Tag Archives: Seattle City Council

Mayor’s New ARTS Interim Director Appointment Prompts Community Unease

by Alexa Peters


Over the last 10 days, tensions between Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan, the City Council, Seattle Arts Commission (Commission), the Office of Arts and Culture (ARTS), and local Black arts community members have mounted following the mayor’s early September appointment of Royal Alley-Barnes as interim director of ARTS. The mayor made the appointment with a little more than 100 days left in her term and without having consulted with local arts community stakeholders about her decision.

Following the resignation of permanent ARTS Director Randy Engstrom in December 2020, the mayor agreed to a plan in which then Deputy Director of ARTS Calandra Childers would step in as interim director and oversee a committee of staff members and arts community members, called the Seattle Arts Director Advisory Committee, with the objective of centering community voices in the process of selecting a new permanent ARTS director.

“The Office of Arts and Culture [asked] me to co-chair the Seattle Arts Director Search Advisory Committee in early 2021, in hopes of ensuring there would be community input in the process [of finding] the new director of the Office of Arts and Culture,” said Sharon Nyree Williams, a storyteller and executive director of the Central District Forum for Arts and Ideas. “So that process began and … the mayor, at that time, had said that she would not be searching for a new director during her term.”

Continue reading Mayor’s New ARTS Interim Director Appointment Prompts Community Unease

With Future of Tiny Houses Up in the Air, Advocates Push for Action This Year

by Erica C. Barnett

(This article originally appeared on PubliCola and has been reprinted under an agreement.)


Advocates and city councilmembers are putting pressure on Mayor Jenny Durkan and the City’s Human Services Department (HSD) to move forward with three new tiny house villages — groups of small shed-like shelters for people experiencing homelessness — this year, before the King County Regional Homelessness Authority (KCRHA) takes over the City’s homelessness-related contracts in 2022.

The short-term (and at this point, probably quixotic) goal is to convince Durkan and HSD’s short-staffed homelessness division to commit to moving forward with all three villages before the City’s homelessness contracts move to the KCRHA at the end of the year. The long-term goal, which may be equally quixotic, is to demonstrate strong community support for tiny house villages in the face of strong opposition at the new authority, whose leader, Marc Dones, has no allegiance to what has become conventional wisdom at the City.

Earlier this year, the Seattle City Council adopted (and the mayor signed) legislation accepting $2 million in state COVID-19 relief funding to stand up three new tiny house villages and setting aside an additional $400,000 to operate the villages once they open — the Seattle Rescue Plan. Since then, HSD has declined to issue a request for proposals to build the villages, arguing that the council doesn’t have a long-term plan to operate the villages after this year. The longer HSD waits, the more likely it is that the job of deciding whether to stand up additional tiny house villages will fall to the regional authority.

Continue reading With Future of Tiny Houses Up in the Air, Advocates Push for Action This Year

Last-Minute Push for SPD Hiring Incentives Fails

by Paul Faruq Kiefer

(This article originally appeared on PubliCola and has been reprinted with permission.)


The Seattle City Council voted on Monday, Sept. 13, to shore up several of its own priorities for rethinking public safety using $15 million in savings from salaries left unspent by the Seattle Police Department (SPD) after another year of abnormally high attrition.

The council left almost two-thirds of the $15 million in the department’s budget, allowing SPD to cover the costs of downsizing — updates to timekeeping software to help deploy a smaller number of officers more efficiently, for example. Additionally, the council lifted a trio of provisos on the department’s budget, releasing roughly $8 million for the department to use as it wants.

Of the $5.2 million the council shifted out of SPD’s budget, $3 million will go to the Human Services Department (HSD) to fund grants to nonprofits specializing in alternatives to policing. The council set aside another $700,000 to stand up a new civilian crisis-response unit tentatively called Triage One.

Continue reading Last-Minute Push for SPD Hiring Incentives Fails

The Morning Update Show — 9/14/21

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, Periscope, and whereweconverge.com.

We 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 — Tuesday, September 14

City Council Splits Up SPD’s $15M | Garfield Superblock Gets $500,000 | What Does Public Safety Look Like | LIVE — Tish Gallow | It’s Recall Day in California | Focus on Black Business | The Sea Moss Boss

Continue reading The Morning Update Show — 9/14/21

Durkan Won’t Sign Crowd-Control Weapons Bill, Raises Specter of Court Challenge

by Paul Faruq Kiefer

(This article originally appeared on PubliCola and has been reprinted under an agreement.)


Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan refused to sign the City Council’s recent ordinance restricting the Seattle Police Department’s (SPD) use of crowd-control weapons, allowing the bill to become law while the City awaits a federal district court’s go-ahead to implement changes to SPD’s tactics and arsenal.

In a letter to the council during their August recess, Durkan heaped criticism on the bill and the yearlong process that produced it, calling it a “knee-jerk reaction” to last year’s protests that overstepped the council’s authority, undercut SPD policy change procedures enshrined in the City’s agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), and made promises that the City can’t keep.

Durkan has routinely allowed legislation to take effect without her signature, though not always because of a difference of opinion: Certain land use ordinances, for instance, don’t necessarily go to the mayor for a signature before becoming law. The mayor can also return legislation to the council unsigned when she has concerns about a bill’s impact or legality but believes that the council would vote to override a veto.

Continue reading Durkan Won’t Sign Crowd-Control Weapons Bill, Raises Specter of Court Challenge

Weekend Long Reads: The Cost of ‘Compassion’

by Kevin Schofield


Two “long read” documents came through my inbox in the past week that, upon reflection, are likely to set the tone for a good chunk of our political conversation over the next few months as we head into the primary and general elections here in Seattle.

Continue reading Weekend Long Reads: The Cost of ‘Compassion’

Council Reviews New Version of ‘Less-Lethal’ Weapons Ban

by Paul Faruq Kiefer

(This article was previously published at PubliCola and has been reprinted with permission.)


Seattle City Councilmember Lisa Herbold introduced the latest version of legislation intended to restrict the Seattle Police Department’s (SPD) use of so-called “less-lethal weapons” against demonstrators during a Public Safety Committee meeting on Tuesday, June 22, more than a year after the council first began its efforts to limit SPD’s crowd control arsenal. The proposal would restrict the use of tear gas, pepper-ball launchers, and pepper spray by SPD officers responding to protests and outright ban five other less-lethal weapons, including blast balls.

Continue reading Council Reviews New Version of ‘Less-Lethal’ Weapons Ban

Seattle Eviction Moratorium Extended as Council Passes More Renter Protections

by Jack Russillo


While Washington’s statewide eviction moratorium is set to expire at the end of June, Seattle’s eviction ban was extended last week through the end of September. This follows passage of other City Council legislation designed to help residents cope with recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

On Friday, June 18, Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan announced that the city’s eviction moratorium, which applies to both residential and commercial properties, would continue until Sept. 30. Earlier in the month, the Seattle City Council adopted other bills that give certain renters more protections, such as implementing a ban on school-year evictions for school workers and families with children and prohibiting evictions for nonpayment of rent due to financial hardship during the pandemic.

According to the most recent census survey data, about one in seven renters in Washington State feel that they are currently behind on paying rent, with Black (21.9%) and Hispanic (21%) populations disproportionately feeling financial difficulty staying caught up on rent. Only 9.8% of white renters throughout the state, however, feel that they are not caught up on paying for their housing. Additionally, 19.8% of households in the state with children under the age of 18 in the home responded to the survey that they felt they were behind on rental payments, while only 7.1% of households without children present felt they were behind on paying their rent. 

Continue reading Seattle Eviction Moratorium Extended as Council Passes More Renter Protections

Communities on the Margins Brace for End of the Eviction Moratorium

by Ashley Archibald


Washington’s statewide eviction moratorium expires on June 30, leaving a large number of low-income and vulnerable residents at risk of eviction, even as they struggle to recover from the coronavirus pandemic.

State and local governments stepped in to prevent evictions by passing new renters’ rights bills while the pandemic raged through Washington. Hundreds of millions of dollars have poured into rental assistance programs, largely from the massive federal government spending plan passed under the Trump administration.

The American Rescue Plan Act, passed in March under the Biden administration, will push those numbers higher.

But the scale of the need is huge.

Continue reading Communities on the Margins Brace for End of the Eviction Moratorium

The Morning Update Show — 6/2/21

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, Periscope, and whereweconverge.com.

We 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, June 2

Live From Cal Anderson Park | #SeattleProtests | Update From City Council | LIVE — Joey Wieser | LIVE — Mashall Law | LIVE — David Obelcz

Continue reading The Morning Update Show — 6/2/21