Mayor Ed Murray released the following statement regarding King County’s master use permit application for the King County Children and Family Justice Center:
“The City of Seattle issues nearly 800 master use permits annually. Those permits are issued by the Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections (SDCI) according to technical criteria having to do solely with land use and environmental issues. King County applied for a master use permit for the new Children and Family Justice Center, with a decision from SDCI to be announced shortly. King County has designed and is funding the project, which resulted from a 2012 levy supported by County voters.
“The Office of the Mayor cannot intervene in any permitting decision, including this one, as it is a technical decision based on the County’s application. As the City Hearing Examiner’s decision on Terminal 5 at the Port of Seattle clarified, the City must base any permit decision on the technical design facts in a permit application, and not on any policy considerations.”
“I recognize that significant racial disparities exist in our City and ultimately our goal is to keep all young people from entering the criminal justice system and I will continue to direct City resources to ending these disparities in foundational areas such as education, employment, and criminal justice.”
Since Mayor Murray took office, City efforts to provide more opportunity and to address long-standing racial disparities have included:
- Massive expansion of the City’s Youth Jobs Program – the program has expanded to 2,300 youth jobs in 2015 from 650 when Mayor Murray took office through partnerships with City agencies, non-profit partners and private sector businesses.
- For their first project, Mayor Murray directed the Bloomberg Philanthropy-funded Innovation Team to examine disparities facing African-American and East African young men. As a result of their work, Mayor Murray’s Office is now supporting a new set of programming that will connect youth and families to services and prevent them from entering the justice system. This includes the launch of a program that brings together justice and service agencies to provide wraparound supports for 18 to 24 year old youth identified as most at risk of violence; support for a new family violence program that diverts youth to services before entering the criminal justice system; and changes to programs and practices that will improve cultural responsivity and better serve African-American and African immigrant families experiencing family violence and conflict.
- In response to a gap in how schools are serving African-American students that has lasted for generations, Mayor Murray convened the first Education Summit in 25 years. This resulted in a series of recommendations, backed by leaders in education, business, philanthropy and higher education specifically focused on addressing disparities for African-American youth and other youth of color. In this year’s budget, the City made an initial investment for expanding the My Brother’s Keeper mentoring program for African-American males; new culturally-specific summer learning programs run by community based organizations; expanding the “13th Year” to provide a chance for a free first year of college for Seattle Public School students; and launching a pilot “Innovation High School” expanding a model that has been used at middle schools doing the most to close the opportunity gap in the City and state.
- Further addressing education, last year, Mayor Murray and the City Council launched the Seattle Preschool Program, the beginning of providing high-quality preschool for all Seattle families. In its first year, the program served 280 kids, 75 percent of whom are children of color. The program doubled this year and will continue to grow each year.
- Mayor Murray has continuously worked with the Department of Justice to reform the Seattle Police Department, which is now recognized as a national model in police reform, including innovations in anti-bias training, use of force policies, and de-escalation tactics—all reforms aimed at improving the relationship between officers and Seattle’s communities of color.