Collaboration in Civic Spheres

Archive for May, 2010

Washington Horse Racing Commission: Equine Health And Safety Report 2009

by May 31st, 2010

The Washington Horse Racing Commission reported in April 2010 that the state’s racing fatality rate per 1,000 starts reached its highest level yet in 2009, of 2.64, since the commission began compiling data on annual racehorse fatalities in Washington State in 2001. Last year, there were 16 racing-related fatalities among 6,058 starts reported in 815 races on 91 race days at the state’s sole for-profit horse racing facility, Emerald Downs in Auburn, WA. The 2.64 per thousand racing fatality rate in 2009 compares to an annual average of 1.88 per thousand at Emerald Downs over the eight previous years. Total race horse fatalities in Washington in 2009 were 35, one less than the previous high of 36 in 2008.

KEY LINK: Equine Health And Safety Report, 2009, Washington Horse Racing Commission, April 9, 2010. The report is found in the right hand column under “Reports” at this page.

BACKGROUND: Under state law, the Washington Horse Racing Commission promotes and oversees the industry, including tracking the health and safety of race horses which perform in the state. The commission’s postmortem program began in 2001. According to the commission’s Annual Report For 2009, pari-mutuel wagering in the state last year totaled $114 million; $91.6 million was returned to the public and $22.8 million retained. The vast bulk of racing occurred at Emerald Downs. Other racing was at Sun Downs, Walla Walla, Dayton, and Waitsburg.


  • Since it began tracking annual racehorse fatalities in Washington State in 2001, the Washington Horse Racing Commission reports that the state’s racing fatality rate per 1,000 starts reached its highest level yet in 2009, of 2.64, with 16 racing-related fatalities among 6,058 starts in 815 races on 91 race days at Emerald Downs in Auburn, WA.
  • Total race horse fatalities in Washington in 2009 were 35, one less than the previous high of 36 in 2008. 16 occurred as a direct result of injuries suffered while horses were racing, eight while training, one in the paddock, and 10 in the barn. There were 238 training days in 2009.
  • Of the 268 total race horse fatalities in Washington state from 2001 through 2009, 71.3 percent, or 191, were caused by injuries to the musculoskeletal system, which includes muscles, tendons, ligaments, joints and bones. The organ systems next most frequently linked to race horse deaths in the same period in the state were respiratory (29 deaths) and gastrointestinal (27 deaths).
  • There were a total of only 17 stewards’ rulings finding that medication violations occurred at Washington racetracks in 2009. Twelve were overages on permitted medications (phenlybutazone and furosemide), three were for the presence of a Class 4 substance prohibited on race days (methocarbamol), and two were for improper administration of medication.


Why Are Broken Legs So Dangerous For Horses?,” Wise Geek

Putting The Horse First,” white paper, American Association Of Equine Practitioners, 2/18/09.

Public Data Ferret: Lake Forest Park Tax Hike Arguments

by May 26th, 2010

After a vote on May 13, 2010, the City of Lake Forest Park adopted Resolution 1209: “Appointing committees to prepare written arguments advocating approval and rejection of proposed levy lid lift ballot measure.” The aim of ballot measure Proposition 1 is to close the budget gap that is making the provision of police, parks and other governmental services difficult for the city of Lake Forest Park. The arguments for and against the local tax measure – and rebuttals by each side – will be prepared by city residents and published in the King County Election Voters Pamphlet to help inform the public prior to the vote.


To address budgetary needs of the city, the Lake Forest Park City Council voted April 22, 2010 to place Proposition 1, “a levy for retention of basic public safety and other services,” on the August 17, 2010 ballot via (Resolution 1202. The economic downturn has made it more difficult for the city to provide public services. Despite a City Council budget cut of $931,00 in 2009-2010, the budget gap persists. Approval of the proposition would increase property tax levy above $1.85 per $1000 of assessed value, the limit currently set by I-747. The increase would equate to approximately $11.53 per month for the first year for an average household in Lake Forest Park.

Proposition 1 will determine whether or not basic public safety, parks, community and other services will be retained in Lake Forest Park. But before Proposition 1 can be added to the August 17 ballot, committees to prepare arguments for and against the measure must be formed (by mandate of RCW 29A.32.280). During a May 3, 2010 public meeting, three members expressed interest in serving on the levy approval committee, and three expressed interest in serving on the levy rejection committee.


Resolution 1209: Appointing Committees to Draft Written Arguments Advocating Approval and Rejection of Proposed Levy Lid Lift Ballot Measure for Inclusion in August, 2010 Voters’ Pamphlet. City of Lake Forest Park City, City Council, 5/13/10.


On May 13, 2010 the Lake Forest Park City Council adopted Resolution 1209 by a vote of 6-0. The resolution authorized the appointment of committees to draft written arguments advocating approval and rejection of the proposed levy lid lift ballot measure for inclusion in the August 17, 2010 King County voters’ pamphlet. As a result of the adoption of Resolution 1209, the individuals selected at a May 3, 2010 public meeting to represent the opposing sides of adoption of Resolution 1202 were appointed to their respective committees. The committee to prepare arguments advocating approval of the tax increase called for in Resolution 1202 are: Roger Olstad, Philip Sluiter, and Teri Howatt. The three individuals selected to serve on the committee advocating rejection of the tax hike measure are: Ned Lawson, Carolyn Armanini, and Donovan Tracy. The two committees are to submit their written arguments to King County Elections by June 2, 2010. Rebuttal arguments are due no later than June 4, 2010.


The King County Elections Voters Pamphlet will be available approximately three weeks prior to the August 17, 2010 election. The pamphlet will be mailed to every household and post office box. It will be available online at King County Elections (text and audio version), and additional hard copies will be available at libraries and post offices.

RELATED: “City Of Lake Forest Park Resolution 1202 Would Set Property Tax Hike Vote For August 17, 2010,” Public Data Ferret, 3/28/10.

King County Superior Court: State Of Washington v. Bobby Wayne Wells

by May 23rd, 2010

Last Friday May 21, Bobby Wayne Wells, 35, of Burien was reminded – conclusively – that it does not pay to ingest a pint of bourbon, then enter a pet store, stuff a squawking cockatiel down your pants in full view of an employee, deny said action when confronted, and flee in a distinctively marked vehicle, leading police on a chase at speeds reaching about 80 miles per hour while weaving across several lanes and then driving on the wrong side of the road. Particularly if you already have 21 prior convictions dating back as far as 21 years, including five for attempting to elude a pursuing police vehicle. At the Maleng Regional Justice Center in Kent, Wells was sentenced last week by Judge Bruce E. Heller of King County Superior Court to 28 months in prison for attempting to elude police following the cockatiel theft.

KEY LINK: Charging papers, The State of Washington v. Bobby Wayne Wells.

THE CURTAIN RISES, ON A DISMAYED BIRD: On June 25th 2009 a Kent, Wash. patrol officer (P. Stewart) responded to a theft complaint at Midway Tropical Fish, 24101 Pacific Highway South. The witness, a store employee, told the officer he had seen a heavyset male enter the store. The witness “watched as the man went over to a bird cage and fiddled with the locked door..opened the cage’s door and grabbed the bird”…The witness “then saw the man stuff the bird down the front of his pants by pulling the waistband forward allowing the live bird to be inserted….”

BIRD? WHAT BIRD? According to the charging papers: “The suspect stole a young Cockatiel bird, valued at approximately $50.” The witness “confronted the man, saying, ‘You can’t do that!’ Then man looked up and said, ‘Do what?'” The witness “said, ‘Stick the bird down your pants.’ The man said, ‘What bird?’ During this conversation,” the witness “said he could very clearly hear the bird squawking inside the man’s pants.”

THE CHASE: According to the witness report in the charging papers, Wells fled the store with the bird, hopped in a green van with a tan strip at the bottom and fled southbound on Pacific Highway South. After taking the complaint, the officer followed, located a vehicle matching the description and pursued it, noting the license plate number. The driver took a variety of evasive maneuvers, including “swerving across different lanes to get around cars” and “driving north in the southbound lanes of Pacific Highway South.” The driver’s speed reached about 80 miles per hour, according to the officer, who abandoned the pursuit due to concerns for the safety of other motorists.

Transparency For I and Thou? Bring It!

by May 20th, 2010

In Huffington Post, Gadi Ben-Yahuda, Social Media Director for IBM’s Center For The Business Of Government, writes a provocatively headlined piece, “The Dark Side Of ‘Public=Online.'” “Public=Online” is the shorthand phrase being used by the good folks at the Sunlight Foundation to highlight proposed federal legislation known as the Public Online Information Act, requiring executive branch agencies to begin posting their non-classified material online for easier public access. The lead sponsor of the House version is Rep. Steve Israel. Sen. John Tester’s version contains additional provisions relating to disclosure around government contracting.

Ben-Yahuda doesn’t so much take issue with the idea of “Public=Online” but says the flipside of the “transparency” agenda is it applies to individuals as well as institutions, and at times the application of that standard to jes’ folks, feels a bit….creepy. It’s true that personal information available online is already being aggressively harvested by aggregators such as the new entrant Spokeo, who then charge a fee for access to information on where you live; any unsealed court proceedings you’ve been party to; and what foolish things, if any, you shared with “Everyone” online instead of “Friends Only” on Facebook. These concerns have prompted a number of articles expressing alarm about Spokeo. I’m a bit more sanguine.

Public Data Ferret On KOMO 1000: Police Misconduct In Seattle

by May 19th, 2010

Today during my regular weekly radio segment on Seattle-based KOMO 1000 about the work of the Public Data Ferret project, I spoke with “Nine2Noon” show co-anchors Brian Calvert and Nancy Barrick about a report from the Seattle Police Department’s independent watchdog office on police misconduct in 2009. Police misconduct – and excessive force – are hot topics here lately after a recent incident now being investigated. Here’s the original Ferret write-up of the 2009 police misconduct report report, which along with other finds of ours from government sites is indexed by jurisdiction and subject at our Public Data Ferret database. Here’s the audio of today’s Ferret radio. The full transcript follows.