King County councilmen vie to serve as attorney general

August 14, 2012

Voters chose between a pair of King County councilmen in the race for state attorney general, Republican Reagan Dunn and Democrat Bob Ferguson.

Voters chose Dunn and Ferguson, and eliminated conservative Republican Stephen Pidgeon in the primary.

Dunn represents Newcastle and rural areas south of Issaquah on the King County Council. Ferguson represents North King County from Shoreline to Woodinville.

The incumbent attorney general, Republican Rob McKenna, is running for governor against former U.S. Rep. Jay Inslee, a Democrat.

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Voters endorse property tax measure, incumbent candidates

August 7, 2012

NEW — 8:40 p.m. Aug. 7, 2012

King County voters endorsed a $200 million property tax measure to build a juvenile justice facility, as King County Elections released initial results Tuesday night.

Officials asked voters to fund a replacement for the aging Youth Services Center, a juvenile detention facility in Seattle.

The measure appeared on a crowded primary ballot alongside federal, judicial, legislative and statewide contests. Voters in Issaquah and throughout Washington returned ballots in recent days, as the calendar inched closer to the summer primary — and the Tuesday deadline to postmark or return ballots.

The electorate chose the top two candidates, regardless of party affiliation, in the all-mail primary election. The top vote recipients then advance to an all-mail general election Nov. 6.

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King County Council leaders request arena reviews

July 24, 2012

King County Councilman Pete von Reichbauer called July 9 for King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg to investigate legal costs involved in reviewing a proposed agreement to build a $490 million Seattle sports and entertainment arena.

In a letter to Satterberg, von Reichbauer asked for the number of hours attorneys in the prosecutor’s office spent reviewing the agreement and the cost of review, plus how much the office spent on outside attorneys.

The day after von Reichbauer sent the letter, Councilman Bob Ferguson called for a detailed and independent analysis to determine the arena’s impact on jobs and the economy.

Ferguson intends to propose amending the agreement under consideration to require the analysis after the King County Council and the Seattle City Council approve the pact for the arena.

The request comes as the councils delve deeper into the proposal to build a facility for professional basketball and hockey.

The amount of public support is capped at $120 million if organizers secure only the NBA franchise. The total could rise to $200 million if the NHL is added to the equation.

In June, von Reichbauer called for the arena proposal to go before voters.

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Voters to decide dollars for juvenile justice center

July 17, 2012

King County voters could decide next month to increase the property tax rate in order to prepare the criminal justice system for the decades ahead.

The ballot measure Proposition 1 asks voters to approve a $200 million property tax levy to fund a replacement for the aging Youth Services Center, a juvenile detention facility in Seattle.

“We have a fairly good court system. We have a good prosecution office. We have good sheriff’s deputies. But this facility is the leak in the pipeline,” King County Councilman Reagan Dunn said in a July 13 interview. “For criminal justice to work effectively — especially with the increase in crime we’re seeing right now — all aspects of that pipeline need to be operating effectively.”

If the nine-year levy is passed, homeowners can expect to pay about 7 cents per $1,000 of assessed value, or about $20 per year for a home assessed at $350,000 in 2013.

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King County leaders laud fingerprint lab for international accreditation

July 17, 2012

NEW — 9 a.m. July 17, 2012

King County leaders recognized the Automated Fingerprint Identification System on Monday for achieving international accreditation.

The system provides criminal fingerprint identification services to law enforcement agencies throughout the county, including the Issaquah Police Department. The regional Automated Fingerprint Identification System, or AFIS, received the accreditation for the Latent Print Unit.

The unit responds to major crime scenes and processes evidence in a lab by using chemicals, photography and other means to find fingerprints left at crime scenes. Investigators then enter the prints into the regional database to search for matches.

“AFIS is an invaluable law enforcement tool that plays a vital role in crime detection throughout the region,” Issaquah-area Councilman Reagan Dunn said in a statement. “The system’s accreditation recognizes the expertise and knowledge of the county employees responsible for the operation of the program.”

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King County Council hears from outside panel about arena plan

July 12, 2012

NEW — 4:30 p.m. July 12, 2012

The outside panel tasked to advise the King County Council about a $490 million arena proposal outlined possible risks and benefits related to the project in a committee meeting Thursday.

The group of experts and the council Budget and Fiscal Management Committee met to discuss the proposal to build a sports and entertainment arena in Seattle near Safeco Field.

The outside panel is comprised of members versed in economics, public finance, public-private partnerships, labor, urban development and transportation.

During the presentation to the committee, Bill Beyers, a University of Washington geography professor, argued for the importance of a complete economic impact study.

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Councilman calls for economic analysis of arena proposal

July 11, 2012

NEW — 3 p.m. July 11, 2012

King County Councilman Bob Ferguson called for a detailed and independent analysis to determine the proposed Seattle arena’s impact on jobs and the economy.

Ferguson intends to propose amending the agreement under consider to require the analysis after the King County Council and the Seattle City Council approve the pact for the arena. The study is meant to occur in the review and permitting stages, and before public financing is issued for the project.

In May, King County and Seattle leaders, joined by investor Chris Hansen, proposed a $490 million sports and entertainment arena near Safeco Field.

“The development of an NBA and NHL arena has the potential to impact important segments of our economy, including construction, tourism and maritime industries,” Ferguson said in a statement. “We must take an independent look to evaluate the impacts — positive and negative — on the region’s economy.”

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Regional animal control contract earns King County Council approval

July 10, 2012

NEW — 4 p.m. July 10, 2012

King County officials endorsed the animal control contract between the county, Issaquah and 24 other cities Monday.

In a unanimous decision, King County Council members adopted the interlocal agreement to provide provides field officers, shelter services and licensing services. The pact amounts to about $60,000 per year for Issaquah.

“This model partnership between the county and municipalities will bring consistent, cost-effective and compassionate solutions to our animal control challenges,” council Vice Chairwoman Jane Hague said in a statement.

The agreement also required approval from leaders in 25 suburban cities. Issaquah City Council members OK’d the pact June 18.

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Leaders host public meeting on Seattle arena proposal

July 3, 2012

NEW — 6 a.m. July 3, 2012

Citizens can ask questions about a proposed Seattle arena — and the potential impact on King County taxpayers — at a meeting hosted by Seattle City Council and King County Council members.

The forum is scheduled for 7-8 p.m. July 10 at North Seattle Community College cafeteria. The event is in the College Center Building, 9600 College Way N.

The meeting is hosted by King County Councilman Bob Ferguson and Seattle City Councilman Mike O’Brien.

“The proposed arena is an important issue currently before the county and city councils. This meeting will give community members the opportunity to ask questions, express their thoughts and know their voices are being heard,” Ferguson said in a statement. “As an elected official, I believe it is important to meet with and hear directly from the public and the people I represent.”

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King County launches Veterans Treatment Court

June 15, 2012

NEW — 6 a.m. June 15, 2012

King County officials celebrated the launch of Veterans Treatment Court on Thursday, a milestone in the effort to direct veterans into treatment and services, rather than incarceration.

The combination of mental health issues, alongside post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injuries, can lead veterans into the criminal justice system. Officials said the Veterans Treatment Court offers a better route for nonviolent offenders.

The program, a part of Mental Health Court, is rooted in legislation adopted by the King County Council last year. Officials gathered at the King County Courthouse to launch the program.

The program is to receive future funding by the Veterans and Human Services Levy. King County voters renewed the property tax levy package in 2011 with almost 70 percent approval.

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