Review and Monitoring of Relevant Draft State Legislation
The City Council approved its state legislative priorities for the 2021 session at its November 4, 2020 meeting and it added a new segment to the City’s legislative agenda called the priority coalition advocacy agenda(PDF, 125KB). The priority coalition advocacy agenda highlights a limited number of key legislative priorities that are critical to Kirkland but that are championed by other organizations. For these items, the City may provide support as part of a coalition but would not take the lead. Council identified three items for this segment going into the 2021 session, one of which includes advocating for the Association of Washington Cities’ (AWC) Statewide Policing Reforms priority.
Shortly after Council adopted the City’s 2021 priorities and priority coalition advocacy items, the Attorney General circulated for review and comment its request draft legislation related to collecting and publishing information regarding law enforcement use of force. The draft was distributed to subject-matter experts in several city departments including the City Manager’s Office (CMO), where staff were encouraged by its model dashboard as well as the proposed legislation’s potential to support the city’s efforts in implementing Resolution R-5434 if it were passed by the legislature.
According to the AWC, several other proposals in the area of police reforms have been offered for review as well, including an ACLU draft bill relating to enhancing public trust and confidence in law enforcement and strengthening law enforcement accountability. The ACLU bill focusing strongly on preventing collective bargaining agreements from limiting police accountability.
Police Reform Bill Drafts Identified (as of December 22 per the AWC)*
- Decertification – Sen. Pedersen / Rep. Goodman
- Duty to intervene – Sen. Dhingra
- Brady / Impeachment – Sen. Dhingra
- Deadly Use of Force Audits – Sen. Dhingra(PDF, 54KB)
- Law enforcement use of force data – Rep. Lovick (Attorney General Request)
- Tactics (ban) – Rep. Johnson
- Use of Force Standard – Rep. Johnson
- Civil claim / 1983 – Rep. Thai
- Community accountability boards – Rep. Johnson
- Beltran – Serrano (standard of care) – Rep. Johnson
- Felony bar removal (LE) – Rep. Lekanoff / Sen. Frockt
- Hiring / Civil service/ diversity – Sen. Kuderer
- Law enforcement accountability(PDF, 133KB) (ACLU version) – Sen. Salomon
- CBA / WASPC version**
- Independent Investigation / prosecutions – Rep. Entenman (Governor Request)
* Aside from the AG’s bill, the ACLU’s bill and Sen. Dhingra’s Deadly Use of Force Audit bill, staff has not seen any other bill drafts, but we have flagged the above list for review when these bills are brought forward.
** Anticipate WASPC will rerun their data bill and they have an agenda as well. So far Rep. Maycumber has picked up their suicide prevention bill.
The AWC reports that police reform bills will likely be heard the first week of the 2021 session, which officially opens January 11, 2021. In the interim, the City’s Government Relations staff will continue to work with the AWC and the City’s contract lobbyist to track bill drafts being circulated on this and other topics that could impact the City. The process of tracking and monitoring will become systematic as bill drafts are formally dropped in the hopper and assigned bill numbers. The City’s robust bill review process will include reviewing bill drafts for potential impact to the work the City is doing for Resolution R-5434.
Welcoming Kirkland Initiative
The Welcoming Kirkland Initiative (WKI) completed its work and published a report titled Reflections and Lessons Learned to the public in early December 2020. WKI was developed to address issues that were identified in a 2018 incident at Menchie’s in Totem Lake which highlighted concerns that People of Color in general, and Black people, in particular, have lived experiences of an unwelcoming and inequitable community in contrast to the City’s stated goal to be safe, inclusive and welcoming for all. The WKI planning and working groups included more than 20 diverse leaders, representing a variety of public needs. Community talks included topics such as Preparing to be Color Conscious and Color Brave, which brought nearly 100 attendees. As noted by City staff in the Reflections report, the City hopes to engage the WKI group as a key point of community feedback and insight throughout the R-5434 civic engagement process.
Welcoming Cities Collaborative
The City signed on as a welcoming city through the Welcoming America network in 2017. Since then, we have continued to explore ways to support the City’s safe, inclusive, and welcoming work as directed in the 2017 Resolution R-5240. One such strategy has been meeting for over a year with representatives from neighboring Eastside cities and from Eastside for All to explore the idea of a regional partnership called the Welcoming Cities Collaborative. This effort is envisioned to further the work of equity, inclusion, and racial justice in Kirkland and on the Eastside, while also achieving the requirements of the Welcoming America Standard and Certification. As this work has been directly in line with R-5240 and is further supported by R-5434, the City Manager’s Office has committed two years of funding for the City’s full participation in this effort, funded from 2019-2020 community engagement funds.
Preliminary Work on Reimagining Kirkland’s Neighborhood U Informed by the Bellevue Essentials Program
CMO staff met with a representative from the City of Bellevue’s Neighborhood Outreach group to discuss the Bellevue Essentials Program, a nine-week, 35-40 student civic engagement program that combines a curriculum on the structure of city government with hands-on activities which allow participants to simulate day-to-day challenges of city government. Having just completed their eighth year of running the program, a record 73 community members applied to participate, and all 40 who were accepted successfully completed the program
A key component of Bellevue Essentials is to encourage graduates to stay engaged with the city and their neighborhoods, and the program has an alumni group with more than 250 members. Another highlight of the program is the diversity of participants in the program, which aligns with the intent of R-5434 as well as several “Civic Engagement” actions articulated in the recently adopted Sustainability Master Plan.
Neighborhood Services staff will incorporate the insight and resources provided by Bellevue staff into other national best practice research as staff continue to develop the 2021 “Kirkland Essentials” program (final name to be determined).
National Day of Racial Healing Proclamation
Based on the first loop focus groups and other research, we have identified proclaiming January 19, 2021 as the “National Day of Racial Healing in Kirkland” as one potential immediate action the City could do in support of the intentions of R-5434. The National Day of Racial Healing was created in 2016 through a collaboration of hundreds of leaders and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF) and is part of WKKF’s “Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation (TRHT)” framework. Here(PDF, 148KB) is an example proclamation, which would be adapted to the specificity of Kirkland’s efforts related to racial equity as articulated in R-5434.
Kirkland Indigenous History Compilation
The CMO Volunteer Services Coordinator is compiling from available written resources the hyper-local indigenous history of present-day Kirkland and the shores of Lake Washington. The result of this project will be a 12-page report that includes an equity affirmation, local land acknowledgment, native place name map, and a summary history narrative. This work will include contracting with local Native key informants for their review of the draft report, as well as additional review by leaders of hyper-local tribal governments, federally recognized or otherwise.
Next steps: We will bring the final report to Council for review and adoption.
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Transition Plan and Equity Impact Assessment
The City contracted MacDonald Boyd and Associates to support the City’s broader outreach related to its ADA Transition Plan conducted throughout 2019. As part of this process, the consultant developed an equity impact assessment (EIA)(PDF, 962KB) for the City’s use. This tool can enhance equity and inclusion in the development of policies, programs, services, and initiatives.
The consultant hosted one training session in late February of 2020, just before the pandemic emerged, which was attended by 39 staff from various departments and job classifications. In the training, participants had the opportunity to reflect on tangible ways to advance the broader City-wide goals of being a safe, inclusive and welcoming community by practicing using the EIA on existing or forthcoming policies, programs, or services.
Next steps: Additional staff trainings are forthcoming. This tool is intended to be broadly used across the departments and can be used to support Action SG-4.2 in the Sustainability Master Plan: “Develop a process to identify and dismantle unintended barriers to public participation by considering and responding to the diversity of our community, including the various cultural, ethnic, and historical experiences of community members.”
Equity and Inclusion Dashboard
The Equity and Inclusion dashboard is a geospatial map project initiated by the Planning & Building Department that will provide various City departments the tools to review demographics for the City – or for smaller geographic units within the City – as they relate to City projects and programs.
The goal is for these projects and programs to efficiently conduct an equity impact assessment to determine whether any groups might be negatively impacted by the project, whether there are issues of access for some groups, and how a project might positively impact equity and inclusion. The dashboard would utilize existing data from sources such as the US Census, American Fact Finder, Washington State Office of Financial Management, Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, and Puget Sound Regional Council, in addition to Kirkland data sets to enable internal users to quickly run queries for user-defined geographic areas.
Next steps: The project team is anticipated to begin focused work on this dashboard in early 2021.
Development Services/Welcoming Hall
The City Manager provided a presentation on an initial concept for a development services / welcoming hall to Council on November 4, 2020. The capital budget includes the adaptation of the pending expansion of City Hall for development services staff into a more open customer service space designed to provide virtual service during the COVID-19 pandemic. The structure of this facility will also create a welcoming space and exhibition hall where multicultural heritage can be celebrated. This new hall would be funded by development services fees and not general-purpose tax dollars.
Next steps: As directed by Council, staff will return with schematic designs, which will include architectural/engineering consulting, preliminary construction cost estimates, and an overall forecasted project budget.