Collaboration in Civic Spheres

City of Seattle-funded 501c3 SEED under microscope

by Matt Rosenberg August 20th, 2012

The iconic Seattle non-profit SouthEast Effective Development (SEED), which has increasingly moved into government-funded affordable housing, is reportedly investigating its finances while its high-profile Executive Director Earl Richardson is on paid leave and a big change in direction may be getting a closer look. Former Washington State Housing Finance Authority and Northwest region U.S. HUD executive Mark Flynn is serving as SEED’s interim executive director. A board member who spoke on the condition of not being named said they “cannot deny” reports SEED has undertaken a forensic accounting effort – adding “we’re in the midst of this investigation” – and also noting that “current events have been very unusual.”

Data viz: King County city crime rates, 1985-2011

by Nathan Brown August 16th, 2012

The highest per capita crime rates among King County cities in 2011 were in Tukwila, SeaTac, Seattle, Auburn, Burien, Federal Way, and Kent. The lowest were in Duvall, Sammamish, Yarrow Point, Clyde Hill, Medina, Snoqualmie, and Black Diamond. That and much more is shown in the following original data visualization for Public Data Ferret, which displays total crime rate data for King County cities during the years 1985 through 2011. It was developed using a tool made by the software firm, Tableau, based in Seattle’s Fremont neighborhood.

Population is represented by the size of the bubble for each city. As depicted in the color legend below the map, localities with total crime rates below the average for all cities in King County in the given year are shaded in green; the darker the shade, the lower the rate. Similarly, localities with rates higher than the average for all cities in King County in the given year are shaded in red; the darker the shade, the higher the rate. Hover the cursor over any bubble to view additional information about that locality, including violent crime rate and property crime rate. Crime rates are expressed as incidences per thousand residents. The maps display data as reported by each city’s police department within King County by the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs. “Empty” or absent cells reflect missing source data. More instructions in user guide.

RELATED: Public Data Ferret’s Data Visualization archive

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.

Woodinville traffic impact fee hike sparks council debate

by John Stang August 15th, 2012

Woodinville’s City Council gave preliminary approval Tuesday to revamping its traffic impact fees – opting for a system that would charge developers of newly-built homes a one-time per house fee more than double the current level but still in the middle range of such fees levied in nearby Eastide suburbs. The council backed by a 4-2 vote a formula that would eventually charge $440 for every new “average daily trip” per new dwelling in the town of 11,000. The city currently pegs almost ten new average daily trips to each new home, so after a planned five-year phase-in of the raised fee, a new Woodinville single-famly house would be charged $4,210 for traffic impacts. The fees are typically passed on from developers to home buyers. The city’s fee hike will not be approved unless it passes a second council vote on Sept.11.

User guide for King County crime data viz #1

by Administrator August 15th, 2012

How to use this data visualization.

Timeline Operation

  • The slider located below the map determines which year is reflected in the map and both charts. The number of King County cities increases over the years. It takes a moment for each new year to appear.
  • To set the year, either drag the slider or use the arrows at the side.
  • Map Operation

  • Zoom in/out: Hover cursor over the map; a control panel will appear in the upper left corner. Use the “plus” sign to zoom in and reduce overlap between the bubbles representing the cities, the “minus” sign to zoom out.
  • Move map view: Click and hold until cursor becomes a fist, then drag to desired location.
  • Supporting information

  • Hover cursor over any bubble to view additional information.
  • Recent widespread industrial accidents spur state warnings

    by John Stang August 14th, 2012

    A series of workplace deaths and accidents has prompted Washington’s Department of Labor and Industries to issue worker safety warnings about hazards to several segments of the state’s industrial economy. In the past three months, the state has issued hazard bulletins on collapsing concrete block walls, farm machinery accidents, carbon monoxide poisoning, crane safety around electrical lines, and the potential for sawdust explosions in sawmills. The L&I warnings from the past three months are due to:

    Magnolia seafood firm pays $430,000 pollution settlement

    by Matt Rosenberg August 12th, 2012

    Headquartered at Fishermen’s Terminal in Interbay at the eastern edge of Seattle’s Magnolia neighborhood, across from historic Ballard, Icicle Seafoods is a King Salmon in the U.S. seafood industry. Icicle harvests and processes several species of fish and crab from Alaskan waters, runs fish farming operations in the Northwest and Chile, and more than 20 years ago developed ground-breaking new technologies for freezing fresh catch at sea. The Seattle Times has reported Icicle is now owned by a New York-based private investment fund, and had 2010 sales of $400 million. But last Friday in a signed consent decree with the U.S. Department of Justice that was drawn up on behalf of the Environmental Protection Agency, Icicle agreed to pay a $430,000 settlement for a series of U.S. Clean Air Act violations from 2006 to 2008, for discharges of an ozone-depleting refrigerant called R-22 from its seagoing vessels and processing facilities.

    2000-2009: SOVs still dominate region’s work commutes

    by Matt Rosenberg August 9th, 2012

    A data profile currently feaured on the web site of the Puget Sound Regional Council shows that on weekday work commute trips in King, Snohomish, Pierce and Kitsap Counties and on a percentage basis, there’s been only very scant progress from 2000 to 2009 in getting solo drivers to take transit, bike, or walk to work. Ride-sharing has actually dropped. Data from the PSRC, metro Seattle’s regional transportation planning organization, shows that between 2000 and 2009 the percentage of total workers age 16 or over commuting alone in a vehicle dropped 1.8 percentage points from 71.3 percent to 69.5, with a .7 percent margin of error. Use of public transit to get to work rose from 7.1 percent in 2000 to 8.6 percent in 2009, an increase of 1.5 percent with a .4 percent margin of error. The total pool of commuters 16 and older grew 9.4 percent, from 1,642,700 in 2000 to 1,812,600 in 2009.

    State finds gaps in sex offender screening at foster homes

    by John Stang August 8th, 2012

    Twenty-eight sex offenders fell between the cracks of state background checks on child care homes between 2002 and 2012, said a state performance audit released last week. “We found that even with required criminal background checks, monitoring and/or regular social worker visits, offenders still lived in child and foster care homes undetected,” the report said. The audit’s purpose was to see if Washington’s sex offender databases could be used to to help monitor state-regulated facilities with children. This was done after similar audits in other states found that a child care provider or caretaker could pass background checks, but could still allow a sex offenders inside a facility without reporting that person to the appropriate regulating agency. Washington has roughly 18,000 registered sex offenders. The 28 sex offenders were living in foster homes unreported by the providers. The audit cross-checked sex offender addresses with the addresses of child care providers to find the 28 on both.