In this latest video from Seattle comedian Brett Hamil, we take a closer look at how the Seattle City Council District 3 race is starting to take shape:
The city council race for Capitol Hill and the Central District is heating up! We look at Kshama Sawant’s “grandstanding,” Mayor Murray’s “wily” political maneuvering and Pamela Banks’s speed-dial approach to problem solving.
This post is published as a courtesy to the City of Seattle’s Office of the Mayor
SEATTLE (Feb. 17, 2015) – In his “State of the City” address before the Seattle City Council today, Mayor Ed Murray dedicated $35 million in City funding to support affordable housing in Seattle, doubled the City’s commitment to summer youth employment and unveiled government performance and budgeting websites to bring new transparency to City departments. Continue reading Murray delivers “State of the City” Address→
SEATTLE – As parents ready their kids for the first week of school, Mayor Ed Murray yesterday unveiled his plan to reorganize the city’s education and support programs into a new Department of Education and Early Learning (DEEL), the first of several proposals the mayor will make in his first city budget.
The new structure will enable the city to better coordinate existing work and resources on behalf of students of all ages, improve collaboration with Seattle Public Schools, colleges and child-care providers, and increase performance measurement of the city’s work to support educational outcomes.
“Equity in education is the foundation of our democracy and the future of our city,” said Murray. “The City already supports programs across the continuum from birth through college, but we must do better to align resources for better outcomes for education. We will sharpen our focus on achieving great outcomes for all, so that none of Seattle’s students are left behind. We want Seattle to be the first city in America that eliminates the achievement gap.”
Economic disparities contribute to a persistent achievement gap in the city of Seattle between the educational attainment of students of color and white students- especially in South Seattle, which houses one of the largest swaths of the city’s African American and Latino populations :
90 percent of white 4th graders are reading at grade level compared to 56 percent of African American students.
One third of African American and Latino students—and half of American Indian students—don’t graduate on time, compared to 14 percent of white students.
The Mayor stated that research has shown that students with higher educational attainment have higher average earning power over a career, but also live healthier lives.
“All of Seattle’s children must have the same opportunity to succeed in school and in life,” said Brianna Jackson, Executive Director of the Community Day School Association. “By improving coordination across the entire system, from Early Learning to our universities, and by working together as an education community, we know we can achieve better outcomes for all students.”
Last fall, the City Council adopted a budget action asking the mayor to develop a proposal to elevate the city’s emphasis around education. The council voiced interest in aligning the city’s education and early learning programs, preparing for a universal preschool program, and improving collaboration with the school district.
“Twenty babies are born in Seattle each day and each one deserves a strong and fair start,” said City Council President Tim Burgess. “We know that high quality education empowers children of all backgrounds to lead healthier and happier lives and their success makes our city stronger. To enable our cradle to career programs to work better, the Council called for the creation of this Department and I applaud the Mayor and his team for doing the hard work to get the job done.”
For the last several months, the Murray Administration has been working to shape the new department responsible for supporting early learning, K-12 and higher education in Seattle. Most of the positions in the new department would be filled by existing city employees moving from Seattle’s Human Services Department, Office for Education and other organizations. Existing functions consolidated into DEEL will include:
Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program, Comprehensive Child Care Program and other early learning services and initiatives
Elementary, Middle School, and High School academic and social support programs
School-based health services operated by the city
Seattle Youth Violence Prevention Initiative
All Families and Education Levy programs
Nine new positions would be created to step up coordination with area colleges and universities, ensure the quality of city child care programs and pre-schools, and increase data collection to track the effectiveness of the department’s activities.
“We look forward to working with the Mayor and the new Department of Education and Early Learning to partner on behalf of our Seattle students,” said Dr. Larry Nyland, Interim Superintendent of Seattle Public Schools. “As we head back to school tomorrow, our teachers, principals and staff are getting ready to ensure every student has the opportunity to graduate prepared for college, career and life. We cannot do this work alone. We are pleased the city will partner with us to meet our goals for student success.”
The new department would house 38 employees and manage a budget of $48.5 million, including $30 million each year from the voter-approved Families and Education Levy.
The mayor’s proposal will be included in his budget submission to the City Council on Sept. 22nd.
As Seattle Mayor Ed Murray’s “Find It, Fix It” walks continue across the city, so to does the commotion amongst South Seattle residents surrounding their effectiveness at addressing crime in the city’s south end after an uptick of violence in recent weeks, including a drive-by shooting and multiple armed robberies, has flared community anxieties once again.
The walk series- announced in June as a part of the mayor’s effort to address public safety concerns and improve collaboration between communities and Seattle area law enforcement by direct engagement between city officials and local residents- have been concentrated in areas around the city designated as high frequency crime zones, or “hot spots” and got underway last month.
Three of the walks have been held in South Seattle neighborhoods- two in the Rainier Beach Area and one in the Othello neighborhood- and appear to have made good on the mayor’s insistence that they would act as a platform for residents to actively express community needs to the city, as they have been punctuated by frequent stops, so that urban blight- including graffiti, safety hazards and derelict buildings- could be brought to official’s attention.
“These walks are really important. We can’t sit behind a desk in headquarters and get a sense of what’s happening in the community. It’s important to get out and see it first hand and it’s important to meet people and hear their perspectives.” Said Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole, who along with City Councilmember Bruce Harrell, and City Attorney Pete Holmes has been a consistent presence at the majority of South Seattle walks.
“People really take pride in their neighborhoods in this city, and South Seattle is no exception.” She added. “We want a plan in place for this community that comes from the bottom up, instead of dictating to the various neighborhoods here what their priorities should be. There’s a lot of work to be done, but we feel that this approach will help get us there.”
It is one that seems appreciated, and long overdue, by many south end inhabitants who have become accustomed to what they feel has been habitual inattention to their concerns from the city.
“These events are very good. They’re really once in a lifetime as far as I’m concerned.” Said Mohammed Keemo, owner of a local clothing store in the Rainier Beach area. “(City officials) being here in South Seattle means that they can now know the reality of our street. They can finally see what’s really going on. I love to finally have them here and I hope they continue to come.”
“This are the types of events we need more of, were the community comes together and takes a stand. It’s like I tell people, don’t just complain about the violence and the crime, come up with a solution. This is a solution.” Echoed Rev. Don Davis, who participated in a walk held at the Rainier Beach Link Light Rail Station.
Though the south end area walks have been fairly well attended as dozens of curious residents have flocked to them in order to gain an audience with local officials – despite the 7:00pm weekday start time for most of the walks -not every participant has held such favorable impressions as they have questioned the city’s actual intentions behind them.
“While I think it’s important that the media is out here, I think a lot of (the walks) are being done so that (city officials) can look like they’re doing something in this area, even though I don’t know if they actually are. Having media out here keeps them accountable. I hope.” Said Jacob Stuiksma, who is blind and who took part in a Rainier Beach neighborhood walk.
“I don’t understand why it takes walking around pointing out graffiti, even though it’s been here forever, to finally get it taken care of. When someone who is blind can tell you what’s going on with graffiti and trash because they’re tripping over it, and have been tripping over it for a long time while the city has done nothing, there remains an awful lot that needs to be addressed.”He added.
City officials say they are mindful of much of the criticism that residents of South Seattle have had in regards to the walks and are doing their best to address it.
“Most of the people who have come out to these walks in this area are very positive, but to be honest, yes we’ve run into people who are skeptical because, let’s face it, Mayor Murray has only been in office for a few months, so there’s still a feeling out period. But, I think people will begin to see that these walks are taking the community in the right direction.” Said Mayoral Aide Jacob Chin.
Though skepticism over the walks from South Seattle residents seems a long way from dissipating – unsurprising for an area that has seen its fair share of deflated expectations as a result of limited follow-through after promises of community improvement from past mayoral regimes- there remains many who are willing to be optimistic as to their impact.
“I know that some people are bagging on the mayor for the walks, but the guy isn’t out here kissing babies for a couple of seconds and then hopping into his Rolls Royce to hob knob in Magnolia. The officials out here are really listening to what the community has to say.” Said Karl De Jong who has gone on two of the South Seattle walks.
Seattle Mayor Ed Murray’s “Find it, Fix it” Community Walk series, which focuses on several crime hotspots, will be making its way to Rainier Beach this upcoming Tuesday.
The walks – announced last month- have featured community residents, police, and city officials walking together to identify and find solutions to physical disorder.
The two walks already conducted have seen great success with a 40 percent rise in use of the Find It, Fix It application and identification, notification and action taken on graffiti removal, street lighting, litter and garbage clean-up, along with trimming overgrown bushes and trees.
In his public safety address to the Seattle City Council last week, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray detailed a series of ‘Find it, Fix it’ Community Walks, focused on several crime hotspots.
At the walks, community residents, police, and city officials will walk together to identify physical disorder and solve it, hence the find it and fix it theme. The primary areas of focus are graffiti removal, street lighting, litter and garbage clean-up, and trimming overgrown bushes and trees.
The first Find It, Fix It Community Walk
Wednesday, July 2, 7 – 9 p.m., 23rd Ave. S and S. Jackson St. (Red Apple Parking Lot)
7 – 7:30 p.m.
Short program featuring Murray, Councilmember Bruce Harrell, City Attorney Pete Holmes, Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole, and department representatives.
7:30 – 8:40 p.m
Walk commences along the following route:
Jackson from 23rd to 22nd
22nd from Jackson to Main
Jackson from 25th to 26th
Stop at Fire Station 6 (405 Martin Luther King Jr Way S)
Walk along S King St. to 28th and 29th
Return to the Red Apple parking lot
8:40- 9 p.m.
Walk concludes and department representatives are available for follow-up questions
Additional ‘Find it, Fix it’ Community Walks will take place in the upcoming weeks:
July 8, 7 – 9 p.m.: Orcas and MLK
July 22, 7 – 9 p.m.: Sound Transit tour, between Rainier Beach and Othello Stations
Seattle Mayor Ed Murray, and newly confirmed Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole, will both be visiting the New Holly Gathering Center – located at 7054 32nd Avenue South- on Thursday, June 26th at 6:00pm to film the latest installment of Ask The Mayor.
Mayor Murray will be taking questions directly from those in attendance, as well as discussing a host of issues ranging from his proposal to stave off cuts to metro bus service, universal preschool , gun violence, neighborhood crime, and progress on police reform.