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Best Starts for Kids (BSK) Aims to Provide Equal Opportunities for All Children, Youth & Families

Brother's KeeperThank you to those who voted to pass Best Starts for Kids (BSK), a six-year levy King County voters passed on November 3, 2015. BSK is expected to raise approximately $65 million per year, and to invest those funds in prevention and early intervention to assure opportunities for all King County residents.

Community input continues to be at the heart of planning for the Best Starts for Kids initiative. So, we need to hear from you! As the plan begins to take shape,  we want you at the community conversations to hear more about the emerging framework and share your perspectives. 

Half of the revenue raised through BSK will be directed toward children under five years of age, pregnant women, and new parents. Research indicates the earlier we invest in the lives of infants, children and their families, the better the outcomes. There will also be funds targeting programs for children and youth ages five through twenty-four. Since human brain development continues throughout this time, it is critical to implement measures around mental health and substance abuse during this span.

There will also be funding for Communities of Opportunity (COO), a placed-based initiative to improve economic opportunities, safe neighborhoods, affordable housing, and healthy food, among other environmental factors. COO is a rather unique partnership between King County and The Seattle Foundation. Research indicates strongly that, yes, place matters, just as race matters in the equitable outcomes of residents. For more information on BSK please go to:

King County Metro Transit’s Long Range Plan

metroconnectsYou are invited to share your thoughts on Metro's long-range plan to create a seamless transit system that provides passengers with more fast, reliable options to get to more destinations.

Metro Transit officials created an online survey and will co-host a series of open houses with Sound Transit where residents can provide their thoughts on the draft of the plan - Metro Connects - that will set the course for what transportation will look like in 25 years as King County's population continues to grow. I want to hear your thoughts, ideas as we finalize the long-range plan that will shape the future of transportation in our region.

Metro Connects will be an atlas as we create an integrated transit system that provides more choices to get to more places on time. The new Link light rail that connects downtown Seattle to Capitol Hill and the University of Washington – with more frequent Metro bus service connecting more neighborhoods to high-capacity mass transit – is the model of an integrated system. Metro Connects will build on the progress that Metro and Sound Transit have made to create a more cohesive transportation network under Constantine, who is also Chair of Sound Transit.

Metro and Sound Transit co-hosted several open houses to get your input, but there is still time to let me know what you think of the plan. Feel free to email.

The input Metro receives from the online survey and open houses will help shape the final draft of the long-range plan that Executive Constantine will send to the King County Council this fall.

The draft of Metro Connects is based, in part, on feedback Metro received in 2015 during an extensive yearlong community outreach. Residents told Metro that they want more frequent, better-connected bus and light-rail service to more destinations, starting earlier and ending later each day. Metro Connects is the plan to deliver that service.

King County Takes on Racial Disproportionality in our Juvenile Justice System

In 2001, King County implemented the Juvenile Justice Operational Master Plan, or JJOMP. Its intent was to decrease the number of juveniles being detained in King County’s Youth Detention Center. While we were successful in drastically reducing the Average Daily Population (ADP) from approximately 200 in 2000, to our current ADP of approximately 60 youth, racial disproportionality increased in catastrophic ways.

For example, fifteen years ago, about 36 percent of youth in our detention facility were African American. Today, African American youth account for over 60 percent of the ADP. These numbers are beyond unacceptable, and call for a new paradigm shift in our system. As a result, in the fall of 2015 we convened the Juvenile Justice Equity Steering Committee (JJESC), a group of activists, organizers, and community members unlike any King County government has organized in the past. Many of the members of the JJESC represents our incarcerated juvenile population in terms of race, ethnicity, life experience, and cultural expertise.

While dismantling racial disparity is our top priority, it is just one part of a paradigm shift we are undertaking in our Juvenile Justice system. We need to stop criminalizing our youth, since studies show the longer and deeper a young person sinks into our system, the worse the outcome. This is not only counter to what our systems are SUPPOSED to do, it is counter to our stated principles of Equity and Social Justice. For more background information on this effort please visit:

Community input on our workgroups will be critical to our success! Please check for the time and place of the JJESC monthly meetings.

What’s Happening in District 2

Winter is upon us, but spring is on its way! There are a number of events throughout the district you may enjoy.

University District Farmers Market
Saturdays, year round
9 am - 2 pm
University Way NE (the "Ave"), between 50th & 52nd streets, Seattle, WA 98105
The award winning University District Farmers Market is a part of the Neighborhood Farmers Market Alliance founded in 1993. The University District Farmers Market is open year round and committed to supporting and strengthening Washington's small family farm businesses by creating and operating vibrant, successful neighborhood farmers markets. For more information, visit or contact the NFMA at (206) 632-5234.

Posing Beauty in African American Culture
April 29 - September 4, 2016
Daily, 6pm - 8pm
Northwest African American Museum, 2300 S. Massachusetts St. Seattle, WA 98144

This touring exhibition will run April 30- September 4, 2016 will examine the contested ways in which African and African American beauty has been represented in historical and contemporary contexts through a diverse range of media including photography, film, video, fashion, advertising and other forms of popular culture. The Posing Beauty is curated by Deborah Willis and organized by Curatorial Assistance, Pasadena, California. Visit for more information.

Celebration Set For King And Queen of Rainier Beach Sculpture Dedication and Block Party
Saturday, June 4, 2016
Corner of Rainier Ave S and 51st (Barton Place)

Please join the royal celebration in Rainier Beach for a block party and dedication of the neighborhood’s new king and queen chess sculptures. The dedication of two oversized cheese pieces were designed by South Seattle artist Peter Reiquam, who will also be in attendance.

The celebration of the king and queen will also pay tribute to Detective Cookie, long beloved within the community. Detective Cookie’s decade-old chess club. The club, which teaches the finer points of the age old game to youth and adults alike, meets weekly at both the Rainier Beach Library and the Rainier Beach Community Center. The celebration and block party will have free food, DJ, dance party, giant chess, Detective Cookie’s Chess Club, street chalk art, and cultural performances. Free and open to all.

Cesar Chavez Social Justice Festival
Saturday June 11, 2016
Cesar Chavez Park, 7th S. and S. Cloverdale in South Park.

You are invited to the Cesar Chavez Social Justice Festival celebrating the life and work of Cesar Chavez. This free festival will feature musical guest Tejano Music Hall of Famer Juan Barco and Chief Sealth High School Mariachi Aguilas, food speakers, and entertainment. For more information contact, Adrian Moroles at 206.790.0106.

One-On-One Computer Help
Monday, May 30, 2016
5:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Skyway Library, 12690 Renton Ave S. Seattle, WA 98178

Tech Tutor is available at the Skyway Library to answer questions about basic internet searches, how to set up an email account or use Microsoft Office. Help is available at the Skyway Library every Monday from 5-7pm. Free, call 206-772-5541.

West Hill/Skyway Community Service Area Community Meeting
Tuesday, May 31, 2016
7pm - 9pm
King County Fire District 20
12424 76th Ave South, Seattle, WA 98178

The 2016 Unincorporated Community Service Area (CSA) town hall and open houses in unincorporated King County bring together the local County Councilmember and representatives from the Executive, Sheriff and numerous other County departments to meet with local residents and discuss issues affecting local communities.

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