Mayor Murray is looking for the 2015 Civic Poet

Mayor Murray announced today that the City is launching a Civic Poet program to celebrate Seattle’s rich literary community, while investing in the future of literary arts through community engagement. Applications to be the 2015 Civic Poet will be accepted April 16 – May 28.

“Seattle is one of the most well-read cities in the country. From libraries to book stores, from universities to literary organizations, Seattle is passionate about language,” said Mayor Murray. “The Civic Poet program celebrates our history and commitment to the written and spoken word, and the people who have given it such a place of honor in our city.”

The new two-year Civic Poet post will serve as a cultural ambassador for Seattle’s rich, multi-hued literary landscape and will represent Seattle’s diverse cultural community. In addition to five annual performances, the Civic Poet will also complete hands-on work with communities to engage constituents city-wide.

Seattle’s Civic Poet will serve a term of two years, from July 2015 to July 2017, and will receive a $10,000 stipend distributed over the two year term. Applicants must be Seattle-based and eligible to work in the U.S. and have a demonstrated interest in civic engagement and the power of the written and spoken word.

The Civic Poet program is inspired by the previous Poet Populist program instituted in 1999 by Seattle City Council member Nick Licata. The goal of the Poet Populist program was to support the practice of literary arts democracy, and promote local literary arts organizations to a general audience city-wide. The Poet Populist program was discontinued in 2008. The Civic Poet program will continue the legacy of the Poet Populist program by fostering community dialogue and engagement between the public and artists, while celebrating the literary arts.

“I thank the Mayor, Office of Arts & Culture director Randy Engstrom, and leaders of our literary community for picking up where our previous Poet Populist program left off. By combining that program’s community engagement elements with the rigor of a traditional poet laureate model, Seattle’s Civic Poet program can inspire both diverse audiences and diverse ideas,” added Councilmember Licata.

A selection panel composed of writing and literary professionals and community representatives will review materials from all applicants. Those who are selected as finalists will be invited a panel to interview for final selection.

The Civic Poet program is administered by the city’s Office of Arts & Culture. For more information, visit http://www.seattle.gov/arts/funding/civic_poet.asp.

Seattle 2035: Growing to achieve race and social equity

Seattle 2035

Today, Mayor Murray transmitted to the City Council a resolution to recognize the priority of race and social equity as one of the foundational core values on which the City of Seattle’s Comprehensive Plan is built.

This year the City is writing Seattle 2035, a major update to the City’s Comprehensive Plan that will plot a 20-year vision and roadmap for Seattle’s future growth. Seattle expects 120,000 new residents over the next 20 years.

The revision of the City’s Comprehensive Plan is a chance for residents to discuss and decide where and how growth should be located in neighborhoods, as well as prioritize infrastructure investments, parks and other amenities that help neighborhoods function. Murray has emphasized that Seattle must be a city where all people can benefit from growth and development.

“Quality of life in Seattle means a living wage, quality education, a healthy environment, affordable housing and effective transportation options,” said Murray. “We must plan equitably, so that all families and individuals, those living here today and those coming tomorrow, have access to the services and amenities that make Seattle so special. We must always plan with an eye toward equity for all our diverse communities.”

In 1994, Seattle was a national leader when it made social equity one of the four core values in the original Comprehensive Plan. This legislation will ensure Seattle continues to be a leader.

This proposed resolution would change how Seattle plans and grows by:

  • Working toward a shared vision of race and social equity, and equitable development citywide;
  • Incorporating new race and social equity goals and policies throughout the Comprehensive Plan;
  • Analyzing the impacts of proposed growth strategies on the most vulnerable communities, and changing policies, programs and investments to help offset the impacts of the selected growth strategy;
  • Closing racial and social disparities with capital and program investments;
  • Creating, monitoring and reporting on equity measures; and
  • Being more inclusive in the stewardship of the Comprehensive Plan.

For more information, visit: http://2035.seattle.gov.

Mayor Murray announces conversion to metric system

Today Mayor Ed Murray announced that the City of Seattle will be the first major American city to convert entirely to the metric system.

“Seattle is a global city and it’s time we catch-up with the rest of the world in adopting the metric system,” said Murray. “We’ve proven cities can be incubators for change, so it just makes sense for Seattle to lead on the metric system as well.  As we seek to attract more international business and visitors, adopting a universally recognized system of measurement is key.”

“I have ordered all City departments to review their operations and provide a metric conversion plan in 30 days.  As a first step, I’ve directed the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) to print and install all speed limit signs in kilometers,” said Murray. “We are also in the early stages of planning with the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) to have the speed limit signs on I-5 through Seattle converted to kilometers.”

Additional changes to be rolled out immediately include:

 

  • All cars sold within city limits will be required to replace the speedometer with a kilometer gauge.
  • Seattle Public Schools will expand their teaching of the metric system in Fall 2015, ensuring that students are able to put their best meter forward and strengthen their understanding of the other side of the ruler.
  • The Seattle Parks Department will change all wildlife information kiosks to refer to inchworms as centipedes.
  • Heat advisories will be issued when the temperature reaches 26.66 degrees Celsius.
  • Precipitation will be measured by the millimeter to ensure accuracy.
  • Gas prices will be listed by the 3.78 liter.
  • All stadium vendors and food stands selling hot dogs will be encouraged to market their 30.48 centimeter-long hot dogs.
  • Beth’s Café’s 12-egg omelette will remain unchanged, as there is no way of converting egg quantity measurements.

Update 10:30 AM on April 1:  Despite Mayor Ed Murray’s liter-ship, Seattle will not be converting to the metric system. April Fools! (Sorry Canadians and scientists.) However, those wishing to refer to inchworms as centipedes are free to do so.

 

Duwamish River Opportunities Fund seeks proposals

The City of Seattle is seeking applications for community-based projects that enhance the quality of life in Seattle neighborhoods along the Duwamish River. Successful applicants will engage in projects to improve access to the river, support job creation and economic development, increase access to healthy food and other challenges faced by communities along the Duwamish.

“The Duwamish is our city’s river and we are committed to its future,” said Seattle Mayor Murray. “The larger clean-up effort is aimed at mitigating the effects of decades of legacy pollutants. These smaller-scale projects will help restore our community’s access to and enjoyment of the river as an important natural resource.”

This year, the City will fund $250,000 in projects. Prospective applicants are encouraged to attend a community event about the fund on Wed., April 8 from 5:30 to 8:30 PM, at Coliman Restaurant, 6932 Carleton Avenue S, in Georgetown. Applications will be accepted through May 15.

Successful projects will:

  • Be developed through a process of community engagement and participation.
  • Have a clear statement of the way the project addresses community priorities, the anticipated results, and the metrics used to measure success.
  • Build linkages among communities and involve a diversity of people and organizations; have engaged project partners.
  • Address an issue important to the success of the Duwamish River communities.
  • Be connected to the long range future of the Duwamish River communities.
  • Have a clear budget and demonstrated capacity to manage funds effectively.

For more information on the opportunity fund, including past awards, visit murray.seattle.gov/duwamish or email drof@seattle.gov.

Murray praises funding for Pike Place Market Front

Today, Mayor Murray issued the following statement after the Seattle City Council approved funding for the Market Front project at Pike Place Market:

MarketFront“Pike Place Market is an iconic symbol and a major hub of community life in Seattle. The Market Front expansion will expand that role for the Market and provide much-needed parking, public space, affordable housing and improved pedestrian access to the waterfront. My thanks to the City Council for helping bring this vision to reality. The City is proud to partner with the Market as we reconnect downtown with the waterfront.”

Mayor announces support for legislation to increase film production in Washington; Proclaims March 17th ‘Seattle Film Day’

Seattle Film DayMayor Murray announced his support of Senate Bill 6027 (SB 6027), introduced this February in the Washington State Senate to increase the funding for the Motion Picture Competitiveness Program.

The bill doubles the size of the Film Competitiveness Program over the next two years to $7 million, and increases the fund incrementally each year until it reaches $10 million in 2019. The sunset date for the program will also be extended to 2022.

Last year, under the program’s current annual $3.5 million cap, the annual fund was expended by May and a total of $55 million worth of film production projects were immediately turned away.

“Washington’s current incentive program is the fifth smallest in the country,” said Mayor Murray.  “I support this legislation because it strengthens the State’s best tool to keep our film industry competitive. This program, alongside the City’s Commercialize Seattle initiative, will help retain and increase film industry talent to fuel our creative economy.”

Mayor Murray proclaimed Tues., March 17, 2015 “Seattle Film Day” in honor of Seattle’s 80-plus years as a film making destination.

# # #

Senate Bill 6027

SB 6027’s prime sponsor is Senator Jeanne Kohl-Welles (D, 36th), with co-sponsors Senator Andy Billig (D, 3rd) and Senator Joe Fain (R, 47th).  See the Washington State Legislature page for more details at http://apps.leg.wa.gov/billinfo/summary.aspx?bill=6027&year=2015#videos

City’s Office of Film + Music (OFM)

The Seattle Office of Film + Music is part of Seattle’s economic development agenda. Its charge is to make Seattle a great place to make a living making film and music. OFM is a streamlined resource for all of your film and music needs, and manages Seattle’s City of Music and Commercialize Seattle initiatives. It offers creative tax incentives and professional business development opportunities, making this vibrant city the perfect background for film or music production.

Mayor announces $1.8 million for neighborhood business districts

OISIlogo

Today, Mayor Murray joined neighborhood business district leaders and local business owners in Seattle’s Othello business district to announce a $1.8 million investment in 21 neighborhoods as part of the Only in Seattle initiative.

“Thriving, walkable business districts are vital to the success of Seattle’s neighborhoods,” said Murray. “We work with local leaders and business owners on these grants to develop a shared vision that brings more shops and restaurants – and jobs – to neighborhoods throughout the city.”

The Office of Economic Development’s Only in Seattle initiative supports investments in neighborhood business districts, and focuses on the following strategies to create healthy business districts:

  • Business and retail development (supporting businesses, enhancing business mix)
  • Marketing and promotion (events, social media, district advertising)
  • Clean and safe (graffiti removal, dumpster free alleys, lighting)
  • Streetscape and appearance (catalytic development projects, façade, public art)
  • Business organization development to sustain the effort, including participation of an existing Business Improvement Area (BIA) or exploration to form one.

The local business communities in 16 neighborhoods are developing, have developed, or are launching comprehensive, multi-year strategies, in which the city is investing over $1.2 million in 2015:

  • Ballard                                                $   90,000
  • Beacon Hill                                         $   60,000
  • Capitol Hill                                         $ 160,000
  • Chinatown / International District      $ 156,000
  • Othello/MLK                                      $ 154,000
  • Rainier Beach                                      $   85,000
  • University District                              $   85,000
  • Lake City                                            $   50,000
  • First Hill                                              $   40,000
  • Belltown                                             $   35,000
  • Hillman City                                       $   25,000
  • Central Area                                        $   45,000
  • Mt. Baker                                            $   25,000
  • Georgetown                                        $   25,000
  • Columbia City                                     $   29,000
  • Rainier Valley                                     $   10,000

In partnership with the Seattle Investment Fund, a total of $75,000 in façade improvements will be granted to Rainier Beach and Columbia City to develop a more welcoming environment for customers. Neighborhood business district organizations provided a one-to-one match for these project costs.

“Twelve business storefronts across from the Othello Light Rail Station benefited from the façade improvement investments in 2014,” said Tony To, executive director of HomeSight, a nonprofit community development organization in southeast Seattle. “The transformed businesses increase pedestrian attraction and improve perceptions of cleanliness and safety in the business district, not to mention bring property and business owners together to achieve a common goal.”

In addition, Only in Seattle is granting $60,000 to nine neighborhoods to explore or achieve a Business Improvement Area (BIA). The nine neighborhoods are: Chinatown/ID, University District, Capitol Hill, Ballard, Lake City, First Hill, Magnolia, Mt. Baker, Belltown, and Othello. Existing BIAs have generated over $40 million over the last three years to fund clean and safe, marketing and promotion, and business retail and development programs across Seattle.

This year, Only in Seattle also granted $500,000 to neighborhoods with paid on-street parking for capital improvement projects that enhance the commercial district experience:

  • Occidental Park Activation: The Downtown Seattle Association will work with the Alliance for Pioneer Square to activate Occidental Park through installation of public furniture and event programming designed to engage residents and visitors.
  • Canton Alley Paving: Chinatown\International District will finalize the paving of Canton Alley, the final step before the alleyway is ready for public use and activation.
  • Public Restroom: Ballard will purchase a public restroom to serve the business district.
  • Signal Crossing in First Hill: A signal crossing will be installed at the Terry Ave and James St. intersection to improve pedestrian safety in the neighborhood.
  • Design for Lake2Bay Connection: Lake2Bay is designing a pedestrian and bicycle connection that links Lake Union to Elliott Bay through the South Lake Union, Belltown, Uptown, and West Edge neighborhoods.
  • Public Safety in Capitol Hill: Capitol Hill will address public safety by convening stakeholders to explore a possible street closure pilot in Pike/Pine. In addition, a lighting project in Cal Anderson Park will aim to reduce crime and increase public space activation.

“Neighborhood business districts are the economic engines of our city. The Only in Seattle approach focuses on the core building blocks that catalyze economic development and plan for equitable growth in our neighborhoods. This investment highlights leaders that want to engage civically, step up for their community, and grow equitably,” said Seattle City Councilmember Sally J. Clark, chair of the Committee on Housing Affordability, Human Services, and Economic Resiliency.

The Office of Arts & Culture and the Department of Neighborhoods have been integral partners in the Only in Seattle initiative by bolstering the investments and service support. This year, Only in Seattle invested $6,000 in cultural place-making awards to the following neighborhoods to support the integration of arts in commercial revitalization in Roosevelt, Lake City and Rainier Beach.

Through the partnership with the Department of Neighborhoods, five neighborhoods will receive a total of $38,000 to reach out to ethnic and underrepresented business owners using Public Outreach and Engagement Liasons. The following neighborhoods requested and will receive this support: Lake City, Hillman City, Capitol Hill, Rainier Beach, and the University District.

“We’re excited to engage with business owners from underrepresented communities to help shape the direction of the work to be inclusive and representative of the entire business community,” said Michael Wells, executive director of the Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce.

Mayor sends Pre-K implementation plan to council

Today, Mayor Ed Murray transmitted his plan to implement the voter-approved Seattle Preschool Program to the city council.

The implementation plan provides details about how the preschool program will be rolled out, and how it will work toward meeting its goal of closing the achievement gap for Seattle’s youngest learners.

“Included in this implementation plan are the key ingredients to creating a successful program that will make a difference in the lives of young children and their families across our city,” said Murray. “With the plan’s focus on quality, we’re working to ensure that the children participating in the Seattle Preschool Program will be ready for school and have the foundation to succeed in school and life.”

To form the plan, the Department of Education and Early Learning conducted significant community outreach – holding seven meetings across the city and conducting online surveys in order to gather community priorities and values on key issues.

The implementation plan outlines how the city will select qualified preschool providers, and how those providers will be supported in raising or sustaining their classroom quality.

“Unfortunately, many children in our community don’t have access to quality programs. By expanding access through the Seattle Preschool Program, Seattle is ensuring that all children in our city will enter kindergarten ready to learn and thrive,” said Brianna Jackson of the Community Day School Association. “The Seattle Preschool Program is a great first step toward closing the achievement gap and assuring that all children have the skills needed to succeed in school and beyond.”

The City will select preschools by prioritizing programs that serve areas of the city with the most need for quality early learning programs, those that can meet the needs of low-income and working families, and those that can demonstrate evidence of high-quality classrooms.

The plan also lays a path for enrollment and how children will be selected and assigned to attend Seattle Preschool Program classrooms.

The City will begin selecting preschools in Spring 2015, and the first classrooms will open in Fall of 2015, serving as many as 280 children.

Seattle’s sixth parklet opens in Uptown; More parklets and ‘streateries’ sidewalk cafes coming

parket

Today, the City of Seattle announced the launch of the next phase of the Parklet Program at the opening of Seattle’s sixth parklet in the Uptown neighborhood. These small public spaces along city streets will be coming to more neighborhoods, and the city will begin partnering with restaurants to launch a new type of sidewalk cafe called “streateries” in Seattle.

Mayor Murray joined members of the Uptown Alliance, KEXP, SIFF (Seattle International Film Festival) and neighborhood residents to celebrate the opening of a new public space next to SIFF Cinema. A former parking spot, the Uptown parklet features colorful seating and fencing, a mini library and bike parking. Hosted by the Uptown Alliance, the parklet was funded by private donations and will be maintained by the community.

“Neighbors love parklets because they contribute to a vibrant, active street scene,” said Murray. “We look forward to seeing more of these community gathering spots throughout the city.”

During Seattle’s 18-month Pilot Parklet Program managed by the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) the public response to parklets, as well as the department’s evaluation of these spaces, indicates overwhelming support for the program. As of today, the program will transition out of its pilot phase and into a permanent, ongoing initiative. The City will be accepting new applications for parklets through March 20.

Murray also announced a new Streateries pilot program that will be managed by SDOT. Streateries are like parklets except the sponsoring restaurant or bar can operate the space as a sidewalk café, providing space exclusively for their customers during their open hours of business. When the bar or restaurant is closed, the space will function as a parklet, open to everyone.

“Many restaurants want to open a sidewalk café, but just don’t have enough sidewalk to do it,” said Murray. “This new concept will support neighborhood businesses and add another interesting element to our street scene.”

SDOT will approve applications for up to 15 streateries under the pilot program. The sponsoring businesses will construct and maintain the area, and provide table service during their open hours. Applications for streateries are also due on March 20.

“Our Parklet Program has enhanced public space in Seattle by successfully partnering with the private sector,” said SDOT Director Scott Kubly. “Through our pilot Streateries Program, we will explore another potential partnership tool for supporting neighborhoods and their business districts.”

More information about the Parklet Program and the Streateries Pilot Program, including a new handbook with detailed information about the application process, is available at http://www.seattle.gov/transportation/parklets.htm.

The public is encouraged to share their comments on the program by emailing parklets@seattle.gov or writing to:  Seattle Department of Transportation, Attn: Public Space Management Program, PO Box 34996, Seattle, WA 98124-4996.

Press event video:

Mayor Murray’s State of the City speech as prepared

2015 State of the City

Seattle Mayor Edward B. Murray
February 17, 2015
Download speech as PDF

[Introduction]

President Burgess, members of the Seattle City Council, City Attorney Holmes, and residents of Seattle.

President Obama said in his State of the Union address last month that the state of the nation is strong.

It is strong, I believe, in no small part because our cities are strong and vibrant and innovative centers of change that are helping to drive the national agenda.

And Seattle is as strong, vibrant and innovative as any city in the country, leading on issues of equity, transportation and the environment.

The diversity of our residents, the energy of our businesses, the creativity of our arts together have created a unique moment in the history of this growing city.

We are in the midst of a moment rich with opportunity to shape dramatically the Seattle of tomorrow.

Last year, we showed how progressives can work together to make government function and improve the lives of the people of this city.

This year, we will start to see the results of last year’s great successes.

In April, because of our action, Seattle’s minimum wage will rise to $11 per hour.

And in April, because of our action, we will begin increasing park maintenance and expanding park programming…

In June, because of our action, we will begin to see the largest increase in bus service in the city of Seattle since Metro Transit was created in the 1970s.

In July, because of our action on priority hire, when the City invests in infrastructure, we will also invest in local workers.

In September, because of our action, we will see three- and four-year-olds attending new City-funded preschool programs…

We must remain committed to implementing these achievements: Following through and getting it right is just as important as getting it in the first place.

But while Seattle is strong and, I believe, getting stronger, we must recognize that the benefits of our thriving city are not jointly shared.

We see inequities…

…in how we experience growth – between those who benefit from it and those displaced by it …

…in prosperity – between those who can afford to live here and those being pushed out …

…in our schools – between those who are coming to school ready to learn and are graduating on time, and those who are not…

…in public safety – between those who are safe from crime, and those who are at greater risk of crime because of who they are or where they live…

And, of course, cutting across all these inequities is the most challenging inequity of all – and that is racial inequity.

We must keep working together so that we can keep driving better outcomes on each of these vital issues.

Our city is many things, including a city of young people – nearly half of Seattle residents are younger than 35.

And so I have invited high school students from around the city to join us here.

Let us take this opportunity to welcome all of you to City Hall.

You are coming of age at a time of unprecedented growth and change in your city.

This can be exciting and energizing – and it can also be confusing and unsettling.

But it does present us right now with a once-in-a-lifetime chance to define the future of this city while each of you is beginning to define your own future.

So let us define both together.

Together, we can determine the destiny of our city to ensure that Seattle is a safe, affordable, vibrant, interconnected city for all.

[Growth and planning]

Seattle is growing faster than its surrounding suburbs for the first time in over a century.

Over the past twenty years, the City set goals for growth in designated areas, and we met have those goals: three quarters of all growth occurred in urban villages.

In the next twenty years, Seattle is expected to add 120,000 new residents.

And as we grow, our City must ensure that we become a more livable and sustainable city.

In Ballard, for example, population has increased by 25 percent in the past decade but investments in transportation have lagged far behind.

In Rainier Beach, where the unemployment rate is three times the city rate, we must plan for growth in jobs as we plan for growth in population.

So this year, we will launch a different approach to these issues as we restructure City government to meet our rapidly changing city.

As we provide plans for new density in a neighborhood, we will also provide plans for how the City will invest to ensure the neighborhood continues to thrive.

To the students in the room, take a moment and think out twenty years from now.

You will be in your mid-30s. You’re likely to have a job. A spouse. Perhaps children.

Where will you be living? Near light rail? Will it be a house with a yard? Will you be able to walk to work or to a park?

Those are the questions before us. And we want to hear your answers. Your vision for the next chapter in Seattle’s story.

This year, we as a City are asked to look 20 years ahead to envision Seattle in 2035.

The revision of our Comprehensive Plan is a chance for all of the city – for millennials, families, and seniors – to discuss and decide…

… where we should grow…

… how we can grow sustainably…

…and, as new housing and new businesses grow…

…how we will prioritize our investments.

In keeping with one of the fundamental tenets of my administration, I am putting a new emphasis on equity in planning.

Growth must be about placing without displacing.

Therefore, in the coming weeks I am sending a resolution to Council that recognizes race and social justice as one of the core values for the Plan.

It will call on all of us to develop new equity goals and practices, and build in public accountability through more inclusive stewardship.

And since these questions affect everyone, we will redouble our outreach efforts to ensure all voices are heard.

Evening meetings in community centers are simply not enough.

So we will conduct digital outreach, telephone town halls and find other ways to engage those deeply affected by these questions but seldom heard from – immigrants and refugees, those working evenings or those at home taking care of their families.

And this spring, I will host my second annual Neighborhood Summit to continue this citywide conversation about our major initiatives, such as…

…updating the Comprehensive Plan,

…renewing transportation funding, and

…creating more affordable housing.

[Transportation]

With a vibrant economy, our challenge is to continue creating more transportation choices for everyone, while also reducing carbon emissions.

In the year since I took office, we have made a series of moves to give Seattleites more options.

We created a legal and safe framework for taxis and rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft.

We added miles of new protected bike lanes throughout the city.

Last year, we brought in Pronto bike-share, and this year, we are funding its expansion into under-served neighborhoods.

We are allowing car-share companies like Car2Go to expand.

Last November, the voters of Seattle generously voted to tax themselves to expand bus service in this city.

This is major progress.

 

As I said in these chambers last year, this City has many worthy individual plans for bikes, freight, cars, transit, and pedestrians.

But we lack a unified, modern, interconnected transportation plan. A philosophy for how to get our city moving.

Until now.

By the end of this month, I will release a new comprehensive vision for how Seattle approaches transportation….

…a vision that integrates our many transportation plans into a single strategy that is greater than the sum of its parts, which I have named Move Seattle.

Move Seattle is a vision for growing and expanding our transportation choices to meet the needs of all users, for today and tomorrow.

We will use Move Seattle to guide our investments as we renew our transportation levy this year.

We will get the basics right by improving our aging roads and bridges and sidewalks.

And we will make the investments necessary to build a safe, integrated transportation system with an expanding variety of choices available to all.

Seattle, it bears mentioning, is not an island. To keep our city’s economy moving, we must also keep our region moving.

With Sound Transit opening two new light rail stations in the coming year – one at the University of Washington and the other on Capitol Hill – now is the time to build on this momentum.

We are working with leaders throughout the three-county region to pass authority for Sound Transit 3 in Olympia this year.

Sound Transit 3 is our path forward to build new light rail connections within the city, including to Ballard and West Seattle.

These vital connections would link our growing light rail system to Puget Sound’s largest job centers.

Together, these efforts will have profound impact on our transportation future.

But there’s no denying it: our transportation future will look different without the leadership of Tom Rasmussen on the City Council.

Councilmember Rasmussen has been a part of civic life in Seattle for as long as I can remember.

He’s been a champion for seniors, for human services, for civil rights, and for innovative transportation solutions, including our successful transit campaign this past November.

Councilmember Rasmussen, we thank you for your years of dedication to serving the people of Seattle.

[Affordability in housing]

Income inequality is real, and it’s growing in Seattle.

In 2013, the income of the top fifth of Seattle households was 19 times that of the lowest fifth.

Everyone who works in Seattle should be able to afford to live in Seattle…

Our strategies to address this challenge have included reinventing our City’s utility discount program, where we have seen a 21 percent increase in household enrollments in one year, and are on track to meet my commitment to double enrollments by 2018.

And I look forward to partnering with Councilmember Sawant to continue this important work.

Our strategies have included raising the minimum wage for workers like Malcolm Cooper-Suggs, a 21-year-old fast-food worker.

Malcolm is excited to soon be able to start setting money aside for emergencies his future.

He is doing his part – working hard to make a better life for himself. He deserves a fair wage for a full day’s work.

Malcolm is here with us today – Malcolm please stand and be recognized…

In time, our action on minimum was will directly impact the lives of over 100,000 individuals like Malcolm working in this city.

Women are disproportionately represented among those who stand to benefit from the rising minimum wage.

And there are steps the City can take to address the gender equity issues among our own employees.

With Councilmember Godden’s leadership, we will move forward on a number of initiatives this year that will help close the gender pay gap and promote women’s participation in the City workforce.

We are also establishing an Office of Labor Standards to educate workers and businesses on how to comply with our new minimum wage law and enforce other important worker protections.

This Office in many ways is the crowning achievement of a remarkable two-decade-long career of service to the people of Seattle.

Councilmember Nick Licata, you have been a voice for the voiceless, and a tireless advocate for a more affordable city.

If, as Jonathan Raban has written, living in a city is an art, then you have brought the vocabulary of art to our ongoing efforts to make this city a better place for all…

Our next great challenge to affordability, of course, is housing.

Seattle now has the fastest growing rents among all major cities in the country.

To address this massive challenge, I worked with Councilmembers Clark and O’Brien to establish an advisory committee to take action.

As with our minimum wage task force, we have brought together people with very different perspectives who often do not agree, to work together on a definitive proposal just as rigorous as the solution we developed on the minimum wage.

Their recommendations, due in May, will help ensure people – and especially families –can live in this city no matter their income.

People including the mother I met who works downtown and lives in South King County, but spends hours a day commuting.

Hers is a common story that is often lost, but experienced by thousands of other workers across Seattle. These stories represent the true cost of a lack of affordability in our city.

I have made it clear to the members of the committee – and will reiterate here today –that we are not going to get there with a single tool.

To address our affordability challenges, everyone must play a part: from developers to landlords to nonprofits to employers to the construction industry… to City government.

That’s why I am committing 35 million dollars of City resources to enact the recommendations of this Advisory Committee.

[Education]

As we grow as a city, we cannot allow the opportunity gap between white students and students of color to persist.

Nearly 90 percent of Caucasian third graders are meeting math and reading standards in this city, compared to approximately half of African American students.

About one-quarter of African American and Latino students do not graduate on time, compared to 8 percent of Caucasian students.

We can no longer allow so many of our children to leave school unprepared for college, for work or for life.

The City has partnered with Seattle Public Schools for 20 years through the Families & Education Levy.

Thanks to the leadership of Council President Burgess, we are deepening our partnership through the Seattle Preschool program.

And there are still more opportunities to partner.

Building a school system that works for all of our children is not the responsibility of the school district alone.

It is the responsibility of all of us.

This fall, I will be convening an Education Summit to re-envision how a 21st Century urban public school system can work successfully for all students.

The City, the school district, the state, the private sector, teachers and parents – all must engage in frank and honest conversation, and unite around a shared vision.

Together, we will close the opportunity gap in our public schools.

[Economic development]

Seattle is home to one of the most unique business environments in the country.

We have a diverse economy that is creating jobs and keeping unemployment low.

Amazon continues to grow before our eyes. Weyerhaeuser is moving to Pioneer Square. Juno had a very successful initial public offering.

But we as a City lack a more focused approach to economic development.

Too often, we have rested on our luck and our geography.

In the coming months, we will be asking our local business owners:

What do we need to do to make the task of running a local business easier?

What can we as a City do to help businesses thrive?

Over the last year, we have taken some initial steps…

We held an industrial and maritime summit to explore ways to build upon Seattle’s strengths as a manufacturing center, and as a trading hub.

As a result, my budget invested in a Heavy Haul Corridor in Sodo, an essential step to help boost the competiveness of our industrial freight sector.

And we will continue this engagement to create a longer-term vision for the role of manufacturing, maritime, and trade in Seattle’s economy.

We are building our strategy to attract foreign direct investment.

We are expanding access to broadband to support start-up businesses.

Our Office of Economic Development launched an effort to help restauranteurs navigate the City, County and State regulations necessary to open and run a restaurant in Seattle.

And, we are making investments in business retention for medium-size business in growing industries.

All of these elements and more will be part of the conversation as we develop a shared strategy with the business community for how the City can play a more active role in nurturing our business environment and in creating jobs.

[Government performance]

A rapidly changing city requires a City government that can adapt right along with it.

If Seattleites are to have confidence that City Hall can meet today’s challenges they must be able to measure the City’s performance.

In September, as part of my budget, I made a promise to provide greater transparency into City government, and make more information and data accessible to the public.

And we have some results to share.

Today, we are launching a new tool called Performance Seattle, an interactive website found at performance.seattle.gov

Currently, nine of our departments are contributing data about how well they are meeting their goals, such as reducing traffic fatalities, reducing our carbon footprint and responding quickly to fires.

In the coming months, all City departments will set performance targets and report regularly to the public on their progress.

Today, we are also launching OpenBudget, another interactive website that presents budget data for the entire City government.

Located at openbudget.seattle.gov, it is a leap forward in budget reporting for our City.

Taken together, both of these resources will help us as a City achieve better goal-setting, better tracking, better use of data, and better outcomes.

These sites also highlight the great accomplishments of our hardworking City employees, who confront and manage complex and contentious issues each and every day.

I want to highlight the strong leadership of Christopher Williams, a long-time Parks employee who served as acting superintendent for more than four years, and is returning to his deputy role.

Christopher saw the department through a difficult time in the economy, and today, because of him, our department is stronger than ever.

Thanks to his leadership, and the leadership of Councilmember Bagshaw, we were able to secure long-term funding for Seattle’s parks and community centers.

[Public safety]

Last year in this chamber, I committed to using a data-driven approach to address our city’s complex and ongoing challenges in public safety, the paramount duty of local government.

Under Chief O’Toole, in August the Seattle Police Department launched the Seastat program, which uses data and community input to identify spikes in crime, address them, and evaluate police response.

In the fall, after a rash of robberies on Capitol Hill and in the Rainier Valley, we coordinated precinct and department-wide resources in the hardest-hit areas.

These focused efforts resulted in a 25 percent drop in robberies on Capitol Hill and a 40 percent drop in the Rainier Valley.

And after a spike in car thefts and car prowls last year, these same smart policing techniques led to a 12 percent drop in car thefts and a 16 percent drop in car prowls.

They also led to a 26 percent drop in burglaries.

This is good police work, and is the result of the dedicated efforts of our Seattle police officers.

These are early steps in addressing our public safety challenges, but they are positive steps in the right direction.

To build upon this momentum, I have set ambitious crime reduction goals for the Police Department, which are featured at Performance Seattle.

We will continue to grow and expand these strategies as we develop the best model for urban policing in the nation.

As I committed in these chambers last summer, I will provide the Council with a fuller presentation in late spring, consistent with our work to…

…ensure a safer built environment,

…foster more active public space and

…generate more economic opportunity for youth.

[Youth employment]

The fact is, the City can reduce youth crime and violence through a robust youth employment program.

In Chicago, for example, young people from high-crime neighborhoods were nearly half as likely to be victims of violent crime when they had summer jobs.

This year, we will create a Mayor’s Youth Employment Task Force to build the most vigorous youth employment program this City has seen in decades.

This program will help our young people – especially youth from our most under-served communities – develop the skills necessary to compete in the 21st Century economy.

We know what a successful program looks like.

Shawnteal Turner was in and out of juvenile detention when she attended a career fair and learned about the Youth Green Corps, a partnership between our Seattle Parks and Goodwill.

She liked learning about the environment and wanted help forming her life goals.

Shawnteal completed the program, and because of her dedication, passion and hard work, she is now working with both Seattle Goodwill and Seattle Parks & Recreation.

Shawnteal is here with other members of Youth Green Corps.

Shawnteal, please stand and be recognized…

We want to provide more opportunities like Shawnteal’s.

Our immediate goal is to double the number of summer youth served to 2,000 this year.

Additionally, Seattle was selected to receive a significant grant from Bloomberg Philanthropies.

The staff hired with these new resources will first focus on addressing the disparities affecting young African Americans, particularly men, in Seattle.

We will align our participation in national efforts to address youth violence –including Cities United and President Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper – with our local efforts, such as the Seattle Youth Violence Prevention Initiative.

In the spring, we will convene a Youth Opportunity Summit, working with African American and other community-leaders, experts in academia, the non-profit and private sectors to eliminate the educational opportunity gap, increase long-term employment and reduce juvenile crime rates.

[Police accountability and police reform]

Every community deserves to be served well by its police service.

Our efforts to reform the Seattle Police Department remain a top priority of my administration.

This City will continue working with the federal judge and the Civil Rights Division of the United States Department of Justice to address patterns of excessive use of force.

That is non-negotiable.

While we still have far to go, we need to acknowledge when progress occurs.

For the first time, the federal monitor has commended us for our progress. All officers are receiving consistent training. And, we are now collecting consistent, reliable, court-approved data for all uses of force.

Last year, I worked with Councilmember Harrell, the Community Police Commission, the Office of Professional Accountability and City Attorney Pete Holmes to develop reforms that will bring greater fairness, independence and transparency to the police discipline and accountability process.

Chief O’Toole and I have already implemented some of these reforms to ensure that disciplinary appeals are handled properly and efficiently.

This spring, I will introduce legislation to implement the remaining reforms.

All together, our comprehensive efforts will change the experience between our police and our community, and rebuild public trust.

They include…

…improved recruitment of a more diverse police force…

…significant training in de-escalation tactics and bias-free policing…

…extensive reporting and data-collection to identify potential misconduct…

…a streamlined complaint process for Seattleites to report issues …

…increased civilian oversight of every aspect of the police discipline and accountability system…

…and significant new transparency to instill public confidence and ensure that incidents of misconduct are not swept under the rug.

These changes are essential elements in our ongoing effort to create the best model for urban policing in the nation.

[Conclusion]

This is a historic moment in America and in Seattle as we confront the issue of race.

We must acknowledge how far we have come, but this is the side of the mountain, not the summit.

The poet Maya Angelou said:

“History despite its wrenching pain,

Cannot be unlived,

and if faced

With courage,

need not be lived again.”

It will take courage to address the deeply troubling issues of policing and race in this country.

It will take courage to acknowledge that the police are often at the receiving end of the failure of other systems to address race…

…failure in our education, criminal justice, foster care, mental health and political systems.

On the night of the Ferguson Grand Jury decision I pointed to the results of those failures.

… African Americans are incarcerated at nearly 6 times the rate of Caucasians…

… Homicide is the leading cause of death of young African-American men …

… 40 percent of African Americans will fail to graduate on-time from our high schools — or at all — …

…the numbers for Latinos, Pacific Islanders and Native Americans are hardly better.

To the young people here, everything I have spoken about today, everything we have accomplished this past year…

…pre-k, the minimum wage, transit, priority hire, parks and community centers, police reform, summer youth employment…

…they are the response of the people of this City to addressing the issue of race and inequality.

But much work remains and it will not be easy. It is time to begin again to climb that mountain.

It is time for Seattle to talk with each other about how we heal the wounds of race.

Maya Angelou goes on in her poem to say.

“Lift up your eyes upon

this day breaking for you

Give birth again

To the dream.”

 

Thank you.