Murray announces $3.3 million for new officers and $2.75 million for human services, including $1.5 million for more homelessness services

Public Safety press conference

Mayor Murray announced that his 2015-16 budget to be formally proposed on Sept. 22 will make new investments in public safety and the safety net, and today provided detail for his plans to fund best practices both in the police department and in homelessness services.

“This administration will use the budget process to drive more transparency and innovation in City government, as well as better organization and performance,” said Murray. “Public safety is our number one priority, and my budget for the police department reflects these basic budgeting principles by investing in best management practices, better use of data and more effective use of resources to get better outcomes.”

Murray’s 2015-16 budget for the Seattle Police Department will propose funding more civilian expertise, including a civilian Chief Operating Officer and a civilian Chief Information Officer for improved operations and systems management and innovation. The COO has been hired, and has already implemented CompStat, the crime and disorder data tracking and analysis method made famous by Commissioner William Bratton in New York City in the 1990s, where it was credited with reducing crime by 60 percent.

“CompStat will take the police department to the next level in observing, mapping and tracking patterns of crime and disorder, and in mobilizing, analyzing and evaluating officer response,” said Murray. “It is a major reform that I believe is the key to our future success in crime prevention, in efficient and effective deployment of SPD resources, and in police accountability.”

CompStat will be used in conjunction with the “micro-policing plans” that Chief Kathy O’Toole will deliver and make publicly available by the end of 2014, Murray said. The plans will reflect the specific needs and circumstances of each of the unique neighborhoods of the city, and are intended to reconnect officers with the communities they serve. CompStat will provide timely and accurate data to inform an ever-evolving patrol strategy, focusing resources on areas of concern and ensuring that police are present and visible where needed most.

Murray said O’Toole is also conducting a resource allocation study of position assignments within the department, and will seek to reassign officers from lower priority work to the high-priority work of patrol wherever possible. Additionally, Murray’s 2015-16 budget will propose $3.3 million to fill every recruit class available to the City of Seattle at the Washington State Criminal Justice Training Center in both 2015 and 2016.

“I pledged during the campaign that we would add one hundred fully trained officers by the end of my four-year term, and my budget proposal puts us on a stable path to get there,” said Murray. “By the end of 2015, based on current forecasts for attrition, we will be halfway toward my goal of one hundred additional officers, and my next two-year budget will plan to close the remaining gap. By the end of 2016, my budget will fund the highest number of fully trained officers in SPD’s history.”

Murray said his 2015-16 budget proposal will fully fund compliance with the federal court order.

Murray also announced plans in his 2015-16 budget to add $2.75 million in new investments in human services. He said his proposal will leverage new resources for homelessness services in particular, including expanding the best-practice strategy of rapid rehousing, and creating capacity at homeless shelters by moving long-term stayers into permanent housing – a suite of new investments in homelessness services totaling $1.5 million annually in 2015 and 2016.

“Investments in rapid rehousing are more successful and less costly than any other strategy for assisting unsheltered individuals,” said Murray. “I signed onto the First Lady’s Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness by 2015, and my budget proposal includes funding for a rapid rehousing program targeted at veterans that will help us achieve this important goal.”

Murray’s 2015-16 budget will propose $600,000 annually to fund a program for 150 homeless single adults, targeting veterans, to receive rapid placement into housing, rental assistance, and employment support. Murray’s budget proposal will also fund efforts to move 25 of the longest-term stayers at homeless shelters into permanent housing, which will free up 3,375 shelter bed nights.

“There are more than 2,300 individuals living unsheltered in Seattle on any given night, and emergency shelters are at capacity, said Murray, who said his budget proposal commits $410,000 annually to provide subsidies for rental assistance, congregate housing or shared housing for long-term stayers, and leverages funding from the United Way of King County in a dollar-for-dollar match. “Shelters are meant to serve a temporary need, but a number of individuals are staying in shelters long term, to where one quarter of shelter users consume three quarters of shelter bed nights. Moving long-term stayers into permanent housing will help those individuals and increase shelter bed capacity for those currently without shelter.”

Additional human service investments in Murray’s 2015-16 budget include:

  • A one-time matching contribution toward the capital redevelopment of the North Public Health Center located near North Seattle Community College ($500,000),
  • Mitigating proposed budget cuts at Seattle/King County Public Health ($400,000), including:

o   Supporting maternity services; women, infant and children services; and family planning services at Greenbridge Public Health Center ($150,000)

o   Access and outreach services for new enrollments in Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act,

o   Family planning health educators ($50,000),

o   HIV/STD education and outreach ($50,000),

o   Gun violence prevention ($50,000)

  • Funding for an additional 40,000 to 100,000 lbs. of fresh fruit, vegetables, meats, or other proteins for more than 40 participating food banks, meal programs, and other providers ($100,000),
  • Support for the Breakfast Group Mentoring Program, a program providing young men of color in Seattle Public Schools with wrap-around services, individualized instruction plans and mentoring to complete their secondary education and access higher education or employment opportunities ($100,000),
  • Support for the Rainier Valley Corp to recruit emerging leaders from diverse immigrant communities and provide training, support and mentorship ($75,000), and
  • Funding to fill a gap in senior center services in Lake City ($70,000).

Mayor Murray on September 11 anniversary

Mayor Murray released the following statement today on the 13th anniversary of September 11th:

Today, we pause to remember the tragic events of September 11, 2001, and the pain the day brought to so many families in this country.

As we remember those who died in the attacks, we also remember the heroism of first responders who selflessly rushed into harm’s way.

Let us not forget the day as we continue to move forward together as a city, as a state, and as a nation.

Seattle recognized as the nation’s most sustainable city

star-logo.0STAR Communities announced today that Seattle has been awarded a 5-STAR Community Rating for national leadership in sustainability. The City achieved the highest score to date, and is only the second in the nation to achieve the 5-STAR rating for its participation in the STAR Community Rating System (STAR), which evaluates the livability and sustainability of U.S. communities.

“I applaud our numerous community partners whose work contributed to this recognition and the highest score yet received by any City in the country,” said Mayor Ed Murray. “Our commitment to sustainable practices and innovative solutions begins and ends with our residents and businesses. This 5-STAR rating is just the latest example of the Seattle’s deep-seated culture of environmental consciousness.”

“Sustainable cities provide a healthy environment, support a strong economy, and continually improve the well-being of the whole community,” said Hilari Varnadore, executive director of STAR Communities. “Seattle has set a new bar – its achievement as the highest scoring STAR Community is an aspirational example for other communities to strive to meet as they pursue their own sustainability goals and objectives.”

Along with local government partners, STAR Communities developed and implemented a robust sustainability rating system for cities, towns and counties. Its national rating program helps communities evaluate themselves in seven sustainability goal areas: Built Environment, Climate & Energy, Economy & Jobs, Education, Arts & Community, Equity & Empowerment, Health & Safety, and Natural Systems.

While Seattle performed very well across all goal areas, several efforts stood out among its sustainability initiatives:

  • Commitment to Carbon Neutrality:  Seattle’s publicly owned utility, Seattle City Light, was the first electric utility in the nation to become carbon neutral. Additionally, Seattle became one of the first cities in the nation to set a goal of carbon neutrality when the Seattle Climate Action Plan was adopted in 2013.
  • Leading Edge Energy Efficiency Programs:  Community Power Works, an innovative energy efficiency and economic development program, has led to home energy upgrades for over 3000 families while helping grow local home contractors’ businesses. Seattle’s low-income residents also benefit from energy upgrades through HomeWise, a program that provides free weatherization services. Seattle’s Energy Benchmarking program, which requires commercial property owners to track and report energy usage, has one of the highest compliance rates in the country.
  • The Green Seattle Partnership (GSP): A unique public-private partnership working to restore and maintain Seattle’s forested parklands. The GSP has engaged thousands of volunteers since 2005—resulting in nearly 650,000 volunteer hours spent planting over 150,000 trees and restoring over 1,000 acres of parkland throughout the city. GSP also partners with Seattle Goodwill Industries in a work readiness program targeting at-risk young adults and providing them with on-the-job training in restoration and trail maintenance.
  • Transportation Choices: Seattle is one of only five cities in the nation where less than half of commuters are driving alone to work. Since 2011, Seattle has seen a 59% increase in bicycling and a 27% increase in pedestrian traffic.

Seattle is one of more than 30 local governments that participated in a year-long pilot program with STAR Communities. Today, more than 80 communities, representing 34 million residents, participate in STAR. While 18 other communities have been certified, only Northampton, MA has achieved a 5-STAR rating along with Seattle.

“The STAR rating process gave us the framework for a deep dive sustainability assessment—to identify where we are strong and where there is more we can do,” said Jill Simmons, Director of the Office of Sustainability & Environment. “The assessment is also a great tool to engage our community partners around shared goals and opportunities for further action.”
An area where Seattle showed opportunity for improvement was environmental justice and equity. To that end, Mayor Murray will include in his 2015 budget request funding for the Office of Sustainability & Environment, working in close partnership with other departments and the community, to develop an Equity & Environment Initiative to be launched next year. This initiative will be a City-Community partnership to explore who is and isn’t benefiting from Seattle’s environmental progress and to implement practices and processes to enhance environmental equity and to provide opportunities for everyone to participate in Seattle’s environmental movement.

To view Seattle’s full report, go to http://www.starcommunities.org/communities/31-seattle-washington.

To view the full list of communities involved, go to http://www.STARcommunities.org/communities.

Why I support #InternetSlowdown and Net Neutrality

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I stand with residents, companies, and advocacy organizations who share concern about our Internet’s future. The interests of a few threaten the needs of the many if the FCC allows so-called “fast lanes” for those who can afford to pay.

That’s why today I have changed my social media avatars and joined the #InternetSlowdown on my website. It is critical we share our concerns with the FCC today and urge them to preserve Net Neutrality so that tomorrow’s next great idea has the same fighting chance as today’s.

If you support an open internet, join me and millions of people by changing your social media avatar — and most importantly send a message to the FCC urging them to support innovation by preserving an open internet.

Neighbors invited to Chinatown-/International District ‘Find It, Fix It’ Community Walk

Find It Fix It Community Walk

Mayor Murray’s ‘Find It, Fix It’ Community Walk, focused on several crime hotspots, makes its way to Seattle’s Chinatown/International District on Thursday, Sept. 11. This is the seventh walk hosted by the mayor in neighborhoods around the city.

At the events, community residents, police, and city officials walk together to identify physical disorder and solve it. As a result of these walks, Seattle City Light, the Seattle Department of Transportation, the Department of Planning and Development, and Seattle Public Utilities have worked – and continue to work – to make improvements in Seattle’s neighborhoods. Watch videos, view photos and read actions taken as a result of these walks at: http://murray.seattle.gov/finditfixit

Chinatown/International District Find It, Fix It Community Walk
Thursday, Sept. 11, 6:00 – 7:30 p.m.
S. King St. and Maynard Ave. S.
Meet at Hing Hay Park (Map)

6:00 – 6:15 p.m.

Short program featuring Mayor Ed Murray, City Councilmember Bruce Harrell, Seattle Chief of Police Kathleen O’Toole, and department representatives.

6:15 – 7:30 p.m.

Walk commences along the following route:

  • West on S. King St.
  • North on 5th Ave. S.
  • East on S. Jackson St.
  • South on 12th Ave. S.
  • West on S. King St.

7:30 p.m.

Walk concludes and department representatives are available for follow-up questions.

Another ‘Find It, Fix It’ walk is scheduled for Sept. 17th on Capitol Hill.

For more information on Murray’s public safety strategy for Seattle, visit http://www.seattle.gov/mayor/public-safety-strategy-for-seattle.

Seattle Women’s Commission seeks candidates

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The Seattle Women’s Commission is seeking candidates for vacant seats on the Commission. The Commission advises the Mayor, City Council and city departments on issues that impact women in Seattle. The commission identifies areas of concern and recommends policy and legislation, provides feedback and opinion on issues of city and state budget, and acts as a liaison between Seattle women and city government.

As advisors to the Mayor, City Council and city departments, commissioners have the opportunity to address issues of concern for Seattle women and to work for positive change.

Terms are three, two-year terms and are subject to confirmation by the City Council. Applicants must live or work in Seattle and be available for monthly meetings from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on the 3rd Monday of the month at City Hall in downtown Seattle.

The SWC is seeking candidates with a particular interest in the following areas, in accordance with the SWC’s annual work plan:

  • Economic opportunities for women, including pay equity, job opportunities, and women-owned businesses
  • Health disparities affecting women, including access to healthy food, reproductive rights, and the social determinants of health such as infant and maternal mortality
  • Housing and homelessness including affordable housing, tenant rights, institutional and informal housing and shelters, and vehicular residents and women living in encampments in the city
  • Violence prevention including training for police and other responders, sexual assault, domestic violence and preventing youth violence
  • The SWC aims to work closely with governmental and community-based organizations to make certain that women of color, women with disabilities, immigrants, refugees, returning female veterans, youth and members of the LGBTQI communities are being served appropriately by the Commission’s work.

To apply for appointment to the Seattle Women’s Commission, submit your resume and a letter of interest by September 22, 2014. Please reference your experience and interest in the previously mentioned issue areas in your cover letter. To reduce paper consumption, electronic submissions are preferred. Email your letter of interest and resume to: marta.idowu@seattle.gov.

Mayor Murray statement on minimum density legislation

Mayor Murray released the following statement today regarding his proposed minimum density legislation:

“My thanks to the City Council for their action today on my proposed minimum density legislation. This is the most recent example of neighborhood engagement in zoning decisions that help the city focus development within pedestrian-designated areas in Urban Centers, Urban Villages and the Station Area Overlay District.

Traditionally, the Seattle zoning code has requirements that stipulate the maximum density for each development. Today we are doing things a bit differently: we’re working with neighbors who want more density where it makes sense. They want vibrant urban zones and mixed-use density in the right places. These new rules, which establish minimum floor area ratio, set minimum density requirements for these developments so they foster compact, vibrant, pedestrian-oriented neighborhood centers that serve the needs of local residents.

This ordinance replaces interim regulations the Council adopted last fall in response to neighborhood input on proposed single-story developments in Wallingford, Uptown and West Seattle. Area residents noted that the proposed structures were significantly smaller than the maximum size of structures allowed, and were not in keeping with development in these pedestrian-friendly business districts. Essentially, the developers could have built higher and decided not to. With the help of this ordinance, we will now take better advantage of development capacity.

Thank you to all involved for helping us seize this opportunity to support our shared vision for denser, walkable neighborhoods in our urban centers and urban villages.”

Mayor Murray, Executive Constantine announce Green/Duwamish Watershed Strategy for cleaner air, land, and water

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Building upon the more than $1 billion already invested, or committed for investment, by King County and Seattle for clean-up of the Green/Duwamish River Watershed, Mayor Murray and King County Executive Dow Constantine today announced an ambitious strategy that will coordinate work by governments, nonprofits, and businesses to improve the health of that 500-square-mile watershed.

“The Duwamish Superfund site is part of a much larger watershed that spans 93 miles, from Elliott Bay to beyond the Howard Hanson Dam,” said Mayor Murray. “In order to have a clean river, we need a healthy system. It’s time for a broader conversation and a broader strategy.”

You can learn about the strategy announcement on the County’s website and you can learn about the City of Seattle’s Duwamish River Opportunity Fund here.

Housing Affordability statement from Mayor Murray

Mayor Murray released the following statement today regarding his forthcoming Housing Affordability Agenda:

“As the fastest growing city in America, Seattle is undergoing record growth and development. Our diverse economy – that spans sectors from industrial to hospitality to high-tech – has created thousands of new jobs. But as a result of this tremendous growth, housing is reaching a premium many of our residents can no longer afford. Many of Seattle’s low- and middle-income workers, families, artists, students, and immigrants new to our country are struggling to find homes at a price they can manage. Our city is at risk of losing the diversity it has always thrived on. State and regional agencies estimate at least 115,000 new jobs created in the next 20 years which will continue the housing squeeze and it will have a profound impact on the financially vulnerable.

After raising Seattle’s minimum wage to $15 per hour, I am committed to changing this narrative as the next step toward my administration’s goal of making Seattle an affordable city for all. Seattle’s future growth can and will bring unprecedented challenges for our city, but we can choose our path forward. This can be a moment to engage in battles over density and fear of change, or this can be a moment full of opportunity to create walkable, livable, and affordable mixed-income neighborhoods for everyone. As I said when I created an Income Inequality Advisory Committee to raise Seattle’s minimum wage earlier this year, making Seattle a more affordable city is at the core of my agenda. Seattle’s future growth can only be successful if we build a city that is affordable for everyone.

In partnership with the Seattle City Council, and following a stakeholder process similar to the one we used to negotiate an increase to the minimum wage, we will be convening a Housing Advisory Committee this fall to provide recommendations that help guide us in our policy-making around housing and development. We must start planning for future growth in strategic and intentional ways, and this committee will help us identify ways to achieve that. We will be looking at housing holistically – with our eye not just toward real estate and development issues, but also toward underlying regulatory and financing issues. Our goal will be increasing affordable housing across the economic spectrum – for homeless housing to workforce housing – at a scale that will have an impact for years to come. The committee will be comprised of renters and homeowners, as well as representatives from the financial sector, for-profit developers, non-profit developers, and other local housing experts.

The Housing Advisory Committee will be asked to identify ways we can deliver housing affordability across all income levels. They will be asked to look at every piece of the housing puzzle, including incentive zoning rules, the potential for linkage and impact fees, the impact of accessory dwelling units, new efforts to preserve existing affordable housing, opportunities to stretch our valuable Housing Levy dollars using public-private partnerships, and more.

By bringing key voices to the table to think broadly and boldly, we can make a powerful and lasting impact on the current and future affordability of our city. I have already directed staff in our Office of Housing, Office of Policy and Innovation, and Department of Planning and Development to gather data about Seattle’s current housing needs and to research best practices around the world. When solutions are identified, I want the City of Seattle to be ready to hit the ground running.

I will have more to say later this fall about the Housing Advisory Committee, its foundational goals, and our process for establishing a Housing Affordability Agenda. For now, I would like to thank Councilmembers Sally Clark and Mike O’Brien for taking up some of these issues in their respective sub-committees this week. I look forward to working with the full Council in the months to come to find lasting solutions to Seattle’s affordability crisis.”