Caffeinated News

1. The city council heard testimony yesterday on Mayor Ed Murray's encampment legislation to allow three new permits for transitional housing—currently known as tent cities. 

Several homeless people who testified applauded Murray (and council member Nick Licata) for their "courage" in working on the issue, but they characterized the provision in the ordinance that limited the location to non-residential zones as "redlining."

"We'd like to thank the mayor for having the guts to do this," a Tent City 3 resident began, "and we know that other city council members like Nick Licata have been courageously fighting for practical solutions for homelessness for over a decade.

"However, we have examined the encampment bill, and we must oppose it because it redlines homeless people out of residential areas. Sending people to live in [non-residential] areas only is wrong. 40 years ago we got rid of racial redlining, we don't need to return to those days by redlining the homeless now."

Tent City resident testifies at yesterday's city council hearing.

Another Tent City Three resident added: "This ordinance, by redlining, is like telling me because of who or what I am, I am not a full citizen and do not belong here. 'We will help you, but you do not belong here.' Well, I am a full citizen, and I do belong here."

"40 years ago we got rid of racial redlining, we don't need to return to those days by redlining the homeless now."—Resident of Tent City ThreeWhile the legislation does exclude encampments from residential zones, it doesn't restrict them to "industrial" zones as some critics implied; the encampments can be in in mixed use and commercial zones.

A new element in Murray's proposal, as opposed to earlier failed legislation proposed by Licata in 2013, adds a requirement that social service providers, such as social workers, can access the sites. It also requires data collection like current city shelters. 

Licata, however, stood with Murray when the mayor originally unveiled the legislation at a press conference last fall.

The legislation does not affect current city code which allows religious institutions to host homeless encampments.

In addition to Tent City 3 at Seattle Pacific University, there are currenlty three other encampment sites all hosted by churches.

2. A suite of bills to amp the electric car industry—incuding a bill providing sales tax breaks for electric vehicles or EVs and a bill to help fund charging stations—is getting a hearing in the state senate transportation committee this afternoon.

The EV hearing raises a question: Whatever happened to Gov. Jay Inslee's idea to allow EVs to have free access to ferries

Inslee's bill was criticized by environmentalists and other lefties who complained that it continued to subsidize car commutes, that it ignored a real green alternative—bikes and peds—which don't get free passage, and that it skewed policy toward Bainbridge Island yuppies who can afford EVs in the first place.

Inslee's proposal was originally part of his larger transportation package.

3. Longtime Nick Licata aide Lisa Herbold, who took a step toward jumping into the race for the district one city council seat in West Seattle by registering a campaing committee this week, says she won't be on stage with the official candidates at this Thursday's district one candidate forum, but she will be in attendance.