Urban Politics #228: Invitation to City Council’s First Annual Report

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By City Councilmember Nick Licata.

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.






On behalf of the City Council I am inviting your help to usher in 2007 with something new, an annual review of our work of the previous year and our vision for the next, at this coming Tueday’s Full Council Meeting on January 16th at 2:00 PM.

I hope this will be a useful way to recognize the legislative accomplishments and funding priorities of each Council Committee in 2006. Also, we want to tell you about what each Committee’s Chair has as a goal for 2007. I am also proposing a change to the City Council’s Rules and Procedures to make this an annual address to the City of Seattle.

Every year, each Council committee develops a workplan. They prioritize our work across many different initiatives by directing City departments and funding. Subsequently, the Council passes a resolution that unites these individual workplans as a comprehensive vision of legislation and policy to guide the City through the coming year. This resolution will be voted on at a later Full Council Meeting.

We not only want to thank the people of Seattle who make this City great; but since many of you have been involved in helping us to chart Seattle’s future, I hope that you’ll want to hear more about our priorities for 2007.

So please join us:
City Council’s First Annual Report to Seattle Citizens
City Council Chambers, 600 4th Avenue, 2nd floor
2:00 PM – 1st item on Full Council Agenda
Tuesday, January 16, 2007



The Seattle City Council will be working with the Seattle Police Department (SPD), the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) and other departments to make pedestrian safety a top priority issue in 2007.

There have been an average of 10 pedestrian/automobile fatalities annually over the past five years, and an average of 497 pedestrian/vehicle collisions each year. These numbers were made all the more personal with the recent death of our co-worker and friend, Tatsuo Nakata. The Council believes that through a variety of efforts we can reduce the number of pedestrian fatalities and injuries in the City.

As a result, the Council will be forming a joint Transportation and Public Safety Committee to work on a number of key activities related to pedestrian safety in 2007. These include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • The Pedestrian Master Plan that SDOT will begin to develop in 2007
  • Work with the Seattle Police Department on the development and implementation of a high profile pedestrian safety education and awareness campaign that will be launched during 2007.

In working together over the next year in the manner outlined above, we can make significant progress in making the City of Seattle a safer place for pedestrians.



Sally J. Clark, Economic Development & Neighborhoods Committee

  • Renewed the City’s attention and commitment to helping all Seattleites find and keep living wage jobs;
  • Revised the City’s ethics rules to make them fairer to volunteers and stricter for violators;
  • 2007 Goal: Revive the City’s commitment to putting neighborhood plans into action.

Richard Conlin, Environment, Emergency Management & Utilities Committee

  • Led the Council’s successful effort to persuade Governor Gregoire to choose adding two dedicated lanes for transit and car pools to the replacement for the State Route 520 bridge;
  • Authored revised plans and rate strategies for the water, sewer, garbage, and drainage utilities, focusing on improving the environment while stabilizing rates;
  • 2007 Goal: To create a zero-waste strategy for Seattle that will dramatically reduce the city’s trash, cut its contribution to global warming, and recycle and reuse more materials.

David J. Della, Parks, Education, Libraries & Labor Committee

  • Secured an additional $795,000 for the Parks budget to implement key elements of the Magnuson Park Plan, $125,000 to preserve the Danny Woo Community Garden, and $250,000 for Nisei Memorial Hall;
  • Introduced and secured funding to develop the City-wide Skate Park Plan, to add to the diversity of recreational activities for all;
  • 2007 Goal: I will take the lead to ensure that the broader community and the Council are fully engaged as plans are drawn up for a 21st Century Seattle Center.

Jan Drago, Transportation Committee

  • Led effort to craft a transportation levy, ‘Bridging the Gap,’ to fund street paving, sidewalk building, and improvements for transit that was approved by voters;
  • Secured funding for South Lake Union Streetcar so that the City was able to break ground and begin construction on project;
  • 2007 Goal: To develop a Pedestrian and Traffic Safety Plan/Program that will include education and enforcement provisions.

Jean Godden, Energy & Technology Committee

  • As Energy and Technology Committee Chair, she led the Seattle City Light rate review resulting in an 8.4 percent system-wide decrease in electricity rates starting January 1, 2007;
  • Spearheaded unanimous passage of the Environmentally Critical Areas Ordinance, strengthening protections for wetlands, streams and environmentally sensitive areas;
  • 2007 Goal: Strengthen and enhance customer services at Seattle City Light and continue planning for broadband fiber access to each home across the city.

Nick Licata, President, Public Safety, Governmental Relations & Arts Committee

  • Developed a $5.9 million public safety package which balanced adding more police officers with prevention and intervention programs in human services;
  • Strengthened police accountability with reforms to reduce the length of investigations and improve citizen oversight of complaints about police conduct;
  • 2007 Goal: To lead the City Council in a multi-year plan for improving police staffing and citywide public safety.

Richard J. McIver, Finance & Budget Committee

  • As chair of the Council’s Budget Committee, spearheaded the adoption of a balanced sustainable 2007-2008 biennial budget, including a comprehensive public safety package;
  • As one of two City representatives on the Sound Transit board, helped to fashion plans to extend LINK light rail, currently under construction, to Capitol Hill and Husky Stadium;
  • 2007 Goal: Work aggressively to expand opportunities in contracting and construction for women and minority-owned businesses with the City of Seattle and Sound Transit.

Tom Rasmussen, Housing, Human Services & Health Committee

  • Led the effort to site, fund and implement Connections, a one-stop housing and services referral center for homeless adults;
  • Led the creation of the Emergency Assistance Program at Seattle Public Utilities which is expected to help 600 low-income ratepayers annually avoid disconnection of their water;
  • 2007 Goal: Begin the City’s comprehensive review of senior centers that will lead to a proposal for sustained support of these centers to ensure a welcoming environment for older adults for generations to come.

Peter Steinbrueck, Urban Development & Planning Committee

  • Led the effort to substantially increase the number of officers in our police force;
  • Negotiated the passage of the Downtown Livability Plan, which requires new downtown residential development to help fund affordable housing at almost twice the amount originally proposed;
  • 2007 Goal: To promote a healthy, thriving Central Waterfront for all of Seattle residents and visitors to enjoy.



On Tuesday the 16th, the Council will vote on an amendment to the Council Rules to make the Legislative Report an annual public presentation. The report will identify accomplishments of the committee in the preceding year and objectives of the committee for the coming calendar year, in a report format as determined by the Council President.



Lastly, I also recognize that it is conceivable the Council will decide not to hold a vote at all, or to have one that does not include projects costs and the willingness of Seattle voters to accept financial responsibility for tunnel-related additional costs.

If a ballot title does not include this last information, I have been told firmly by the Speaker of the House that it will be ignored in the State Legislature. Consequently we might as well save ourselves some money and not hold this type of election.

If the Council does not place anything on the ballot then the future of the Viaduct replacement would appear to be in the hands of the State Legislature. And your guess is as good as mine as to what they would do with the money currently earmarked for replacing the Viaduct.

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