Vehicles return to service for nonprofit organizations

November 20, 2012

Leaders donated used vehicles from the King County Metro Transit vanpool fleet to provide transportation assistance to local governments, community programs, seniors and youths.

King County Council members authorized the donation. The vans served in the Metro Transit vanpool fleet for at least six years and reached the end of their service life.

“Serving the mobility needs of those too young and too old to drive, as well as those with health challenges, is an important service for King County to provide,” Councilwoman Kathy Lambert, Issaquah’s representative, said in a statement.

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King County earmarks dollars for veterans programs

November 20, 2012

King County leaders agreed to spend $3.4 million to help veterans find counseling, employment and housing.

The dollars, approved by the King County Council, come from the Veterans and Human Services Levy approved by voters last year.

The spending includes $2.3 million for veterans’ housing capital and supportive services; more than $300,000 for a veterans’ aerospace training initiative; and more than $80,000 for increased post traumatic stress disorder treatment and military family counseling

“This funding makes it possible to honor and help our returning veterans by creating the stability of permanent housing and employment opportunities for living wage jobs in our burgeoning aerospace community,” County Executive Dow Constantine said in a statement.

Mark Mullet elected to represent Issaquah in state Senate

November 13, 2012

Mark Mullet embraces wife Sabath at Zeeks Pizza on election night Nov. 6 moments after initial results give him a lead in the race against Brad Toft for the 5th Legislative District’s state Senate seat. By Greg Farrar

The unexpectedly ugly race to represent Issaquah in the state Senate reached a coda in the days after the Nov. 6 election, but not before more public friction between the candidates.

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Voters choose John Urquhart for King County sheriff

November 13, 2012

John Urquhart

John Urquhart is King County’s next top lawman.

Urquhart defeated the incumbent sheriff, Steve Strachan, 57 percent to 43 percent, after a contentious campaign.

Strachan, a former Kent police chief, and Urquhart, a former sheriff’s office sergeant and spokesman, locked horns about the agency’s future. The contest to lead the King County Sheriff’s Office hinged on a series of audits into how the agency operates.

The sheriff oversees a budget of about $150 million and about 1,000 employees, and leads the largest local police organization in the state after the Seattle Police Department.

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King County proposes financing for ‘green’ projects

November 13, 2012

Businesses, nonprofit organizations and other groups could receive easier access to low-interest financing for “green” projects under a county proposal.

In legislation proposed Oct. 23, King County Executive Dow Constantine said the county should create the state’s first Green Communities Initiative.

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King County Council adopts 2013 budget without roads fee

November 13, 2012

NEW — 4 p.m. Nov. 13, 2012

King County Council members dropped a proposed $20 vehicle-license fee to fund road maintenance and, in a unanimous decision Tuesday, approved the 2013 budget without the fee.

In September, King County Executive Dow Constantine proposed a $20 fee to fund road maintenance and storm response in rural and unincorporated areas. The decision to drop the proposed fee affects residents in unincorporated King County communities, including Klahanie, Mirrormont, Preston and other areas outside Issaquah.

Rather than creating a transportation benefit district in unincorporated King County, officials plan to lobby the Legislature for a comprehensive state transportation package to address road maintenance.

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Brad Toft: State Senate race is too close to call, despite Mark Mullet’s lead

November 8, 2012

NEW — 12:10 p.m. Nov. 8, 2012

The contest for the 5th Legislative District state Senate seat is too close to call, Snoqualmie Republican Brad Toft said Thursday, despite a 3,307-vote lead for Issaquah Democrat Mark Mullet.

The race attracted attention in recent weeks for the insults the candidates lobbed at one another and, for a time, observers said the match-up could determine state Senate control. However, Republicans did not gain enough seats on Election Day to crack the Democrats’ majority in the chamber.

Mullet held about 54 percent — or 23,216 votes — to Toft’s 46 percent — or 19,909 votes — among more than 43,000 ballots counted in the race so far.

King County Elections is scheduled to release additional results at 4:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. Thursday.

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Committee removes $20 roads fee from King County budget

November 8, 2012

NEW — 11:15 a.m. Nov. 8, 2012

The committee responsible for crafting the 2013 King County budget dropped a plan to charge unincorporated-area residents a $20 vehicle-license fee to fund road maintenance, officials announced Thursday.

The proposed $7.6 billion budget contains $685 million for the general fund — the source of dollars for elections, law enforcement and other basic government functions. King County Council budget team members said 73 percent of dollars from the fund go toward public safety and criminal justice programs.

The proposed budget does not dip into cash reserves or the county’s rainy day fund.

In September, King County Executive Dow Constantine proposed a $20 fee to fund road maintenance and storm response in rural and unincorporated areas.

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Pragmatism defines Issaquah, Eastside voters

October 30, 2012

Local voters could choose a Democrat for the White House, a Republican for the Governor’s Mansion and split legislative seats between the parties.

Experts said voters in Issaquah and the Eastside prefer a brand of politics anchored in pragmatism, rather than party. The effort to appeal to moderate voters is intense as candidates scrounge for votes in the last days before Election Day.

“Democrats and Republicans both get elected there. I think of it as a pragmatic, rather than ideological, sort of politics, which is what Washington state used to be known for,” independent Seattle pollster Stuart Elway said. “I think the state as a whole has gotten more partisan, as the country has, and the party lines seem to have gotten harder.”

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Initiative could ease access to financing for ‘green’ projects

October 29, 2012

NEW — 6 a.m. Oct. 29, 2012

Businesses, nonprofit organizations and other groups could receive easier access to low-interest financing for “green” projects under a proposal from King County Executive Dow Constantine.

In legislation proposed Oct. 23, Constantine said the county should create the first Green Communities Initiative in the state.

Under the proposal sent to the King County Council, the county could promote and help groups and businesses access below-market-rate interest financing tools offered by the Washington State Housing Finance Commission for energy conservation and other environmentally beneficial projects.

Examples could include projects, such as a commercial building bundling a number of conservation projects for energy savings, or a group interested in borrowing money to construct a communitywide solar energy project.

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