by Chetanya Robinson
While he was in Afghanistan as an executive officer during the Obama-era “surge,” Chris Franco’s life gave him a shove that would eventually inspire him to work in public service for the King County government and, in January this year, to run for a seat on the Metropolitan King County Council in Position 9 as a first-time candidate.
“Unfortunately I had a very toxic and self-serving leader that was responsible for helping us out and getting us what we needed during our deployment,” Franco recalled in an interview with the South Seattle Emerald. This leader, Franco said, withheld engineering support for barriers to protect people from attacks. “Unfortunately because of that negligence, one of our interpreters was killed.”
Franco’s disdain for the poor leadership he experienced in Afghanistan grew over the years. “That was a wakeup call to what happens when you have leaders who don’t give a damn, that are vindictive or complacent or just apathetic,” he said.
Continue reading Chris Franco, Veteran and County Office of Equity & Social Justice Leader, Is Running for King County Council
by Jack Russillo
On Thursday, Jan. 21, the 2021 King County Districting Committee had its first meeting as it begins a yearlong process to redraw the King County Council district lines within King County.
The process will continue through most of 2021, as council district lines are redrawn in the year following a census, which occurred in 2020. On Jan. 12, the County Council appointed four of what will eventually be five members of the 2021 King County Districting Committee. A fifth committee member, who will be chosen by the four individuals who have already been selected, will serve as the chair of the districting committee.
Continue reading 2021 King County Districting Committee Aims for an ‘Inclusive’ and ‘Community-Led’ Boundary Redrawing Process
by Melody Ip
Whether Kim-Khánh Văn is serving on the Renton City Council, advocating for clients as an attorney, leading as co-president of the Parent-Teacher Association, volunteering with numerous community organizations — and now running for King County Council — she boils her motivation down to this phrase: “acknowledging privilege, being grateful for opportunities, and paying it forward.”
Continue reading Kim-Khánh Văn Aims for King County Council
by Erica C. Barnett
(This article was originally published by PubliCola and has been reprinted under an agreement.)
On Thursday, the King County Council shelved a proposal by North Seattle Councilmember Rod Dembowski that would have kept 47,000 hours of bus service inside Dembowski’s district after the Northgate light rail station opens next year. The proposal came in the form of a budget proviso, or restriction on spending, that would have withheld $5.4 million in funding for King County Metro unless the bus service went to North King County.
The hours will become available because King County Metro is shutting down its Route 41 bus line, which duplicates the light rail route. Instead of being redistributed throughout North Seattle to feed commuters to the new light rail line, as Dembowski proposed, those hours are likely to go to South King County, where King County Metro’s preliminary report on equity shows the need is greatest.
Continue reading King County Council Rejects Redundant Bus Line Funding in North End, Citing Equity Needs
by Carolyn Bick
When they read the OIR Group report commissioned by King County’s Office of Law Enforcement Oversight that looked into how the King County Sheriff’s Office handled the investigation into Tommy Le’s death, the Le family was surprised to read how much appeared to be working in favor of the sheriff’s department and the involved deputies, Tommy Le’s aunt Uyen Le said.
“When we received the report and the findings, it’s very obvious to us — I feel like it’s common sense that a lot of these things should be in place … but they obviously were not. And it just didn’t create a fair and just situation for Tommy. I think everything seemed to be working more in the favor of the sheriff’s department,” Uyen Le told the Emerald in an interview, referencing the report’s recommendations based on its findings.
The findings — compiled into a comprehensive, 42-page-long report that was released in early September — appeared to have a similar effect on at least one King County lawmaker, when report authors Michael Gennaco and Stephen Connolly presented it at the Sept. 2 meeting of the King County Council’s Law and Justice Committee. Upon learning of the findings, Committee Chair and District 2 Councilmember Girmay Zahilay — himself an attorney — said the way in which the King County Sheriff’s Office (KCSO) handled the investigation into Tommy Le’s shooting would appear to be “a clear obstruction of justice.”
Continue reading No Records Exist of the Review Board Interviews Conducted With the Deputies Involved in Tommy Le’s Shooting
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 Faruq Kiefer (with reporting by Erica C. Barnett)
(This article was originally published on The C Is for Crank and has been reprinted under an agreement.)
On Tuesday afternoon, the Metropolitan King County Council voted by a narrow margin against renewing Office of Law Enforcement Oversight Director Deborah Jacobs’ contract, which expired in June. (Jacobs was serving as de-facto head for the past two months). In her place, the Council appointed OLEO’s current Deputy Director, Adrienne Wat, to serve as interim director.
Continue reading In Narrow Vote, County Council Ousts Police Accountability Director
By Paul Kiefer
(This article originally appeared on The C Is for Crank and has been reprinted under an agreement.)
On Tuesday, a majority of the Metropolitan King County Council’s Employment and Administration Committee (which includes all nine council members) voted not to extend the contract of Office of Law Enforcement Oversight (OLEO) Director Deborah Jacobs, as well as to accept the findings of an independent investigation into allegations that Jacobs made a series of inappropriate or discriminatory comments to her staff over the course of her four years with the county.
Continue reading King County Council Committee Recommends Replacing Law Enforcement Oversight Director
by Carolyn Bick
For 25 years, voters who live in King County’s 12 unincorporated areas that do not have their own police departments have seen their already-small power over who enforces the laws in their communities dwindle. Since the position of King County sheriff became an elected one in 1996, more and more people have moved to cities that have their own police departments. Today, just 11% of voters live in unincorporated King County.
But why do these numbers matter?
Continue reading The Position of King County Sheriff Could Become an Appointed One. Here’s Why That Matters.
by Carolyn Bick
Following a unanimous vote at a meeting on June 23, King County Council has approved a third round of emergency funding to the tune of $86 million. Council Chair Claudia Balducci also said that legislation to make Juneteenth a holiday for King County employees will be introduced at a future meeting.
The emergency funding money, which will come from the county’s general fund, will provide support for several programs throughout the county meant to combat both the novel coronavirus and racism, which the council formally recognized as a public health crisis on June 18.
Continue reading King County Council Passes $86 Million in Emergency Funding, Looks to Future Legislation To Make Juneteenth a Holiday For County Employees