February ~~ March 2015
Murray applauds Council approval of affordable housing tax exemption change February 23, 2015
by Mike Gore
Mayor Ed Murray issued the following statement upon the passage of an extension of the Multifamily Tax Exemption for developers of small apartments proposed by the Mayor’s Office: “The council’s approval of changes to the Multifamily Tax Exemption program represents a smart improvement to a tool that helps private developers include below-market rate apartments in their projects. I’m pleased that after weeks of hard work by my office, the Office of Housing and the Council, today’s action will encourage the production of more affordable units in Seattle.” – See more at: http://murray.seattle.gov/page/3/#sthash.BynPF3h5.dpuf
Murray, Godden announce Paid Parental Leave program for City of Seattle employees February 23, 2015
Today, Mayor Murray and Councilmember Jean Godden announced a new paid parental leave benefit for City of Seattle employees. Murray and Godden will introduce legislation that will provide employees access to four weeks per year of paid parental leave for the birth, adoption or foster placement of a minor child or children. This leave would be in addition to other paid accrued leave available to City employees, such as vacation and sick leave. This benefit will be available to all regular employees six months after their hire date consistent with the City’s Family Medical Leave policy. Implementation of this new policy will be negotiated with our Labor partners, many of whom have already demonstrated their support for this benefit. “The United States is only developed nation in the world without a statutory right to paid parental leave,” Murray said. “The City of Seattle is proud to not only lead the region by adding a four week benefit for City employees, but I hope this is yet another way Seattle leads the nation.” “Providing paid time off for working parents to care for a new child allows time to create and strengthen bonds between the child and parents easing the transition to a larger family,” Murray said. “Paid parental leave is good for our workers, good for our children and good for our economy. It is an important step towards creating a workplace which supports all employees, especially women, and is fundamental to the gender equity policies that Seattle– and the nation — have long needed,” said Councilmember Godden, Chair of the Parks, Seattle Center, Libraries, and Gender Pay Equity Committee. In implementing a Paid Parental Leave policy, the City of Seattle continues its history of leading the region and nation for employee benefits. The Mayor’s first executive order was to raise the minimum wage for City of Seattle employees to $15.00 per hour. The City was among the first employers in the region to offer domestic partnership benefits. Beginning in 2004, the City recognized marriage for same-gender employees well before Washington State recognized marriage between two women or two men. The City passed a paid sick leave ordinance in 2012 requiring most employers to offer their employees paid sick leave. Based on the number of new parents in 2011 and 2012, the new Paid Parental Leave could cost the City up to $1.35 million annually. Legislation will be drafted in the next few weeks, and the City will continue to work with the labor organizations who represent City employees to implement this benefit. More information is available on our Frequently Asked Questions document. – See more at: http://murray.seattle.gov/page/3/#sthash.BynPF3h5.dpuf
Mayor, Council call for review of Shell’s Arctic drilling fleet permits at Port of Seattle’s Terminal 5 March 9, 2015
Mayor Ed Murray and the Seattle City Council announced today that Seattle’s Department of Planning and Development (DPD) will review, investigate and determine whether the plans at Port of Seattle’s Terminal 5 to host Shell Oil’s Arctic drilling fleet are allowed under the current Shoreline Substantial Development Permit granted to Terminal 5. Reports indicate that Shell Oil would moor vessels that are returning from drilling in the Artic. In the past, Shell’s drilling fleet has needed extensive repairs, maintenance and conversions after returning from a season of drilling. These activities may substantially change Terminal 5’s use and require new, different permits than the one currently granted by DPD which could require additional environmental review if the Port wishes to move forward with the lease. “Any project of this apparent significance to our industrial lands must go through the appropriate review. It’s important that the public and surrounding businesses are informed of all the possible impacts of this lease – both economic and environmental – and that these impacts are sufficiently disclosed and evaluated,” Murray said. “This is why I’m directing DPD to conduct a thorough review of the Terminal 5 proposal and determine if the anticipated activities at the terminal involving the Shell drilling fleet require new permits before it can proceed.” “I have grave concerns about Shell Oil’s Arctic drilling fleet coming to Puget Sound in a damaged state, discharging oil and other toxic pollutants along our shorelines during transport and repair, jeopardizing the local ecosystem and undoing decades of work to clean up the Sound,” said Councilmember Mike O’Brien. “Shell’s track record with the Noble Discoverer in the Arctic includes eight felony offenses relating to environmental and maritime crimes, such as discharging oil-contaminated water directly overboard, which is simply unacceptable.” “For years the Port and the City have worked together to develop rational solutions and develop alternative treatment technologies to reduce pollution in the Duwamish and Elliott Bay,” said Councilmember Sally Bagshaw. “While the immediate value of a lease to repair Arctic drilling equipment may appear to be high, we believe this agreement is shortsighted and ignores the long-term costs to our economy and environment.” The current permit, called a Shoreline Substantial Development Permit, designated Terminal 5 as a “cargo terminal” – usually meaning goods are stored and ultimately transferred from this terminal to other carriers or locations. But if the Artic drilling fleet is actually being moored and repaired at Terminal 5, there could be significant and adverse impacts on the surrounding environment. As part of DPD’s investigation and fact-finding, the Department will begin working with the Port of Seattle to clarify all of the activities anticipated at Terminal 5, including, but not limited to, the types of vessels to be moored and the maintenance and repairs to be conducted. – See more at: http://murray.seattle.gov/page/2/#sthash.MbdIUdNI.dpuf
Mayor Murray’s statement supporting smoking ban in Seattle parks March 19, 2015
The Seattle Board of Park Commissioners today announced plans to host a public hearing regarding a proposed change to the Parks Code of Conduct which would prohibit smoking in all public parks in the city of Seattle. Seattle Mayor Ed Murray released the following statement about the proposed smoking ban: – See more at: http://murray.seattle.gov/#sthash.UpmKdHV2.dpuf
“Residents of and visitors to our beautiful city deserve to fully enjoy every amenity our parks have to offer, including fresh air and a clean, sustainable environment. We know the dangers of secondhand smoke, particularly for those with asthma and allergies, and we know that cigarette litter is abundant and harmful to our environment, especially for the wildlife that inhabit it. Waste from cigarettes leach arsenic, cadmium, lead and other toxins into our soil and water streams and damage ecosystems. This ban just makes sense for our community.
How about banning guns from our Parks too while you’re at it? ~ Nativegirl77
Mayor Ed Murray announced a task force today to develop recommendations to create a safer environment for LGBT people in Seattle and to specifically address ongoing issues on Capitol Hill.
LGBT people have reported increased violence, verbal harassment, and bias crimes on Capitol Hill and other Seattle neighborhoods. Hate crime statistics from SPD show a rise in bias crimes between 2013 and 2014.
“Capitol Hill is an eclectic neighborhood that is attracting more businesses, residents and visitors every day – and it’s the neighborhood I’m proud to call home,” Mayor Ed Murray said. “I am eager to hear their recommendations to improve safety on Capitol Hill and citywide while making everyone feel welcome – regardless of who they are or who they love. This issue is important to me both as the Mayor, and as a longtime resident of Capitol Hill.”
The Task Force will look at how the City of Seattle can constructively work with community members, businesses and organizations to increase safety and LGBT visibility in Capitol Hill and citywide – as well as to honor the history of the neighborhood.
The Task Force will be made up of the following people:
Louise Chernin, GSBA
Michael Wells, Capitol Hill Chamber
Marxa Marnia, LGBT Commission Co-chair
John Bailey, Amazon
Kelly Stonelake, Facebook Creative Shop
Raven E. Heavy Runner, Northwest Two-Spirit Society Acting Co-Chair
Luzviminda “Lulu” Carpenter, LGBT Commission
Kris Hermanns, Pride Foundation
Brady Walkinshaw, Legislative Representative, 43rd District
Elayne Wylie, Gender Justice League
Shelley Brothers, Wildrose
Kristen Wieliczka, Director of Civic Engagement for Seattle University Student Body
Mineth Elman McClain, Director, Public Safety, Seattle Central Community College
Josh Castle, Community Organizer
Jim Ritter, Seattle Police Department
Michael Renner, Seattle Police Department
Sina Ebinger, Seattle Police Department
Jared Brayton Bollenbacher, Social Worker
Marcos Martinez, Entre Hermanos
Jesse Gilliam, Ingersoll Gender Center, Council Staff
Shannon Perez-Darby, Northwest Network of LGBT Survivors of Abuse
Monisha Harrell, Equal Rights Washington
Lauren Mathisen, Capitol Hill Community Council
Danni Askini, Gender Justice League
Rodney Jarreau Greene, Quare Arts Program
Darrell Goodwin, Dean of Students at Seattle University
Melinda Giovengo, Youthcare
Shaun Knittel, Seattle Gay News
Michael Andrew, Pride at Work
Co-Chairs are Josh Castle and Monisha Harrell.
“The group we have assembled has a proven track record of success,” Mayor Ed Murray said. “We have not seen a coalition like this since the marriage equality campaigns. Clearly our work was not finished when we won in November 2012. There are still people in this world who believe LGBT people should be denied the most basic human right, the right to live without fear of violence because of who you are or who you love.”
- See more at: http://murray.seattle.gov/#sthash.UpmKdHV2.dpuf
Mayor Ed Murray, Seattle City Councilmember Tom Rasmussen and Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) Director Scott Kubly today outlined details of a nine-year, $900 million Transportation Levy to Move Seattle.
The draft levy proposal would help fund the priorities that Mayor Murray announced earlier this month with Move Seattle, his 10-year transportation vision that integrates the city’s long-term plans for walking, biking, driving, freight and transit into a comprehensive strategy.
“This levy recognizes we have needs that we must address now, including street maintenance, sidewalk repair and bridges at risk in the next earthquake,” said Mayor Murray. “We must evolve our transportation system with affordable, convenient travel options that work for everyone. We will build for the future, to provide people more transportation choices and help freight move, even as our city grows.”
The $900 million Transportation Levy to Move Seattle would:
- Seismically reinforce 16 vulnerable bridges and eliminate the backlog of needed bridge spot repairs, meeting a critical safety need
- Repave up to 250 lane-miles of arterial streets, minimizing future maintenance costs and improving safety for all travelers
- Repair up to 225 blocks of existing sidewalks and improve curb ramps and crossings at 750 intersections throughout the city, making it safer and more comfortable for people of all ages and abilities to walk
- Invest in 12-15 corridor safety projects, improving safety for all travelers on all of the city’s high-collision streets
- Complete 9-12 Safe Routes to School projects each year, improving walking and biking safety at every public school in Seattle
- Fund a targeted freight spot improvement program, improving mobility for freight and delivery vehicles
- Complete 7-10 multimodal corridor projects, redesigning major streets to improve connectivity and safety for all travelers
- Optimize traffic signal timing on five corridors throughout the city each year, improving traffic flow
- Create seven new high-quality bus rapid transit corridors, providing convenient and affordable travel choices for more people
“The current levy has helped us pay for many important transportation projects, but there is much more to work to be done,” said Councilmember Tom Rasmussen. “The Council will review the proposal and place the final package on the fall ballot after holding public hearings and after receiving public comments and recommendations.”
“This draft proposal supports basic improvements to our streets, sidewalks and bridges while making targeted investments to address the wave of growth Seattle is experiencing,” said SDOT Director Scott Kubly. “The funding proposal also aims to create a safer system that provides residents more high-quality, low-cost travel options. I look forward to the public discussion to come and encourage everyone’s participation.”
“Transportation Choices is excited to see a bold transportation vision for Seattle to give people more choices to get around,” said Shefali Ranganathan of Transportation Choices. “Investing in our streets, sidewalks, bike lanes and freight corridors will keep our growing city vibrant and connected.”
“Our overextended transportation systems all too frequently leave our patients and employees stuck in traffic or stranded at their bus stops, as full buses pass them by,” said Betsy Braun of Virginia Mason. “We are pleased to see that Move Seattle goes beyond maintaining the transportation infrastructure we already have, and proposes growing our transportation systems to meet the booming regional demand.”
“This levy proposal makes the right investments in our transportation system and in local jobs,” said Monty Anderson, Executive Secretary of Seattle Building and Construction Trades Council. “These local construction projects will support hundreds of middle-class jobs and help local residents work in their own communities. It’s a win-win.”
The Transportation Levy to Move Seattle includes meaningful accountability, including measureable outcomes so the public can track the progress of projects. An online “dashboard” where SDOT will chart its performance will bring enhanced transparency. The city will continue the strong legacy of accountability on the use of levy funds with a public oversight committee.
“Seattle’s expiring levy has been very successful in making our sidewalks, bridges, stairs, trails and streets safer for all users in every community in the city,” said Ref Lindmark, past-chair of the levy oversight committee. “With the mayor’s new “Move Seattle” initiative and the renewal of the levy this fall, we have the opportunity both take care of our basic transportation infrastructure and realize our vision of Seattle as a great place to live, work and play.”
Before Mayor Murray submits the levy proposal to the Seattle City Council in May, SDOT will seek public input on the draft proposal to ensure that it is informed by community priorities. A feedback survey, detailed proposal information, and a full public outreach calendar are available online at www.seattle.gov/LevytoMoveSeattle. In addition to briefing close to thirty community groups, SDOT will host three community conversations in late March to engage the public and ask for feedback on the proposal.
Schedule of Community Conversations
Saturday, March 28, 10 AM – 12 PM
New Holly Gathering Hall
7054 32nd Ave S
Monday, March 30, 6 – 8 PM
Roosevelt High School
1410 NE 66th St
Tuesday, March 31, 6 – 8 PM
West Seattle High School
3000 California Ave SW
After incorporating feedback from the public, the Mayor will submit the proposal to the Seattle City Council in May 2015. The City will need to submit a final levy proposal to King County by early August for it to be on the ballot in November 2015.
This proposal would replace the current nine-year, $365 million Bridging the Gap transportation levy that expires at the end of 2015. The Transportation Levy to Move Seattle would be paid for through a property tax that would cost the median Seattle household, valued at $450,000, approximately $275 per year. By comparison, the cost to the median household for the Bridging the Gap levy was about $130 per year.
- See more at: http://murray.seattle.gov/#sthash.UpmKdHV2.dpuf
How about more affordable housing … why have another park when there are several in that area already? ~Nativegrl77
City to seize Sisley property to create new park in Roosevelt March 13, 2015 by Office of Mayor Murray
Mayor Murray and City Attorney Pete Holmes today announced a plan to seize two derelict properties near Roosevelt High School for public auction after the property owners, Hugh and Martha Sisley, failed to pay judgments, interest and penalties in excess of $3.3 million related to code violations on their rental properties in the neighborhood. “Today we are announcing our plan to take what has been nothing short of a black eye on this neighborhood and turn it into something that the entire community can enjoy,” said Murray. “This blight has had a very real impact on property values and the success of local businesses.” “I am proud of the tremendous interdepartmental cooperation that produced the innovative solution we present here today,” said Holmes. “We are already employing this approach to decaying, crime-breeding properties elsewhere in the Central District, West Seattle, and even with commercial targets Downtown.” Neighbors and local businesses have complained for years about the properties and the criminal activity they have attracted. Over many years, the city has cited the property owner for numerous violations. The owner has failed to make required improvements. Should the judgments, interest and penalties related to the violations remain unpaid, the city will seek to have the properties seized by the King County Sheriff and sold at auction. Murray intends to transmit an ordinance to the City Council next week that allows the city to purchase the two properties at 1322 and 1318 NE 65th St. The city intends to bid on the properties at auction, using a credit bid based on the $3.3 million owed the city by the Sisleys, in order to build a new city park for the neighborhood. If the supplemental proceedings that allows the city to collect more than $2 million in penalties have not concluded prior to the auction, the city will use a $1 King County Conservation Futures grant, in addition to credit based on the judgments and interest owed the city. Roosevelt has long wanted more park space to help accommodate the increase in residents coming to the neighborhood. A new light rail station and more dense housing will increase the demand for more open space. – See more at: http://murray.seattle.gov/#sthash.UpmKdHV2.dpuf