Collaboration in Civic Spheres

Archive for the ‘Emergency Planning’ Category

South King County votes to decide on new schools, more

by November 6th, 2012

Among local ballot measures likely to be decided tonight in suburban King County are a major annexation proposal in Renton, funding for new high schools in Federal Way and Auburn, a new fire station for Mercer Island, and a possibly a new form of governance for Black Diamond, where a development-related feud has grown between the current mayor and city council.

UPDATE, 11/6/12, 8:30 p.m.: Systemic change didn’t fare well in our five tracked local ballot measures, with proposals for a new form of governance in Black Diamond, and a major annexation to Renton both losing, with unofficial final numbers in. But more routine proposals for increased spending to build new schools or other civic structures appear to have won with broad support in Auburn, Federal Way, and Mercer Island. Update, 9:57 p.m. 11/7/12: Three-quarters of King County ballots overall are counted now. Latest numbers below, courtesy of King County elections.

Proposition 1 in Renton would have led to annexation to the city of the 1,857-acre West Hill region currently part of unincorporated King County. 11/6/12, 8:30 p.m. update – 55% No, 45 % Yes. 11/6/12, 9:22 p.m. update: Paul Berry, a 43-year West Hill resident who co-wrote the Voter’s Pamphlet statement in opposition to annexation said of the results, “People of the community didn’t buy the general and vague promises” annexation would bring improvements. For any future measure annexing West Hill to Renton to pass, several things would have to happen, Berry said. Strong, smart regional approaches to providing police and fire service would need to implemented; plans for upscale development, more sidewalks and urban density softened, and city codes tweaked to be less restrictive on allowing chickens and multiple pets. West Hill contains six neighborhoods, and would have comprised about 15 percent of Renton’s population if annexed. (Map of annexation area).

Proposition 1 in Auburn authorizes School District 408 to levy excess property taxes to fund $110 million in borrowing via bonds over 20 years, to finance construction of a new Auburn High School, and improvements to the high school’s Performing Arts Center and Automotive Technology building. 8:30 p.m. update – 59% Yes, 41% No.

Proposition 1 in Federal Way School District 210 green-lights a six-year, $60 million capital levy to pay for replacing Federal Way High School, plus renovation of 19 elementary school playgrounds, and a new district-wide security camera system. The added cost in each of the six years for school district property owners would be 92 cents per $1,000 assessed valuation. 11/6/12, 8:30 p.m. update – 57% Yes, 43% No.

Proposition 1 in Black Diamond would have OKd a change in the way the city is governed, from the current Mayor-Council form of government to a Council-Manager system. If it had been approved, a new city manager reporting to the council, would have become the chief executive of the city and the office of the mayor, who currently serves as the city’s CEO, would have ben abolished. A planned Yarrow Bay Company development of 6,000 new homes planned for the small city of about 4,160 residents has contributed to a sharp political divide between some members of the current council and mayor Rebecca Olness. But the measure appears to have fallen far short. 11/6/12, 8:30 p.m. update – 59% No, 41% Yes. 11/6/12, 9:40 p.m. update: Olness said, “I’m elated the people of Black Diamond have voiced their support for growth. We need to grow in order to survive,” to boost the local tax base and attract retail essentials such as a major grocery store. The Yarrow Bay development will unfold gradually over the next 20 to 25 years Olness said, with the first several hundred homes built in 2014.

Proposition 1 in Mercer Island will finance a $5.2 million bond issue for a replacement fire station in the South End, through a lift of the state-mandated local tax levy increase lid of 1 percent per year. If the majority of “yes” votes holds, property owners will pay another 86 cents to $1.51 per $1,000 assessed valuation each year, with the rate differing by year, over nine years. 11/6/12, 8:30 p.m. update – 56% Yes, 44% No.

Public Data Ferret is a news knowledge base program of the 501c3 public charity, Public Eye Northwest. Ferret In The News. Donate; subscribe (free)/volunteer.

Report: U.S. Military Must Fix Vaccine Program

by April 6th, 2011

SUMMARY: A new report by a prominent U.S. military medical official, published in an Air Force policy journal, faults the Department of Defense for failing to sufficiently protect the health of U.S. military forces with vaccines for common naturally occuring infectious diseases. The author asserts, and documents that a growing emphasis on perceived threats of biological warfare has drained DoD resources and attention away from the everyday occurrence of infectious diseases – which can diminish the readiness and effectiveness of U.S. military units. He recommends a better cost-benefit calculus be developed, more resources granted to infectious disease vaccines for the military, and management of the two programs merged to support better, more integrated decision-making.

Public Data Ferret On KOMO 1000: Smuggling Weapons & Explosives Into Federal Buildings

by April 28th, 2010

Today was the third regular weekly Public Data Ferret segment on KOMO 1000 News Radio Seattle, with “Nine2Noon” show co-host Brian Calvert and co-anchor Marina Rockinger, subbing for Nancy Barrick. We were talking about a report highlighted at this blog’s Public Data Ferret information hub from The U.S. Government Accountability Office about shortcomings in security at major federal office buildings and courthouses. Here’s the audio of the whole segment and below, the transcript.

Brian Calvert: “Even after increased security measures, a new report suggests weapons are being smuggled into federal buildings at an alarming rate. Matt Rosenberg joins us, he’s with, and as part of that Web site, the Public Data Ferret. Matt, you took a look at a recent study about security in federal buildings. Tell us what you found.”

Matt Rosenberg: “You bet, Brian. Good morning to you and Marina. Since the year 1995 and the bombing in Oklahoma City, we’re now spending $659 million annually for 15,000 contract security guards to protect the busiest federal office buildings and courthouses. The agency is called the Federal Protective Service, but yes, as the new report indicates, there’s a real issue with the quality of the protection. The Government Accountability Office – which is Congress’ version of Brian Sonntag, if you will, our wonderful state auditor – has found serious problems in the performance of the guards. A new report reveals that undercover investigators are able to keep smuggling weapons and explosives into the most public federal facilities at a high rate of success.”

“Now in this report, they remind Congress first, things were already bad, that there’s July 2009 data showing that 10 of 10 attempts were successful to smuggle in components of Improvised Explosive Devices. But here’s the kicker. The new report discloses that things still aren’t good. They’ve done more of this so-called “penetration testing,” 53 different tests were run, and two out of three times, investigators were able to smuggle in – through the checkpoints, past the contract security guards – things like guns, knives and fake bombs. Now, you know, a batting average of .333 will put you on the All-Star Team in baseball, but not in security work – it should put you on the bench. And that’s what GAO is basically saying in this new report.”

Marina Rockinger: “Well Matt, I want to ask you, you just almost answered the question I was about to ask you, which was, is this stuff coming in through the front door? Because I’ve been in the Seattle federal courthouse, a few times, and my shoes will set the thing off, and they’ll tell me, ‘okay, go back, we’ve got to check you again.’ They look at my computer, they look at a lot of things. How is this stuff getting in through the front door?”

Matt Rosenberg: “Well, I think in most facilities, it is. And probably, they’ve got a tightly run operation there, and maybe that’s not one of the places where this is a really really big problem. But they ran these tests all over the country, in six of the eleven regions that are covered by the Federal Protective Service. So, all in all, they’re finding across the nation that, you know, the batting average is not great. And, it could be sometimes that just because the detectors get set off by something in somebody’s shoes, that other times, things slip by. So, on average, it’s not looking good, that’s what the GAO is saying.”

Brian Calvert: “Interesting stuff. If you want to find out more about what Matt found in this report, you can go to and click on the Public Data Ferret, and find out more information. Matt, thanks for joining us this morning. It is 9:19 here at KOMO News Radio.”

RELATED: KOMO-AM 1000 broadcasts are live-streamed here.