By Shakira Ericksen
The Des Moines City Council will have some tough choices to make, regarding who will become their newest member.
Eight candidates interviewed for the vacant council seat at the April 25 council meeting.
At the beginning of the meeting Mayor Dave Kaplan had all the candidates draw a card from the deck, deciding the order on which they spoke. Each candidate had three minutes to deliver a statement then was asked one question from each council member.
The majority of council members were interested in whether or not the candidate was interested in a short term position or if they were planning on running for election in the fall, what were their priorities for Des Moines, and what they thought they could bring to the council.
The candidates themselves displayed the diversity of Des Moines, coming from all walks of life--small business owners, a student, a serial board member, a builder, a fitness trainer and a community organizer. Some were long-term residents, others born and raised and some of them just newly arrived.
U.S. Sen. Patty Murray joined other officials on Friday, April 26 in a groundbreaking ceremony for the Angle Lake light-rail station to be built at South 200th Street and 28th Avenue South in SeaTac.
Preliminary construction is already underway at Sea-Tac Airport and project construction is set to begin this month. The station is slated to open in September 2016, four years earlier than originally planned.
The sped-up construction schedule is designed to alleviate parking pressure at the Tukwila International Boulevard Station. The new 200th station will feature a 700 parking garage as well as a temporary surface parking lot. The surface lot may go away when light rail is extended to the Kent/Des Moines Road-Highline Community College area in 2023.
The early opening will also coincide with the opening of the University of Washington light rail station. Officials say UW students will be able to go from the Angle Lake Station to the university in 49 minutes on light rail.
The city of SeaTac recently earned a WellCity Award from the Association of Washington Cities (AWC) Employee Benefit Trust. A total of 84 cities and public entities demonstrated their commitment to employee health promotion and met the stringent standards set forth for the award.
All of these cities are part of AWC’s Employee Benefit Trust, a health insurance pool that provides coverage to more than 15,000 city employees across the state. As a result of earning the designation, WellCity Award recipients will receive a two percent premium discount on their Regence BlueShield or Asuris Northwest Health medical coverage in 2013.
“This award would not have been possible without the tremendous efforts put forth by the SeaTac Wellness Committee, who dedicate themselves to these educational programs and events all year long,” said Todd Cutts, SeaTac city manager. “We are committed to having a healthy, vibrant community, and this program is a wonderful incentive to encourage just that.”
Recognizing a law enforcement career that spans four decades, the Metropolitan King County Council honored Major Jim Graddon on Monday, April 22 for his work for the people of King County.
Major Graddon has served 39 years in law enforcement, including the past 34 years with the King County Sheriff’s Office.
Major Graddon has worked in numerous roles in law enforcement.
Since 2007 he has served as Major in the Sheriff’s Office and Chief of Police for the city of SeaTac. He also serves as Commander of the Sheriff Office’s Southwest Precinct, which covers unincorporated areas throughout southwest King County and the contract cities of Burien and SeaTac.
Graddon announced his retirement in January and will formally retire from his post with the Sheriff’s Office and the city of SeaTac at the end of April.
Supporters of the Interstate 5/State Route 509 Coalition and the newly formed Puget Sound Gateway Project can now get information and updates online.
The Gateway was formed by Rep. Judy Clibborn (D-Mercer Island) with the announcement of a potential new transportation construction and revenue package earlier this year. The SR 167, SR 509 and I-5 Puget Sound Gateway Project would relieve traffic congestion and improve freight mobility by completing the long-planned SR 167 and SR 509 corridor connections to I-5.
The new website for the SR 509/I-5 portion of the project was produced by the coalition, which includes the Port of Seattle, the cities of Burien, Des Moines, Federal Way, Kent, Normandy Park, SeaTac and Tukwila, area chambers, labor and business interests that will benefit from the improved access and new job creation.
The website is online at www.TimeFor509Now.org and includes an option for organizations, businesses and individuals interested to get involved and add their names to the list of supporters.
Chip Davis has been appointed Burien’s Community Development director, replacing Scott Greenberg who left for a similar position on Mercer Island.
Davis has been a planner with the city since 2002. Previously, he worked as a consultant for communications companies developing cell phone tower sites in Washington, Oregon, Idaho and upstate New York. He also worked as a Spokane Transit Authority planner for 15 years..
Davis has a bachelor's degree in planning from the University of Washington and conducted graduate work at Eastern Washington University.
At the April 15 Burien City Council meeting, Davis said he is “very energized by the future.
“Based on pre-application meetings, we haven’t seen this level of development in several years.”
Navos Mental Health Solutions CEO David Johnson filled lawmakers in on one of the big new construction projects in Burien.
After merging with Ruth Dykeman Children’s Center and Seattle Children’s Home, Navos has decided to consolidate some programs at the Dykeman campus on Lake Burien.
A proposal was made by City Manager, Mike Martin at the April 15, 2013 Burien City Council meeting to extend the contract to CARES until 2016.
This extension would also give CARES and additional $50,000 per year and a 3% COLA to each of their three employees. Since CARES counts phone calls differently than RASKC, the number is highly inflated compared to other cities, something RASKC took into consideration when coming up with a cost for Burien to contract with them.
I believe that the City of Burien should renegotiate their contract for animal control services with RASKC (Regional Animal Services of King County).
The City of SeaTac with a 2011 population of 27, 430 (Wikipedia) recently got a contract for animal control services from RASKC for $107,000 per year. The cost of a contract with RASKC is based on several factors: the number of calls received, the number of animal intakes, minus license fees, a percentage discount and a reduction shared by cities in the group (the most compelling factor in the reduction of fees).
The Burien City Council appears ready to extend the animal control and services contract for the controversial Burien CARES group and increase funding by $50,000 annually.
With the two-year contract extension, CARES would also be required to implement several recommendations made in an audit by Denise McVicker, deputy director of the Tacoma, Pierce County Humane Society.
Two King County representatives appeared before the council on April 15 to answer questions about operations of the Regional Animal Services of King County (RASKC). Some CARES critics have suggested Burien return to contracting with King County for animal services. SeaTac and Tukwila contract with RASKC.
Sean Bouffiou, King County Records and Licensing finance administrator, estimated RASKC would charge Burien $418,000 per year minus pet licensing fees from the city. The net cost is pegged at $332,000 annually.
The proposed new Burien CARES contract is $170,000 annually. CARES has one animal control officer who covers the city and an animal shelter on Southwest 151st Street.
Gov. Jay Inslee has joined more than 90 community, business, labor and civic leaders in urging lawmakers to approve a new round of transportation improvements and projects.
Inslee and representatives from the Ports of Tacoma and Seattle, area legislators and long-time SR 509 and SR 167 stakeholders convened at the Port of Tacoma near the proposed SR 509/SR 167 Gateway project.
This project will significantly improve freight mobility for area businesses and connect the state’s largest ports to key distribution centers in King and Pierce Counties and to Eastern Washington.
Among the list of supporters of the SR-509 extension project are the cities of Burien, Des Moines, Normandy Park, SeaTac, Tukwila, Federal Way and Kent.
Additional 509 project supporters are the Port of Seattle, Teamsters Local 174, International Longshore & Warehouse Union Local 19, Professional & Technical Employees Local 17, Shuttle Express and Kent Chamber of Commerce.
Clearly Burien citizens are now seeing what appears to be the "old boys city staff network giving contracts to their friends".
The City Manager is now proposing (see page 97 of the Burien City council Packet for April 15, 2013) giving an extended contract to CARES.
This extended contract is to include;
1. Extending the contract for CARES from 2014 to 2016 with no explanation of what new services CARES will cover and what animals they will provide services to.
2. An increase in the amount to be paid to CARES from $120,000 to $170,000 per year to CARES (an increase of $50,000 a year to CARES) with no explanation of what this increase will cover. It can be paid in advance to them and in lump sums to remedy their problems as noted in the McVicker evaluation.
3. There will be no competitive bids allowed on this new/modified extended contract to be extended another two years