Collaboration in Civic Spheres

Archive for the ‘King County’ Category

Federal Way hospital nurse charged with rape of patient

by Matt Rosenberg April 26th, 2011

SUMMARY: A registered nurse working in the emergency department at St. Francis Hospital in Federal Way, Wash. has had his license suspended and has been charged in King County Superior Court with second-degree rape of a patient seeking treatment for severe back pain. The alleged incident occurred when he performed an unauthorized pelvic examination.

Merrill Gardens Med Tech Cited For On-The-Job Intoxication

by Matt Rosenberg April 4th, 2011

SUMMARY: The state department of health released case information last week on Joseph B. Barsana, who worked as a registered nursing assistant/medication technician at a West Seattle assisted living facility, and has failed to contest a citation of unprofessional conduct after he was found passed out in a stairwell while on duty, with a half bottle of whiskey in his work station. A pill bottle with his name and a glass pipe were also found, both containing a substance police tests later revealed to be cocaine. Additionally, the narcotics cart was found unlocked with patient doses of oxycodone, hydrocodone and codeine missing. His registered nursing assistant license was expired at the time, but was not then required to have been renewed in order to work in an assisted living facility, according to state officials. The state will decide whether Barsana can become eligible to regain his credentials, and if so, under what conditions. Meanwhile, felony drug possession charges for cocaine are pending, and could be dismissed if Barsana successfully completes a court-supervised rehabilitation program in which he has enrolled.

State Sues Eastside Firms For Alleged Mail Order Scam

by Matt Rosenberg April 1st, 2011

SUMMARY: Washington State Attorney General Rob McKenna today filed suit against a Seattle man and two companies he owns on Mercer Island and in Bellevue, charging that they violated the state’s Consumer Protection Act by marketing stethoscopes and other medical equipment online and collecting payments, but failed to deliver the goods to customers or respond to customer service e-mails and phone calls. The state is seeking penalties, and restitution for consumers.

Exonerated Auburn Pot Defendant: Don’t Drive Buzzed

by Matt Rosenberg March 21st, 2011

Last week I reported on a Washington State appeals court ruling affirming a King County Superior Court decision to reverse Auburn Municipal Court convictions of Dustin B. Gauntt for possession of less than 40 grams of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia. Gauntt admitted to the basic facts of the case which led to his arrest after being spotted by Auburn Police while driving and holding a pipe to his mouth. But Auburn had not expressly adopted the state statutes in question into the city’s municipal code, ultimately prompting the dismissal of the charges first in county court and then again last week by a state judicial panel after the city appealed. Auburn has until early April to decide whether to appeal to the state Supreme Court the second strike against their prosecution of Gauntt.

When I was writing up my original report for our Public Data Ferret news and knowledge base site last week, it was clear that beyond the plain facts of the case there was a person about whom the legal documents said nothing and about whom I knew nothing. I left a message for Gauntt through his attorney, and I spoke to Gauntt this weekend in a phone interview.

Gauntt graduated from high school in Port Angeles, Washington, on the Olympic Peninsula. He’s 26 years of age, and has lived in the South King County city of Auburn for about five years, working in a warehouse. While still employed there, he’s been attending Green River Community College to complete a two-year degree in design and drafting. Gauntt says he’s aiming to land a job with a company such as Boeing upon graduation.

Asked about the incident which led to his arrest and subsequent conviction in Auburn Municipal Court prior to the county and state appeals court reversals, Gauntt said he believes “smoking pot while driving is a very stupid idea. I’m not condoning that at all.” The overturning of the conviction, he said, is ímportant personally, especially because he will be seeking new full-time employment after getting his two-year degree from the community college. Gauntt added, “Ï don’t consider myself a criminal. I’m a good person. I pay my taxes. I wasn’t responsible back then; I am now. I’m trying to elevate myself in life, going to school, and trying to get a good job.”

While the city of Auburn mulls whether to appeal the latest rejection of its conviction of Gauntt in its municipal court, Gauntt says that on the topic of drugs and the law, “there are bigger fish to fry. There’s a huge methamphetamine problem here in Auburn and South King County. And meth causes so much more damage to people’s bodies and to society.”

Gauntt added he believes that marijuana should be legalized, regulated and taxed. The revenues could be a “huge benefit,” he said, particularly if directed toward public health needs and programs.

The Washington state legislature has been considering a bill that would legalize and tax marijuana.

Guantt’s attorney was David Richard Kirschenbaum. Auburn has been represented by City Attorney Daniel Heid.

Appeals Court Upholds Dismissal Of Auburn Pot Conviction

by Matt Rosenberg March 17th, 2011

SUMMARY: A state appeals court this week rejected an attempt by the City of Auburn to reverse a King County Superior Court ruling which threw out convictions in Auburn Municipal Court against Dustin B. Gauntt, a driver stopped and cited by local police for possession of marijuana and related paraphernalia. The county and appeals court rulings both found that the convictions in local court weren’t valid because the city’s municipal code did not explicitly adopt the actual state laws against possession of marijuana or marijuana paraphernalia.

Public Data Ferret Courts Archive


  • According to the City of Auburn’s appeals court brief, on December 5, 2008 Dustin B. Gauntt was stopped by local police who had seen him raise a pipe to his mouth and inhale what appeared to be marijuana. After investigating, they cited him for possession of less than 40 grams of marijuana and for possession of drug paraphernalia, contrary – the charges stated – to state law and the city code.
  • Gauntt sought to have charges dismissed in the local court, arguing that city code did not include the state’s mandatory minimum sentences for the crimes with which he was charged. His claim was rejected. He agreed there was no dispute to the facts of the case, then was tried and found guilty on June 8, 2009 on both charges in an Auburn Municipal Court bench trial.
  • However, Gauntt appealed his city court convictions to King County Superior Court on grounds the city lacked jurisdiction because it hadn’t actually adopted into its municipal code the state laws against possessing marijuana and related paraphernalia. Superior Court Judge Michael J. Trickey found in his favor, reversing Auburn Municipal Court and remanding the case to the lower court for dismissal. But the City of Auburn in July 2010 asked for reconsideration of the case in the state Court of Appeals, which issued its ruling this week.

KEY LINK: City of Auburn v. Dustin B. Gauntt, Opinion of Court of Appeals, Washington State, District 1, March 14, 2011.


  • The state appeals court ruling this week in Auburn v. Gauntt emphasized that “municipal courts are creatures of the legislature,” and that “when, as here, a crime adopted under state law has not been expressly adopted by city code, or incorporated into city code by reference to state statute, and no other state statute confers authority to prosecute that statute in municipal court, the city lacks authority to prosecute it in municipal court.”
  • The ruling affirms Judge Trickey’s decision in King County Superior Court, which reversed the municipal court’s findings of guilty and sent the case back there for dismissal. Gauntt was represented by Kent defense attorney David Richard Kirshenbaum.


The City of Auburn has 30 days from the date of the appeals court ruling to appeal the case up to the State Supreme Court, which might or might not choose to hear the appeal if it is requested. City Attorney Daniel Heid said today no decision has been made yet on whether to appeal.


Economy May Put Pot (Legalization Bill) Back In Play,” Seattle Times, March 16, 2011

UPDATE: Interview with Dustin B. Gauntt, published March 20, 2011.

King County Researchers Report Maternal Health Risk Disparities For Native Hawaiians, Pacific Islanders

by Matt Rosenberg March 7th, 2011

SUMMARY: According to a report recently published in a journal of the U.S. Centers For Disease Control, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islanders in King County, Wash. have significantly higher rates of maternal obesity, smoking during pregnancy, adolescent mothers and little or no prenatal care, compared to Asians in King County. The authors of the report, from Public Health – Seattle & King County, state the findings accent the continued need to report health data for Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders separate from Asians, in order to identify and quantify important concerns.

BACKGROUND: Changed federal health reporting standards in 1997 replaced the category “Äsian or Pacific Islander” with two distinct categories, Asian, and Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander or NHPI. For the recent report published in a journal of the federal Centers For Disease Control, researchers at Public Health – Seattle & King County compared key maternal, pregnancy and birth health indicators for Native Hawaiians versus Asians in King County from 2003 through 2008, excluding multiracial subjects who identified themselves with both categories.

KEY LINK: “Maternal, Pregnancy and Birth Characteristics of Asians and Native Hawaiians/Pacific Islanders – King County, Washington, 2003-2008,” Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, U.S. Centers For Disease Control, February 25, 2011. Authors: E. Wong, PhD; and D. Solet, PhD; Public Health – Seattle & King County, Assessment, Policy Development and Evaluation Unit.


  • Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders in King County had significantly higher rates than Asians of maternal obesity, smoking during pregnancy, adolescent mothers, high birth weight and late or no prenatal care. Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander mothers in King County also had higher rates than their Asian counterparts of being overweight and of giving birth birth prematurely.
  • The findings will help identify important health concerns for the NHPI community in King County, and underscore the continued need to measure and report public health outcomes for NHPI population separate from those of Asians.
  • Important health disparities exist for Native Hawaiians in other areas including deaths, adverse health outcomes and behaviors which increase health risks such as smoking and unhealthy weight. These data are of “high interest” but not within the scope of the current study.
  • Future research should seek to refine the results of the current report, in part by looking at year-by-year data to identify trends and also by examining comparable data for mixed race (Asian and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander) subjects so disparities can be better described and responsive programs better designed.

Fr. Maternal, Pregnancy, and Birth Characteristics of Asians and Native Hawaiians/Pacific Islanders - King County, Washington, 2003-2008

RELATED: “Health of Native Hawaiians And Other Pacific Islanders In King County,” Public Health – Seattle & King County, August 2008. (Includes community resources).

Annex North Highline To Seattle? City Council Digs In, Again

by Matt Rosenberg March 1st, 2011

SUMMARY: A Seattle City Council staff report ups the ante on the low-end estimates in a January, 2011 analysis from the administration of Mayor Mike McGinn on the annual and one-time net costs to the city of annexing the 3.55 square mile North Highline area in unincorporated King County. It includes the communities of White Center and Boulevard Park, is home to 20,000 residents and borders Seattle on the southwest. The staff report suggests it’s likely more prudent for the council to replace the Mayor’s best-case scenario of $1.8 million more in annual North Highline costs than annual revenues with an “älternative case scenario” of a $4.6 million annual operating shortfall. The report also suggests that the mayor’s $4.7 million best case estimate of one-time North Highline annexation costs be replaced with an alternate case scenario of $8.7 million. Still in place for the council’s review are the high-end estimates identified in the mayor’s report, a $16.8 million annual operating gap and $91.3 million in one-time expenditures, although the council report intimates that $37 million for non-arterial street paving should be shaved off that last number. A council committee and then the full council will decide before the end of March whether to authorize a November election in which North Highline residents would choose whether or not to annex to Seattle. If Seattle fails to annex North Highline, Burien, which borders it on the south, could.

King County Is Hiring

by Matt Rosenberg February 22nd, 2011

SUMMARY: King County, Wash. provides an online jobs data bank and an online job application tool for its open positions. At this writing, the county is accepting applications for 41 different jobs, ranging in pay from $18.37 to $23.28 per hour for an administrative specialist to do Chinese translations, all the way up to $119,000 to $151,000 per year for a new road services director in the county’s transportation department. Positions are open for registered nurses, a dentist, an accountant, interpreters, transit engineers, a court administrator, software developers, and in animal control, human resources, business and finance, communications, community corrections, veterinary medicine, purchasing, licensing, industrial maintenance, and more.

KEY LINK: King County Jobs – Job Openings With King County, Washington Government, King County Human Resources Division.


  • The King County job openings data bank provides continuously updated online job listings and allows candidates to submit applications online once they have registered for a free account. Make sure to first read Application Tips and Instructions For New Applicants.
  • The online county job listings have six columns and by clicking on the small arrow in the left margin of the appropriate column you can re-arrange the jobs by salary (lowest to highest); closing date (from most current, going forward); alphabetically by job category, department or title; or by whether the job is open to all applicants or only current county employees.
  • To get a full job description, click on the hyperlinked blue text in the “Job Title” column. (Note: Some jobs labelled on the main page chart as open to all applicants actually state a preference, in the job description, for county employees and members of specified labor unions. But many do not.)
  • Each job description includes recommended qualifications, and in the upper-right-hand corner, a link labelled Apply. After clicking on Apply, you will be guided to open a free online account if you haven’t already. Then you can fill out and submit the online application for the job.
  • A decision will take four weeks to several months. Using your account, you can log in and click on Application Status for more information.

King County Jobs online data bank


You can also sign up to receive King County job notifications by e-mail, in selected categories.

The Public Sector Jobs resource page provided by the University of Washington’s Evans School of Public Affairs provides links to a wide range of government jobs pages, in Central Puget Sound, the Western U.S. and nationally.