02-19-2017  8:02 pm      •     
Families Coming Together

Mayor Murray Sends Police Accountability Reform Package to Federal Judge

This week, Mayor Ed Murray and the City of Seattle filed draft legislation for Seattle Police Department (SPD) accountability reform with U.S. District Court Judge James Robart for review. The legislation is a collaborative product of months-long discussions with the Community Police Commission, Federal Monitor Merrick Bobb, the City and many other stakeholders. The proposal creates an independent office of Inspector General, transforms the Community Police Commission (CPC) into a permanent body, and increases the scope and independence of SPD’s Office of Professional Accountability (OPA).

The package sent to Judge Robart includes the following key accountability measures:

  • Creation of the Office of Inspector General, empowered to review and report on any aspect of SPD’s policies and practices.
  • Increases the independence of our Office of Professional Accountability, replacing sworn SPD officers with civilian staff tasked with overseeing all investigations and complaints against officers.
  • Makes the CPC a permanent body, ensuring community input is institutionalized into Seattle’s police services.

In August of this year, Judge Robart issued an order ruling that any SPD reform package must be reviewed by the Court before being sent to City Council to ensure the package meets the accountability and transparency requirements agreed to under the 2012 Consent Decree settlement with the Department of Justice. After the Department of Justice reviews and sends comments to Judge Robart, the Court begins its 90-day review period.

At the conclusion of the review period, Mayor Murray will finalize and transmit legislation to the Council.

 

Seattle Park Board to hold regular meeting October 13

The Seattle Board of Park Commissioners will hold its regular meeting at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, October 13 at the Van Asselt Community Center, 2820 S Myrtle St. The meeting agenda includes:

Presentation: Community Center Strategic Plan  Presented by Superintendent Aguirre

Public Hearing: Community Center Strategic Plan

Please click here to see the complete agenda.

The Seattle Board of Park Commissioners is a nine-member citizen board created by the City Charter. Four members are appointed by the Mayor and confirmed by the City Council; four members are appointed by the City Council; and one member is a young adult appointed by YMCA Get Engaged. The Board generally meets twice a month, normally on the second and fourth Thursday, to advise the Parks and Recreation Superintendent, the Mayor, and the City Council on parks and recreation matters.

 

Denny Substation Construction Work Will Impact Denny Way Starting Oct. 14

Seattle City Light is advising drivers and commuters to prepare for five weeks of lane closures on Denny Way between Stewart St. and Minor Ave N, beginning Friday, Oct. 14. Crews will be installing underground utilities for the Denny Substation.

From Friday, Oct. 14, at 11 p.m., to Monday, Oct. 17, at 5 a.m., all lanes on Denny Way will be closed while crews restripe the roadway. After 5 a.m. on Monday, Oct. 17, Denny Way between Stewart St. and Minor Ave N will be reduced to one lane in each direction 24 hours per day, 7 days a week, for five weeks. On the weekend of Nov. 19 and 20, crews will close all lanes of Denny Way once again in order to restore the roadway to its normal configuration. All lanes on Denny Way will reopen on Monday, Nov. 21.

During the lane closures, travelers on Denny Way and Stewart St. should expect significant delays and are encouraged to use alternate routes. King County Metro Bus 8 will be directly impacted by the closures — the westbound Denny Way and Stewart Street bus stop will be temporarily closed. The eastbound bus stop will remain open, but riders should expect delays.

Seattle City Light is working with the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) and transit providers to inform travelers about the closures and to discourage the use of the Stewart Street exit from southbound I-5. Access to southbound I-5 from Yale Avenue will be maintained, but drivers should expect delays. Uniformed police officers will be on site to help direct traffic around the work zone.

Project Background: As part of the Denny Substation Program, Seattle City Light is building a new substation (Denny Substation) and underground electrical distribution network (Denny Network) and designing a transmission line (Denny-Massachusetts Transmission Line) that will ensure more reliable power delivery to customers in and beyond the South Lake Union and Denny Triangle neighborhoods. The new substation, located on Denny Way near Stewart St, will be City Light’s first and largest substation in 30 years. The Denny Substation Program will increase system-wide reliability and operational flexibility, achieving a major electrical system upgrade for the city of Seattle. For more information, visit the project website at: www.seattle.gov/light/dennysub

 

For more Seattle and Portland area events, see our Community Calendar.

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  • WASHINGTON (AP) — One month after the inauguration, the stretch of Pennsylvania Avenue in front of Donald Trump's White House still is a hard-hat zone. Skeletal remains of the inaugural reviewing stands poke skyward. Random piles of plywood and cables are heaped on the ground inside crooked lines of metal fencing. The disarray outside the president's front door, though not his fault, serves as a metaphor for the tumult still unfolding inside. Four weeks in, the man who says he inherited "a mess" at home and abroad is presiding over a White House that is widely described as itself being a mess. At a stunning pace, Trump has riled world leaders and frustrated allies. He was dealt a bruising legal blow on one of his signature policies. He lost his national security adviser and his pick for labor secretary to scandal. He's seen forces within his government push back against his policies and leak confidential information. All of this has played out amid a steady drip of revelations about an FBI investigation into his campaign's contacts with Russian intelligence officials. Trump says his administration is running like a "fine-tuned machine." He points to the rising stock market and the devotion of his still-loyal supporters as evidence that all is well, although his job approval rating is much lower than that for prior presidents in their first weeks in office. Stung by the unrelenting criticism coming his way, Trump dismisses much of it as "fake news" delivered by "the enemy of the people" — aka the press. Daily denunciations of the media are just one of the new White House fixtures Americans are adjusting to. Most days start (and end) with presidential tweets riffing off of whatever's on TV talk shows or teasing coming events or hurling insults at the media. At some point in the day, count on Trump to cast back to the marvels of his upset of Democrat Hillary Clinton in the November election and quite possibly overstate his margins of support. Expect more denunciations of the "dishonest" press and its "fake news." From there, things can veer in unexpected directions as Trump offers up policy pronouncements or offhand remarks that leave even White House aides struggling to interpret them. The long-standing U.S. policy of seeking a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? Trump this past week offered this cryptic pronouncement: "I'm looking at two-state and one-state, and I like the one that both parties like. I can live with either one." His U.N. ambassador, Nikki Haley, the next day insisted, "We absolutely support a two-state solution." Trump's days are busy. Outside groups troop in for "listening sessions." Foreign leaders call or come to visit. (Or, in the case of Mexico's president, cancel out in pique over Trump's talk about the planned border wall.) After the president signed two dozen executive actions, the White House was awaiting a rush order of more of the gold-plated Cross pens that Trump prefers to the chrome-plated ones used by his predecessor. Trump hands them out as souvenirs at the signing ceremonies that he points to as evidence of his ambitious pace. "This last month has represented an unprecedented degree of action on behalf of the great citizens of our country," Trump said at a Thursday news conference. "Again, I say it. There has never been a presidency that's done so much in such a short period of time." That's all music to the ears of his followers, who sent him to Washington to upend the established order and play the role of disrupter. "I can't believe there's actually a politician doing what he says he would do," says an approving Scott Hiltgen, a 66-year-old office furniture sales broker from River Falls, Wisconsin. "That never happens." Disrupt Trump has. But there may be more sound and fury than substance to many of his early actions. Trump did select Judge Neil Gorsuch to replace the late Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court, a nomination that has drawn strong reviews from conservatives. But the president is regrouping on immigration after federal judges blocked his order to suspend the United States' refugee program and ban visitors from seven Muslim-majority countries, which had caused chaos for travelers around the globe. Some other orders on issues such as the U.S.-Mexico border wall and former President Barack Obama's health care law are of limited effect. Trump says his early actions show he means to deliver on the promises he made during the campaign. "A lot of people say, 'Oh, oh, Trump was only kidding with the wall,'" the president told a group of police chiefs recently. "I wasn't kidding. I don't kid." But the Republican-led Congress is still waiting to see specifics on how Trump wants to proceed legislatively on top initiatives such as replacing the health care law, enacting tax cuts and revising trade deals. The messy rollout of the travel ban and tumult over the ouster of national security adviser Michael Flynn for misrepresenting his contacts with Russia are part of a broader state of disarray as different figures in Trump's White House jockey for power and leaks reveal internal discord in the machinations of the presidency. "I thought by now you'd at least hear the outlines of domestic legislation like tax cuts," says Princeton historian Julian Zelizer. "But a lot of that has slowed. Trump shouldn't mistake the fact that some of his supporters like his style with the fact that a lot of Republicans just want the policies he promised them. He has to deliver that." Put Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., in the camp of those more interested in substance than style. "I'm not a great fan of daily tweets," McConnell said Friday, referring to the "extra discussion" that Trump likes to engage in. But McConnell was quick to add: "What I am a fan of is what he's been actually doing." He credits Trump with assembling a conservative Cabinet and taking steps to reduce government regulation, and promised: "We like his positions and we're going to pursue them as vigorously as we can." The challenge may be to tease out exactly what Trump wants in the way of a health care plan, tax changes and trade policy. At his long and defiant news conference on Thursday, Trump tried to dispel the impression of a White House in crisis, squarely blaming the press for keeping him from moving forward more decisively on his agenda. Pointing to his chief of staff, Reince Priebus, Trump said, "You take a look at Reince, he's working so hard just putting out fires that are fake fires. I mean, they're fake. They're not true. And isn't that a shame because he'd rather be working on health care, he'd rather be working on tax reform." For all the frustrations of his early days as president, Trump still seems tickled by the trappings of his office. When New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie visited the White House last week to discuss the national opioid epidemic over lunch, the governor said Trump informed him: "Chris, you and I are going to have the meatloaf.'" Trump added: "I'm telling you, the meatloaf is fabulous." ___Follow Nancy Benac on Twitter at http://twitter.com/nbenac
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