introduction: Video transcript available upon request.
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Improving Open Access to
In the last several months, King County has been involved in two
high-profile public records cases, potentially resulting in more
than $1 million in penalties. In January, the Washington Supreme Court
held that the trial court had not imposed steep enough penalties
against King County for failing to provide documents concerning
the public financing of Qwest Field. The maximum penalty,
if applied, would be more than $800,000. The County is appealing
More recently, King County settled another case for $225,000 over
a public records request regarding the 2004 eleciton.
Government transparency is critical. It is important that citizens
have access to public records, which inform
them about the decisions being made by their government.
Like many of you, I commute by bus and am concerned about reports of possible Metro service cuts. Metro faces a $168 million budget shortfall
($74 million in 2010 and $94 million in 2011) due to the impact
of the economic crisis on local sales tax revenue, which is Metro’s
main source of funds.
In June 2008, I co-sponsored legislation requiring an audit to
evaluate Metro’s performance efficiency. We later expanded
this audit to look in-depth at the entire transit agency, which will provide independent data on how to help achieve long-term savings.
We recently received an interim
report, which is designed to provide early input into Metro’s
2010/2011 budget development process.
The interim report focuses exclusively on financial planning elements
of the audit and recommends that approximately $105 million could reasonably be
removed from Metro’s bus replacement reserve fund. My colleagues
and I are working with Metro officials to determine how these one-time
dollars and the other efficiencies identified in the interim report
can be used to address Metro’s deficit.
The auditor’s final report and recommendations are expected
The vans will provide mobility for a diverse array of King County
residents, support the positive work of various local organizations,
and relieve traffic congestion by reducing the need for single-occupancy
Update: King County Executive Appointment
On May 18, the Council
appointed interim County Executive Kurt Triplett to continue
full-time in that post through November. Triplett was chief of staff
to former Executive Ron Sims, who resigned May 8 following his appointment
as Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban
Development. Triplett will serve as King County Executive until
the results of the general election are certified in late November.
Read more: Triplett
to continue as King County executive.
We had good candidates to choose from for County Executive. I supported former Seattle Mayor Charles Royer,
in part because the blue ribbon committee appointed by the Council
to review the candidates recommended him with a vote of 10-5 over Triplett. Triplett received the support of the majority of the Councilmembers, and I look forward to working with Executive Triplett
in the coming months.
Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition Centennial Day
AYP Exposition Centennial Recognition.
The Council commemorated the 100-year anniversary of the region’s
first world’s fair by proclaiming June 1, 2009, Alaska-Yukon-Pacific
Exposition Centennial Day in King County. On that date in 1909,
President William Howard Taft signaled the commencement of the Exposition
from across the country by pressing a gold telegraph key. Upon receiving
the signal, the fair began.
The Exposition attracted nearly four million visitors as it showcased
the resources and industries of Seattle and the Pacific Northwest,
all on the site of the future University of Washington.
The centennial is being celebrated throughout the year with events
and activities that highlight the history and legacy of the