETC website (www.elevated.org).

Youth Sought For Board Of Park Commissioners

In keeping with Seattle Parks and Recreation’s emphasis on youth programming, they are seeking a young adult between the ages of 18 and 29 for the Seattle Board of Park Commissioners (Park Board). Youth programming, and the importance of providing safe, fun places for youth when school is not in session, is a major focus for the department. Both the Department and I strongly believe the Park Board needs the perspective of a young adult.

The Park Board is a seven-member volunteer board appointed by the Mayor for three-year terms to advise the Parks and Recreation Superintendent, the Mayor and the City Council on parks and recreation issues.

Seattle Parks and Recreation is responsible for the management and stewardship of 6,000 acres of park land, including 850 acres of undeveloped open space, 24 miles of shoreline, 13 miles of bike trails, 185 athletic fields, 130 children’s play areas, 24 community centers, 10 pools, four environmental education centers and the Woodland Park Zoo and Seattle Aquarium.

We are interested in a youth who has an interest in Seattle parks, community centers, pools, environmental education centers or other offerings, and someone who brings lots of energy, a creative mind and a positive attitude. Membership on the Board offers an exceptional opportunity to bring a whole new youth perspective to the policies, management and direction of the department – for current and future park users. It’s a chance to make a real difference.

For more information about applying for this position, please contact Michele Daly at 684-5066.

Keep in touch…


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Comment from Marty Vesey
Time December 14, 2011 at 1:07 am

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