Restaurant Success Initiative makes it easier to open a restaurant in Seattle

Mayor

Restaurant SuccessGovernor Jay Inslee, King County Executive Dow Constantine, and Mayor Ed Murray joined the Washington Restaurant Association and restaurant entrepreneurs today in Capitol Hill to announce the launch of Restaurant Success, a new initiative to provide better service and support for prospective restaurateurs.

“I’m excited about this effort because opening a restaurant is a common entry point into the economic mainstream for communities of color, and our business assistance support will be working to reach a broad spectrum of business owners,” said Murray. “We also expect to use this initiative’s approach to shape how we break down silos within government and make it simpler for businesses in Seattle to start and grow. We’re committed to helping businesses succeed here.”

Washington restaurants employ more than 222,900 people statewide with more than 85,905 jobs in King and Snohomish counties. The majority of restaurateurs employ fewer than 20 people. State, county, and city leaders launched Restaurant Success saying that supporting a thriving restaurant industry will provide needed job and career opportunities and make our cities better places to live.

“Restaurant Success is an important milestone in our ongoing efforts to improve the regulatory environment for startups and existing businesses across the state,” said Gov. Inslee. “Our partnership with Seattle, King County, and the restaurant industry has made it easier for prospective local restaurateurs to navigate the permitting and licensing requirements so they can do what they do best: cook delicious food and create jobs. This is an effort we’ll soon be taking to Spokane and Spokane Valley so those cities can streamline their regulatory processes and attract new restaurants.”

Restaurant Success is a public-private partnership between the state of Washington, city of Seattle, King County and the Washington Restaurant Association. The initiative was developed in collaboration with more than 17 agencies and organizations, and includes:

  • A comprehensive, one-stop online guide with city, county, and state permitting and licensing information, and tools to help restaurateurs easily navigate the process.
  • Dedicated customer service and technical assistance in the City of Seattle’s Office of Economic Development led by a new Restaurant Advocate, Jennifer Tam.
  • Ongoing regulatory reform and process improvements across city, county, and state agencies that interact with restaurant entrepreneurs.

Restaurants have tight margins, and are often among the first to feel the impact of shifts in the economy. More than 50% of restaurants close or change hands every five years. This is also an industry where there are a higher number of immigrant and minority entrepreneurs.

The Restaurant Advocate’s role is to provide direct business support and navigational help to restaurant entrepreneurs as they start and operate restaurants in Seattle. In addition to conducting outreach to businesses, specifically ethnic business owners, the Restaurant Advocate will work with partners to improve policies or programs across the public-private partnership.

Restaurant Success is located at www.growseattle.com/restaurant

Mayor Murray, Executive Constantine convene Firearm Violence Prevention Leadership Summit

Firearm Violence Prevention Summit

Mayor Ed Murray and King County Executive Dow Constantine today convened a leadership summit of 75 public health and safety experts to share data on injuries and death related to firearm use, and to develop data-driven strategies and actions that can prevent future firearm-related violence.

“Local jurisdictions must lead the way,” said Murray. “We’ve convened today’s summit to tackle firearm violence with the same data-driven decision-making we use to address other major challenges.”

“Gun violence is a public safety crisis, but it is also a public health crisis,” said Executive Constantine. “We can approach it as a preventable public health problem – and attack it through the kind of proven public health strategies that have reduced deaths from smoking, from auto accidents, and from sudden infant death syndrome. Today we are taking local action to confront this national epidemic.”

The long-planned Firearm Violence Prevention Leadership Summit stems from a February 2013 directive from Executive Constantine to Public Health – Seattle & King County, calling for development of innovative, data-driven local strategies for preventing gun violence in King County. In the time since the signing of that Executive Order, 255 firearm deaths have occurred in King County: 180 by suicide, 78 by homicide, and two by unintended means. The public health and safety experts at the summit include representatives from Public Health, law enforcement, the University of Washington, prosecutors, public defenders, hospitals, suicide prevention, and others.

Today’s meeting brings together agency leaders to create a common understanding of existing data on firearm violence in King County, so they can commit to data-driven strategies and actions. Among the data points presented at today’s summit:

  • More than 125 people each year die in King County as a result of firearm use, meaning more people in King County are killed by gun violence than by car crashes.
  • An estimated 26,500 households in King County store at least one firearm that is unlocked and loaded.
  • Fourteen percent of high school students in King County say it would be easy for them to get a handgun if they wanted.
  • From 1999 to 2012, 68 children were lost to gun violence in King County – two-thirds were murdered, and one-third died by their own hand because they could get hold of a firearm.

More related data can be found on Public Health’s website. Follow-up information will be  released Thursday with details on strategies and actions recommended at the end of the day by summit participants.

 

Murray appoints new leader of Seattle Waterfront program

Mayor Murray thanked Office of the Waterfront Director Jared Smith for his leadership on the waterfront redesign after Smith officially tendered his resignation today.

“Jared has done great work this year to improve coordination within city government and with our many partners on the Seattle waterfront redesign,” said Murray.  “I am especially grateful for his work to update our strategy to reconnect downtown to the waterfront while managing shifting timelines. He leaves the program with a much more strong vision and realistic budget.”

The Office of the Waterfront works with the City’s transportation, planning and parks departments, as well as City utilities and other agencies to coordinate the many components of the major redevelopment project. The office works closely with the Washington State Department of Transportation, the Port of Seattle, waterfront businesses, other community and government organizations, and the public on City’s waterfront redesign.

Smith played a leading role to develop the proposed 2015-2016 budget for the City of Seattle Waterfront Program. The smaller program budget reflects the realities of the revised schedule due to delay in the Alaskan Way Viaduct replacement tunnel.

Smith intends to do some traveling and spend time with family before exploring options for the next chapter in his professional career.

Today, the Mayor appointed Marshall Foster as the Office of the Waterfront’s new Director. Marshall served as Seattle’s Planning Director for four years prior to joining the Mayor’s new Office of the Waterfront as Manager of Design, Planning and Public Engagement. He has been a key leader on the waterfront effort since 2009, and has extensive experience leading complex urban projects. He will oversee a team of engineers, landscape architects and project managers.

Murray cited Foster’s expertise in public engagement and urban planning as a key ingredient to the success of the project.

“This waterfront is an asset for the entire city,” said Foster. “We have an extraordinary opportunity to reinvest in this place where our city started. We will provide the roads and other infrastructure needed along Alaskan Way, as well as create new park space accessible to all. I’m honored to work with the many City departments, agency partners, and community leaders as we implement improvements over the next six years.”

Foster will assume his new responsibilities effective Dec.1st.

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.

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.

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.

Murray travels to Ireland to support business and cultural ties, discuss marriage equality

In his first trip overseas as the Mayor of Seattle, Ed Murray is traveling today to Ireland. He will speak on marriage equality in advance of Ireland’s national vote on same-sex civil marriage, as well as support continued strong business ties between the two nations.

Murray and Galway Mayor Donal Lyons will also celebrate their communities’ three-decade Sister City relationship with fresh-shucked oysters and music from Seattle Police Department’s Pipes and Drums Band.

Seattle enjoys strong economic and cultural ties with Ireland that benefit both of our communities,” said Murray. “Whether it’s Boeing selling hundreds of aircraft to Ryanair or Seattle’s boutique hotels hosting cruise passengers from Dublin, we want to foster those meaningful, productive relationships.”

The trip is a reunion of sorts for Murray. His grandparents emigrated from Ireland in the early 20th century. Murray himself lived in Belfast in 1974.

Seattle and Galway have been sister cities since 1986. Galway, a university town on the west coast, is the fourth-largest community in Ireland. The town is also known as Ireland’s cultural heart and a major tourist destination.

Galway Mayor Donal Lyons will host Murray at Friday’s opening of the Galway Oyster Festival, where the two mayors will share the first oysters of the season.

The Pipes and Drums Band raised private funds from the Seattle Police Foundation and others to join in the Sister City celebrations. Mayor Murray and the Pipes and Drums will march in the annual Oyster Festival parade on Saturday.

During his time there, Mayor Murray will meet with Galway University law students, administrators and faculty. He will lead a roundtable discussion at the university on legislating for employment and marriage equality for the LGBT community of Ireland.

On Monday, Mayor Murray travels to Dublin to meet with the American Chamber of Commerce and speak on the well-established business connections between Seattle and Ireland. The panel will feature speakers from Boeing, Microsoft, Amazon and Sláinte Healthcare.

While in Dublin, Murray will meet with finalists of EY Ireland’s Entrepreneur of the Year program who visited Seattle in 2014. The entrepreneurs met with Murray and Seattle business and education leaders during their visit to the Pacific Northwest in May.

Mayor Murray will also travel to Leinster House, the seat of the Irish national parliament, to meet with government and legislative leaders. The Irish government has indicated that a national referendum on marriage equality will be scheduled for the spring of 2015.

That evening, EY’s UNITY Network is hosting the Mayor where he will speak to the Gay + Lesbian Equality Network on marriage equality and the value of diversity and inclusion in the workforce.

As his trip ends on Tuesday, Mayor Murray will meet with Irish President Michael D. Higgins at his official residence in Dublin, Áras an Uachtaráin.

Mayor proposes new initiatives to serve immigrants

Mayor Ed MurrayMayor Ed Murray today proposed new, innovative and expanded services to support the success and integration of immigrants and refugees new to Seattle.

The efforts, coordinated through the Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs, will improve English language education and job training, encourage eligible permanent residents to pursue U.S. citizenship, and improve engagement of immigrants and refugees in public safety initiatives.

“Immigrants account for nearly one-fifth of all Seattle residents and are a vibrant addition to our City,” said Mayor Ed Murray. “Many are fleeing violence or extreme poverty, seeking a safe place to raise their families. Our goal is to help them gain the skills they need to get a job, start a business and become U.S. citizens here in their new home.”

The mayor made his announcement on Constitution Day and Citizenship Day, when Americans celebrate the adoption of the U.S. Constitution and the civil rights we are granted as citizens.

Murray is proposing new funding to launch an innovative model called Ready for Work: ESL and Computers that integrates English language education with critical job skills training. In the proposed budget, 80 new immigrants will come together for language instruction from the Seattle Colleges and community-based organizations. The courses will be augmented by hands-on skills training in computers and other workplace basics that will open doors to employment.

The mayor is supporting efforts to encourage citizenship through the New Citizens Program by moving it to the Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs in 2016 to amplify its impact and reach. The Seattle area is home to 68,000 legal permanent residents eligible to become citizens; a total of 180,000 people eligible for citizenship live across Washington. Yet only 17,000 new citizens were naturalized in Washington State last year.

Citizenship offers many benefits, including a chance to participate as a voter in our democracy and higher wages and employment rates than non-citizens. New citizens report higher earnings – between 8 and 11 percent higher – after naturalization.

“The Mayor’s proposal is a bold and sensible vision to make real Seattle’s commitment to being a more welcoming community for all of its residents,” said Rich Stolz, Executive Director of OneAmerica. “Together, the programs announced by the mayor will strengthen the City’s Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs and affirm Seattle’s national leadership in supporting our newest Americans to navigate and integrate into our increasingly diverse community. By investing in English language and jobs-readiness training, promoting citizenship, building bridges between refugee residents and law enforcement, and strengthening language access programs, we are investing in more effective government and a more equitable future where everyone belongs.”

Earlier this month, the City launched the Refugee Women’s Institute, a new program designed to build understanding and trust between refugee communities and the Seattle Police Department. The institute, the first of its kind in the nation, will build a grassroots network of emerging refugee women leaders, while increasing the cultural competency of the female officers who participate.

The mayor’s budget will include $680,000 in new funding for OIRA to support these initiatives, for a total 2015 budget of $1,470,000 for the office.

The mayor will submit his budget to the City Council on Sept. 22nd.

Mayor seeks to prioritize area hires for city construction projects

Mayor Murray today proposed legislation to the Seattle City Council that would establish a priority hire program for City public works construction projects of $5 million or more.

The goal of the legislation is to improve access to construction employment and improve training programs for workers in need of family-wage jobs, while minimizing increased costs on City projects. The proposed ordinance would prioritize the hiring of residents that live in economically distressed areas, particularly in Seattle and King County.

“We must do more to bring underrepresented workers into construction careers and allow them access to public works projects funded by the City of Seattle,” said Murray. “We are making much needed investments in City infrastructure, but we must do more to prioritize construction career opportunities for area workers seeking to build their skills.”

Currently, only six percent of workers on City construction projects live in Seattle and only 25 percent live in King County.

Residents of economically distressed areas are even less likely to work on City projects. Only five percent of construction workers contributing to City projects live in the economically disadvantaged areas of Seattle and only nine percent live in King County’s economically disadvantaged areas.

Around one-quarter of all hours worked on City construction projects are provided by members of racial minority groups. Only nine percent of apprentice and four percent of journey-level hours worked were provided by women.

The proposal would use poverty levels, concentrated unemployment and gaps in educational attainment to identify economically distressed communities by zip code, with the aspirational goal of increasing construction career opportunities for women and racial minorities.

The legislation also increases existing requirements for contractors to hire apprentices and introduces requirements for hiring of graduates from local pre-apprentice institutions. The legislation directs the Department of Finance and Administrative Services to support pre-apprentice and apprentice programs in ways that may increase graduation rates and worker retention, including concentrated recruitment to Seattle and King County workers, scholarships for tuition, boots, and tools, and providing classes.

The legislation also directs the City’s Department of Finance and Administrative Services to execute a Project Labor Agreement (PLA) for projects meeting the $5 million threshold for construction costs. PLAs provide a means for unions and union contractors to meet priority hire objectives. PLAs will also ensure that workers and contractors have access to dispute resolution resources and clear rules to help avoid the risk of labor stoppages and/or shortages.

The City piloted the use of a PLA for the Seawall project, and so far has surpassed the traditional performance for hiring of local residents (43 percent of the hours served), women (15 percent of the hours served), people of color (30 percent of the hours served), and those from distressed neighborhoods in Seattle and King County (21 percent).

The goal of the new law is to give access to careers in construction – from pre-apprentice, to apprentice and journey-level worker training. The use of PLAs ensures that hires through the program would have access to union apprenticeships, which cover 45 occupations in 19 construction trades.

The mayor’s proposal is a result of recommendations by the Construction Careers Advisory Committee, which included contractors, labor representatives, training providers and community advocates.  The group was established by the Mayor and City Council in 2013 to make recommendations based on their review of the demographic profile of city construction workers, the construction labor market, the unavailability of a labor force to meet the demand, and current best practices in linking career development and municipal public works construction.

Neighbors invited to Capitol Hill ‘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 Capitol Hill on Wednesday, Sept. 17. This is the eighth 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

Capitol Hill Find It, Fix It Community Walk:
Wednesday, Sept. 17, 6:30 – 8:00 p.m.
E. Olive St. and 11th Ave.
Meet at Cal Anderson Park Shelterhouse (Map)

6:30 – 6:45 p.m.

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

6:45 – 8:00 p.m.

Walk commences along the following route:

  • East on E. Olive St.
  • South on 12th Ave.
  • West on E. Pike St.
  • North on Broadway
  • East on E. Howell St.

8:00 p.m.

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

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