West Seattle politics 1833 results

ELECTION 2021: Mike McQuaid drops City Council candidacy

checkbox.jpgLess than two weeks after kicking off his City Council Position 8 candidacy with a citywide tour including a West Seattle Junction stop, Mike McQuaid has withdrawn. We noticed it on the city elections website this afternoon and confirmed it with a campaign spokesperson. The Seattle Times reported last Friday that McQuaid had been charged with assault and harassment in 2015 after, according to a police report, he threatened and threw a rock at a man working on a landscaping project outside his South Lake Union condo building. The Times report says the charge resulted in a “deferred prosecution” agreement and a dismissal in 2018. McQuaid’s withdrawal leaves West Seattle-residing incumbent Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda alone in the Position 8 race for now; filings won’t be finalized until May.

LEGISLATURE: Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon’s ‘clean-fuel standard’ bill passes state House

Today the state House passed a major environmental bill sponsored by one of our area’s lawmakers, Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon, who chairs the House Environment and Energy Committee. Here’s the news release:

Washington is one step closer to joining its west coast neighbors in establishing a clean fuel standard. House Bill 1091, sponsored by Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon (D-West Seattle) directs the Washington State Department of Ecology to adopt a rule establishing a Clean Fuels Program that would limit greenhouse gas emissions per unit of transportation fuel energy to 10 percent below 2017 levels by 2028 and 20 percent below 2017 levels by 2035. It passed the House today with a vote of 52-46.

“It is long past time for Washington to join our neighbors in Oregon, California, and British Columbia in reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector,” said Fitzgibbon. “We owe it to future generations to protect the climate, improve our air quality, and create jobs in the biofuels industry. Washington can be a leader in clean fuel production, but we are falling behind our neighbors. This bill protects our climate, cleans our air, and grows clean energy jobs. This program is overdue, but it’s not too late for us to do our part.”

The transportation sector is responsible for roughly 45% of greenhouse gas emissions in Washington. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions will also help reduce the state’s contributions to climate change. The most recent National Climate Assessment, a federal report prepared by hundreds of scientists, details the disruptive impacts anticipated in the United States and the Pacific Northwest if greenhouse gas emissions are not curbed. The addition of fire season to the west coast calendar highlights the urgency of the moment.

This would create opportunities for Washington producers of clean transportation fuels – from biodiesel, to renewable natural gas, to the clean electricity produced by the state’s utilities. The policy itself is technology-neutral, not mandating use of any specific renewable fuel. Currently, Washingtonians spend $9 billion annually on gasoline and diesel, while the vast majority of locally-produced clean fuels are shipped to states that already have a clean fuel standard. A clean fuel standard will create a market for clean fuels right here in Washington.

Prior to passing the full House, the bill advanced through the House Environment & Energy, Transportation, and Appropriations committees. It now goes to the Senate for consideration.

Our area’s senior House Rep. Eileen Cody also voted for the bill, which you can read in its entirety here. As for the Senate, here’s what our area’s State Senator tweeted tonight:

ELECTION 2021: Brianna Thomas running for City Council’s citywide Position 9

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

The first West Seattleite to declare she’s running for City Council citywide Position 9 has campaigned for a council spot before.

Back in 2015, Brianna Thomas finished fourth in a field of nine during the first-ever District 1 primary election.

At the time, she had a resumé of political and community organizing. Since then, she’s learned about City Council work from the inside, as chief of staff for Council President Lorena González, whose run for mayor is opening the position Thomas is seeking.

We talked with Thomas by phone at midday today, a few hours after her campaign was announced.

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FOLLOWUP: First discussion of City Council proposal to loosen rules for running businesses at home

Two days after the announcement of a proposal to relax rules for operating businesses at home, a City Council committee discussed it this morning. The Land Use and Neighborhoods Committee is chaired by the bill’s main sponsor, Councilmember Dan Strauss. No vote today, but the committee heard a presentation from council staff as well as comments from councilmembers and the public. The latter included the proprietor of a business cited as inspiration for the bill, a cider company that tried becoming home-based because of the pandemic but ran afoul of city rules. The main presentation/discussion starts at 1 hour, 21 minutes into the meeting video (which you can watch above or here on the Seattle Channel website). The presentation included a mention that if this is adopted, city staff also could start researching making some or all of its provisions permanent; otherwise, it would be temporary, for up to a year. Here’s the slide deck from today’s presentation:

Many of the questions asked during the briefing were from North Seattle Councilmember Debora Juarez. She expressed concern that, as written, the proposal could open the door for neighborhood businesses run from homes to endanger small businesses in nearby business districts. For example, she said, what would be stopping someone from turning their garage into an espresso stand, taking business away from an established shop a few blocks away that has higher expenses because it’s a permanent brick-and-mortar business? “I’m supportive of the intent, but the application … is where I get concerned.” Other agencies’ rules would still apply – for example, health rules for commercial food/beverage service – Strauss said. You can read the proposed legislation here; it’s expected to return to the committee for a potential vote on March 10th.

THURSDAY: Rev. Harriett Walden @ West Seattle Democratic Women

RSVP today if you are interested in this event with the West Seattle Democratic Women tomorrow:

February 25th via Zoom:

The West Seattle Democratic Women are offering a rare opportunity to hear a presentation by Reverend Harriett Walden, founder of Mothers for Police Accountability, member of Seattle’s Community Police Commission, and a well-respected community leader for her compassionate approach to challenging issues. The presentation begins at 11:45; pre-meeting discussion and short business meeting start at 11 a.m. To join us, email maryfisher1@comcast.net by 5 p.m. Wednesday [today]. There will be time set aside for questions.

(Photo via seattle.gov.)

FOLLOWUP: 1 question for City Council Position 8 candidate Mike McQuaid during his West Seattle stop

As reported here Wednesday, South Lake Union community activist Mike McQuaid is the second candidate to declare he’s running for Seattle City Council citywide Position 8. He is the first to make a campaign stop in West Seattle. As part of a citywide post-announcement tour today, he stopped at Husky Deli in The Junction:

His campaign announcement didn’t address one major topic that has been on the City Council’s front burner in various ways during the past year – crime and public safety. So we asked about his views on that.

Council Position 8 is one of four citywide positions that’ll be on your ballot in August and November – along with Council Position 9, Mayor, and City Attorney.

ELECTION 2021: Hamdi Mohamed running for Seattle Port Commission Position 3

The first challenger for Seattle Port Commissioner Stephanie Bowman announced her candidacy today: Hamdi Mohamed. She is currently a King County Office of Equity & Social Justice policy adviser. Her announcement says Mohamed would be “the first-ever woman of color and East African (on) the Port Commission, as well as the only commissioner to live in the airport community.” Her past work includes serving as deputy district director for Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal. The announcement says that Mohamed priorities include creating “more living-wage job opportunities for all of our communities at the Port,” expecting that such jobs will play a big role in the post-pandemic recovery, and “prioritizing diversity and access for small businesses in contracting.” She also vows that environmental justice will be at the heart of her campaign. The primary is on August 2nd; the lineup of candidates won’t be finalized until May.

ELECTION 2021: Mike McQuaid running for City Council citywide Position 8, planning West Seattle campaign stop Thursday

City Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda has her first challenger for citywide Position 8: South Lake Union community advocate and business owner Mike McQuaid announced today that he’s running, and planning a citywide campaign tour tomorrow, including a West Seattle stop. The campaign news release describes McQuaid as “a fourth-generation Seattleite who served as elected member, president and transportation chair of the South Lake Union Community Council from 2010 – 19 during a period of significant growth and revitalization” and says he “has also served in a number of volunteer civic leadership capacities including a mayoral appointment to the Seattle Sister Cities Coordinating Council and a leadership role in the then Key Arena – Redevelopment Community Advisory Group.” The announcement cites pandemic recovery and neighborhood-business resiliency among his priorities and says the candidate is “passionate about Seattle’s parks, transportation infrastructure and neighborhoods.” McQuaid’s campaign stops in all seven council districts tomorrow will include a visit to Husky Deli in The Junction between 1:30 and 2 pm.

ELECTION 2021: Sara Nelson running again for City Council citywide Position 9

Another citywide candidacy announcement today – this time, Sara Nelson is running again for City Council Position 9, the citywide seat currently held by Councilmember Lorena González, who announced Wednesday she’s running for mayor. Nelson ran for the seat in 2017 and finished third in the primary. She is co-founder of Fremont Brewing and has worked as a City Council policy adviser (for former Councilmember Richard Conlin). Her announcement says she “wants to put her success in business and city government to work for all Seattleites,” and quotes her as saying, “I will work to bring back jobs and community resources to Seattle by revitalizing our downtown core and neighborhood business districts.” Nelson lives in Green Lake. She is the first candidate for this seat to send us an announcement, but five people have registered campaigns with the city. The field won’t be final until May; the primary is August 3rd.

ELECTION 2O21: Second ‘Best Starts for Kids’ countywide levy to be on August ballot

checkbox.jpgSix years have passed since King County voters approved the first “Best Starts for Kids” levy, you’ll be asked in August if you support renewing it. King County Executive Dow Constantine‘s announcement says it has served more than 500,000 children in the past six years (here’s a report), “providing comprehensive supports from prenatal development all the way to young adulthood.” The programs proposed to be funded through the levy include:

• Home-based services for new parents – provides support for new families throughout the first years. In these programs, an average of 97 percent of new parents started breastfeeding, helping their babies off to a healthy start. This exceeded the goal of “Healthy People 2020,” a federal initiative with a goal of 82 percent of new parents breastfeeding.

• Programs that promote healthy development for youth – provides support for children and young people to develop leaderships skill, connect with their community, and succeed in school. The levy served 40,000 children and young people with programs before, during, and after school, and throughout the summer.

• Youth and Family Homelessness Prevention Initiative – flexible funds and intensive case management helped 9,200 young people and families. Ninety percent of enrollees did not enter the homeless system, and 92 percent remained housed at least one year after exiting the program.

Child care would also be addressed, “new funding for 3,000 children under 5 who currently have no access to child care.” So what will it cost? The first-year rate is 19 cents per $1,000 valuation, $114 a year for a “median-priced King County home,” with annual increases capped at three percent, raising about $811 million over the six years. The announcement says this is five cents more per $1,000 than the original Best Starts for Kids levy. You can read more about this in the full announcement. Next step for the proposal is a County Council decision on whether to send it to the ballot.

For Duwamish Tribe, 2 words in proposed State Senate bill could ‘erase us from the history books’

(Duwamish Tribe Longhouse, WSB file photo)

By Jason Grotelueschen
Reporting for West Seattle Blog

A proposed State Legislature bill encouraging students in our state to learn more about Native history contains 2 words that could spell trouble for the Duwamish Tribe.

The bill SB-5161 (“Teaching Washington’s tribal history, culture, and government”) is scheduled to be reviewed tomorrow (Wednesday, January 27th) in executive session of the Senate Committee on Early Learning and K-12 Education.

At issue, according to Duwamish Longhouse director Jolene Haas (also the daughter of tribal chair Cecile Hansen) is the phrase “federally recognized,” which describes the tribes that are included in the scope of the bill.

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ELECTION 2021: Colleen Echohawk running for Seattle mayor

The first high-profile candidate for Seattle Mayor has announced her campaign. Colleen Echohawk leads the nonprofit Chief Seattle Club, which provides services to urban Natives experiencing homelessness. Her announcement says she is “running on a people-first platform to achieve an equitable renewal from the COVID-19 pandemic” and quotes her as saying that “we have a once-in-a-generation chance to rethink how [the city] works, and who it works for.” The announcement describes Echohawk’s priorities as including “an investment in community-based organizations and businesses” as well as “the establishment of a Public Safety Department, with community-based mental health workers and neighborhood liaisons.” Echohawk is a North Seattle resident. In addition to her nonprofit work, she has been involved in a wide variety of advisory groups on major regional issues – our archives note that she was on the Stakeholder Advisory Group for Sound Transit‘s West Seattle to Ballard light-rail plan. Three other candidates have registered campaigns for mayor; this is the first announcement we’ve received. (Campaign website photo)

ELECTION 2021: Seattle Port Commissioner Stephanie Bowman running for re-election

January 22, 2021 11:25 am
|    Comments Off on ELECTION 2021: Seattle Port Commissioner Stephanie Bowman running for re-election
 |   Port of Seattle | West Seattle news | West Seattle politics

Port of Seattle commissioners are elected in a countywide note, but the seats are of special interest here given the port facilities along West Seattle shores, along Elliott Bay and the Duwamish River. So we’re noting that Port Commissioner Stephanie Bowman has officially announced she’s running for a third 4-year term. Bowman is a Beacon Hill resident. Her announcement says she plans to “focus on economic recovery in the upcoming year and new term.” As points of pride in recent years, she points to “the work we’ve done to build career pathways and apprenticeship programs for young people coming from high school into skilled trades.” She also notes sustainability work and the port’s change in governance from a “traditional CEO” to an executive director, which she calls “a ‘no drama’ approach to Port management.” So far, no one else has registered a campaign for that seat, Position 3, but the primary isn’t until August 3.

P.S. The Port Commission meets twice a month – you can track meeting info here. They also meet monthly with their Port of Tacoma counterparts as managing members of the Northwest Seaport Alliance, the two ports’ partnership.

New leadership for 34th District Democrats

“This will be a year of rebuilding.” That observation from the new chair of our area’s largest political organization, the 34th District Democrats, as they met last night to elect new leadership – their every-two-years reorganization. After two years, Gina Topp decided not to run for another term as chair, and Carla Rogers was elected unopposed. They had a virtual gavel-passing during the online meeting (in our screengrabs below, that’s Topp holding the gavel):

Others elected included 1st vice chair Rachel Glass, 2nd vice chair Jordan Crawley, state committee representatives Chris Porter and Janine Anzalota, county committee reps Norman Sigler and Leah Griffin, county committee alternates Bunny Hatcher and Richard O’Neill, treasurer Julie Whittaker and secretary Sara Smith. Post-vote, Rogers – whose goals are laid out in the organization’s latest newsletter – observed, “This is going to be quite an adventure.” The organization spans the entire 34th Legislative District, including West Seattle, White Center, part of Burien, and Vashon/Maury Islands.

FOLLOWUP: Mayor sends multifamily, commercial construction natural-gas ban to council

Last month, we reported on Mayor Jenny Durkan‘s announcement that she planned to pursue a ban on natural-gas usage in many types of new construction. On Wednesday, while we were focused on windstorm aftermath, her office announced that the proposal has been officially sent to the City Council. Note, this is for new multifamily/commercial construction and major remodeling of larger buildings, NOT existing gas usage. Here’s the announcement:

Following the State Environmental Policy Act process, Mayor Jenny A. Durkan announced that she has transmitted to City Council the proposed update to the energy code that would further electrify buildings using clean energy and restrict fossil fuels for most building use. By updating its energy code, the City will restrict the use of fossil fuels in new commercial and large multi-family construction for space and most water heating in order to cut down on the significant emissions contributed by the building sector. Space and water heating account for most building gas use according to City and national data.

“2020 and 2021 will be remembered as years of crises, and as we recover, Seattle can create a more equitable city with green buildings. It is up to Seattle and other cities to make the bold changes necessary to lower our greenhouse gas emissions,” said Mayor Durkan. “Business as usual will not get us to a future where all Seattle residents, especially our Black, Indigenous and people of color neighbors who are unfairly burdened by environmental inequities, enjoy a healthy and prosperous future. Electrifying our buildings is an important step in the many actions needed to curb climate pollution.”

The proposed Seattle Energy Code update includes the following key changes for commercial and large multifamily buildings:

Eliminates all gas and most electric resistance space heating systems
Eliminates gas water heating in large multifamily buildings and hotels
Improves building exteriors to improve energy efficiency and comfort
Creates more opportunities for solar power
Requires electrical infrastructure necessary for future conversion of any gas appliances in multifamily buildings

In 2019, Mayor Durkan issued an Executive Order committing the City to new actions that will support the goals of Seattle’s Green New Deal. In addition to requiring that all new or substantially altered City of Seattle buildings operate without fossil fuels, City departments will work with the Office of Sustainability & Environment to develop a strategy to eliminate fossil fuel use in existing City buildings, improve data collection and sharing on Seattle’s climate emissions, and engage stakeholders like the philanthropic community, business community, labor community, non-governmental organizations, health care community, county and state agencies, state legislators, and tribes to achieve the goals of the Green New Deal.

The proposed energy code amendments will eliminate most direct carbon emissions from new commercial and multifamily buildings. Requiring these changes at construction is the most economical opportunity to transition to clean electricity. Without the proposed code changes, the City expects that greenhouse gas emissions from buildings to be at least 12% higher by 2050.

Since 2017, the City has also helped approximately 600 households convert from dirty, inefficient heating oil to clean, energy-efficient heat pumps. The City will convert more households to electric heat with the goal of eliminating heating oil use by 2028.

The City also requires Building Tune-Ups to help building owners identify ways to reduce energy and water costs. Through tune-ups, building owners find operational efficiencies and low- and no-cost fixes that improve building performance and can reduce building emissions 10-15% on average. Seattle’s largest buildings have completed 450 tune-ups to date, reducing greenhouse gas emissions across the city and saving money on their energy bills.

The Seattle Energy Code impacts new construction and substantial alterations of commercial and 4+ story tall multi-family buildings. The proposed code changes were recommended for approval late last year by Seattle’s Construction Codes Advisory Board (CCAB), an advisory body tasked with reviewing changes to technical codes for construction.

The City of Seattle is receiving technical support in developing the energy code from the Bloomberg Philanthropies American Cities Climate Challenge. Seattle is one of 25 cities participating in the Climate Challenge, a program to significantly deepen and accelerate their efforts to tackle climate change and promote a sustainable future for their residents.

With City Council approval, code updates will become effective in the spring of 2021, along with the full suite of Seattle building code changes in line with the statewide building code updates. For more information about the proposed energy code updates, including the proposed code language, visit the Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections energy code web page.

We’ll follow up when it appears on council agendas (which you can always preview here, once they are published).

U.S. CAPITOL INSURRECTION: Local notes, including prayer for peace

Local notes related to the breaking national news that’s been happening for the last several hours – the insurrection that disrupted Congress’s electoral-vote counting to finalize the presidential election:

REP. JAYAPAL EVACUATED: Watching cable-TV coverage for a while, we saw NBC video showing West Seattle-residing U.S. House Rep. Pramila Jayapal taking cover in the upper House gallery. She had to evacuate and has since tweeted:

PRAYER FOR PEACE: From Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church:

With the deeply troubling events happening in DC right now, Our Lady of Guadalupe invites all in the community to join with us tonight, January 6 at 7:00 pm for a prayer service. The service will focus on intentions for Peace and Reconciliation. Let us gather in prayer asking Mary’s intercession for peace and reconciliation in our country at this very difficult time.

This will be via livestream – here’s the Vimeo link.

WEST SEATTLE ELECTED OFFICIALS’ STATEMENTS: West Seattle/South Park Councilmember Lisa Herbold says, “”This violent occupation of our Capitol – and attack on our American Democracy and values – must be ended immediately” (full statement here); West Seattle-residing Councilmember Lorena González says, “As elected leaders, we all have a responsibility to continue to denounce dangerous rhetoric and work to move our country forward toward progress and healing” (full statement here); West Seattle-residing King County Executive Dow Constantine says, “I urge leaders at all levels of government and across the political spectrum to stand together in support of our nation, our constitution, and the peaceful transfer of power that these traitors are seeking in vain to disrupt” (full statement here).

ELECTION 2021: Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda running for re-election

Though some speculated she might run for mayor, West Seattle-residing City Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda has decided to run for re-election instead. Mosqueda has moved to North Delridge since her 2017 election to Position 8, one of two at-large (citywide) seats on the council. She was in the spotlight last year for multiple reasons, including as the council’s budget chair, and as sponsor of the JumpStart” tax, as well as workers-rights issues. The early-morning news release announcing her candidacy quotes her as saying, “There are many challenges ahead as we leave the COVID-19 era; to restart our economy and get people into housing, a proven track record of delivering will be needed. My team and I are ready to do the work.” Her listed priorities include homelessness, housing affordability, supporting child-care providers, strengthening support for small businesses and community services, and continuing public-safety reform. She plans to participate in the Democracy Voucher program, as she did in her 2017 campaign. So far, one other candidate has registered a Position 8 campaign with the city, Kaia Persson. (Photo courtesy Mosqueda campaign)

UPDATE: Mayor Jenny Durkan announces she’s not running for re-election

With that campaign-style video, Mayor Jenny Durkan has just announced she will NOT run for re-election next year. The emailed announcement quotes her as saying, “”We know stopping the spread of the virus, protecting jobs and focusing on the economic recovery — especially for downtown– is going to take everything we’ve got. As Mayor approaching the last year of my term, that meant a choice. I could spend the next year campaigning to keep this job or focus all my energy on doing the job. There was only one right choice for our city: doing the job. I have decided not to run for reelection because Seattle, we still have some tough months ahead.”

ADDED: Durkan, a former U.S. Attorney, beat Cary Moon in 2017 after the two emerged from a 21-candidate primary. Three candidates have registered campaigns with the city so far – Lance Randall (who filed months ago) and two recent filers, perennial candidate David Ishii and William Kopatich.

Seattle hasn’t had a two-term mayor since West Seattle’s Greg Nickels, who left office a decade ago.

(WSB photo, October 2019)

Durkan has visited West Seattle for more than half a dozen walking tours and town halls since taking office three years ago. Before the West Seattle Bridge shutdown, public safety was the most-frequent topic, and she returned time and again to The Junction to talk with business owners. That’s also the topic on which she and City Councilmembers clashed last summer, with their push to cut the SPD budget leading to the departure of SPD Chief Carmen Best. But more recently, she did not challenge the cuts and changes that made it into the 2021 budget she signed last week.

Her highest-profile action regarding West Seattle, of course, was the decision announced last month to repair rather than replace the cracked high bridge, now in its ninth month of closure. Since Durkan’s term won’t end until late 2021, she’ll still be presiding as most of the repair process plays out.

We’ll update with any post-announcement developments of note throughout the day.

Leadership post for West Seattle’s State Sen. Joe Nguyen

As the State Legislature gets ready for its mostly online session starting next month, legislators are choosing leaders, and one from our area has been chosen by his colleagues for a major role. 34th District Sen. Joe Nguyen, a West Seattle resident, has been elected as Assistant Floor Leader by the State Senate Democratic Caucus. The announcement explains, “The Assistant Floor Leader supports the Floor Leader in setting Senate floor agendas and works with bicameral and bipartisan leadership to facilitate discussion.” Sen. Nguyen is midway through his first 4-year term and also is on the Transportation, Environment, Energy & Technology, Rules, and Human Services, Reentry & Rehabilitation committees. The legislative session is set to start January 11th.

ELECTION 2020: 3 notes from King County’s final results

checkbox.jpgThree weeks after the voting ended, the general-election results for King County are now certified. Three notes:

TURNOUT: Countywide, 86.87 percent, breaking the 85 percent record set in 2012. For the city of Seattle, 88.18 percent. For the 34th Legislative District (West Seattle, White Center, Vashon, part of Burien), 87.64 percent.

PRESIDENTIAL VOTING: Countywide, it was 74.95 percent for Biden/Harris, 22.24 percent for Trump/Pence.

HOW BALLOTS WERE TURNED IN: KCE says 73.9 percent of voters used ballot drop boxes, 24.98 percent mailed in their ballots, and 1.1 percent got theirs in by fax.

More stats are in the KCE news release.

City budget, bridge, and new leadership @ Admiral Neighborhood Association

November 24, 2020 8:35 pm
|    Comments Off on City budget, bridge, and new leadership @ Admiral Neighborhood Association
 |   Neighborhoods | West Seattle news | West Seattle politics

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

Hours after the City Council finalized next year’s budget, West Seattle/South Park Councilmember Lisa Herbold was the spotlight guest at last night’s Admiral Neighborhood Association meeting.

ANA also elected next year’s leadership slate, including a new president, after David Hancock decided not to run for re-election.

We’ll start with the budget discussion.

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TOWN HALL: What West Seattle legislators and councilmembers talked about, from homelessness to holiday plans

November 22, 2020 7:08 pm
|    Comments Off on TOWN HALL: What West Seattle legislators and councilmembers talked about, from homelessness to holiday plans
 |   West Seattle news | West Seattle politics

One of last week’s many community meetings featured five West Seattle-residing elected representatives joining forces for an online Town Hall.

Wednesday night’s livestreamed event was hosted by State Sen. Joe Nguyen, with guests State Reps. Eileen Cody and Joe Fitzgibbon, City Councilmember Lisa Herbold, and County Councilmember Joe McDermott.

They presented updates and answered questions. We’ll start with where they ended: Discussing Thanksgiving plans.

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Car-tab fee for bridge maintenance? Councilmembers’ proposal

One of the issues brought up in the process of deciding whether to repair or replace the damaged West Seattle Bridge is the cost of future maintenance. Tonight, three councilmembers including West Seattle/South Park’s Lisa Herbold are proposing a car-tab fee to help pay for bridge maintenance citywide, replacing part of a fee that’s about to expire. From the announcement we just received:

With support from labor and business communities, Councilmembers Alex Pedersen, Lisa Herbold, and Andrew J. Lewis today proposed legislation to use Vehicle Licensing Fees to boost maintenance of multimodal bridges throughout Seattle. Vehicle Licensing Fees, which were previously set at $80, would move from $20 to $40 under the new legislation, as authorized by RCW 36.73.065 and RCW 82.80.140. The legislation would raise an additional $3.6 million in 2021 and an additional $7.2 million in subsequent years. The Councilmembers propose to direct the additional funding to bridges with high-frequency public transit.

The Seattle City Auditor recently published a report on the city’s bridges indicating high unmet needs for bridge maintenance. The engineering standard for bridge maintenance in Seattle ranges from $34 million to $102 million per year, and yet the current level for is only $10 million approximately. The city needs to add $24 million at the very least to meet the lowest estimate of maintenance needs. The City Council Budget Chair’s initial balance package restores or funds several transportation projects while adding $4 million to bridge maintenance. By tapping the adjusted vehicle license fees, this legislation would invest another $3.6 million to double the Council’s addition to $7.6 million. This represents an incremental increase to begin meeting a clear need.

So to recap – the current city car-tab fee is at $80 (going toward transit) and scheduled to drop to $20, but this would drop it to $40 instead. The proposed legislation (read it here) is on the council’s “introduction and referral” calendar for the coming week; it likely won’t be voted on until after the council wraps up its budget work just before Thanksgiving.