by Carolyn Bick
Gov. Jay Inslee has declared a series of new restrictions for the state of Washington, in light of rapidly escalating numbers of new COVID-19 cases. These restrictions will last for a minimum of four weeks. He also announced the state has found an extra $50 million to support struggling state businesses.
In a virtual press conference on the morning of Nov. 15, Inslee said that these new restrictions will begin to take effect at 11:59 p.m. on Nov. 16, and last until 12:01 a.m. on Dec. 14, after which point the state will reassess the situation. When the Emerald followed up after the press conference with Inslee’s office to ask whether there will be any penalties imposed on individuals who do not follow these new restrictions, the office said that the question of enforcement is a job for local law enforcement.
Continue reading Gov. Inslee Institutes New Restrictions to Curb COVID Spread, Announces $50 Million Fund for Struggling Businesses
by Elizabeth Turnbull
On Tuesday, a small group of King County workers picketed outside of the county’s Chinook Building on 5th Avenue, in order to remind King County Executive Dow Constantine that racism is a public health crisis and to protest King County’s inaction on fighting racism and discrimination in King County workplaces.
The event was not the first time that the Organized Workers for Labor Solidarity (OWLS) sponsored a picket — the group staged a picket and rally in front of the county executive’s downtown office earlier this summer to insist Constantine listen to their repeated demands: that he prevent racist threats and harassment at King County worksites, provide restitution for workers who have filed complaints of racism with no satisfactory resolution, and end budget cuts and lay-offs, among other demands.
Continue reading Picket Reiterates Need for Racial Equity in King County Workplaces
by Erica C. Barnett
(This article was originally published on PubliCola and has been reprinted under an agreement)
Several cities in South King County, including Renton, Tukwila, Auburn, and Kent, are poised to adopt a local 0.1-cent sales tax for affordable housing, using authority the state legislature granted to city and county councils earlier this year. If the taxes pass, they would effectively supplant those cities’ contribution to a countywide sales tax proposed by King County Executive Dow Constantine, which would pay for permanent supportive housing for chronically homeless people in all parts of the county. Renton and Tukwila will consider their local taxes on Monday; the other cities are reportedly deciding whether and when to propose local taxes of their own.
Continue reading Suburban Cities Craft Local Plans that Would Supplant County Executive’s Homeless Housing Tax
by Carolyn Bick
In an internal email sent to King County Sheriff’s Office (KCSO) employees last week, Sheriff Mitzi Johanknecht said that King County Executive Dow Constantine did not speak with her about his proposal to shift $4.6 million in marijuana tax revenue from the sheriff’s department to community-based programs.
Continue reading King County Sheriff’s Email to KCSO Employees Claims She Wasn’t Consulted About Shifting Marijuana Tax Revenue
by Paul Kiefer
(This article was originally published by PubliCola and has been reprinted under an agreement)
On Wednesday afternoon, King County Executive Dow Constantine previewed a number of new programs he will propose as part of his 2021-2022 county budget plan next week, including alternatives to jail, community-based public safety alternatives, and divestments from the current criminal legal system. “We took up a simple refrain to guide our budget: divest, invest, and reimagine,” Constantine said. “As we support community members in co-creating our shared future, we make an important down payment on building a strong, equitable, and racially just county.”
Continue reading King County Executive Highlights Criminal Justice Reform in Budget Preview
by Mark Van Streefkerk
On September 2, King County Metro announced the “Ready When You Are” campaign, which features innovations for transit, including automated plexiglass partitions and mask dispensers to keep operators and riders safer during COVID-19. County leaders, including Executive Dow Constantine and representatives from Metro and the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) local 587, presented the improvements at the Metro Component Supply Center in Tukwila. The transit additions coincide with new and improved bus routes coming September 19, and are in preparation for restoring fares on October 1, although that date is not set in stone.
“I am here to announce that King County Metro is ready to serve,” Constantine said. “Ready to get you where you need to be. Ready when you are, which happens to be the name of our new campaign as we turn the corner and fully adapt to the new normal.”
Continue reading “Ready When You Are” Campaign Unveils Automated Plexiglass Partitions and Mask Dispensers on King County Metro Transit
by Elizabeth Turnbull
King County Executive Dow Constantine released a tweet on Tuesday, July 21, committing King County to converting all remaining youth detention units at the Judge Patricia H. Clark Children and Family Justice Center (CFJC) to new uses by 2025 and to closing the Seattle jail. Activists welcomed the news but called for immediate changes.
“Phasing out centralized youth detention is no longer a goal in the far distance,” Constantine wrote in a tweet pertaining to the announcement. “We have made extraordinary progress and we have evolved to believe that even more can be done.” Continue reading King County Unveils Plans to Shut Down CFJC Youth Detention Center and Seattle Jail by 2025, Activists Demand Closure Now
by Emerald Staff
Today, King County and Public Health-Seattle & King County (PHSKC) officially declared that racism is a public health crisis.
In a statement, King County Executive Dow Constantine committed the County and its public health authority to implementing a racially equitable response to racism, centering on community.
Continue reading King County Officially Declares Racism a Public Health Crisis
by Elizabeth Turnbull
Healthcare professionals and protestors marched from Harborview Medical Center to Seattle City Hall at 9:30 a.m. yesterday to protest racial violence and demand Washington elected officials declare racism a public health issue.
“We have to not just accept progress, but demand change!” said Dr. Estell J. Williams, Assistant Professor of General Surgery and Executive Director of the Doctor For A Day outreach program through the UW School of Medicine and one of the individuals who spearheaded the march. Continue reading UW Medicine Demands Elected Officials Declare Racism and Police Violence a Public Health Issue
by Erica C. Barnett
(This article previously appeared on The C is for Crank and has been reprinted with permission)
Nearly two years after King County first announced that it planned to open a modular shelter for people experiencing homelessness on county-owned property in Interbay, the project is almost ready to open for a new purpose: Providing non-congregate shelter for between 45 and 50 homeless men over 55 from the St. Martin de Porres shelter, run by Catholic Community Services. The modular buildings, which are essentially trailers with windows, fans, and high-walled cubicles to provide privacy and protection from disease transmission between the four men who will share each unit, were originally supposed to be dorm-style shelters housing up to eight people on beds or cots.
Continue reading As County Opens More Non-Congregate Shelter to Prevent Spread of COVID-19, City Plans to Remove Two More Encampments