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King County Councilmember Larry Gossett

Councilmember serving the communities of District 2
Councilmember
Larry Gossett
Council District 2  
516 Third Ave., Rm. 1200
Seattle, WA 98104
Phone: 206-477-1002
Toll Free: 800-325-6165
TTY/TDD: 206-296-1024
Fax: 206-296-0198

Serving the communities of the Central Area, Capitol Hill, Beacon Hill, the Rainier Valley, Seward Park, Skyway, UW, Fremont, Ravenna, and Laurelhurst.

King County joins community leaders, parents, and youth on work to end racial disparity in juvenile justice system

“It is imperative that [we create] a new paradigm that moves us away from further criminalizing our children – especially youth of color – and moves King County towards creating equitable opportunities for all,” said King County Councilmember Larry Gossett. “Our history consists of watershed moments where it’s been more important for us to change; this is one of those moments.”

King County Executive Dow Constantine joined with Superior Court Presiding Judge Susan Craighead and members of the King County Council to announce members of a countywide steering committee charged with recommending solutions to a growing racial disparity in the regional juvenile justice system. It is the largest and most diverse group King County has ever assembled to act on juvenile justice issues.

“Racial disparity has no place in our justice system, especially not in a system responsible for the well-being of our youth,” said Executive Constantine. “Making the system impervious to the mostly unacknowledged, but nevertheless real biases that each of us carries with us is a tall order, and will require the partnership of everyone in our community."

“There is an urgent need to redefine how the juvenile justice system works,” said Judge Craighead. “Lasting and effective reform depends on collaborative, community-informed actions to end racial disproportionalities in school discipline, arrest, and detention rates.”

Among the members of the Juvenile Justice Equity Steering Committee are parents, youth, mental-health and grassroots leaders. They are teaming up with the heads of school districts, law enforcement agencies and courts from across the County, including Seattle Police Department Chief Kathleen O'Toole, Highline School District Superintendent Susan Enfield, and Juvenile Court Judge Wesley Saint Clair. The panel includes youth who have experienced juvenile detention themselves, youth mentors, a foster parent and community-based advocates fighting to dismantle the school-to-prison pipeline by increasing effective alternatives to school suspensions and youth detention. Read more


Operation Nightwatch

Van donationEach year, the King County Council donates vans from Metro's Vanpool to local cities and nonprofit organizations to provide transportation for low-income, elderly, youth and disabled residents. The vans are part of a fleet of county vehicles that have been 'retired' after exceeding a certain number of miles.

This spring, I had the opportunity to donate a retired van to Operation Nightwatch. Operation Nightwatch provides food and shelter nightly for 150 homeless adults in downtown Seattle, housing for 24 low-income, formerly homeless or housing vulnerable seniors (age 62 and older), and provides assistance to unsheltered homeless people surviving outside. They will be using their van to transport homeless adults to shelter late at night, and to transport low-income seniors for grocery shopping, healthcare appointments, and enrichment activities.


Elementary School Students at the County Council

Elementary School Students at the County CouncilI was honored to host 18 girls and boys from Martin Luther King Jr. and Emerson Elementary Schools during their recent visit to the County Council. The 4th and 5th grade students visited the Council to get hands-on understanding of how the Council works as well as learn how their Council serves constituents. The youth learned about the Council, met with staff, and toured the Council Chambers. I had the opportunity to have lunch with the students and talk with them about government-local and national and hear their views on what the Council should address. A special thank you to the staff, Ms. Vallerie Fisher and Mr. Michael Melonson for bringing their students for a day at the Council.


ORCA LIFT Reduced fare

Image: Orca Lift program

I was a proud prime sponsor of the legislation creating the low-income fare, the new ORCA LIFT reduced fare program to make public transportation more affordable for those who need it most. The creation of the low-income fare has been 3 years in the making. I am excited King County is committed to bus service for all. Thank you to the members of the Low Income Fare Advisory Committee for the hard work they put into recommending the creation of a low income fare. The ORCA LIFT fare can be used on Metro Transit buses, Sound Transit Link light rail, the Seattle Streetcar, King County Water Taxi and Kitsap Transit buses. You can apply for the ORCA LIFT program at Public Health - Seattle & King County and selected social service agencies including these locations in District 2: Seattle Vocational Institute, Rainier Community Service Office, King County Juvenile Detention, and the Rainier Beach Community Center. See a list of enrollment locations here.

The reduced fare on an ORCA card is valid for 24 months and the reduced fare for King County Metro buses is $1.50 per trip any time of day, for one- or two-zone travel; Sound Transit Link light rail is $1.50; Seattle Streetcar is $1.50. Click here for additional information

Read the OpEd I co-authored with Councilmembers Phillips and McDermott:
A transit option for those who depend on public transportation


What’s Happening in District 2

It’s summer in King County! This time of year reveals beautiful landscapes and local events that make King County a fantastic place to live. Here are a few events throughout the district you may enjoy.

Pista sa Nayon
Sunday, July 26, 2015
9am – 8pm
Seward Park
Amphitheater
5902 Lake Washington Blvd S. Seattle 98118

Pista sa Nayon is a one-day festival celebrating the very best of being Filipino. Pista fills Seattle's Seward Park Amphitheater with food, information, and arts & crafts booths, live entertainment, basketball tournament and children’s games. It is a fun event with something for the entire family to enjoy. For more information www.pista.org

Umoja African American Heritage Festival
July 31-August 2nd
11am-8pm daily
Judkins Park
2150 S Norman St Seattle 98144

The festival and parade is a three-day festival includes musical entertainment of all varieties. The purpose of the festival and parade is to highlight the history and countless contributions of African-Americans locally, regionally, nationally and internationally. It is a celebration that gives people for all over Washington and the northwest an opportunity to experience the rich African heritage and culture of the region.
More information www.umojafestnw.com

University District Farmers Market
Saturdays, 8am - 1pm
University Heights Center, South Grounds

The award winning University District Farmers Market is open year round and a collaboration between the University at Buffalo, the surrounding South Campus neighborhoods and local organizations to promote wellness and community sustainability through the availability of fresh produce and locally grown food while promoting local entrepreneurs. For more information http://ourheights.org/farmersmarket/ or contact the NFMA at (206) 632-5234 or email nfma@seattlefarmersmarkets.org

National Night Out
Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Night Out” is a national Crime Prevention event. It is designed to heighten crime prevention awareness, increase neighborhood support in anti-crime efforts, and unite our communities. It is a great chance to learn about crime prevention, while also celebrating your community and spending time with your neighbors.

Skyway Health & Safety Fair
Saturday, August 29. 2015
10am-2pm
Skyway Fire District 20
Fire Training Center, 12424 76th Ave. S. Seattle

The Health & Safety Fair will feature informational booths, community entertainment, back-pack give away, and other exciting activities. For more information Flyer for Health & Safety Fair


First Hill Streetcar Construction

Construction of the city of Seattle’s  First Hill Streetcar is complete. Delivery of the streetcars is behind schedule, but several vehicles are now nearing completion, with initial deliveries expected in December and the entire fleet expected to be ready for operation in late 2015. Check the First Hill Streetcar  website for updates.

The First Hill Streetcar is funded by the city of Seattle and will operate mostly in District 2 with ten stations along S Jackson Street, 14th Avenue S, Yesler Way, and Broadway, between Occidental in Pioneer Square and Denny on Capitol Hill.  The system will be operated by King County Metro, Monday through Saturday from 5 a.m. until 1 a.m.  On Sundays and holidays it will run from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m.  The fare will be the same as that for Metro buses.  ORCA cards and transfers will be accepted.


Expansion of the County’s Mental Health Recovery Model

I have always been in support of services and adequate treatment for those living with mental illness and I am proud the King County Council gave its unanimous support for the expansion of the County’s successful Mental Health Recovery Model to include substance abuse services.

In the past, too many County residents battling mental illness received a jail cell instead of a treatment bed. King County has created a new paradigm in assisting the mentally ill. The establishment of a behavioral health component is a welcome addition to the program. The legislation adopted by the Council will continue the current successful recovery model for mental illness and expand the framework to include substance abuse treatment.


50th Anniversary of the 1964 Civil Rights Act

On July 2, 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act into law. This summer, marks the 50th Anniversary of the enactment of this historic legislation. The act was initially called for by President John F. Kennedy in his civil rights speech of June 11, 1963, following a series of protests by African Americans, including the Birmingham Campaign in May of 1963. During his speech, President Kennedy requested legislation “giving all Americans the right to be served in facilities which are open to the public – hotels, restaurants, theaters, retail stores, and similar establishments”, as well as “greater protection for the right to vote.”

While civil rights leaders felt essential provisions of the act were not included, such as protection against police brutality, discrimination in private employment, or granting the Justice Department authority to initiate desegregation or job discrimination lawsuits, it did enable the U.S. Attorney General to join in lawsuits against state governments for operating segregated school systems, and other provisions.
Passage of the Civil Rights Act stands as one of the major milestones in our nation’s history, raising the level of consciousness, equality, and humanity for all during the past 50 years. However, the work that began 50 years ago is unfinished. Let our commitment for justice and equality for all redouble as we move forward.

King County  commemorated the 1964 Civil Rights Act with a lunch time discussion on the historic passage of the Civil Rights Bill of 1964 and the impact it has had on the country and the county workplace over the last 50 years. I was joined by County Executive Dow Constantine for this important conversation.

LarryGossett

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Larry Gossett

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larry.gossett@kingcounty.gov

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In the community

Read my Seattle Times OpEd: Economic recovery has left African Americans behind

Visit with Congressman John Lewis
Congressman John Lewis, Mrs. Gossett and Councilmember Larry Gossett.
It was an honor to once again spend some time with Congressman John Lewis, a “Living Legend” in America’s struggle to end segregation and create the “Beloved Community” of Dr. King. Lewis marched with Dr. King and spoke at the legendary “March on Washington.” Since joining Congress, he has often been called "the conscience of the Congress.”

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