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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

Summer is here! 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 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. Come out this summer for the “Ready, Set, Go…Cook!” annual chef contest on Saturday, August 13. The contest is simple, but challenging. All ingredients must come from the farmers market for under $20, and there are three secret ingredients from the U-District Food Bank thrown in to challenge the chefs. For more information, visit or contact the NFMA at (206) 632-5234.

Columbia City Farmers Market
Wednesdays, May to October 2016
3 pm - 7 pm
37th Ave S & S Edmunds St, just off Rainier Ave S., in South Seattle, 98118

Columbia City Farmers’ market is a part of the Neighborhood Farmers Market Alliance founded in 1993. The market offers fresh produce, local venders, and entertainment. Visit for additional information.

James and Janie Washington Foundation Third Friday Sit and Sips
June 17, 2016
6 pm - 8 pm
1816 26th Avenue, Seattle 98122

Come hear from Ron Friedman. Ron is the son of Herbert Friedman who escaped the Nazi occupation of Vienna at age 14 aboard the Kindertransport. This event, and the ensuing years before Herbert’s emigration to America, were the defining moments of his life.

Only 10 trains escaped before the Nazis ended the Kindertransport. Herbert was lucky to be among them. Nine out of ten of these children never saw their parents again. “It is important to remember an event such as the Holocaust. It is a reminder to us all of the evils of bigotry and humiliation of others. Unfortunately, there are many holocausts in the world—both big and small—which have occurred since, and continue to occur. And it is left to ensuing generations to resonate the lessons of history.” – Ron Friedman

Arrangements courtesy of the Holocaust Center for Humanity, Seattle. Your RSVP per event is appreciated. Be sure to let us know that you and your guests are coming. Space is limited.

East Precinct Community Picnic
Saturday, July 16, 2016
1 pm - 4 pm
Barnett Park, 352 Martin Luther King Jr Way, Seattle 98122

Picnics in the Precincts are fun activities held every year that provide an opportunity for the business and residential communities to come together and enjoy a day of celebration with their local police. The Picnics include booths hosted by groups and agencies that engage in crime prevention activities, and/or provide services in the community. Free and open to the public.

Pista sa Nayon Festival
Sunday, July 31, 2016
9 am – 8 pm
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, live entertainment, information/arts and crafts booths and children's games. It's a fun event with something for the entire family to enjoy. Contact: Cindy Cawaling at

Umoja Fest
Friday, August 5 – Sunday August 7, 2016
11 am – 8 pm
Judkins Park, 2150 S Norman St., Seattle 98144

Umoja Fest brings the soul to Seafair! Celebrating the best of the African American community and African diaspora culture in the northwest featuring music, food, culture and family fun. Attractions include the Africatown Heritage Parade, Children’s Day & Family Fun Village, Soul N the Park, Roots Stage, Heal the Hood Basketball Tournament & Hip Hop 4 Peace stage. Enjoy delicious flavors of the African diaspora from restaurants and food trucks, vendor marketplace and community resource fair. Contact Wyking Garrett at for more information.

Caribbean Sea Fest
Sunday, August 14, 2016
12 pm - 9 pm
Seward Park 5902 Lake Washington Blvd S., Seattle 98118

The purpose of the Seattle Caribbean Festival is to bring together the culturally and linguistically diverse members of the Caribbean Community in the Pacific Northwest along with those interested in learning and experiencing Caribbean cultural expressions to share in a day of cultural performances, cultural expression, and cultural exchange. The secondary purpose, and the reason for holding it at the Seward Park Amphitheater, is to encourage community members to connect with the natural environment. We will have a green theme throughout. This is a family-oriented event; children are most welcome. It will be grassroots, vibrant, and participatory.

Contact Councilmember Gossett

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