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Dear Neighbor:

Councilmember Bob Ferguson on the Web: www.kingcounty.gov/ferguson

Bob's E-News
January 2009
Edition 47

In this issue:

My wife Colleen and I just returned from President Obama’s inauguration, which was tremendously exciting. I am writing an article about my experience for the North Seattle Herald and will link to it in my next e-news.

Closer to home, the start of a new year brings a new organizational structure for the King County Council. I was chosen by my colleagues to serve as the Council’s vice chair for policy and chair of the Committee of the Whole (COW). COW considers legislation and policy issues of interest to the entire Council and is the only committee on which all nine councilmembers serve. By setting the COW agenda, I have the opportunity to address complex regional issues that impact you.

In addition to chairing COW, I will serve on the Budget and Fiscal Management, Regional Policy, and Law, Justice, Health, and Human Services committees.

I will continue to focus on fiscal responsibility and good government initiatives for King County, while prioritizing public safety, public health, transportation, and human services. My committee assignments will allow me to work on these priorities throughout 2009.

Hearing from constituents helps me to better advocate on your behalf. As we start a new year, I encourage you to contact me if you have any questions or ideas.


Bob Ferguson
King County Councilmember, District 1

Metro’s Storm Response

Bus in snowI heard from many of you regarding the lack of Metro bus service during the December snow event and the reduced bus service hours during the week of New Year’s. As a bus commuter on the 41 from Northgate, I empathize with the impact the storms and resulting service problems had on commuting schedules.

The Council’s Committee of the Whole recently held a briefing (requires free version of Windows Media Player) on Metro’s snow response. The Department of Transportation and Metro provided a preliminary report and answered questions. In February, Metro will provide a final report on its response to the storm and the corresponding service reduction.

I look forward to reviewing this report and having another opportunity to have a public conversation about how we can improve our performance. As the Council works with Metro officials to guarantee the best possible service during challenging circumstances, I will keep your comments in mind, particularly the need for better communication with riders when reduced schedules go into effect.

On a final note, I want to express my appreciation to the Metro bus operators, maintenance and facility personnel, and customer service employees for their hard work during the difficult snow conditions.

King County and Department of Justice Reach Settlement

The Council recently authorized the Executive to enter into a settlement agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) regarding conditions at the King County Correctional Facility. The agreement is the result of settlement negotiations between DOJ and King County representatives, which began after the county received a letter from DOJ in 2007 alleging that certain conditions at the facility violated the constitutional rights of inmates.

The settlement agreement identifies practices and requirements that the county will undertake in the King County Correctional Facility to achieve compliance in the areas of protecting inmates from harm, suicide prevention, medical care, and environmental health. The Council also approved funding of $2 million to immediately implement improvements. My colleagues and I will continue to closely monitor and oversee the conditions at the facility.

Recent news articles:
King County: A higher standard – Seattle PI
Council authorizes settlement of federal complaint over inmate conditions at King County Jail – King County Council press release
King County reaches deal with feds on improving jail – Seattle Times

Image: Vote in the Special Election Feb. 3, King County Director of ElectionsFebruary Special Election Information

Please remember to vote in the February 3 special election which will be conducted entirely by mail. King County voters will have the opportunity to vote for their first elected Director of Elections. You can learn more about the special election by visiting King County Elections and by watching the online Video Voters Guide. Beginning January 27, a Chinese-language version will also be available online.

Old Entrance to King County Courthouse.

Photo of the south entrance to the King County Courthouse before 1967.

Historic Preservation Legislation and Receipt of Historic Preservation Award

In recognition of my work to protect Washington’s cultural heritage, I was presented with the Washington Trust for Historic Preservation’s 2008 Landmark Deeds Award for Public Service. Historic buildings, such as our King County Courthouse, embody our collective history and influence our community identity.

My interest in historic preservation comes from my late father, Murray Ferguson, who was active with the Queen Anne Historical Society. I am honored to be recognized and will continue to make historic preservation one of my priorities.

One of my long-term historic preservation goals is restoring the south entrance to the King County Courthouse. An interesting article on the history and restoration of the King County Courthouse can be read in the Seattle PI.

In Memory of Jack Crawford and Elmer Lowell Haynes

I was saddened to hear about the passing of former Kenmore Mayor Jack Crawford and former Bothell Councilmember Elmer Lowell Haynes. Both Mayor Crawford and Councilmember Haynes were active, respected members of their communities, and my sympathies go out to their families and friends. I had the honor of attending Mayor Crawford’s memorial service at the Bothell United Methodist Church, which was filled to capacity. You can read about Mayor Crawford and Councilmember Haynes here: Jack Crawford, Kenmore’s first mayor dies at age 80; Bothell breakfast-club leader dies at age 85.

About my E-Newsletter

Councilmember Bob Ferguson on the Web: www.kingcounty.gov/ferguson

I hope you enjoy my updates! Please review my recent e-newsletters.

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Phone: (206) 296-1001 | Fax: (206) 296-0198 | TTY/TDD: (206) 296-1024 | Toll Free: (800) 325-6165
Mailing Address: King County Courthouse, 516 Third Avenue, Room 1200, Seattle, WA 98104-3272