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Harrell hits the ground running: Mayor plants first seeds of "One Seattle" vision

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Photo courtesy of Bruce for Seattle
Photo courtesy of Bruce for Seattle

Mayor Bruce Harrell was sworn into office January 5. In his inaugural address, he spoke to the citizens of Seattle with a message of confidence and aspiration. "Starting today, we will lead this city obsessed with excellence and kindness, with inclusion and hope, with balance and optimism. We will reject and resolve attitudes of fear, pessimism, or cynicism. We will rise."

Photo courtesy of the City of Seattle  

"I love Seattle," said Harrell. "I love the people in it. I love the water and air we are trying to clean; I love the salmon we are trying to protect and the children we are trying to safeguard. I'm all in, and ready to get to work." The One Seattle vision Mayor Harrell laid out for the city is available in its entirety online via www.harrell.seattle.gov. Featured below are the main talking points for One Seattle as expressed in Harrell's speech:

  • In One Seattle, we all have health care.
  • In One Seattle, we do not allow people to suffer on our streets and sidewalks.
  • In One Seattle, we have affordable housing for all — and we support seniors, working families, and vulnerable people.
  • In One Seattle we all have access to parks and open space — and we combat climate change.
  • In One Seattle, every child, from every neighborhood, will have opportunities for education and the future they deserve.

    "One Seattle doesn't mean 'Seattle is number one,'" said Mayor Harrell. "Our place, our pride, our greatness, is not contingent upon the subordinate position of others. It is measured by the examples we set, and how we lift ourselves, and others."

    In the past two weeks, Harrell's office has already made steps into Seattle's better future, emphasizing the mayor's campaign promise to "implement ideas that work." Let's look at some of Harrell's decisions so far.

  • Photo courtesy of the City of Seattle  

    New vaccination resources for Seattleites
    His first day in office, Mayor Harrell announced the opening of a new Virginia Mason clinic — open as of January 10 — along with expanded health care partnerships, as well as more mobile and pop-up vaccination opportunities through Othello Pharmacy.

    "In the first week of my administration," said Harrell in a press release, "I am making clear that Seattle will continue to tackle this pandemic by following the science."

    January is Human Trafficking Awareness Month
    In conjunction with City Councilmember Lisa Herbold and others on the Council, Harrell declared the month of January "Human Trafficking Awareness Month," and January 11 to be the city's "Human Trafficking Awareness Day." According to a press release, "The proclamation sets forward the City's intent to advocate public awareness and action against various forms of human trafficking."

    "People of color, young people, LGBTI people, and people vulnerable through socio-economic barriers, are disproportionately affected by�trafficking," said Councilmember Herbold.

    For more information on this, readers are encouraged to visit Seattle Human Services Department's�Mayor's Office on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault�(MODVSA) website.

    Extended eviction moratorium
    Harrell's office announced a 30-day extension on Seattle's eviction moratorium, pushing the end date to Valentine's Day. Critics say this is not enough time, and that the mayor should extend it even further. "Over the next month, we will�continue to�track�changing conditions�and�seek improved metrics to�evaluate the effectiveness of the moratorium and aligned policies.�Our actions will continue to be driven by�data�and our values, focused on preventing a rise in homelessness and supporting the tenants and small landlords most in need," said Harrell in a press release.

    What's next?
    Harrell has chosen a diverse group of qualified individuals to aid him in achieving his goals and appears to be gathering data first and foremost before moving forward with parts of the plan. His advisors and department heads come from a slew of backgrounds and though they share common values, Harrell's office has emphasized that they are not homogenous. New hires include Maiko Winkler-Chin as Director of the Office of Housing, Andrew Myerberg as Director of Public Safety, and Hamdi Mohamed as Director of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs.

    Turning back to his inaugural speech, let's look at Harrell's closing words to the press.

    "As I close, and because I am physically looking at the members of the press, I want to recognize that you have a place in this too. The Journalist's Creed, as written by Walter Williams in 1914, describes that you only write that which you believe to be true in your heart—that you be tolerant, never careless, self-controlled, patient and respectful. Those are important words for all of us. In One Seattle, we replace fear with love. We are stronger together."