Council Week in Review
It was a busy week at the King County Council. We took action on several significant measures that promote community engagement, accountability, and access to vital health and human services.
Expanding Access to Elections
On Monday, the Council passed a measure to translate voting materials in Spanish and Korean. I introduced an amendment to include the next two largest language groups: Tagalog (Filipino) and Russian. Although my amendment failed by one vote, I intend to bring the proposal back and continue to work to improve language translation in cost effective ways in order to maximize civic participation.
Civilian Oversight of Sheriff's Office
Also on Monday, the Council voted to send a proposal to voters regarding the County's Office of Law Enforcement Oversight (OLEO), which is currently responsible for receiving complaints of alleged officer misconduct, actively monitoring the Sheriff's internal investigations unit, and assessing its thoroughness and objectivity.
The ballot measure, which I co-sponsored, establishes OLEO as a charter-based agency. The charter is the "constitution" of the county. It will also broaden OLEO's scope of authority and oversight and give them investigative authority (which they do not currently have). State law makes much of this subject to collective bargaining with the law enforcement unions. Since this measure is an amendment to the King County Charter, it will be before voters in November.
Best Starts for Kids
Best Starts for Kids is a county-wide plan to support youth development in King County. If approved by voters, the plan will raise about $58 million in new revenue to support early childhood and youth prevention strategies including a youth and family homelessness prevention initiative, needed services for pregnant women and new mothers, as well as support for local nonprofit initiatives to support youth in South King County.
If approved by voters, a new property tax of $0.14 per $1,000 of assessed valuation would begin in 2016 and continue through 2021. The levy is projected to generate a total of approximately $392.3 million in revenues to fund the Best Starts for Kids initiative and is estimated to cost the owner of a $400,000 home in King County approximately $56 per year in additional property taxes. I voted in favor of placing this on the ballot for voters to decide.
I appreciate hearing your thoughts on these and other county issues.
Councilmember, District 5
Metropolitan King County Council
516 Third Ave, Suite 1200
Seattle, WA 98104