Mayor’s Statement on Federal Consent Decree Status Hearing

Today Mayor Ed Murray issued the following statement after Judge James Robart held a status hearing to discuss how to develop comprehensive and internally consistent mechanisms related to the Seattle Police Department’s accountability systems:

“Judge Robart today laid out a framework for the City and the Department of Justice – the formal parties to the Federal Consent Decree – for us to move forward with police accountability and disciplinary reform. I’m pleased that the judge acknowledged the progress the City and the DOJ have made to date to fulfill the requirements of the consent decree.

“The judge made very clear today that accountability and discipline reform is a work in progress. He further stressed that criticism from some outside stakeholders suggesting that the Federal Court and the parties of the Consent Decree are not going far enough are premature.

“To successfully move forward on meaningful reform, the City and Seattle Police Department must meet the requirements as agreed upon in the settlement agreement. Ultimately, this means following the direction of the Court and the framework described by the judge during today’s hearing.

“The City has just recently submitted its’ further recommendations for accountability and disciplinary reforms to the Department of Justice and the Federal Monitor. We appreciate the collaborative relationship we’ve maintained with the monitoring team and the DOJ. We are eager to continue working with them within the framework laid out by the judge to move forward on reforms.

“The next step, as directed by Judge Robart, is to have the City and DOJ (jointly or separately) submit a formal statement regarding our proposed approach to reviewing the Police Department’s current accountability systems by September 30th. The City (including myself, Chief O’Toole, the City Attorney and the Council) will be working to meet this deadline so we can continue to hit the milestones and benchmarks as required by the Court.”

Statement on approval of firearms and ammunition tax

Mayor Ed Murray issued the following statement after the Seattle City Council approved a new tax on firearms and ammunition sales to fund gun violence prevention efforts:

“The unanimous Council vote on this ordinance demonstrates the commitment of this City and this community to lead on the ongoing national epidemic of gun violence. While action at the federal level and in many other jurisdictions remains gridlocked, we are moving ahead to address an issue so damaging to the young people of Seattle, especially young people of color. Thanks, especially, to Councilmember Burgess for his advocacy for additional funding for gun violence research, prevention and education. Seattle’s youth deserve action and today’s Council vote is a meaningful step forward.”

Joint Mayor & Council statement on passage of all-gender restrooms legislation

Today Mayor Ed Murray and City Councilmembers Jean Godden and Bruce Harrell issued the following statements after the Council unanimously passed legislation requiring all City-controlled and privately operated places of public accommodation to designate existing and future single-stall restrooms as all-gender facilities. The legislation also clarifies existing law allowing individuals to use the restroom of their chosen gender identity or expression. The legislation was a recommendation from the Mayor’s LGBT Task Force and the City of Seattle’s LGBTQ Commission.

“The action taken today by the City Council will make Seattle a more welcoming place for everyone, regardless of race, gender, or sexual orientation,” said Mayor Murray. “No one should live in fear when they use basic accommodations most of us take for granted. That’s why we sent this legislation to the Seattle City Council. I applaud the Council for taking this important step to provide respect and safety for members of the transgender community.”

This legislation will provide for all-gender restroom facilities and amend the Seattle Municipal Code so that single-occupant restrooms will no longer be restricted to a specific sex or gender identity. Single-occupant restrooms in City facilities and all public accommodations (including restaurants, coffee shops, stores, etc.) must have signage that makes it clear that they are not gender exclusive and allow use by any person regardless of sex or gender identity, rather than just “men” or “women.” The Seattle Office of Civil Rights (SOCR) will be responsible for enforcing these changes.

Despite existing laws protecting a person’s right to use a restroom consistent with their gender identity, transgender and gender nonconforming people are frequently excluded from using facilities consistent with their gender identity, and use of gender-segregated restrooms can create unnecessary risk for transgender and gender nonconforming people.

“Everyone, regardless of gender, deserves the ability to meet their most basic needs. All-gender single occupancy bathrooms are practical and help ensure everyone has equal access to a quality life,” said Councilmember Jean Godden. “This small step represents acceptance and freedom for many. I’m proud Seattleites are as dedicated as I am to pursuing equality and eliminating inequity wherever it exists.”

“Enacting this civil rights legislation that requires all single-stall restrooms as all-gender restrooms should not be understated,” said Councilmember Bruce Harrell, chair of the Public Safety, Civil Rights, and Technology committee. “This is an inclusive and progressive measure that ensures all individuals have equal access to take care of their health needs. Let’s be defined by our compassion and inclusiveness.”

In July of this year, the Mayor and his LGBT Task Force released an action plan to support LGBTQ safety. The Task Force was convened in response to anti-LGBTQ hate crimes or incidents reported to Seattle police. The plan is organized into four areas: Public Safety, LGBTQ Youth, the Built Environment, and Public Understanding. One of the key Built Environment proposals was for the City to clarify that individuals have the right to use a restroom appropriate to their gender identity or expression.
Most press conferences and meetings are broadcast live to the web by Seattle Channel at either seattle.gov/mayorlive or seattle.gov/councillive

City of Seattle debuts public emergency alert and notification system, AlertSeattle

Be on the lookout on August 4 as Seattle police officers, firefighters and emergency management staff begin spreading the word about AlertSeattle, a new, real-time emergency alert and notification system. With AlertSeattle in place, Seattle now has a way to send out messages to the public with information on what to do when emergencies like earthquakes, explosions, flooding or other disasters happen. This system is free and available to anyone who lives, works, travels through or visits Seattle.

“AlertSeattle will provide real-time emergency alerts and notifications, serving as a unified and official voice from the City of Seattle,” said Mayor Ed Murray. “These notifications will improve safety in our city and help inform city residents and visitors of potentially lifesaving actions they may need to take during emergency events.”

Barb Graff, Director of Seattle’s Office of Emergency Management, encourages Seattle residents and visitors to enroll. “With AlertSeattle, individuals receive official communication directly from the City of Seattle. People can customize what alerts they want to receive and how they want to be notified. Getting good information out quickly is critical during emergencies, and AlertSeattle is an excellent tool for people to stay informed.”

In addition to emergency alerts, the public can also sign-up to receive community notifications about severe weather, safety, health, utility service disruptions, major traffic incidents, preparedness events and more.

To sign up go to: alert.seattle.gov and set up a user profile. All user information is private and will not be distributed in any manner. The service itself is provided by the City of Seattle at no cost; however, message and data rates may apply.

City to step up enforcement against smoking lounges

In response to ongoing instances of crime and violence associated with some smoking lounges, Seattle and Public Health – Seattle & King County are collaborating on enforcement actions against unlawful businesses violating the ban on smoking in places of employment and public places. Additionally, the City is moving forward to file criminal charges against several businesses that have failed to comply with the law and have already been cited for violations.

“Far too many smoking lounges attract and sustain illegal, violent activity that has no place in our neighborhoods,” said Mayor Ed Murray. “These establishments are unlawful businesses that continue to thumb their noses at the law. We will soon have additional authority to help us clamp down on operations that foster an environment that threatens public safety in our neighborhoods.”

Serious violent incidents have occurred near several smoking lounges, ranging from assaults, shots fired and fatal shootings. Three homicides over 18 months have occurred near smoking lounges, including the murder last month of Donnie Chin outside of King’s Hookah Lounge in the Chinatown-International District. Seattle Police have responded to more than 100 fights and disturbances connected to smoking lounges since 2012.

“In light of the recent shootings around these bars, the stakes are higher now and we need the direct involvement of the city to tackle this matter,” said Ahmed A. Ali of the Somali Health Board. “The SHB fully supports regulations and closures as these bars are detrimental to the health of our youth and the community’s well-being.”

“Hookah lounges are a public safety risk not just for the damage the smoking causes to the patrons and employees, but also as a magnet for public safety threats,” said Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes. “My office will pursue charges and code enforcement for all locations that operate outside the law.”

There are currently 11 smoking lounges in the City. Smoking lounges with employees who serve walk-in customers operate in violation of state statutes and county ordinances that ban smoking in places of employment.

Public Health inspectors, working in close collaboration with Seattle inspectors and police officers, have been visiting businesses and issuing smoking ban infractions. The penalty for each violation is a $100 fine.

Under recent amendments to Seattle’s business licensing code related to Cannabis enforcement, the City can revoke the license of any business that is conducting unlawful operations, including violating the ban on smoking in places of employment. The new ordinance goes into effect on Aug. 16. Business owners that continue to operate without a license face penalties of up to $5,000 a day and/or 364 days in jail.

Today, the City is filing criminal charges against the owners of King’s Hookah Lounge for failure to pay business taxes. If convicted, the penalties range up to a $5,000 fine and/or 364 days in jail.

The Mayor and City Attorney will also work with the City Council to draft a future City ordinance that will explicitly prohibit any business that sells tobacco for use on their business premises. The proposed legislation would ensure that no such business is able to obtain a business license or other City permits due to loopholes in local regulations. The legislation would also grant City inspectors the authority to cite smoking violations directly.

“The city government takes very seriously its obligation to enforce our laws fairly and in a manner that promotes public safety. The actions the Mayor is announcing today are part of a strategy to reduce violence and stop violations of public health laws,” said Council President Tim Burgess. “Businesses that operate in Seattle need to follow the rules. If they don’t, they can expect enforcement actions against them.”

“When businesses break the law and contribute to an unsafe environment, we must take measures to ensure the safety and health of the public,” said Councilmember John Okamoto. “The recent terrible murder of our friend Donnie Chin reminds us that we must work harder to protect our community and city.”

“We are listening to the concerns from neighborhoods in closing problematic hookah clubs that are not operating in compliance,” said Councilmember Bruce Harrell, chair of the Council’s Public Safety, Civil Rights, and Technology committee. “We understand smoking hookah is part of the culture for many patrons who go to them, but they must operate safely and not be problem areas for the neighborhood.”

“Public safety and public health go hand in hand,” said Councilmember Sally Bagshaw. “Many of the hookah bars in our city are violating the public health laws and endangering the health of their workers and patrons. Regulating the bars in accordance with our laws and closing them down if necessary is the right thing to do.”

A summary of the enforcement actions can be found here.

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.”

Statement on Burgess proposal on firearms and ammunition tax

Mayor Ed Murray issued the following statement after Councilmember Tim Burgess unveiled his proposal for a tax on firearms and ammunition sales to fund gun violence prevention efforts:

“Every year in Seattle gun violence devastates hundreds of lives – both the victims of murders, assaults and suicides, as well as the family members struggling to make sense of the devastation. While high-profile incidents attract national attention from time to time, tragedies unfold in our community far too often. Our community will not stand by as our youth, particularly youth of color, continue to pay the highest price for inaction on gun violence at the national and state level.

“I want to thank Councilmember Burgess for his leadership. This proposal provides critical funding for gun violence research and prevention. We will have more resources to support youth education and other efforts that we know help prevent guns violence in our streets. For too long, we have had insufficient research and data on gun violence in Seattle to help guide our response.

“We know the people of Seattle demand action on this issue, not more talk. Last year at the ballot box, voters approved greater accountability in background checks for gun sales. This proposal builds on that momentum by funding more tools to reduce the devastating impacts that guns have on our community.”

Mayor Murray Statement on Court Hearing Regarding City’s Progress in Fulfilling Federal Consent Decree

Mayor Ed Murray released the following statement about today’s Federal Court hearing regarding the Consent Decree:

“Today Judge Robart affirmed that the Seattle Police Department, under the leadership of Chief O’Toole, is making significant progress on police reform, rebuilding community trust and becoming a national model for urban policing.

“The direction today from Judge Robart was clear: any reforms must align with the consent decree and be approved by the Court. As planned, I will be working with the Department of Justice, Federal Monitor, CPC, labor unions and City Attorney to achieve meaningful reforms to our civilian oversight system and improve accountability.”

 

 

Cooling shelter locations announced ahead of heat wave

The National Weather Service has issued an Excessive Heat Watch for Seattle and surrounding areas from Friday afternoon through late Saturday night. The City of Seattle is providing information and public spaces that may be used by residents to stay cool in the high temperatures.

Stay hydrated

  • Drink plenty of water. Have a beverage with you at all times, and sip or drink frequently. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink.
  • Avoid drinks with caffeine, alcohol and large amounts of sugar because they can actually de-hydrate your body.

Protect your pets

Pets are especially vulnerable in high heat and the Seattle Animal Shelter recommends the following:

  • Never leave your animal chained or penned up directly in sunlight. Provide a shady area for retreat, such as a dog house, porch or shady tree, and always provide cool water.
  • If you leave animals indoors, open screened windows, keep a fan running, provide plenty of water, and if possible, leave them in a cool location.
  • Never leave dogs or cats unattended in a closed, locked car. Animals do not perspire like humans; they cool themselves by panting and seats in vehicles get hot under animals’ feet and prevent them from perspiring through their paws.
  • If you must travel with your pet, carry water. If a trip requires you leave your pet in the car at any point, think about saving that for another day. It’s not worth the risk.
  • Avoid overexerting your animal in hot weather. Exercise is fine when taken in moderation, but obesity, old age, underlying disease and previous bouts of heat stroke can predispose an animal to the condition.
  • For birds, take caution and place the bird’s cage away from direct sunlight during the intense heat of the afternoon. Provide water and fruits and vegetables with high moisture content.

Libraries

The following Seattle Public Library locations are equipped with air conditioning, and serve as cooling centers when the area experiences extreme heat. Please call the individual location before you go for open hours and to verify that the air conditioning is working.

  • Central Library (1000 4th Ave) – 206-386-4636
  • Ballard (5614 22nd Ave NW) – 206-684-4089
  • Beacon Hill (2821 Beacon Ave S) – 206-684-4711
  • Broadview (12755 Greenwood Ave N) – 206-684-7519
  • Capitol Hill (425 Harvard Ave E) – 206-684-4715
  • Delridge (5423 Delridge Way SW) – 206-733-9125
  • Douglass-Truth (2300 E Yesler Way) – 206-684-4704
  • Greenwood (8016 Greenwood Ave N) – 206-684-4086
  • High Point (3411 SW Raymond St) – 206-684-7454
  • International District / Chinatown (713 8th Ave S) – 206-386-1300
  • Lake City (12501 28th Ave NE) – 206-684-7518
  • Madrona-Sally Goldmark (1134 33rd Ave) – 206-684-4705
  • Magnolia (2801 34th Ave W) – 206-386-4225
  • Montlake (2401 24th Ave. E) – 206-684-4720
  • NewHolly (7058 32nd Ave S) – 206-386-1905
  • Northgate (10548 5th Ave NE) – 206-386-1980
  • Rainier Beach (9125 Rainier Ave S) – 206-386-1906
  • South Park (8604 8th Ave S) – 206-615-1688
  • Wallingford (1501 N 45th St) – 206-684-4088

Seattle Center (View the campus map PDF at http://www.seattlecenter.com/downloads/sc_map_color_gates.pdf) – 206-684-7200

  • Seattle Center Armory (Open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.)
  • International Fountain
  • Fountain of Creation (Dupen Fountain)

Senior Centers
The following senior centers have air conditioning or are relatively cool and are open to the public. Please call the individual location before you go for open hours and to verify that the facility is cool.

  • Asian Counseling and Referral Service Senior Center (3639 Martin Luther King Way S.) – 206-695-7600
  • Ballard NW Senior Center (5429 32nd Ave NW) – 206-297-0403
  • Central Area Senior Center (500 30th Ave S) – 206-726-4926
  • Greenwood Senior Center (525 N. 85th Street) – 206-297-0875
  • International Drop-In Center (7301 Beacon Ave S.) – 206-587-3735
  • Pike Market Senior Center and Food Bank (85 Pike St, #200) – 206-728-2773
  • The Senior Center of West Seattle (4217 SW Oregon St) – 206-932-4044
  • Southeast Seattle Senior Center (4655 South Holly St) – 206-722-0317
  • Sunshine Garden Chinese Senior Community Center (611 S. Lane St.) housed in the Chinese Information and Service Center – 206-624-5633
  • Wallingford Community Senior Center (4649 Sunnyside Ave N, Suite 140) – 206-461-7825

Pools and Water Areas

Four-day-a-week Wading Pools (both are open noon to 6:45 p.m.):

  • Hiawatha Community Center, 2700 California Ave. SW, Wed/Thurs/Fri/Sat
  • Delridge Community Center, 4501 Delridge Way SW, Mon/Tues/Sat/Sun

Three-day-a-week Wading Pools (all are open from noon to 7 p.m. unless otherwise noted):

  • Bitter Lake, 13035 Linden Ave. N, Wed/Thu/Fri
  • Cal Anderson Park, 1635 11th Ave., noon to 6:45 p.m., Fri/Sat/Sun
  • Dahl Playfield, 7700 25th Ave. NE, Tues/Wed/Thurs
  • East Queen Anne, 160 Howe St., Sun/Mon/Tue
  • E.C. Hughes, 2805 SW Holden St., Wed/Thu/Fri
  • Soundview, 1590 NW 90th St., Sat/Sun/Mon
  • South Park, 8319 8th Ave. S, Mon/Tue/Wed
  • Wallingford, 4219Wallingford Ave. N, Wed/Thu/Fri

Daily Wading Pools (all are open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. unless otherwise noted):

  • Green Lake, N 73rd and E Green Lake Dr. N
  • Lincoln Park, 8600 Fauntleroy Ave. SW
  • Magnuson, eastern end of NE 65th St., noon to 6:30 p.m.
  • Van Asselt, 2820 S Myrtle St.
  • Volunteer Park, 1400 E Galer St.

Daily Water Spray Parks (all are open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. unless otherwise noted):

  • Ballard Commons, 5701 22nd Ave. NW
  • Beacon Mountain at Jefferson Park, 3901 Beacon Ave. S
  • John C. Little, 6961 37th Ave. S
  • Lower Judkins, 2150 S Norman St.
  • Georgetown Playfield, 750 S Homer St.
  • Highland Park, 1100 SW Cloverdale
  • Lake Union Park, 860 Terry Ave. N
  • Miller Community Center, 330 19th Ave. E
  • Northacres Park, 12800 1st Ave. NE
  • Pratt Park, 1800 S Main St.

Lifeguarded Beaches  (noon to 7 p.m. weekdays and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays)

  • Matthews, 9300 51st Ave. NE
  • Madison, 1900 43rd Ave. E
  • Baker, 2301 Lake Washington Blvd. S
  • Seward, 5902 Lake Washington Blvd. S
  • West Green Lake, 7312 W Green Lake Dr.
  • East Green Lake, 7201 E Green Lake Dr. N
  • Magnuson, park entrance at NE 65th and Sand Point Way NE
  • Madrona, 853 Lake Washington Blvd.
  • Pritchard Beach, 8400 55th S

Outdoor Pools

  • “Pop” Mounger Pool, 2535 32nd W, daily, 6 a.m. to 9 p.m., call 206-684-4708 for public swim times
  • Colman Pool, 8603 Fauntleroy Way SW, daily, noon to 7 p.m., call 206-684-7494 for public swim times

Additional resources

Mayor introduces new legislation requiring places of public accommodation to designate all-gender restrooms

Today Mayor Ed Murray introduced legislation that would require all City-controlled and privately operated places of public accommodation to designate existing or future single-occupant restrooms as all-gender facilities. All existing City-controlled single-occupant restrooms (across all City departments, from City Hall to Parks) will be re-signed to conform to this new standard. The proposal was one that was introduced to the City by the Seattle LGBT Commission as part of its ongoing work, and is one of the early recommendations from the Mayor’s LGBT Task Force.

“The transgender community deserves the dignity and respect that most people take for granted,” said Mayor Ed Murray. “That’s why Seattle is building upon our history of being one of the most welcoming cities in the world by ensuring restrooms are available and safe for all.”

This legislation is a powerful and appropriate step in serving the needs of our time and place,” said Marsha Botzer, founding member and secretary of Equal Rights Washington, former chair of the National LGBTQ Task Force, and Founder of Seattle’s Ingersoll Gender Center. “With gender identity now part of a larger Community understanding of what it means to be human, Seattle provides real leadership in responding to and respecting the safety needs of all people who live here.  For decades Ingersoll Gender Center has served transgender and gender nonconforming people, and I know personally that this legislation will help individuals.”

This legislation honors that history and reaffirms the City’s commitment to gender equity by implementing measures to provide for all-gender restroom facilities and amending the Seattle Municipal Code to eliminate single-occupant restroom restrictions to a specific sex or gender identity. Single-occupant restrooms in City facilities and all public accommodations (including restaurants, coffee shops, stores, etc.) will be signed for all genders, rather than “men” or “women.”

Despite existing laws protecting a person’s right to use a restroom consistent with their gender identity, transgender and gender nonconforming people are frequently excluded from using facilities consistent with their gender identity, and use of gender-segregated restrooms can create unnecessary risk for transgender and gender nonconforming people.

If passed, the Seattle Office of Civil Rights (SOCR) will be responsible for enforcing these changes.