Tag Archives: King County

As predicted: Seattle panel closing in on plan to fund homeless aid with “head tax”

government solve all problems

In January I told you how the City of Seattle, which has a major homelessness problem, created a 75-person task force to solve that problem. From my post:

“The mission of the task force remains fuzzy — with a stated goal of finding solutions to “root causes,” including a lack of affordable housing and gaps in the behavioral health, criminal justice and child welfare systems that jettison people directly into homelessness.”

The City of Seattle has already allocated over $37M to address homelessness and King County has budgeted over $195M for a grand total of over $232M. But it’s never enough.

As I stated in my January blog post, “The solution now? Form a large task force which, no doubt, will recommend more new taxes.”

And, of course, I was correct with my prediction.

From Seattle Times: A Seattle task force will start wrapping up its work Thursday, setting the stage for the City Council to pass a new tax on high-grossing businesses like Amazon.

Supporters and opponents agree the council will almost certainly greenlight some version of the so-called “head tax” next month and allocate the money to combat homelessness.

Exactly how much money the tax would raise, which businesses would pay it and how the dollars would be distributed are among the details still to be sorted out.

A version of the tax almost won approval last year, but the council narrowly voted for more process instead, punting the issue to a panel of citizens and experts.

That move put the idea on the political back burner, but not for long, because the council vowed to revisit it with recommendations from the community task force and adopt a head tax (also called an employee-hours tax) or something similar by March 26.

To keep the council on track, the task force must make significant progress at its penultimate meeting Thursday, said co-chair Tony To, the executive director of HomeSight, a South Seattle nonprofit.

Underlying the debate is the knowledge that rising property taxes are “really hurting” residents and that Seattle’s homelessness crisis is “worse than it’s ever been,” To said. “People don’t want to keep talking. They want to reach a conclusion,” To said.

The $25 million-per-year-proposal rejected in November — as the council finalized the city’s 2018 budget — would have taken 6.5 cents per employee, per hour, from companies grossing more than $10 million per year (about 5 percent of all businesses in Seattle).

Serving on the task force are people from various organizations — including nonprofits that build affordable housing — and walks of life, including people who have been homeless. Also taking part are Ian Eisenberg, owner of Uncle Ike’s pot shops; Tom Matthews, president of Walsh Construction; and Jesiah Wurtz, owner of Cafe Red.

Other businesses are sitting out the panel in protest. The Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, which represents 2,200 companies, including heavy hitters like Amazon, declined an invitation because its members saw no point in serving on a panel wedded to an idea they oppose, said Markham McIntyre, chief of staff.

Though the council resolution that created the task force leaves room for the panel to explore other “progressive” revenue tools, it says the recommendations should include an evaluation of a head tax capable of raising $25 million to $75 million a year.

“This is a sham process,” McIntyre said in an interview. “They have a predetermined outcome.”

Read the rest of the story here.

DCG

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Liberal/Marxist logic: King County Executive says “fairness comes down to your ability to pay”

dow constantine

Dow Constantine: It’s not fair…

I’m so glad I moved out of Washington state.

From MyNorthwest.com: King County Executive Dow Constantine says Washington taxes are unfair and he wants to fix them.

“Now, what is fair depends on where you stand, obviously, but I would submit this: That fairness comes down to your ability to pay,” Constantine recently said at an event for the Sound Cities Association.”

“It’s not fair to expect those with limited means to pay a larger percent of the little they have to support our collective roads, and police, and transit that are essential for all of us, for a prosperous economy and a strong community,” he said.

Constantine was recently the keynote speaker at an event for the Sound Cities Association. Here, he laid out his argument that Washington taxes are not being collected fairly. In short, families at the lowest end of the income ladder pay a higher percentage of their income in taxes than those earning at the highest end. Also, households in a city like Seattle are paying much more than households elsewhere.

Constantine made this example:

It was mentioned that I live in West Seattle. My folks live in the house in which I was raised. It’s a modest house owned by two long-retired public school teachers. They get their pension; they get their Social Security. And the Legislature just handed them a big property tax increase on this little house in which I was raised.

They are going to be paying more for schools statewide, but my mom’s brother and his wife – my aunt and uncle – live down in Centralia. They are also long-retired public school teachers. They also live in a modest house they’ve owned for a long time.

Their school district is going to get subsidized by my parents and they are very likely going to get a tax cut. Even though they have the exact same income as my parents. That is clearly not fair.

You can see the data he presented here(A link to his web site that provides his full speech. It doesn’t include any links to hard tax data/analysis provided by a nonpartisan organization). His speech comes as Seattle is championing an effort for an income tax; the city plans to take its case all the way to the state Supreme Court.

Constantine’s speech, however, was short on specific solutions to the issues around Washington taxes. He did point out examples of “things that could be different.” He also said “no one is actively considering” an income tax (someone might want to point him to Seattle’s Supreme Court case). Also, in August, voters rejected Constantine’s proposed $469 million sales-tax hike (“Access for All”) to raise money for art, science, and culture programs.

Constantine suggested:

  • Recast the sales tax: Apply it to more types of sales, but at a lower rate. This is also done in Hawaii, New Mexico, and both North and South Dakota.
  • Tax capital gains — income that people don’t earn — as a way to offset property taxes.
  • Allow governments to tax app downloads (Constantine admits that the local tech industry might not be in favor of this).
  • Fix “our goofy B&O tax”: The state should tax based on value added — on each stage of production — which would ultimately be paid by the end user. Businesses are currently taxed on gross receipts whether or not they make money, Constantine notes.
  • Property tax relief for seniors, veterans and other homeowners based on income.

Constantine also expanded on what taxes should primarily be used for:

  • Ensure all children get a decent education and job training that allows them to do better than their parents.
  • Build transit and a power grid for a modern economy.
  • Provide access to health care for all.
  • “And so much more.”

DCG

Illegal alien charged in Tukwila murder had been on ICE radar for months

sanctuary now

This illegal alien had previously been deported four times and now sits in King County Regional Justice Center on a $2M bail.  Tukwila is in King County, which known for protecting illegals.

From KOMO TV: A Tukwila man accused of killing his cousin had been on the radar of Immigrations and Customs Enforcement for months.

Rosalio Ramos-Ramos, 37, was being sought by Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) late last year and was almost turned over when an apparent lack of communication between police and Harborview Medical Center resulted in his discharge from the Seattle trauma hospital, Kent police said.

Chief Ken Thomas said police arrested Ramos-Ramos in October after he reported being involved in a sexual assault. Officers did not find any evidence of an assault, but found a drug pipe and a small amount of methamphetamine on Ramos-Ramos. They booked him into the Kent Jail in connection with misdemeanor drug possession, Thomas said.

Once at the jail Ramos-Ramos told officers he wanted to die then started fighting with corrections staff. Ramos-Ramos he said was taken to a nearby hospital then to Harborview for a head injury, according to Thomas.

While Ramos-Ramos was at Harborview police learned his identity. Thomas said officers were soon contacted by Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE). “We initially did not reach out to ICE,” Thomas said. “They looked out at the booking log, saw he was in custody and they reached out to us.”

According to ICE, hospitals are “sensitive locations,” places they don’t take enforcement action unless exigent circumstances exist.

Jorge Baron, executive director of the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, says he’s seen ICE take people into custody at hospitals. “The general policy of ICE about the fact there are some situations and locations where they’re generally not going to make arrests, but there are exceptions to that policy,” Baron said.

Kent police said they called Harborview daily to keep tabs on Ramos Ramos, but he was released without them knowing.

An ICE spokeswoman told KOMO over the phone Friday that the agency didn’t have information on the Tukwila man. When asked about why ICE didn’t put an officer at the hospital to watch over Ramos Ramos, she questioned why Kent police didn’t do the same.

Thomas told KOMO he has a small department and can’t take an officer off the streets for several days to watch over a man accused of committing misdemeanor crimes in his city. He said they promised to keep tabs on Ramos Ramos on behalf of ICE by calling the hospital. He said they planned to pick the man up once he was discharged and turn him over to the feds.

“I believe this person needed to be off the streets. He had been deported four times prior, he is a convicted felon and he’s a very violent person,” Thomas told KOMO during an interview on Thursday.

Harborview, in a statement, said they had no duty to give information to police over the phone. “When we care for patients who are incarcerated or under the custody of law enforcement, it is the role of the law enforcement agency to guard the patient while they are hospitalized. This particular patient was not under guard when he was released from the medical center last fall after five days of hospitalization. We also follow federal privacy laws that dictate the amount and type of patient medical information that we can release.”

King County Senior Deputy Prosecutor Scott O’Toole said in the second-degree murder charges he filed against Ramos-Ramos that the man has multiple aliases and birthdates. He told KOMO that the man’s green card appears to be fraudulent.

h/t Weasel Zippers

DCG

Seattle has a solution to their homelessness crisis: A 75-person task force

government solve all problems

The city of Seattle has a major homelessness problem. It’s so bad that the former disgraced homosexual mayor, Ed Murray, declared a State of Emergency on November 2, 2015. From my blog post in April 2017:

In 2016, the King County region saw an increase of 19% of our unsheltered population, the majority of those people residing in Seattle. In November of 2015, Mayor Murray declared a State of Emergency on Homelessness to bring light to this crisis and seek greater support from our state and federal partners. Mayor Murray has increased spending on homelessness intervention and prevention and the City of Seattle is now spending a record high of nearly $50 million dollars to address this crisis.”

The city has spent a lot of tax payer money to try and solve the problem. Here’s an example of what they’ve done to date:

Three years after the State of Emergency was declared and after all the hires and money spent, homelessness is still a major issue in the city.

The solution now? Form a large task force which, no doubt, will recommend more new taxes.

Jonathan Martin at the Seattle Times reports on the details of this new task force:

The number of people in King County who left homelessness for permanent housing has nearly doubled since 2012, but the overall tally of people who became homeless has risen more steeply — to nearly 30,000 in 2016.

That data, from King County, framed the launch on Monday of a sprawling new regional task force on homelessness to stop the descent of many into abject poverty. The 75-member group, called One Table, is the first evidence of regional collaboration between new Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan and King County Executive Dow Constantine on the homelessness crisis.

The mission of the task force remains fuzzy — with a stated goal of finding solutions to “root causes,” including a lack of affordable housing and gaps in the behavioral health, criminal justice and child welfare systems that jettison people directly into homelessness.

At a news conference after the first meeting, Constantine said the task force was in response to a city property tax proposed, then withdrawn, last year by former Seattle Mayor Ed Murray for homeless services.

One Table, co-chaired by Auburn Mayor Nancy Backus, includes leaders from a business community that has objected to a rising tax level. But Constantine suggested its recommendations could include new taxes for homelessness prevention.

“We’re spending a lot of money now on crisis response (to homelessness), but on the prevention side, on the root causes, there is clearly still a gap in the resources available,” he said.

Durkan sounded less enthusiastic. “We can’t reverse engineer this — it’s not the taxes first, and then do the services that fit the taxes,” she said. “Let’s find the solutions, then scope the resource to fill that gap.”

Read the rest of the details here.

DCG

Utopia will be achieved: Seattle awards $34M to 30 agencies to end homelessness

seattle homelessness

Tax dollars required to end homelessness…

In a previous post, I told you about Seattle’s serious homelessness problem. From my post:

“In 2016, the King County region saw an increase of 19% of our unsheltered population, the majority of those people residing in Seattle. In November of 2015, Mayor Murray declared a State of Emergency on Homelessness to bring light to this crisis and seek greater support from our state and federal partners. Mayor Murray has increased spending on homelessness intervention and prevention and the City of Seattle is now spending a record high of nearly $50 million dollars to address this crisis.”

The city hired a “Director of Homelessness” to ensure that the City’s increased efforts were well coordinated and driving toward the greatest outcomes for those in need. The new Director of Homelessness was tasked with executing the Mayor’s priorities on this issue. In August 2016, the city hired George Scarola to fill this position, who makes $137,500 per year.

In 2016, the Human Services Division invested $55 million in homelessness services. That large amount of tax-payer dollars didn’t solve the problem so $34 million more is needed.

From MyNorthwest.com: Calling it a fundamental shift in the City of Seattle’s approach to homelessness, Mayor Tim Burgess says the Human Services Department will fund 30 agencies to help move people into permanent housing. Those agencies plan to use the $34 million awarded to move more than twice as many people into housing next year than in 2017.

“By moving people from living on the street to permanent homes, we provide them a springboard to better opportunities and a more stable life,” said Mayor Tim Burgess. “We are focused on the only result that ends homelessness: housing. We are holding our providers accountable to that same result. I commend HSD for their focus on results and accountability for public dollars.”

The goal is to move more than 7,000 households into housing in 2018, including 739 families and 1,094 youth and young adults. (According to the HSD 2016 report, there was 6,128 exits to permanent housing throughout King County. Yet in 2017 there was another 7,000 homeless? That’s an awful lot of new homeless households in one year. The numbers just don’t make sense to me.)

The city says the awards fall into seven categories: Prevention, Diversion, Outreach and Engagement, Emergency Services, Transitional Housing, Rapid Re-Housing, and Permanent Supportive Housing.

The Human Services Department received 181 applications from 57 agencies, according to the city.

According to the city’s annual point-in-time count, 8,746 people are homeless in Seattle, and there are 3,857 unsheltered people.

DCG

Criminal whose life sentence was commuted by WA state governor now facing murder charge

gregoire and commuted convict

Former governor Gregoire and convict Stonney (WA DOC photo)

As reported by Sara Jean Green from the Seattle Times: In her final days in office in 2013, former Gov. Christine Gregoire (demorat) commuted the life sentence of a man now charged in connection with the shooting death of a 24-year-old man at a Kent motel earlier this month.

Stonney Rivers, 50, was charged last week with first-degree murder and is being held without bail, court and jail records show.

Rivers, who was sentenced to life in prison after being convicted of his third strike in 1995, had his sentence conditionally commuted and was released from prison in January 2015, court records say. He served two years on community supervision, which ended in January.

Rivers is accused of fatally shooting David Cabrera in the face during a drug robbery at a Kent motel on Nov. 2, charging papers say. He is also charged with second-degree assault for pointing a gun at Cabrera’s girlfriend and threatening to kill her, say the charges. If convicted, Rivers would again be subject to a life sentence, the charges say.

“Rivers continues to commit crimes, even when he is on community custody and even after being given a once-in-a-lifetime second chance through a governor’s commutation,” Senior Deputy Prosecutor John Castleton wrote in charging papers.

A second man, Theneious Swafford, 47, has also been charged with first-degree murder and is accused of driving Rivers to and from the motel in a silver Lexus that he was in the process of buying but then returned to an Auburn car dealership, charges say. The car would end up providing Kent police detectives with crucial clues that first led them to Swafford — who had used a fake name and driver’s license to purchase the vehicle — and through his social-media profiles, to Rivers, say the charges.

Swafford is now also facing his third-strike offense and if convicted would face a life sentence.

According to the charges:

Just before 7:30 a.m. on Nov. 2, Swafford pulled into the parking lot of the Golden Kent Motel and spent the next 12 minutes in a room occupied by Cabrera and his girlfriend. Cabrera went to bed and his girlfriend was tidying the room when a second man entered the unlocked motel room without knocking, the charges say.

The couple told the man to leave, but he pulled a gun from his waistband and shot Cabrera in the face, say charging papers. Cabrera’s girlfriend ran from the room and hid outside, then went to the office and asked the manager to call 911. She then followed Rivers to the parking lot of an adjacent motel.

Police identified the gunman as Rivers, matching surveillance images with his driver’s-license photo and photos posted on social media, the charges say.

On Nov. 11, Rivers turned himself in at the King County Jail on an unrelated felony warrant associated with identity-theft charges, say the charges filed in the homicide case.

Police say Rivers admitted going to the Kent motel to buy crystal meth but claimed he didn’t hurt or kill anyone, say the charges.

Gregoire, in a statement released Wednesday by her former chief of staff, said King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg, members of the state Clemency and Pardons Board and the judge who sentenced Rivers to life in prison all recommended that his sentence be commuted. Rivers had been sentenced to life after being convicted of second-degree robbery, the statement says.

“Their recommendations carried great weight with me,” she wrote. By the time of his 2015 release, Rivers had served 20 years in prison, Gregoire noted.

“Robbery 2 typically results in a sentence of two to three years. Based on these recommendations and the facts available at the time, to include his performance while in prison, I conditionally commuted Mr. Rivers sentence to his time served subject to compliance with twenty-one different conditions,” Gregoire said in the statement.

DCG

Ruh roh: Accuser files new suit against former homosexual mayor Ed Murray, adds Seattle as defendant

Ed Murray with husband Michael Shiosaki

We’ve told you about the homosexual mayor of Seattle (now former mayor), Ed Murray, and the sexual abuse allegations against him. See the following:

Looks like Murray, and now the city of Seattle, are going to be busy meeting with their lawyers.

As reported by Lewis Kamb from the Seattle Times: A Kent man who earlier this year withdrew a lawsuit that helped expose a wider alleged child-sex-abuse scandal that drove Ed Murray out of public office has refiled a legal case against Seattle’s former mayor.

Delvonn Heckard’s new lawsuit not only accuses Murray of repeatedly raping and molesting him as a teenager, but also blames the city of Seattle for enabling Murray to use his political office to slander Heckard and other alleged victims for months during the former mayor’s public denials.

“Acting within the scope of employment and utilizing his position of power as bestowed upon him by the citizens of the City of Seattle, Mr. Murray spread false and harmful information about Delvonn, and his attorneys, in an effort to win re-election and extinguish these claims,” the lawsuit contends.

The suit, filed Monday in King County Superior Court, accuses Murray of making “false assertions” that included calling Heckard a liar motivated by an anti-gay political agenda. It names only Murray and the city as defendants, but also contends that Murray’s personal spokesman, his lead attorney, his husband and his campaign team “acted in concert to perpetuate this fraud.”

Heckard’s 13-page complaint also blames “many members of Seattle’s political elite” — specifically naming Seattle City Councilmembers Bruce Harrell and Sally Bagshaw — for empowering Murray’s attacks on victims by refusing to seek the mayor’s removal from office.

“The failure to act was a form of negligence that permitted Mr. Murray to continue to use his power to defame the assorted victims,” the suit states. “These actions, enabling, and watching future leaders of the community accept Mr. Murray’s endorsement, caused added emotional distress and humiliation to Delvonn, and childhood sex abuse victims everywhere.”

Murray, through his personal spokesman, declined to comment.

A spokeswoman for City Attorney Pete Holmes said early Monday his office had not yet received a copy of Heckard’s lawsuit and doesn’t typically comment on pending litigation against the city.

Murray, 62, a former state legislator in his first term as Seattle mayor, resigned on Sept. 12 about two hours after The Seattle Times reported his cousin, Joseph Dyer, had become the fifth man to publicly accuse him of child sexual abuse decades ago.

Aside from Heckard and Dyer, Murray’s accusers include Jeff Simpson, Murray’s live-in foster son in the early 1980s; Lloyd Anderson, who lived in a Portland children’s group home where Murray worked as a counselor in the late 1970s; and Maurice Lavon Jones, who claims Murray paid him for sex when Jones was a teenage prostitute in Seattle in the late 1980s.

Heckard is the only accuser to sue Murray. His latest legal complaint partly echoes details included in the initial lawsuit, filed in April. Both suits allege Murray began paying small amounts of cash to Heckard for sex in 1986, when Heckard was a homeless 15-year-old drug addict roaming the streets of Capitol Hill. Murray’s pay-for-sex relationship with Heckard allegedly continued over the next four years, the suit contends.

Read the rest of the story here.

DCG