Collaboration in Civic Spheres

King County Garbage Plans Raising Stink; Meeting Tonight

by July 11th, 2013

The King County Solid Waste Division is moving forward with plans to evaluate three potential sites for a new facility to replace the aging Algona Transfer Station. Residents of south King County Thursday night can learn more at a public meeting 7 to 8:30 p.m. at the Auburn Senior Activity Center, where SWD officials will explain site selection criteria, and take comments and questions. A dark-horse candidate site previously rejected is now the county’s preferred choice, on West Valley Highway S. in Auburn. It has led to formation of resident group called “No North Auburn Dump.” Members are strenuously opposed and have taken to the Internet with a blog and Facebook page. They say another current alternative for which the county has already bought land in Algona next to the current site, is much more suitable.

KIng County audit hastens fix pledges on accident pay-outs

by July 9th, 2013

King County could do far better controlling public risk and related liability pay-outs in negligence cases, especially those related to Metro Transit and other transportation functions, according to a recent and wholly overlooked report from the King County Auditor’s Office. It accents “critical weaknesses” in current risk control strategies. These include baked-in lowballing of the real risk bill to county taxpayers due to ignoring workers compensation costs in taxpayer-funded tort liability settlements; and lack of an overall risk control system including thorough accident data tracking and related performance standards. Another shortcoming is insufficient driver safety training, the audit finds.

Outside of transportation, the audit says the county “will continue to face compliance and claims risks” because of its sub-par system for responding to public records requests, and that it must speed efforts to implement risk controls around incidences of excessive force by the King County Sheriff’s office, and cyber-secuirty vulnerabilities. Top officials say they’re implementing some changes already, and more are to come.

“Smart guns” with user ID coming; Washington state reactions mixed

by July 3rd, 2013

In January of this year a month after the murder of 26 students and staff at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut by a disturbed shooter using his mother’s weapons, President Obama issued 23 executive actions to address gun violence – including commissioning a report that would assess the state and availability of new gun safety technologies to limit unauthorized use. On June 17 came the assessment from the National Institute of Justice. “A Review of Gun Safety Technologies” says two different types of what some term “smart guns” – keyed to authorized users only – are coming to market this year and advance orders are already being taken for one, the Kodiak Intelligun.

But reactions to the report were mixed among Washington state law enforcement officials, legislators and gun rights supporters. Some saw potential benefits in improved safe storage and could foresee continuing progress in performance and acceptance. Others worried about reliability or said the emphasis instead should be on illegal possession, a more robust system of background checks, and more educational outreach to at-risk teens about added penalties for using a gun in a crime.

South End “Lady Thug” gets felony pimping charges

by July 2nd, 2013

In a case propelled by a tip from a Seattle-based FBI special agent, a 20-year-old Federal Way woman named Jacqueline Pamela Oliver was arrested by Kent Police and charged in King County Superior Court with two counts of commercial sexual abuse of a minor for allegedly pimping two girls – a 15-year-old and a 16-year-old. Court documents allege she did this in order to earn money so she could use the proceeds to stay with the two in South End motel rooms and have intimate relations with the 16-year-old, whom she was dating. Oliver’s arrest form says she is 6 feet tall, about 280 pounds, and sports a “Lady Thug” tattoo on her right thigh.

A police report says she is also known as Jackie Oliver, sometimes lives with her mother in Federal Way, and has a daughter. She is currently serving a deferred sentence on a 2012 conviction for criminal trespassing in the second degree. She also has prior convictions as an adult for obstruction, and as a juvenile for drinking and DUI, according to court documents.

Charges filed June 14 by King County Prosecuting Attorney Dan Satterberg say a Kent Police investigation indicates Oliver was staying with the two alleged victims at the Motel 6 at 200th Street and Military Road in Seatac and was running the girls’ marketing to turn tricks through the web site The site has come under fire from the City of Seattle and Mayor Mike McGinn among others in recent years for its advertisements on behalf of prostitutes who in some cases have turned out to be underage and forced into the trade unwillingly.

The FBI special agent first established contact with Oliver’s 15-year-old alleged victim at the King County Youth Detention Center in early June. She admitted to turning tricks and said there were ads for her on placed by Oliver, who she said took the pictures as well and provided her own phone number as contact. The 15-year-old said that she had been staying with Oliver and a 16-year-old girl at the Motel 6; that Oliver had been running them both and taking their earnings; and that Oliver was on Facebook as “Jackie Lavish.”

Kent Police – who are partnered with the FBI, the King County Sheriff’s Office, and police from Seattle, Seatac, the Port of Seattle and Bellevue in the Seattle unit of the FBI’s Central Sound Child Exploitation Task Force – took the investigation from there. They found Oliver’s “Jackie Lavish” Facebook page and matched a photo of her there to one in a law enforcement database and then found five prostitution ads with her phone number, four with pictures of a girl later identified as the 16-year-old alleged victim.

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A Kent Police undercover sting involving a requested threesome resulted in the arrest at the Hampton Inn, 21109 66th Ave. S. in Kent on June 12 of Oliver and several others. Oliver had been overseeing the transport of the 16-year-old to the site for the undercover John. Interviewed later by police, the 16-year-old said it was through her ex-girlfriend that she’d met Oliver, and they had been dating for two months.

According to the police report the 16-year-old “said Oliver does not have a job but gets food and money from the state for her daughter” and lives on and off with her mother in Federal Way. Kent Police detective Lovisa Dvorak, who authored the probable cause report included in charging papers, wrote that the 16-year-old told her “she doesn’t need to work but if she wants to be with Oliver she needs the money to get a place to stay,” and that likewise the 15-year-old “gave her money to Oliver to pay for motel rooms.” She told Dvorak that the younger prostitute “knew what she had to do if she was going to be out there and not at home,” namely, engage in prostitution.

Commercial sexual abuse of a minor in Washington state is a Class A felony and upon conviction carries a penalty of up to life in prison and a fine of up to $50,000, or both, although the standard sentencing range is considerably less.

At her initial arraignment July 1 before Judge Cheryl Carey, Oliver pled not guilty and was granted conditional release requiring her to report Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Community Center for Alternative Programs on Yesler Street in Seattle.

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.

Seattle “Kitchen Nightmares” family now faces greater test

by July 1st, 2013

A former assistant chef at a popular eatery in Seattle’s Greenwood neighborhood who starred earlier this year with her engaging, squabbling Greek family on Chef Gordon Ramsay’s Fox Network reality show “Kitchen Nightmares,” has been charged with the felony crime of unlawful imprisonment and a male companion with assault in the second degree for allegedly holding captive and brutally beating in her Shoreline dwelling a resident of a King County Housing Authority apartment complex for seniors and the disabled. According to police reports the victim learned the pair were using crack cocaine during the course of a two-day stay in her home. Other sources including the assistant chef herself in a jail intake interview, and her parents, confirm she had suffered a drug abuse relapse.

Sound Transit Would Reject Key Reforms in State Audit

by June 27th, 2013

In a draft status update to be presented this morning at its audit committee meeting, the three-county Seattle region transit agency Sound Transit pointedly rejects a score of key ethics reforms recommended for its Citizens Oversight Panel in a bristling state performance audit released last fall. If the responses are affirmed by the full ST board as is likely, there will be no COP meetings at night so citizens can more easily attend; no outside screening of COP appointees for potential conflicts of interest; no mandated geographic diversity; no restrictions on public advocacy of transit-related measures by COP members; no mandated separate annual fiscal report by the COP; and no use of outside experts by the watchdog panel. There will be some improvements to the COP’s Web page.

State audit: Seattle Schools facility rentals program in disarray

by June 25th, 2013

A new report from Washington State Auditor Troy Kelley suggests the Seattle Public Schools have left uncollected potentially several million dollars of revenues for facility rentals and related costs in recent years, much of it since last September. In addition to 9,000 hours of un-billed rentals, the district is also failing to monitor and collect on past due bills it has issued for facilities rentals; has disguised outside rentals as internal events, causing more revenue loss; has failed to follow insurance documentation requirements for outside events; and hasn’t trained many staff as needed on a new rentals record-keeping system.

According to the new accountability audit, the district failed to collect rental fees for about 9,000 hours worth of use of its facilities by outside at 2,432 special events on premises from last September through this April. District rental rates vary from $8.00 per hour to $88.90 per hour. Additional hourly fees are often charged for utilities, cleaning and security, ranging from $47 to $73.85. Combined rates thus could range from $56 per hour at the low end to as high as $162.75 per hour at the high end. The report says the amount of lost revenue can’t be quantified but that auditors believe it is “substantial.”

If all of the roughly 9,000 un-billed hours hours were charged at the minimum combined rental and services rate the revenue would have been $504,000; if all were billed at the highest combined rental and services rate – something that is unlikely – the recovered revenues would have been $1.46 million.

Public Data Ferret’s Seattle+Management archive

In addition the audit reports that the school district estimates it has left another $400,000 to $820,000 uncollected from the City of Seattle Parks and Recreation Department in shared 2006-2011 revenues related to adult usage of facilities and lighting fees. The school district failed to invoice Parks and lacks supporting documentation so cannot recover the monies it believes it is due.

The audit also says that of $223,213 in rental fees charged in from last September through this April, $102,913 remains uncollected and those payments are an average of 115 days overdue. The report adds, “The rentals office is not monitoring these past due accounts, nor is it sending delinquent accounts to collections.” Any additional past due amounts before last September can’t be calculated due to lack of records, the audit says.

In three cases, district staff disguised outside events as internal and lost $45,000 in the process, the audit also finds. Further, rentals overseers aren’t documenting insurance and concussion policy compliance, which could increase liability upon a death during an outside event, the audit states. A third of schools tested in the audit were’t using the district’s new online system for scheduling outside events.

The audit recommends the Seattle School District train staff to follow facilities usage guidelines; train staff who are assigned to do scheduling and event approvals in the new online system; follow-up on past due bills; and reconcile shared revenues from Parks with its own calculations of its share.

In a response in the audit the District says it concurs with the findings and will take the recommended corrective steps.

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.

Risky Biz: Seattle HIV Patients May Be Hurting Care

by June 24th, 2013

HIV-infected patients getting primary treatment at University of Washington Harborview Medical Center in Seattle along with counterparts being treated in San Diego and Boston are at significant risk of undermining their care and treatment because of drug use, risky sex, non-adherence to medication regimes and other factors, according to a new study published in the American Journal of Public Health by doctors from UW, Harvard, University of California-San Diego and the University of Alabama.