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October 1, 9:37 AM click here to comment > 0

36 Northwest leaders call on President Obama and government agencies to conduct broad and inclusive review of coal exports

Thirty six elected and tribal officials from the Pacific Northwest are calling on the state and federal governments to conduct a broad, inclusive review of all three coal export sites proposed for Washington and Oregon. In letters to President Barack Obama, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and Washington Governor Jay Inslee and the Washington Department of Ecology, the members of the Leadership Alliance Against Coal raise important concerns about the impacts to public health, the environment, the local economy, traffic, and the climate of coal trains and coal exports at the proposed sites.

“We believe it is necessary to consider the three terminals together, in a cumulative impact analysis, in order to understand the full breadth of the impacts,” write the officials in their letter to President Obama. “We urge you to direct the Army Corps of Engineers or another federal agency to conduct a broad analysis of the impacts of coal export, including the impacts of mining in Wyoming and Montana, transporting the coal via rail across state lines, shipping it through our waters and eventually burning it in Asia. We need to understand the full impact of these proposals on our local communities, on our environment and on our health; and the federal government needs to take the lead.”

“Coal trains and coal exports will have a major and harmful impact on our communities, our environment, and our climate,” said Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn. “These elected officials have come together to urge our state and federal leaders to look at the cumulative impact of these coal proposals so that we can make the right decision for our future.”

“I felt compelled to sign onto these letters because of my grave concerns over the potential deleterious effects on our environment, but also on the health and wellbeing of our residents as well as for those of Wyoming, Montana and of Asian countries. We must know fully what we’d be getting into and, even more so, whether we should indeed be getting into it at all.” – Washington State Senator Jeanne Kohl-Welles, 36th Legislative District

“In my community, Helena, Montana, both the shipping of the coal and the burning of the coal will have a significant negative environmental impact. Helena is bisected by the railroad, and most of our crossings are at grade. A significant increase in coal trains will increase vehicle emissions for those who live near the tracks, and negatively impact our ability to provide emergency services. Helena’s primary source of drinking water is threatened by climate change–a major forest fire, due to hotter, drier weather, would put our surface source of drinking water out of commission for years. I urge consideration of all of these issues in a comprehensive environmental review.” – Commissioner Katherine Haque-Hausrath, City of Helena, Montana

“We hope that this many elected leaders, speaking with one voice, will be heard. The citizens in each of our communities deserve to know what the cumulative effects of these proposed terminals will be!” – Council President Ben Stuckart, City of Spokane, Washington

“In taking a lead against coal transportation in the Columbia River Gorge, the City of Hood River’s April 2012 resolution is urging the Governor and other decision makers to work on a comprehensive policy to prevent the shipping of coal through the Columbia River Gorge by rail or barge. The City of Hood River does not have the equipment or personnel with special training, to fight coal fires on trains or barges. Infamous Gorge winds could fan these long burning fires to both sides of the Columbia River in what could become an unprecedented manmade disaster in the National Scenic Area, destroying homes, businesses, and our natural environment.” – Councilmember Kate McBride, City of Hood River, Oregon

“The proposed coal trains pose a detriment to the health, economy, and quality of life of the people and communities I represent. I stand united with other Northwest leaders in protecting the prosperity and beauty of our region by raising concerns about coal trains.” – Councilmember Larry Phillips, King County, Washington

The letters thank President Obama and Governor Inslee for their leadership on climate issues, and ask them to assist in conducting a broad, cumulative review of the proposed coal exports. The letter to President Obama asks him to direct the Army Corps of Engineers or another federal agency to conduct a review of the exports, including the impact of mining operations in Montana and Wyoming, shipping it by rail to a terminal in Washington, and the impact of burning the coal in Asia.

The letter to the Army Corps of Engineers urges them to reconsider an earlier decision to conduct a limited review of the coal export terminals. Instead, the leaders argue in their letter that “the Corps has an obligation under the National Environmental Policy Act to consider environmental effects of these projects both inside and outside the territorial jurisdiction of the United States.” They go on to cite greenhouse gases and other toxic pollutants, such as mercury, that will be emitted by burning the coal abroad and blown by winds over the Pacific Ocean to impact communities in the United States.

The letter to Governor Inslee and the Washington Department of Ecology expresses thanks for the decision announced last month that the Department of Ecology will include in its environmental review of the Gateway Pacific Terminal the statewide rail and health impacts as well as the global climate impacts from the coal export proposal, and asks for their support for an environmental review that includes all three proposed coal export sites.

The Leadership Alliance Against Coal is a coalition of over 75 elected and tribal leaders from Washington, Oregon, and Montana organized to raise awareness about and oppose the damaging economic, cultural, and health impacts of coal trains and exports.

The following elected officials have signed the three letters:

• Mayor Arthur Babitz, Hood River, Oregon
• Councilmember Joan Bloom, Edmonds, Washington
• Councilmember Tim Burgess, Seattle, Washington
• Mayor Stephen H. Buxbaum, Olympia, Washington
• Councilmember Richard Conlin, Seattle, Washington
• Councilmember Rick DeGloria, Burlington, Washington
• Councilmember Nancy Dumas, Sumner, Washington
• Mayor Dave Earling, Edmonds, Washington
• Deputy Mayor Chris Eggen, Shoreline, Washington
• State Representative Jessyn Farrell, Washington
• Councilmember Mark Gamba, Milwaukie, Oregon
• Councilmember Jean Godden, Seattle, Washington
• Councilmember Jennifer Gregerson, Mukilteo, Washington
• Mayor Charlie Hales, Portland, Oregon
• Councilmember Will Hall, Shoreline, Washington
• Commissioner Katherine Haque-Hausrath, Helena, Montana
• State Representative Ruth Kagi, Washington
• State Senator Jeanne Kohl-Welles, Washington
• Councilmember Michael Lilliquist, Bellingham, Washington
• Council President Randy Lord, Mukilteo, Washington
• Councilmember Kate McBride, Hood River, Oregon
• Councilmember Doris McConnell, Shoreline, Washington
• Congressman Jim McDermott, Washington
• Mayor Mike McGinn, Seattle, Washington
• Mayor Keith McGlashan, Shoreline, Washington
• State Senator Ed Murray, Washington
• Mayor John Nehring, Marysville, Washington
• Chairman Rudy Peone, Spokane Tribal Council
• Councilmember Larry Phillips, King County, Washington
• Mayor Kitty Piercy, Eugene, Oregon
• Councilmember Ken Quam, Mount Vernon, Washington
• Councilmember Chris Roberts, Shoreline, Washington
• Councilmember Jesse Salomon, Shoreline, Washington
• Councilmember Stan Snapp, Bellingham, Washington
• Council President Ben Stuckart, Spokane, Washington
• Councilmember Shari Winstead, Shoreline, Washington

The complete letters can be viewed here:

Letter to President Obama
Letter to Army Corps of Engineers
Letter to Governor Inslee and Washington Department of Ecology

Posted by: Robert Cruickshank

September 30, 3:52 PM click here to comment > 1

Affordable Care Act enrollment begins

Para leer en español, haga clic aquí.

October 1st will mark an historic day in Seattle and across the country. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act enacted in 2010 by the U.S. Congress and President Obama, nearly 70,000 Seattle residents who don’t have health insurance will be able to enroll in new, affordable health insurance options through Washington Health Plan Finder. Many people with low and moderate incomes will be able to get free coverage or will pay reduced rates.

All health plans will include basic benefits like doctor visits, emergency care, prescriptions, maternity care, mental health services, and preventive care like cancer screenings and vaccinations. No one will be denied coverage because they are sick or because they have a pre-existing condition.

I’m proud of the work that the City of Seattle is undertaking to make sure every eligible resident enrolls in health coverage. Every City department is working to spread the word about the new options. Our partners at Public Health – Seattle & King County are coordinating dozens of events to provide expert customer assistance to people who need help enrolling. And organizations across the city—from health clinics to libraries to community-based organizations and many others—are getting involved to help share information and get people enrolled.

Enrollment begins on October 1, 2013 for coverage that begins January 1, 2014. Free or low cost coverage is available. Go to wahealthplanfinder.org to enroll or attend a local event. A listing of events can be found at kingcounty.gov/coverage. The first free enrollment event:

Saturday, October 5, 2-5 p.m.
Garfield Community Center
2323 East Cherry Street

Almost everyone can now be covered by health insurance, so please help spread the word among your friends and family members.

Read more »

Posted by: Mayor Mike McGinn

September 27, 10:55 AM click here to comment > 1

Seattle wins federal grant to hire 10 new police officers

Mayor Mike McGinn and Interim Police Chief Jim Pugel today welcomed the news that the Department of Justice has awarded Seattle a $1.25 million Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) grant to hire 10 new police officers.

Last week McGinn announced funding for 15 new officers in his 2014 Proposed Budget. Combined with that announcement and the 27 new officers added in the 2013 budget process, the COPS grant brings to 52 the total number of new officers authorized in the City budget since the end of 2012.

“This federal grant will help us continue to put more officers in our neighborhoods and walking beats to protect public safety,” said McGinn.

“We are pleased that we will be able to hire ten additional Seattle Police officers under the COPS Hiring Program. This award, along with the extra officers outlined in the budget, is great news for the department and for the community,” said Pugel.

New officers hired under the COPS Hiring Program will be deployed into each of the five precincts at two officers per precinct, as part of the Department’s Community Police Team (CPT) program. Under the grant, the city has committed to hire four military veterans.

Unlike regular patrol officers, CPT officers focus on long-term and chronic problems specific to individual neighborhoods. They patrol known “hot spots” multiple times throughout their shifts and work to build relationships with residents and business owners in their precincts. Working directly with the community allows them to spot problems as they arise and combat the root causes of crime.

Posted by: April Thomas

September 26, 4:12 PM click here to comment > 4

Kwel Hoy’ totem pole arrives in Seattle

Mayor Mike McGinn today welcomed the Kwel Hoy’ Totem Pole to Seattle. Jewell James, a member of the Lummi Tribe, and the House of Tears Carvers created the totem pole as a statement of opposition against the Gateway Pacific Terminal, proposed for Cherry Point, north of Bellingham.Mayor Kwel Hoy Totem 01 copy copy

“The Kwel Hoy’ Totem Pole is a symbol of what will be lost if we move forward with coal exports in the Northwest,” said McGinn. “Communities up and down the rail lines will suffer the impacts, tribal culture and treaty rights will be damaged, and climate change will be worsened. I am pleased to join with members of the Lummi Nation as well as the more than 75 elected and tribal leaders in the Leadership Alliance Against Coal to continue the fight against the proposed coal terminals in Washington and Oregon.”

“Xwe’chi’eXen (Cherry Point) has deep spiritual and cultural significance to our people,” said Jewell James. “The project will result in significant, unavoidable, and unacceptable interference with treaty rights and irreversible and irretrievable damage to Lummi spiritual values. Kwel hoy’: we draw the line.”

“This isn’t just about pollution and noise and economic stagnation and traffic congestion and global climate disruption, though the coal industry would bring us all those things. It’s about who we are as a region, and where we’re going together,” said KC Golden of Climate Solutions. “We are so grateful to the Lummi Nation for standing their ground, and for reaching out to inspire all of us to understand our past and defend our future.”

The Kwel Hoy’ Totem Pole journey began on September 15 in the Powder River Basin and is following the 1,200 mile long coal train route west through the Columbia Gorge and north to Cherry Point. The journey will conclude in British Columbia, where the totem pole will be placed in the homeland of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation, demonstrating unity with the Canadian First Nations’ position opposing the transport of tar sands by pipelines across their territories. There, the totem pole will be met by Tribes and First Nations from all directions. The Totem Pole will be placed as a means of reinforcing the message: Kwel hoy’ (We Draw The Line).totem pole

If built, the Gateway Pacific Terminal would be the largest coal export facility in North America. Coal would be exported from mines in the Powder River basin to the proposed port site by rail lines that run from Wyoming and Montana through Idaho, eastern Washington, along the Columbia River Gorge, and then up the coast of Puget Sound. Bulk cargo carriers would ship the coal to markets in Asia, where the coal will be burned.

First image: Jen Nance

Second image: Paul Anderson

Posted by: April Thomas

September 26, 1:23 PM click here to comment > 0

The Reader – Preschool for All in Seattle

THE READER
From the Office of Mayor Mike McGinn
News, Updates, and Information
Click here to receive The Reader via email.

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 26, 2013

Preschool for All in Seattle
Late last week, Mayor McGinn announced funding for the next steps to develop Preschool for All in Seattle, following through on his commitment first announced in January. The 2014 Proposed Budget also includes $500,000 in additional funding to expand the early learning programs that will serve as the building blocks of Preschool for All.

McGinn’s 2014 Proposed Budget includes $50,000 to create a Preschool for All proposal that can be submitted to the voters. This $50,000 in general fund dollars will be combined with $50,000 from the Families and Education Levy. The proposal will assess options for phasing in and funding universal preschool for 3 and 4 year olds, cost estimates, and strategies to ensure it is of high quality, accessible, and affordable. The study will be completed by spring 2014.

This study builds upon the first phase of the analysis, completed in June 2013, of all publicly-funded programs that provide support to children birth through third grade. This initial study was funded by the Families and Education Levy, and was overseen by the Office for Education. The study found there was no comprehensive system of services for children birth to third grade and that multiple funding sources with artificial restrictions reduce ability to flexibly meet demand.

“I’m excited that every child in Seattle could have the opportunity to get a quality, affordable, accessible preschool education,” said McGinn. “Universal preschool is one of the best ways to prepare students to succeed in school and get a good start in life. I am also grateful to the City Council that they have embraced the concept of universal preschool and that we have been working together on this opportunity.”


Funding to support Center City Initiative
The Center City Initiative has brought together residents, business owners, social service providers, advocates and multiple agency representatives to develop a balanced, compassionate and effective approach to helping those in need, increasing the sense of safety and security downtown, and improving enforcement of existing laws.

Mayor McGinn announced new investments in the proposed 2014 budget to support recommendations brought forth by the participants in the Center City Roundtable. The investments include $1.7 million for expansion of the Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) program which connects low-level offenders with human services, $150,000 to increase hours at day and hygiene centers, $112,440 to extend Winter Response Shelters year-round, $500,000 for three Seattle Police officers dedicated to supporting Parks Rangers in downtown parks as well as Cal Anderson Park in Capitol Hill, $188,000 to make two recently hired Parks Rangers permanent, and $776,000 to increase Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) staffing.

“These are significant investments that will make downtown Seattle safer and more welcoming for everyone,” said Downtown Seattle Association CEO Kate Joncas. “Improving public safety in downtown requires new resources and strategies as well as close collaboration between law enforcement and human service programs.”

“The Center City Initiative approach is a paradigm shift about how to achieve public safety and public order,” said Lisa Daugaard of the Public Defender Association. “CCI has embraced using enforcement tools that are fair and appropriate and social service tools when they are more effective, and coordinating those approaches for the first time. LEAD gives police officers more options to address the situation of people whose public behavior is problematic because they are addicted, homeless, mentally ill, underemployed, victims of complex trauma, or a combination. The goal is to address those underlying issues so the person can live in a way that is healthier for themselves and poses fewer problems for downtown neighborhoods. We’ve learned through experience that jail and prosecution rarely achieve that outcome for people facing these problems.”


Mayor’s 2014 Proposed Budget
Mayor McGinn presented his 2014 Proposed Budget to City Council on Monday. The proposed budget prioritizes investments to enhance and expand public safety, human services and the city’s transportation infrastructure, as well as to empower residents and strengthen the vitality of Seattle’s diverse neighborhoods. The total proposed budget is $4.4 billion, including the city’s $1 billion General Fund. The mayor’s proposed budget also increases the city’s Rainy Day Fund to $34.7 million and the Emergency Subfund to $48 million — the largest dollar values ever.

The City budget contains complex financial information covering $4.4 billion in spending. To improve usability, accessibility and transparency of budget information, the mayor directed the City Budget Office (CBO) and Department of Information Technology to develop an interactive webpage displaying budget details. “Rather than going through the budget book, you can use this website to more quickly find the budget information you’re interested in,” McGinn said. CBO will use this same website to present individual department budgets to the City Council this year, eliminating the need for departments to create separate presentations. The website also makes it easy to follow along if you’re not in Council chambers. Also new this year, detailed budget information is available to the public in several data tables accessible on data.seattle.gov.

Watch Mayor McGinn’s budget speech here.

The investments outlined above and in the mayor’s speech are subject to City Council approval. The City Council is holding the following public hearings. For more details and other ways to contact the City Council about the budget, click here.

October 3, 5:30 p.m.(5 p.m. sign up), Council Chambers, Seattle City Hall (600 4th Ave)
October 24, 6:00 p.m. (5:30 p.m. sign up), Garfield High School Commons – (400 23rd Ave)


Upcoming events (for more see http://seattle.gov/mayor/Engage/access.htm):
Sept 28, 11:00 a.m. – Jefferson Horticulture Facility Open House, Jefferson Horticulture Facility (1600 S Dakota St)

Sept 30, 6:30 p.m. – City Neighborhood Council, City Hall (600 4th Ave)

Oct 1, 6:00 p.m. – North Transfer Station Rebuild Community Meeting, Lake Washington Rowing Club (910 N Northlake Way)

Oct 1, 6:00 p.m. – Vessels Used as Floating Residences, 415 Westlake Ave N


What we’re reading:
Hundreds gather in Seattle in opposition to coal, oil exports

Colorful traffic signs draw attention near Seattle schools

The state that taxes the poor the most is… a blue one

At last, a sparkly new community center for Rainier Beach


To subscribe to The Reader via email, click here.

Posted by: Nathaniel Merrill

September 23, 3:38 PM click here to comment > 3

Mayor Mike McGinn presents budget that supports public safety, human services, transportation and neighborhoods

Mayor 2014 Budget 04 for blog

Mayor Mike McGinn’s 2014 Proposed Budget, presented today to the Seattle City Council, prioritizes investments to enhance and expand public safety, human services and the city’s transportation infrastructure, as well as to empower residents and strengthen the vitality of Seattle’s diverse neighborhoods. The total proposed budget is $4.4 billion, including the city’s $1 billion General Fund. The mayor’s proposed budget also increases the city’s Rainy Day Fund to $34.7 million and the Emergency Subfund to $48 million — the largest dollar values ever.

“Our 2014 budget outlook is the best it has been since 2009. Employment growth in Seattle far outpaces the rest of the state, and the U.S as well. Thanks to a slowly improving economy and solid financial management, we’re investing in emerging needs in a way that has not been possible until now,” said McGinn. “My 2014 budget focuses on key priorities, such as putting more police office on our streets, protecting children by improving road safety around our schools, supporting seniors and other vulnerable populations, strengthening the vitality of our diverse neighborhoods, and maintaining and expanding our transportation infrastructure while also boosting financial reserves to protect us from unexpected future challenges.”

As the gradual recovery from the Great Recession continues, the mayor’s 2014 Proposed Budget is the first since 2009 that does not include major programmatic reductions in the city’s General Fund. Rather, the 2014 Proposed Budget makes a series of investments to address needs that have emerged since 2009.

The mayor’s 2014 Proposed Budget:

  • Increases investments to enhance public safety, including growing the police force to improve 911 response times, and strengthening the city’s commitment to the Center City Initiative to foster public safety in downtown Seattle.
  • Protects and expands the human services safety net by increasing support in key program areas, including homelessness, domestic violence and senior services.
  • Empowers Seattle residents by creating a civic leadership institute for refugee women, protecting and creating opportunities for construction workers, and improving early learning and quality childcare environments.
  • Strengthens the vitality of Seattle’s diverse neighborhoods through increased funding for the Neighborhood Matching Fund, enhancing downtown traffic flow, supporting neighborhoods surrounding the Duwamish River, investing in Seattle’s historic entertainment facilities, and promoting coordination between the city and neighborhoods during major construction projects.
  • Maintains and grows Seattle’s transportation infrastructure throughout the city by supporting multiple modes of transport, including walking, biking, driving, freight and transit.
  • Improves the efficiency and effectiveness of city government by enhancing customer service functions, making the city’s fleet even “greener,” promoting gender equity in the city’s work force, and evaluating programs to assess effectiveness.

The 2014 Proposed Budget eliminates six full-time equivalent (FTE) positions, and adds 162 FTE positions to address priority investments. An additional net increase of 11 FTEs results from changes impacting part-time positions, resulting in a net change of 167 FTEs.

The City budget contains complex financial information covering $4.4 billion in spending. To improve usability, accessibility and transparency of budget information, the mayor directed the City Budget Office (CBO) and Department of Information Technology to develop an interactive webpage displaying budget details. “Rather than going through the budget book, you can use this website to more quickly find the budget information you’re interested in,” McGinn said. CBO will use this same website to present individual department budgets to the City Council this year, eliminating the need for departments to create separate presentations. The website also makes it easy to follow along if you’re not in Council chambers. Also new this year, detailed budget information is available to the public in several data tables accessible on data.seattle.gov.

The mayor’s complete 2014 Proposed Budget and 2014-2019 Proposed Capital Improvement Program Budget will be available online this afternoon at www.seattle.gov/citybudget.

Budget highlights

The mayor, in a series of budget preview events, highlighted how his 2014 Proposed Budget supports public safety, transportation, neighborhoods and residents:

The City Council will spend October and most of November reviewing the mayor’s 2014 Proposed Budget and capital improvement program (CIP). The budget and CIP must be adopted no later than December 2 and the Council’s calendar currently calls for adoption on November 25. State law requires Seattle to adopt a balanced budget.

Posted by: Sam Johnston

September 20, 3:50 PM click here to comment > 2

Mayor outlines plan to bring Preschool for All to Seattle

Today Mayor McGinn announced funding for the next steps to develop Preschool for All in Seattle, following through on his commitment first announced in January. The 2014 Proposed Budget also includes $500,000 in additional funding to expand the early learning programs that will serve as the building blocks of Preschool for All.Mayor Early Learning 05 sm

McGinn’s 2014 Proposed Budget includes $50,000 to create a Preschool for All proposal that can be submitted to the voters. This $50,000 in general fund dollars will be combined with $50,000 from the Families and Education Levy. The proposal will assess options for phasing in and funding universal preschool for 3 and 4 year olds, cost estimates, and strategies to ensure it is of high quality, accessible, and affordable. The study will be completed by spring 2014.

This study builds upon the first phase of the analysis, completed in June 2013, of all publicly-funded programs that provide support to children birth through third grade. This initial study was funded by the Families and Education Levy, and was overseen by the Office for Education. The study found there was no comprehensive system of services for children birth to third grade and that multiple funding sources with artificial restrictions reduce ability to flexibly meet demand.

“I’m excited that every child in Seattle could have the opportunity to get a quality, affordable, accessible preschool education,” said McGinn. “Universal preschool is one of the best ways to prepare students to succeed in school and get a good start in life. I am also grateful to the City Council that they have embraced the concept of universal preschool and that we have been working together on this opportunity.”

A coalition of early learning and child-care providers, advocates and allies say they support the Mayor’s package, including the Children’s Alliance, Powerful Schools and others.

“This initiative creates opportunities to ensure that Seattle children and families who need access to high quality early learning and care will get a strong start,” said Janice Deguchi, executive director of the Denise Louie Child-Care Center in Seattle.

Coalition members say the package addresses four critical areas important for any early learning initiative to succeed: access, school readiness, professional development and stabilization of the pre-kindergarten teacher profession.

“The combination of universal voluntary preschool for all 3 and 4 year old children with high quality child care and parent support could significantly improve the odds of school and life success for Seattle’s youth,” said Paola Maranan, executive director of The Children’s Alliance.

McGinn’s budget also invests nearly $500,000 into several early learning programs that lay the foundation for launching a citywide universal preschool system. These include:

  • Increase professional development for pre-kindergarten teachers and caregivers through the Early Learning Academy. The Office for Education will spend $25,000 to add 20 in-home family child-care providers to the Early Learning Academy, and spend $20,000 to double the incentive bonuses for those that complete the training.
  • Stabilize the pre-kindergarten teacher profession to ensure more children thrive in a stable environment for learning and care. A teacher stabilization provision in City contracts and agreements with early learning and child-care providers will boost retention of effective teachers and help prevent disruption of services to young children and their families.
  • Enhance language and literacy development with $156,612 in funding for the Read and Rise pilot project. This project will provide training for 150 families of children from pre-kindergarten through 3rd grade to help narrow the achievement gap for under-served, low-income families.
  • Fund a preschool classroom for homeless children ages 3 to 5 years old. $249,218 in funding will allow up to 15 homeless children to receive high quality teaching at the Wellspring Early Learning Center that includes well-qualified teachers, a low student-to-teacher ratio, childcare, and parent engagement. Research shows such resources create the opportunity for children to be better prepared for kindergarten and for life. The program helps to mitigate the effects of trauma in children who are experiencing crisis by promoting social and emotional developmental skills.
  • Increase training, support and outreach for immigrant and refugee child-care providers. A total of $148,500 in funding will cover an additional 60 providers to the City’s Comprehensive Child Care Program. The Human Services Department will also spend $104,000 to add an education specialist to the Comprehensive Child Care Program to improve quality support and training to prepare providers for advancement within the Early Learning Academy and accommodate the growing caseload.

Posted by: Words: April Thomas, Pictures: Jen Nance

September 19, 3:54 PM click here to comment > 6

Mayor announces funding to support Center City Initiative

The Center City Initiative has brought together residents, business owners, social service providers, advocates and multiple agency representatives to develop a balanced, compassionate and effective approach to helping those in need, increasing the sense of safety and security downtown, and improving enforcement of existing laws.

Mayor Mike McGinn is today announcing new investments in the proposed 2014 budget to support recommendations brought forth by the participants in the Center City Roundtable. The investments include $1.7 million for expansion of the Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) program which connects low-level offenders with human services, $150,000 to increase hours at day and hygiene centers, $112,440 to extend Winter Response Shelters year-round, $500,000 for three Seattle Police officers dedicated to supporting Parks Rangers in downtown parks as well as Cal Anderson Park in Capitol Hill, $188,000 to make two recently hired Parks Rangers permanent, and $776,000 to increase Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) staffing.

“These are significant investments that will make downtown Seattle safer and more welcoming for everyone,” said Downtown Seattle Association CEO Kate Joncas. “Improving public safety in downtown requires new resources and strategies as well as close collaboration between law enforcement and human service programs.”

“The Center City Initiative approach is a paradigm shift about how to achieve public safety and public order,” said Lisa Daugaard of the Public Defender Association. “CCI has embraced using enforcement tools that are fair and appropriate and social service tools when they are more effective, and coordinating those approaches for the first time. LEAD gives police officers more options to address the situation of people whose public behavior is problematic because they are addicted, homeless, mentally ill, underemployed, victims of complex trauma, or a combination. The goal is to address those underlying issues so the person can live in a way that is healthier for themselves and poses fewer problems for downtown neighborhoods.  We’ve learned through experience that jail and prosecution rarely achieve that outcome for people facing these problems.”

The $1.7 million investment in LEAD will expand the innovative public safety program to cover all of downtown. Additional city support for LEAD grew directly out of the mayor’s Center City Roundtable, which brings together residents, businesses, service providers and government agencies to identify specific actions to help make downtown streets safe and inviting. LEAD, a pilot program first started as a public safety effort in Belltown, diverts non-violent drug offenders to wrap-around services instead of perpetuating the failed enforcement-only model of the War on Drugs.

“The investments are made possible because leaders from throughout our downtown community worked hard to find common ground on helping those in need and fairly enforcing existing laws to make our downtown safer and more inviting for all. With their support, and this funding, we can now begin to fully implement the Center City Initiative,” said McGinn.

Read more »

Posted by: April Thomas

September 19, 1:06 PM click here to comment > 0

The Reader – Mayor to propose 2014 budget Monday

THE READER
From the Office of Mayor Mike McGinn
News, Updates, and Information
Click here to receive The Reader via email.

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 19, 2013

Mayor to propose 2014 budget Monday
Mayor McGinn will present his proposed budget, in his annual speech at 2:00 p.m. on September 23, 2013 in Seattle City Council Chambers. City Hall is located at 600 4th Avenue and Council Chambers are on the second floor. All are welcome to attend the speech or watch a web stream at seattle.gov/councillive. Overflow seating and viewing space will also be available.

The full budget will be released on Monday, but see below for several previews of new investments for 2014.


Mayor announces funding to hire 15 additional police officers in 2014
At Atlantic Street Center, Mayor McGinn announced funding for 15 new police officers in the 2014 Proposed Budget.

“We have heard from neighborhoods across the city that their number one safety priority is to see more officers walking beats in their communities” said McGinn. “Our improving budget situation allows us the flexibility to meet that need. These new officers will be recruited in partnership with community groups to ensure that they reflect the diversity of Seattle, and provided extensive training in the new standards and procedures that we have developed through our 20/20 reform plan.”

The mayor also released the Seattle Police Department’s new Code of Ethics, part of the SPD: 20/20 plan, which all new recruits (along with existing officers) will be required to study and sign.


New investment in Gender Justice Initiative
Mayor McGinn announced a $1.5 million reserve to fund future recommendations made by the Gender Equity in Pay Taskforce and help equalize the City of Seattle’s gender pay deficit.

“Gender disparity in pay is a real issue for the City,” said Mayor McGinn. “That’s why we launched a Gender Equity in Pay Task Force. I thank the Task Force for their diligent work toward understanding the City’s gender pay issues, and for their recommendations so far. This reserve will allow us to do the right thing and help balance the existing inequities.”

Earlier this year, Mayor McGinn directed the City Personnel Department to conduct a review of the City’s salary structure and determine if a gender pay disparity existed among City of Seattle workers. This study revealed that men employed by the City of Seattle make approximately 9.5% more than women on average.


Increased support for Seattle senior centers
Last week, Mayor McGinn announced $210,000 in new funding to benefit nine City-funded senior centers in Seattle in his 2014 Proposed Budget, as well as $631,000 to backfill federal and state cuts to programs serving older adults in Seattle.

“It is essential that we backfill state and federal cuts to programs serving older adults in our community,” said Mayor McGinn. “These programs help people age in their homes by providing meal services, transportation and case management. Support services like these can help people live longer and healthier lives. And new funds for senior centers would provide increased outreach to at-risk seniors and programming to address the social and health needs of older people.”

The City of Seattle currently funds nine senior centers at $614,141 per year. The Proposed Budget would provide an increase of $20,000 for eight centers ($160,000 total).


Funding to support victims of domestic violence
Mayor McGinn announced new City investments to support domestic violence victims in Seattle as part of his 2014 Proposed Budget.

A total of nearly $438,000 in investments would fund support for critically needed housing for domestic violence survivors and their children ($200,000); development of a domestic violence response center that would provide multiple, coordinated services in one location ($125,000); and a manager position in the Human Services Department to lead the city’s efforts to prevent domestic violence and sexual assault ($113,000).

“Victims of domestic violence are among the most vulnerable members of our community,” said Mayor McGinn. “We are committed to helping break the cycle of violence through access to housing and coordinated services.”


Upcoming events (for more see http://seattle.gov/mayor/Engage/access.htm):
Sept 19, 6:00 p.m. – Seattle Parks and Recreation Parks Legacy Plan Citizens Advisory Committee Meeting, 100 Dexter Ave N

Sept 21, 9:00 a.m. – 23rd Avenue Action Plan Workshop & Resource Fair, Garfield Community Center (2323 E Cherry St)

Sept 22, 2:00 p.m. – Rainier Beach Community Center and Pool community celebration, 8825 Rainier Ave S

Sept 23, 2:00 p.m. – Mayor’s Budget Speech, City Council Chambers (600 4th Ave, 2nd Floor)


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Posted by: Nathaniel Merrill

September 19, 9:50 AM click here to comment > 0

Mayor announces funding to support victims of domestic violence

Mayor Mike McGinn today announced new City investments to support domestic violence victims in Seattle as part of his 2014 Proposed Budget.

A total of nearly $438,000 in investments would fund support for critically needed housing for domestic violence survivors and their children ($200,000); development of a domestic violence response center that would provide multiple, coordinated services in one location ($125,000); and a manager position in the Human Services Department to lead the city’s efforts to prevent domestic violence and sexual assault ($113,000).DV 01 copy copy

“Victims of domestic violence are among the most vulnerable members of our community,” said Mayor McGinn. “We are committed to helping break the cycle of violence through access to housing and coordinated services.”

Domestic violence (DV) is a leading cause of homelessness for women and children, as many victims who flee abusers have no place to go. In Seattle, the homeless service system is over capacity and specialized emergency, transitional, and long-term housing for DV survivors is even more limited. An estimated 17-25 people are turned away from DV shelters for every one who can be housed. In surveys and focus groups conducted by the King County Coalition Against Domestic Violence (KCCADV) in 2013 with DV survivors and human services providers, the lack of emergency and long-term housing options was the service gap most cited by DV survivors.

“This funding is a good step forward on one of the most critical public safety issues in our community,” said Councilmember Richard Conlin, who added that “this budget addition will take a big step toward ensuring that victims of domestic violence are personally safe.”

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Posted by: Words: April Thomas, Pictures: Jen Nance