News about the East Precinct Safety Project

In brief: The East Precinct Safety project is a precinct-wide neighborhood movement to get extra Police help for our troubled neighborhoods. Last fall many of us attended the Council's budget hearings and successfully lobbied them to include our proposal in the budget. We then went through an extensive public process to arrive at the best use of the funds. Now we find the funds have been axed in the latest round of budget cuts)

Hope runs out for East Precinct Safety Funding

Seattle Times (3/26/04): "Hope runs out on plan for Capitol Hill bike cops"

 

 

Proposed Seattle Times Op-Ed article.

21st Avenue resident Michael Booth has written a draft of an OpEd article for the Seattle Times, in response to the Feb 27 Seattle Times article about the Safety Project.

Please read the draft of his article and E-mail him (MBooth@jsanet.com) with you comments/suggestions for the article. Please indicate if if you would like to co-sign the article. Please reply by 6PM on Wednesday March 10th.

Note that the OpEd piece was drafted before we learnt that our project was a victim of the latest budget cuts. Please indicate, in your comments to Michael, how we should address the budget cuts in our article.

Here are assorted thoughts, from East Precinct neighbors, on the articles/situation, and E-mails to/from Councilmembers

 

Newspaper articles:

a) about the proposed Safety Project

Capitol Hill Times article (3/3/04): " East Precinct safety project remains in limbo"

Seattle Times article (2/27/04): "Favoritism feared in plan to fight crime in precinct "

Seattle PI article (2/27/04): "Capitol Hill asks for more police: People living in neighborhood worried by crimes"

b) about the latest budget cuts, including cutting the Safety Project

Seattle PI article (3/6/04): "Nickels cuts $9.3 million more" (including "$400,000 for the East Precinct Public Safety study")

Seattle Times article (3/6/04): "Seattle weighs $9.3 million budget cut, loss of 20 jobs"

[You need to register to read the Seattle Times and Capitol Hill Times articles, reuslting in an occasional E-mail from them]



Official report on Jan 29 meeting, from Denise Harnly, Seattle Neighborhood Group

Minutes of January Meeting (PDF)

East Precinct Safety Project
January 29, 2004 Meeting Summary
Seattle Vocational Institute

Overview: Thirty- five residents and representatives of community groups and block watches from the Central area, Capitol Hill and Broadway neighborhoods met to prioritize possible solutions to address public safety issues with one time funding of $430,000. The previous week, 43 residents attended the meeting and listed the problems, solutions and possible funding sources for continuing the project priorities.

The participants identified the following as top priorities for possible funding:

1) Fund a grant writer/fundraiser whose priorities would be to seek permanent funding for:
· Permanent bike squad
· Blockwatch support
· Street Outreach Services
2)
Fund increased hours for additional bike squad to focus on hotspots in the East Precinct.
3)
Fund community picnics.
4)
Increase funding for the Street Outreach Services.

Meeting Summary:
Grouping of similar ideas and vote:

Community Building (27)
· Community Picnics (9)
· Revitalize /support blockwatches i.e. $ for newsletters (7)
· Additional Crime Prevention Coordinators in East Precinct (2)
· Parks Department:
· Parks Department Summer Programs for Youth (3)
· Parks Department Youth Internship Program (2)
·Youth Parks Program ­ Park Corps (2)
· Develop business corridors- organizing business (2)

Policing: (22)
· Bike squad (11)
· Safety ambassadors ­ like the downtown model (6)
· Evening hours for CPT (2)
· Police emphasis focusing on Mini Marts (3)

Human Services (12)
· Increase money for Street Outreach Services (7)
· Money for Drug Treatment (4)
· Expand Donut Dialogues (1)

Next Steps: Many participants felt that they wanted to discuss further and expand upon the top priorities. There will be one more meeting:
Tuesday, February 10th
Seattle Vocational Institute
Room 212 ­ 6:30-8:00 pm

The plan will be presented to the Public Safety Committee on Tuesday, February 24th. (tentative date).



(reprinted from the 2/4/04 Capitol Hill Times)

East Precinct safety project in limbo

By Doug Schwartz, 01/28/2004

Last fall, when, during the 2004 budget process the City Council earmarked $430,000 for public safety in the East Precinct, there was hope among Capitol Hill safety activists that months of effort would pay off. After spending most of the summer bringing the recurring problems taking place around Cal Anderson Park to the attention of the city's elected officials it appeared a tangible result had been obtained.

The many voices who put the issue of Cal Anderson Park under the council's radar were hoping to establish a fully dedicated bicycle patrol at the East Precinct. When the City Council directed the money for the East Precinct, the bike squad seemed closer at hand. Included in that total, $30,000 was targeted to fund the Capitol Hill case manager position held by Randy Nelson. Nelson, who works for Street Outreach Services, is highly regarded for his work with street youth and has the virtually unanimous support of the community.

But not so fast. While still a possibility, the fully dedicated bicycle patrol is not a sure thing.

In November, the council issued a Statement of Legislative Intent, which put the money in reserve and directed the Seattle Neighborhood Group and the Office of Policy and Management (OPM) to "develop and execute a program to increase public safety in the East Precinct." The intention was to include the participation of the various community stakeholders within the East Precinct, gather information and input and then present this information to the City Council on Feb. 17. A decision by the council to release the money would, presumably, be made then.

Additionally, the funding itself is by no means a sure thing. In 1999, the city started charging City Light rate payers for lighting street lights. The state Supreme Court ruled this practice illegal, creating a $6 million hole in the budget the mayor signed last fall. As a result, there has been a freeze on all new funding until the issue is resolved. All the money could be released to fund the East Precinct public safety project, or a smaller portion of it.

But it is possible that, despite the City Council's stated intent last November, no funding for the safety project will be provided at all.

Discussion, process

At the East Precinct Crime Prevention Coalition meeting, held on Thursday, Jan. 22, community input for a possible public safety project was sought.

"It's a pretty broad mandate, and we don't have a lot of time," said Bob Scales from the city's OPM and one of those charged with presenting options to the council. He said he is proceeding as if the money, or some portion of it, will be released.

Scales passed out a list of the major crime hotspots in the East Precinct. Included on it were drug dealing, loitering, public inebriates and chronic homelessness on Broadway and in the park. But the list also included burglaries on Lake Union houseboats, shootings and prostitution near 20th and Madison and assaults near Garfield High school, among many others.

"The city needs to take this list seriously," said Steve Shulman, who helped form the coalition 17 years ago. "I haven't seen it this bad in years. Please take this list to heart."

Scales made it clear that part of the challenge was creating a safety project that would appeal to the many communities that make up the East Precinct. When Scales asked for possible solutions, calls for a bicycle patrol received repeated mention.

"A bike patrol has had a positive influence in recent months," said Gary Clark.

"If you can make it harder for people to do drug-related business, violent crimes will go down," said one man wearing a "Save our Bike Patrol" sticker. The bike squad was repeatedly promoted for its flexibility and its ability to be a visible presence in the community.

Future funding also was discussed, an issue of great importance since the $430,000 is a one- time contribution; any project funded by this money would require an additional funding source if it were to continue in 2005 and beyond. A model used in the U-District, where the business community raised more than $200,000 to increase police foot patrols along University Way, was suggested as an approach the city would like to encourage to continue any public safety program it might fund in 2004. Ideas proposed included reaching out to local businesses and institutions. But one man pointed out that, unlike the University District, there are fewer major businesses and institutions upon which to draw for such potential contributions.

"The mayor needs to put his money where his rhetoric is," said one man.

After the meeting, Scales acknowledged that the funding was a major question mark. He was proceeding under the assumption that there would be an East Precinct safety project and was planning to present options to the City Council on Feb. 17. Even assuming the money is released, he noted that the council wants to hear about projects that can be funded successfully. A dedicated bike squad of eight officers and one sergeant, he said, can use up $400,000 pretty quickly and might not be the way the council chooses to proceed.

"We heard about three main concerns: More police presence, community building and then greater human services. So I'm thinking about proposals that satisfy these main categories. The final result would have something from each of these areas," Scales said.

In response to the notion that efforts to secure a dedicated bicycle patrol were what pushed the council to create a public safety project in the first place, Scales said that his office's mandate was wide open.

"I was given a task by the City Council, and it wasn't to come up with a plan for a bike patrol - it was more general than that. We're working on a plan to improve public safety. A bike patrol is one possibility," he said.

But, Scales added, he was certain that the bike squad is one of the options that will be presented.

Brad Trenary, who led efforts to bring safety issues at Cal Anderson Park to official attention and helped establish the Friends of Cal Anderson Park advocacy group, was not pleased that the money is on hold.

"I am disappointed with the current state of the funding we sought from the City Council," he said. "I am disappointed with Mayor Nickels and his freezing of the funds for the bike patrol and for Randy Nelson's position. I am frustrated that we must now enter yet another process."

Trenary felt the process was something of an excuse that could be used by the mayor or City Council to keep the funds frozen if a project could not be agreed upon. However, Trenary, and others, have no intention of letting the issue drop.

"The people at the meeting seemed highly motivated," he said. "There is good energy behind seeing this through."

A second meeting to discuss uses for the $430,000 takes place on Thursday, Jan. 29, at 6:30 p.m. at the Seattle Vocational Institute, 2120 S. Jackson St, Room 101.

Doug Schwartz is the editor of the Capitol Hill Times. He can be reached at 461-1308 or editor@capitolhilltimes.com

©Pacific Publishing Company 2004


Report on Jan 29 meeting from Randy Wiger, Capitol Hill Stewardship Council

feb 4, 2004: Update on the East Precinct Public Safety Initiative, which the City Council earmarked $430,000 for in the final 2004 budget last November.

The short version is:

The council funded an "East Precinct Public Safety Initiative" the details of which were to be determined by the East Precinct Crime Prevention Coalition (a community-based, precinct-wide organization in existence for 17 years); (the council did not fund a "bike squad" per se).

The East Precinct Crime Prevention Coalition (EPCPC) has held two meetings so far (with a third and final one next week on 2/10) to decide how to spend the $430,000 the council earmarked. Many people from Capitol Hill attended, including neighbors of Cal Anderson Park. Although the process used was not the best suited to the task at hand, overall I feel pretty good about the outcome.

The 40 or so participants from throughout the East Precinct identified the following as the top 4 priorities for possible funding, and will present this plan to the City Council on/around Feb 26th/27th as per the Council's instructions:

1) Fund a grant writer/fundraiser whose priorities would be to seek permanent funding for:
- Permanent bike squad
- Blockwatch support
- Street Outreach Services (Randy Nelson)

2) Fund increased hours for additional bike squad to focus on hotspots in the East Precinct.

3) Fund community picnics (as a way to increase neighbors knowing each other)

4) Increase funding for the Street Outreach Services (Randy Nelson).

Because of the streetlight decision by the courts which poked a $6 million dollar hole in the 2004 city budget, the Mayor has frozen all of the new budget additions including the $430,000 for the East Precinct Public Safety Initiative. So at this point no one knows if, or how much of, that money will really be available.

The Council and Mayor are beginning negotiations this month, and hope to arrive at an agreement on how to balance the 2004 budget soon. Of course, now there are 3 new councilmembers who will take part in making that decision, and no one knows if our public safety initiative will have the 5-4 minimum council vote to stay intact the way it did last fall when the council initially voted to support it.

I strongly suggest contacting councilmembers, especially the new ones, and letting them know how important this is.

Sincerely,

Randy Wiger
Capitol Hill Stewardship Council

<powhat1@aol.com>



Report on Jan 29 meeting from Brad Trenary, Friends of Cal Anderson Park

Hello Denise,
Thank you for the summary of the East Precinct Safety Project meeting of January 29th. I will not be able to attend the meeting scheduled for February 10th, but I do have a few comments I would like to make.

I'm not certain how the ranking of the groupings effects the outcomes of what we are trying to do, but I feel that the Policing category should have been placed in the number one position before community building. And if you look at the numbers as they are presented in your summary, I believe there is justification for changing it to appear so. Under Community Building is the sub-topic of "Revitalize/support blockwatches i.e. $ for newsletters (7 votes) and Additional Crime Prevention Coordinators in East Precinct (2 votes). I believe those 9 votes should be counted under the Policing category, giving it a total of 31 votes, leaving Community Building at 18 votes.


The efforts of last summer and fall were very clearly focused on the law enforcement issues in the East Precinct. Certainly, the solution does not rest solely in law enforcement and Community Building is essential. But the absolute message that I receive from persons from the Cal Anderson Park group and the messages I have heard loud and clear from other community organizations in the East Precinct in our coalition building meetings of last Fall were all very specific to Law Enforcement and Human Services.


I believe the vote was skewed in some ways by persons whom I have only seen at the last meeting we had. The individual who suggested picnics was with two other people and they constituted 9 votes for picnics. I watched them place their dots.
I know that the process is far from perfect and that all opinions need to be heard and that each person is entitled to their votes. But it seems unbelievably solicitous to change the focus in order to be polite.


I would like this to be presented at the February meeting for consideration. I will ask others whom I know who are involved in this process to consider these thoughts and to raise them for follow through. Perhaps this seems niggling or picky, but so many have put so much effort into this very serious issue of public safety and lack of services for the under-served that I can't stand by and let this hard earned money going to picinics.
Again, thank you for the work you are putting into this effort. And you can expect me to be a constant participant through the process.

Brad Trenary
Friends of Cal Anderson Park


Denise Harnley of Seattle Neighborhood Group writes:

Thank you everyone for attending last Thursday night's meeting. Attached are the notes from your input about the problems, solutions and possible sources of funding for future public safety initiatives. I am also sending the Hot Spot List summary with the additions that were made on Thursday night. Please send me any other additions or corrections. You may reach me by email or by phone @ 322-6134. The next follow-up meeting is this Thursday, January 29th @6:30 pm-8:30 pm at Seattle Vocational Institute. The address is: 2120 S. Jackson St. Room 101. The parking is in the back of the building.

Thanks again and see you Thursday night. Denise Harnly
The attachments:

Notes from the Jan 22 meeting

A list of neighborhood "hotspots" compiled last Summer.

Please come to the January 29th meeting: it's where we'll decide on the plan to present to the City Council Public Safety Commitee on February 17th

 


Notes from Cal Anderson Park representative Brad Trenary

I attended the East Precinct Crime Prevention Coalition meeting wherein the
first discussion of "how do we spend the $430K the city council appropriated
due to our efforts last summer and fall for the 8-person, fully dedicated
bike patrol and Randy Nelson's position as a street out-reach worker." The
Seattle Neighborhood Group was charged by the city council to be responsible
for how the money was spent.
As many of you may know, Mayor Nickels sent a letter to city council on
December 9th, putting a freeze on spending that was outside the proposed
budget he presented. Our funds are currently frozen. To quote Nickel's
letter: "Direct departments to freeze the use of specific 2004 funds until
we can develop a revised budget in the first quarter. I will be including
in this spending freeze programs added by the Council as well as other areas
of expenditure. We cannot spend dollars we do not have. Those adds need to
be considered as part of our first quarter decisions."
I find this very aggravating, but I am not surprised by this end-run
around the process we went through. That said, the Seattle Neighborhood
Group did conduct most of the meeting last night as did Bob Scales an
analyst from the Office of Policy and Managment from the City. We are going
to move forward on this, prepared to spend the money if/when it becomes
available.
It seemed pretty simple to me. We requested a bike patrol and outreach
worker, and that's how the money should be spent. But the Council's
proposal states we are to find a way to increase public safety "up to"
$430K, which means that the money is not guaranteed. They want us to go out
and find further funding from the public sector. Here we go again, doing
governement's work.
This is no where in the bag, yet. We will need to re-organize and do some
planning. There are a great deal more people involved now, fortunately.
The entire East Precinct, not just Cal Anderson Park, are committed to this
process. We need to avoid the description of the problem as solely Cal
ANderson Park, but in the enite East Precinct. And believe me, there are
areas of the East Precinct that have some very serious problems, ie.,
murders, rapes, shootings, assaults.
I would encourage as many of you as possible to attend the nest planning
meeting of the East Precinct Crime Prevention Coallition on Thursday,
January 29th, Room 101 of the Seattle Vocational Institute at 2120 South
Jackson. I will be attending, and your presence would be greatly
appreciated.
The Bike Patrol is not in the bag. But there is still a great deal of
energy and commitment to the plan and we should not let up with our pressure
to get it fully funded.
Brad Trenary