Collaboration in Civic Spheres

Archive for the ‘King County’ Category

Terrorism Preparedness Grant For Snohomish County

by Matt Rosenberg December 13th, 2010

SUMMARY: The Snohomish County Council is in the process of approving the county’s receipt of a $1.895 million federal grant to enhance preparedness for possible terrorist attacks in Snohomish County involving chemical, biological, nuclear or explosive devices. The money would be used for improvements to the county sheriff’s helicopter, the county’s back-up emergency operations center, for a Heavy Rescue Apparatus vehicle, SWAT counter-terrorism training of sheriff’s officers, and medical, logistics and cross-jurisdictional terrorism response planning.

A Heavy Rescue Apparatus vehicle

BACKGROUND: On 12/27/10, according to the meeting agenda, the Snohomish County Council ’s Law and Justice/Human Services committee will consider a recommendation from County Executive Aaron Reardon the the county council receipt for use in calendar year 2011 of a $1,895,010 Urban Area Security Initiative terrorism preparedness grant to Snohomish County from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, delivered through the Washington State Military Department.

These DHS grants are provided nationally for key urban areas considered to be higher-priority terrorism targets and to strengthen response capabilities to attacks involving chemical, biological, nuclear or explosive devices. Recipients in Washington state are the cities of Seattle and Bellevue and the counties of Snohomish, King and Pierce.

KEY LINK: Proposed Motion 10-587 agenda packet for Snohomish County Council Law and Justice/Human Services Committee meeting, regarding Urban Area Security Initiative grant.

KEY PROVISIONS:

  • If the committee and then the county council approve the grant, the funds will be used for several purposes.
  • Purchase, install and test airframe engine equipment to improve the performance of the Snohomish County Sheriff’s helicopter.
  • Purchase and test a Heavy Rescue Apparatus for the Snohomish County Technical Rescue Force for use in the event of an attack involving chemical, biological, nuclear or explosive devices or weapons of mass destruction.
  • Purchase, install and test new generator wiring and an extended regional fiber optic network – both for Snohomish County’s back-up Emergency Operations Center.
  • Conduct medical operations and logistics planning in order to be fully prepared to manage resources, and patient movements, identify facilities and prioritize equipment to be used, in the event of a terrorist attack.
  • Do Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) counter-terrorist training and exercises for county sheriff’s personnel.
  • Coordinate with other urban areas and state to meet needs of vulnerable groups and heighten awareness of community response priorities in the event of a terrorist attack.

Restaurant Food Safety Inspections: Mercer Island, Wash.

by Matt Rosenberg November 22nd, 2010

SUMMARY: Inspectors for the combined public health department serving King County and Seattle regularly conduct on-site assessments of food service establishments and their compliance with necessary food safety procedures. Results are online and searchable by name, address, city or zip code. Recent inspections in the King County city of Mercer Island – zip code 98040 – revealed that a number of establishments were not following proper food safety procedures to minimize the risk of food-borne infections, at the time of inspection.

BACKGROUND: An estimated 76 million people per year suffer from food-borne illnesses, and 5,000 die annually in the U.S. from these ailments, which include botulism, campylobacteriosis, norovirus, salmonellosis, and shigellosis. As a result, proper hot and cold holding temperatures of foods and beverages in food service establishments are considered important. So are hand washing and hot water, soap and paper towels in the restrooms, general sanitation and avoidance of cross-contamination between ready-to-eat foods and uncooked raw meat, poultry or seafood. These and other necessary food handling procedures are detailed online by Public Health Seattle-King County and in educational visits to food establishments following inspections. Violations cited during inspections are divided into two categories. Red violations are more serious, and pose a heightened risk of transmitting food-borne illnesses to customers. Blue violations relate to maintenance. Each violation is assigned a certain number of points. Any inspection score above 5 points earns an “unsatisfactory” grade for a restaurant. It takes 35 red points to trigger a re-inspection within two weeks, and 90 red points or 120 combined red and blue points to warrant a closure.

KEY FINDINGS

According to the most recent King County-Seattle Public Health inspections of food service establishments in zip code 98040 as of this writing, the following establishments received ratings of “unsatisfactory” which were higher than the minimum “unsatisfactory” rating of 5 points.

WSDOT: Southeast King County Commuter Rail Study

by Matt Rosenberg October 19th, 2010

SUMMARY: A proposed east-west spur commuter rail line in Southeast King County – connecting with the main north-south commuter rail line operated by Sound Transit, and with Amtrak Cascades service – would run every 33 minutes, and carry 1,140 daily passengers by 2030. It would cost $169 million to $190 million to build, and $4 million to $4.7 million to operate and maintain annually. Passenger fares would cover 16 percent of annual operating and maintenance costs, or as much as 30 percent if cost-sharing occured with Sound Transit. Due to relatively low ridership and high per-mile costs, the project would compete poorly for federal grants. No existing transit or rail agency would likely sponsor the project but a transportation benefit district could, particularly if state law were amended to clarify its role as a transit operator. A public vote would be required to grant taxing authority to such a body.