by Erica C. Barnett
(This article was originally published by PubliCola and has been reprinted under an agreement.)
On Monday, the director of the city’s Department of Finance and Administrative Services (FAS), Calvin Goings, and the city’s finance director, Glen Lee, signed a letter to the State Auditor’s Office (SAO) asking the auditor to expand the scope of its ongoing audit of the contract between the city’s Legislative Department and the Freedom Project, which served as the “fiscal agent” for a $3 million project to study participatory budgeting and alternatives to policing.
However, PubliCola’s reporting indicates that the letter was written not by Goings and Lee but by Mayor Jenny Durkan’s office — and that Goings and Lee were less than thrilled to sign their names to such a blatantly political series of requests and leading questions.
Continue reading Durkan Administration Asks State to Expand Scope of Audit Into City Council Contract
by Jack Russillo
Last weekend’s nationwide stormy weather affected vaccine shipments from the east coast to the west coast, meaning that Washington State health care providers will see delays in vaccine shipment arrivals.
The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) estimates that more than 90% of this week’s allocation to the state will arrive late due to stormy weather across the country, DOH officials said in a virtual press conference on Thursday, Feb 18. Moderna vaccines have not shipped yet this week and Pfizer vaccines did not ship Monday, with only a limited number of vaccine shipments processed Tuesday and Wednesday. These delays caused the DOH to close its Kennewick and Spokane vaccination sites through the weekend, and others might follow suit.
Continue reading Delay of Vaccine Delivery a Concern, But Washington DOH Guardedly Optimistic About COVID-19 Cases
by Erica C. Barnett
Mayor Jenny Durkan’s final State of the City speech, delivered from the Filipino Community Center in southeast Seattle, was notable more for its brevity than its content.
The 862-word speech, which clocked in at just over six minutes (in the previous three years, Durkan’s States of the City were 48, 42, and 43 minutes, respectively), included plenty of platitudes about Seattle’s resilience and future recovery (“We have a tough road ahead, but there is hope on the horizon,” she said.) but few specifics about what the city has done and will do to ensure that recovery—for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color, small businesses, renters, or people experiencing homelessness.
Continue reading Durkan Focuses on Vaccination, “Reopening Downtown” In Brief State of the City Remarks
by Ben Adlin
Seattle officials are urging residents to prepare for a series of winter storms expected to bring snow and sustained below-freezing temperatures to the region this week, warning that the severe weather could cause power outages, create problems for drivers, and put vulnerable populations at risk.
“We have to check in with our neighbors at times like this, especially our seniors and disabled neighbors,” Mayor Jenny Durkan said at a press conference Wednesday afternoon. “And also remember, you have the responsibility to shovel that sidewalk in front of your property.”
Agencies around King County are gearing up for the severe weather — preparing to clear roads and adjust bus routes, for example — but leaders at Wednesday’s press conference acknowledged the ongoing pandemic will complicate some efforts, such as expanding emergency shelter for people without housing.
Continue reading As Seattle Gears Up for Winter Weather, Officials Scramble to Secure Emergency Shelter
by Ben Adlin
Thousands of frontline workers at large grocery stores in Seattle will soon see a $4-per-hour raise under emergency hazard-pay legislation passed Monday, Jan. 25, by the City Council. Labor leaders hope the new rule will inspire similar action around Puget Sound, including neighboring Burien and unincorporated King County.
The increase requires Seattle grocery businesses with 500 or more total employees to raise workers’ hourly wages by $4 in recognition of the higher risk of contracting COVID-19 involved in their work. The measure does not apply to small businesses, convenience stores, or farmers markets.
The City Council approved the bill on an 8–0 vote, allowing it to take effect as soon as the mayor signs it. That’s expected to happen next Wednesday, Feb. 3, Durkan’s staff told the Emerald in an email.
Continue reading Seattle ‘Hazard Pay’ Bonus for Grocery Workers Likely to Begin Next Week
by Elizabeth Turnbull
With the end of Donald Trump’s administration and quick action by the Biden administration to issue executive orders on immigration, city officials from across the U.S., including Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan, are pushing for a path to citizenship status and greater rights for immigrants.
On Tuesday, Jan. 19, Cities for Action, a coalition of roughly 200 mayors and county executives, including Durkan, released a letter urging the Biden-Harris administration and Congress to ensure a pathway to citizenship for all undocumented immigrants and to change detention practices to keep families together, among many other reforms.
Continue reading With Trump Out of White House, Seattle and other Cities Push for New Immigration Policies
by Jack Russillo
For more than a month, Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant received a series of increasingly threatening emails from a Seattle Fire Department (SFD) employee’s email address.
In total, four emails were sent to Sawant’s official email address. The first was sent on December 17 and the most recent was received on January 18 and ended with the message “Announce your resignation now, or else.” Previous emails from this same account said “If you don’t willing leave [sic], we will make that decision for you by any means necessary” and “If you need help leaving, try jumping head first off the top floor of your building. I’ll even come push you.”
Continue reading Sawant Asks for “Thorough Investigation” Into Series of Threatening Emails Sent from Seattle Fire Department Address
The Morning Update Show — hosted by Trae Holiday and The Big O (Omari Salisbury) — is the only weekday news and information livestream that delivers culturally relevant content to the Pacific Northwest’s urban audience. Omari and Trae analyze the day’s local and national headlines as well as melanin magic in our community. Watch live every weekday at 11 a.m. on any of the following channels, hosted by Converge Media: YouTube, Twitch, Facebook, and whereweconverge.com.
We’ll also post the Morning Update Show here on the Emerald each day after it airs, so you can catch up any time of day while you peruse our latest posts.
Morning Update Show — Wednesday, Jan. 20
Biden & Harris Take Oath of Office | New Day in America? | A Look at Policing Legislation in Olympia | LIVE — Kevin Schofield | Mayor Durkan on the OIG’s Sentinel Event Review
Continue reading The Morning Update Show — 1/20/21
by Carolyn Bick
The City of Seattle has been approved to become a vaccine distributor, and, as soon as Thursday, Jan. 14, will start distributing vaccines to adults living and working in adult family homes via two mobile vaccination units staffed by the Seattle Fire Department. The fire department is the first EMS agency in the state to be approved to become a vaccine administrator.
Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan made the announcement in a press conference on Jan. 12, saying that the mobile units — which will specifically focus on residents and staff of adult family homes who are not covered by the federal program to vaccinate people living and working in adult family homes — are just the beginning of the City’s vaccination efforts. The vaccines will be provided at no cost to recipients.
Continue reading City of Seattle Will Roll Out Mobile Vaccination Teams in First Step of Vaccination Efforts
by Elizabeth Turnbull
Ending speculations of a potential run for Mayor, Seattle City Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda announced on Wednesday morning that she will be running for reelection to a City Council position.
Continue reading Teresa Mosqueda to Seek City Council Reelection, Not Mayoral Run