Council Connection ”This week in Budget 2022; Proclamation of Diaper Awareness Week; Boosters, vaccines and avoid overflowing hospitals; Seattle Municipal Court Audit
This week in budget 2022
On Monday, the mayor, as required by state law, sent a draft 2022 budget to city council, along with a draft 2022-2027 capital improvement program. The two links allow you to download the entire proposal or to select a specific department.
The council’s proposed budget review began this week, with an overview of the city’s budget office and a series of presentations from the department.
Below are links to the presentations heard by the small budget committee this week:
No meeting is scheduled for next week, as council offices and central staff will review the proposal. The next scheduled meeting of the Special Budget Committee will be a public hearing on October 12 at 5:30 p.m.
The calendar of budget meetings is available on the Web page of the Select Budget Committee. You can download the budget calendar here.
Budget Committee meetings have public comment for 30 minutes at the start of the morning session. You can register to speak on the link.
Proclamation of Diaper Awareness Week
On Monday, Board Chair González and I presented a Diaper Awareness Week proclamation in Treasure District 1 Westside Baby as part of the nationwide effort to recognize the growing number of families struggling to get enough of diapers to keep their babies healthy. Our community is fortunate to have Westside Baby stepped up to meet this need during the pandemic, distributing 860,000 more diapers last year than the year before.
The need for diapers is a growing health problem affecting 1 in 3 families in the United States. Low-income families pay up to 14% of their total income just for disposable diapers. Here in Seattle, the need for diapers particularly affects BIPOC families, with 42% of BIPOC families in Seattle struggling to afford diapers.
National research shows that the need for diapers is linked to higher rates of depressive symptoms in new mothers than hunger. It is also linked to more frequent visits to the pediatrician for diaper rash and urinary tract infections.
A diaper reader is a great way to show support during Diaper Awareness Week, and I encourage everyone to consider hosting or contributing to a diaper reader. You can read more about meeting diaper needs at westsidebaby.org.
Boosters, vaccines and avoid overflowing hospitals
Are you eligible for a recall? The CDC recommends booster doses of the Pfizer vaccine for people who completed two doses of Pfizer at least 6 months ago and are:
The following people may also receive a booster injection of Pfizer vaccine at least 6 months after receiving two doses of Pfizer vaccine depending on their individual benefits and risks:
Only booster doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine have been approved by the FDA at this time. Booster doses of Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines have not yet been authorized.
Note: Third doses of Moderna have only been permitted for people with significantly weakened immune systems, such as those receiving cancer treatments or organ transplants.
I’m working with the mayor’s office and district 1 community partners to find a host for a city-run temporary booster clinic, which is slated to open in October. This effort is unlikely to be as big as the former SW Sports Complex Vaccination Clinic, but I’m happy that residents of District 1 will have easy access to booster shots.
Hospital capacity is becoming a problem statewide. Getting vaccinated and boosted has never been more important, as our hospitals across the state are inundated with Covid cases, the overwhelming majority of which are among people who have not yet been vaccinated. As the Seattle Times reports, peaks of Covid in rural communities with low immunization levels are overwhelming their local medical facilities, “forcing the transfer of hundreds of patients to King County hospitals to handle the load.”
The surge is so acute that Governor Inslee has requested other Washington’s help with health care, asking for federal staff, including clinical and non-clinical staff, to support Washington’s healthcare system in response. the increase in hospitalizations related to COVID-19.
What if I am not yet vaccinated against Covid? Now is the right time, as many activities in King County will begin to require proof of vaccination at the end of October. Fortunately, the COVID-19 vaccine is still free. Anyone aged 12 and over can be vaccinated. 12-17 year olds can get Pfizer ONLY, while 18+ can get Pfizer, Moderna, or J&J. Learn more about youth immunization at kingcounty.gov/vaccine/youth
No appointment necessary: Most pharmacies, clinics and public health centers now offer COVID-19 vaccination without an appointment. Enter your zip code into the Washington Vaccine Locator or visit Public Health’s Getting Vaccinated page to find a vaccination site near you.
Seattle Municipal Court Audit
The Seattle Municipal Court (SMC) hears prosecutions for all serious misdemeanors, civil offenses, and other offenses permitted under the Seattle Municipal Code and certain revised Washington Code statutes. The Court is composed of seven elected judges and five appointed magistrates.
The Auditor’s Office conducted an audit, at the request of Council, of the MSC’s probation program on the impacts of probation on people of color and the racial proportionality of the imposition of probation, the requirements for compliance and success and early release rates.
On September 23, the auditor released his report which includes 14 recommendations (see Appendix B for the full list). The summary of the report notes:
“While we have found a racial and ethnic disproportion in the makeup of the 2017-2019 SMC probation population and other aspects of the SMC probation program, we have also seen SMC make progress in implementing the recommendations of SMC. the probation study of the Vera Institute of Justice initiated by the Court in June 2020 and publish our office identified during this audit. However, we have also found that more work can be done to address racial and ethnic disproportion in probation. Our review of probation data found that Blacks / African Americans are particularly over-represented in the more intrusive forms of probation supervision oversight, are under-represented in successful probation outcomes, and tend to have cases. which remain open rather than being closed once the obligations have been fulfilled. Examining the impacts of probation on people of color, we found that SMC’s efforts to promote equity within its probation system were hampered by data gaps, a lack of performance results, poor performance, and poor performance. accurate accounting of fines and costs and internal controls. We have found that SMC has failed to adhere to certain internal and external policies, procedures and requirements that may affect probation outcomes, particularly for people of color.
The MSC has responded to the report which is included in Annex A. It should be noted that MSC is in the process of updating its 30 year old technology for case management, the new system is expected to be fully implemented. in the summer of 2022.
This work continues to build on the Vera Institute of Justice report that was released in June 2020. I last wrote about it here. In 2020, SMC redesigned its Programs and Services division, including probation services, in response to stakeholder feedback, the desire to reduce disproportionate impacts on court clients, and the recommendations of the Vera Report. Seattle City Court reports the following changes:
- Discontinuation of record audits, except in cases where record monitoring is required by law. By early 2021, SMC had reduced record checks by 78%, resulting in a reduction of 1,640 clients on SMC probation.
- Probation services focused on high-risk types of cases, reducing the number of clients under active supervision by 16%.
- Elimination of discretionary supervision fees imposed in criminal cases, including all probation-related fees.
- Incentives for early release from probation using a goal-oriented supervision approach. Recently published KPIs suggest a decrease in the average duration of supervision to 18.7 months.
- Implementation of a new case closure policy whereby advisors administratively close cases when clients have achieved their goals.
- Implemented a bill of rights and grievance process for clients on probation and began collecting feedback from clients upon discharge from probation. Initial results show that 78% of clients who responded to the survey feel supported, encouraged and motivated by their probation counselor.
- Began collecting self-reported data on race and ethnicity through a new probation admissions process.
I will be working during this budget session to ensure that we continue to make progress on the recommendations of the Vera report as well as the recommendations of the municipal auditor.