Citywide Seattle City Council Member, Sara Nelson (Position #9), is a self-proclaimed policy wonk who told Rotarians on Wednesday how she thought her decade’s long work on the staff of past council member, Richard Conlin,  would prepare her for a for a position on the Seattle City Council.  “As a newly elected citywide city council member, I came to the job with hope and ideas for the future of Seattle, “ she said. “My inbox soon filled with emails about crime in neighborhoods and related impacts on small business.  I toured several areas of the city, contacting many impacted small business owners.”  She organized a small business roundtable to sort out the issues, that resulted in a fund to help repair storefront damage.  
Although somewhat outnumbered by council members with ideological agendas, CM Nelson has achieved successes, for example, by securing funding for the Seattle Film Commission with experts to attract film producers and the jobs that come with such productions.    While many of her ideas are poised to roll out, some remain on the back burner as she tackles emerging issues that are important to her constituents.
With several of the current council members having called for up to 50% cuts in the Seattle Police budget , there is a prevailing lack of urgency for prosecuting offenders, funding drug treatment or recruiting new experienced police officers from across the U.S. “Crime is not a function of poor policing,” she says, “but a result of addiction as homeless encampments are magnets for drug dealing -- with the city providing no evidence-based treatment options.”   
CM Nelson says the city needs to “put treatment front and center”.  She said The King County Public Health Department’s fatal overdose dashboard revealed 944 confirmed deaths from drug overdose and alcohol poisoning through Dec. 30, 2022 -- stretching Seattle Fire and Police Department resources. Tacking on unconfirmed cases that the department included, the total reaches 1,007.  The 944 confirmed deaths are a 24% increase from the total deaths from overdose in 2021, which was 709. “Although the Legislature’s bipartisan state law for prosecuting public drug use as a gross misdemeanor with alternatives to incarceration built in,” she said, “ a city council majority voted against the state law.”   With no Seattle prohibition on public drug use, a 24-member task force was formed with some action expected by mid-October. 
A ‘Revenue Task Force’ was formed to find additional revenue to fund city projects that were/are threatened by looming budget shortfalls.  The task force came back with nine ways to increase taxes.  CM Nelson is not opposed to new revenue sources, but she wants an audit review of all city departments for some belt tightening before new taxes are proposed. 
CM Nelson concluded on an optimistic note, as the election of  seven of nine city council positions may change the make-up of the council and direction of the city.  “My job is to help constituents,  improve legislation and block legislation such as rent control.”  From the audience, one Rotarian proclaimed, “(Sara Nelson) She’s the real deal!!”
Rotarian, Kathy Williams, came to the podium to encourage Rotarians to attend the Rotary District 5030 Conference in Victoria, B.C., October 13-15, 2023.
Rotarians and Seattle 4 Rotary Education Committee co-chairs,  Yvonne Richards & Lori Walker, provided an update their committee’s support for the United Negro College Fund scholarships, UW Career Fair and Black History Month, Dolly Parton’s Imagine Library Day and opened the door for Rotarians to join their committee.  
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