King County Councilmember
Bob Ferguson
District 1

In the June 2009 issue:

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Video transcript available upon request.

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Improving Open Access to Public Records

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 the case.

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.

I recently co-sponsored legislation with my colleague, Councilmember Reagan Dunn, to reform the County’s public records disclosure process. In addition to the need for government transparency, this legislation is important because every dollar spent on unneeded penalties is a dollar we do not have to spend on sheriff’s deputies and public health clinics. Learn more about the legislation: County council members propose reforms for public records disclosure.


Metro Audit Identifies Significant Efficiencies

Bob on Metro Route 41

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 in September.


District 1 Organizations Receive Metro Vans

van donationI was pleased to secure three retired Metro Vanpool vans for local organizations in District 1, including the City of Shoreline Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services Department, the Northshore Senior Center in Bothell, and Youth Haven in Kenmore.

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 vehicles.


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

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 Exposition.


District 1 Farmers Markets Now Open!Vegetable stand

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