Mayor Murray establishes team to guide renewal of Community Service Officer program

Mayor Ed Murray announced the creation of an interdepartmental project team (IDT) to guide the development of a new Community Service Officer (CSO) program. The CSO program will be designed to ensure that the Seattle Police Department (SPD) is better able to provide non-emergency services and support to Seattle’s communities.

“It is critical to the long-term success of our police department to build strong, lasting bonds between officers and the communities they serve,” said Mayor Murray. “The Seattle Police Department has worked for years to become a model of 21st century policing and the Community Service Officer program will help us reach the ultimate goal of building community trust with the department. With this in mind, the interdepartmental team will utilize the City’s Racial Equity Toolkit to inform the development of the program and to address the biggest divides that exist between the police and community. I am appreciative of Councilmember O’Brien’s efforts to secure funding for this important program.”

Existing CSO programs in the United States typically handle non-emergency incidents such as neighborhood disputes, investigations, and crime prevention which can ultimately increase efficiency within a police department and improve service to residents. Mayor Murray has long supported the renewal of the program to help neighborhoods work with SPD and to further the City’s commitment to constitutional and bias-free policing.

Mayor Murray’s directive tasks the IDT to develop recommendations for a new CSO program informed by the City’s Racial Equity Toolkit. These recommendations will address CSO qualifications, training curriculum, and operational functions with SPD.

The IDT will consist of representatives from the Mayor’s Office, SPD, Department of Neighborhoods, Office for Civil Rights, Seattle Human Services, City Budget Office, and the City Council. The IDT will be chaired by police Chief Kathleen O’Toole. The involvement of the Community Police Commission is contingent upon the Court’s indication of approval under the 2012 Consent Decree between the City of Seattle and Department of Justice. The IDT will develop the scope, budget, and action plan for the CSO program and will make its recommendations in early 2018.

Share Button
Print Friendly

Mayor Murray names Seattle Municipal Court nominees

judge-anita-crawford-willisMayor Ed Murray announced his nominations of Anita Crawford-Willis and Adam Eisenberg to fill two current vacancies on the Seattle Municipal Court. Mayor Murray’s selections follow the recommendations of four finalists vetted by the Seattle Municipal Court Selection Committee that included representatives from several local Minority Bar Organizations. The nominations, for terms expiring January 14, 2019, are subject to confirmation by City Council.

 

magistrate-adam-eisenberg

“Seattleites deserve thoughtful, passionate, and qualified judges on the Seattle Municipal Court,” said Mayor Murray, “Anita Crawford-Willis and Adam Eisenberg reflect these values and are committed to justice for all Seattle residents. They both bring judicial experience and have demonstrated throughout their careers a dedication to social and racial justice, diversity, and inclusion. I look forward to working with Council on moving these nominations forward. I would also like to thank David Perez, John Fetters, Chalia Stallings-Ala’ilima, and Abigail Caldwell for their diligent service on the selection committee.”

Anita Crawford-Willis will fill the Position 4 vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Judith Hightower. Crawford-Willis currently serves as an administrative law judge for the Office of Administrative Hearings in Seattle and serves as a judge pro tem on the Seattle Municipal Court. Crawford-Willis graduated from the Seattle University School of Law and began her career as a public defender. The hallmark of her career has been her leadership in mentoring and empowering students of color in their pursuit of careers in public service. She has been an active member of the King County legal community for the past 25 years and serves on the Board of Regents for Seattle University.

“Seattle Municipal Court is the highest volume court in the state and a judge on this court must be able to handle a variety of matters efficiently, without sacrificing a party’s rights,” said

Presiding Judge Karen Donohue of the Seattle Municipal Court. “Judge Crawford-Willis is uniquely qualified for the role by virtue of her experience in the courtroom as a public defender and judge pro tem, along with her work outside the courtroom mentoring women and young people of color pursuing careers in law. She will be an exceptional addition to our bench.”

Adam Eisenberg, who will fill the Position 6 vacancy created by Judge Steve Rosen’s election to the King County Superior Court, currently serves as a magistrate on the Seattle Municipal Court and teaches art and cultural property law at the University of Washington Museology graduate program. Prior to entering law, Eisenberg worked as a film and television journalist in Los Angeles and is a published non-fiction author. He earned his law degree from the University of Washington School of Law and served as a criminal prosecutor prior to being appointed commissioner and then magistrate judge on the Seattle Municipal Court. Eisenberg is an active member of the King County legal community and serves on the board of directors of Q-Law, an association of legal professionals dedicated to informing the public and courts on legal issues impacting the LGBTQ community. Eisenberg has also worked extensively on domestic violence issues outside the courtroom.

“Magistrate Eisenberg brings a wealth of life and legal experience that would make him an ideal judge for the Seattle Municipal Court,” said Barbara Madsen, Chief Justice of the Washington State Supreme Court. “I became personally acquainted with Adam through his work on domestic violence. He has worked tirelessly to educate members of the public and judiciary on the impacts of domestic violence and is deeply committed to social justice. Magistrate Eisenberg will bring an accomplished and broad perspective to the bench.”

Mr. Sumeer Singla and Judge Anne Harper will remain as finalists from which Mayor Murray may select from should new vacancies arise during the remainder of his term.

Share Button
Print Friendly

City prepares for potential winter storm

Today, Mayor Ed Murray activated the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) ahead of a predicted snowstorm that could impact the Seattle area this evening and tomorrow morning. The EOC will manage the City’s response to impacts stemming from the storm. The EOC will begin operations at 5 p.m. today and will remain open as dictated by weather. The Joint Information Center (JIC) will also open and coordinate city-wide public communications pertaining to weather impacts.

The National Weather Service (NWS) is predicting potential lowland snow in the Puget Sound area this evening and potentially into tomorrow morning. NWS is tracking another storm that could potentially reach the Seattle area Thursday.

In anticipation of cold temperatures, the Seattle Human Services Department has opened the emergency co-ed adult shelter at the Seattle Center Pavilion (305 Harrison St.) through Thursday, December 8th. This shelter will be open from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. and has room for 100 people. King County has also expanded capacity for 50 additional men at the King County Administration Building shelter (500 4th Avenue) through Tuesday, December 6th. Both shelters are operated by the Salvation Army.

In the event of snow and/or ice, City emergency planners urge residents to prepare their homes for cold weather, build emergency supply kits for homes and vehicles, and drive only when necessary. For more information on how to prepare for winter weather, please visit Take Winter By Storm. For up-to-date information pertaining to impacts in the City of Seattle please sign up for AlertSeattle at Alert.Seattle.gov

The JIC will serve as the main point-of-contact for media inquiries during the EOC activation. A media advisory from the JIC will be sent out with contact information and relevant public safety updates as the evening unfolds.

Share Button
Print Friendly

City prepares to open severe weather shelter

In anticipation of cold weather, the Seattle Human Services Department will open the emergency co-ed adult shelter at the Seattle Center Pavilion (305 Harrison St.) from Sunday, December 4th through Thursday, December 8th. This shelter will be open from 7 PM to 7 AM and has room for 100 people. King County is also expanding capacity for 50 additional men at the King County Administration Building shelter (500 4th Avenue) from Sunday, December 4ththrough Tuesday, December 6th. Both shelters are operated by the Salvation Army.

The National Weather Service is forecasting below freezing conditions late Sunday evening into the middle of next week, which could create a possibility of snow and ice in Seattle. Currently, the National Weather Service forecast predict that snow could potentially arrive on Monday afternoon and into Tuesday morning. For the most current forecast, please visit the National Weather Service website.

In the event of snow and/or ice, City emergency planners urge residents to prepare their homes for cold weather, build emergency supply kits for homes and vehicles, and not to drive unnecessarily. For more information on how to prepare for winter weather, please visit Take Winter By Storm. Additionally, for up-to-date information pertaining to impacts in the City of Seattle please sign up for AlertSeattle at Alert.Seattle.gov

The City of Seattle continues to monitor forecasts and City departments are preparing operations to respond to impacts from snow and ice.

Share Button
Print Friendly

Mayor signs MOU with Mexico City on climate action, economic development

mexicocitymouMayor Ed Murray signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Mexico City’s Chief of Government, Miguel Ángel Mancera Espinosa, Ph.D. The MOU pledges cooperation on trade and the economy, information technology, clean technology, creative industries, education, people-to-people exchanges, and other fields of common interest. Additionally, the MOU calls for collaboration on climate action, support of businesses that aim to grow in the two cities, and staff-level exchanges.

“Seattle has a growing international profile and solidifying our relationship with Mexico City gives us the opportunity to collaborate with a place that shares many of our goals and values,” said Mayor Murray. “As we reaffirm that Seattle continue to be a welcoming city, we want to strengthen our ties with our partners around the world. These partnerships allow us to learn from each other and work on areas of mutual benefit, such as economic development and fighting climate change.”

The MOU spells out the two cities’ “intention to foster closer economic and cultural ties,” and came about as part of their participation in the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group. The two cities will:

  1. Promote learning from each other on issues such as climate action, carbon emissions reduction and environmental protection;
  2. Cooperate on a host of key issues facing both cities, including trade and the economy, information technology, and more;
  3. Support businesses with interest in expansion or investment in either city;
  4. Engage in regular communications at the staff level; and
  5. Create a framework for closer relations in the future.

This is the fourth MOU signed by Mayor Murray since taking office. In 2015, Mayor Murray signed  MOUs with Vice Mayor Tang Jie and Mayor Xu Qin both of Shenzhen, China relating to sustainable development and economic growth. Mayor Murray also signed an MOU with Mayor Zhang Hongming of Hangzhou, China in May 2016 to support the promotion of technology and innovation.

Mayor Murray is attending the C40 Mayor’s Summit in Mexico City this week to work with mayors from around the world on urban solutions to climate change and foster closer relationships with U.S. mayors as they work to meet the goals of the Paris agreement.

Share Button
Print Friendly

Mayor Murray Signs Executive Order Affirming Seattle’s Welcoming City Policies

Mayor signs executive order

Today, Mayor Ed Murray signed an Executive Order reaffirming Seattle as a welcoming city. The order states that City employees will not ask about the status of residents and all City services will be available to all residents, and it creates an Inclusive and Equitable City Cabinet that will coordinate City efforts to protect the civil liberties and civil rights of Seattle residents. Additionally, the City will set aside $250,000 to address the needs of unauthorized immigrant students enrolled in Seattle Public Schools and their families.

“Except for our Native Peoples, we are all from someplace else, and we are strong because of our diversity,” said Mayor Murray. “It is my commitment that Seattle will remain a welcoming city, not a place where children and their families live in fear. This Thanksgiving we reaffirm our values of inclusion and equity and our City policies that reflect them. All our friends, neighbors, colleagues, and families should feel safe and welcome when they need services, contact our police and fire departments, or interact with the City in other ways. And we will work to provide our immigrant students with the support they and their families need.”

Learn more about Seattle’s Welcoming City policies

The Executive Order directs City employees and departments on the following items:

  • City employees will not ask residents seeking City services about immigration status, unless police officers have a reasonable suspicion that a person is committing or has committed a felony criminal-law violation.
  • City employees will serve all residents and services will remain accessible to all residents, regardless of immigration status, ancestry, race, ethnicity, national origin, color, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender variance, marital status, physical or mental disability, or religion.
  • Seattle Police officers will continue to defer detainer requests from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement to King County, as jails are in King County’s jurisdiction.
  • City departments will issue a letter to all contractors receiving General Fund dollars to clarify and inform about these policies.
  • An Inclusive and Equitable City Cabinet will be created, made up of representatives from:
    • Seattle Police Department,
    •  Office of Civil Rights,
    • Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs,
    • Office of Labor Standards,
    • Department of Neighborhoods,
    • Office of Economic Development,
    • Office of Policy and Innovation,
    • City Budget Office,
    • Office of Intergovernmental Relations,
    • Department of Education and Early Learning, and
    • Seattle Human Services Department
  • The Inclusive and Equitable City Cabinet develop a programmatic investment strategy for $250,000 to directly address the needs of unauthorized immigrant children in Seattle Public Schools and their families.
  • The Inclusive and Equitable City Cabinet will develop public awareness efforts around hate speech and crimes; review potential implications on City departments of any new initiatives and intent of the incoming Presidential administration; collaborate with immigrant and refugee communities to identify areas of need and new or expanded efforts for partnership; and develop a specific agenda and action plan to help the Mayor build a coalition of cities during the upcoming West Coast Mayor’s Summit and the U.S. Conference of Mayors gatherings.Read the entire Executive Order here.
Share Button
Print Friendly

Mayor Murray releases statement on President-elect Trump’s pick for Attorney General

Mayor Ed Murray released the following statement on reports that Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions has been chosen by President-elect Donald Trump to be the next U.S. Attorney General:

“Senator Sessions has been the leading anti-immigrant senator for nearly two decades. He has repeatedly fought any type of immigration reform, pushed to build a fence on the southern border, and proposed legislation threatening cities with federal funding cuts for supporting unauthorized immigrants. President-elect Trump’s choice underscores the need for cities like Seattle to stand up for our values of inclusiveness and compassion.

“Regardless of who ultimately heads the Department of Justice, the City of Seattle and the Seattle Police Department will continue the important work of accountability reform in our police department under the Consent Decree and of strengthening the relationship between the community and police. Seattle has become a national leader in Constitutional and bias-free policing over the last four years and I look forward to transmitting our reform legislation to Council in the coming weeks.”

Share Button
Print Friendly

Mayor Murray receives Education Summit recommendations aimed at addressing opportunity gap

Mayor Ed Murray introduces recommendations from the Education Summit Advisory Group.

Mayor Ed Murray introduces recommendations from the Education Summit Advisory Group.

 

Today, the Mayor’s Education Summit Advisory Group, comprised of 32 representatives from Seattle Public Schools, the City of Seattle, community leaders, parents, business and philanthropy, presented a set of recommendations aimed at ensuring all Seattle students are set up for academic success, post-secondary education and future careers, with an emphasis on improving outcomes for African American/Black students. These recommendations reflect the mission laid out by Mayor Ed Murray earlier this year to address the opportunity gap in our schools, and the Advisory Group’s “north star,” which envisions “a city where all children of all races and ethnicities can thrive and succeed.”

The Mayor’s Education Summit Advisory Group was developed to formulate recommendations in response to feedback from over 1,300 people from 20 community conversations, nearly 200 online survey responses and 500 attendees of the day-long Education Summit held in the spring.

“The Advisory Group delivered ambitious recommendations and we will develop an equally aggressive action plan to ensure every one of our students has access to opportunity,” said Mayor Murray. “We will need collaboration to address these disparities, which is why the relationship being built between the City, the School District and the private sector is so important. By forming this partnership and implementing an action plan together, we can make real progress in making sure every student will graduate ready to thrive in our growing economy.”

Advisory Group Final Report
Advisory Group Recommendation Summary Handout

The Advisory Group recommendations include a variety of programs for students of all ages, from early learning through high school and beyond. The group concentrated its work in four areas: improving access to high quality learning opportunities and programs; creating positive, supportive and high quality teaching and learning opportunities; providing authentic family and community support and engagement; and strengthening post-secondary access and attainment. They have identified criteria for prioritizing the recommendations, including those with the greatest potential impact on the opportunity gap facing African American/Black students and other students of color, those that can be implemented in the short-term and those where the City can have the greatest impact.

“Seattle Public Schools and the City of Seattle are committed to eliminating gaps in educational access, removing barriers to success and improving academic outcomes for students who have been historically underserved,” said Dr. Larry Nyland, Superintendent of Seattle Public Schools. “Eliminating opportunity gaps is the issue of our time and together, we are committed to this vision. As a district we can’t do it alone. Working together, we can ensure every student thrives and succeeds.”

graphic: 43% of Seattle’s African American and Latino students do not graduate on time, or at all.When Mayor Murray first issued the challenge at the Education Summit this spring, he called on the group to develop solutions that would address disparities for African American/Black students and other students of color. A recent Stanford University study ranks Seattle as having the fifth-worst gap in achievement between African American/Black and White students among major cities. Several recommendations addressing this need are already reflected in investments in the Mayor’s 2017 budget proposal. Those include:

  1. Expanding the My Brother’s Keeper mentoring program for African American/Black male students from Aki Kurose Middle School to five additional middle schools.
  2. Expanding the innovation school model, which has been successful addressing disparities in middle schools around attendance, behavior and curricula, to a high school.
  3. Broadening the City’s Summer Learning Program to serve an additional 200 students, with an emphasis on programs offering culturally specific curriculum.
  4. Investing in post-secondary programs that ensure students who graduate from high school remain engaged during the summer and successfully enroll in college.

“Melinda Gates put it best when she said, ‘Education is the key to opportunity, and the opportunity is not equal,’” said Council President Bruce Harrell. “In order to close the achievement gap and build a pathway to success for all children, especially students of color and those from low-income families, we need to make direct investments at three levels. My goal is to be able to tell every child in Seattle they can go to preschool when early brain development is critical, have the tools and mentoring to graduate from high school, and the opportunity to attend a college even if they can’t afford the tuition. The work of this Education Summit has been unprecedented in bringing all stakeholders together to achieve a common purpose of helping our students, teachers, parents, and administrators.”

Graphic: Advisory Group Vision A City-led and broad-based community effort will shape Seattle as a city where children of all races and ethnicities thrive and succeed. Seattle’s children will enter school ready to learn; they will have equitable access to educational opportunity and will thrive in school; they will graduate from school prepared for post-secondary credential attainment from colleges, trade schools, apprenticeships or other certificated programs; and they will arrive at young adulthood prepared to reach their full potential and succeed in life. By transforming our public education system, we change the course of Seattle children’s futures and our own. Goal Through targeted City, District, and other partnership investments across the education continuum, with specific emphasis on African-American/Black students and other students of color who have been historically underserved by the education system, post-secondary credential attainment for all SPS graduates shall rise to 70% by 2030

“Alaska Airlines believes that quality education is the foundation that enables kids to accomplish great things,” said Brad Tilden, CEO of Alaska Airlines. “We want to make sure ALL our students are provided a quality education so that they are adequately prepared to take full advantage of the vast career opportunities available right here in our own backyard.”

“So proud to live in a city that is committed to social justice and equity for all,” said Dr. Sheila Edwards Lange, President of Seattle Central College. “The willingness of our mayor, school leadership and community members to come together to address opportunity gaps in our city is inspiring. The recommendations offered today respond to the needs identified in community conversations and subsequent advisory group meetings.”

Mayor Murray and the Seattle Department of Education and Early Learning, in partnership with the Seattle School District, community, philanthropy, and the business community, will release an action plan in early 2017 outlining the next steps for implementation.

To read the full recommendation report or an executive summary, please visit www.seattle.gov/educationsummit.

Share Button
Print Friendly

Honoring our veterans

Mayor Ed Murray issued the following statement marking Veterans Day in the United States:

“Today we express our gratitude to the brave women and men that have served our country in the armed forces. Veterans are our family members, colleagues, friends, and neighbors. It is our duty to ensure veterans receive the support and access to opportunity they have earned while protecting our liberties abroad. On behalf of the City of Seattle, I thank all members of our military for their service on this Veterans Day.”

Share Button
Print Friendly

Mayor Murray statement on HALA progress and Council proposal

Mayor Ed Murray released the following statement in response to a recent Council proposal on housing:

“Just this past August, Seattle residents voted to double the Housing Levy, a $290 million investment by taxpayers to build affordable housing across the City. At the same time, the City is implementing the first ever requirements that developers either build or fund affordable housing, has passed significant tenant protections, and is building a state and federal agenda that includes reinvesting in the state Housing Trust Fund and expanding the federal Housing Tax Credit program as part of the Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda. With all this work, the City should not take on irresponsible debt that is far costlier than building affordable housing through these programs, and is at the expense of other immediate and future funding priorities.”

 

Background

In his time in office, Mayor Murray has worked with City Council to ensure an affordable and equitable Seattle for all. In the last two years, Mayor Murray and members of the Council have worked to address the affordability crisis through the most ambitious affordable housing plan in Seattle’s history. The Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda (HALA) sets the City on a path to building 20,000 affordable homes in the next ten years, a tripling of the City’s previous rate of production of affordable housing, as part of ensuring that everyone who works in Seattle can live in Seattle.

With the new Housing Levy and full passage of the Mandatory Housing Affordability Program, the Mayor and City Council are on pace to more than triple spending on affordable housing compared to 2012-2013.

City contributions to affordable housing

 *New Affordable Housing Levy begins in 2017

**MHA projected to take effect middle of 2018, as Incentive Zoning Program (IZ) phases out

Housing Levy

HALA put Seattle on a path to doubling the Seattle Housing Levy, which allows increased investment in housing for people with low or no incomes. The 2016 Housing Levy increases capital investment in new or preserved affordable housing increases to $201 million over the seven-year life of the 2016 Housing Levy. In addition, the 2016 Housing Levy includes $11.5 million for homelessness prevention, $42 million for operating and maintenance funding that allows affordable housing to serve those with extremely low or no incomes, and $9.5 million for homeownership programs.

Mandatory Housing Affordability (MHA)

As part of HALA the City will require developers to either build or fund affordable housing, for the first time. The City is shifting from the voluntary Incentive Zoning Program (IZ) focused primarily on Downtown and South Lake Union to a mandatory program in all areas where multifamily and commercial development is allowed. Last year, the Mayor and Council enacted the commercial framework for this program and this summer, the residential framework. The first rezone under MHA, for the University District, has been transmitted to Council, with Downtown and South Lake Union to be sent in early 2017. The City is on track for 2017 implementation in all other Urban Centers and Villages. HALA’s MHA program alone is projected to create 6,300 units alone over the next 10 years.

Multifamily Tax Exemption

Under HALA, the City expanded the use of the Multifamily Tax Exemption cover more areas, helping ensure affordable housing is built all over the City. In late 2015, Council and the Mayor enacted the expansion increasing the area covered by the program to 100% of all areas where multifamily development is allowed, a nearly 70% increase in area covered by the program. The number of affordable homes created under the MFTE is expected to double from 2015 to 2017.

MFTE projections

State and Federal Agenda

Working with the state legislature, we are also seeking authority for a new dedicated source of revenue for housing, an estimated $30 million per year from REET III, and are simultaneously pursuing a tax exemption program for the preservation of existing affordable housing units. Also at the state level, we are championing reinvestment in the state Housing Trust Fund, seeking the prior high water mark of $200 million after years of erosion. Concurrently, Senator Cantwell is advancing legislation that would expand the federal Housing Tax Credit program that leverages our state and local funding. Together these strategies provide a framework for funding a significant expansion of affordable housing units here in Seattle.

Additional HALA Implementation

The City has already passed and/or implemented other key elements of HALA, including new tenant protections, improvements to the Tenant Relocation Assistance Ordinance and increased funding for regional transit oriented development.  The City is currently working on other HALA initiatives to increase affordability, including increasing access for people with criminal records and parking reforms.

 

Share Button
Print Friendly