Seattle to enhance Traffic Incident Management

Today the City of Seattle announced it is implementing a series of recommendations for enhancing traffic incident management practices. The changes are based on nationwide best practices for incident response and will enable City departments to better manage on-street collision scenes and help improve traffic flow around these scenes.

“We must do better to clear major collisions because they can create lasting traffic impacts on our city’s road network,” said Mayor Ed Murray. “The steps we are taking will help improve our response time and get traffic flowing after incidents as quickly as possible.”

“I want to see these incident response improvements adopted by year’s end,” said Councilmember Tom Rasmussen, chair of the Council’s Transportation Committee. “Traffic collisions will happen, and that shouldn’t mean the entire city comes to a standstill for hours on end.  We can and will do better.”

To improve its response efforts, the City engaged two consultants with extensive expertise in traffic incident management, the former chief engineer/first deputy commissioner of New York City’s Department of Transportation, Sam Schwartz, and the former chief of the Washington State Patrol and former administrator of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, Annette Sandberg. The consultants were tasked with reviewing the City’s collision response practices, surveying best practices around the country, and providing actionable recommendations for improving the City’s policies and procedures.

Their recommendations, which the City has already begun implementing, include:

  • Establishing a citywide Traffic Incident Management (TIM) program by creating a citywide TIM Policy Manual, a formal memorandum of understanding between departments, and detailed clearance policies and procedures for each department.
  • Conducting comprehensive TIM training for all individuals involved in collision response, to include holding regular multi-agency tabletop exercises and providing Traffic Incident Management training for all Seattle Police Department (SPD) patrol officers.
  • Utilizing nationwide TIM best practices by leveraging the State of Washington’s expertise and joining the state’s TIM Network for best practices and better coordination.
  • Standardizing and enhancing at the scene response by developing a field guide for patrol and traffic officers, conducting training on legal liability and upgrading equipment for response staff.

“The Seattle Police Department is committed to road safety and traffic management,” said Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole. “Our new policies, training and collaborative relationship with SDOT will produce better results and ensure that incidents are cleared faster.”

The City is also implementing the consultants’ recommendations to:

  • Upgrade traffic management operations by creating “Gridlock Alerts,” installing additional traffic cameras and improving the tracking of collision related impacts.
  • Improve towing operations by integrating the towing company into regular TIM training, and creating a “Tow Officer” position within SPD.
  • Enhance commercial vehicle enforcement (CVE) through updated policies for CVE officers on commercial vehicle collisions, deployments of CVE officers to all commercial vehicle collision scenes, and mandatory post-crash inspections of commercial vehicles involved in major incidents.
  • Upgrade data collection on collision response, establishing clearance benchmarks and evaluating performance, and conducting six-month and one-year reviews of TIM practices.

As part of these recommendations, Mayor Murray will submit a resolution to the City Council highlighting the state’s “Steer It, Clear It” laws, which requires motorists to clear vehicles from the roadway after a collision, provided they are able. The resolution will also include reference to the “Hold Harmless” law found in the Revised Code of Washington 46.52.020 (2) (b) to reinforce that SPD responders, and those on scene directed by SPD, will not be held liable for private property damage as they work to restore roadway mobility.

“The hourglass shape of our city, its water crossings, moveable bridges, and limited detour routes around crash sites make collisions problematic for Seattle,” said SDOT Director Scott Kubly. “We are focused on minimizing collisions and, through these improvements, limiting the impact when they occur.”

In March 2015, a commercial vehicle roll-over incident blocked traffic on SR-99, resulting in delays that impacted the city’s entire road network. The Seattle Department of Transportation and the Seattle Police Department collaborated on an after-action report, which recommended that the city engage external consultants to ensure the City implements best practices, and that the City also convene an inter-departmental team to develop an action plan for implementing the consultants’ recommendations.

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Mayor Murray releases action plan to support LGBTQ safety

LGBTQ Task Force Press ConferenceToday Mayor Ed Murray, along with members of the LGBTQ Task Force appointed in March, announced an action plan to support a safe, inclusive and welcoming environment for LGBTQ people in Seattle.

“Seattle has long been a place where everyone can find an accepting and tolerant home,” said Mayor Ed Murray. “We celebrate our history of advancing equity for the LGBTQ community and we will support efforts to make Seattle even more inclusive. Thank you to the task force for identifying these actions to reduce the violent attacks and verbal harassment experienced by LGBTQ people.”

In the first seven months of this year, there were 41 anti-LGBTQ hate-based crimes or incidents reported to Seattle police — a 46-percent increase over the 28 reported in first seven months of 2014.

The mayor’s action plan is organized into four areas: Public Safety, LGBTQ Youth, the Built Environment, and Public Understanding. The Mayor has begun to implement many of the recommendations of the task force, and will act on several more:

  • Seattle Police Department will continue the Safe Place program to identify local businesses that will shelter victims of harassment until officers arrive.
  • The Department of Neighborhoods will use Neighborhood Matching Funds to support projects that promote LGBTQ safety.
  • The City will direct more resources to support Project EQTY and other social service providers that work with LGBT youth.
  • The Human Services Department will improve rapid rehousing and access to hotel vouchers for transgender homeless youth who experience a disproportionately high risk of violence.
  • Seattle City Light, Seattle Public Utilities and the Department of Transportation will address dark alleys and other physical environments on Capitol Hill that provide cover for criminals.
  • Install additional rainbow crosswalks near the new Capitol Hill light rail station.
  • Adopt a new City ordinance to require that single-person restrooms in public accommodations and city facilities be signed for all genders.
  • The Seattle Office for Civil Rights will launch a public campaign to educate all Seattle residents about the concerns and rights of their LGBTQ neighbors.

According to the National Center for Transgender Equality, one in five transgender people experience homelessness at some point in their life.

“We want to thank Mayor Ed Murray for bringing together a broad cross-section of LGBTQ community leaders to address these important issues,” said Monisha Harrell, Chair of Equal Rights Washington and Co-Chair of the LGBTQ Task Force. “Although diverse in experience, perspective and opinion, each task force member was committed to achieving our end goal of improving public safety. The Mayor and his team have done a terrific job of bringing all of the voices at the table to develop a plan that is realistic in making a difference. We greatly appreciate their commitment and work.”

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Murray to focus on housing affordability in denser neighborhoods

 

Today Mayor Ed Murray issued the following statement announcing he will not recommend pursuing a Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda (HALA) committee recommendation that could have changed 94 percent of single-family zones in Seattle. Instead, he is calling for renewed public dialogue on how best to increase affordable housing in denser neighborhoods:

“The Council and I created the HALA process because our city is facing a housing affordability crisis. In the weeks since the HALA recommendations were released, sensationalized reporting by a few media outlets has created a significant distraction and derailed the conversation that we need to have on affordability and equity.

“Fundamentally, this is a conversation about building a Seattle that welcomes people from all walks of life — where working people, low-income families, seniors, young people and the kids of current residents all can live in our city.

“We also must not be afraid to talk about the painful fact that parts of our city are still impacted by the intersection of income, race and housing. Look at a map and take a walk through our neighborhoods. We can move beyond the legacy of the old boundaries of exclusion that have remained largely unchanged since nearly a century ago when neighborhood covenants were used to keep people of color south of Madison Street.

“I have always believed that Seattle can step up and have a difficult conversation about our history of racial discrimination and economic inequality. Our shared vision for Seattle includes affordable housing and diversity in all our neighborhoods.

“To advance the broader conversation about affordable housing and equity, I will no longer pursue changes that could allow more types of housing in 94 percent of single-family zones. Instead, we will refocus the discussion on designing denser Urban Centers, Urban Villages and along transit corridors that include more affordable housing.”

 

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City of Seattle awards $467,000 for neighborhood projects

The City of Seattle is awarding $467,562 in matching funds to support neighborhood-initiated projects across Seattle. Twenty-eight community groups received awards from the Neighborhood Matching Fund for a variety of events, cultural festivals and projects.

“These projects are the result of neighbors working together to better their community,” said Mayor Ed Murray. “The entire city benefits from their volunteerism and talent as they create, plan and implement these projects. The Neighborhood Matching Fund is there to support their efforts, whether it is an exhibit, a documentary or a playground.”

These awards are part of the Small and Simple Projects Fund, one of three funds offered by Seattle Department of Neighborhoods. It provides cash awards of up to $25,000 in matching funds to community organizations committed to fostering and building a better community. The 2015 June awards range from $4,000 to $25,000, and the organizations pledge to match the City’s $467,562 investment with $600,132 of locally raised money, donated materials and volunteer labor.

“There is a reason the Neighborhood Matching Fund has existed for 27 years. It’s been a valuable resource for communities to turn their visions into reality,” said Kathy Nyland, director of Seattle Department of Neighborhoods. “Plus, for every dollar awarded, the community leverages the funds by matching the award. And this round of projects shows the diversity of ideas and creativity, proving once again how resourceful communities are throughout this city.”

In addition to the Small and Simple Projects Fund, the Neighborhood Matching Fund (NMF) has two other programs: the Large Projects Fund which provides matching funds of up to $100,000 and the Small Sparks Fund which provides funds of up to $1,000. Since 1988 more than 5,000 projects have been completed by neighborhoods and communities with the help of NMF, and its investment in neighborhoods can be seen across the city. For more information about all of the funds visit seattle.gov/neighborhoods/nmf/.

The Small and Simple Projects Fund opens again for applications in September with a deadline of October 5. To learn more visit seattle.gov/neighborhoods/nmf/smallandsimple.htm.

2015 June Small and Simple Projects Fund Awardees

Citywide Projects

  • $8,927 to Seattle-Sihanoukville Sister City Association to produce an event to provide education and share stories of Cambodian refugees during the Khmer Rouge Genocide and their resettlement in the United States. (Community match: $13,365)
  • $25,000 to Center for Linguistic and Cultural Democracy to produce a Seattle Caribbean Festival sharing cultural performances and cultural exchange to unite members of the diverse Caribbean community. (Community match: $20,480)
  • $10,000 to Gay City Health Project to solicit public input to create a database of health care providers to ensure the LGBTQ community has access to high quality, competent healthcare. (Community match: $7,220)

South Seattle Projects

  • $11,830 to Cheasty Greenspace at MountainView to finish elements to the Valley View trail’s trailhead connection, install wayfinding, and host a celebration. (Community match: $12,000)
  • $23,500 to Colman Park Restoration Project to develop a vegetation plan with community input for the west slope of Colman Park. (Community match: $12,260)
  • $5,110 to Othello Park Alliance to plant a hillside at Othello Park with 100% low native plants and involve the community in the selection and process. (Community match: $5,150)

West Seattle Projects

  • $24,400 to Chief Sealth Indoor Tennis to conduct a feasibility study and develop a conceptual plan for an indoor tennis center at the former Denny Middle School site. (Community match: $14,720)
  • $25,000 to South Park Area Redevelopment Committee to create a design with public input, construction documents, and cost estimates to improve Duwamish Waterway Park. (Community match: $45,575)
  • $21,395 to the West Seattle Time Bank to host 20 community events and workshops to promote timebanking and increase participation in West Seattle. (Community match: $22,840)
  • $15,000 to Circulo de Mamas Seattle to convene 20 Latina mothers and community members to further develop their community leadership through culturally relevant training. (Community match: $25,550)

North Seattle Projects (north of Ship Canal)

  • $12,000 to Low Incoming Housing Institute to produce a free event series that feature the people and topics relating to the Ballard neighborhood. (Community match: $6,320)
  • $24,400 to Ballard Historical Society to conduct a historic inventory of the Ballard community and utilize a visual and interactive GIS mapping component to engage volunteers and the public. (Community match: $32,400)
  • $15,000 to Ballard Partnership for Smart Growth to perform outreach within Ballard to garner interest in a proposed Business Improvement Area (BIA) to serve the needs of the neighborhood. (Community match: $17,820)
  • $11,500 to Troll’s Knoll P-Patch community garden to build and outfit a tool shed, create pathways, purchase equipment, and build accessible raised beds. (Community match: $12,550)
  • $4,000 to Friends of the Lake City Fred Meyer Garden Project to lead a community design process to beautify and activate a parcel of land owned by Fred Meyer for community benefit. (Community match: $2,240)
  • $25,000 to Freedom Project to organize a serves of free workshops to address racial inequity by engaging in collective learning, dialogue, and action. (Community match: $21,730)
  • $12,000 to Lake City Future First to improve a website and use it as a place to post volunteer opportunities and projects needing support, connect Lake City to resources, and encourage posts by community members for broad community engagement. (Community match: $13,260)

Central Seattle Projects

  • $25,000 to Leschi Community Council to install Fitness Zone equipment in Powell Barnett Park to increase the neighborhood’s access to health and fitness. (Community match: $39,500)
  • $25,000 to Friends of Cayton Corner Park to prepare construction documents for a neighborhood pocket park on Capitol Hill. (Community match: $12,630)
  • $11,500 to 23rd Avenue ACT (Action Core Team) to produce the Central Area Block Party in September to highlight the history and culture of the community. (Community match: $10,712)
  • $12,000 to the MLK Family Arts Mentoring Enrichment Community Center to conduct a planning study and prepare a master plan to renovate the facility’s kitchen. (Community match: $23,400)
  • $15,000 to Friends of Cathay Post Oral History Project to produce a documentary and publication of the stories of Chinese American WWII and Korean War veterans. (Community match: $33,700)
  • $12,000 to The Art of Alzheimer’s to organize a free art exhibition featuring paintings by people living with dementia to deepen community understanding of the disease. (Community match: $25,280)
  • $25,000 to Friends of Alley Gallery to develop recommendations to transform the Bell Street Park alleys into assets for ongoing creativity. (Community match: $14,100)
  • $15,000 to Growing Vine Street to increase capacity and engage the community in a dialogue about green space needs, neighborhood history, and other topics through two events. (Community match: $23,100)
  • $12,000 to Capitol Hill Housing Foundation to engage renters living in the Capitol Hill EcoDistrict in voter registration and a 2016 Renters Summit. (Community match: $30,980)
  • $16,000 to Sustainable Capitol Hill to create a community tool library and fixer’s collective to provide items to check out or use in the workshop. (Community match: $42,100)
  • $25,000 to Lawton Elementary School PTA to complete construction-ready documents to modernize the playground and redesign the surrounding space for the neighborhood. (Community match: $59,150)
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Statement on Monfort sentencing

Mayor Ed Murray and Chief Kathleen O’Toole issued the following statements this afternoon after a King County jury sentenced Christopher Monfort to life in prison for the murder of Seattle Police Officer Tim Brenton, the attempted murder of Officer Britt Kelly and Sergeant Gary Nelson, and the arson of a city facility:

“Today’s sentencing of Christopher Monfort ends a horrifying chapter in the history of Seattle and its Police Department. I pray Officer Timothy Brenton’s family and loved ones can find some solace now that the sentencing phase has ended. I thank the men and women of the Seattle Police Department for their dedication and for putting themselves at risk every day to serve and protect the people of this city. I also commend the jury for its service.”

Additionally, Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole also issued the following statement:

“Today’s verdict and life sentence of Christopher Monfort is a small measure of justice for our fallen brother, Officer Timothy Brenton. We will never forget Tim’s smile, dedication, and friendship – and will hold these qualities dear as we protect and serve our city and each other.”

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Statement on death of Donnie Chin

Today Mayor Ed Murray issued the following statement after the shooting death of Donnie Chin:

“Donnie was a great community leader and his tragic death is a tremendous loss to Chinatown-International District, the broader Asian-Pacific Islander community, all of Seattle, and to me personally. As co-founder of the International District Emergency Center, he dedicated his life to making the Chinatown-International District – the neighborhood he loved – a safe place for all. I had the opportunity to work with Donnie over the years, including at our Find It, Fix It walk in the neighborhood last summer. His focus was always on the health and safety of others.

“On behalf of the entire city, I want to express my deepest sympathies to Donnie’s family, friends and the community.”

Additionally, Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole also issued the following statement:

“I was shocked and saddened to learn of Donnie Chin’s death. He was a wonderful friend to the SPD and will be sorely missed. We join his family and friends in mourning this terrible loss. We will also work tirelessly to bring his killer to justice.”

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Mayor Murray announces homelessness and public health hires

Today, Mayor Ed Murray announced the appointment of James R. Theofelis as the Special Advisor on Homelessness and Jeffrey Sakuma as Health Integration Strategic Advisor. James and Jeffrey will officially begin August 12, 2015. These two newly created positions will be housed in the Human Services Department.

“The number of unsheltered homeless people in Seattle has rising dramatically in the past several years,” said Mayor Ed Murray. “As we stand up additional shelter beds and permitted encampments, Jim’s leadership in the non-profit sector will be instrumental in bringing more faith-based and community partners to our effort to support people in crisis.”

Theofelis will provide strategic leadership to the department and the city in efforts to align strategy and resources to address and end homelessness. He was founder and executive director of Mockingbird Society, an advocacy organization dedicated to address the needs of homeless youth and young adults. Under Jim’s leadership, the Mockingbird Society was instrumental in building a statewide coalition of youth advocates who were successful in passing legislative changes to improve access to services for our most vulnerable young people. Theofelis will earn $125,000 per year.

“The City and King County enjoy a strong collaboration on public health,” said Murray. “Jeff will help us build on that history to improve delivery of mental health and addiction services, access to nutrition and support for childhood immunization.”

Sakuma will guide the $14 million investment of City funds for Behavioral & Public Health services provided by Public Health – Seattle & King County. He will be responsible for analyzing, coordinating and driving health and mental health policy for the City. Jeff has had an extensive career in healthcare, most recently at Group Health, where he served in various roles including the director for Medicaid and subsidized programs. Sakuma will earn $110,000 per year.

The Seattle Human Services Department is one of the largest contributors to Seattle’s safety net as it provides $99 million in funding through 522 contracts to nearly 200 agencies that support Seattle’s most vulnerable residents each year. The department works closely with its community partners, including other public and nonprofit funders and service providers, to understand current and emerging human service needs, and to create and invest in a comprehensive and integrated regional human services system.

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Mayor announces 2015 Mayor’s Arts Awards recipients

Today Mayor Ed Murray announced the recipients of the 2015 Mayor’s Arts Awards. The award honorees include three individuals and two organizations, and represent categories ranging from promoting arts as a means of social change to cultural preservation. The Seattle Arts Commission recommended the recipients from a pool of more than 400 public nominations. The Mayor’s Arts Awards recognize the contributions of artists, creative industries and cultural organizations who contribute to Seattle’s reputation as a hub of creativity and innovation.

“This year’s Mayor’s Arts Awards winners exemplify Seattle’s creativity,” said Mayor Ed Murray. “They are the best in Seattle: talented, multi-disciplinary, passionate, visionary and diverse. It is fitting to celebrate their accomplishments at the 45th anniversary of Bumbershoot, the largest urban arts festival in North America.”

The 2015 honorees are:

  • Cultural Ambassador: Robin K. Wright
  • Arts & Innovation: Akio Takamori
  • Cultural Preservation: Densho
  • Future Focus: Seattle JazzED
  • Creative Industries: Daniel Brown

Recipients will be honored at the Mayor’s Arts Awards ceremony, on Friday, Sept. 4 at 4 p.m. at the Seattle Center’s Mural Amphitheatre. The event will be free and open to the public. Presented in partnership with Bumbershoot, the awards ceremony is part of the official opening of Bumbershoot 2015. For 45 years, Bumbershoot has served as Seattle’s annual end-of-summer party — a celebration of music, art and creativity held beneath the iconic Space Needle. This year’s festival offers several exciting changes, including two mainstage locations (Memorial Stadium and KeyArena) and a new non-profit sponsor in the Center for Infectious Disease Research (CIDR) http://www.CIDresearch.org.

This year Bumbershoot’s Visual Arts offerings coincide with Seattle Center and the Office of Arts & Culture’s temporary installations sited throughout the campus titled, Seattle Center Sculpture Walk, on display August 24, 2015 – January 3, 2016.  Katherine Abarbanel, Alex Anderson, J. Adam Brinson, Eva Funderburgh, Kait Rhoads, Timea Tihanyi, and Jennifer Zwick were selected to design and develop a series of small-scale temporary artworks, which will be installed on city-owned infrastructure or building facades on the Seattle Center Campus.  The artworks are intended to incite moments of surprise, contemplation, and enliven the visitor experience by introducing an element of the unexpected into everyday environments throughout the Seattle Center campus.  There will be a tour and artists reception for the Seattle Center Sculpture Walk Tour, on Thursday, September 17 from 4 – 5 p.m. The tour will start at the south Seattle Center Armory entrance near Starbucks in front of the armory “O” at 305 Harrison St. The tour ends in the armory where guests, 21 and up can participate in Seattle’s Best Damn Happy Hour featuring a no-host bar and specials from Armory restaurants.

The Mayor’s Arts Awards are presented in partnership with media sponsor City Arts and event sponsors The Boeing Company and Chihuly Garden and Glass.

For more information about the Mayor’s Arts Awards, including past recipients, visit http://www.seattle.gov/arts/events/arts_awards.asp.

2015 Mayor’s Arts Award recipients

Dr. Robin K. Wright – Cultural Ambassador Award

Dr. Robin K. Wright is an expert on the Native arts of the Pacific Northwest. She has taught art history at the University of Washington and served as Curator of Native American Art at the Burke Museum since 1985. Since 2003, she has directed the Bill Holm Center for the Study of Northwest Native Art, a learning center dedicated to increasing Native and public access to research resources and fostering appreciation and understanding of Native art of the Pacific Northwest Coast.

Akio Takamori – Arts & Innovation Award

Takamori, Akio (born 1950, Nobeoka, Japan; lives in Seattle) studied at the Musashino Art University in Tokyo before apprenticing with a traditional folk potter in Koishiwara, Japan. He came to the United States in 1974. Takamori studied at Kansas City Art Institute, receiving his BFA in 1976 and earned his MFA from New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University in 1978. His work is represented in many public collections, including the Seattle Art Museum, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Nelson-Adkins Museum of Art, and the Victoria & Albert Museum, London, UK. Takamori was awarded National Endowments for the Arts grants in 1986, 1988, and 1992. In 2001 he was awarded the Virginia A. Groot Foundation grant and in 2006 he received the Joan Mitchell Foundation Award. In 2011 he was awarded a USA Ford Fellowship. Takamori is professor emeritus at the University of Washington.

Densho – Cultural Preservation Award

Densho is a digital, public history organization. It works to preserve and share stories of Japanese Americans who were unjustly incarcerated during World War II by recording firsthand accounts, digitizing historical images and documents, and developing classroom resources. They make these materials available to the public for free so that they can be used to explore issues of democracy, intolerance, wartime hysteria, civil rights, and the responsibilities of citizenship in our increasingly global society. They encourage use of these resources to expand awareness of our country’s diverse history, to stimulate critical thinking, to develop ethical decision-making skills, and to help ensure that democratic principles are upheld now and in the future. Densho’s work is nationally acclaimed with awards from the American Library Association, Society of American Archivists, and the Oral History Association.

Seattle JazzED – Future Focus

Seattle JazzED empowers students of all skill levels and backgrounds to realize their full potential through exceptional music education. We were founded on the belief that this education should be accessible to all students, regardless of ability to pay. As a result, any student can get financial aid for any program at JazzED. Seattle JazzED programs include big band ensembles, master classes, workshops and summer camps, and we are known for innovative educational initiatives like the New Works Ensemble, Girls Ellington Project and Summer Jazz Ambassadors. Along with musical skills, JazzED students learn the values of discipline, focus and teamwork. JazzED also develops citizenship by providing students with opportunities to perform, volunteer and mentor in the broader community. Our goal is to instill a set of values in every child that makes them not only a successful musician but a successful human being.

Daniel Brown – Creative Industries

Daniel James Brown taught writing at San Jose State University and Stanford before becoming a technical editor at Microsoft. He now writes narrative nonfiction books full time. His primary interest as a writer is in bringing historical events vividly and accurately to life on the page. Daniel’s most recent book—The Boys in the Boat—has spent over a year on the New York Times bestseller list. The Boys in the Boat was the ABA’s 2014 “Indie’s Choice” nonfiction book of the year and won the 2014 Washington State Book Award in nonfiction. His two previous books—Under a Flaming Sky and The Indifferent Stars Above—were also finalists for the Washington State Book Award. Daniel lives in the country outside of Seattle with his wife, two daughters, and an assortment of cats, dogs, chickens, and honeybees. When he is not writing, he is likely to be birding, gardening, fly-fishing, reading, or chasing bears away from the beehives.

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City of Seattle affirms privacy as human right

The Seattle City Council voted unanimously this afternoon to adopt Resolution 31598, affirming privacy as a human right and aligning the work of the City’s privacy initiative with the right to privacy as described in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

“As we continue to make innovative technology investments to improve our services, the City is handling increasing amounts of data,” said Mayor Ed Murray. “Seattle is implementing a Digital Privacy Initiative to support public trust in the security and privacy of personal information.”

“The City of Seattle prides itself on being a leader in proactively protecting human rights beyond the status quo,” said Councilmember Bruce Harrell, chair of the Council’s Public Safety, Civil Rights, and Technology. “The passage of this resolution is a monumental step towards extending human rights protections in the digital era we live in.”

In response to privacy concerns, the City of Seattle launched a privacy initiative in fall 2014 to strengthen the City’s privacy practices, establish protocols to educate City departments, and assess risks to the public when collecting data through the course of business. Through this initiative, both internal and external stakeholder groups were convened to review the City’s privacy practices and develop a City-wide privacy policy. Resolution 31570 was passed in February 2015, adopting the City of Seattle Privacy Principles to guide the actions of the City when collecting personal information from the public to provide services.

In December 2012, the Seattle City Council adopted Resolution 31420 proclaiming Seattle to be a Human Rights City, endorsing the human rights set forth in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, recognizing the importance of using the international human rights framework for cities to work on their commitment to protecting, respecting, and fulfilling the full range of universal human rights.

 

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Mayor to attend Vatican climate forum

Mayor Ed Murray will travel to Rome for the Vatican conference on climate change and human trafficking held on July 21-22. The Vatican has called for a renewed international conversation about ending social and environmental exploitation, and has invited mayors from around the globe to attend the conference.

“The time is now for local leadership,” said Bishop Marcelo Sanchez Sorondo, Chancellor of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences. “Given how much human trafficking and human-induced global warming is happening at the city level, we are turning to the mayors because we believe they provide real leadership, as we work together to ensure that the earth and those who dwell on it are no longer treated as expendable.”

Mayor Murray will address the conference Tuesday on Seattle’s effort to prepare for and adapt to climate change. The mayor’s remarks will focus on how cities can lead the way on equity and environmental justice to ensure that the benefits of progressive policies reach all in the community.

“Seattle is an innovative leader in sustainability and carbon reduction, but too often the benefits of our progress are not equitably shared,” said Murray. “Our most at-risk communities, low-income families and communities of color are disproportionally impacted by climate change. Seattle is committed to changing this through our Equity and Environment Initiative to ensure strong social justice outcomes in our environmental policy. I’m humbled to have the opportunity to share this experience with global leaders as we heed the Pope’s call for action.”

The mayor’s airfare and accommodations at the conference will be paid for by the Pontifical Academy of Sciences.

Other U.S. mayors participating include: Bill de Blasio (New York City), Charlie Hales (Portland, OR), Betsy Hodges (Minneapolis), Mitch Landrieu (New Orleans), Edwin Lee (San Francisco) and Marty Walsh (Boston).

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