Uncategorized

  • Permalink Gallery

    AG Ferguson proposes bipartisan bill to end Washington’s death penalty

AG Ferguson proposes bipartisan bill to end Washington’s death penalty

January 16th, 2017|

Attorney General Bob Ferguson today proposed bipartisan legislation to abolish the death penalty in Washington.

In a demonstration of broad, bipartisan support for ending capital punishment in the state, former Attorney General Rob McKenna joined Ferguson at a press conference in the Capitol announcing the proposal.

The Attorneys General were joined by Governor Jay Inslee and a group of legislators from across the aisle and around the state.

“There is no role for capital punishment in a fair, equitable and humane justice system,” Ferguson said. “The Legislature has evaded a vote on the death penalty for years. The public deserves to know where their representatives stand.”

“The current system is not working,” said McKenna. “There is too much delay, cost and uncertainty around the death penalty, which is why I stand today with Attorney General Ferguson and this bipartisan group of legislators in support of this change.”

Ferguson articulated some of the many reasons for opposition to the death penalty, including:

  • Moral opposition to the state taking lives in the people’s name
  • The possibility of executing an innocent person in our imperfect system
  • The increased cost of seeking death sentences versus life in prison – over $1 million on average in Washington state
  • The concentration of capital cases in the counties with the most resources to pursue them, and
  • The ineffectiveness of the death penalty as a deterrent.

Sen. Mark Miloscia, R-Federal Way (30th District), is sponsoring the Attorney General-request legislation in the Senate, SB 5354. Rep. Tina Orwall, D-Des Moines (33rd District), will introduce the companion House bill.

Several legislators from both political parties joined Ferguson, McKenna and Inslee at today’s press conference.

“The public is slowly changing on the death penalty. I think now is the time to sit down and have a real conversation on how we administer justice in this state,” said Sen. Miloscia.

“We recognize that the death penalty is a painfully difficult and profoundly serious public issue,” said Sen. Reuven Carlyle, D-Seattle (36th District). “With heavy consideration, we believe the time has come to end this practice in Washington and ask that our colleagues in the Legislature join us in making our criminal justice system reflect our deepest held values.”

“As a means of effective punishment, the death penalty is outdated,” said Sen. Maureen Walsh, R-Walla Walla(16th District). “Our legal system imposes enormous costs on prosecutors who try death penalty cases, the appeals process costs millions more, and the punishment is ultimately so uncertain that it is difficult to claim that justice is served. Not only is life-without-parole more cost-effective, it also offers the certainty that is an essential element of justice.”

“Over the last four decades, 156 people have been exonerated from death row across the nation. How many more continue waiting for new evidence to prove their innocence, and will they get it before their lives are taken?” said Rep. Orwall, who also led the way to pass legislation to get compensation for those wrongfully convicted in Washington. “If we truly want to serve justice, the state should avoid irreversible punishment to individuals who were wrongly convicted and would have otherwise been executed.”

“As a former prosecuting attorney for Columbia County, my heart remains with the families of the victims who suffered horrific acts that would justify the death penalty,” said Rep. Terry Nealey, R-Dayton (16thDistrict), who was unable to attend the announcement in person. “Their feelings should never be minimalized. That is why it has taken so long for my thoughts to evolve against the death penalty in Washington state. However, the steps, the immense and extended time, and the incredible expense and resources it takes to impose and uphold this most severe form of punishment have made the death penalty nearly impossible to carry out. In recent years, even in the most heinous crimes, jurors have failed to impose the death penalty. In the meantime, families suffer for years with the angst of having to go through trials, court proceedings, appeals and more, not knowing if the death penalty will ever take place.”

The bill is expected to go to the Senate Law and Justice Committee and the House Judiciary Committee.

In February of 2014, Gov. Jay Inslee imposed a moratorium on executions in the State of Washington, finding that executions in the state are “unequally applied” and “sometimes dependent on the size of the county’s budget.” The governor did not propose legislation to abolish the state’s death penalty, but his moratorium has remained in place since.

In the wake of Gov. Inslee’s moratorium announcement, newspapers across the state have encouraged the state to eliminate capital punishment, including the editorial boards of The Seattle Times, Spokane’s Spokesman-Review, the News Tribune in Tacoma and the Daily Herald in Everett.

  • Permalink Gallery

    Ferguson, Carlyle renew call on Legislature to enact “cooling off” period from lobbying

Ferguson, Carlyle renew call on Legislature to enact “cooling off” period from lobbying

January 12th, 2017|

Attorney General Bob Ferguson and state Sen. Reuven Carlyle today reintroduced their government ethics proposal to establish a one-year lobbying prohibition for former high-ranking state officials. The legislation also requires disclosure of where former officials are employed after state service, if they are paid by an entity that does business with or lobbies the state.

Under current law, many state officials and employees can leave a state job and start work the following day as a lobbyist paid to influence former colleagues.

In 2015, Washington received a D+ for government accountability from the Center for Public Integrity on its scorecard assessing our rules governing disclosure, accountability and influence peddling. While Washington ranked better than most states (coming in 8th overall), a key factor in Washington’s low grade is the lack of a “cooling off” period before public officials can lobby their former co-workers. The Center described this revolving door as a “big ethical loophole” in Washington.

“I wouldn’t accept a D+ grade from my kids, and the people of Washington shouldn’t accept it from their government,” Ferguson said.

“I continue to believe it is unacceptable for a government official to conclude their public service on Friday and begin paid corporate lobbying on Monday,” said Carlyle.  “I’m committed to partnering with Attorney General Ferguson and Rep. Pellicciotti until this important ethics improvement is the law of the land.”

Ferguson’s proposal is sponsored once again by Sen. Reuven Carlyle (D–Seattle), and the house version, HB 1159, is sponsored by Rep. Mike Pellicciotti (D–Federal Way). It would establish a one-year “cooling off” period for elected officials, agency heads and senior staff as follows:

Category A

Officials covered:

  • Statewide elected officials
  • State legislators
  • Heads of executive cabinet agencies, and
  • Chiefs of staff or top administrators and other senior executive staff of such agencies and offices

May not:

  • Serve as a paid lobbyist for others
  • Be paid to attempt to influence state action by a state agency

Category B

Officials covered:

  • Heads of agencies not covered in Category A, and
  • Chiefs of staff or top administrators and other senior executive staff of such agencies and offices

May not:

  • Serve as a paid lobbyist for others regarding the former employer agency’s matters
  • Be paid to attempt to influence state action by the former employing agency

The bill also requires disclosure from former elected officials, agency heads and senior-level staff when leaving state service if he or she receives compensation from an entity that does business with or lobbies the state.

“I have heard from countless members of my district that they want a new way of doing business in Olympia,” Pellicciotti said. “This bill is a common-sense way to instill more public confidence in government.”

“We hold very high ethical standards in Washington, but in this area we are failing,” said Sen. Mark Miloscia (R–Federal Way), chair of the Senate State Government Committee. “Changing this rule will help ensure our state leaders are focused on public service, not using positions of influence as a stepping stone to a payday.”

The federal government and at least 31 states require a “cooling off” period to slow the revolving door between the public and private sectors, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. As far back as 1872, Congress enacted laws restricting former public officials and employees from lobbying.

Carlyle appointed to major Senate committees

December 21st, 2016|

OLYMPIA – Sen. Reuven Carlyle, D-Seattle, has been tapped by his Senate colleagues to serve on the budget-writing Ways & Means committee, and will serve as ranking Democrat on the Energy, Environment & Telecommunications committee and on the Human Services, Mental Health & Housing committee.

“The 2017 legislative session will be one of the most impactful, pivotal sessions in recent memory,” Carlyle said. “We have sweeping policy issues to tackle ranging from fully funding public education to mental health, environmental protection to homelessness and I’m honored to be in the middle of that challenge in Olympia.”

Carlyle, first elected to the House in 2008, was elected in 2016 to fill the unexpired term of King County Councilmember Jeanne Kohl-Welles who previously served in the Senate.

Carlyle lives on Queen Anne with his wife, Dr. Wendy Carlyle, and their four children.

The 2017 legislative session begins Monday, Jan. 9.

  • Permalink Gallery

    City, State announce coordinated approach to public health and safety under I-5 in South Seattle

City, State announce coordinated approach to public health and safety under I-5 in South Seattle

May 17th, 2016|

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray in cooperation with Gov. Jay Inslee have announced the next steps that will be taken to improve the public health and public safety of those living under I-5 or in the East Duwamish Greenbelt. The future of this area has been debated in Seattle over the last few months.

During the 2016 Legislative Session, Sen. Reuven Carlyle worked diligently with his colleagues to ensure that the final language in the transportation budget included a collaborative, holistic, and appropriate approach to addressing the situation.

House Bill 2524 was signed into law by Gov. Inslee on  March 25, 2016.  Section 207, sub-section 7 of the bill states that one million dollars “is provided solely for safety improvements and operations relating to homeless encampments along Interstate 5…The department shall coordinate the timing of the safety improvements with the City of Seattle and King County to ensure that a collaborative and comprehensive approach is taken to address emergency conditions in support of the city’s transitional services.”

To read the Mayor’s Press Release and to find out more about the City of Seattle’s plans, click here.

 

2016 Report to the 36th LD available online

May 10th, 2016|

To read the 36th Legislative District’s end of session report, click here.

2016 Washington State Legislature Report to the 36th Legislative District, Spring 2016

Senator Reuven Carlyle

Phone: (206) 216-3184

E-mail: Reuven.Carlyle@leg.wa.gov

Committee assignments:

  • Higher Education
  • Trade & Economic Development
  • Transportation

Web site: http://sdc.wastateleg.org/Carlyle

Representative Gael Tarleton

Phone: (206) 216-3185

E-mail: Gael.Tarleton@leg.wa.gov

Committee assignments:

  • Technology & Economic Development, Vice Chair
  • Higher Education
  • Rules
  • Transportation

Web site: http://housedemocrats.wa.gov/legislators/Gael-Tarleton

Representative Noel Frame

Phone: (206) 216-3202

E-mail: Noel.Frame@leg.wa.gov

Committee assignments:

  • Finance
  • Higher Education
  • State Government

Web site: http://housedemocrats.wa.gov/legislators/Noel-Frame

 

Dear neighbors,

So what happened this year in Olympia, and how will it affect our families in the 36th District?

This newsletter is meant to give you some answers. Inside, you’ll find details about the major debates and accomplishments for 2016—and what’s left to be done next session.

Lawmakers passed three budgets:

  • An operating budget to fund schools, colleges, mental-health care and other core functions;
  • A supplemental capital budget that will build schools, parks and mental health facilities; and
  • A supplemental transportation budget to help people get to where they need to go.

As your representatives to the House and Senate, we three stand united in the belief that business as usual must end. We don’t want, and can’t afford, D.C.-style political gridlock here in Washington state. Doing nothing is not an option. We must make bold progress to give our kids a better life.

Accomplishing that means fully funding our public schools. That will require reforming our state’s obsolete and unfair tax structure. We stand united behind those two goals, and you can learn more about education and tax reform inside.

Mental health, affordable housing and the homeless crisis are three other big issues facing our neighborhoods and Washington state as a whole. Inside are details about new funding to help tackle those problems.

This newsletter isn’t big enough to talk about every piece of legislation and issue that came before us. If you’re interested in something specific—or have an idea or comment—please contact our offices.

We appreciate the chance to serve the citizens of the 36th and hope to hear from you soon. Thank you!

Sincerely,

Sen. Reuven Carlyle, Rep. Gael Tarleton, Rep. Noel Frame

 

Toll-free Legislative Hotline: 1-800-562-6000        TDD (for hearing-impaired): 1-800-635-9993

An Update from Sen. Reuven Carlyle

The 2016 Legislative Session was my first year as your new state senator following seven years in the House of Representatives. Despite divided government, I continue to believe passionately that we have it within us to make meaningful progress on the pressing public policy challenges facing our community. In Olympia we updated our budget and had many meaningful debates. Here is a high level update on some of our progress. Please continue to reach out on twitter, facebook, my blog or in person to connect about the issues and ideas that inspire you!

K-12 Education

We are at a critical juncture to fully fund K-12 education in our state and the Legislature has fallen far short. Not only did we punt this year on McCleary, we’ve unnecessarily placed our state’s school districts in danger of losing nearly half a billion dollars by failing to simply allow them to protect their own local levy money.

While many are disappointed the Legislature has not laid the proper financial and policy groundwork for a bold approach to McCleary, we also remain committed to meeting the balloon payment that is required.

A bright spot of good news: After two years of hard work, HB 1999 was signed into law! Our efforts to align, coordinate and consolidate programs to improve education outcomes of foster youth were successful. I’ll continue to push until Washington is first in the nation in foster youth educational success!

Homelessness

Seattle and King County ranked #3 in the number of homeless people last year, only behind New York and Los Angeles. We need a responsible, comprehensive strategy as we reach a point of crisis. This session we added to last year’s $54 million homelessness services investment with an additional $11 million, especially focusing on homeless youth:

  • $1 million for HOPE beds to provide adolescents with emergency shelter
  • $420,000 for shelter beds for young adults aged 18-24
  • $787,000 for street youth-specific programs
  • $2 million to assist homeless students and their families with stable housing

We continue to struggle to build a coordinated effort between city, county, and state organizations to tackle the broader mental health, addiction, and housing affordability issues that relate to homelessness.

Mental Health

Our mental health care system is essential to ensure treatment and quality of life for our community’s most vulnerable. Yet Washington ranks 47th nationally in psychiatric beds per capita but 2nd in serious mental illness prevalence. That math adds up to an incredibly overburdened system.

Last year we made historic investments in mental health but returned to find our work partially hindered by unsafe conditions at our state mental health hospitals. We were successful in providing a robust $41 million package to improve the state’s hospitals and community mental health services.

Higher Ed

In 2016 we reduced tuition for the first time in history. Now, we need to continue to invest so students have more and better access to classes and can more efficiently earn a degree at our community colleges and universities. Tens of thousands of students are eligible for the state need grant but do not receive assistance due to lack of state funding. The State Need Grant shortfall continues to be a challenge and the state must step up in the 2017 budget to meet this critical need. I continue to fight to support the University of Washington and all of our colleges and universities.

Transportation

In 2015, Rep. Gael Tarleton and I fought extremely hard to include an additional $10 million in the state budget to strengthen Rapid Ride D and better Metro access throughout our district. This supplements the $45 million per year provided by city taxpayers since Fall 2014. Thanks to these investments, Seattle has seen a 10% rise in King County Metro services with 110,000 service hours to 53 routes in June 2015 and 113,000 more hours last September. Conversely, Eastern King County has seen an 8% reduction in part because of the county funding challenges. Sound Transit is considering a plan to submit to voters that would have substantial impact on our district.

Community Projects

The Legislature has a mandate to cap K-3 class size at 17 students by 2018. Many of our neighborhood schools in Queen Anne, Magnolia, Greenwood and Ballard are bursting at the seams. We allocated $40 million for additional K-3 classrooms statewide. This builds on our successful effort last year to help fund a re-opening of the Magnolia School!

House Democrats: Budget Priorities

  • Addressing the teacher shortage crisis
  • Continuing to fix the mental health system
  • Helping the homeless
  • Improving the lives of foster kids

Budget Victories

  • $15 million for youth homeless services
  • $55 million to improve mental health care
  • $47 million for K-12 schools
  • $26 million for higher education

More work to do

After final negotiations with Senate Republicans were complete, the state budget came up short:

  • Funding for assistance to needy families (TANF) was not restored to pre-recession levels.
  • Teachers will not receive a salary increase.
  • There is no levy cliff funding for school districts.
  • The $22 million in contempt of court penalties aren’t being paid.
  • Low-income students will continue to make co-payments for school lunches.

My fourth regular session and seventh special session in the State legislature just ended. It’s now clear: we must end business as usual. It is time to reexamine how we think about and structure our biennial and supplemental budgets.

Due to fundamental differences between Democratic and Republican values, our supplemental budget fails to sufficiently address several of the most critical issues like the teacher shortage crisis, homelessness, and improving the foster care system.

The House budget called on us legislators to think differently about what constitutes an “emergency” and warrants use of our budget stabilization account, also known as the Rainy Day fund. If being in contempt of court for not meeting our paramount duty to fully fund our K-12 public schools or receiving court orders to reform our mental health system do not constitute emergencies, then I do not know what does.

Constituents and advocacy groups understand the real emergencies — ensuring all families have a safe and secure place to sleep at night, treating and caring for people with mental illness, and reducing classroom sizes. These are the real emergencies we face at the state level and in our communities.

Tinkering with the budget on the margins, choosing to cut here so we can fund another account, is just business as usual. Washington state will not be able to address real emergencies if the Legislature doesn’t change the way we’re doing budgets. The state will not fully fund K-12 education in the 2017-18 budget without a new budget strategy.

Under Democratic leadership, a new precedent was proposed this session: that statewide emergencies must also include long-term problems in need of urgent action.

However, we learned that the Republican-controlled Senate is not ready for this kind of change. Because of this, the state supplemental budget falls short.

Despite the resistance-to-change agents in the Senate, our operating, transportation and capital supplemental budgets still advance core democratic priorities:

  • $15 million in new homeless funding, with a focus on addressing youth homelessness, and $2.5 million for homeless youth facilities (one of which will be in Seattle.)
  • $6 million for the construction of mental health housing, and $7.9 million for institution-based mental health facilities across the state.
  • $7 million to address the serious teacher shortage, and $40 million for smaller classrooms.
  • $18 million to backfill the State Need Grant, increasing access to higher education for students across the state; and nearly $8 million for tuition backfill that we promised our higher education institutions following tuition cuts in 2015.

We need to keep focused on building an economy that works for everyone. That means fostering clean energy solutions and clean water to protect our people and natural habitat. This session we adopted a tax incentives program for buyers of electric vehicles costing $35,000 or less.

There is funding to promote the use of alternative fuels for commercial vehicles, and substantial investments in stormwater infrastructure and more than $1 million for fish barrier removal. Unfortunately, despite three years of bipartisan work in the House and Senate, our efforts to extend the solar incentives program to 2023 failed in the eleventh hour. The Senate refused to bring it to the floor for a vote. We’ll be back again in 2017.

Thank you for being champions for all the people who have no one else to be their champion. It is a privilege to serve you in Olympia and to work with you as we build a better future together.

More work to do

After final negotiations with Senate Republicans were complete, the state budget came up short:

  • Funding for assistance to needy families (TANF) was not restored to pre-recession levels.
  • Teachers will not receive a salary increase.
  • There is no levy cliff funding for school districts.
  • The $22 million in contempt of court penalties aren’t being paid.
  • Low-income students will continue to make co-payments for school lunches.

Increasing access to the American Dream

Education for all

On my first day as state representative, I visited a fourth grade classroom at Lawton Elementary. This class is taught by Magnolia resident Lyon Terry, who was honored as the 2015 Washington State Teacher of the Year.

Mr. Terry has 28 children in his classroom, and they are wonderful. But they are also 443 students crammed into a school designed for far less. Mr. Terry told me a student loved a book so much she finished it in two days and ran to the library to pick up another. But when she got there, the doors were locked, and the lights were off. Because Lawton Elementary can’t afford a full-time librarian.

This story harkens back to my own time as a public school student nearly 20 years ago, when I was a student at Battle Ground High School. The state wasn’t fully funding our school, so we depended on local levies to make up the gap. But we lost three levies in four years and one of the devastating cuts was laying off our school librarian.

In the House, I proudly fought for legislation to help address the teacher shortage, over-crowded classrooms and other issues facing our public schools. I’m sad to report the House passed key reforms to expand opportunity for all, only to have them die when Senate Republicans refused to allow a vote on the Senate floor.

Making college more affordable

I supported and co-sponsored a number of reforms to make college more affordable. The high cost of college hurts not just families, but our state’s prosperity and future. “Free to Finish” would reach out to students who dropped out just short of graduating and offer them free tuition to finish their degree.

We need to look not just at cutting tuition, but at free tuition. There’s a reason why the wealthiest countries in the world offer free tuition—it’s an investment in prosperity and helps all students compete for the best jobs in the world.

Housing Preservation Tax Credit

A good education and good job aren’t much use if you can’t find an affordable home for your family. I prime sponsored this legislation as a smart, effective way to create incentives to preserve existing affordable housing instead of tearing down buildings to build more expensive housing stock. While the legislation didn’t pass this year, it’s worth fighting for, because the housing crunch isn’t going away.

Reducing systemic barriers to success

Access for students with disabilities—I’m proud to report that a bill I co-sponsored with Sen. Cyrus Habib passed both chambers and is now state law. This will help remove barriers to transferring colleges for disabled students around our state.

Better access to mental health care—I’m thrilled to report my bill, House Bill 2451, was signed into law by Gov. Jay Inslee and will make a difference for families in the 36th District and throughout our state. Last year, our state recognized some folks experiencing a mental health crisis are better served by outpatient treatment rather than involuntary commitment, which lets them to be closer to home, surrounded by their families and support network. One size doesn’t fit all, so we need to make sure patients get the care they need in the right setting.

Foster care kids—Our foster care system is in crisis, with not enough families available for the kids who need placement. That’s why I fought for the Mockingbird Family Model evaluation for innovative foster care delivery. I’m happy to say this was funded in the final budget. We need creative solutions like this to give every foster child a good home and a fair chance.

Closing the opportunity gap—Every child in Washington state is guaranteed the right to an equitable education under our state constitution. Closing the opportunity gap for children of color is the single most important step we can take to ensure that every student has an opportunity to learn. We passed legislation with the policy needed to close the educational opportunity gap. It was signed into law and we’re funding this in this budget so that all students have an opportunity to succeed in school and life.

Building a better Washington

The state’s new capital budget will build classrooms, college housing and other vital infrastructure across our state.

Building schools and colleges—The new budget includes $34.5 million for K-3 class size reduction grants, $34.7 million for the School Construction Assistance Program and $70 million in student housing and other projects at state community and technical colleges.

Homeless kids and affordable housing—$2.5 million toward the Homeless Youth Grant Program to help the estimated 35,000 homeless students in our public schools; $2.25 million for Supportive Housing and Emergency Shelters; and $8 million in new funding for the Housing Trust Fund.

Mental health—Mental health issues can happen to any family. Treatment is effective, and our state simply wasn’t doing a good job of getting people the help they needed. In the capital budget, we invest $8.5 million for the Crisis Triage Center Grant Program; $7.5 million for Mental Health Supportive Housing; $7.9 million for critical repairs and upgrades at state mental health facilities and hospitals; and $5 million for the Community Behavioral Health Grant Program.

Here in the 36th District, it will also fund the Holocaust Center, with $200,000 in the capital budget for the center.

Visit our office!

Stop in and share your comments or questions with your state legislators.

1818 Westlake Ave N, Suite 317 Seattle, WA 98109

 

 

 

 

 

 

Carlyle’s bill to help foster youth signed into law

March 30th, 2016|

House Bill 1999 was signed into law by Gov. Jay Inslee  at the Treehouse Champions for Kids Luncheon on March 30, 2016 at the Seattle Sheraton. The bill, sponsored by Sen. Reuven Carlyle will help coordinate services and programs for foster youth in order to improve educational outcomes.

“We are working to ensure that Washington state’s foster students have the best opportunity in the nation for successfully completing high school and graduating from college,” Carlyle said. “This bill is one more step in that journey and we are not going to stop until we get there together.”

20160330_121325ab

  • Permalink Gallery

    Seattle Times Editorial Board: Closing The Jungle homeless camp begins with fencing it

Seattle Times Editorial Board: Closing The Jungle homeless camp begins with fencing it

March 2nd, 2016|

To read the following editorial as it originally appeared in the Seattle Times, click here.

Editorials

Closing The Jungle homeless camp begins with fencing it
Originally published March 1, 2016 at 5:03 pm Updated March 1, 2016 at 5:26 pm

Only in Seattle would closure of the fetid homeless camp called The Jungle be equated with Donald Trump’s xenophobic wall along the border with Mexico.

By Seattle Times editorial board

THE lawless, fetid homeless camp known as The Jungle, along the western slope of Seattle’s Beacon Hill, has conditions you would expect in the slums of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, or Nairobi, Kenya.

More than 750 emergency calls, including 250 reporting fires, originated from the greenbelt along and under Interstate 5 over the past five years. Law enforcement says assaults, overdoses and rapes are routine — police responded to 17 violent incidents just last year, although most went unreported. Human waste flows from open latrines.

The recent killing of two homeless people and the wounding of three more awakened the public to the danger and immorality of allowing such a camp to fester right in the middle of this affluent city, as it has for decades.

How do some on the Seattle City Council respond to this awakening? By blasting a prudent response — to clean up and fence off the greenbelt — with a flat “no” and making an absurd analogy to America’s incendiary immigration debate.

“We shouldn’t be building a fence on the southern border and we shouldn’t be building a fence on the I-5 corridor,” said Councilmember Lorena González. Councilmembers Sally Bagshaw, Debora Juarez and Kshama Sawant joined the fray, alternately describing fencing of The Jungle as insane and a waste of money.

Seattle deserves better from its leadership. The humane response to The Jungle is to offer its squatters a wide-open exit door to shelter and human services. The city and All Home King County do deserve criticism for shelter options that don’t appeal to Jungle campers, including homeless couples, or those with dogs. Meeting those needs remains a work in progress.

The status quo in The Jungle is deplorable. Yet, amazingly, some council members and advocates suggest extending water and sanitation into The Jungle.”

The status quo in The Jungle is deplorable. Yet, amazingly, some council members and advocates suggest extending water and sanitation into The Jungle.

A national expert on homelessness, Barbara Poppe, recently said it is “just unconscionable” that Seattle had children living in sanctioned tent camps. And now some Seattle leaders, in the midst of a homeless state of emergency, would set the bar to an even more appallingly lower level.

It is also a level that is unsafe to the public. An official from the state Department of Transportation, which owns The Jungle property, recently reported seeing eight propane tanks bundled together beneath I-5, which could cause catastrophic damage if they erupt. A trade group of industrial and maritime interests, in a letter to the state DOT, asked how the state could allow campers in The Jungle to “hold the state’s major (north-south) freight routes hostage?”

State Rep. Reuven Carlyle, D-Seattle, got $1 million into a transportation budget proposal for fencing, cleanup and road improvements into The Jungle, contingent on a longer-term agreement between Seattle, King County and the state. That’s a first step toward ending the untenable status quo.

For that, Carlyle’s proposal gets looped in to hardline, divisive immigration policies. And the city of Seattle wonders why it has trouble getting what it wants out of Olympia.

Editorial board members are editorial page editor Kate Riley, Frank A. Blethen, Ryan Blethen, Brier Dudley, Mark Higgins, Jonathan Martin, Thanh Tan, William K. Blethen (emeritus) and Robert C. Blethen (emeritus).

  • Permalink Gallery

    Funding to clean up ‘jungle’ homeless camp included in Senate transportation budget

Funding to clean up ‘jungle’ homeless camp included in Senate transportation budget

February 25th, 2016|

The 2015-17 supplemental Senate Transportation budget includes a $1 million appropriation to the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) to clean up and secure the homeless encampment area under Interstate 5 known as the “jungle.” The investment was requested by Sen. Reuven Carlyle, D- Seattle, and members of the Seattle delegation.

“Our city has unfortunately seen firsthand that the Jungle is dangerous and deadly. It needs to be safely cleaned up, secured and responsibly fenced off,” said Carlyle. “The partnership between Mayor Ed Murray, city leadership and the state is vital to long term success of ensuring this dangerous area under I-5 is no longer accessible as an unsanctioned homeless encampment.”

Plans call for fencing to be installed on both sides of the WSDOT right of way with gates at either end from the city’s maintenance yard off of South Dearborn Street to South Bayview Street, from approximately milepost 164.2 to 163.6. An estimated 8,000 lineal feet of new fencing will be required to build the “box,” and where it’s possible the new fence will tie into existing fencing. The fence will be six feet high and made of heavy gauge metal with razor wire wrapped around three strands of barbed wire.

Officials say the fencing will not be a singular solution and the Seattle Police Department will be asked to patrol the area during construction to ensure safety.

The supplemental Senate Transportation budget has been approved by the committee and will move on in the budgeting process.

  • Permalink Gallery

    Carlyle proposes Road Usage Charge pilot project implementation plan

Carlyle proposes Road Usage Charge pilot project implementation plan

February 24th, 2016|

Sen. Reuven Carlyle, D-Seattle, proposed an amendment to the 2015-17 supplemental Senate Transportation Budget that will use excess federal funding provided by the Puget Sound Regional Council to create a road usage charge pilot project implementation plan as a future alternative to what’s commonly known as the gas tax.

“We passed a $16 billion dollar transportation package last session that will fund transportation projects in our state for the next 16 years,” said Carlyle. “We are entering a new era of revenue for transportation and public infrastructure. It’s time to innovate and look to the future.”

The road usage charge implementation plan will lay the groundwork for how a pilot project would work in the State of Washington. The amendment allows the continuation of work that began in 2011 to design the pilot project and is expected to answer outstanding questions such as, what would a pilot project actually look like, what would it involve, and how would data be collected and used?

“This is an option we need to continue to explore,” said Carlyle. “One of the central concerns about a road usage charge is privacy. I share those concerns and encourage the committee to consider all of our options.”

The amendment was adopted in the Transportation committee and is included in both the Senate and the House versions of the supplemental Transportation budget.

36th LD to host Town Hall Meeting Feb. 20

February 15th, 2016|

Please join Sen. Reuven Carlyle, Rep. Gael Tarleton, and Rep. Noel Frame at the 36th Legislative District Town Hall Meeting from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday, Feb. 20 at the Belltown Community Center, 415 Bell Street, Seattle.

Constituents will have the opportunity to receive an update from their lawmakers in Olympia, and will be able to ask questions, make comments, and voice their concerns.

We hope to see you there.