City Manager’s Report
For week ending Dec. 12, 2020

Council Strategic Goal #3: Strengthen the city’s identity and influence.Council members serve on sub-regional and King County committees and boards to augment the city’s scope and influence, on Sound Cities Association committees, on King County environmental committees, and on economic development cooperatives like the Soundside Alliance. This has long been a City Council strategic goal.

Department heads also reach out in this manner. For instance, Police Chief Dan Yourkoski is this year’s Chair of NORCOM, the police and fire dispatch agency that serves Normandy Park, as well as Bellevue, Kirkland, Mercer Island, Medina, Clyde Hill, Snoqulamie, Eastside Fire and Rescue, and other cities and fire districts.

Park Director Amanda Leon is slated to serve on the King County Conservation Futures Advisory Committee in 2021. The King County Conservation Futures Advisory Committee is a volunteer advisory board serving King County government. Each year, government agencies and qualified nonprofits may apply for King County Conservation Futures tax levy (CFT) funds to purchase or preserve open space lands, including natural areas, passive recreation parks, urban green spaces, trails, community gardens, farms and forests in King County cities and unincorporated areas. The committee recommends about $30m a year in CFT funds and Parks Levy funds, ultimately, to the King County Council.

Similarly, Finance Director Jennifer Ferrer-Santa Innes, is President this year of the Puget Sound Financial Officers Association, a 600 member group of public finance professionals. Jennifer and her PSFOA Board just received the Washington State Auditor’s Stewardship Award for progressive leadership during these COVID-19 times (see attached).

 Stewardship Award 

Send an email to Congress now. Five weeks ago, I watched a Midwest public health official cry with anxiety about the spread of COVID-19 infection in the Midwest, and, since then, infection rates have gotten a lot worse everywhere. Now, infection rates are generally many multiples of the COVID-19 infection peak last March.

Recently, the State of Washington again implemented blunt public health instruments like business closures to slow the transmission of COVID-19. Unfortunately, blunt public health instruments are now in use across America and the world because refinement takes too much time and because individual ability to understand social distance nuances is clearly limited. That’s partly why the New York school system just recently closed again. According to public health officials, herd immunity cannot be achieved in the natural world without many multiples of current COVID-19 total deaths, perhaps a multiple of 4.5. Moreover, vaccine-generated herd immunity will take time.

Public health only uses blunt public health instruments when individual discretion is inadequate to protect us all from each other (i.e. Typhoid Mary). It’s clear that the current pandemic is past the point of individual discretion. For instance, there are more cumulative COVID-19 deaths today in North and South Dakota (pop. 1.6m+) than in South Korea (pop. 51.8m+). Moreover, it does not appear that state-by-state discretion is working successfully either.

Our multiple levels of federal, state and local emergency management are best coordinated from the top down. This is a strategic posture because the quickest way to get businesses back on line is to reduce the observed COVID-19 infection rate below 1, no matter what it takes.

Longstanding State, federal and local laws support this stance.

So what can we do right now?

I suggest that City Council members and community members send immediate personal comments to Normandy Park’s Congressional representative, Pramila Jayapal to demand that Congress immediately vote for federal support for disrupted local businesses, displaced workers, and affected families. Sound Cities Association supports this action.

I also suggest we all help public health professionals do the job they’re trained to do. It’s the quickest way to resume a normal life.

– Mark E. Hoppen, City Manager
City of Normandy Park
801 SW 174th Street
Normandy Park, WA 98166
(206) 248-8246 (Direct Phone)