King County Councilmember Larry Gossett
I am happy to start the year off with excitement for representing the residents of District 2. This year, I will Chair the Law and Justice Committee and Vice Chair Government Accountability and Oversight, and serve on the following committees. As always, I welcome your comments and suggestions. Please email me or write my office, I enjoy hearing from you.
Eddie Rye, Jr.’s Lifetime of Community Activism Recognized with MLK Medal of Distinguished Service
I had the honor of recognizing Eddie Rye, Jr. for his continuing work for communities of color, presenting him with the Martin Luther King, Jr. Medal of Distinguished Service. Rye has been called an activist and agitator, but his impact in support of civil and human rights has been felt throughout the region. Rye has had a role in renaming streets, renaming King County, and changing the logo of the county to reflect the image of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
For over half a century, Eddie Rye has devoted his life to not only the equality of King County’s African-American Community, but all underserved and unrecognized communities of color. Eddie continues to be a persistent and consistent voice for equity in our region, and his impact on this region is felt every time you drive along Martin Luther King, Jr Way, visit El Centro de La Raza, or walk into the Martin Luther King, Jr. Courthouse. It’s fitting that a man who has worked to realize the dream of Dr. King is recognized with an award bearing King’s name.
Rye has served the community in a number of capacities; he was a director of the Central Area Motivation Program (CAMP), Chair of the Central Seattle Community Council Federation Housing Committee, which released one of the first reports on redlining in the Central Area, and a Co-Founder of the Pacific Northwest Chapter National Black Chamber of Commerce. But he is primarily known for his activism throughout King County and the Pacific Northwest.
Rye was one of the leaders in changing Empire Way, the street through what was then the predominately African-American Central Area neighborhood of Seattle, into Martin Luther King, Jr. Way. As a co-founder of the annual MLK Celebration at Garfield High School, Rye worked with Councilmember Gossett in gathering support for officially changing the name of King County to Martin Luther King, Jr. County, which occurred in 2005. He also joined the call to remove the crown logo that was the county’s logo and replace it with the image of America’s foremost civil rights leader. Rye helped occupy the old Beacon Hill School, which is now El Centro de La Raza. At one time he occupied the Seattle City Council Chamber, all to advance the cause of increased inclusion of African Americans—and all communities of color—in the political process. Let’s take time to honor Eddie Rye Jr. for his continuous service.
The annual presentation of the MLK Medal of Distinguished Service is the Council’s way of thanking those who have made a particularly strong impact on the county and to encourage others to renew their dedication to serve their community. This is the fourth year Councilmembers have recognized individuals in their districts who have answered the question asked by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.: “What are you doing for others?”
2018 Highlights with Councilmember Gossett
Metro Transit Updates
On March 23, 2019, the Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel will transition from joint bus-rail operations to rail-only operations to accommodate increased light rail train frequencies that will occur with the opening of Northgate Link in 2021 and East Link service to Bellevue and Overlake in 2023. This means the tunnel will become rail-only operations. With this change, Metro will introduce all boarding on 3rd Avenue and begin Metro’s new fare enforcement policy. All buses on Third Avenue will open for boarding at all doors, those paying with cash will board at the front of the bus. Those with an Orca can pay prior to boarding or once they board the bus. Most stops along Third Avenue have had Orca card readers added. At the stops where there is not an Orca card reader, Metro will have employees with scanners ready to help.
The new fare enforcement policy will begin on March 23, 2019, civil infractions for fare violations from King County District Court and sets up an alternative resolution process within Metro that offers reduced penalties and non-monetary options for resolving fare violations. Metro is required by King County policy to recover nearly a third of its operating costs from fare revenue. On Metro’s RapidRide bus service, customers often pay before they board, so fare enforcement officers board to check for a valid proof of payment. Fare enforcement officers typically issue a warning for the first offense, followed by a civil infraction for $124 for the second violation.Under the new program, infractions for second violations initially would be set at $50. Fines paid within 30 days could be further reduced by half.
Customers could resolve fare infractions through non-monetary options, such as:
- Performing community service at a nonprofit organization
- If eligible, enrolling into the ORCA LIFT reduced-fare program
For more information, click here.
Communities of Opportunity
King County and Seattle Foundation selected 27 nonprofit organizations that will help improve health, social and economic outcomes in the region. The total of $2.5 million in competitive grants will help confront startling racial inequities in King County. The community partners will achieve multiple goals, such as empowering small family businesses facing displacement, connecting youth of color with city leaders to prevent violence, and making it possible for more people of color to participate in the green economy.
This is the latest round of investments from Communities of Opportunity – a partnership between King County and Seattle Foundation – which is governed by leaders from community organizations, local governments, and philanthropies.
“We are setting a course for positive change by tapping into community expertise and supporting community priorities,” said Tony Mestres, President and CEO of Seattle Foundation. “This latest round of community investments holds true to our shared vision with King County to further civic engagement, advance community leadership and support community priorities.”
Communities of Opportunity is funded jointly through Seattle Foundation and Best Starts for Kids, a voter-approved initiative to promote healthier, more resilient children, youth, families, and communities in King County.
Here are a few examples of the partnerships funded by Communities of Opportunity grants:
- Casa Latina will work to develop and advocate for a Bill of Rights that better protects domestic workers and removes loopholes in employment laws that often exclude domestic workers.
- Federal Way Youth Action Team will expand its work to engage youth of color in policy making. This includes engaging city leaders to discuss vital issues with young people, including violence prevention approaches.
- Friends of Little Saigon received a capacity-building award to engage small family businesses to mitigate changes in the neighborhood and to strengthen Little Saigon in Seattle’s International District as a cultural hub for the larger Vietnamese population.
- Got Green will address disparities that often keep people of color from participating in the green economy internships and careers. This includes investing in fellowship programs to develop young leaders in the environmental justice movement.
- Here is a complete list of the systems and policy change grants. The 27 nonprofits that successfully competed for the Communities of Opportunity grants will work with partners, so a total of 50 nonprofits will contribute to the work.
Council Approves a Flat Fare for Metro Riders
The King County Council unanimously approved steps simplifying Metro Transit's complex fare structure to a flat $2.75 adult fare. The new fare plan eliminates a payment system that fluctuated between time and distance and could cost an adult rider between the ages 19-64 anywhere from $2.50 to $3.25 a ride. The new fare eliminates the Peak and Zone Fares for Single Adult Rate and does not affect the roughly 1 in 3 Metro riders who pay ORCA Lift—Metro’s low income fare program— or youth, senior, and disabled fares. The new fare structure will go into effect in July of 2018.
Dreamers Legislation Passes Unanimously
This week, the King County Council passed legislation calling on Congress to swiftly and comprehensively protect the legal status of thousands of Dreamers. The motion, passed 9-0, also directs King County’s federal government relations team to prioritize efforts in Congress to continue DACA protections. It also requests this team commence efforts to build a broad coalition of county officials nationwide. This heartless action from the White House punishes people who were raised, educated and contribute everyday to the only home they know--the United States. Congress must act to protect DREAMERS! A copy of the legislation is now being shared with Washington’s congressional delegation. For more information on the termination of the Dreamers Program and various resources, visit: https://www.aclu-wa.org/news/termination-program-dreamers-act-cruelty.
Councilmember Gossett featured on Prosecutor's Partners
Celebrating Black History Month: King County's Logo
Click here for information on the 10 year anniversary of the county logo
What’s Happening in District 2
It’s almost spring! With spring comes many district events I hope you can attend.
Rainier Beach Job & Resource Fair
Saturday, March 23, 2019
12:00pm – 2:00pm
Rainier Beach Community Center
8825 Rainier Avenue S, Seattle, WA 98118
In the Rainier Beach Neighborhood, we want to create access to employment resources for anyone searching for a job, career change, job training program or learn more about starting your own business. JOIN US and share your interest in how you like to support this event. Limited space for Human Resource Recruiters and Employment Readiness Exhibits register HERE. VENDORS: Apprenticeship, Employee Recruits and Resource Organization and Entrepreneurship Development. For more information and to register: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/rainier-beach-job-resource-fair-tickets-57149939006
University of Washington’s Cherry Blossom Run (5K)
Sunday, March 31, 2019
7am check, run begins at 8am
3501 NE 41st Street, Seattle, WA 98105
Join over 1,000 participants for PEAK bloom of UW cherry blossoms! Spring into action at the beautiful UW Center For Urban Horticulture and finish at Red Square. Then head into an amazing oasis of iconic cherry blossoms in The Quad. Hurry before they're gone! The Quad at UW possesses one of the nation's most stunning displays of cherry blossoms and is Seattle's most renowned display. Every year thousands of people come to the campus to view them. Don't miss out on this annual celebration! The Top 3 male and female finishers in respective age categories will earn exclusive "Legion of Bloom" award medals!* Don’t miss out on this annual celebration and one of Seattle’s most beautiful 5K runs! Commemorative medals are sold separately and Legion of Bloom medals will be awarded to the top finishers! Participant tech shirts are included with every registration. All proceeds benefit the UW Botanic Gardens. REGISTER TODAY!
Spring Movement for the Whole Family - Restorative Exercise
Thursday, Mar 28, 2019
University Heights, Room 108
5031 University Way NE, Seattle, WA 98105
A new weekly Restorative Exercise class on Thursdays from 11am to 12pm. Welcome to a playful exploration of restorative exercise and natural movement. Together we'll leverage & engage some often neglected muscles and ranges of joint motion. Class is free & open to the public. In partnership with NEST, UHeights is excited to offer a weekly Restorative Exercise program with instructor Erin Doty! Welcome to a playful exploration of restorative exercise and natural movement. Together we'll leverage and engage some often neglected muscles and ranges of joint motion. Befriend more opportunities for releasing stagnation, increasing movement and play with each step. Corrective exercises included are based on the work of biomechanist Katy Bowman. For more information: https://www.uheightscenter.org/events/thursdays-at-10-stitchery-5
Orientation: Become a Mentor
Saturday, April 13, 2019
Mt. Baker Park Presbyterian Church
3201 Hunter Blvd S, Seattle, Washington 98144
This half day session is hosted by Seattle CARES Mentoring Movement - SCMM. Learn what’s required to become a mentor. Volunteer four hours a month and help the next generation of Seattle youth succeed in high school and college; and go on to live balanced, productive and positive lives. Harsh and cruel experiences have led many Black children to have no hope for a bright future. The Seattle CARES Mentoring Movement seeks to dispel that notion by matching youth with mentors who take an active role in helping to shape their development. By mentoring a young person, you can help redirect the course of a young person's life. We ask for four hours of your time a month. Come to our orientation and we'll show you the way to become meaningfully involved in Seattle's Black community and most importantly, in the lives of our young. Seattle CARES is one of 58 affiliates of the National CARES Mentoring Movement. This model program has seen amazing results, and has placed more than 140,000 mentors in youth-serving organizations since it was founded in 2008.
NAAM’s Write on Writing Series Featuring VALERIE JARRETT
Monday, April 15, 2019
New Hope Baptist Church
124 21st Ave, Seattle, WA 98122
The Northwest African American Museum will host a book talk and book signing featuring Valerie Jarrett, the Senior Advisor to President Barack Obama on Monday, April 15, 2019 at 7pm. Jarrett will discuss and sign her newly-published memoir, Finding My Voice. This event is free and open to the public. This dynamic program is hosted in partnership with Elliott Bay Book Company and Seattle's New Hope Missionary Baptist Church. Visit http://www.naamnw.org/ for more information.