Rural residents raise concerns about public safety cutbacks

August 3, 2010

County Executive Dow Constantine trekked east to Hobart — and into the sometimes-tenuous relationship between county government and rural King County residents — for a forum last week.

Constantine said unincorporated-area and rural residents stand to bear the brunt of looming cuts to county services, including King County Sheriff’s Office deputy layoffs and cutbacks to the county court system.

Contributed King County Executive Dow Constantine (left) addresses rural residents and the presidents of the six unincorporated area councils, including Four Creeks leader Tom Carpenter (far right), at a July 26 forum.

“There is significant disconnect between the cost of doing business and the dollars available,” he said during the July 26 meeting at Hobart Community Church. “We’re scrounging and scrapping to find ways to protect the quality of life for 2 million people in this county.”

Inside the overheated church, Constantine heard from leaders of the six unincorporated area councils — citizen groups elected by residents in regions as disparate as Vashon Island and rural Maple Valley. The unincorporated county is home to about 340,000 of the 1.9 million county residents.

The group includes Four Creeks, home to about 14,000 residents in a swath stretched between Issaquah and Renton. The area encompasses Maple Hills, May Valley, Mirrormont and other communities south of Issaquah city limits.

Read more

King County exec heads east Monday to listen to rural residents

July 23, 2010

NEW — 10 a.m. July 23, 2010

County Executive Dow Constantine and other leaders head to the Eastside on Monday night to listen to concerns from some rural King County residents.

The public forum includes representatives from the Four Creeks Unincorporated Area Council — a volunteer group set up to foster ties between county leaders and residents in the area surrounded by Issaquah, Maple Valley, Newcastle and Renton.

Join Constantine, Sheriff Sue Rahr and other county department chiefs at Hobart Community Church, 27524 S.E. 200th St., Maple Valley. The meeting starts at 7 p.m. Participants can arrive at 6:30 p.m. to review maps and brochures about county services.

Read more

State auditors fault King County for lack of oversight; county addresses issues

June 21, 2010

UPDATED — 11:55 a.m. June 21, 2010

Auditors raised concerns about the way King County government conducts business in a state report released June 14.

Though auditors said the county complied with state laws and regulations — as well as county rules — in most cases, the team identified several areas of concern with the King County Sheriff’s Office, King County Elections and executive agencies.

“Our audit found county officials should continue to improve oversight and safeguards over cash receipts, expenditures and assets,” auditors wrote. “In many instances, monitoring was insufficient to ensure policies are complete, and that staff is trained on and follows them.”

Read more

County Council succumbs to red-blue divide in health care debate

May 25, 2010

The nonpartisan King County Council cracked along partisan lines, as members praised national health care reform in a narrow decision.

The symbolic measure supports the implementation federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act passed by Congress in March. The council adopted the legislation in a split decision. Democrats on the nine-member council backed the measure; Republicans dissented.

“It is time to reform our health care system,” Chairman Bob Ferguson, the prime sponsor of the legislation and a Democrat, said in a statement after the May 10 decision. “The health care act isn’t perfect, but it will help provide access to basic health care for the more than 150,000 King County residents who are currently uninsured.”

The council decision follows a resolution passed by the King County Board of Health last year urging Congress to enact health care reform. Issaquah Mayor Ava Frisinger serves on the Board of Health.

Republican council members — Jane Hague, Pete Von Reichbauer and Issaquah-area representatives Kathy Lambert and Reagan Dunn — blasted the decision.

“I am concerned that the health care legislation recently passed by Congress is not fiscally sound,” Lambert said in a statement. “The health care services begin several years after the new taxes start, so it funds about six years of service over the first decade of tax collection.”

The dissenters noted a $60 million county spending gap, and said nonpartisan reports showed the federal legislation could cost the county $18 million to $34 million.

King County voters approved a measure in November 2008 to make the council, county executive and county assessor offices nonpartisan.

County Council succumbs to red-blue divide in health care debate

May 12, 2010

NEW — 7:11 a.m. May 12, 2010

The nonpartisan King County Council cracked along partisan lines Monday, as members praised national health care reform in a narrow decision.

The symbolic measure supports the implementation of the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act passed by Congress in March. The council adopted the legislation in a split decision. Democrats on the nine-member council backed the measure; Republicans dissented.

“It is time to reform our health care system,” Chairman Bob Ferguson, the prime sponsor of the legislation and a Democrat, said in a statement after the May 10 decision. “The health care act isn’t perfect, but it will help provide access to basic health care for the more than 150,000 King County residents who are currently uninsured.”

Read more

Press Editorial

November 17, 2009

Early signs from county exec are encouraging

In the weeks since King County voters picked Dow Constantine as next county executive, the leader-in-waiting has taken several steps to include Issaquah and Eastside voices in the transition. We applaud these efforts. Read more

Off the Press

November 10, 2009

Take in campaign season from a journalist’s eye

Warren Kagarise Press reporter

Warren Kagarise Press reporter

Election Day ended early, with a slow coast to prime time. Results were delivered in a single, anticlimactic burst at 8:15 p.m. with no nail-biting suspense. The frontrunners opened up big leads early, snuffing the chance to track trends or offer last-minute prognostications. Issaquah voters knew the make-up of the next City Council and school board well before “NCIS” was over.

Despite the quiet coda, campaign season was chockablock with memorable moments, at least for someone outfitted with a notebook and a digital voice recorder. Throughout the campaign, I jotted down observations and asides about the candidates and the race to public office.

What I observed — among the Issaquah candidates, anyway — were amicable, issue-oriented campaigns accessorized with the usual yard signs, candidate fliers and e-mail blasts. But the best — and cheapest — campaign tool I saw was the laminated placard Nathan Perea placed beside him at coffeehouses: “I’m running for Issaquah City Council. Please stop and chat!” the sign read. And it worked: Voters stopped to talk with the first-time candidate. Read more

Press Editorial

October 27, 2009

Dow Constantine for King County executive

The outcome of the race for King County executive will have a significant effect on our urban cities and surrounding unincorporated areas, which makes the choice a critical one. We’ve seen what happens when the leadership is misdirected and we’re looking forward to change.

Dow Constantine is our preferred choice. Read more

Ballot includes tax measure, open space protections

October 20, 2009

Washington voters will decide between now and Nov. 3 whether to cap property taxes and add additional protections for county conservation land. Read more

Watch county, city video voter guides on the Web

October 19, 2009

NEW — 6 a.m. Oct. 19, 2009

As ballots arrive in King County voters’ mailboxes, the county Video Voter’s Guide has returned to help residents guide their decisions before the Nov. 3 election.

Watch the guide on King County TV or on the Web.

The guide enables voters to hear directly from countywide candidates. Advocates for ballot issues are also featured in the guide. Every candidate and issue is allowed to present a two-minute statement.

The guide includes statements from candidates for county executive, assessor, County Council District 9, Port of Seattle Commission and from speakers on countywide ballot measures.

Read more

« Previous PageNext Page »