Candidates Sought for Housing Levy Oversight Committee

Levy-logo-verticalMayor Murray is seeking three candidates for the Housing Levy Oversight Committee. The Oversight Committee is responsible for monitoring implementation of the 2009 Seattle Housing Levy and reporting to the Mayor and City Council on the progress of Levy programs. The Oversight Committee makes recommendations to the Mayor and Council regarding policies that govern the use of Levy funds, but does not participate in fund allocation.

In 2009, Seattle voters passed a seven-year, $145 million Housing Levy. Seattle Housing Levyprograms create and preserve affordable rental housing for families, individuals and youth who are homeless; seniors and people with disabilities; and low-wage working families and individuals. Levy programs also assist first-time homebuyers and provide emergency rent assistance to prevent homelessness. Since 1981, Seattle voters have approved one bond and four levies to create and preserve affordable housing. There are now over 11,000 City-funded apartments for lower-income Seattle residents, and over 800 home buyers purchased their first home with affordable City-funded loans.

The Housing Levy Oversight Committee is made up of eleven community representatives, a City employee appointed by the Mayor, and a City employee appointed by the City Council. The Mayor appoints five community representatives, who are then confirmed by the Council. No more than five Oversight Committee members can be affiliated with an organization that receives or competes for Levy funding. Oversight Committee meetings are held quarterly. Additional meetings may be scheduled as needed. Commissioners serve three-year terms.

To be considered, please send a resume and letter of interest to Kelly Gonzalez at the Seattle Office of Housing: kelly.gonzalez@seattle.gov. The application period opens Monday, October 20, 2014 and remains open until Monday, November 10, 2014.

For more information on the Seattle Housing Levy, visit www.seattle.gov/housing/levy.

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Unsheltered homelessness task force seeks immediate solutions

Mayor Murray today announced the members of his Emergency Task Force on Unsheltered Homelessness. Murray has tasked the group, chaired by Deputy Mayor Hyeok Kim, with making recommendations by Dec. 15 to help the growing number of people who are living on the streets to find shelter during the coming winter.

“We remain very concerned about vulnerable people who don’t have a warm bed to sleep in at night,” said Kim. “We must review all the options for increasing the number of available beds before winter weather sets in. Exposure to the elements can be deadly, especially for those struggling with chronic health issues.”

The emergency task force’s membership reflects diverse perspectives from those who serve and advocate for homeless people, provide program funding, represent diverse communities of faith, neighborhoods, and businesses, as well as individuals who themselves have experienced homelessness.

Seattle makes an annual investment of around $9 million for 2,390 shelter beds, but the homeless population in Seattle continues to outpace space available in shelters.

During last January’s count of unsheltered homeless people, Seattle’s One Night Count, more than 2,300 individuals were found sleeping in cars or on the streets. Since 2010, the unsheltered homeless population in Seattle has increased by 30 percent.

The mayor has charged the group with advancing the conversation on how the City of Seattle and other jurisdictions in the region can work together, alongside private non-profit organizations and communities of faith, to reduce homelessness and serve the needs of homeless families and individuals.

The emergency task force will also review the City’s current policy on authorized homeless encampments. The review will include where encampments are located, how new sites for legal encampments are identified and how neighborhoods are consulted.

The emergency task force will hold its first meeting on Oct. 23rd in a private work session. Public meetings will be held Nov. 6 and Nov. 18 (locations to be announced later), followed by a private work session on Dec. 8.

Emergency Task Force on Unsheltered Homelessness
Deputy Mayor Hyeok Kim, Chair
Lamar Campbell, Mockingbird Society Youth Network
Mary Ann DeVry, West Seattle Interfaith Network
Dee Dunbar, Friends of Lewis Park
Alison Eisinger, Seattle/King County Coalition On Homelessness
Anitra Freeman, SHARE/WHEEL
Kathy Gerard, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
Melinda Giovengo, YouthCare
Bill Hallerman, Catholic Community Services
Tim Harris, Real Change
Rex Hohlbein, Facing Homelessness
Sharon Lee, Low Income Housing Institute
Louise Little, University District Partnership
Nicole Macri, Downtown Emergency Services Center
Pastor Robert Manaway, Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church
Vince Matulionis, United Way
Katy Miller, United States Interagency Council on Homelessness
Melanie Neufeld, Seattle Mennonite Church
Quynh Pham, Seattle Chinatown International District Preservation and Development Authority
Mark Putnam, Committee to End Homelessness
Michael Ramos, Greater Church Council
Jon Scholes, Downtown Seattle Association
Leslie Smith, Pioneer Square Alliance
Trai Williams, Mockingbird Society Youth Network
Member of the Board of Parks Commissioners to be named later

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Seattle Fire Chief to retire after 44 years with the department

Chief-Gregory-DeanMayor Murray announced today that Chief Gregory M. Dean intends to retire from the Seattle Fire Department after a distinguished 44-year career with the Seattle Fire Department.

“Chief Dean demonstrated the highest commitment to public service over a distinguished career here at the City,” said Murray. “We salute his devotion to the department and to his firefighters. I wish him the best in the future, even as I know I will miss his steady leadership and wise counsel.”

Chief Dean told the mayor in the early days of the new administration that he was looking forward to retirement. The mayor asked him to stay on at least another year.

Last week, Mayor Murray again asked Chief Dean to postpone his departure, but this time the chief told the mayor it was time to enjoy a well-deserved retirement.

“I consider it an honor and privilege to have served as the Fire Chief for the Seattle Fire Department,” said Dean. “I leave with confidence that the department is in good hands with outstanding leadership and vision at all levels of the organization.”

Chief Dean will continue to serve in his position until the end of the year. The mayor is immediately launching a search process to hire a new chief.

Dean entered the Department in 1970 as a trainee firefighter and rose through the ranks to become Chief of the Department in 2004. He served in several senior leadership positions in the department, including Fire Marshal, Assistant Chief of Administration, Deputy Chief of Personnel, and Deputy Chief of Support Services.

Under his leadership, the 1,150 member department has maintained its international reputation for emergency medicine and firefighting operations. He is known throughout the region for his vision and commitment to partnerships with other fire departments and public safety organizations.

During his tenure as Fire Chief, Dean directed the implementation of the Fire Facilities Levy that resulted in the construction and renovation of 32 fire stations, a new Joint Training Facility and new fireboats.

During the congressional review of the U.S. military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, Dean testified before the United States House of Representatives about how the department integrated female and LGBT firefighters into the fire culture.

He also worked with the Port of Seattle to establish the cruise ship homeport by developing a permit process that allowed safe refueling of cruise ships on the Central Waterfront.

Dean’s career spans landmark fires and events that dramatically altered the course of the Seattle Fire Department. In the early 1970’s, the fatal Ozark Hotel and Seventh Avenue Apartments fires resulted in updated fire and building codes around the nation. Seattle firefighters began serving as paramedics that same decade, saving countless lives in years since. The 1995 Pang warehouse fire killed four Seattle Firefighters, the worst firefighter fatality incident in the department’s history. The 2001 Nisqually Earthquake and the 2010 Fremont fire that killed four children and a young woman captured the nation’s attention.

In the New Year, Dean will be spending more time with family, traveling and improving his golf handicap.

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Mayor Ed Murray responds to tort claim

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray today issued the following statement in response to the claim for damages filed by former press secretary Rosalind Brazel:

Discrimination of any stripe runs counter to my personal and public values, and neither race nor gender played a role in my decision to seek different skills and experience at the press secretary position during the first one-hundred days of my administration.

The most meaningful accomplishment of my career as an elected official was enacting employment non-discrimination protections for members of the LGBT community as a member of the state Legislature.

Upon being elected mayor, it was an early priority of mine to bring more people of diverse backgrounds into the administration of the City, both as City department leaders and as staff in the Mayor’s Office.

My first act as mayor was to engage City department heads and Mayor’s Office staff in a discussion of race and social justice at the Pacific Science Center’s Race exhibit.

Every major address I have given during my tenure as mayor has included a statement of my commitment to equity across this city – from my inaugural address, to my State of the City address, to my speech on public safety, to my budget address.

I have recommitted this City, via executive order, to the Race and Social Justice Initiative. I have created a new department to drive better outcomes for students of color in our public schools. I have committed this City to gender equity in pay.

And I have said on a number of occasions that race and social justice is – and will remain for many years – the central issue of our time, requiring our sustained commitment to continue making the kind of progress that I believe is truly possible. This is a core commitment of mine, both as a mayor and as a human being.

The first days of my administration were chaotic and pressure-filled, as my Office worked to bring significant change to City government while immediately addressing a number of major issues facing our community. In many ways, all of us were learning by doing, and there is no doubt that we all made mistakes – myself included.

Ms. Rosalind Brazel was recruited to the press secretary role as a former journalist. And while she brought years of experience to the role, the job of press secretary is unique among communications jobs – as any former press secretary can attest. It requires a rare combination of skills that, in many ways, can only be tested through the process of performing the role itself. There are countless examples of great reporters who have both succeeded and struggled when asked to serve as a press secretary.

Ms. Brazel is a talented communications professional and a hard worker who, at this point in her career, was not well-matched to the demands of the press secretary role, particularly for a brand new administration working to find its feet. This is neither a criticism of Ms. Brazel as a professional nor a commentary on her skills as a communicator.

While I take very seriously the charge of discrimination made by Ms. Brazel, I stand by my decision to make a change at the press secretary position during those early days as one of many changes necessary to bring greater structure and stability to the daily operations inside the Mayor’s Office.

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Mayor Murray signs resolution honoring indigenous peoples

Mayor Murray today signed a resolution that honors indigenous peoples by declaring the second Monday in October "Indigenous Peoples' Day" in Seattle.

Mayor Murray signs the Indigenous Peoples’ Resolution. More photos are available on our Flickr page.

Mayor Murray today signed a resolution that honors indigenous peoples by declaring the second Monday in October “Indigenous Peoples’ Day” in Seattle.

“Seattle sits on the homelands of many tribal nations,” Murray said at a ceremony surrounded by tribal leaders and City councilmembers. “We have many ongoing works with our neighbor tribes, and we welcome the tens of thousands of American Indians and Alaska Natives who have come to call this city home. Today’s commemoration is intended to spark a productive conversation about the contributions of indigenous peoples, and, most importantly, their continued involvement in the cultural fabric of our community and the entire country.”

“I believe that what makes Seattle so special, so unique, is that we are bold enough to admit the shortcomings of our history in order to achieve the realization of our dreams,” said Councilmember Bruce Harrell. “This has been an educational opportunity for our city and across the country. I believe that in honoring Indigenous Peoples’ Day, we are honoring the best in ourselves. We are being open-minded, we are listening to each other and we are celebrating the triumphs and values of every oppressed group. We are celebrating that human spirit that says, ‘We matter and we shall be treated fairly.'”

“By passing this resolution, the City has demonstrated to the original inhabitants of this territory that the City values their history, culture, and welfare, as well as their contributions to local economy as attorneys, fishermen, doctors, construction workers, and entrepreneurs,” said David Bean, a Puyallup Tribal councilmember.

Murray underscored the importance of mutual understanding and respect between all people of the city.

“Today is not intended to take anything away from any other community or group in Seattle,” he said. “We are not removing any other designation or holiday in Seattle. We respect and honor all our city’s cultural traditions, community groups and history, including Italian-Americans.”

At today’s ceremony, the mayor also noted that Chairman Leonard Forsman of the Suquamish Tribe has been appointed to serve on the Central Waterfront Steering Committee.

“We welcome Chairman Forsman to that committee and look forward to our continuing work with tribal peoples on the historic waterfront,” said Murray.

The committee and waterfront design teams will work extensively with tribes to help ensure that the tribal roots of the place and the continued tribal presence in the area are reflected in the design of the new waterfront, Murray said. Murray also announced a new public art project on the waterfront that will recognize and reflect the Coast Salish tribes’ historic connection to the region.

In addition, Murray announced the appointment of Claudia Kauffman, former state senator and current intergovernmental liaison for the Muckleshoot Tribe, to serve as board chair of the Seattle Indian Services Commission.

“Claudia will help revitalize and rebuild the Seattle Indian Services Commission to ensure that our urban Indian residents are well served and represented,” said Murray.

Video from the resolution signing

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Mayor Murray hosts inaugural ride of Seattle’s new Pronto bike share program

Pronto Cycle Share

Mayor Murray today hosted the inaugural ride of Seattle’s first ever bike share program, Pronto Cycle Share. The ride, which started on the new 2nd Avenue protected bike lane at University St. and ended at Occidental Park, included representatives from King County and the City of Seattle, as well as sponsors of the program: Alaska Airlines, Seattle Children’s, Group Health, REI, Vulcan and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.

“This is an important day for the city of Seattle as we introduce new, progressive transportation options for residents and visitors alike,” said Mayor Murray. “I am proud that the city could help make this milestone a reality. We look forward to expanding the program to additional Seattle neighborhoods next year.”

The bike sharing system is the first of its kind in the Pacific Northwest and brings an initial 500 bikes and 50 stations to neighborhoods across Seattle. Beginning today, users can rent one of Pronto’s seven-speed commuter bikes from solar-powered docking stations located in the University District, Eastlake, South Lake Union, Belltown, Downtown, Pioneer Square, the International District, Capitol Hill and First Hill. Pronto is the first bike share program in the nation to launch with a helmet distribution system to promote rider safety and to ensure users can easily comply with Seattle’s helmet laws.

You can view more photos from today’s event on our Flickr page and you can learn more about Pronto Cycle Share at www.ProntoCycleShare.com.

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Hydrologist or similar professional sought for Seattle Urban Forestry Commission

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The Mayor and City Council are looking for a new Urban Forestry Commission member to fill position #4, meant for a hydrologist or similar professional. A hydrologist or similar professional, preferably with expertise in the study of natural drainage, climate or air quality, or a combination thereof is preferred. The term starts December 1, 2014 and extends through December 1, 2017. This position is appointed by the Mayor, and confirmed by City Council, for a renewable three-year term.

The nine-member UFC consists of a wildlife biologist; an urban ecologist; a representative of a local, state, or federal natural resource agency or an accredited university; a hydrologist; a certified arborist; a representative of a non-profit or non-governmental organization; a representative of the development community or a representative from a non-city utility; and an economist, financial analyst, or Washington State license real estate broker.

The City of Seattle set the bold goal of achieving 30 percent tree canopy cover by 2037 to increase the environmental, social, and economic benefits trees bring to Seattle residents. The Seattle Urban Forest Stewardship Plan (UFSP) is a comprehensive strategy for increasing Seattle’s tree canopy cover to meet the 30 percent target. The UFSP lays out goals and a broad range of actions to be implemented over time to preserve, maintain, and plant trees as well as restore the public forested areas remaining in the city. More information about Seattle’s urban forest program can be found at http://www.seattle.gov/trees/management.htm

The Urban Forestry Commission was established in 2009 by Ordinance 123052 to advise the Mayor and City Council concerning the establishment of policy and regulations governing the protection, management, and conservation of trees and vegetation in the City of Seattle. Commission meetings are held twice a month on the first and second Wednesday from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Commission members generally must commit approximately 10 hours per month to Commission business and serve without compensation. Additional information about the Urban Forestry Commission can be found at http://www.seattle.gov/trees/UFcommission.htm

Applications are due November 10, 2014.

To be considered, please send a letter of interest and resume to Sandra Pinto de Bader (Sandra.Pinto_de_Bader@seattle.gov). To send a paper submittal, address it to: Sandra Pinto de Bader, Urban Forestry Commission Liaison, Urban Forestry Commission, Office of Sustainability and Environment, City of Seattle, 700 Fifth Avenue, Suite 1868. PO Box 94729, Seattle, WA 98124-4729.

For more information, please contact Sandra Pinto de Bader, Urban Forestry Commission Liaison, at (206) 684-3194 or via email at Sandra.Pinto_de_Bader@seattle.gov

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Oct. 22 ‘Ask the Mayor’ show to focus on City’s budget priorities for 2015

Seattle ChannelYou ask, the Mayor answers during a live broadcast of Seattle Channel’s Ask the Mayor at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 22, from Seattle City Hall (600 Fourth Ave).

Ask the Mayor’s format features a live audience and a topic of focus during the second half of the hour-long program. During the first half of the show, Mayor Murray will join host Brian Callanan to discuss a range of city issues. Murray will answer questions posed by a live audience as well as viewer inquiries submitted via e-mail and social media using the hashtag #AskTheMayor.

In the second half of the program, Callanan and Mayor Murray will discuss his 2015-2016 budget proposal. Mayor Murray submitted a 2015-2016 budget that expands funding for priorities in education, worker protections, public safety and support for the homeless. The Mayor is also proposing to bring new transparency to the city budget, including increased accountability for program outcomes and improved access to information on city finances. The City Council has begun their review of the Mayor’s proposal and is currently receiving public feedback. Joining the Mayor will be Ben Noble, director of the City Budget Office. This is your chance to talk to the Mayor about the budget and share your priorities for the upcoming budget.

There is no cost to attend the live broadcast, however seating is limited and advance registration is encouraged. Register online at www.askthemayorseattle.eventbrite.com or call (206) 684-8821. Doors open at 6 p.m. with audience instructions at 6:45 p.m. The live show is from 7 to 8 p.m.

Can’t join the conversation in person? Watch live on Seattle Channel cable 21 or online at www.seattlechannel.org.

To submit questions in advance or during the live broadcast, e-mail askthemayor@seattle.gov,  tweet @SeattleChannel using the hashtag #AskTheMayor or comment on Facebook at www.facebook.com/SeattleChannel.

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Candidates sought for Seattle City Light Review Panel

Seattle_City_Light_south_service_center,_1998Mayor Murray is currently seeking two candidates to serve on the Seattle City Light Review Panel. The Review Panel plays an important role in providing input and engagement of City Light ratepayers in the development and review of the utility’s biennial update to the 6 year Strategic Business Plan. The Review Panel is also tasked with reviewing electricity rate changes, assessing City Light’s electricity rate design and considering implementation of cost allocation among customer classes.

The Mayor is looking to fill the current vacant panel positions with:

  • an economist or similar profession, preferably with a background in energy economics or commodity risk management; and
  • a representative of a non-profit or non-governmental organization whose mission is to advocate for the efficient use of electricity, preferably with knowledge of the electric industry

For more details regarding the Review Panel participation, including the time commitment to attend regular, sometimes monthly meetings, please visit this link: http://www.seattle.gov/citylightreviewpanel

These two positions are appointed by the Mayor to serve renewable three-year terms. Qualified candidates will be screened and forwarded to the Mayor’s Office for consideration. To be considered for appointment by the Mayor to the Seattle City Light Review Panel, please send a letter of interest and resume by Friday, October 31, 2014 to:

Kim Kinney c/o Seattle City Light
700 Fifth Avenue
Suite 3200
Seattle, WA 98104

…or by email at kim.kinney@seattle.gov.

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Seeking three representatives for Construction Codes Advisory Board

Mayor Murray is seeking candidates for three vacant positions on Seattle’s Construction Codes Advisory Board. The current open positions are for representatives of the following professions or categories:

  • Electrical Contractors
  • Developers or Contractors of Residential Properties’
  • General Public

The Board is a 13-member body that works together to research, analyze, and make recommendations to the Mayor, City Council, and the Department of Planning and Development on the technical codes affecting buildings in Seattle.  The Board plays an important role in shaping the codes Seattle adopts and how these codes are interpreted. In addition to the Board’s advisory role to City officials, the Board hears appeals of DPD’s building code decisions. The work requires attention to detail of highly technical codes. The City relies on the Board members’ professional experience and opinions in determining which codes to adopt and to amend.

Board members will be asked to prepare for and attend meetings on the first and third Thursdays at noon in downtown Seattle. The actual frequency of meetings depends on the Board’s workload, and there may be some months without any meetings or only one meeting a month.

Strong candidates will be civic-minded, critical thinkers interested in the design and construction of Seattle’s built environment. Individuals selected must have perspective, experience and talents that will enhance the Board. Successful candidates will have a willingness to devote two to six hours a month to Board meetings and other Board duties.

These positions are voluntary and are appointed by Mayor Murray and confirmed by the City Council. Applicants must live, work or do business in Seattle. City employees are not eligible to be Board members.

The City of Seattle is committed to promoting diversity in the city’s boards and commissions. Women, persons with disabilities, sexual and gender minorities, young persons, senior citizens, persons of color, and immigrants are encouraged to apply.

The application period opens on Wednesday, October 1 and remains open until Monday, November 3, 2014.

To apply, complete a New Member Application. You can learn more about the Construction Code Advisory Board on their webpage.

If you have a question or would like to request a paper application, please contact Julie A. Hines, Staff Liaison and Code Development Analyst at DPD. She can be reached by phone at (206) 233-2766 or by email at Julie.hines@seattle.gov.

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