Mayor Murray … Seattle


February  ~~ March 2015

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Murray applauds Council approval of affordable housing tax exemption change February 23, 2015

by Mike Gore

Mayor Ed Murray issued the following statement upon the passage of an extension of the Multifamily Tax Exemption for developers of small apartments proposed by the Mayor’s Office: “The council’s approval of changes to the Multifamily Tax Exemption program represents a smart improvement to a tool that helps private developers include below-market rate apartments in their projects. I’m pleased that after weeks of hard work by my office, the Office of Housing and the Council, today’s action will encourage the production of more affordable units in Seattle.” – See more at: http://murray.seattle.gov/page/3/#sthash.BynPF3h5.dpuf

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 Murray, Godden announce Paid Parental Leave program for City of Seattle employees February 23, 2015

Today, Mayor Murray and Councilmember Jean Godden announced a new paid parental leave benefit for City of Seattle employees. Murray and Godden will introduce legislation that will provide employees access to four weeks per year of paid parental leave for the birth, adoption or foster placement of a minor child or children. This leave would be in addition to other paid accrued leave available to City employees, such as vacation and sick leave. This benefit will be available to all regular employees six months after their hire date consistent with the City’s Family Medical Leave policy. Implementation of this new policy will be negotiated with our Labor partners, many of whom have already demonstrated their support for this benefit. “The United States is only developed nation in the world without a statutory right to paid parental leave,” Murray said. “The City of Seattle is proud to not only lead the region by adding a four week benefit for City employees, but I hope this is yet another way Seattle leads the nation.” “Providing paid time off for working parents to care for a new child allows time to create and strengthen bonds between the child and parents easing the transition to a larger family,” Murray said. “Paid parental leave is good for our workers, good for our children and good for our economy. It is an important step towards creating a workplace which supports all employees, especially women, and is fundamental to the gender equity policies that Seattle– and the nation — have long needed,” said Councilmember Godden, Chair of the Parks, Seattle Center, Libraries, and Gender Pay Equity Committee. In implementing a Paid Parental Leave policy, the City of Seattle continues its history of leading the region and nation for employee benefits. The Mayor’s first executive order was to raise the minimum wage for City of Seattle employees to $15.00 per hour. The City was among the first employers in the region to offer domestic partnership benefits. Beginning in 2004, the City recognized marriage for same-gender employees well before Washington State recognized marriage between two women or two men. The City passed a paid sick leave ordinance in 2012 requiring most employers to offer their employees paid sick leave. Based on the number of new parents in 2011 and 2012, the new Paid Parental Leave could cost the City up to $1.35 million annually. Legislation will be drafted in the next few weeks, and the City will continue to work with the labor organizations who represent City employees to implement this benefit. More information is available on our Frequently Asked Questions document. – See more at: http://murray.seattle.gov/page/3/#sthash.BynPF3h5.dpuf

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  Mayor, Council call for review of Shell’s Arctic drilling fleet permits at Port of Seattle’s Terminal 5 March 9, 2015

  Mayor Ed Murray and the Seattle City Council announced today that Seattle’s Department of Planning and Development (DPD) will review, investigate and determine whether the plans at Port of Seattle’s Terminal 5 to host Shell Oil’s Arctic drilling fleet are allowed under the current Shoreline Substantial Development Permit granted to Terminal 5. Reports indicate that Shell Oil would moor vessels that are returning from drilling in the Artic. In the past, Shell’s drilling fleet has needed extensive repairs, maintenance and conversions after returning from a season of drilling. These activities may substantially change Terminal 5’s use and require new, different permits than the one currently granted by DPD which could require additional environmental review if the Port wishes to move forward with the lease. “Any project of this apparent significance to our industrial lands must go through the appropriate review. It’s important that the public and surrounding businesses are informed of all the possible impacts of this lease – both economic and environmental – and that these impacts are sufficiently disclosed and evaluated,” Murray said. “This is why I’m directing DPD to conduct a thorough review of the Terminal 5 proposal and determine if the anticipated activities at the terminal involving the Shell drilling fleet require new permits before it can proceed.” “I have grave concerns about Shell Oil’s Arctic drilling fleet coming to Puget Sound in a damaged state, discharging oil and other toxic pollutants along our shorelines during transport and repair, jeopardizing the local ecosystem and undoing decades of work to clean up the Sound,” said Councilmember Mike O’Brien. “Shell’s track record with the Noble Discoverer in the Arctic includes eight felony offenses relating to environmental and maritime crimes, such as discharging oil-contaminated water directly overboard, which is simply unacceptable.” “For years the Port and the City have worked together to develop rational solutions and develop alternative treatment technologies to reduce pollution in the Duwamish and Elliott Bay,” said Councilmember Sally Bagshaw. “While the immediate value of a lease to repair Arctic drilling equipment may appear to be high, we believe this agreement is shortsighted and ignores the long-term costs to our economy and environment.” The current permit, called a Shoreline Substantial Development Permit, designated Terminal 5 as a “cargo terminal” – usually meaning goods are stored and ultimately transferred from this terminal to other carriers or locations. But if the Artic drilling fleet is actually being moored and repaired at Terminal 5, there could be significant and adverse impacts on the surrounding environment. As part of DPD’s investigation and fact-finding, the Department will begin working with the Port of Seattle to clarify all of the activities anticipated at Terminal 5, including, but not limited to, the types of vessels to be moored and the maintenance and repairs to be conducted. – See more at: http://murray.seattle.gov/page/2/#sthash.MbdIUdNI.dpuf

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Mayor Murray’s statement supporting smoking ban in Seattle parks March 19, 2015

The Seattle Board of Park Commissioners today announced plans to host a public hearing regarding a proposed change to the Parks Code of Conduct which would prohibit smoking in all public parks in the city of Seattle. Seattle Mayor Ed Murray released the following statement about the proposed smoking ban: – See more at: http://murray.seattle.gov/#sthash.UpmKdHV2.dpuf

“Residents of and visitors to our beautiful city deserve to fully enjoy every amenity our parks have to offer, including fresh air and a clean, sustainable environment. We know the dangers of secondhand smoke, particularly for those with asthma and allergies, and we know that cigarette litter is abundant and harmful to our environment, especially for the wildlife that inhabit it. Waste from cigarettes leach arsenic, cadmium, lead and other toxins into our soil and water streams and damage ecosystems. This ban just makes sense for our community.

How about banning guns from our Parks too while you’re at it? ~ Nativegirl77

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Mayor Ed Murray Names Capitol Hill LGBT Task Force

Mayor Ed Murray announced a task force today to develop recommendations to create a safer environment for LGBT people in Seattle and to specifically address ongoing issues on Capitol Hill.

LGBT people have reported increased violence, verbal harassment, and bias crimes on Capitol Hill and other Seattle neighborhoods. Hate crime statistics from SPD show a rise in bias crimes between 2013 and 2014.

“Capitol Hill is an eclectic neighborhood that is attracting more businesses, residents and visitors every day – and it’s the neighborhood I’m proud to call home,” Mayor Ed Murray said. “I am eager to hear their recommendations to improve safety on Capitol Hill and citywide while making everyone feel welcome – regardless of who they are or who they love. This issue is important to me both as the Mayor, and as a longtime resident of Capitol Hill.”

The Task Force will look at how the City of Seattle can constructively work with community members, businesses and organizations to increase safety and LGBT visibility in Capitol Hill and citywide – as well as to honor the history of the neighborhood.

The Task Force will be made up of the following people:

Louise Chernin, GSBA
Michael Wells, Capitol Hill Chamber
Marxa Marnia, LGBT Commission Co-chair
John Bailey, Amazon
Kelly Stonelake, Facebook Creative Shop
Raven E. Heavy Runner, Northwest Two-Spirit Society Acting Co-Chair
Luzviminda “Lulu” Carpenter, LGBT Commission
Kris Hermanns, Pride Foundation
Brady Walkinshaw, Legislative Representative, 43rd District
Elayne Wylie, Gender Justice League
Shelley Brothers, Wildrose
Kristen Wieliczka, Director of Civic Engagement for Seattle University Student Body
Mineth Elman McClain, Director, Public Safety, Seattle Central Community College
Josh Castle, Community Organizer
Jim Ritter, Seattle Police Department
Michael Renner, Seattle Police Department
Sina Ebinger, Seattle Police Department
Jared Brayton Bollenbacher, Social Worker
Marcos Martinez, Entre Hermanos
Jesse Gilliam, Ingersoll Gender Center, Council Staff
Shannon Perez-Darby, Northwest Network of LGBT Survivors of Abuse
Monisha Harrell, Equal Rights Washington
Lauren Mathisen, Capitol Hill Community Council
Danni Askini, Gender Justice League
Rodney Jarreau Greene, Quare Arts Program
Darrell Goodwin, Dean of Students at Seattle University
Melinda Giovengo, Youthcare
Shaun Knittel, Seattle Gay News
Michael Andrew, Pride at Work

Co-Chairs are Josh Castle and Monisha Harrell.

“The group we have assembled has a proven track record of success,” Mayor Ed Murray said. “We have not seen a coalition like this since the marriage equality campaigns. Clearly our work was not finished when we won in November 2012. There are still people in this world who believe LGBT people should be denied the most basic human right, the right to live without fear of violence because of who you are or who you love.”

– See more at: http://murray.seattle.gov/#sthash.UpmKdHV2.dpuf

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City proposes Transportation Levy to Move Seattle

Transportation Levy announcement

Mayor Ed Murray, Seattle City Councilmember Tom Rasmussen and Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) Director Scott Kubly today outlined details of a nine-year, $900 million Transportation Levy to Move Seattle.

Transportation Levy At-A-Glance-ProposalThe draft levy proposal would help fund the priorities that Mayor Murray announced earlier this month with Move Seattle, his 10-year transportation vision that integrates the city’s long-term plans for walking, biking, driving, freight and transit into a comprehensive strategy.

“This levy recognizes we have needs that we must address now, including street maintenance, sidewalk repair and bridges at risk in the next earthquake,” said Mayor Murray. “We must evolve our transportation system with affordable, convenient travel options that work for everyone. We will build for the future, to provide people more transportation choices and help freight move, even as our city grows.”

The $900 million Transportation Levy to Move Seattle would:

  • Seismically reinforce 16 vulnerable bridges and eliminate the backlog of needed bridge spot repairs, meeting a critical safety need
  • Repave up to 250 lane-miles of arterial streets, minimizing future maintenance costs and improving safety for all travelers
  • Repair up to 225 blocks of existing sidewalks and improve curb ramps and crossings at 750 intersections throughout the city, making it safer and more comfortable for people of all ages and abilities to walk
  • Invest in 12-15 corridor safety projects, improving safety for all travelers on all of the city’s high-collision streets
  • Complete 9-12 Safe Routes to School projects each year, improving walking and biking safety at every public school in Seattle
  • Fund a targeted freight spot improvement program, improving mobility for freight and delivery vehicles
  • Complete 7-10 multimodal corridor projects, redesigning major streets to improve connectivity and safety for all travelers
  • Optimize traffic signal timing on five corridors throughout the city each year, improving traffic flow
  • Create seven new high-quality bus rapid transit corridors, providing convenient and affordable travel choices for more people

“The current levy has helped us pay for many important transportation projects, but there is much more to work to be done,” said Councilmember Tom Rasmussen. “The Council will review the proposal and place the final package on the fall ballot after holding public hearings and after receiving public comments and recommendations.”

“This draft proposal supports basic improvements to our streets, sidewalks and bridges while making targeted investments to address the wave of growth Seattle is experiencing,” said SDOT Director Scott Kubly. “The funding proposal also aims to create a safer system that provides residents more high-quality, low-cost travel options. I look forward to the public discussion to come and encourage everyone’s participation.”

“Transportation Choices is excited to see a bold transportation vision for Seattle to give people more choices to get around,” said Shefali Ranganathan of Transportation Choices. “Investing in our streets, sidewalks, bike lanes and freight corridors will keep our growing city vibrant and connected.”

“Our overextended transportation systems all too frequently leave our patients and employees stuck in traffic or stranded at their bus stops, as full buses pass them by,” said Betsy Braun of Virginia Mason. “We are pleased to see that Move Seattle goes beyond maintaining the transportation infrastructure we already have, and proposes growing our transportation systems to meet the booming regional demand.”

“This levy proposal makes the right investments in our transportation system and in local jobs,” said Monty Anderson, Executive Secretary of Seattle Building and Construction Trades Council. “These local construction projects will support hundreds of middle-class jobs and help local residents work in their own communities. It’s a win-win.”

The Transportation Levy to Move Seattle includes meaningful accountability, including measureable outcomes so the public can track the progress of projects. An online “dashboard” where SDOT will chart its performance will bring enhanced transparency. The city will continue the strong legacy of accountability on the use of levy funds with a public oversight committee.

“Seattle’s expiring levy has been very successful in making our sidewalks, bridges, stairs, trails and streets safer for all users in every community in the city,” said Ref Lindmark, past-chair of the levy oversight committee. “With the mayor’s new “Move Seattle” initiative and the renewal of the levy this fall, we have the opportunity both take care of our basic transportation infrastructure and realize our vision of Seattle as a great place to live, work and play.”

Before Mayor Murray submits the levy proposal to the Seattle City Council in May, SDOT will seek public input on the draft proposal to ensure that it is informed by community priorities. A feedback survey, detailed proposal information, and a full public outreach calendar are available online at www.seattle.gov/LevytoMoveSeattle. In addition to briefing close to thirty community groups, SDOT will host three community conversations in late March to engage the public and ask for feedback on the proposal.

Schedule of Community Conversations

Saturday, March 28, 10 AM – 12 PM
New Holly Gathering Hall
7054 32nd Ave S

Monday, March 30, 6 – 8 PM
Roosevelt High School
1410 NE 66th St

Tuesday, March 31, 6 – 8 PM
West Seattle High School
3000 California Ave SW

After incorporating feedback from the public, the Mayor will submit the proposal to the Seattle City Council in May 2015. The City will need to submit a final levy proposal to King County by early August for it to be on the ballot in November 2015.

This proposal would replace the current nine-year, $365 million Bridging the Gap transportation levy that expires at the end of 2015. The Transportation Levy to Move Seattle would be paid for through a property tax that would cost the median Seattle household, valued at $450,000, approximately $275 per year. By comparison, the cost to the median household for the Bridging the Gap levy was about $130 per year.

– See more at: http://murray.seattle.gov/#sthash.UpmKdHV2.dpuf

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How about more affordable housing … why have another park when there are several in that area already? ~Nativegrl77

City to seize Sisley property to create new park in Roosevelt March 13, 2015 by Office of Mayor Murray

Mayor Murray and City Attorney Pete Holmes today announced a plan to seize two derelict properties near Roosevelt High School for public auction after the property owners, Hugh and Martha Sisley, failed to pay judgments, interest and penalties in excess of $3.3 million related to code violations on their rental properties in the neighborhood. “Today we are announcing our plan to take what has been nothing short of a black eye on this neighborhood and turn it into something that the entire community can enjoy,” said Murray. “This blight has had a very real impact on property values and the success of local businesses.” “I am proud of the tremendous interdepartmental cooperation that produced the innovative solution we present here today,” said Holmes. “We are already employing this approach to decaying, crime-breeding properties elsewhere in the Central District, West Seattle, and even with commercial targets Downtown.” Neighbors and local businesses have complained for years about the properties and the criminal activity they have attracted. Over many years, the city has cited the property owner for numerous violations. The owner has failed to make required improvements. Should the judgments, interest and penalties related to the violations remain unpaid, the city will seek to have the properties seized by the King County Sheriff and sold at auction. Murray intends to transmit an ordinance to the City Council next week that allows the city to purchase the two properties at 1322 and 1318 NE 65th St. The city intends to bid on the properties at auction, using a credit bid based on the $3.3 million owed the city by the Sisleys, in order to build a new city park for the neighborhood. If the supplemental proceedings that allows the city to collect more than $2 million in penalties have not concluded prior to the auction, the city will use a $1 King County Conservation Futures grant, in addition to credit based on the judgments and interest owed the city. Roosevelt has long wanted more park space to help accommodate the increase in residents coming to the neighborhood. A new light rail station and more dense housing will increase the demand for more open space. – See more at: http://murray.seattle.gov/#sthash.UpmKdHV2.dpuf

Mayor Murray … Nominees


 February

Mayor Murray nominates Catherine Lester as Director of HSD

Catherine Lester

Mayor Murray today nominated Catherine Lester as Director of the Seattle Human Services Department.

Lester, who has a long career working in human and social services is currently HSD’s Deputy Director, and will take over for John Okamoto, who Mayor Murray appointed as acting director in 2014.

“Catherine is a committed leader and innovative thinker, and we are lucky to have her,” Murray said. “Her leadership will be effective in getting our resources to the people who need them most in our community – those who are homeless, youth looking for summer jobs and survivors of domestic violence.”

“I am excited to serve as the leader of the Human Services Department.  I am humbled by the commitment and passion demonstrated day in and day out by both the staff in this department, and the network of local service providers,” Lester said.

“The question is not whether or not we can afford to invest in our most vulnerable neighbors and communities; it is whether we can afford not to.  I look forward to continuing to partner with staff and providers to make sure that everyone in Seattle can enjoy the quality of life we all desire,” she said.

“Catherine is the perfect choice to lead this Department. She has been the architect and driver of the Department’s efforts to be results and data-driven – getting the most out of our public investments focused on disparities,” said acting director John Okamoto.

“Catherine understands and knows our robust network of service providers.   She is nationally recognized for her work, and she has the confidence of the employees of the Department.  I am very pleased to hand over leadership to her,” Okamoto said.

Okamoto will remain at HSD as a special projects consultant, assisting with the transition and providing strategic guidance over several projects, including the homeless investment analysis.

Lester previously served as Acting Director of HSD from 2013-2014 during the transition between the Mayoral administrations, and was also Deputy Director of HSD between 2011-2013. Prior to coming to Seattle, she was Director of Cuyahoga Tapestry System of Care at Cuyahoga County’s Office of Health and Human Services in Ohio. Through her leadership in this role, child welfare recidivism improved and a new Continuous Quality Improvement process was implemented to maximize performance-based contracting for the county. Lester has a Master’s of Science degree in Social Administration from Case Western Reserve University and a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work from Ryerson University. She is also a 2013-2014 Annie E. Casey Foundation Children and Families Fellow, a nationally-recognized leadership development program focused on systemic changes to improve the lives of children and families in the United States.

HSD’s mission is to provide assistance to some of the most vulnerable individuals living in the city so that children, youth, and families can thrive. HSD will invest nearly $37 million this year on services and programs to help prevent individuals and families from becoming homeless as well as to help people who are homeless find stability and permanent housing. This year’s One Night Count saw a 21% increase of unsheltered homeless people in Seattle compared to last year, and under Lester’s leadership, Mayor Murray has set expectations for HSD to focus on data-driven and outcomes-based efforts to better align the city’s homelessness investments with innovative principles such as housing first and rapid re-housing strategies.

“As Seattle continues its generous investment in our community, it is important that our dollars produce outcomes for the clients of our many government, religious and non-profit programs,” Murray said.

The Seattle Human Services Department is one of the largest contributors to Seattle’s safety net, and provides $99 million in funding through 522 contracts to nearly 200 agencies that support Seattle’s most vulnerable residents each year.

HSD has an annual budget of $129 million and 320 full-time employees. Catherine will start effective Feb. 18, and her salary will be $151,000 per year.

– See more at: http://murray.seattle.gov/page/3/#sthash.BynPF3h5.dpuf

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Harold Scoggins nominated as Seattle Fire Chief

Scoggins

Today, Mayor Murray nominated Harold Scoggins as the next Chief of the Seattle Fire Department.

“As Seattle grows rapidly over the next 20 years, our fire service must continue to evolve to serve the city’s public safety needs,” said Murray. “Our department saves lives every day and our Medic One program remains a national leader in paramedic training for our fire fighters. Chief Scoggins has an outstanding track record and brings the right kind of experience to Seattle.”

Scoggins comes to the Seattle Fire Department from Glendale, CA. He joined the Glendale Fire Department 25 years ago as a fire fighter and rose through the ranks, serving at every level of the department. He was named chief in Glendale in 2008.

“I am honored to serve as the Fire Chief for the City of Seattle,” said Scoggins. “I look forward to working with the men and women of Seattle Fire Department to set its course for the future. My family and I are also very excited about the community and all it has to offer.”

The department currently has 80 vacancies. The mayor is directing Chief Scoggins to intensify recruitment of a diverse workforce of fire fighters, as well as ensure proper succession planning at lieutenant, captain and senior leadership positions in the department.

The Seattle Fire Department’s percentage of women fire fighters is 8.4 percent, which exceeds the national average of 3.4 percent, and the mayor is urging continued focus on the recruitment of qualified women.

“I look forward to working with Chief Scoggins, who will lead the best group of firefighters in the country – protecting us daily and providing emergency care that keeps us all safe,” said Councilmember Bruce Harrell, chair of the Council’s Public Safety, Civil Rights, and Technology Committee. “One critical aspect for the new Chief will be to complete implementation of the five-year strategic plan completed in 2012, setting goals for developing leadership abilities of Fire Department employees at all levels, helping employees develop and improve, health and safety, ensuring a diverse and inclusive workforce, fostering community outreach and partnerships, and maintaining equipment and technology critical to the department.”

The Seattle Fire Department has more than 1,100 employees and an annual budget of $178 million. Fire fighters at 33 stations serve 640,000 residents and respond to more than 88,000 alarms each year.

Today, more than 80 percent of fire emergency responses are medical in nature, a trend that is expected to grow. In January, the department added a new aid unit downtown with 10 additional firefighters. The mayor is expecting further recommendations regarding the department’s structure from the new chief.

Scoggins served for five years as a fire fighter in the U.S. Air Force before joining the Glendale Fire Department in 1989. He was promoted to Fire Engineer in 1996, Fire Captain in 1998 and Battalion Chief in 2003. In that position, he was responsible for recruitment, hiring and training of the department’s fire fighters. In 2007, he was appointed Deputy Fire Chief, before being named Chief of the Glendale Fire Department a year later.

Scoggins is a past-president of the Los Angeles Area Fire Chief’s Association. He taught Fire Science as an adjunct professor at Mt. San Antonio College and El Camino College. He has served on the boards of several non-profit organizations, and is an active community volunteer.

Scoggins earned his associate’s degree in Fire Technology from Glendale Community College in 1994, a B.S. in Fire Administration from California State University Los Angeles in 1996 and a Master of Public Administration from California State University Long Beach in 2007.

Scoggins replaces Seattle Fire Chief Gregory Dean, who retired at the end of 2014 after a decade at the helm. Interim Chief Michael Walsh, who first joined the department in 1971, stepped in to fill the role for the first part of 2015.

“I certainly welcome Chief Scoggins as the new chief of the Fire Department,” said Interim Fire Chief Michael Walsh. “We pledge our full support to ensure a smooth transition.”

“We are looking forward to working with our new fire chief,” said Kenny Stuart, President of Seattle Fire Fighters Union, Local 27. “Seattle fire fighters need strong, high-quality leadership to meet the increasing challenges in today’s modern fire service, including increased call volume, a growing city, significant training demands and the constant threat of cancer and heart attacks for fire fighters.”

Chief Scoggins’ first day at the department will be April 1. He will be paid an annual salary of $205,000.

– See more at: http://murray.seattle.gov/page/2/#sthash.NdtyyAgA.dpuf

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Mayor Murray issues statement on U.S. District Court immigration injunction

Mayor Murray issued the following statement today after a U.S. District Court judge issued an injunction on President Obama’s immigration executive orders:

“Like many, I am disappointed by yesterday’s decision by the Texas district court and am confident that as it goes through the appeals process, the President’s policy will be, in the end, upheld. I believe that President Obama acted within the scope of his executive powers when he proposed expanding protections for the millions of immigrants who are here working and building a better life for their families. This is the right thing to do. It will keep families together, allow young immigrants like DREAMERS to get a college education and grow our economy. This is the right thing to do for our nation, and Seattle.”

Earlier this month, Mayor Murray joined 33 other mayors in signing onto an amicus brief in the case of Texas vs. United States. The Mayors come from cities that account for approximately 28.2 million people, including 7.5 million immigrants. Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole also signed a similar amicus brief with chiefs of police and sheriffs from 27 other cities and counties across the country.

Late last year, Mayor Murray joined Rep. Adam Smith and immigrant rights advocates at a rally outside the Federal Building, on the eve of Obama’s executive action, to demand further steps toward immigration reform.  Mayor Murray also participated in an Immigration Summit convened by Mayor Bill de Blasio, which brought together more than 20 Mayors to New York City to discuss local strategies for immigrant integration. In late December, he spoke to several hundred participants of a community education event about administrative relief organized by leading immigrant rights organizations.

– See more at: http://murray.seattle.gov/page/3/#sthash.BynPF3h5.dpuf

FREEDOM RIDERS : A Stanley Nelson Film : American Experience – Repost


  Get Inspired

The World Premiere: In 2010 at Sundance Film Festival, US

 A Documentary Competition

Award-winning filmmaker Stanley Nelson (Wounded Knee, Jonestown: The Life and Death of Peoples Temple, The Murder of Emmett Till) returns to the Sundance Film Festival with his latest documentary FREEDOM RIDERS, the powerful, harrowing and ultimately inspirational story of six months in 1961 that changed America forever. From May until November 1961, more than 400 black and white Americans risked their lives—and many endured savage beatings and imprisonment—for simply traveling together on buses and trains as they journeyed through the Deep South. Deliberately violating Jim Crow laws, the Freedom Riders’ belief in non-violent activism was sorely tested as mob violence and bitter racism greeted them along the way.

FREEDOM RIDERS features testimony from a fascinating cast of central characters: the Riders themselves, state and federal government officials, and journalists who witnessed the rides firsthand.

“I got up one morning in May and I said to my folks at home, I won’t be back today because I’m a Freedom Rider. It was like a wave or a wind that you didn’t know where it was coming from or where it was going, but you knew you were supposed to be there.” — Pauline Knight-Ofuso, Freedom Rider

Despite two earlier Supreme Court decisions that mandated the desegregation of interstate travel facilities, black Americans in 1961 continued to endure hostility and racism while traveling through the South. The newly inaugurated Kennedy administration, embroiled in the Cold War and worried about the nuclear threat, did little to address domestic Civil Rights.

“It became clear that the Civil Rights leaders had to do something desperate, something dramatic to get Kennedy’s attention. That was the idea behind the Freedom Rides—to dare the federal government to do what it was supposed to do, and see if their constitutional rights would be protected by the Kennedy administration,” explains Raymond Arsenault, author of Freedom Riders: 1961 and the Struggle for Racial Justice, on which the film is partially based.

Organized by the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), the self-proclaimed “Freedom Riders” came from all strata of American society—black and white, young and old, male and female, Northern and Southern. They embarked on the Rides knowing the danger but firmly committed to the ideals of non-violent protest, aware that their actions could provoke a savage response but willing to put their lives on the line for the cause of justice.

Each time the Freedom Rides met violence and the campaign seemed doomed, new ways were found to sustain and even expand the movement. After Klansmen in Alabama set fire to the original Freedom Ride bus, student activists from Nashville organized a ride of their own. “We were past fear. If we were going to die, we were gonna die, but we can’t stop,” recalls Rider Joan Trumpauer-Mulholland. “If one person falls, others take their place.”

Later, Mississippi officials locked up more than 300 Riders in the notorious Parchman State Penitentiary. Rather than weaken the Riders’ resolve, the move only strengthened their determination. None of the obstacles placed in their path would weaken their commitment.

The Riders’ journey was front-page news and the world was watching. After nearly five months of fighting, the federal government capitulated. On September 22, the Interstate Commerce Commission issued its order to end the segregation in bus and rail stations that had been in place for generations. “This was the first unambiguous victory in the long history of the Civil Rights Movement. It finally said, ‘We can do this.’ And it raised expectations across the board for greater victories in the future,” says Arsenault.

“The people that took a seat on these buses, that went to jail in Jackson, that went to Parchman, they were never the same. We had moments there to learn, to teach each other the way of nonviolence, the way of love, the way of peace. The Freedom Ride created an unbelievable sense: Yes, we will make it. Yes, we will survive. And that nothing, but nothing, was going to stop this movement,” recalls Congressman John Lewis, one of the original Riders.

Says Stanley Nelson, “The lesson of the Freedom Rides is that great change can come from a few small steps taken by courageous people. And that sometimes to do any great thing, it’s important that we step out alone.”

CREDITS
A Stanley Nelson Film
A Firelight Media Production for AMERICAN EXPERIENCE

Produced, Written and Directed by
Stanley Nelson

Produced by
Laurens Grant

Edited by
Lewis Erskine, Aljernon Tunsil

Archival Producer
Lewanne Jones

Associate Producer
Stacey HolmanDirector of Photography
Robert Shepard

Composer
Tom Phillips

Music Supervisor
Rena Kosersky

Based in part on the book Freedom Riders by
Raymond Arsenault

AMERICAN EXPERIENCE is a production of WGBH Boston.
Senior producer
Sharon Grimberg

Executive producer
Mark Samels

In the Library … Charles Dickens


On This Day: February 7

Charles Dickens
Born: February 7, 1812
Died: June 9, 1870

British novelist Charles Dickens was born February 7, 1812, in Portsmouth, England. Over the course of his writing career, he wrote the beloved classic novels Oliver Twist, A Christmas Carol, Nicholas Nickleby, David Copperfield, A Tale of Two Cities and Great Expectations.

On June 9, 1870, Dickens died of a stroke in Kent, England, leaving his final novel, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, unfinished.

We the People V Politics Party and Profit


mayorsagainstguns

In memory of Sandy Hook … Ask your member of Congress – What will it take?

Another day another School shooting! In Colorado and One year ago today Sandy Hook happened. Our hearts are broken and prayers for all the students teachers and thank the custodian for all he did that saved lives

Now, after the tragic incident yesterday I find out that the rant below and the infographic above have been deemed out dated, which is beyond sad beyond my understanding considering the number of deaths. injuries and life changing experiences from folks who are were and continue to be able to purchase guns. The new reports are that only about 52% of Americans want gun reform … hmmm 52%? look familiar to you? My first thought hey, that was enough to get Barack Obama a second term it should be enough to make the House take this to the floor. Sadly, we have Republican leaders who don’t seem to care or listen to “WeThePeople” anymore and that motto; One person One vote either no longer exist or considered a joke and while no one is trying to take guns away from anyone but maybe those who have mental health issues or violent tendencies. the GOP has used fear mongering allowing the killings and or massacres to continue … Is this the kind of people we want in Congress – what happened to Public Servants

Reports are that at least 90% of our population agrees that it is about time we have some #gunsafety laws. I will say that again … 90% of our population wants safe and sane #gunsafety laws #gunreform

Additionally, most of us lefties are sticking together ,even some members of the NRA are for background checks, but we need a few Republican members of Congress to put people ahead of NRA and that mighty $$ as well as their NRA ratings and until folks do, I am reserving judgment on how republicans have changed or took that autopsy seriously. We all know the NRA is in this to win … for gun manufacturers while lefties are not just in this for emotional reasons but for common sense and a huge slap of reality … the NRA is not too big to fail and the assault weapons ban could have stopped some massacres.

There are approximately 310Million people about 5Million of those are pro-gun folks… so, why can’t we do the reforms needed?

The last incidence where a military style gun was used killed 20babies and 6adults with the impact needed to move forward on reforming what I call gun safety laws. We all know illegal guns on the street kill someone everyday though we must thank Wayne lapierre for going on camera and showing Americans just why … The Time is NOW.

I am against handguns … period. The incidents my family and friends have experienced whether it’s via illegal or police charged behavior have molded my attitude over the years, lest a narrow escape or two of my own. The thought of a teacher having or being forced to keep a handgun in the classroom just does not make sense. I am without a doubt completely against military style weapons because I do not think we civilians need to have them at all and I definitely understand how folks interpret the 2nd Amendment while disagreeing on attaching it to states’ rights. The fact is that the Gifford’s attack and all attacks afterward should have made us all sit up right move into genuine outrage. We need to use the sadness with a determination to at least ban assault weapons, retrofit K-12 School buildings and act rationally about creating registries, better permit process, close the gun show loophole and in my opinion every state should be required to impose a state of the art background check.  While not an expert on the NRA, ALEC or gun safety, I do have a strong opinion and need to share information, newsletters and interesting articles that are meant to start a dialogue. I will admit cringing anytime members of Congress use states’ rights as their solution to what are clearly American issues and scream for Federal intervention. Yes, I posted an article by a Mayor, but I did not say he was speaking up for any citizen or me; it was about what he has experienced as a Mayor.  I give him and the #MayorsAgainstIllegalGuns major respect.

I truly believe that Gun Safety laws impact all Americans, clearly what we have now not only needs to be reformed, but  reflects  our 21st Century living, formed around the notion of common sense solutions like universal background checks.