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Durkan Signs Executive Order Addressing Affordable Housing

THE SEATTLE MEDIUM — Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan signed an Executive Order to help create a more affordable Seattle.



By The Seattle Medium

This week, Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan signed an Executive Order to help create a more affordable Seattle, combat residential displacement in neighborhoods across Seattle, and create more affordable low- and middle-income housing. Read the full Executive Order here.

“To help create a city of the future, we must work together to protect against gentrification and displacement and make it possible for families to stay in Seattle,” said Durkan. “As Seattle has grown, we have seen far too many communities of color pushed out of their homes in Rainier Beach, the Central District, Beacon Hill, and Chinatown-International District. With this Executive Order, we are refocusing our work on strategies to prevent displacement and gentrification. It begins with community, and we will continue our work together to develop a holistic response so we can make a more affordable future real for families across Seattle.”

According to Durkan, the City has continued its commitment to increasing affordable housing across Seattle, including in neighborhoods at high risk of displacement, by leveraging more than $710 million to build 3,600 new, low-income, affordable homes by 2022. In addition, the City Council is expected to pass, and the City will begin implementation of Mandatory Housing Affordability (MHA), which will provide 6,000 affordable homes over the next 10 years.

This Executive Order directs City departments to develop and implement strategies to further affordability and mitigate residential displacement, particularly in neighborhoods with communities at high risk of displacement. The Executive Order focuses on four key areas:

  • Creating and supporting several policies to further address displacement including:
    • The creation of Community Preference for affordable housing units coming online.
    • Development of continued financing for property acquisition and preservation.
    • Expansion of the City’s home repair program for low income homeowners.
    • Monitoring of Mandatory Housing Affordability (MHA) requirements including MHA performance projects.
    • Leveraging new community driven affordable housing and commercial projects in Seattle’s newly designated Opportunity Zones
    • Recommendations from the City’s Affordable Middle-Income Housing Advisory Council regarding middle income housing strategies
    • Development of legislation to continue the Multi-Family Tax Exemption program, which expires in 2019.
    • New affordability and housing online tools to connect individuals and families to City of Seattle benefit programs and housing.
  • Advocacy at the Washington State Legislature for additional resources and tools for anti-displacement efforts and more affordable housing.
  • Support of the City’s Equitable Development Initiative, which invests in Seattle’s existing community members and businesses in high displacement risk neighborhoods.
  • Creating a Citywide cross-departmental workplan to look comprehensively at residential anti-displacement efforts, which include regulations, tenant protections, incentives, and funding can work together to increase affordability and mitigate displacement.

As a first step, the Executive Order directs the Office of Housing to establish a Community Preference policy, which will allow City-funded housing developers to prioritize access to new affordable housing for residents in neighborhoods that have experienced high displacement on a case-by-case basis. The Community Preference policy is in part a response to a resounding call from community-based organizations – the need for increased access to affordable housing built within their neighborhoods.

“I want to thank community members in the Chinatown/International District. It was they, during the 2017 deliberations to pass MHA in the Chinatown/International District, who first asked that the City Council work with the Executive to allow housing providers to prioritize renting to members of displaced communities,” said Councilmember Lisa Herbold. “I want to also thank Mayor Durkan, in her executive order proposing changes to the Housing Levy policies, for her support for a Community Preference policy, in response to Resolution 31754. This type of policy has been utilized in other cities. Done well, this policy can be an additional tool towards ensuring that the people who make our city work and keep it strong and diverse are able to live in our city.”

This article originally appeared in The Seattle Medium


Gov. Newsom Statement on Proposed $26 Billion National Opioid Settlement

“If approved, this settlement agreement would provide an important investment in opioid treatment and prevention. The agreement would also require the industry to make important changes to help combat this epidemic.”



Pills on a spoon with a wooden bottom and white background; Photo courtesy of Michael Longmire via Unsplash

Governor Gavin Newsom released on July 21 the below statement on the proposed $26 billion settlement announced by California Attorney General Rob Bonta and state attorneys general across the country to resolve investigations and litigation over the role of major pharmaceutical companies in America’s devastating opioid epidemic.

The proposed settlement with opioid distributors Cardinal, McKesson and AmerisourceBergen and manufacturer Johnson & Johnson will provide relief for Americans suffering with addiction and includes important changes to the industry to combat the opioid epidemic.

“California strongly supports continued investment in combatting the devastation that our communities have suffered because of the opioid epidemic,” said Newsom. “The opioid epidemic continues to pose a serious threat to the health of Californians. In 2019, California experienced nearly 12,000 opioid-related emergency department visits and more than 3,000 deaths.

“If approved, this settlement agreement would provide an important investment in opioid treatment and prevention. The agreement would also require the industry to make important changes to help combat this epidemic.”

“We eagerly anticipate the finalizing of the proposed opioid settlement and partnering with local governments across California to leverage the funding that will help expand opioid prevention and treatment resources.”

This report is courtesy of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s press office. 

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African American News & Issues

Gwen Berry: “Activist Athlete” Tokyo Olympics 2021

Berry was formally reprimanded and put on 12-month probation by the U.S. Olympic Committee in 2019 for raising a fist after winning the gold medal at the Pan American Games in Lima, Peru.




Gwen Berry, Photo courtesy Wikipedia

Gwen Berry is headed to Tokyo representing the United States at the 2021 Olympics in the hammer throw, a track and field event.

Berry, a two-time Olympian, was also in the 2016 Olympics in Rio.  She was born in St. Louis, Missouri in 1989 and is 32 years old.

On June 26, 2021, while qualifying for the U.S. Olympic team in Eugene Oregon, Berry was surprised to hear “The Star-Spangled Banner”, the U.S. National Anthem being played.

On the podium she turned away from the flag and draped her “Activist Athlete” tee-shirt over her head.

Berry said: “I feel like it was a set-up, and they did it on purpose. . .. I was pissed to be honest.”

Berry said she was told that the athletes would be on the podium before or after the playing of the national anthem.

“That’s what they’ve done the whole trials” Berry said.

Texas Republican politicians Senator Ted Cruz and Congressman Dan Crenshaw called for Berry to be removed from the USA Olympic team as she was unpatriotic.

Caitlyn Jenner, an Olympic decathlon winner in 1976 and candidate for California governor on the September 14th Newsom recall election in a statement said Berry’s actions were “disgusting” and to “stay out of politics” and not use the Olympic stage “for your own political gain.”

Berry responded: “I say Caitlyn Jenner does not know how it feels to be a Black person in American who’s representing a country [that] has literally done nothing for Black people in America.  She needs to do her research and understand the history in America before she says anything like that.

Berry was formally reprimanded and put on 12-month probation by the U.S. Olympic Committee in 2019 for raising a fist after winning the gold medal at the Pan American Games in Lima, Peru.

In June of 2020, the USOC supported peaceful protests and condemned “the systemic inequality that disproportionately impacts Black Americans.”

Berry tweeted “I want an apology letter. . . mailed . . . just like you and the IOC MAILED ME WHEN YOU PUT ME ON PROBATION. . . stop playing with me.”

Berry added to The Associated Press: “The anthem doesn’t speak for me.  It never has. . ..  I am here to represent those . . . who dies due to systemic racism.  That’s the important part.  That’s why I’m going.”

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said: “[p]art of that pride in our country means recognizing there are moments where we are, as a country, haven’t lived up to our highest ideals.  And it means respecting the rights of people granted to them in the Constitution to peacefully protest.”

The 2020 Summer Olympics delayed because of the pandemic will be held from July 23 to August 8, 2021, in Tokyo, Japan.

The New York Times, CNN, and Wikipedia were sources for this story.

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Federal Judge Rules DACA Illegal; Immigrants Groups Urge Congress to Act on Immigration Reform

Hanen’s decision does not prevent existing DACA recipients from applying to renew their status, but it does prevent thousands of new applications from being able to apply moving forward.



Political propaganda paper lying on the Westminster Bridge, London. Photo courtesy of Metin Ozer via Unsplash

A Texas federal judge ruled DACA illegal last week, partially suspending the crucial immigration program and halting all new applicants to it. President Biden called the decision “very disappointing” and said the Department of Justice would appeal it, while immigrants’ rights groups urged Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform.

The ruling is the latest and perhaps most devastating development in the legal saga that has surrounded the program since former President Obama introduced it in 2012 after years of failed attempts at immigration reform. The program, which stands for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, covers undocumented immigrants who were brought to the US by their parents as children, granting them temporary protection from deportation and allowing them to work. At least 650,000 people, known as Dreamers, are protected by the program, including about 200,000 in California, the largest number for any single state.

But conservatives have fought the program with legal challenges since its inception. No new DACA applicants were accepted for nearly three years under former President Donald Trump. Last summer, the Supreme Court blocked Trump from ending the program, calling his move to stop it “arbitrary and capricious.” The court did not rule on the legality of the program in general, however. Now, Texas judge Andrew Hanen has ruled that Obama overstepped his authority as president when he implemented the program, siding with Republican attorneys general who made that argument in their legal challenge. Hanen, a Republican appointee to the federal bench, was widely expected to rule against DACA.

 Hanen’s decision does not prevent existing DACA recipients from applying to renew their status, but it does prevent thousands of new applications from being able to apply moving forward.

Immigrants’ rights groups reacted to the ruling, slamming Hanen’s decision and calling on Congress and the Biden administration to finally pass comprehensive immigration reform. “This decision will spread fear and confusion throughout our workforce and our community, a community that has already been devastated by the impact of COVID-19, xenophobia, and the decision-making paralysis in Congress,” Texas-based group RAICES said in a statement. “Judge Hanen’s rash decision reiterates the immediate need for Congress and the Biden administration to keep their promise and create a pathway to citizenship for all undocumented people in the United States.”

“Today’s ruling is evidence that DACA is not enough,” Greisa Martinez Rosas, executive director of United We Dream, said in another statement. “The program has always been temporary, leaving hundreds of thousands of lives vulnerable to the next attack…. The only thing that can protect all immigrant youth, TPS holders, farm workers and other essential workers, is a path to citizenship through reconciliation. Until President Biden and Democrats in Congress deliver on citizenship, the lives of millions of undocumented people remain on the line. Democrats must pass a pathway to citizenship this year, no excuses!”

Senate Judiciary Chair Dick Durbin, one of the original sponsors of legislation to protect Dreamers, suggested that Democrats may now attempt to pass immigration reform on their own, without the support of Republicans.

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