Collaboration in Civic Spheres

Archive for the ‘Seattle’ Category

Report: most Seattle-King County taxi driver test-takers fail

by Matt Rosenberg July 9th, 2012

There are more than 3,000 licensed taxi drivers driving 592 licensed taxicabs in Seattle and King County, but officials certainly aren’t passing out the required credentials like candy. Nearly two-thirds of all applicants to become taxi drivers who took a key written test last year for licensing, failed it, according to the recently released 2011 Taxicab Annual Report from the county’s Division of Records and Licensing Services. Only 37 percent of 681 taxicab driver test-takers last year passed. The passage rate by 2006 had plummeted to less than 40 percent from 60 percent in 1996, and has stayed below 40 percent since 2006.

A driver is entitled to two tries; some of those failing last year were on their second attempt. The test has two parts. One assesses geographic and other knowledge of the region. The other regards setting fares, driver conduct and regulation, driver-passenger relations, oral and written comprehension of directions, vehicle safety requirements and emergency procedures. A passing grade is at least 80 percent correct on both parts of the written exam.

Interactive asset map of public art in Seattle

by Nathan Brown June 5th, 2012

This data visualization shows the location and site information for each of the 316 art installations sponsored by the City of Seattle as of June 2012. Blue circles indicate the geographic location of each project. Hovering your cursor over a circle will reveal the project’s title, site, artist’s name, type of media, brief description and date installed. In addition, the viz displays the project’s physical address as well as a link to the satellite view in Google Maps. Additional information about a particular project may be found by following the link to the website of the City of Seattle Office of Art and Cultural Affairs. Source: City of Seattle public art data set, via data.seattle.gov.

Navigation:

-Zoom in/out: Use the control panel in the upper left of the viz.
-Move map view: Click and hold until cursor becomes a fist, then drag to desired location.
-Select multiple sites: Click and drag to select desired sites.

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

Seattle Community Colleges seek help to improve image

by Matt Rosenberg May 31st, 2012

Last winter in the wake of contentious anti-corporate protests led on its Capitol Hill central campus by Occupy Seattle, Seattle Community College District officials were beginning to grapple with proposed legislation from its teachers union that was introduced in sympathy with Occupy’s goals.

A “Resolution In Support of Business Practices Congruent with The Message of the Occupy Movement” was raised for preliminary consideration by Seattle Central Community College instructor and teachers union leader Karen Strickland at the board’s January meeting and then discussed in a February board study session. It called for the district to adopt an ethical purchasing policy and also condemned district vendors such as the Bank of America, and the Georgia Pacific paper company owned by the controversial conservatives, The Koch Brothers.

RFP for banking services could result in replacement of B of A
The resolution authored by the American Federation of Teachers, and the board’s preliminary discussions, have’t yet resulted in a district purchasing policy emphasizing corporate responsibility, but the district did quietly serve notice – in a staff memo on page 86 of its May meeting agenda packet – that it will be issuing a request for proposals for banking services and appointing a related evaluation committee. This could pave the way for replacement of Bank of America as the district’s banking services vendor. The company is reviled by Occupy protestors for what they characterize as B of A’s evasion of corporate taxes.

Contractor currently being sought to help the district re-brand
But at the same time it tries to respond to student and faculty concerns about ethical business practices, the district also wants to repaint the face it presents to potential enrollees and donors. lt is looking for a public relations advisor to do three months work for up to $50,000 this summer – to lay the groundwork for burnishing its brand image.

In anticipation of a major fundraising drive approaching in 2017, one that will surely depend on corporate and philanthropic largesse to compensate for declining government funding, the three-school district of two-year community colleges within Seattle’s city limits has issued a request for proposals from prospective bidders titled, “Positioning, Visibility and Brand Development.”

Washington ranks high in mixed-race households

by Matt Rosenberg May 6th, 2012

A newly-released focus report on U.S. households by the Census Bureau reveals Washington State is in the top fifth nationally in mixed-race households. Which ever way you slice it. Of Washington husband-wife households counted in the 2010 Census, 10.9 percent were mixed race – versus 6.9 percent nationally. That ranks eighth out of the 50 U.S. states plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. The trend carried across other types of couplings in Washington households. Of unmarried, opposite-sex partner households in Washington, 19.6 percent were mixed race versus 14.2 percent nationally; the state ranked eighth of 52. For same-sex households in Washington, 18.5 percent included partners of different races, versus 14.5 percent nationally; and the state ranked 10th of 52. The report was full of other notable findings nationally, and for Washington and Seattle – regarding solo households, households with children, households headed by single women and single moms, and same-sex households.

Seattle inches closer toward rental housing licensing

by Matt Rosenberg April 11th, 2012

The City of Seattle continued today to advance toward implementing a rental housing licensing and inspection program that officials say would be aimed at especially at chronically negligent landlords and tenants who may well be afraid to use the city’s existing complaint-based enforcement process for rental quarters languishing in poor condition. At a meeting of the council’s Housing, Human Servies, Health and Culture Committee, council central staff member Michael Jenkins presented a draft outline of the program being configured by the city’s Department of Planning and Development (DPD). In its current draft form, the plan would require owners of rental housing units to go through a registration and inspection process designed to ensure code violations are repaired, or face a revocation of registration, plus possible fines and a prohibition on re-renting the unit to any new tenant until repairs are made. Problems with plumbing, heating, electrical wiring and conditions of building materials are among the most common issues. The city council in coming months will work to finalize the program and estimate ongoing costs, to be integrated into the city budget for 2013 and coming years.

Connected Seattle city worker stayed on payroll after felony

by Matt Rosenberg March 7th, 2012

In a ruling issued this week a state appeals court upheld the convictions for first-degree perjury, and gross misdemeanor counts of stalking and cyberstalking by a then-City of Seattle Parks and Recreation Department employee named Andre L. (Luis) Franklin, now 30. The case stemmed from what the appeals court ruling details as a sexually-themed online vendetta by Franklin against another city parks worker, a woman with whom he had been romantically involved.

But the story goes deeper. Although Franklin was placed on leave in late 2008 after the victim notified city personnel authorities and parks officials understood him to have admitted the cyberstalking; public records show he somehow landed another city job – as a painter for Seattle Public Utilities earning $57,464 base pay in 2009 and $63,739 gross pay in 2010. Though public records confirm he was paid for a full year’s work in 2009 as painter for SPU, Public Data Ferret has learned he did not actually begin working at SPU until December of 2009. In addition, his defense attorney Steven Witchley of Seattle confirms Franklin is currently employed in a temporary position as a solid waste inspector for SPU.

In Seattle streams, six to ten out of ten adult coho salmon die before spawning

by Matt Rosenberg December 27th, 2011

A final report published this month by a team of 17 Seattle, King County and U.S. government researchers in an open-access peer-reviewed science journal adds to evidence that metal filings from brake pads mixed into storm water run-off, and hydrocarbons from vehicle exhaust are what is responsible for the deaths under acute distress of anywhere from six to ten out of ten pre-spawning adult coho salmon returning each autumn to Seattle area urban streams where the salmon habitat has been restored. More research will be needed to definitively make the connection, but a host of other possible causes can safely be ruled out, the study says. The pre=spawning fatality syndrome has recurred over ten straight years and if it persists it is likely to mean the end of “sustainable natural production” of coho in Seattle area urban streams, the study says.