King County Councilmember Larry Gossett
I am proud to represent the residents of District 2. I continue to work on many issues impacting you: disproportionality in our juvenile and adult criminal justice systems, affordable housing, homelessness programs, transit/ transportation options, and improving services to the unincorporated areas like Skyway. I am chair of the Law and Justice Committee and Vice Chair of Government Accountability and Oversight. You can find video of committee meetings online at: https://mkcclegisearch.kingcounty.gov/Calendar. As always, I welcome your comments and suggestions. Please email me or call my office at 206-477-1002, I enjoy hearing from you.
Via to Transit
District 2 has a new transit option connecting to Link light rail and buses at the Mount Baker, Columbia City, Othello, Rainier Beach stations. Via to Transit is a new, pilot on-demand service that connects riders to and from five transit hubs in southeast Seattle and Tukwila. People who live, work, or go to school within the specified service areas can download the app and request a ride from Via to Transit to get to one of five transit hubs: Mount Baker, Columbia City, Othello, Rainier Beach, and Tukwila International Blvd. From there, riders can catch Link light rail or access one of 14 bus routes. The new service is brought to you by King County Metro in partnership with Sound Transit and the City of Seattle for a 12-month pilot period, ending in April 2020.
Metro understands that getting to transit can be challenging, whether you have limited options for accessing bus or light rail stations through public transportation or the spots at your park & ride are full too early in the morning. Via to Transit gets you to one of five stations to catch Link light rail or 14 buses to get you to your destination, with greater ease and peace of mind. Cash fare payment and paper transfers are not accepted, this is a app based program. This is one of many services Metro is testing to learn how we can serve you better—and I want to know how it's working for you! Email me with your comments or suggestions.
Click here for more information.
Expansion of Senior Citizens/ Disabled Property Tax Reduction Program
The Governor has signed legislation expanding the qualifying income thresholds for the property tax exemption and deferral programs for low-income senior citizens, individuals with disabilities, and veterans. These changes will take effect for taxes collected next year, 2020. Rather than being based on set income amounts, the new income requirements will be based on a percentage of each county’s median household income. This is good news for those residing in King County. The previous income requirement to qualify of $40,000 or less in annual income, will now be replaced with an income level equal to 65% of the county median income. King County property owners can apply for taxes payable in 2020 as early as January, 2020. Please note, you will need your completed (2019) tax return prior to applying.
For more information, please visit: https://www.kingcounty.gov/depts/assessor/TaxRelief.aspx
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.
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 Fall season and there are many exciting events in District 2. I hope you and your family will find the events below helpful.
Employment Readiness Workshop
Tuesday, September 24, 2019
1 pm - 5:30 pm
Atlantic Street Center
5150 Cloverdale Pl Seattle, WA 98118
Atlantic Street Center offers services for help finding employment, accessing educational opportunities or recruiting assistance to help you reach your goal. Volunteer employment coach will be available by appointment or drop hours. Call Tamera Cook at (206) 723-1301 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
4th Seattle Urban Book Expo
Saturday, October 5, 2019
12 pm - 5 pm
Northwest African American Museum
2300 S Massachusetts St, Seattle, Washington 98144
Come enjoy the literary scene in Seattle, S.U.B.E. Style! The Seattle Urban Book Expo returns with its most ambitious event to date. Join the fun to celebrate black and brown authors, and show their literary projects on a national stage. For the general public, attendance is free. Visit us at www.seattleurbanbookexpo.com for more information. There will also be an event at the Central Library, on Thursday, October 3 at 7pm featuring speakers will include Nikkita Oliver, Martine Kalaw, Rosa Booker, Dr. Marcia Tate Arunga, and moderator Dr. Joye Hardiman. All are welcome to attend.
Rainier Beach Urban Farm & Wetlands Community Volunteer Service Day
Saturday, October 5, 2019
10 am -2 pm
Rainier Beach Urban Farm and Wetlands
5513 S Cloverdale St, Seattle, Washington 98118
Join the Friends of Rainier Beach Urban Farm & Wetlands as they work on various projects to maintain the farm and grow food for our community. Community Volunteer day happen every the 1st Saturday of each month and there is no cost to participate and we will be open rain or shine. For more information email: email@example.com
Thursday, October 17, 2019
10 am -11 am
5031 University Way NE Seattle, WA
Spend your Thursday mornings with University Heights! Each third Thursday of the month, your neighbors get together and work on telling the stories of their lives. Stop by and bring a friend. All are welcome! This is a ticketed event: Our Pay-What-You-Can model allows our events to be accessible to the entire community! They have no minimum or maximum amount suggested, they simply ask you to pay what you can. For more information visit: https://www.facebook.com/events/582304918903425/
Tired of renting? There is money available for Down Payment Assistance on your next home! Here's your chance to learn more. This is a free, five-hour seminar to help you meet the WA State Housing Finance Commission's education requirements. The Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle has partnered with HUD and Equal Housing Opportunity to provide Homebuyer Education seminars in an effort to assist those on the journey to homeownership. REGISTRATION REQUIRED: Call 206.461.3792 or visit https://urbanleague.org/homeownership/ There is another seminar on November 16 from10 am – 3:30 pm, if you miss this one.
Columbia City Harvest Market
Saturday, November 2, 2019
10 am - 2 pm
Columbia City Farmer’s Market
3631 S Edmunds St. Seattle, WA 98118
On November 2nd, the Columbia City Farmers Market RETURNS so you can stock up on all your favorite autumn essentials! Squash, apples, hearty greens, all the potatoes you can ask for, you'll have endless options for cozy fall meals. Stay tuned for updates as we get closer to this one day special, which will take place where you usually find us, on 37th Ave S & S Edmunds St, just off Rainier Ave S.