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Seattle City Councilmember Bruce Harrell

Archive for September, 2014

Sep 29 2014

Council Adopts Bill to Improve High-Speed Fiber Network Deployment

News Release issued 9/29/2014:

Council Adopts Bill to Improve High-Speed Fiber Network Deployment

SEATTLE – City Council unanimously approved legislation today that will help expand high-speed fiber network deployment by removing excessive administrative requirements for siting of new broadband cabinets, incentivizing smaller cabinets that deliver higher speeds and requiring landscaping and screening in neighborhoods.

All neighborhoods will benefit, but the changes will initially help companies like CenturyLink launch one-gigabit-per-second (Gbps) fiber internet service to Beacon Hill, the Central District, Ballard and West Seattle. New cabinets are necessary for the delivery of 1 gigabit-per-second (Gbps) service. One-gigabit-per-second is equivalent to 1,000 megabits-per-second (Mbps). According to speedtest.net in Seattle, the current average download and upload speeds are 34.95 Mbps and 19.85 Mbps.

“This critical change will bring next-generation broadband to unserved and underserved neighborhoods,” said Councilmember Bruce Harrell, chair of the Public Safety, Civil Rights and Technology Committee. “We have gone through an extensive community process to get to this point, balancing the concerns of home-owners, street character and the desire to push fiber further out into neighborhoods. Next-generation fiber broadband is vital for our students’ education, helps mitigate traffic by allowing residents to work from home, and businesses and startups benefit by stimulating innovation and jobs. We must continue to think outside the box to create an environment competitive for companies to build fiber to your home and business.”

“This legislation is a win-win for neighborhoods. Underserved neighborhoods will receive a lightning-fast level of broadband service, while the visual clutter typically associated with these communications cabinets will be greatly reduced. I look forward to the expansion of this service throughout the city,” said Councilmember Tom Rasmussen, chair of the Transportation Committee.

Robert Kangas, chair of Upping Technology for Underserved Neighbors, said, “This is a great first step to opening our neighborhoods to improved broadband. Thank you to the Mayor’s office and the Seattle City Council for working with members of the community and the broadband providers to give us more competition and improved service. This will help Seattle remain a leader in the tech community for years to come. While this is an immediate win for the under-served areas of Seattle, it will benefit the entire city.”

Brian Hsi, chair of the Citizens’ Telecommunications and Technology Advisory Board’s Broadband and Cable Committee, said, “I’m pleased to see progress being made toward bringing more broadband choices for Seattle residents. For too long parts of our City could not receive the infrastructure necessary to build out affordable, quality, high speed broadband options. That changes today with the passage of this legislation.”

Beginning in January 2013, SDOT began engaging with stakeholder groups and sought feedback on siting issues for new telecommunication cabinets in the public right-of-way and held meetings with stakeholders from North Beacon Hill, Seattle Pedestrian Advisory Board, Seattle Commission for People with Disabilities, Citizens’ Telecommunications and Technology Advisory Board, Public Space Management Task Force, Department of Information Technology, Department of Planning and Development, Office of Economic Development, Seattle City Light, CenturyLink, AT&T, Comcast, Wave, Verizon and various other community groups. The consensus of the group concluded that new legislation must prioritize:

1) Improving broadband deployment, especially in underserved areas;
2) Keeping our public spaces and rights-of-way free from visual clutter; and
3) Maintaining other priorities for the public spaces and rights-of-way for community activation goals.

Council Bill 118208 will help broadband deployment by:

1) Incentivizing smaller cabinets (less than 36”) that deliver faster connection bandwidth by streamlining the permitting and outreach requirements.
2) Providing a dis-incentive for siting larger cabinets by requiring additional public outreach and visual mitigation for cabinets taller than 36”.
3) Eliminating “veto power” from adjacent property owner as currently required in SDOT Director’s Rule 2-2009.
4) Eliminating requirement of obtaining 60% approval from within 100 feet on proposed installation as currently required by SDOT Director’s Rule 2-2009.
5) Requiring written notification to all residents, businesses, and property owners within 100-foot radius if the proposed installation cabinet is greater than 36 inches in height.
6) Requiring screening mitigation such as landscaping and vinyl wrap for new cabinet installations in residential zones above 36 inches.
7) Removing graffiti in a timely manner.
8) Requiring all service providers to submit quarterly reports to SDOT that describe each complaint received, how complaint was resolved, and how long it took to resolve the complaint.

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Sep 24 2014

Council Confirms New Immigrant and Refugee Affairs Director

News Release issued 9/23/2014:

Council Confirms New Immigrant and Refugee Affairs Director

SEATTLE – City Council this week unanimously approved Cuc T. Vu as Director of the Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs (OIRA).

“Cuc’s compelling background as a refugee of the Vietnam War, immigrant upbringing and experience working on immigrant and refugee affairs issues makes her the ideal director to help the immigrant and refugee communities achieve success,” said Councilmember Bruce Harrell, chair of the Public Safety, Civil Rights and Technology Committee. “Her previous experience in leading national and local immigrant rights groups and establishing the first national immigrant rights coalition will be invaluable as she engages with city departments to empower refugees and immigrants to advance their priorities.”

As director, Ms. Vu’s goal is to implement the City’s five-point plan:

1. Expand citizenship programs and services
2. Create career pathways through ESL and computer training for the most limited English-proficient immigrants and refugees
3. Improve access to City programs, services and resources through ethnic media engagement
4. Enhance public safety for immigrant and refugee communities through a Refugee Women’s Institute, where emerging refugee women leaders will learn to use City services to advocate for themselves, their families and their communities
5. Implement a language access program to improve the City’s ability to engage its immigrant and refugee residents

Ms. Vu most recently served as the first Chief Diversity Officer for the Human Rights Campaign and has worked at SEIU, AFL-CIO and the U.S. Department of Labor. Vu earned an undergraduate degree at Pomona College and a graduate degree as a Woodrow Wilson Fellow at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs.

Immigrants account for nearly one-fifth of all Seattleites, and approximately one-third of children in Seattle are in immigrant families.

The Council created the Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs in 2012.

Link to Cuc T. Vu Questions & Answers
Link to Cuc T. Vu Confirmation Packet

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Sep 23 2014

Harrell to host panel on downtown crime and street disorder

Media Advisory issued 9/23/2014:

Harrell to host panel on downtown crime and street disorder
LEAD program under review, discussion

SEATTLE – Councilmember Bruce Harrell, chair of the Council’s Public Safety, Civil Rights and Technology Committee, will host a special Public Safety meeting to discuss the Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) program. LEAD is one of the City’s major initiatives to reduce downtown crime and street disorder through targeted outreach and social services to individuals.

LEAD provides a tool for Seattle Police officers to refer individuals engaged in low level drug and prostitution offenses to an intensive social services intervention program in lieu of prosecution. The Public Defender’s Association’s (PDA) Racial Disparity Project is responsible for day-to-day program operations while policy is set by an oversight committee comprised of representatives from multiple agencies in Seattle and King County.

Council will listen and discuss with LEAD, SPD, Law, business and community groups, and social service case workers on how the program is operating.

WHAT: Lunch & Learn presentation on LEAD program

WHEN: Wednesday, September 24, 12:00 p.m.

WHERE: Council Chambers, 2nd floor
Seattle City Hall, 600 Fourth Avenue, Seattle 98104

WHO: Councilmembers
Pete Holmes, City Attorney
Lisa Daugaard, Policy Director, Public Defender Association
Mike Washburn, Assistant Chief, SPD
Deanna Nollette, Captain, SPD
Chris Fowler, Captain, SPD
Ryan Long, Sgt, SPD
Ron Jackson, Director emeritus, Evergreen Treatment Services
Mary Barbosa, King County Prosecutor
Mark Cook, ACLU of WA
John Urquhart, King County Sheriff
Don Blakeney, Chinatown/ID Business Improvement Area
Elizabeth Campbell, Belltown Community Council
Kris Nyrop, LEAD program Director, Public Defender Association

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Sep 08 2014

Council Passes Women’s Reproductive Health Rights Resolution

News Release issued 9/08/2014:

Council Passes Women’s Reproductive Health Rights Resolution

SEATTLE – The Seattle City Council today unanimously approved Resolution 31541, calling on the United States Congress and President Obama to repeal all federal bans on public coverage of abortion and supporting efforts to improve access to public and private insurance coverage for comprehensive reproductive health care.

“Every woman who enrolls in public government insurance should have the right to make their personal reproductive choices and receive coverage based on those choices, regardless of income or financial status,” said Councilmember Bruce Harrell, chair of the Public Safety, Civil Rights and Technology Committee.

The Hyde Amendment, a rider attached to the federal spending budget each year and first passed by Congress in 1976, bans Medicaid coverage of abortion. Federal law also prohibits insurance coverage of abortion for women and their dependents who receive federally sponsored health care.

Rachel Berkson, Executive Director of NARAL Pro-Choice Washington, said, “Given that there are over 4,000 women in Seattle are insured through the federal government and subject to these restrictions on abortion coverage, we commend Bruce Harrell and the Seattle City Council for taking a strong stand against the Hyde Amendment. For far too long, coverage bans like the Hyde Amendment have disproportionately limited access to abortion care for low-income women and women of color. Seattle is a pro-choice city and Washington is a state with a pro-choice majority—it’s time we embraced an agenda that reflects this, and identifies reproductive rights not just as an issue of gender equality, but one of economic and racial justice.”

Lisa Stone, Executive Director of Legal Voice, said, “Every woman should be able to make decisions based on what is best for herself and her family instead of based on what she can afford. The Hyde Amendment and other federal bans of abortion coverage affect Seattle women in a very real way. It’s time to tell Congress that when access to abortion is determined by the type of insurance a woman has, reproductive choice is meaningless.”

Andrea Miller, President of National Institute for Reproductive Health, said, “By withholding abortion coverage from women utilizing federal insurance plans, our nation has effectively created a class-based system for access to abortion care. But today Seattle joined the ranks of cities across the country—including Cambridge, New York City, Oakland and Philadelphia – that are leading the national movement to strike down the unjust bans that deny too many women access to abortion care. The National Institute for Reproductive Health is proud to support these efforts, and congratulates the women and men of Seattle.”

Councilmember Jean Godden, who chairs the committee overseeing the City’s efforts to eliminate gender inequity in the workplace, agreed. “Each of us should have the right to make reproductive health choices, based on what’s best for oneself and for one’s family.”

Seattle joins a grass-roots movement to repeal the Hyde amendment and becomes the first jurisdiction in the Northwest—and the sixth nationally—to declare its support for overturning the Hyde Amendment.

According to the most recent U.S. Census, over 311,650 women live in Seattle. 67,824 women in Seattle are enrolled in public insurance and over 4,000 women of reproductive age are insured through the federal government and are therefore subject to federal restrictions on abortion coverage.

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Sep 03 2014

Public Safety, Civil Rights, and Technology Committee (9/03, 2:00 pm)

Public Safety, Civil Rights, And Technology Committee Agenda for Wednesday, 9/03/2014, 2:00 PM

Click here to view the complete agenda:

1. C.F. 313893 (PDF Version)
Appointment and Oath of Office of Cuc T. Vu as Director, Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs.
BRIEFING AND DISCUSSION (20 minutes)
Presenters: Hyeok Kim, Deputy Mayor; Cuc Vu, Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs

2. Res. 31541 (PDF Version)
Regarding insurance coverage for comprehensive reproductive health care, including abortion, calling on the United States Congress and President Obama to repeal all federal bans on public coverage of abortion and supporting efforts to improve access to public and private insurance coverage for comprehensive reproductive health care, including abortion.
BRIEFING, DISCUSSION, AND POSSIBLE VOTE (20 minutes)
Presenters: Janet Chung and Sarah MacDonald, Legal Voice; Megan Burbank, NARAL Pro-Choice Washington; Mercedes Elizalde, Michele M. Frix, and Liz Kellogg, Seattle Women’s Commission.

3. C.F. 313977 (PDF Version)
Appointment of Juliana Tesfu as member, Seattle Human Rights Commission, for a term of confirmation to September 30, 2015.
BRIEFING, DISCUSSION, AND POSSIBLE VOTE (5 minutes)
Presenter for items 4-7: Patricia Lally, Seattle Office for Civil Rights

4. C.F. 313976 (PDF Version)
Appointment of Yan Jun (Angela) Liu as member, Seattle Commission for People with Disabilities, for a term of confirmation to September 30, 2015.
BRIEFING, DISCUSSION, AND POSSIBLE VOTE (5 minutes)

5. C.F. 313980 (PDF Version)
Appointment of Brianna C. Holmes, Seattle Women’s Commission, for a term of confirmation to September 30, 2015.
BRIEFING, DISCUSSION, AND POSSIBLE VOTE (5 minutes)

6. C.F. 313979 (PDF Version)
Appointment of Shoshana Paget as member, Seattle LGBT Commission, for a term of confirmation to September 30, 2015.
BRIEFING, DISCUSSION, AND POSSIBLE VOTE (5 minutes)

7. C.F. 313978 (PDF Version)
Appointment of Mohamed Adan as member, Seattle Immigrant and Refugee Commission, for a term of confirmation to September 30, 2015.
BRIEFING, DISCUSSION, AND POSSIBLE VOTE (5 minutes)
Presenter: Cuc T. Vu, Seattle Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs

8. C.F. 313975 (PDF Version)
Appointment of Sarah A. Trowbridge as member, Citizens’ Telecommunications and Technology Advisory Board, for a term of confirmation to September 30, 2015.
BRIEFING, DISCUSSION, AND POSSIBLE VOTE (5 minutes)
Presenter: Michael Mattmiller, Seattle Department of Information Technology
D. Adjournment

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