We have a few bits of news to wrap up before the holiday break, so let’s dive in!
Good morning, and welcome to the last Seattle Council Briefing of the year!
CM Sawant has officially survived her recall election and will serve out the remainder of her term in office. It’s impressive to see how effective CM Sawant and her team was at getting voter turnout for an early December election. The balance of power on the Seattle City Council will still be shifting as CP González leaves and is replaced by CM Nelson, but it is not changing as much as it could have done.
On Monday the City Council passed legislation with various reporting requirements for the City Attorney’s Office. This legislation was watered down from original discussions in which it would have required diversion programs in the office. Allegations of sexism from Ann Davison not withstanding, having increased transparency from a government office doesn’t seem like such a bad idea, especially considering Seattle’s recent struggles with accountability. Additionally, in response to People Power Washington’s election questionnaire a few months ago, Ann Davison had signaled her support for transparency and quarterly reporting from the City Attorney’s Office:
The Seattle City Council’s schedule will be changing beginning in January. The Council Briefing will move from Monday mornings to Monday afternoons at 2pm, and the Full Council meetings will move from Monday afternoons to Tuesday afternoons. At the beginning of January, the Council will elect their new Council President, as well as appoint new committee chairs and set committee meeting schedules.
Mayor-Elect Harrell has announced a list of his top staff, which includes his niece Monisha Harrell as Senior Deputy Mayor, Tiffany Washington continuing as Deputy Mayor, and Tim Burgess as Director of Strategic Initiatives (guess we’ll find out what that means soon enough!) Ann Davison has also announced some of her staff, including Scott Lindsay as deputy city attorney and Natalie Walton-Anderson as criminal division chief. Among other things, Scott Lindsay wrote the report that led to KOMO’s “Seattle is dying” video. Meanwhile, Budget Director Ben Noble is leaving the CBO and becoming the new Director of the Office of Economic and Revenue Forecasts.
The Washington Coalition for Open Government launched a lawsuit arguing that members of Washington State’s redistricting commission broke the law by crafting the new district maps in secret, violating the Open Public Meetings Act. Another lawsuit from Redistricting Justice for Washington is also expected, which would potentially argue that the new maps violate the Voting Rights Act. If either (or both) of these lawsuits succeed, the maps could potentially be struck down and have to be redrawn.
News should (hopefully) be fairly slow over the next few weeks, so you probably won’t be hearing from me until the New Year. In the meantime, I’m wishing all of you a safe and happy holiday season. And I’m looking forward to finding out what 2022 will bring!