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.

Local Sikhs to gather for candlelight vigil to honor shooting victims

August 9, 2012

NEW — 2 p.m. Aug. 9, 2012

King County‘s Sikh community plans to hold a public candlelight vigil Saturday to remember the worshipers killed in a shooting at a Wisconsin temple Aug. 5.

Issaquah-area King County Councilman Reagan Dunn met local Sikh leaders in the days after the tragedy.

“Sikhs in the Pacific Northwest and all throughout the United States should never feel fear when entering their place of worship,” he said in a statement. “My thoughts and prayers go out to the families and loved ones of those that lost their lives this past weekend.”

In the Wisconsin shooting, a gunman killed six people during a ceremony at the Milwaukee-area temple and then died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

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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 councilwoman touts arena proposal’s economic potential

August 7, 2012

Before the King County Council made a landmark decision to authorize public dollars for a sports-and-entertainment arena, Kathy Lambert received 2,700 emails.

The councilwoman, a Redmond resident and the Issaquah representative on the council, said most messages urged the council to approve the arena proposal.

Kathy Lambert

Reagan Dunn

In the end, after months of discussion and hours of testimony, Lambert joined the council majority to approve a key agreement for a $490 million arena — a linchpin in the plan to bring professional basketball back to Washington.

The council agreed July 30 to contribute up to $80 million for a proposed Seattle arena near Safeco Field — if investors can secure NBA and NHL franchises. The county contribution is capped at $5 million if only professional basketball comes to the arena.

The agreement does not include additional taxes for county residents. Plans call for 30-year public bonds to finance the arena, and for arena revenue to pay off the bond debt.

Lambert later cited the proposed arena’s economic benefits — jobs for arena construction and operation, plus tax revenue for the county and a tourism attraction — for the region as reasons for the yes vote.

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King County promotes human trafficking awareness

August 7, 2012

King County plans to embark on a campaign to call awareness to human trafficking, after a July 9 decision to use ads on public buses.

The campaign is meant to inform the public about human trafficking crimes and let victims learn about available resources. Issaquah-area King County Councilman Reagan Dunn introduced the measure in May, and a council committee endorsed the proposal June 27.

“As a former federal prosecutor and member of the County Council I have seen this crisis continue to grow,” Dunn said in a statement. “Educating the public on what human trafficking is and providing information to trafficking victims on where to turn for assistance will help to combat these crimes. This motion is an important step in protecting our children and using Metro resources in a positive way.”

Under federal law, human trafficking includes children involved in the commercial sex trade, adults 18 and older coerced or deceived into commercial sex acts, and anyone forced into different forms of “labor or services” — such as domestic workers held in a home or farmworkers forced into work.

Local King County Council representatives split on arena deal

July 31, 2012

NEW — 10 a.m. July 31, 2012

The local representatives on the King County Council, Kathy Lambert and Reagan Dunn, came down on opposite sides Monday as the council approved a key agreement for a $490 million arena — a linchpin in the plan to bring professional basketball back to Seattle.

Kathy Lambert

Reagan Dunn

The council agreed to contribute up to $80 million for a proposed Seattle arena near Safeco Field — if investors can secure NBA and NHL franchises. The county contribution is capped at $5 million if only professional basketball comes to the arena.

In a 6-3 decision, after hours of testimony from the public and several amendments from council members, Lambert and others agreed to support the arena pact. Dunn, and councilmen Larry Phillips and Pete von Reichbauer, dissented.

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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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Funding infusion could keep local 4-H programs afloat

July 17, 2012

Local 4-H youth programs could receive a $100,000 infusion to continue, if King County Council members approve a request from County Executive Dow Constantine.

The proposal is meant to continue 4-H programs — horseback riding, county fair exhibitions and other agrarian pursuits — through the year.

Constantine sent a budget request for the funds to the council June 27. The proposal earned early praise from council members, including the Issaquah-area representatives, but requires approval before the 4-H organization receives the dollars.

The proposal also aims to re-appropriate $16,000 in funding from last year to King County’s partner in 4-H programs, Washington State University.

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Leaders highlight Evergreen State national parks

July 17, 2012

King County leaders highlighted nearby national parks and declared July 9 as Washington State National Parks Day to recognize the economic and environmental benefits such places add to the landscape.

The national parks in Washington attract millions of parkgoers each year, including many out-of-state and foreign guests. Officials said the visitors then contribute to King County and other communities near the parks. Washington received more than $264 million in economic benefits related to national park units in 2010, National Park Service officials reported.

“Thanks to the abundant recreation opportunities in our national parks, local residents as well as visitors have access to valuable resources for outdoor physical fitness activities,” Councilwoman Kathy Lambert, King County Board of Health vice chairwoman and the Issaquah representative, said in a statement. “Our national parks contribute immeasurably to the quality of life we enjoy in the Northwest.”

Officials also used the proclamation to attract attention to cuts in the National Parks Service budget.

“It is imperative we continue to fund these parks and keep them in the pristine condition we see them in today for future generations to enjoy,” Issaquah-area Councilman Reagan Dunn said in a statement.

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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