Issaquah remains in same County Council district under proposal

September 21, 2011

NEW — 9:30 a.m. Sept. 21, 2011

Issaquah remains in the same King County Council district under a plan released Tuesday from the citizen panel responsible for redrawing the local political map.

The plan keeps Issaquah proper inside District 3 and rural areas south of city limits in District 9. The proposal mirrors the existing arrangement.

(The county is carved into nine districts, each represented by a single council member.)

In a unanimous decision Monday, King County Districting Committee members agreed to release a final proposal for public comment and review. The plan must be approved by Jan. 15 for the 2012 elections.

Under law, districts must be drawn as contiguous areas and to be as nearly equal in population as possible. The population data cannot be used to favor or disadvantage any racial group or political party.

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County to host budget forum at Pacific Cascade Middle School

September 20, 2011

NEW — 11:30 a.m. Sept. 20, 2011

Citizens can offer input on King County’s 2012 budget next month at a local forum.

County Councilwoman Julia Patterson, leader of the council’s Budget Leadership Team, announced Pacific Cascade Middle School and other sites for budget forums. The budget team is seeking input on County Executive Dow Constantine’s proposed 2012 budget.

Issaquah’s representative, Councilwoman Kathy Lambert, Councilwoman Jane Hague and Councilman Joe McDermott also serve on the budget team.

“King County Council must adopt a balanced budget for 2012 that protects the public and preserves the most critical functions of county government,” Patterson said in a statement Monday. “These public hearings are an opportunity for the residents of King County to make their voices heard on the issues that matter most to them.”

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County Council seeks input on proposed fee to bolster Metro Transit

July 24, 2011

NEW — 8 p.m. July 24, 2011

King County residents can offer input on a proposed $20 vehicle-tab fee to boost struggling Metro Transit at a County Council public hearing Monday.

The steepest proposed reduction in Metro Transit service could eliminate Route 200 in Issaquah and Route 927, a link between downtown Issaquah and the Sammamish Plateau, as early as next year.

County Executive Dow Constantine proposed the vehicle-tab fee — billed as a congestion-reduction charge — for 2012-13 to generate funds for Metro Transit. If the fee is not enacted, Metro Transit plans to start widespread service cuts in February.

Testimony on the vehicle-tab fee is scheduled to start at 3 p.m. Monday at the King County Courthouse, 516 Third Ave., Seattle.

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Meet the finalists for law enforcement oversight post

May 30, 2011

NEW — 6 a.m. May 30, 2011

The search committee appointed to select candidates to direct King County’s new Office of Law Enforcement Oversight is holding a public hearing so residents can meet the potential candidates as the committee interviews finalists.

The hearing is 6 p.m. Thursday in the County Council Chambers, 10th Floor, King County Courthouse, 516 Third Ave., Seattle. Or, watch the meeting live on King County TV, Channel 22 on Comcast and Broadstripe.

The county established the Office of Law Enforcement Oversight to ensure the integrity of the King County Sheriff’s Office complaint and investigation process, including the resolution of complaints. The independent agency is part of the legislative branch of county government.

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King County redistricting panel seeks public input

April 26, 2011

NEW — 11 a.m. April 26, 2011

The citizen panel responsible for redrawing King County Council districts announced a series of meetings Tuesday to gather public input.

In January, the council appointed members to the King County Districting Committee, the group responsible for redrawing council districts based on 2010 Census data.

Both Issaquah-area districts — 3 and 9 — experienced widespread population increases since 2000 and, as a result, could undergo significant boundary changes. Issaquah proper is inside District 3. District 9 includes the rural area south of the city.

Districts must be drawn as contiguous areas and to be as nearly equal in population as possible. The census data may not be used to favor or disadvantage any racial group or political party.

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King County celebrates March as Women’s History Month

March 9, 2011

NEW — 10 a.m. March 9, 2011

King County Executive Dow Constantine issued a proclamation for International Women’s Day to honor the contributions of women in society — and to celebrate Women’s History Month.

“I encourage all residents to support the goals of International Women’s Day, and to reaffirm our commitment to end gender-based discrimination,” he said in a statement. “Women have come a long way in the struggle for equal rights and opportunities, and it is up to all of us to continue consciously creating positive change for women worldwide.”

King County has a strong history of providing leadership and management opportunities to the women in the county workforce.

Women comprise 50 percent of the executive’s leadership team, including Assistant Deputy County Executive Rhonda Berry, County Administrative Officer Caroline Whalen, Director of Policy and Strategic Initiatives Carrie Cihak, Director of Customer Service Natasha Jones, and Director of Labor Relations Patti Cole-Tindall.

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King County leaders reflect on Nisqually earthquake

March 1, 2011

Leaders said King County has undertaken projects designed to protect life and property in the 10 years since the Nisqually earthquake.

The magnitude-6.8 tremor struck the region at 10:54 a.m. Feb. 28, 2001.

“I was a state senator serving in Olympia when the Nisqually quake struck, and it sounded like the Capitol building dome was going to collapse on top of us,” County Executive Dow Constantine recalled in a statement. “Particularly after that experience, I take emergency preparation very seriously. I am pleased to see the progress we have made in the past decade to make us better able to withstand the next substantial earthquake in our region.”

The earthquake cracked the Capitol dome and caused widespread damage across the Puget Sound region, injured hundreds of people and left billions of dollars in property damage.

“As many residents may recall, the King County Courthouse was one of the hardest-hit buildings in the quake,” county Facilities Management Director Kathy Brown said. “Inspectors found cracked plaster, broken windows and failed clay tile walls. Fortunately, though, the primary structure escaped damage.”

In the aftermath, the county acted quickly to retrofit the courthouse to current seismic standards. The improvements included pouring a new foundation and shear walls, adding shock absorbers and installing carbon fiber reinforcing wrap on support columns. The seismic retrofit, plus safety improvements to the building, cost $105 million. Crews completed the project on time and under budget.

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Councilman Reagan Dunn urges protection for crime victims

February 1, 2011

King County Councilman Reagan Dunn has introduced a measure to urge state legislators to shield the victims of sex crimes in the courtroom.

The measure Dunn introduced aims to generate King County Council support for a bill in the Legislature. The bill is meant to protect sex crime victims from defendants representing themselves in court, or pro se defendants.

“It is an extremely scary prospect for victims to tell their story in court,” Dunn said in a statement released Jan. 27. “Imagine how much more difficult it is to be questioned by an attacker directly. To get victims to come forward, the criminal justice system must offer them some protection, while balancing the rights of the accused.”

Dunn represents the rural area near Issaquah, plus Newcastle, Maple Valley and areas inside Bellevue and Renton. Read more

King County councilman urges protections for crime victims

January 28, 2011

NEW — 8 a.m. Jan. 29, 2011

King County Councilman Reagan Dunn has introduced a measure to urge state legislators to shield the victims of sex crimes in the courtroom.

The measure Dunn introduced aims to generate King County Council support for a bill in the Legislature. The bill is meant to protect sex crime victims from defendants representing themselves in court, or pro se defendants.

“It is an extremely scary prospect for victims to tell their story in court,” Dunn said in a statement released Thursday. “Imagine how much more difficult it is to be questioned by an attacker directly. To get victims to come forward, the criminal justice system must offer them some protection, while balancing the rights of the accused.”

Dunn represents the rural area near Issaquah, plus Newcastle, Maple Valley and areas inside Bellevue and Renton.

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Sheriff: Cuts should not slow 911 response

November 23, 2010

Deputies could be trained to investigate property crimes

King County Sheriff Sue Rahr lamented upcoming cuts to police service in unincorporated areas, but said emergency response should not be affected for rural residents.

King County Council members decided Nov. 15 to eliminate 28 deputies from the King County Sheriff’s Office, close police storefronts, and eliminate school resource officers from Liberty High School and other campuses. The storefront in the Four Creeks Unincorporated Area between Issaquah and Renton is due to close under the plan.

“In light of these reductions, my first priority for the sheriff’s office is to maintain emergency response,” Rahr said in prepared remarks delivered Nov. 18 at the King County Courthouse. “If you call 911 in 2011, it will not take longer for a sheriff’s deputy to arrive. If you need to be rescued from a flooding river or have a hiking accident, we will still have a team to respond.”

The budget also reduced resources to investigate property crimes. Under the budget, the number of property crimes investigators is to be reduced from 16 to two. Rahr said the office has a proposal to continue investigations of burglaries and other property crimes.

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