King County Funds Task Force To Get Guns from Domestic Abusers (video)

King County Council voted unanimously to set up a regional team to enforce court orders that require domestic abusers to surrender their guns. Cedar River Group served as facilitator of a regional work group that recommended this action. See also KOMO News article.

Executive Constantine submits proposal to help get guns out of the hands of domestic violence abusers  The King County Executive’s funding request to Council includes four new positions in the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office and two in the County Sheriff’s Office that would help form the core of a regional team to enforce Orders to Surrender Weapons. The team was recommended by the Domestic Violence Protection Orders Work Group, which Cedar River Group facilitated.

Fare review: King County Executive proposes to change regular adult fare to a flat $2.75  The County Executive submitted a proposal to King County Council to change Metro’s adult fares to a $2.75 flat fee. This was recommended by the ORCA Fare Policy Forum, which Cedar River Group facilitated.

How do you improve outcomes for Seattle students of color? KUOW radio interviewed Kristin Bailey-Fogarty, Vice Principal of Thornton Creek Elementary and a Co-Chair of the Mayor’s Education Summit Advisory Group, about the advisory group’s recommendations. The interview was carried by national NPR programs “Morning Edition” and “All Things Considered.”

A plan to fix Seattle student achievement gaps: teacher diversity, international schools – The Mayor’s Education Summit Advisory Group released 18 recommendations for ways the city, school district and other organizations can work together to ensure academic success for all students, especially for African American/black students and other students of color. Cedar River Group served as the Advisory Group’s facilitator.

Remodel gives new life to Beacon Hill’s Pacific Tower – Historic Pacific Tower atop Seattle’s Beacon Hill has been revitalized as a home to Seattle Central College’s health education center and other nonprofits. Cedar River Group serves as “partnership builder” for the effort.

Build affordable housing or pay fees, Seattle task force recommends for developers – A headline strategy of Seattle’s mayor and his housing affordability committee would require developers to build affordable homes or pay fees in exchange for relaxed zoning restrictions. The mayor announced his housing affordability plan based on the work of the 28-member Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda Advisory Committee.

Cleaner air moves Pierce County, Tacoma off polluters list – U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says that Tacoma and Pierce County are now in attainment of federal clean air standards for fine particulates. The Puget Sound Clean Air Agency had found that the pollution came mostly from wood-burning stoves and fireplaces. Cedar River Group facilitated a stakeholder task force that identified strategies to promote changes in burn bans and residents’ use of stoves/fireplaces that would lead to cleaner air.

Seattle Children’s Receives $5.56 Million Grant from Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to Pilot Coordinated Care Program – The grant will enable Children’s to test Pediatric Partners in Care, a program aimed at improving health outcomes and reducing costs of care for disabled children with multiple medical issues. The program includes 3,000 patients in King and Snohomish counties.

Mayor Murray announces his $15 wage plan – Seattle’s mayor proposed a phased-in $15/hour minimum wage on May 1, 2014, based on the recommendations of the mayor’s Income Inequality Advisory Committee. Cedar River Group served as the advisory committee’s facilitator.

Big lease for Pacific Tower sets stage for Seattle Central health-training center – The Washington State Department of Commerce and the Public Development Authority for Pacific Tower signed a 30-year lease agreement in November 2013 to create a “community health college and innovation center” at the building, which is on Seattle’s Beacon Hill. Cedar River Group worked pro bono to help Seattle Community Colleges, community-based organizations, neighborhood groups, legislators and state agencies develop and reach agreement on this proposal.

Regional Advisory Council launches cooperative planning for Eastside Rail Corridor  – The Regional Advisory Council unanimously approved and signed recommendations to jointly develop the Eastside Rail Corridor as a multiuse “corridor for the ages.” Cedar River Group facilitated the meetings of the council, which was made up of executive-level representatives of each corridor owner and easement holder (King County, Sound Transit, City of Kirkland, City of Redmond, and Puget Sound Energy).

Executive’s budget proposes Regional Veterans Initiative to connect veterans and families wikth needed services – King County Executive Dow Constantine announced the RVI as part of his 2014 budget. The initiative will improve coordination of federal, state and community services to better connect veterans and their families with services they need. Cedar River Group served as writer for the report on the initiativeís planning phase.

Municipal League’s Ellis Award Recognizes Metro Regional Transit Task Force – The Municipal League has awarded the 2011 James R. Ellis Regional Leadership Award to the Metro Regional Transit Task Force, for which Cedar River Group served as facilitator. This award honors individuals and organizations for significant leadership in the examination of regional public policy problems. The King County Executive’s news release quotes Bob Drewel, Executive Director of the Puget Sound Regional Council, on the task force’s significance: “The task force has set a new benchmark for how we can collaborate on solutions to the most urgent challenges facing our region.”

Metro Transit: A chance for good sense to guide service cuts – Kathy Elias, co-chair of the Municipal League of King County, writes in Crosscut that the Regional Transit Task Force is an example of “smart, thoughtful people doing what is right.” She notes that the task force report repreesents a major shift in policy, and that all 28 members of the task force were in agreement about the new course for Metro Transit. Other news articles highlighted the task force’s recommendations that Metro focus on productivity (Seattle PI and Issaquah Press), the need for stable funding sources (Bellevue Reporter), and the need for clear guidelines (SnoValley Star). John Howell, Cedar River Group partner, was the task force’s facilitator. The task force presented its recommendations to the King County Council and County Executive on November 8, 2010

Getting kids off to a good start – Seattle Times Columnist Jerry Large writes that the just-released Washington State Early Learning Plan puts “what we know about building a strong foundation for children into practice . . . .” Cedar River Group facilitated the multi-agency process of developing the plan, including a management team, an advisory council, a 36-person steering committee and five work groups. We also served as the primary drafter of the plan and reviewed several thousand public comments.

Memo to Mayor McGinn’s staff – Cedar River Group partner John Howell and co-author Bob Royer write in Crosscut with candid and constructive tips, staffer-to-staffer, for the staff of new Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn. Based on their experience in the administration of Charles Royer, which began in 1978, John’s and Bob’s timeless advice includes “Work hard to keep your boss in touch with the [City] Council,” and “Avoid owning success,” among other small gems.

Hearing from the People: Lessons at the intersection of sustainability and social justice – American Institute of Architects Seattle’s  Fall ’09 “Forum” article by Cedar River Group partner Tom Byers and Trang Tu of Trang D. Tu Consulting describes our work in helping to develop “green” housing options for seasonal farm workers. Led by the Seattle Archdiocesan Housing Authority and Mithun Architects, the project team developed the designs based on discussions with farm worker advocates and growers about what their current needs are for housing. The team will further refine the designs based on the advice of farm workers and growers who will use the units during the Spring 2010 growing season.

Guest Commentary/Washington State Ferries: System on firmer footing for the future – An Everett Herald column by Senator Mary Margaret Haugen describes the State Legislature’s recent actions to improve the ferry system. She notes: “Moreover, we will see a return of $1,398 for every dollar spent on a two-year study by the Cedar River Group that identified ways to save costs over the course of the ferries’ long-range plan.”

More seniors using vehicles as shelter – This article about seniors who are reduced to living in their cars refers to the senior housing needs assessment study that Cedar River Group conducted for Seattle and King County agencies. “A King County/city of Seattle study released in February predicted the number of poor seniors will double by 2025, said Stephen Norman, executive director of King County Housing Authority.” The article includes a sidebar with key points from the study.

Study of energy use by low-income residents demonstrates benefits of green building: High Point residents spend at least $200 less per year on water and energy – Cedar River Group’s study of the beneifts of green building in a Seattle Housing Authority building is featured in SHA’s newsletter. The article quotes Tom Byers of Cedar River Group: “The thing that struck me most was the realization that three elements will be needed to achieve the nation’s goals for conservation and greenhouse gas reduction: 1) capital investment by property owners and developers; 2) day to day actions on the part of those who live and work in the buildings; and 3) wise public policies that bring these forces into alignment.”

Pierce County Housing Affordability Task Force receives VISION 2020 Award – The Puget Sound Regional Council honored the Pierce County Housing Affordability Task Force with a VISION 2020 Award for 2008. The PSRC commended the Task Force for “[bringing] together diverse interests to identify a broad range of solutions, from financial tools and incentives, to inexpensive building design.”

Indian Health: Cuts continue a shameful legacy – A letter to the editor from Cedar River Group partner Tom Byers, published in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer (scroll down to the 4th letter), urges Congress to continue funding the Seattle Indian Health Board and its sister agencies nationwide–despite the President’s proposed cut. A recent study by the Seattle-based Urban Indian Health Institute showed that diabetes, cardiovascular disease and depression are near epidemic among urban Indians. The Seattle Indian Health Board relies on the federal funding to provide medical services and train physicians. The government needs to fulfill the obligations it took on when signing treaties with the tribes.

Coverage for All Kids – On March 13, 2007, Governor Christine Gregoire signed landmark legislation to create a new, unified Children’s Health Program to ensure that every child in Washington has health care coverage and a “medical home” by 2010. In partnership with the Children’s Alliance, Solid Ground and other stakeholders, Cedar River Group helped to shape progressive features of the bill that will combine several different children’s health programs into one, streamline eligibility and administration, and link provider payment to services that have proven effective in improving health status. The bill extended care to 38,000 more children in the state who were uninsured when it took effect.

Bands of Green, a report originally authored by Cedar River Group and updated by our firm in 2006 at the behest of the Seattle Parks Foundation, is featured on the front page of the February 12, 2007, Seattle Post-Intelligencer. The plan calls for Seattle to develop a green network of trails, boulevards and linear parks for the city by 2025. The report, with more than 50 specific projects touching nearly every Seattle neighborhood, is supported by city officials and the editorial board of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

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Bands of Green