Weekly Update: 11/29/2020

PSA: Every home should have a Carbon Monoxide Detector–especially during the colder months! Full stop. If you need one but money is tight, South King County Fire And Rescue will get you one. Just call their Community Affairs Office at 253-946-7347.

PSA: Rental Assistance for Low Income King County Bar Association – The Housing Justice Project is requesting community based providers assistance to identify households who owe 10K or more in back-rent.

“We can zero out $10K or more of rent for folks who are at 50% AMI or below these income limits. If you know anyone, can you have them email fwblackcollective@gmail.com for navigation with case managers or give them this link which has all the paperwork to complete and email to edmundw@kcba.org to get their rent payed out.   Forms to Eliminate Back Rent: https://drive.google.com/folderview?id=1fUdYAwMFH_V_B1vTD_urmir_ltI8Wfnw.   Completed forms can be emailed to edmundw@kcba.org. ”

PSA: So, I’m now officially out of quarantine. FREE! 😀 However, even though I’ve dodged a bullet, I’m noticing more and more people not taking this seriously now that a vaccine seems to be on the way. Not to burst yer bubble, but here is a good summary of how the roll out is likely to occur. And the detail I want you to notice is this: The vaccine does not prevent you from transmitting the disease. It protects you, not the people around you. Show of hands: who wants to be the jerk who infects someone so close to the finish line? Or worse: in April. Follow the guidelines. They work.

This Week

Monday: I’m getting down to the wire on various interviews for a forthcoming book on the history of Sea-Tac Airport. What’s interesting is the number of people who have started on this over the past forty years and then gotten fed up and just tore up their manuscript. A lot of people just

Tuesday: Back to counting salmon at McSorley Creek with Trout Unlimited. The news so far is slightly better than last year for some reason. 🙂

Thursday: There will be a presentation by the State Auditor’s Office as to how things went in reviewing this year’s financials.

Thursday: 4pm is the Public Safety Committee Meeting (Agenda). The discussion item is drones. Which sounds exciting? 😀

Thursday: Regular City Council Meeting. (Agenda). There will be a redux of the whole Body Camera discussion which the Public Safety already signed off on in September. There will be an amendment to the current 2035 Comprehensive Plan which I’m vaguely OK with. One element: we’re purchasing some run down homes along the perimeter of Midway Park in order to expand it, which sounds like a no-brainer. Except that it cuts into usable land for housing. We have a serious shortage of land for housing . and as much as I love Midway Park (I’ve been present for all their clean-ups and garden events), I love good housing options even more. You can’t have a thriving neighborhood if you take away all the places for neighbors to live. 🙂 My point is that there are a lot fewer no-brainer decisions than you might think.

Last Week: Rule 9

Confession: I’ve never actually watched Plan 9 From Outer Space all the way through. But there’s this line where the aliens say something like how they decided on Plan 9 as ‘the most effective solution for dealing with difficult people like…’ 😀

Anyhoo, I did receive a reply from the City Attorney as to my question last week about failed motions:

In response to your question below, I reviewed your blog and I agree with this statement that you made.	 

	According to RROO and JurassicParliament (the fantastic training service that our City uses to train Councilmembers), if 	a motion does not pass, it is only ‘dead’ for that particular meeting. A Councilmember can bring back the same motion at 	the next meeting. (Of course, when one renews a previously failed motion one should always include new information in 	order to change hearts and minds.)

He then goes on to mention Rule #9 of our Council Rules Of Procedure.

In addition, before making a motion, the business item needs to be on the agenda. This is accomplished in accordance with City Council rule 9 (below). Finally, motions for reconsideration can be made pursuant to Council Rule 28 (also below).

And that’s a whole other kettle o’ fish. And I don’t mean the fresh, delightful, sashimi grade tuna. 😀

Because he dreaded Rule #9 tells us how things get on a City Council Meeting Agenda. And for years and years it used to be thus:

This rule specifies the method of preparation of a Council meeting agenda for meetings other than study sessions. The Presiding Officer, three (3) Councilmembers, or the City Manager may introduce a new item to the preliminary agenda. The Presiding Officer shall have the option of deleting any item, other than those items introduced by three (3) Councilmembers, from the preliminary agenda until the next regular Council meeting when the full Council shall vote on whether to introduce the item on the agenda for a subsequent Council meeting. The City Clerk, under the direction of the City Manager, shall arrange a list of such matters according to the order of business and prepare a preliminary agenda for the Council. After the preliminary agenda has been approved by the Presiding Officer, a copy of the agenda and supporting materials shall be prepared for Councilmembers, the City Manager, and the press by close of business Friday prior to the Regular Council Meeting, except in case of an emergency.

Blah, blah, blah-dee-blah…. Blah. Right? 😀 You didn’t read any of that because it’s so boring. And that’s fine, because this language is pretty much the same in most cities. But in our City it was amended a year ago on the last vote before I took my seat on the Council to add the following:

Any Councilmember seeking to bring forward a new community event or project for consideration shall provide the details of the proposal to the City Clerk in written format, to include the estimated cost and staff time for the proposal. Once received by the City Clerk, the proposal can be placed on a preliminary agenda in accordance with the requirements of this Rule.

And this is why we all hate lawyers

That one tortuous sentence actually does a whole lot. Here it is in plainer language:

“Look, we don’t want you wasting valuable meeting time trying to bring up anything that hasn’t already been pre-approved. And to make sure, you’ll need to send anything you want to talk about to the Clerk ahead of time. With a cost estimate, of course. Just so we can give it the once over. K?”

As you can tell by the snarky tone, I’ve got any number of problems with this seemingly innocent language. Here’s just one: “How do I even obtain a cost estimate without the cooperation of the Administration?”

Why it matters

Not to belabor the obvious, but the language was added as sort of a ‘belt and suspenders’ way to make doubly certain that City Council Meetings are now pro-forma affairs.

A big part of being in the minority is simply finding a way to break past that wall and get your ideas across. You don’t expect to win votes; with the current majority (which always votes as a bloc) that is impossible. But what you do expect to be able to do is to bring up ideas that you think think the public should know about, whether the majority or the administration approve. It’s called democracy. And it matters.

2 thoughts on “Weekly Update: 11/29/2020”

  1. Thank you for your transparency in government . I just joined your updates recently and find this a “breath of jetfree air”…I’ve been in this city for 34 years at my current location on 10th Ave S near the Field House, and 11 before that on North Hill before the city annexed the area.

    One reason I moved from North Hill was the lack of response from King County and I thought moving into Des Moines was the solution to lack of government response. Boy was I wrong! From removing 100 year old memorial trees effectively turning downtown into an I-5 bypass, to folding under the political pressure from the Port of Seattle, 45 years of city government has accomplished NOTHING.

    City administration has made one bone-headed decision after another decreasing the quality of life, including knuckling under to the elephant called the “Port”. I like your proposal to rejoin the National League of Cities as a first step. However the elephant can’t be caged until cities surrounding the airport either merge of form a strong united bond to surround the airport and whittle that elephant down to size politically. Burien, SeaTac, Normandy Park, Des Moines and Kent should form a South Sound Cities coalition to put the Port of Seattle in it’s place politically. NOTHING should happen and NO decision made by the Port without consent from the surrounding cities’ coalition…period!

    Unless I’m funneling millions into the city coffers in development fees, I’m less than a gnat in the city’s ear. The things I’ve asked the city for over the 45 years has been less than the cost of the city manager’s monthly per diem, and the amount of support for anything has been zero by a sometimes arrogant city.

    Keep up your good work, and keep fighting the cabal…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *