Tag Archives: Washington State

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.

DCG

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Unhinged Snowflake Student Screams at a Trump Sign For Two Minutes

From YouTube:

A student melted down at Western Washington University, presumably in response to a President Donald Trump sign, according to video released Friday. The unnamed student screams and throws paint on the ground, as depicted in the video obtained by Campus Reform. “This is what happens when you don’t take your meds,” says Eric Bostrom, the preacher carrying the sign, according to Campus Reform. “This is why I don’t believe in the legalization of marijuana.”

The student’s actions were presumably in response to a sign that said “Trump, borders, laws, jobs, liberty” on one side and “Jesus judges you, repent or perish” on the other side. Bostrom asserts that the student is an art major and, at another point in the video, the student tells someone who appears to be a concerned administrator to “call the police, bitch.” The Daily Caller News Foundation reached out to the university for comment, but received none in time for publication.”

h/t Twitchy

DCG

King County cops teaming up to fight rise in gun violence

stoopid

In August 2015, the Seattle City Council voted unanimously to establish a tax on gun and ammunition sales in the city, and to require gun owners to report lost and stolen firearms to police. At the time, council president Tim Burgess said this: “Gun violence is a public-health crisis in our city and our nation. City government can and must pursue innovative gun-safety measures that save lives and save money.”

It’s been two years since that gun tax was adopted. And it’s working about as well as you would expect…

From MyNorthwest.com: In his 4 ½ years as King County sheriff, John Urquhart cannot recall a time or an issue that brought together nearly every high-ranking law enforcement official in the Puget Sound region. Until Wednesday, when the region’s recent rise in gun violence put local and federal law enforcement in one room.

Most recently, there were six shootings in two days in the Seattle region. The issue is so severe that Urquhart was blunt while speaking with KIRO Radio’s Ron and Don.

“Young people with guns, that’s exactly what it is … my message to parents is if you think your kids are out there with guns – and I think most parents know – you better put a stop to it, even if you have to call us,” Urquhart said. “Because if you don’t, they are going to get killed. Either we are going to kill them – which is what happened in Seattle two weeks ago – or other people out there, other kids with guns are going to kill them. That’s how serious this is. We don’t want to kill them, we don’t want your kid to get killed. Do something about it.”

The meeting on Wednesday brought together the Washington State Patrol, Seattle Police Department, ATF, DEA, FBI, the DOC, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, and the U.S. Marshal’s Office — each discussing how they have noticed the rise in gun violence.

“There has been an uptick in some gang activity,” Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole told KIRO 7. “…We had the death of an innocent 16-year-old girl here, just around the corner. We had an elderly couple in the middle of the night that were subject to gunfire. It has to stop. The community is not going to tolerate it, and the police department is not going to tolerate it.”

Urquhart wouldn’t say exactly what tactics are going to be used moving forward, but he did provide some insight. “They are real simple: Boots on the ground,” he said. “We’re are going to go out there and if you have got guns, if you are shooting people, if you are doing drive-bys, we are going to find you and we are going to arrest you, and we are going to work together to find out who is doing this.”

King County gun violence

In just the first four months of 2017, the King County Sheriff’s Office has already logged a considerable number of firearm-related incidents in unincorporated parts of the county. The sheriff did not have the numbers from previous years on hand, but did say that they are “way up.”

  • 14 homicides
  • 40 shootings (people struck by gunfire, but survived)
  • 100 drive-by shootings
  • A total of 120 shots fired were reported to 911 in cities that the sheriff covers (Des Moines, Kent, etc.)

The numbers do not reflect Seattle’s statistics. Seattle shots fired in a 12-month period starting in April:

  • 2013: 73 reports
  • 2014: 76 reports
  • 2015: 113 reports
  • 2016: 103 reports
  • 2017: 119 reports

“The only common denominator is all the guns,” Urquhart said. “Individuals, groups of people, some gangs involved, but not 100 percent. It would be a mistake to say that this is a gang problem, because that is not exactly what this is in every situation.”

“This could be as simple as somebody disrespecting somebody else’s mother or somebody else’s girlfriend … There’s no one situation that applies to all this violence except that everybody has guns and they are shooting people,” he said. “They are shooting innocent people and they are shooting up houses.”

DCG

Washington state school district halts international trips

illegalSeems to me it’s the ideal moment to provide illegal aliens with an education on how to become a legal citizen.

From MyNorthwest.com: A school district in Washington halted all international field trips over concerns students in the country illegally wouldn’t be able to get back in.

The Seattle Times reports that the Kent School District’s Board of Directors announced the decision Wednesday. The decision immediately canceled an education exchange to Osaka, Japan, and a band trip to Victoria, British Columbia, in Canada.

District spokesman Chris Loftis says confusing messages from President Donald Trump’s administration caused uncertainty about whether students would be allowed back into the U.S.

Loftis says the district doesn’t track students’ immigration status because of a 1982 U.S. Supreme Court decision that says it’s unconstitutional to deny children in the country illegally a free and public education.

The school district says it has students from 100 countries.

DCG

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray proposes income tax for city’s ‘high-end’ households

ed murray

A sure-fire way to get re-elected: Another tax

The devil is in the “high-end” number, which Murray doesn’t define.

And this proposed tax, combined with his alleged sexual assault allegation, just may not get Murray re-elected. But then again, it’s socialist Seattle.

From Seattle Times: Seattle Mayor Ed Murray will propose a city income tax on “high-end” households, he said Thursday night during a forum for mayoral candidates. On stage with six challengers in a Lake City church, Murray said he would send a proposal in the “next few weeks” for a City Council vote. He didn’t offer many details.

 “We all know that Washington state has a regressive tax system,” Murray told a crowd at the forum hosted by the 46th District Democrats.

“We can all argue about what we’re going to do about it. Those discussions have been going on since I was a kid in this city. But what I’m going to send to council is a proposal for a high-end income tax.”

Thursday’s event was the first such candidates’ forum in the 2017 race for mayor and came two weeks after a 46-year-old Kent man sued Murray for alleged child sexual abuse decades ago.

The mayor has adamantly denied the accusation and similar allegations made by two other men, who also claim Murray abused them as teenagers in the 1980s. Murray has vowed to remain in his job and continue running for a second term.

This week, former Mayor Mike McGinn and urban planner Cary Moon declared bids. They joined Murray at Thursday’s forum, along with educator and activist Nikkita Oliver, who entered the race earlier.

The mayor’s income-tax proposal came as a surprise to many in the crowd and seemingly to McGinn, who in launching his campaign Monday had called for an income tax.

For weeks, a coalition of local organizations led by the Transit Riders Union has been drumming up support for a city income tax under the slogan Trump Proof Seattle.

When asked about the campaign previously, Murray said he had supported the idea at the state level when he was a lawmaker in Olympia, but stopped short of backing Trump Proof Seattle, describing it as ill-fitted to pay for immediate needs.

Washington has long lacked an income tax because of a restrictive state law and voters have said no to statewide proposals before. A 2010 statewide initiative proposing a high-earners tax was defeated.

A Seattle tax likely would be challenged in court and could serve as a legal test case with statewide implications. “It’s going to be challenged,” Murray told the crowd Thursday. “It’s too soon to cheer … But if we win in court and we can get that high-end income tax we can shift our regressive taxes on sales tax and on property tax onto that high-end income tax.”

Asked after the forum to clarify his plan, the mayor said the income tax would be accompanied by reductions in other taxes that hit poorer people harder. During his term as mayor, Murray has backed a number of property- and sales-tax hikes.

The income tax wouldn’t be completely revenue neutral because some of the new revenue would be set aside to backfill potential cuts in federal funding by the Trump administration, Murray said.

“He didn’t steal it. I think he finally saw the wisdom of the idea,” McGinn said after the forum, reacting to Murray’s proposal. “Elections have a way if doing that sometimes.”

Murray said his initial plan is to propose a resolution stating the city’s intent to pass an income tax rather than an actual ordinance putting it into effect. That could potentially leave open the option of asking voters to weigh in later on the ballot.

Oliver declined to immediately comment on Murray’s proposal. Moon answered during a lightning round that she would not support a local income tax. Also taking part in the forum were Jason Roberts, Mary Martin and Alex Tsimerman.

During the lightning round, every candidate expressed support for allowing more duplexes and triplexes in neighborhoods now zoned for single-family houses, including Murray, who put forward and then quickly withdrew such a change in 2015.

DCG

Seattle, King County councils approve $1.3 million in legal aid for immigrants

lorena gonzalez

Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher: Proposed using your tax payer dollars to defend illegal aliens

Suck it, taxpayers. Your hard-earned money is going to defend illegal aliens whether you approve or not.

From Seattle Times: The Seattle City Council on Monday voted to create a $1 million legal-defense fund for immigrants illegal aliens whom the federal government attempts to deport. And the Metropolitan King County Council approved $750,000 for immigrant and refugee programs, including $300,000 for the defense of people in immigration court.

The city and county will distribute the money to nonprofit organizations such as the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project to do the legal work.

City and county leaders have said local immigrant families need the help because of President Donald Trump’s plan to step up deportations.

Immigration-court cases are civil proceedings because living in the country illegally is a civil violation rather than a criminal one. Unlike in criminal cases, people who can’t afford to hire an attorney for immigration court aren’t guaranteed a public defender.

More than one-third of people with immigration-court cases in Seattle and more than 90 percent of those with cases in Tacoma lack legal representation, according to Councilmember M. Lorena González, who proposed the city fund with Councilmember Tim Burgess.

People convicted of crimes wouldn’t be excluded from getting support through the city’s fund in their unrelated immigration-court cases, according to Gonzalez and Burgess. Burgess said Monday that everyone should be afforded due process, including people facing potential deportation.

The city’s fund is separate from $250,000 Seattle is spending to help immigrants and refugees navigate life under Trump, with a focus on children in the city’s public schools.

DCG

Washington State agrees to pay $3M to family of boy killed by convicted felon/gang member in 2010

Alajawan Brown

The killer had EIGHT prior felonies for assault and was walking free. Unbelievable.

From Seattle Times: The state Department of Corrections (DOC) has agreed to pay $3 million to settle a wrongful-death lawsuit filed by the parents of a 12-year-old Skyway boy shot in the back by a known gang member on community supervision.

Alajawan Brown stepped off a Metro bus on April 29, 2010, after buying a pair of football cleats with money he made doing lawn work for neighbors.

Curtis Walker — a longtime member of the Blood Pirus street gang who had been in a shootout with a group of Crips gang members at a nearby apartment complex minutes earlier — got out of his car, which was stopped at a red light, and fired twice at Alajawan, striking the boy once in the back.

Alajawan died in the parking lot of a 7-Eleven at South 129th Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Way South, less than two miles from his home. Wearing a blue-and-black jacket, the colors worn by the Crips, his death was a case of mistaken identity.

After a three-week trial in early 2012, Walker, now 42, was found guilty of first-degree murder and unlawful possession of a firearm, and was sentenced to 50 years in prison. Walker, who had eight prior convictions for felony assault, tried to pin Alajawan’s death on another man.

But it wasn’t until Walker’s sentencing hearing in March 2012 that Alajawan’s parents, Ayanna and Louis Brown, learned Walker was on DOC supervision for a drug crime and was barred from possessing firearms, said attorney Nate Roberts, who with co-counsel Evan Fuller represented the Browns in their wrongful-death suit, which was settled on Thursday.

DOC spokesman Jeremy Barclay said Alajawan’s death was a tragic loss, but he declined to comment on the specifics of Walker’s community supervision. The department was represented in the lawsuit by the state Attorney General’s Office.

“The department was able to achieve this week’s resolution as a result of the collaborative effort of the Attorney General’s Office and the attorneys representing the Brown family, and for that we are grateful,” Barclay said Friday.

In summer 2012, Ayanna and Louis Brown were profiled in The Seattle Times after they founded the Alajawan Brown Foundation, also known as Alajawan’s Hands. In memory of their son, the couple set up a scholarship fund, and offer tutoring services and hold annual drives to collect backpacks and school supplies, which are then given to low-income schoolchildren in the Renton School District.

The Browns filed their wrongful-death lawsuit against DOC in King County Superior Court in November 2014. DOC argued in court that the lawsuit was filed after the three-year statute of limitations had run out, and a judge agreed, dismissing the suit. The Browns then appealed to the state Court of Appeals.

In December, a panel of appellate judges unanimously sided with the Browns, holding that the clock didn’t start ticking on the statute of limitations until Walker was found guilty of Alajawan’s murder. “The identity of the killer was in question until the verdict was reached,” Roberts said.

After the Browns hired Roberts and Fuller, the attorneys filed a public-disclosure request with DOC and learned Walker “had a lot of law-enforcement contact while on supervision,” Roberts said. They also received an entry from the DOC’s computer system that showed a concerned citizen had phoned Walker’s community-corrections officer eight days before Alajawan was killed and reported that Walker had assaulted his girlfriend, threatened her with a gun and was believed to be selling marijuana out of his apartment, Roberts said. But nothing was done, he said.

Walker routinely refused to answer the door when his community-corrections officer attempted to make home visits — also a flagrant violation of his supervision, according to Roberts.

“They let him have way too long of a leash. He’s a known gang member, and he’s doing the two things he’s absolutely not allowed to be doing — selling drugs and possessing firearms — and they let him get away with it,” Roberts said. “It’s maddening to see that.”

For the Browns, the lawsuit was a way to hold DOC accountable for its deficient supervision of Walker.

“It’s bittersweet,” Roberts said of the settlement. “They’re happy this chapter in the book is closed, but it also brings back this crippling grief. They would give everything in the world to have another day with their boy,” he said.

DCG