On the Issues
Safe Place is a national outreach and prevention program helping young people in need of immediate safety. Safe Place designates locations in communities as "Safe Place Locations". Those locations commit to providing help to youth in crisis. Kathy worked to get Safe Place started in King County and have all King County Metro buses, all King County libraries and many other locations designated as "Safe Places". Any youth in crisis can request assistance from a Metro bus driver, a librarian or anyone at any designated location and within 45 minutes, a safe place coordinator will arrive to provide assistance.
Oftentimes, a citizen's first experience with the government is when they have to dial 9-1-1. They deserve the right to expect a quick response. Unfortunately, the sheriff's office is often the first to receive cuts during a recession. In the last budget, Kathy successfully fought to add 2 new patrol sheriff's deputies and restore 11 deputies in the sheriff's helicopter and marine units that were cut during the recession. She believes that the unincorporated areas should have the same response time and level of service as cities.
Waste to Energy
This year, Kathy hosted two symposiums on waste to energy, which is a landfill alternative that is very popular in Europe and is becoming increasingly popular in America. These waste to energy facilities reduce energy costs and are less harmful to the environment than landfills. You can read more about her work on the development of a waste to energy facility for King County here: http://www.seattleweekly.com/news/the-passionate-fight-over-trash-in-king-county/
The Seattle-King County Board of Health recently tried to adopt new fees and annual inspections for all septic system owners in King County. Kathy was the primary opponent on the Board of Health. This unnecessary and expensive proposal would have greatly hurt residents, so Kathy worked with other opponents of the proposal to hold multiple meetings throughout the County for citizens and property rights advocates to express their concerns. Through these meetings, the public health department heard from hundreds of residents opposing this fee. We were able to prevent this fee increase from being implemented. Kathy is also working with a coalition in Olympia advocating for a long-term solution in state law to prevent this proposal from coming up again.
State law requires counties to annex population centers into cities, which means King County's tax base to fund projects in unincorporated areas has diminished substantially in the past 20 years. This means that funding to maintain infrastructure is greatly inadequate. Kathy participated in the Bridges and Roads taskforce in 2016, which sought to find creative ways to save money and develop a more equitable mechanism to fix the County's failing roadway system. Funding critical infrastructure projects was one of Kathy's top priorities in the last budget update and she was able to secure an additional $4 million in roads maintenance funding.
King County Comprehensive Plan
The state Growth Management Act requires counties to approve a guiding policy document for land use and development regulations, called the Comprehensive Plan. Every four years, the King County Council approves major updates to that document. The latest major update was completed in the fall of 2016. Kathy's goals in comprehensive land use planning are to:
- Make the 700+ page document shorter and easier to understand;
- Prioritize economic development for rural and unincorporated areas;
- Protect property rights; and
- Remove policies that negatively impact unincorporated areas.
Kathy has had great success in her time on the Council achieving these goals and advocating for policy changes to better serve King County residents.