by Ari Robin McKenna
While last Thursday, Aug. 25, was supposed to be the first day of school, three dozen educators from Meeker Middle School were outside of the building in the 90-degree midday heat. Passing cars on Southeast 192nd Street honked every 10–20 seconds in support of the striking educators; many of the educators wore red and held signs reading “KENT Education Assoc. ON STRIKE!”
Continue reading Pay Is Peripheral as Kent Educators Strike, Demand a Quality Experience for Students
by Ali Cohen
At the close of 2021, the mayors of Auburn, Renton, and Kent met privately to discuss community safety and violence affecting south King County. Unfortunately, of all the initiatives and meetings that have since come from this coalition, none has publicly addressed the personal and systemic violence coming from their very own police departments.
A quick Google search will provide details on Auburn police officer Jeffrey Nelson killing Jesse Sarey while Jesse was unarmed and experiencing a mental health crisis, as well as a paper trail of Nelson’s escalating misconduct without meaningful intervention. Instead, he won a “medal of valor” for a fatal encounter with Isaiah Obet in 2017. Obet’s family challenged the City of Auburn through a lawsuit; the city settled for $1.25 million in response.
Continue reading OPINION: Mayors’ Coalition for Community Safety Should Examine Own Police Departments￼
by Shukri Olow
Fresh fruits and seafood. White sandy beaches and miles of coastland that rival states like Hawai‘i. Markets that are lively until midnight and youth enjoying the freedom to roam unafraid. These are all experiences that my mother talks about when she recalls life before the civil war in Somalia.
Continue reading OPINION: From Somalia to Afghanistan, We Stand With Our Newest Neighbors
by Phil Manzano
When talking about his run for Renton City Council, Joseph Todd’s voice breaks slightly and wavers. “I’m sorry, I get a little emotional here.”
He recalls George Floyd’s death a year ago, which sparked a worldwide racial reckoning.
“When we saw a man get murdered in daylight, it begins to bring home, for real, for real, that these systems are trying to kill you,” Todd said. “So that’s why when we created the Renton Residents for Change, it was really all about, ‘We have to get ahead of this.’”
Continue reading Will Local Governments Reflect the Changing Demographics of South King County?
by Stephen Fesler
(This article was previously published at The Urbanist and has been reprinted with permission.)
A new Metro RapidRide line is coming to Auburn, Kent, and Renton in 2023 to provide more than just more frequent and faster bus service. King County Metro also is planning new station standards at stops and making lasting improvements to streets. In the latest project update, Metro unveiled four types of station standards depending upon expected ridership and station access needs, which will dictate which improvements will be rolled out.
Continue reading Metro Reveals Plans for RapidRide I-Line Stations in South King County
by M. Anthony Davis
The city of Kent has the largest population of Black residents in King County. Many Black residents in Kent moved there after being pushed out of Seattle due to gentrification and rising housing costs. This year, Dawn Bennett, a Black woman who has lived in Kent for the last 23 years, is running for mayor.
Bennett has a long career in community advocacy and activism. She has worked for the Seattle Parks department for over 25 years and has also worked for Seattle Public Schools and multiple nonprofits, one of which she founded, that focus on advocating for youth in communities throughout Washington.
The Emerald had the opportunity to speak with Bennett about her plans for the city of Kent and how she plans to use her expertise to support the city and the 15,000 Black residents who live there.
Continue reading Dawn Bennett Announces Run for Kent Mayor
by Carolyn Bick
South King County residents aged 65 and older are now eligible to be vaccinated at Public Health — Seattle & King County’s two South King County mass vaccination sites starting today, March 1.
Continue reading South King County Residents 65 and Older Eligible for Vaccination at Mass Vaccination Sites
by Ari Robin McKenna
A report launched Tuesday, Dec. 8, outlines how to scale up multilingual education to meet the dire need for it in South King County. Called Our Rising Voices: A Call to Action to Support Our Multilingual Students, the study was the result of a year-long collaboration between the Road Map Project, the Community Center for Education Results, and One America.
Looking at data from public schools within the so-called “Road Map Project region” of South Seattle, Tukwila, Renton, Highline, Kent, Federal Way, and Auburn, the report concludes that 42% of students are English learners at some point during their K-12 education. Yet, only 8% of teachers in that region are endorsed in English Language Learning (ELL), and a mere 0.4% of teachers are endorsed in Bilingual Education. This systemic failure to adequately serve almost half the students in this region is especially troubling given how many English learners there are in this state. At the Zoom launch of this report, Veronica Gallardo, the state’s assistant superintendent of Schools and Systems Improvements — and a long time member of Road Map Project’s English Language Learners Work Group — cited the fact that Washington has the nation’s seventh largest English learner (EL) population and the second largest migrant population in the nation. Gallardo said, “The data makes the need for this work undeniable.”
Continue reading Study Indicates Stark Need for a South King County Paradigm Shift on Multilingual Education
by Elizabeth Turnbull
While COVID-19 cases have increased in King County since the beginning of the month overall, South King County, one of the most diverse parts of the Seattle area, has recorded disproportionate numbers of cases.
Whereas 3.2% of all tests in King County come back positive for the novel coronavirus, simply looking at the map of positive tests in the county on King County’s Daily COVID-19 Outbreak Summary webpage (you must choose the “Geography tab” in the dashboard to view the map) will show you that these numbers increase the more you travel south. For example, overall positivity rates in Auburn stand at 8.4% and of individuals tested at the Auburn testing site at 2701 C Sreet Southwest, 12.8% of tests have come back positive since Sept. 1, according to a Seattle Times article.
Continue reading Why Is South King County Dealing With Higher Numbers of COVID-19 Cases Compared to Rest of County?
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