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King County Councilmember
Bob Ferguson
District 1

In this issue:

Save the Date for District 1 Town Hall Meeting

I will be hosting, along with Kenmore Mayor David Baker, a town hall meeting regarding the King County Ferry District and the proposed Kenmore to Seattle water taxi route. We hope you can join us to learn more and share your views on this important subject.

Bob and Mayor Baker
Kenmore Mayor David Baker will join us March 24.

Date:

Tuesday, March 24

Time:

Reception - 6:30 p.m.

 

Meeting - 7:00 to 8:30 p.m.

Location:

Northshore Utility District building, 6830 Northeast 185th Street, Kenmore (map)


Budget Transparency Legislation Update

Earlier this year, as chair of the Council's Committee of the Whole, I held a briefing to examine how King County's budget compared with other jurisdictions across the nation. The general conclusion was that King County lags behind its peer organizations in the level of detail contained within its budget documents.

In response, I proposed an ordinance to increase the level of detail available in King County's budget, providing greater transparency for policy makers and the public about where tax dollars are going. The Council's Budget Committee unanimously approved the ordinance, and the full Council will vote on it soon. I will provide more information on this important issue throughout the year.


Serving Our Veterans in Challenging Times

I hope you will join me for an upcoming King County Council Town Hall meeting focused on improving services to veterans. In 2005, I led the Council's effort to put the Veterans and Human Services Levy on the ballot. Voters overwhelmingly passed the levy, which provides dedicated funding for veterans programs.

At this town hall, we will discuss the issues and challenges facing our veterans. There will be a panel discussion of how federal, state, and local governments can coordinate and improve services to veterans, especially considering budgetary constraints. Representatives from veterans service agencies will also be on hand to provide information and answer questions.

Bob’s late father, Murray Ferguson (left), served in the Navy.
Bob’s late father, Murray Ferguson (left), served in the Navy.

Date:

Wednesday, April 1

Time:

Reception - 6:00 p.m.

 

Program - 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Location:

Shoreline Conference Center
Shoreline Room
18560 1st Avenue Northeast, Shoreline (map)


Elections Office Update

Following the discovery of 93 uncounted ballots after the 2004 general election, I worked on an election reform package with my colleagues, Councilmembers Julia Patterson and Kathy Lambert. The Council adopted this package, which reinforced safeguards for tabulating votes, consolidated election facilities, increased funding for election worker training, and directed the county to conduct a one-time vote by mail election to evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of an exclusive vote by mail system. These reforms were all recommended by the King County Citizens’ Election Oversight Committee.

Additionally, I co-sponsored a motion for an independent audit with Councilmember Patterson. This motion was unanimously passed by the Council.

Since that time, these pieces of legislation have helped improve elections in King County. For example, in December 2007 King County Elections moved to a consolidated facility in Renton which allows for enhanced ballot security and improved accuracy of mail ballot processing. In November 2008 the office successfully administered record voter turnout and in February 2009 King County held its first all-mail election.

As chair of the Council’s Committee of the Whole, I recently invited Sherril Huff, the newly elected chief elections official for King County, to provide the committee with a status report on several important election items, including:

  • Testing and certification of paper ballot tabulation equipment;
  • Hiring of a superintendent of elections; and
  • Preparedness for future all-mail elections.

Maintaining the integrity of our election system continues to be a priority for me, and I will keep you updated about these election issues as the year progresses.


District One and Other Outings

Bob being interviewed by D.J. WilsonAs a guest on “Engaging Our Communities,” I enjoyed the opportunity to discuss issues of regional significance and answer questions about my experience on the Council. This program is hosted by D.J. Wilson, an Edmonds City Council member.



Video: Mental Health Court’s 10-year anniversary celebration I was honored to speak at the Mental Health Court’s recent 10-year anniversary celebration. The Mental Health Court increases cooperative efforts between the mental health treatment system and criminal justice system. This collaborative effort helps achieve faster case processing time, improved access to mental health treatment services, improved well-being, and reduced recidivism. An important outcome for the larger community is improved public safety.

During the 2009 budget session, significant budget cuts were proposed for this program. I worked on the budget leadership team to restore funding for the program, making this anniversary a significant victory for the many people who have worked to make it a success. All King County citizens enjoy a safer, better quality of life because the Mental Health Court provides crucial treatment options.


video: Council’s Committee of the Whole Town Hall meeting
I recently chaired the Council's Committee of the Whole town hall meeting on public health. Public Health is facing a budget crisis. The town hall provided the public with the opportunity to learn about the vital services at risk, including public health centers, family planning clinics, and immunization services.


King County Appointment Updates

  • As King County Executive Ron Sims awaits confirmation as Deputy Secretary for the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the King County Council is working to determine the appointment process for his successor. The Council will appoint an interim Executive to serve the remainder of Sims' term. In the past, precinct committee officers (PCOs) recommended candidates to be appointed. Because the Council is now a non-partisan body, this PCO recommendation process cannot be used.

    There is a proposal to create a Blue Ribbon Committee to review potential appointees for the position. I will keep you posted as decisions are made regarding this motion and the appointment process.
  • Following an extensive interview process, the Council appointed Anne Harper to fill a vacant position in the Seattle Division of the King County District Court. Judge Harper received her undergraduate and law degree from the University of Washington and has served for more than 10 years as a court commissioner. Congratulations to Judge Harper, and I thank all of the highly qualified candidates who interviewed for the position.

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

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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