Today, Mayor Ed Murray and City Attorney Pete Holmes issued the following statements in response to comments made by U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions threatening to withhold grants from so-called “sanctuary cities”:
“Attorney General Jeff Session’s latest threat does not change our position,” said Mayor Murray. “As I’ve said, I’m willing to risk losing every penny of federal funding to stand by our commitment to protect everyone in our community. Attorney General Sessions’ threat to claw back federal funding only strengthens our resolve to fight back. We will keep all our Welcoming Cities policies in place. Attorney General Sessions accused Welcoming Cities like Seattle of harming their respective communities. However, we are helping those in our community by assisting residents on the path to citizenship and warmly integrating immigrant schoolchildren into our classrooms. But the federal government is intent on driving people underground. If Attorney General Sessions is so concerned about Seattle’s safety, pulling law enforcement dollars from cities nationwide is the height of hypocrisy and makes us less safe. Research shows cities with larger foreign-born populations experience less violent crime. Bigotry, not safety, seems to be at the heart of the White House immigration policy.”
City Attorney Pete Holmes added:
“Just like the original executive order targeting so-called ‘sanctuary cities,’ today’s press statements in D.C. provided little if any legal clarity to guide otherwise law abiding Welcoming Cities like Seattle. The Attorney General’s comments appear to be little more than cynical attempts to talk about anything other than Trumpcare or Russia following a bad week for the Trump administration. At the same time, Seattle should know that my office and the Mayor’s Office have been working ever since President Trump’s ‘sanctuary cities’ order was signed to explore all avenues to protect Seattle’s interests, and most of all its values. The City will not be bullied into abandoning its principles. Stay tuned.”
Today, Mayor Ed Murray issued the following statement after Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives pulled back their attempt to take health coverage away from millions:
“President Trump and House Republicans may have finally heard the voices of Americans and at least temporarily stopped their effort to rip healthcare away from millions. This was a top priority for President Trump and shows he intends to use his presidency to cut taxes for his wealthy friends and steer us toward a more exclusive, divisive country. Today, American values won.”
Today, Mayor Ed Murray announced a series of age-friendly initiatives for the City of Seattle to address environmental, economic, and social factors influencing the health and well-being of older adults. Supporting these initiatives, the proposed first quarter supplemental budget includes $200,000 of additional funding for 2017 to fund organizations that are developing innovative new programs for seniors, nonprofits that provide transportation options for seniors and to fund a technology symposium to create user-friendly online resources for seniors.
“While the Trump administration is actively working to dismantle America’s safety net, including health care and food assistance which protect many of the most vulnerable people in our community, including seniors, Seattle will remain committed to addressing the economic, physical and social challenges facing older adults,” said Mayor Murray. “From urban planning, growth and development to housing, transportation and services, these aspects of our community will be shaped for and by our older residents.”
The goal of these new initiatives is to increase social participation, racial equity and awareness of issues older adults face daily, while decreasing displacement. As the population of older adults in Seattle increases, the City is developing goals and indicators around departmental initiatives that consider aging adults. In addition to the new funding outlined above, Mayor Murray outlined several specific early action items for 2017 including:
- Signing a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the King County Department of Assessments to increase enrollments in the City’s Utility Discount Program and the state’s Property Tax Exemption/Referral Program to help older adults to stay in their homes. The goal is to double the number of seniors enrolled in both programs;
- Leveraging Seattle’s civic technology community to help the City better meet the needs of the aging population. This includes coordination of a technology symposium and design workshops to create user-friendly online resources for seniors based on best practices and innovative solutions from other cities;
- In a partnership with King County Metro, increasing usage of the Regional Reduced Fare Permit, a reduced fare program by older adults by streamlining the application process;
- Improving the pedestrian environment by assessing sidewalks with the involvement of seniors, implementing walkability audits, promoting transportation options for older adults, and incorporating age-friendly criteria into the Pedestrian Master Plan for 2018-2022;
- Involving seniors in the development and engagement process for new capital investments and increasing participation in senior-focused recreation and healthy food programs offered through the City of Seattle Human Services Department, Department of Parks and Recreation, and Office of Sustainability and Environment;
- Improving housing affordability by developing a regional housing action plan to assess senior housing needs, identifying low-income seniors to participate in the Utility Discount Program and the senior property tax exemption program; increasing access to weatherization services, home repair, and foreclosure prevention programs; and evaluating feasibility of senior home-sharing options.
“As the real estate market continues to boom we see more and more seniors facing financial difficulty,” said King County Assessor John Wilson. “I am thrilled to partner with Mayor Murray and the City of Seattle to offer relief to those who need it the most. We will work together to ensure Seattle is a place we can all afford to call home.”
In addition to early actions, Mayor Murray is committing to two community equity forums—one focused on the needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender elders; the other on the needs of older women. Also, the City is looking to provide older adults with better access to human services and City resources, based on best practices, new technologies and innovative solutions from other cities.
“I’m pleased to see our City so fully embrace this Age-Friendly concept, making this a city for all ages and abilities,” said Sally Bagshaw, Seattle City Councilmember. “Personally, I want to see giant steps forward in improving our sidewalks across the city. When we maintain our sidewalks, connecting them block-to-block and implementing safe crosswalks, we make a pedestrian-friendly network. The improved pedestrian environment encourages people of all ages to walk, and as we all know, a little fresh air does us good.
“A sidewalk free of bulges and holes appeals to everyone in the neighborhood, including the mom pushing her stroller, a child riding a scooter to school, and those who may find walking a challenge. Investing in safe walking routes for all of us should be a top priority for our Age-Friendly city.”
“It is important to me and to our City that we take care of our elders,” said Catherine Lester, Director of the City’s Human Services Department. “This requires us to create opportunities for social participation, to promote health and wellness, and to make sure our physical environment is accessible. These are the types of things that allow Seattle to continue to be a place where people of all ages and stages of life can thrive. Our elders, as well as all people in our community, must feel valued and be able to participate fully as part of this community.”
The Human Services Department will also design an innovation fund to identify and award funding for unique and creative projects that meet community needs. The first year will include a focus on ways to creatively move towards an age-friendly community with a specific focus on results and racial equity.
The City will consider suggestions for age-friendly improvements in the 2018 budget and will report on the progress of the initial three-year plan to the Human Services and Public Health Committee, or other appropriate City Council committees, through 2021.
Currently, 18 percent of King County’s residents are 60 years and older. By 2040, that number is expected to grow to be one in four adults (25 percent). Currently, 63 percent of King County renters age 65 and older spend more than 30 percent of their annual income on housing. Racial disparities persist in these findings. Nearly two-thirds of older Black/African Americans (60 percent) spend 30 percent or more of their income on housing, as do more than half (56 percent) of older Latino seniors. This compares to 47 percent of White older adults.
In July 2016, Seattle joined the AARP Network of Age-Friendly Communities, an affiliate of the World Health Organization’s Global Network of Age-Friendly Cities and Communities. This initiative outlines “The 8 Domains of Livability” which include:
- Outdoor Spaces and Buildings
- Social Participation
- Respect and Social Inclusion
- Civic Participation and Employment
- Communication and Information
- Community and Health Services
The AARP/WHO framework looks for improvements in these specific areas that influence the health and quality of life for our city’s older residents. This initiative aims to help the region support the positive contributions of older adults and enable people of all ages and abilities to achieve their potential.
Following is a joint statement from West Coast Governors and Mayors in anticipation of a possible Executive Order from President Trump, including a directive to withdraw and rewrite the Clean Power Plan, as well as weaken other standards that protect our air quality and reduce carbon emissions:
“As the governors of Washington, Oregon and California and the mayors of Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Oakland and Los Angeles, we speak today in support of the Clean Power Plan. We speak in unified opposition to the idea of any decision by the President to limit our region’s economic opportunities or our commitment to doing what’s right to make our cities and states cleaner and healthier for future generations.
“We speak as a region of over 50 million people with a combined GDP of $2.8 trillion. There is no question that to act on climate is to act in our best economic interests. Through expanded climate policies, we have grown jobs and expanded our economies while cleaning our air.
“Any attacks on the Clean Power Plan would move our nation in the wrong direction and put American prosperity at risk. We will assert our own 21st century leadership and chart a different course. Climate change is one of our greatest threats, from more wildfires threatening our homes and communities to ocean acidification rocking our shellfish industry to drought hurting our farmers. Too much is at stake – from our health and safety to our jobs and livelihoods – for us to move backwards.
“We will honor our commitments to our communities to do what’s right to keep our residents safe, secure, healthy and prosperous as we accelerate our clean energy economy and put the interest of our people before those of big polluters. We will continue to invest in clean energy that creates local jobs and keeps utility bills low, and we will electrify transportation to provide convenient, safe, and affordable ways to get around our cities, and make our neighborhoods healthy and vibrant.
“Our cities and states will continue to assert our leadership and position our region for economic success. We urge states, cities and businesses from across the country to join us in leading and re-affirming our commitment to cut carbon emissions and reverse the damaging impacts to our communities of unfettered pollution.”
Jointly signed on March 22, 2017 by:
Seattle Mayor Ed Murray
California Governor Jerry Brown
Oregon Governor Kate Brown
Washington Governor Jay Inslee
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti
San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee
Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf
Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler
Today, Mayor Ed Murray issued the following statement in response to a controversial report published by Immigration and Customs Enforcement on outcomes from declined detainer requests:
“The Trump administration is pressuring communities across the country to ignore the constitutional and civil rights of our most vulnerable residents. The City of Seattle joins with King County and other municipalities across the U.S. in refusing to yield to this bullying. Seattle remains unmoved in our conviction and will remain a Welcoming City both in words and in action.
“Studies sponsored by both liberal and conservative organizations reveal that immigrants are less likely to commit crimes and immigrants have no effect on crime rates. Additional findings show that municipalities with ‘don’t ask’ or ‘sanctuary’ policies have less crime and are more economically successful than municipalities without these policies. We know being an inclusive, Welcoming City is good for our economy and our community.”
Today, Mayor Murray joined a press conference call with mayors across the country to kick off a Day of Action demonstrating support for immigrants and refugees, as well as comprehensive immigration reform. Actions announced by Mayor Murray include an Immigration 101 training for City employees, including Seattle police officers who have regular interactions with residents, as well as a regional convening on immigration that is scheduled for later this spring. These actions build on Mayor Murray’s ongoing support of the immigrant and refugee community, including signing an Executive Order reaffirming Seattle as a Welcoming City and hosting Seattle’s largest-ever Citizenship Workshop.
“Today, we are standing up for civil rights of all of our residents,” said Mayor Murray. “Symbolism is important, but action is more important. And we are taking these bold actions today because we believe we have the constitution and the rule of law on our side. Our immigration system is broken for everyone — those working in our hotels, doing our farm work, as well as those working in high-tech industries. Here in Seattle, we recognize that immigrants help to make our local economy stronger, and we know this applies to our national economy as well.”
During the call, which was organized by the U.S. Conference of Mayors, Mayor Murray, along with fellow mayors Eric Garcetti (Los Angeles), Jorge Elorza (Providence, R.I.) and Tom Tait (Anaheim, CA) stressed the important roles of cities in addressing the challenges created by our nation’s broken immigration system. In cities large and small, mayors are launching a Day of Immigration Action, with the goal of bringing together faith leaders, residents, stakeholders and community-based organizations for a variety of events that support immigrants, share with them important information about rights and available resources, and underscore their value to both the national and local economies.
Day of Action activities highlight the vital contributions immigrants make to their cities and the nation. Mayors are also urging Congress and the Trump administration to focus on commonsense reforms that will address the nation’s broken immigration system.
On the call, Mayor Murray highlighted several of the actions taken by the City of Seattle in support of immigrants and immigration reform, including:
- Issuing a “Day of Action” proclamation reaffirming Seattle as an inclusive, open, and welcoming city and calling on the federal government to enact comprehensive immigration reform;
- Holding an Immigration 101 training and discussion for all City employees including frontline personnel who work directly with residents such as Seattle police officers and other field staff. Mayor Murray attended the workshop which was broadcast live and recorded for later viewing;
- Signing onto the U.S. Conference of Mayor’s letter to Congress calling for comprehensive immigration reform;
- Issuing a “call to action” for Seattle residents urging them to call and/or write their federal elected officials in support of pro-immigrant and refugee policies;
- Re-launching the City’s “Welcoming City” webpage listing the many welcoming city actions that Seattle has taken since November;
- Announcing plans for a regional convening on immigration scheduled for later this spring.
At the USCM Winter Meeting in Washington in January, mayors adopted a resolution calling for enactment of bipartisan comprehensive immigration reform, the continuation of programs that protect the temporary status of Dreamers, and recognition of the social, economic and cultural contributions of immigrant communities nationwide.
Mayors are amplifying their message by using #MayorsStand4All across their social media platforms on March 21 and beyond.
Today, Mayor Ed Murray along with Council President Bruce Harrell, Councilmember Mike O’Brien, City planners, and pedestrian advocates announced a series of pedestrian safety investments guided by the City’s updated Pedestrian Master Plan and Vision Zero safety program. These new investments will further the City’s goal of making Seattle the safest and most walkable city in the country by improving street and intersection safety, and new sidewalks. Funding for these safety improvements were made possible through the Move Seattle levy.
“All of us depend on a safe, accessible transportation infrastructure to get to work, school, and everywhere we need to be in our daily lives,” said Mayor Murray. “The Pedestrian Master Plan calls for critically needed upgrades to sidewalks in under-served communities, and through our Vision Zero program, we are making busy streets and intersections safer for everyone. These safety investments can help make Seattle neighborhoods safer and more walkable for all residents.”
“By prioritizing investments and improvements towards more walkable neighborhoods, we build stronger, healthier, safer, and more inclusive communities,” said Council President Harrell (District 2, South Seattle). “Our locally owned small businesses down the street thrive, residents walk more and become healthier, communities feel safer because of the social connections and eyes on the street, and the natural environment benefits.”
“Every investment we make in pedestrian infrastructure can literally mean the difference between life and death,” said Councilmember Mike O’Brien (District 6, Northwest Seattle). “I’m hopeful that these dollars and future funding keep us on track toward Vision Zero.”
The updated Pedestrian Master Plan (PMP) directs $22 million for 50 blocks of new sidewalk improvements in 2017. The PMP focuses these investments by prioritizing sidewalks that provide safer access to schools and transit options. The PMP is guided by an equity consideration, ensuring under-served communities are prioritized for pedestrian improvements. These investments will be made in neighborhoods from Greenwood, Lake City in the north end, to Beacon Hill, Roxbury Heights and Rainier Valley in the south end. Click here for a map of the improvements. Mayor Murray is transmitting his recommended PMP update to Council for adoption later this week.
”Many people in the South Seattle community including myself have suffered due to the lack of safety improvements along the Rainier Avenue corridor,” said Phyllis Porter of Seattle Neighborhood Greenways. “I am thankful for the initial phase of the Rainier Avenue Safety Project in the Rainier Valley and look forward to continued improvements along the corridor.”
Additionally, the acceleration of the second phase of the Rainier Avenue corridor safety improvements was announced today. As part of Seattle Department of Transportation’s (SDOT) Vision Zero program, Rainier Avenue between S. Kenny Street and S. Henderson Street will see $2.25 million in improvements to pedestrian safety at intersections. Vision Zero improvements may include marked crosswalks, dedicated left turn arrows, channelization upgrades, and new signal timing to prioritize pedestrians. The improvements will be completed by 2019. The first phase of the project made similar improvements in the Columbia and Hillman City neighborhoods. Rainier Avenue is one of many Vision Zero projects throughout the city to improve corridor and pedestrian crossings. These projects, along with SDOT’s expansion of new, lower speed limits will improve safety in neighborhoods across Seattle.
“We analyzed bicycle and pedestrian crashes that happened from 2007 to 2014 in Seattle so we could identify problems to address through better street design and traffic operations. We looked at different data sources to explore the relationship between where, how, and to the extent possible, why crashes happen,” said Scott Kubly, Director of the Seattle Department of Transportation. “As a result, we have a better understanding of some of the most common issues, and where and how we need to focus our efforts for making our streets safer for all users.”
Vision Zero is SDOT’s approach to traffic safety with a goal of ending traffic deaths and serious injury by 2030. The program is a blend of safety measures such as lowering speed limits, improving traffic signals, pedestrian and bike crossing enhancements, and increasing transit efficiency to make streets safer for all modes of transportation, especially pedestrians. Despite a rapidly increasing population, fatal and serious injury incidents in Seattle have been declining since 2014.
Today’s announcement was made at Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School in South Seattle, which will receive $130,000 in new speed humps and curb ramps on all streets around the school and marked crosswalks at 44th Ave S. and S. Willow St. These safety improvements are part of SDOT’s Safe Routes to School program, which encourages and funds easier, safer ways for students to get to school.
Today, Mayor Ed Murray issued the following statement in response to President Trump’s proposed federal budget which calls for deep cuts to critical federal agency programs:
“President Trump’s proposed budget, which decimates support for public health, working families, seniors, and the environment, confirms my worst fear that he is reneging on his campaign promise to be a champion for the underdog and instead abandoning the American people altogether. We knew we couldn’t count on the new administration to partner on our progressive agenda to fund transit, build affordable housing, and be proactive about health and human services. These massive cuts to more than a dozen federal agencies, including completely eliminating the Housing and Urban Development’s housing block grant program, are downright dangerous, putting the economy and human lives at risk.”
President Trump released his budget proposal this morning calling for extreme cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency, the Departments of Labor, Agriculture, Housing, and Health and Human Services, while making large increases in military spending and earmarking billions for a border wall.
Today, Mayor Ed Murray and Councilmember Mike O’Brien released the following statements in response to the Trump administration’s rollback of critical vehicle efficiency standards:
“President Trump’s decision to roll back vehicle efficiency standards weakens clean air protections at a time when the U.S. and the world need urgent action to combat climate change,” said Mayor Murray. “This action sends a signal to the world that the U.S. is backing away from climate leadership. Vehicle efficiency standards have been critical in spurring innovations in cars and trucks that have resulted in cleaner air and water, and lower greenhouse gas emissions. In fact, a quarter of Seattle’s greenhouse gas reductions since 2008 can be attributed to the increasing fuel economy of our cars.
“Highly efficient and electric vehicles are the future of transportation and turning back efficiency standards will not halt our determination to achieve a clean energy economy. It will, however, create significant costs for the U.S.—in terms of air quality, health impacts, and the opportunity costs of losing our global leadership role in shaping a healthy, just, and prosperous future.
“There are signs that today’s action is just the first in a series of efforts to weaken our clean air protections. Seattle is determined to remain a global clean energy leader. In 2005, Seattle City Light became the first public electric utility to achieve zero net greenhouse gas emissions and has maintained that carbon neutral status every year since. Last year, we launched Drive Clean Seattle which helps our city fight climate change by reducing our dependence on fossil fuels while increasing our use of electric transportation.
“Unfortunately, we do not have the luxury of waiting to act on climate. Seattle will stay united with cities in the U.S. and around the world to meet our commitments under the Paris Agreement. And we will continue with our own policies, including electrifying our vehicle fleet, cutting emissions from our buildings and expanding transit service to give people more transportation choices.
“Our world cannot afford President Trump’s plan to line the pockets of polluters at the expense of protecting public health and our environment.”
Councilmember Mike O’Brien (District 6, Northwest Seattle) said, “Obama’s leadership on vehicle fuel-efficiency standards is a necessary effort to reduce carbon pollution. The plan directly addresses global warming, but Trump continues to ignore the science behind policies at the expense of people everywhere on our planet. Trump’s action reassessing these environmental standards will potentially create devastating losses for our city, country, and the global community. My pledge is to continue to advance local policy to address climate change.
“Our city will remain committed to increasing electric vehicle usage, reducing building emissions, implementing the Equity & Environment Initiative and fulfilling our part of the Paris Climate Accord. It comes as no surprise that the same president who is banning immigration is also taking steps to make climate change worse, causing the greatest damage to the Global South and increasing immigration pressure. He is doubling down on an economy that benefits a few corporations and decimates low-income communities. But our fight to address climate change here won’t waiver. We will be bold and continue to strive to address impacted communities of color as we work to reverse the impacts of climate change. We will because we are Seattle.”
Additionally, Mayor Murray signed on to a joint statement with other mayors and governors in response to today’s announcement from the Trump administration:
Joint statement in response to the EPA’s reconsideration of federal vehicle fuel-economy and emissions standards by the Governors of Washington and Oregon, and the Mayors of Oakland, San Francisco, Portland and Seattle:
“As the governors of Washington and Oregon, the mayors of Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, and Oakland, and representing a West Coast region of over 50 million people with a combined GDP of $2.8 trillion, we speak today in unified opposition to the federal withdrawal from the vehicle fuel efficiency standards that have worked for years to lower consumers’ fuel costs while making our air healthier to breathe. Our job as governors and mayors is to boost our region’s economic opportunities and to make our cities and states cleaner and healthier for our citizens. This decision does the exact opposite, making America more dependent on oil while putting more lives at risk from pollution and shortchanging consumers at the pump.
“The U.S. is a technology superpower. Our strong vehicle fuel economy standards are a reflection of that and position the U.S. to remain competitive in the global push toward clean cars. Let’s not cede our leadership.”
The release was jointly signed by:
Oregon Governor Kate Brown
Washington Governor Jay Inslee
Seattle Mayor Ed Murray
San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee
Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf
Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler