Livetweeting Bellevue's first City Council meeting after their August recess. Topics of discussion include: nomination to the Transportation Commission, B&O Tax amendment, and an update on city's Homelessness Outreach. The latter is what interests me most this evening. ImageImage
Demographic data for the people that the city's homelessness outreach coordinator has contacted in 2020 & 2021. General note to @bellevuewa - "transgender" is not a gender itself, but rather an additional adjective to be used to describe one's gender (in contrast to "cisgender"). ImageImageImageImage
The fact that there's no reason given for why this informational presentation is being held this evening makes me believe it's in response to the conversation around Redmond & the Silver Cloud Inn purchase. Image
(Which, by the way, another Redmond City Council meeting is happening tonight where S*fe Eastside people are very likely going to use lies, misinformation, and hyperbole to oppose housing homeless people so they're no longer homeless. That fun starts at 6:30 pm).
Making the bet that one of the conservative CMs tonight will openly cite the controversy around Silver Cloud being proof of why it was good for Bellevue to go it alone on the 1590 funding - that the city could do with the money what it wanted & not be "forced by the County."
In addition to the scheduled proclamation on National Recovery Month, read by CM Barksdale, DM Nieuwenhuis reads a proclamation not on the printed agenda honoring the 20th anniversary of 9/11 and providing support for first responders.
First public commenter asking what the city's plan is for the people in RVs on SE 41st Pl. Says the road isn't wide enough for people's cars to pass large vehicles. Also concerned about tents she says she sees in "large amounts" at the I-90 entrance & 150th Ave SE.
Second commenter is a frequent conservative commenter who for once is actually asking for less parking! Says the neighborhood park in Newport Hills that's under construction hasn't had parking studies done, but since it's a neighborhood park it shouldn't need much parking.
Don't get your hopes up - it's because she doesn't want people coming in "from Newcastle or Renton" to use what "should be" a neighborhood park.
Transportation commission only got 4 applications this go around. For comparison, previous times I've applied have gotten around 19 and 29 applications. One can hypothesize that that drop-off might be because people realize their slim chances of getting on the body. @apardoe
I'm not going to get into the details of this, but tonight's discussion on the B&O tax is to provide recommendations to improve clarity and fix a Scrivener's error in the city's code. Should Council approve, an amendment would come on the Consent Calendar at a later meeting. Image
Here's a summary of those amendments, just in case you're interested.

Unrelated, but English "i"'s suck - they always throw me off in legal words.

Thought "proviso" was "proVEEso", though "Scivener's" would be "SCRAI-vener's", just gotta be confusing I guess. Image
A very quick discussion is done, and now we're moving on to the update on the City's Homelessness Outreach. Image
How poetic that, just as Bellevue's Homelessness Outreach coordinator is talking about permanent supportive housing as a solution to homelessness, the public outcry at Redmond's City Council meeting directed at exactly this type of facility is just scheduled to start. Image
This likely isn't new information for many of you, but surprise! Homelessness is racist too.

Black, Latino, and Native American populations are disproportionately likely to be homeless in King County.
The "buckets" of Bellevue's homelessness approach.

*sing song* One of these buckets is not like the other! One of these buckets does not belong..." Image
Ms. Martinez now describing what her first-time outreach with a new person usually is like.

Will have a member of Bellevue Fire Cares' team or a police officer to provide additional support, but really trying to get to the root barriers the person has without passing judgement. Image
Your city might be in an affordable housing crisis when....

In addition to having at least over 1000 homeless people in your region, you're literally short several thousand units of deeply affordable housing. Image
CM Barksdale is asking if there's ways for city to bring unhoused & housed neighbors together in outreach, to help build empathy & understanding. "We see the emails that come in..."

Also looking forward to when KCHRA can stop by for a presentation.
CM Robertson is asking how many people are actually outside in Bellevue, says that we need to understand the magnitude of the problem. She's "very disturbed" if what a previous commenter said was true, that there's a slew of tents preventing people from using public right of way.
*whispers* You might be a part of the problem if you seem, based on your rhetoric and demeanor, that you're more concerned by the nuisance that tents pose rather than by fellow humans living on the streets because of an unjust system & lack of affordable housing.
Ms. Martinez says that part of why she pushed for reporting through the My Bellevue app was so that the city can start to get more data around the actual count of people experiencing homelessness in Bellevue.
CM Zahn has apparently participated in two Point In Counts and can confirm that the number is likely an undercount. Asking what other resources Ms. Martinez needs to do her work, implying that she might need additional staff. Also is very interested in a safe parking program.
Staff says that Ms. Martinez has been involved in a lot of policy discussions around 1590 funds and around the Safe Parking pilot, so they've internally done some backfilling to make sure that the actual outreach needs are being met.
DM Nieuwenhuis supports allocating extra money towards better understanding the homelessness issue in Bellevue. Asking about if people are being referred to the Safe Parking programs that already exist and supports moving Bellevue's forward.
Ms. Martinez notes that there are several Safe Parking places on the Eastside for women and children, but only one for men, so that remains a tough nut to crack.
Nieuwenhuis also notes the community concerns that Council has received around the Silver Cloud Inn purchase & how it is very close to Bellevue. He asks for staff to address those concerns. Staff iterates that the property's been purchased, but the provider's still up in the air.
CM Stokes appreciates the updates, but feels like the city is moving slowly. Says the city needs to be more proactive in addressing homelessness before it happens. Says "Kirkland & Redmond are ahead" in some areas, and that some people are giving "terrible comments."
CM Lee, after praising Ms. Martinez extensively for her work, says that solutions to homelessness need to come "from the community" and that the city's response needs to be "focused."

Sure, Councilmember. But *which* community? Focused on *what*?
His "focus and emphasis is on really having the community behind you."

I would think the emphasis would be on listening to the experts and getting people housed, even if that pisses off certain community members. But then again, I'm not an elected official.
Mayor Robinson notes the consensus around the Safe Parking program and getting further data on Bellevue. "It's really a challenge to live in Bellevue.... We've got to have more housing in the entire spectrum, from 0-80% AMI."
In what seems to be a response to the concerns around Silver Cloud, Ms. Martinez notes that oftentimes behavioral health and drug concerns can only be first addressed after an individual is housed. Part of why a proactive approach is so important to her.

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More from @Deutski1

24 Nov
Just got rejected for a transpo job that I was really eyeing and it's hitting me kinda hard. It was the first time I applied for something that really felt like it would be a career, and I was really excited at the prospect of making a positive difference in the world.
I want to do good work. There's a lot of directions I can go in right now with my life (journalism, advocacy, environmental research, etc.), but it almost feels like a master of none situation where I don't have enough qualifications in any particular field to actually get hired.
CSB stuff is fine & good & I know it makes a difference, but it's *really* hard to establish a nonprofit infrastructure from nothing. That's really what I've been struggling the most with. That's why it'd just be so nice to be hired into an already-existing org doing great work.
Read 4 tweets
16 Nov
Tonight's Bellevue City Council meeting is a packed one - testimony on mid-bi budget adjustments, discussion on an affordable housing LUCA, further decisions on the East Main station area, and an ordinance to comply with state law re: unrelated people living together. ImageImageImage
I hear there's going to be people testifying in the budget hearing asking for more funding to implement the city's environmental stewardship initiative. As I & others have noted before, the city wants to reduce GHGs by 50% in a little over 8 years' time.
The 1st affordable housing ordinance being discussed tonight is about strategy C1: to allow AH development on public & religious land. Staff are recommending including a 50% density bonus - allowing developments meeting affordability criteria to build 50% above current maximums. ImageImage
Read 70 tweets
19 Oct
It's two weeks & one day before Election Day, and I'm covering tonight's Bellevue City Council meeting. Important discussions on the East Main LUCA, implementation of the Environmental Stewardship Initiative, and a preliminary timeline for mid-biennium budget discussions. ImageImage
Tonight's East Main study session is because CMs were unable to come to consensus around FAR & height at the previous meeting. Tonight's meeting will seek to work out those details. Supposedly staff has met with CMs to iron out their concerns.
Because it's campaign season, I expect tonight's update of the Environmental Stewardship Plan implementation to be met with CMs praising staff for their work & talking about how Bellevue is leading on this effort.
Read 58 tweets
5 Oct
Prepping for tonight's Bellevue City Council meeting.

Two interesting topics are being discussed this evening as study session items - the framework plan for Eastrail in the Wilburton area, and another discussion on the East Main LUCA. Image
Regarding the former - unlike other cities along #Eastrail, Bellevue does not own the trail ROW. The majority is owned by King County, and about 1 mile near the OMFE is owned by Sound Transit. County & city have been conducting outreach to guide trail design standards. ImageImage
Regarding the latter - tonight is the 5th study session on East Main and the first of several decision points. Staff are asking Council for the following FAR #'s - I'll let somebody else explain to me if they're good or bad. Image
Read 55 tweets
21 Sep
Tonight's Bellevue City Council meeting has some interesting items on the agenda: a discussion on a requirement to use a certain quota of apprentices in City contracts, an update on the implementation of recommendations from the police use of force review, and ARCH's budget. ImageImage
The apprentice initiative is being introduced by CM Barksdale, who notes that such a requirement would provide an avenue for tradespeople to acquire needed skills & time while providing job opportunities for Bellevue youth. He's seeking Council comment & feedback tonight. ImageImage
CM Barksdale notes that out of the 17 projects awarded by the City last year, only one actually used apprentices.

I'm very interested in seeing where CMs fall on this. At first glance this feels like a good, non-partisan/non-controversial initiative, but we'll see. Image
Read 50 tweets
14 Sep
Tonight's Bellevue City Council meeting will feature discussions around renaming an Environmental Education Center after Jim Ellis (local advocate), the East Main LUCA process, and all the development going on around the city. ImageImageImage
I don't mean this as any personal slight against Mr. Ellis or his work, but it's weird hearing this item being introduced when, just four months ago, Council was (relatively) united around no longer wanting to name things after people.
As I've made clear, I believe a policy of "never naming things after people" is short-sighted - it's all about *who* you name them after and what they stood for.

But I'd at least appreciate consistency from Council on this issue.
Read 53 tweets

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