Mayor Murray’s statement on Seattle Police officer conduct

Mayor Murray today issued the following statement on conduct by a Seattle Police officer related to an arrest last summer and subsequent social media posts:

“I am very disappointed by these incidents. They are both concerning to me.

While I support the Chief’s decision yesterday to call for a more comprehensive review of the overall conduct and performance of the officer involved – considering there were two incidents with this officer in the same summer – there appear to be lapses in our protocols.

I’ve directed the Chief to look not just at the officer’s conduct, but all the circumstances and decisions related to these incidences. We must do more to reform our system to restore the public’s trust in our police department so that everyone feels safe in our communities.

After meeting with the Chief this morning, we agreed she will conduct a comprehensive management investigation and transfer the officer to non-patrol duties for the time being.”

Mayor, council celebrate Seattle’s new priority hire ordinance

Youth Build

Marquia Woo, a recent graduate of an apprenticeship program, speaks about the opportunities that job training programs like Youth Build create for communities. Since Woo graduated from her training program, she has been working on Seattle’s Seawall with Mortenson Construction.

 

Mayor Murray, city councilmembers, construction contractors, community members and workers today celebrated the signing of Seattle’s new priority hire law that will bring more jobs to disadvantaged communities through City construction projects of $5 million or more.

“This law is a major move to support workforce development for areas in our region that are being left behind,” said Murray. “This new priority hire ordinance ensures direct access to training programs and construction jobs. New city streets and community centers will not just benefit all of us that use them, but also local workers seeking a career in the trades and earnings to support a family.”

The ordinance will 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 in Seattle and King County.

“With this bill, more Seattleites who have faced barriers to getting into construction careers will reap the rewards of both a well-paying job in the short-term and portable skills for the future,” said Councilmember Sally J. Clark, the legislation’s sponsor and chair of the council’s Housing Affordability, Human Services and Economic Resiliency Committee. “This legislation has been a team effort all the way through and the community of social justice advocates has been invaluable in getting us this far. The impact of this bill for people in Seattle will be far-reaching and lasting as more people find the training and careers to change their lives.”

The ordinance will 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.

“Using our local tax dollars to put people from communities in our city with higher unemployment to work just makes good sense,” said Councilmember Mike O’Brien, co-sponsor of the legislation. “I am proud of the step we are taking today, and I also want to acknowledge the incredible community organizing that began years ago to bring this bill to fruition.”

Currently, 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.

The City piloted the concept on the Seawall project, where compared to past roadway projects, there has been an increase in the hiring of local residents (44 percent of the hours served), women (15 percent of the hours served), people of color (26 percent of the hours served), and those from distressed neighborhoods in Seattle and King County (22 percent).

“We are standing here today to boldly say we know we have great, qualified local workers, so let’s keep these jobs in this City and foster career opportunities for our community,” said Councilmember Bruce Harrell. “This was an inclusive process with our local workers, contractors, labor, and social and environmental justice advocates.”

The ordinance increases existing requirements for contractors to hire apprentices – between 15 and 20 percent of positions – and introduces requirements for hiring of graduates from local pre-apprentice institutions. The City’s Department of Finance and Administrative Services (FAS) will support pre-apprentice and apprentice programs to increase graduation rates and worker retention, including concentrated recruitment of Seattle and King County workers, scholarships for tuition, boots and tools, and providing classes. 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 ordinance also directs FAS to execute Project Labor Agreements on projects meeting the $5 million threshold to provide the means to meet priority hire objectives and help avoid the risk of labor stoppages and/or shortages.

“The Building Trades is excited to be part of this historic agreement to improve community inclusion in the construction industry,” said Lee Newgent, Executive Secretary, Washington State Building and Construction Trades Council.

“We need to get more diverse people into the construction trades and help those trade workers who live in Seattle to hold good jobs,” said Connie Gersberg, owner of Metro Painting, LLC. “This ordinance will make the field better for local workers and help small and disadvantaged companies have a better chance to compete.”

Ordinance Signing at Youth Build The mayor signed the ordinance at the Georgetown Campus of South Seattle College, home to YouthCare’s YouthBuild program and other educational opportunities that open the door to careers in the construction trades.

“We know that jobs are the solution to youth homelessness, young adult poverty, and youth violence,” says Dr. Melinda Giovengo, Executive Director of YouthCare. “Priority hire offers an opportunity for graduates of pre-apprentice training programs like YouthCare’s YouthBuild to find stable, career-path jobs in our community, and have an opportunity to shape the future of Seattle.”

“This Priority Hire Ordinance will allow me to start my own career right here where I live, not just get a job, but give me the chance to actually build the city I live in and raise my daughter,” said Aikilah Eslava, a student at South Seattle College.

For more information: http://www.seattle.gov/city-purchasing-and-contracting/social-equity/labor-equity

$470,000 in matching funds offered for technology projects; applications due March 19

Apply now 000024468147XSmallThe City of Seattle invites community organizations and nonprofits to apply for nearly $500,000 in funding to increase digital equity. The Technology Matching Fund awards are matched by the community’s contribution of volunteer labor, materials, professional services or funding.

“As a city, Seattle is known for technology and innovation, yet too many residents do not have sufficient internet access or the skills necessary to participate fully in today’s economy,” said Mayor Ed Murray. “This funding leverages the resources of the community by matching time and funding.”

The Technology Matching Fund has been in existence since 1997 and this year the City has $470,000 available for matching awards of up to $30,000 each to community groups and nonprofits. The deadline to apply is March 19, 2015.

The funding will be awarded in July to organizations who will improve digital equity by connecting traditionally-underserved populations, empower residents with digital literacy skills, and encourage diverse communities to use technology for civic participation.

Application materials and more information are available at www.seattle.gov/tech/tmf/.

Two workshops will be held for those interested in applying for the matching funds. The free workshops will provide an overview of the grant program, explain how to apply and detail characteristics of a successful application. First time applicants are encouraged to attend.

Tuesday, Feb. 10: 10 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
2100 Building, 2100 24th Ave South, 98144

Thursday, Feb. 12: 6 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
Solid Ground, 1501 N. 45th St, 98103

Interpretation and accommodations are available upon request by calling 206-233-2751 or emailing communitytechnology@seattle.gov by February 6.

20 years later: How are urban villages performing?

15217953753_a3969ec15e_zOn Wednesday, January 28, former Seattle City Councilmember Peter Steinbrueck will present the results and achievements of the Urban Village strategy, which was first adopted into the Seattle Comprehensive Plan in 1994. Part of the Seattle Sustainable Neighborhoods Project (SSNAP), Steinbrueck will share what he believes has worked and how we can continue to monitor how well the Comprehensive Plan is working to manage growth in the city.

It’s been 20 years since the City adopted the 1994 Comprehensive Plan. The Plan’s hallmark, the “urban village strategy,” aimed to guide growth and City investment to designated urban centers and villages. The Seattle Sustainable Neighborhoods Assessment Project (SSNAP) is a study that measures results and achievements of the urban village strategy. Hear about the findings and conclusions that will inform Seattle 2035, the process to update the plan for the 120,000 more people and 115,000 more jobs expected over the next 20 years.

Measuring the Success of Seattle’s Urban Village Strategy

When: Wednesday, January 28
Where: City Hall, Bertha Knight Landes Room, 600 4th Ave. (Enter on 5th Ave.)
Time: 5:30 p.m. (Open House), 6:00 – 7:00 p.m. (Program)
RSVP here

Statement on the Timing of the Environmental Impact Statement for the Potential New Arena in Seattle

Today Mayor Ed Murray issued the following statement on the timing of the Environmental Impact Statement for the potential new arena in Seattle:

“Thursday afternoon I received a briefing about the arena project from the Department of Planning and Development. It was during that briefing that I was informed about the delayed EIS. I have asked DPD to review the EIS timeline and to bring greater transparency to the process surrounding the arena proposal, for all who have an interest in it.”

Murray on Supreme Court decision to hear marriage equality case: ‘This nation is ready’

Mayor Murray released the following statement today in response to the Supreme Court’s decision to hand down a ruling on marriage equality by June 2015:

“Together we worked for decades in Washington State to pass marriage equality and to help prepare the nation for this moment – when the United States Supreme Court has the opportunity to rule that all Americans should be treated equally under the law regardless of who they love or in which state they live.

I am proud to live in a state where more than one million voters have already affirmed the rights currently under review by the Supreme Court. I know that millions more await an affirmation that equality is not reserved for the few, but for the many. This nation is ready.

Most importantly, we will watch as thousands of gay and lesbian families, who are still living without legal protection in their home states, fulfill their dreams of equality.

It is time that we settle the question once and for all with a simple word – yes. Yes, you can marry the person you love, and yes, your family has a right to be protected under the law just like any other family.”

Murray expands shelter for homeless people, proposes encampment ordinance

Mayor Murray delivers recommendations from his Emergency Unsheltered Homelessness Task Force

Today, Mayor Murray announced several actions to respond to the growing number of homeless people forced to sleep on the streets of Seattle, including an expansion of emergency shelter and the establishment of up to three permitted tent encampments on City or private lands in Seattle.

“These folks are our neighbors, each with his or her own unfortunate path to homelessness,” said Murray. “The dramatic erosion of state and federal investments to respond to their challenges have created a full-blown crisis. With current shelters at capacity, we must fund additional beds immediately.”

Beginning Jan. 15, the city will double the size of the emergency shelter at the King County Administration Building. The facility currently serves as a seasonal shelter that hosts 50 beds during the coldest winter months. Murray said that by the end of January, the city will also fund another 15 shelter beds at a Capitol Hill facility specifically for youth living on the streets.

The city currently funds 1,700 shelter beds – each serving an average of 6 people a year. The Seattle City Council has already set aside funding that will be used to pay for the additional shelter capacity announced today. The cost for the additional beds is $182,000.

The city continues to look at options to establish additional shelter space in surplus city buildings, but all sites would require improvements before they could serve in that capacity.

This week, the mayor is also transmitting a draft ordinance to the City Council that allows for up to three permitted encampments in Seattle at any one time, each serving up to 100 people. These encampments could be located on vacant parcels in non-residential areas. Sites on both private and City lands would be eligible for permits, but the mayor’s proposal excludes City parks.

“Permitted encampments are not, in my view, a long-term strategy to end homelessness, but organized encampments have less impact on our neighborhoods and provide a safer environment than what we see on our streets today,” said Murray.

Under the mayor’s proposal, the new permitted encampments must be located within a half-mile of a transit stop and more than one mile from each other. Each site would be required to move every 12 months. Unlike the existing encampment ordinance, sponsorship by a religious organization would not be required.

These new permitted sites would be required to provide residents access to city social services developed to help people manage their challenges and transition from homelessness to more permanent housing.

The social service agencies that operate these new encampments would also participate in the same data collection tools as the City’s current homeless shelters. The client information remains private, but helps the city continue to improve service delivery.

“I’m pleased that the Mayor will be reintroducing a new version of the bill I proposed last year to allow for longer term temporary encampments,” said Councilmember Nick Licata. “This is not the solution to homelessness, but we simply can’t wait to solve homelessness. The City has a responsibility today to the 2,300 people sleeping outside on any given night in Seattle, so that they can at least stay together and stay safe.”

“This announcement today is an important step in addressing the most immediate challenges that homeless people face in our city–a safe place to be at night,” said Councilmember Mike O’Brien. “I think the Mayor’s encampment proposal is a smart approach that provides the stability of a place to be, while also offering services to support people trying to get back into housing.”

“Everyone deserves a safe place to sleep,” said Councilmember Sally Bagshaw. “This legislation is an important first step to help people transition to stable housing, the compassionate solution. I applaud the Task Force’s work and look forward to implementing this recommendation. Seattle needs places for people to stay and I am glad to see this legislation moving forward with urgency. This conversation is by no means over, but this is a great start to ensuring our city is safe for all.”

Under the existing ordinance governing encampments, religious institutions are permitted to host tent encampments. The mayor’s proposal would require community outreach prior to applying for a permit, as well as the formation of a Community Advisory Committee in the neighborhood of the encampment. The Seattle Department of Human Services will craft a toolkit that these organizations can use to develop a new shelter or encampment site.

The mayor’s proposals to support permitted encampments can also be funded from existing budgets at the cost of $85,000, which includes support for operations, including electricity and sanitation.

“It will take our whole community to end homelessness, and the diversity of the task force was a demonstration of our community’s vast compassion and commitment to reach this goal,” said Mark Putnam, Director of the Committee to End Homelessness in King County. “The Mayor’s recommendations recognize that shelters and encampments are stabilizing for people experiencing the crisis of homelessness, and also that they are only the first step in the process of finding a long-term home.”

Seattle Human Services Interim Director John Okamoto will issue a report in March that evaluates the City’s spending on homelessness services and interventions—currently $37 million a year—with recommendations on better aligning the city’s efforts with national best practices.

You can read the Mayor’s full remarks here.

Mayors agree to bet ahead of NFC Championship Game

Fremont Brewing beer and Beecher's Flagship cheeseIn the countdown to the Sunday, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray and Green Bay Mayor Jim Schmitt have agreed to a traditional mayoral bet.

“I’m in!” shouted Murray. “Our team is on a roll, the seismographs are set and the 12s are primed. The Seahawks are going to punch their ticket to Phoenix.”

What else could the wager be when the Seahawks take on the storied Green Bay Packers? Why, beer and cheese, of course.

Seattle’s offering includes a large block of Flagship from Beecher’s Handmade Cheese and an assortment of craft beers from Fremont Brewing, including Dark Star Imperial Oatmeal Stout, Universale Pale Ale, Interurban IPA, 77 Select Session IPA and Bonfire Ale.

Green Bay is showcasing Titletown Brewing’s Green 19 IPA and Johnny Blood Red Ale, Titletown Brewing Summer Sausages flavored with Dark Helmet, Green 19 IPA and Canadeo Gold beers, and an award-winning wheel of Belioioso Parmesan Cheese.

“They may call themselves America’s Dairyland, but when your aunt from Wisconsin visits next summer, I guarantee the first place she wants to go is Pike Place Market to get some Beecher’s,” said Murray. “And given the odds of a Green Bay victory, the only way those Packers fans are going to enjoy our famous Northwest craft brews is to fly out here to the Center of the Universe.”

The artisans at Beecher’s, aware of Packer fans’ penchant for wearing cheese on their heads, are hopeful their Flagship will fit the bill.

More convenient, more reliable, less crowded: Major boost coming for bus service in Seattle

To ease bus crowding and improve reliability, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray and King County Executive Dow Constantine are moving forward with a major contract to expand Metro Transit bus service in the City of Seattle.

Murray and Constantine today sent the Seattle City Council and King County Council a proposed three-year, $120 million contract to increase bus service, renewable for an additional three years.

Funding for the new service comes from the Seattle Transportation Benefit District Proposition 1 ballot measure approved by Seattle voters in November. The measure will raise an estimated $45 million a year for six years by collecting a 0.1 percent sales tax increase and a $60 annual vehicle fee in the City of Seattle.

“By adding more than 200,000 more hours of bus service annually, we can ensure that transit expands along with our growing city,” said Mayor Murray. “This voter-approved investment in additional service will help make transit a better choice for everyone in Seattle, and is the first major expansion of bus service in our city in almost a decade.”

“Reliable, all-day bus service is the key to keeping our region’s economy moving forward, and this expansion will relieve overcrowding and delays so our riders can get to their schools, jobs, and services,” said Executive Constantine. “Our task now is to keep working to bring service in the rest of the county up to the new standard that Seattle is setting.”

Under the terms of the proposed contract, Seattle residents would see expanded bus service beginning in June and then again in September. As proposed, the City of Seattle would purchase from Metro additional peak, off-peak, weekend, and night service totaling 223,000 annual service hours in 2015. Planned service improvements draw from needs identified in Metro’s Service Guidelines and Seattle’s Transit Master Plan, and include significant investments in top priority routes that are chronically overcrowded such as the RapidRide C and D Lines serving West Seattle, Downtown and Ballard.

Under the city contract, the voter-approved funding will:

  • Add new buses to all 16 Seattle routes that are chronically overcrowded
  • Fix the schedules of all 48 routes that are chronically unreliable
  • Add frequency to 34 high-demand routes
  • Regularly provide detailed ridership and performance data

The City of Seattle also included $3 million dollars in a partnership program for jurisdictions who are interested in sharing the cost of service for routes that connect with the city. In addition up to $2 million dollars will be used to increase access to Metro Transit’s ORCA LIFT program, its new reduced fare for low-income riders to be implemented in March.

The Seattle Department of Transportation’s new Transit Division, working collaboratively with Metro Transit, will provide oversight to ensure that Seattle’s investments are supporting improved service in Seattle on the City’s highest-priority routes.

Executive Constantine created the framework for the proposed transit service contract last year when he initiated the Community Mobility Contract Program. The City of Seattle is able to contract directly with Metro Transit for service using this program. The Community Mobility Contract Program is intended as a bridge to keep buses on the street until the state legislature provides a sustainable funding tool for local transportation needs.

Murray questions County plan to ‘book and release’ more felony suspects

Mayor Ed Murray has serious concerns about a King County proposal to release additional felony suspects in property crime cases immediately after booking in downtown Seattle. The mayor outlined his concerns today in a letter to King County Executive Dow Constantine.

This proposed plan presents an unacceptable public safety risk to the residents of Seattle and will undermine our mutual efforts to reduce drug and property crimes,” wrote Murray. “This proposal also has serious potential policing and budget implications for the City of Seattle.”

On Feb. 1, King County plans to reduce the inmate population by instituting a “book-and-release” policy for several felony drug and property offenses, including auto theft, hit and run (with injury), malicious mischief, reckless endangerment, stolen property, theft, vehicle prowl and drug possession.

The proposed plan will mean that suspects arrested for these crimes in communities around King County will be brought to Seattle to be booked and then released onto the streets of downtown.

Currently, judges individually assess each suspect booked at the jail to decide whether to hold them pending trial. The proposed County plan would eliminate a judge’s review in favor of a presumption of release for these non-violent offenses.

In his letter, Murray outlined alternatives to reduce burdens on the jail (reducing the time between a suspect’s arraignment and trial), as well as reduce impacts on the city (remote booking or mandatory return transportation for suspects brought downtown for booking from jurisdictions outside of Seattle).