Tag Archives: City of Seattle

Seattle City limits concession hours, after complaint from labor union

mafia

From MyNorthwest.com: A business operating on Seattle Parks and Recreation property was told to stop serving food during school lunch hours, to avoid conflict with the union representing school cafeteria workers, who serve lunch at Garfield High School next door.

Artez Ford, who owns Garfield Eats, said he has lost 70 percent of his business since October, when he was forced to sign an amendment to his Parks and Recreation contract promising not to sell food between 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.

I signed it under distress because we had spent an awful lot of money. We had invested – our whole family – cousins, sisters, brothers,” he said.

This happened just days after Ford said a union representative came to his stand. The man told Ford he was representing cafeteria works at the school district. “He told me that there are real American families up at the cafeteria that’s trying to make a living,” Ford said.

KIRO 7 reached out to that union, Local 609B. KIRO 7 did not receive a response to our request for an on-camera interview, but a representative named David Westberg responded to initial questions over email. Westberg said that Garfield Eats was selling junk food, tobacco and beer. When KIRO 7 asked for evidence of this, Westberg did not reply.

Ford said he has never sold tobacco or alcohol. Students told KIRO 7 they had not seen those products for sale either. Tobacco and alcohol are prohibited in Seattle parks.

As for the claim of junk food, Ford said, “We’re totally disappointed. We really thought we were providing nutritious meals.” He said he sold four kinds of salads, cheeseburgers and hot dogs, among other things.

Students told KIRO 7 they preferred Garfield Eats, because of the low cost and vegetarian options. They now go to Ezell’s for fried chicken, or to AmPm, a gas station convenience store.

KIRO 7 asked the Department of Parks and Recreation for an explanation of the circumstances. While representatives declined a request for an interview, they said in an email that “we have had a vendor there in years past, and we have always tried to be good neighbors with the school district and have asked previous vendors to not sell during school lunch hours.”

In an email sent to Artez Ford directly, a Parks and Recreation employee named Antoinette Daniel wrote about Ford selling during lunch hours, “This is in direct conflict with the Garfield High School cafeteria staff’s efforts to serve lunch and their union.”

KIRO 7 looked through the contract between Local 609B and Seattle Public Schools. There was no language referencing activity off of school property. While a Seattle Public Schools spokesperson did not want to confirm this, he did write in an email that “SPS wouldn’t tell a vendor to stop selling food off school grounds.”

KIRO 7 obtained data from Seattle Public Schools, showing that the number of meals served per lunch hour at all high schools is below the target goal.

A third-party study of SPS nutritional services, sent to KIRO 7 by Local 609B, shows that only 18.9 percent of high school students participated in school lunch from 2015-16. It also said that 38.2 percent of high school students in the district qualify for free or reduced lunch.

“I used to come down here [to Garfield Eats] for lunch, like, all the time, because it was so much cheaper,” said freshman Makayla Clegg.

Ford said that his family struggled financially over the past season and cut back on spending, especially during the holidays “I haven’t been to the movies. We had no Thanksgiving, no Christmas. (on) Dec. 16, I decided, ‘I’m going to buy my daughter a Christmas tree.’ And I opened this store in violation,” he said.

Ford said someone from the Department of Parks and Recreation came that day to stop him.

Ford is now trying to obtain a new contract with the department for the next season. He said that the stipulation of not selling during school lunch hours — summer excluded — is still present in the contract. He does not want to sign the contract under those circumstances and is hoping to negotiate with the city.

DCG

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City jobs grow out of Seattle homelessness crisis

government solve all problems

In April 2016, I told you how the embattled Seattle Mayor Ed Murray decided to tackle the severe homelessness crisis in Seattle. He hired a “homelessness czar” to “lead and align efforts across City departments, provide oversight and evaluation of data and outcomes, provide strategic guidance on developing policy and protocols, and lead external engagement and communication strategies.”

And, as many could have predicted, the homelessness czar (and the high salary) is not enough to solve the problem. What to do? Hire more people!

From MyNorthwest.com: Two new jobs have been created to tackle the Seattle homelessness crisis. This adds to other positions directly related to homelessness the city created within the last year.

The new positions bring the total number of new homeless-related jobs to six that the city has hired for since August. The two positions currently advertised for will potentially pay more than $100,000 each.

    • Homelessness czar: $137,500 annually
    • Homeless encampment trash/litter program administrator: up to $46.80 / hour
    • Two homeless encampment field operations advisers (x2): up to $42 / hour
    • Executive for encampment response: Between $119,997.36 and $140,000.41 annually
    • Homeless communications director: Between $91,872 and $125,843.76 annually

Adding all that up – at the high end of estimated annual pay – it comes to $537,908.17 in new salaries.

Before Seattle and King County declared a state of emergency over the homeless crisis in 2015, the city spent about $40 million on the issue; the county spent $36 million. After the state of emergency was declared, Seattle put up $5 million more, and the county threw in $2 million more.

Job descriptions

“Executive overseeing the homeless encampment response program” pays between $119,997.36 and $140,000.41. The role of the executive will be to lead cleanup programs for homeless encampments on public property while finding housing for people living in those camps. The purpose will be to move people living in tents into “indoor housing alternatives.”

Communications director will be dedicated solely to the homeless response program. This position pays between $91,872 and $125,843.76 annually. They will handle all internal and external communications around encampment issues. They will work with everyone from the mayor to the council, the police department and more to create messaging around homelessness.

And let’s not forget, in August 2016, the city hired George Scarola to be Seattle’s homelessness czar. Scarola is charged with leading the city’s homeless response efforts, organizing multiple departments and providing oversight and strategic guidance.

Seattle began hiring again in March 2017, this time to solve the homelessness issue. One position was for an administrator for a homeless encampment trash/litter cleanup program. The position is paid up to $46.80 an hour and was listed as temporary. The city also advertised to hire two field positions that would coordinate cleanup of encampments. They are paid up to $42 an hour.

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Subpoena alleges police response to Mayor Ed Murray home a cover-up

Ed Murray with husband Michael Shiosaki

The Seattle Times is not allowing comments on this article. Gee, I wonder why…

From Seattle Times: A Seattle police response to the home of Mayor Ed Murray involving an unidentified man last year has become the latest point of contention in a Kent man’s lawsuit accusing Murray of sexual abuse 30 years ago.

Lawyers representing Delvonn Heckard publicized a subpoena filed Monday suggesting Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole and Maggie Thompson, one of Murray’s staff members, are “involved in cover-up efforts” regarding the police response to a “suspicious person” report at the mayor’s Capitol Hill home on the night of June 24.

A spokesman for Murray fired back late Monday, calling the subpoena “outlandish” and completely unrelated to the lawsuit. “The gossipy account provided is an example of unfounded rumor being peddled as fact. It is easily disproved by numerous eyewitnesses, and by the official police record,” Jeff Reading said in an emailed statement.

The mayor also released a statement from five people who said they were guests at Murray’s home that night. They contradicted an anonymous allegation in the subpoena that claimed the police call was in response to a “shirtless man” who’d left belongings inside the mayor’s house.

Attorneys Julie Kays and Lincoln Beauregard subpoenaed Thompson, Murray’s operations manager and 2013 campaign manager, who was at the house that night. They want Thompson to provide any information she has related to the call and to three men now accusing the mayor of past sexual abuse.

The lawyers’ contentions are based on information Beauregard says comes from an anonymous tipster, who provided them with screen shots of the police log documenting the call.

The court filing contains screen shots of a partial Seattle Police computer-assisted dispatch (CAD) report showing eight officers were dispatched after Murray called O’Toole at 11:23 p.m., saying he “needs police ASAP as unk (unknown) person was on his front door.” O’Toole contacted a dispatcher.

The CAD report, which documented the police’s response to the call, indicates that at 11:27 p.m. O’Toole reported everything was under control. “Per Chief O’Toole: Mayor said ‘Maggie’ is there now,” the entry states. “Everything is UC. Not to rush. Per Chief, Mayor sounded a little confused. She req’d (requested) officers still check on him.

Neither O’Toole nor Thompson responded to calls seeking interviews Monday. Seattle police released a statement and a redacted version of the CAD log late Monday. Officers cleared the call without writing a report, the log shows.

“What I want to know is, what’s the mayor’s campaign manager doing at a call like this and why is the chief of police directly involved in the dialogue,” Beauregard said in an interview. He said the apparent lack of a report suggests police were trying to keep the incident under wraps.

During an unrelated news conference Monday, Murray said he has called police to his home on occasion because of suspicious individuals. “We have had incidents where people have tried to enter our house. We have called our security unit … when those incidents have happened. No one has actually ever physically been able to enter the house,” he said.

The five people who said they were at Murray’s house that night, Lyle Canceko, Joe Loeffler, Adrian Matanza, Roger Nyhus and Thompson, said they’d returned there after a Pride Month event on Capitol Hill.

Their statement said they were enjoying a glass of wine when someone knocked on the door. Two people, “both wearing shirts,” asked to use the bathroom and phone and “grew slightly pushy” when refused.

The two left, and Murray called O’Toole, triggering her request for police response. The statement by Murray’s friends said the couple never entered the house and “the night ended peacefully.”

Heckard, 46, who sued the mayor earlier this month, alleges Murray sexually abused him as a teenager three decades ago. Two other men, Jeff Simpson and Lloyd Anderson, also have said Murray sexually abused them as teenagers while living in Portland in the early 1980s. They have not filed lawsuits.

All three accusers have acknowledged living troubled lives marked by drug abuse, criminal records and prison time. Murray has denied all of the men’s accusations, claiming they are politically motivated.

DCG

Big Government: Seattle is developing a rat eradication program even though no major rat problem exists

I’m sure there will be a Rat Czar position opening soon.

My rat czars...

My rat czars…

From MyNorthwest.com: Seattle is set to impose a new rat regulation aimed at the local construction industry. “Seattle is a port city, we definitely have a lot of rats,” said Leah Helms with King County’s Environment Health Rodent Program.

That’s right, King County has its own rodent department. “In the City of Seattle, and in King County, it’s the property owner’s responsibility to deal with their rat problems,” she said.

But when the property owner is a developer who is sitting on a vacant property, rat problems can become quite significant. Especially when you consider the fact that Seattle is in the middle of a construction boom with many vacant properties awaiting demolition. With so much development going on around the city, rats will move from formerly vacant and torn down properties into neighboring homes or buildings .That’s the corner of Seattle’s rat issue that the city wants to target.

Modeling it after similar regulations in Kirkland and Shoreline, Seattle will implement a rat eradication regulation on builders starting in 2017. It basically requires developers to prove they have consulted with a pest-control agent before any vacant building is demolished. And if there is an issue, those rats have to be eradicated before the building comes down.

“That rat eradication program would have to be in place at least 15 days prior to the demolition — to ensure, to the best degree, possible that a pest control agent has taken steps to manage any sort of pest infestation on the property before the building comes down,” said Bryan Stevens with the City of Seattle’s Department of Construction and Inspections. “When you come in to demolish a building, where are the rats going to go? They are going to disperse and become a problem for everyone else in the neighborhood.”

Stevens said the regulation is a response to concerns from the health department about rat issues in recent years. The health department is in charge of inspecting complaints about Seattle rats. If necessary, the department engages in code enforcement.

Over the last couple of years the county has reported seeing an increase in rat complaints and asked the city to partner with them to help reduce the issues coming through their office,” Stevens said. “A lot of that stems from vacant buildings.”

government solve all problems

Helms notes that there hasn’t necessarily been an uptick in complaints, but complaints do come in more often during certain times — when people start seeing and hearing rats. “Rat activity goes up in the spring and in the fall, which corresponds with their breeding cycle,” Helms said. Throw development into the mix — and winter demolitions — then you have a rat problem scurrying over to all the neighbors.

“They’ll go in many directions to find a new place to live,” Stevens said. “Instead of allowing that to continue … the better approach is to require a licensed pest control agent to implement a rat eradication program before we allow someone to demolish that property.”

“There are a number of (buildings in Seattle) that have been vacant for years or many months that have rat problems,” he said. “If it’s unattended they find a way in.”

For the homes that don’t want rats, Helms suggests some basic advice: remove items from your yard that will give them shelter, use a rodent-proof garbage can, seal up your home, and keep bird food out of reach.

DCG

WA Attorney General: Racist for landlords not to rent to felons

I’m so glad I sold my rental property in Washington state last year.

for-rent

From MyNorthwest.com: A recent court filing indicates that the Washington State Attorney General’s Office believes that denying a prospective tenant with a felony conviction is racially discriminatory.

A member of the Attorney General’s Civil Rights Unit served a Consent Decree on Dobler Management Company, a property management firm in Tacoma, after conducting a simulated test on whether the landlord was illegally discriminating against potential tenants.

According to the briefing sent to KTTH’s Todd Herman, in May, the state asked a tester to follow up on a rental property advertisement on Craigslist, which said the apartment complex would automatically deny renters with a felony record. The state’s tester confirmed that the unit was still available and asked if he could apply for the unit despite having a felony conviction. The leasing consultant responded via email that a “felony would be an automatic denial.”

“In denying the tester, the leasing consultant did not consider when the conviction occurred, what the underlying conduct entailed or what the tester had done since the conviction,” the state wrote in a consent decree filed in Pierce County Superior Court.

The state explains that there is a discriminatory link between criminal history and restriction of housing:

“In Washington, racial disparities exist in the criminal justice system. African Americans are arrested, convicted, and incarcerated at higher rates than non-African Americans. As a result, criminal history restrictions on housing justified by a legitimate nondiscriminatory interest and is tailored … a housing provider’s blanket policy prohibiting tenants based on criminal history discriminates based on race or color.”

Herman says that this explanation is based on a new theory called Disparate Impact, which was recently enshrined into law by the Supreme Court. He says that this leads to the assumption that if there are unequal outcomes between races, that tacit racism exists, even without any intent.

say what

The AG’s decree comes on the heels of the Seattle City Council’s renter protection ordinance in August that made it so landlords can no longer choose which tenants they believe will be best. Seattle landlords instead have to choose the first applicant who qualifies. The goal is to prohibit discrimination against people with different forms of payment, such as vouchers and subsidies.

In the case of the State of Washington’s vs. the Pierce County property owner, the AG’s office seeks financial penalties and wants to force property owners into sensitivity training on the issue.

The attorney’s office representing the management company told Herman that there was “absolutely no engagement or outreach” by the AG or any housing regulator on this “novel” theory of liability, adding that the AG Ferguson’s office “began actively and aggressively ‘shopping’ for apartments under the guise that they had felony convictions.”

The defense says that the amended Washington RCW directs that a background check, including a prospective tenant’s “criminal history” is authorized.

Herman likened Ferguson’s standard as a form of blackmail. He says the logic is backward: “You can’t ban felons because there are more African-Americans who are felons. Therefore, if you don’t want felons living in your building, you are a stone-cold racist.”

Herman says the AG is using a “web of dictates” rather than looking to change the standards and deal with the real issues: Getting families back together, increasing graduation rates, etc.

“Is there any concern here in this state at all about why — Why more African-Americans are arrested and charged?” Herman asked. “Or is this the way we’re going to solve the problem, by not letting landlords screen out felons? Which one will solve the problem?”

DCG

Seattle’s new, overbudget computer system let utility customers see others’ bills

Back in April, I told you about the City of Seattle’s new utility billing system – the one that was a year or more behind schedule and cost at least $34 million more than initially projected.

Well, the system launched on Monday and went as well as you would expect!

Tax dollars at work...

Tax dollars at work…

From Seattle Times: Seattle’s new billing system for utilities, already afflicted by delays and cost overruns, launched Monday morning with a data flaw that sent 3,041 customers a link to other customers’ bills, including their names, addresses and energy or water use.

Along with the privacy breakdown, the city sent six to 12 redundant email notices to those same customers, marking new trouble for a computer update, nearly a year late, $34 million over budget, and expected to reach $100 million.

The problems showed up in about one-tenth of the initial batch of 30,000 utility bills compiled during the changeover Sunday night and sent Monday morning, City Light spokesman Scott Thomsen said Monday night.

It’s likely that far fewer than 3,000 people inadvertently saw other people’s bills, because the city disabled the online billing link at 10:30 a.m., after a customer called to report the mistake, he said.

The Monday morning batch of 30,000 bills includes thousands of postal mail bills that weren’t affected, as well as electronic bills that worked properly. Some were City Light bills, others Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) water, sewer and garbage bills.

If customers clicked an online link to the electronic-payment option, they may have seen images of other customers’ bills in .pdf form, Thomsen said. That would have displayed other people’s names, addresses, energy use and billing amounts, as well as any discounts they receive, or any solar-energy generation. At no time were bank-account numbers, credit-card numbers, Social Security numbers or similar financial data exposed, he said.

E-billing customers who didn’t click the online payment link, but whose payments are still deducted automatically, received redundant but accurate emails, Thomsen said.

Both the e-billing link and the automatic payments for the new bills were disabled, while technicians worked Monday night. They would continue as long as needed to fix the flaw, Thomsen said. Electronic payment has been restored for people who were billed before the weekend.

He said 735 customers who use automatic billing received 12 email notices, and 2,306 others who pay their bills online got six email notices.

An investigation continues, but Thomsen said “there was an error on what we sent to KUBRA,” the city’s third-party billing company. The new system worked properly during final validation tests, he said.

On the other hand, the city had to integrate some 40 information-technology applications, affecting 420,000 customers, most of whom are served by both City Light and SPU.

“This appears to be a data issue of some sort that we need to sort out,” Thomsen said. “We did anticipate with any new system, there’s the potential for problems like this to crop up, so this is the one that we have. We’re trying to address it as quickly as we can.

“We take anything that deals with a customer’s bill seriously and we’re working diligently to resolve this.”

Read the whole story here.

DCG

Seattle offers classes on ‘white fragility,’ to explain roots of guilt

white guilt

From Fox News: A city-run cultural program in Seattle is offering residents classes on “white fragility” to white folks understand why they can’t seem to handle matters involving race, and tickets have sold out.

Lecturer Robin DiAngelo, who coined the term, is teaching the taxpayer-funded class for the city Office of Arts and Culture. She defines white fragility as “a state in which even a minimum amount of racial stress becomes intolerable, triggering a range of defensive moves.”

Critics say it is just the latest attempt at spreading white guilt, following in the footsteps of concepts such as “white privilege.”

Lecturer Robin DiAngelo

Lecturer Robin DiAngelo

“By the way, DiAngelo is white,” noted Todd Herman, of MyNorthwest.com. “But she doesn’t have any bias or fragility. And we’re going to pay her a bunch of money to teach a class on white fragility!”

The Office of Arts and Culture, which has a budget of $8.3 million, is holding two 4-hour classes, Aug. 17 and Sept. 7. Tickets are $60 and both lectures are sold out. Erika Lindsay, a city spokesperson, says staffers have been working on the event, but she could not pinpoint how much taxpayers are shelling out for the program.

“A primary role of our office is to provide programs and resources to help the arts and culture sector flourish and many arts and cultural organizations see the ability to become more inclusive as a major step towards their ability to thrive,” she said.

DiAngelo, who is white, has made a career out of studying whiteness. She earned her doctorate in Multicultural Education from the University of Washington in 2004. Ten years later she became a tenured professor in whiteness studies at Westfield State University. Now she is back in Seattle working as a lecturer at the University of Washington. She’s also director of equity for Sound Generations, Seattle/King County and was recently appointed to co-design Seattle’s Race and Social Justice Anti-Racism Training program.

Seattle is not alone in spending tax dollars on educating white people about their purported fragility. Portland Community College held a series of lectures in April under the heading: “Whiteness History Month Project.”

Melinda Bullen, Diversity Resource Center coordinator at Mt. Hood Community College, lectured on “white fragility.” Bullen, who is white, told attendees, “because of their position of privilege and accustomed racial comfort, whites will often display racial arrogance by denying, debating, trivializing racism or critical thought regarding racial conflict.”

Bullen also says white people need to be much harder on themselves. “Seeing yourself as well-meaning,” she said, “removes responsibility for your actions…good intentions are one of the great hindrances to honest conversations about race.”

h/t Hot Air

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