Topic: King County
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September 13, 2013 at 4:44 PM
King County has hired another well-regarded city of Seattle staffer. County Executive Dow Constantine announced today he hired Adrienne Quinn, former director of Seattle’s Office of Housing, to lead the county Department of Community and Human Services.
Quinn replaces longtime director Jackie MacLean, who is stepping down at the end of the year.
While Quinn was director of the city’s housing department for five years, voters approved a $145 million housing levy, and the Seattle City Council expanded a program called “incentive zoning,” where developers can build higher buildings if they agree to provide affordable housing.
Quinn worked for Mayor Mike McGinn for one year before she left to work for a national housing nonprofit. She is the executive director of the Medina Foundation in Seattle.
She was one of several former Nickels department heads to endorse Seattle City Councilmember Tim Burgess for mayor before he dropped out of the race this summer. In July, she donated $200 to the mayoral campaign of Sen. Ed Murray.
Constantine has plucked quite a few city employees off the city payroll onto his own. He made former Seattle City Light Chief of Staff Sung Yang his chief of staff, and hired away the city’s budget director, Dwight Dively, when he took office.
February 27, 2013 at 4:31 PM
King County officials are pushing legislation in Olympia that would allow them to raise the local sales tax to pay for human services and public safety expenses — without asking for voter approval.
Counties are currently allowed to ask voters for a public-safety tax increase of up to 0.3 percent, and 10 counties have successfully won approval of such a tax.
But in 2010, voters in King County rejected a proposed 0.2 percent sales tax despite warnings from elected officials that if more money were not found, sheriff’s detectives, prosecutors and probation officers would have to be laid off. The measure would have raised about $50 million a year for the county, with an additional $33 million divided among local cities.
House Bill 1919 would allow the Metropolitan King County Council to impose a similar tax increase without voter approval.
The bill’s chief sponsor, Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon, D-Burien, said in an email that criminal justice and human-services advocates in King County have asked for the measure.
“For me, there is a basic principle of representative democracy that legislative authorities should be able to make budgeting decisions such as the enactment of the public safety sales tax,” Fitzgibbon said.
Fitzgibbon added that cuts to public safety to areas he represents, such as White Center, “have been so severe they have put members of the public in danger.”
Frank Abe, spokesman for King County Executive Dow Constantine, said there are no immediate plans to pursue a sales-tax increase.
“This would just be an option, a tool in the toolbox,” he said.
County Councilmember Julia Patterson said even if the bill passes, the council would have to carefully consider whether to bypass the ballot for a tax increase.
“We would have to do a lot of very hard work to propose that this money be used in a way that the public could completely understand and support,” Patterson said. “I think if there is uncertainty, the ballot is the way to go.”
Barbara Langdon, executive director of LifeWire, which provides services to women fleeing domestic violence, testified in favor of the bill at a public hearing this week, saying her organization has had to turn away women due to budget cuts.
“We have no other resources. There is no place else to go,” Langdon said.
But the proposal was opposed at the hearing by business lobbyists who cited the effects of sales-tax increases on small businesses.
Fitzgibbon’s bill is scheduled to be voted on in the House Finance Committee on Thursday morning, but its prospects of advancing in the Republican-controlled state Senate are uncertain.
December 3, 2012 at 5:00 AM
Washington’s marijuana-legalization initiative proved overwhelmingly popular throughout most of King and Snohomish Counties.
Initiative 502 carried all but 5 percent of King County precincts and won a majority of votes in every city, according to a Seattle Times analysis of precinct vote returns. (Click on the map image to the left to see the larger version.)
Seattle registered the highest support – with 74 percent of the city voting to legalize pot. The initiative was favored by 66 percent in Lake Forest Park and 62 percent in Skykomish, Shoreline and Kirkland.
The weakest support in King County came in Maple Valley, Enumclaw, Black Diamond, Federal Way and Hunts Point. But even in those cities, a majority voted in favor of the initiative.
I-502 won 56 percent of the vote statewide, carrying 20 of the state’s 39 counties.
November 8, 2012 at 5:37 PM
Democrat Jay Inslee slightly increased his lead in the governor’s race in updated vote tallies released Thursday afternoon, further complicating Republican Rob McKenna’s path to victory.
Inslee led McKenna statewide by 56,849 votes out of nearly 2.3 million ballots counted as of 5:15 p.m. Thursday — a lead of 51.2 percent to 48.8 percent.
Wednesday, Inslee was leading by about 49,000 votes and with 51.1 percent of the total counted.
In vote-rich King County, McKenna got 39.5 percent of the roughly 74,000 votes released Thursday. That’s somewhat better than he did among the votes in the original batch counted on election night but slightly worse than his share of the votes reported Wednesday.
King County is planning another vote dump of at least 25,000 ballots at 8:30 p.m.
In Pierce and Snohomish counties, which are often considered bellwether areas, McKenna performed slightly better than he had Tuesday and Wednesday. He got 52.4 percent of the Pierce vote (up from 50.6 percent Wednesday) and 51.5 percent of the Snohomish vote (up from 50.4 percent Wednesday. Overall, McKenna narrowly led in Pierce but trailed in Snohomish.
Nearly 600,000 ballots still remain to be counted.
As he has in the past, McKenna campaign manager Randy Pepple insisted that the math was still feasible for McKenna to win. In a video released just after King County’s updated totals were announced, Pepple sketched out the math McKenna is counting on to win.
Staff reporter Justin Mayo contributed to this report.
November 7, 2012 at 5:53 PM
Update, 7 p.m.
Rob McKenna improved his standing in King County in updated vote tallies released Wednesday evening, but he still trailed Jay Inslee in the race for governor.
McKenna took 40.6 percent of the 51,608 ballots counted Wednesday, an improvement on the 36.94 percent he had among the roughly 555,000 counted Tuesday. But Inslee still increased his lead in raw vote totals in the county, all but erasing gains made by McKenna in other counties earlier Wednesday.
Statewide, Inslee led McKenna by 49,000 votes. The 51.2 percent to 48.8 percent spread was nearly the same as was reported on election night.
There are still an estimated 1 million ballots left to be counted, but about 350,000 of those were in King County, which has been heavily supporting Inslee.
Original post, 5:55 p.m.
Rob McKenna pulled within 46,000 votes of Jay Inslee in the first updated governor’s race vote totals released Wednesday afternoon, although the state was awaiting new numbers from large, Inslee-leaning King County.
Riding gains in more than a half dozen counties, McKenna slightly improved to 48.86 percent of the overall vote as of 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, an improvement from his 48.68 percent on election night.
But a closer analysis painted a more complicated picture for the Republican state attorney general, because the 11 counties that reported first included several where McKenna was expected to perform well.
McKenna took 52.1 percent from those counties in the votes released Wednesday after taking 52.3 percent in votes released Tuesday, according to a Seattle Times analysis.
One exception was in Snohomish County. In that county, which is considered a bellwether for the state, McKenna took 50.4 percent of the votes released Wednesday. He trailed in Tuesday’s returns with just 48.1 percent of the vote.
Overall, more than 100,000 new ballots were counted by 5:30 p.m., bringing the statewide turnout to 52.7 percent. State officials are expecting overall turnout of 81 percent by the time all ballots are counted.
King County, which went overwhelmingly for Inslee in votes reported Tuesday, is planning to release another 50,000 tonight. But the county delayed its 4:30 p.m. planned release time until 6:30 p.m. due to mechanical problems.
In a short video posted online, McKenna insisted he will ultimately prevail over Democratic former Congressman Jay Inslee because, McKenna predicted, late votes will break his way.
Staff Reporter Justin Mayo contributed to this post.
November 6, 2012 at 8:01 PM
Barbara Ramey, a spokeswoman for King County Elections, says her office is planning to report results from 556,000 ballots tonight.
That would be 48 percent of the 1.16 million registered voters in the county and about 55 percent of the expected overall turnout.
Statewide, about 60 percent of ballots are expected to be counted tonight.
Democrats at an election night party at The Westin Seattle said they’re preparing to wait until later in the week to know who won the state’s nationally-watched governor’s race between Democrat Jay Inslee and Republican Rob McKenna.
November 5, 2012 at 5:00 PM
“Your vote is your right,” the full-page advertisement read. “Don’t let it get lost in the mail.”
Does Cantwell, a two-term senator, think the mailman is losing ballots en masse?
No, according to a campaign spokesman.
But Cantwell is worried that you might lose yours.
“The ad is meant to convey the message that important mail is often lost in the clutter of a bunch of junk,” said Kelly Steele, the spokesman. “And that there’s no more important mail than your ballot, so find it in the stack and get it out the door, so your vote is counted.”
Cantwell is running against state Sen. Michael Baumgartner, R-Spokane, in a race that is not expected to be close.
Ballots are due in drop boxes by 8 p.m. Tuesday or postmarked by the same day.
As of Monday morning, King County had already received 622,000 ballots — 53 percent participation. But only about 60 percent of all ballots statewide are expected to be reported on election night.
October 29, 2012 at 4:52 PM
More than a week remains before the deadline for Washington voters to send in ballots for the all-mail Nov. 6 election.
But hundreds of thousands of people in King County have already put their ballots in the mail or drop boxes. Call them the “decided” voters.
About 280,000 ballots had been received by King County Elections as of Monday morning, according to spokeswoman Kim van Ekstrom. That’s more than a quarter of the roughly 1 million ballots King County expects to be cast.
King County is projecting 87 percent voter turnout. That’s substantially higher than the statewide projection of 81 percent turnout by Secretary of State Sam Reed, and higher than other nearby counties. Pierce County, for example, is projecting 80 percent. King County’s voter turnout in 2008 was 84 percent.
But van Ekstrom said so far, King County’s high turnout prediction is holding up based on the votes already arriving by mail. “We’re a little ahead of where we thought we would be,” she said. The county had 60,000 new voter registrations since June, she added.
Statewide turnout hit an all-time record of nearly 85 percent in the 2008 election.
Snohomish County reported more than 80,000 ballots in hand as of 11 a.m. Monday morning. And Pierce County reported more than 93,000 ballots as of Monday afternoon.
Ballots must be dropped off or postmarked by Tuesday, Nov. 6 to be valid.
August 7, 2012 at 8:33 PM
By a slim margin, King County voters were saying yes to a $210 million, nine-year property tax levy to substantially rebuild the aging Youth Services Center.
In early returns, the levy was leading by nearly 53 percent to 47 percent.
The levy would modernize the center’s courtrooms, offices and detention center, some of which date to 1952. It also would update failing heating, cooling and electrical systems.
A proposal to rebuild the center with a sales-tax increase was defeated by voters in 2010. The measure has the support of King County Executive Dow Constantine, Prosecuting Attorney Dan Satterberg, former U.S. Attorney John McKay and all nine Metropolitan King County Council members.
If approved, the levy would cost the owner of a $360,000 home about $25 a year.
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