Seattle City Councilmember Bruce Harrell

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  • November 2014
    M T W T F S S
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Nov 25 2014

Councilmember Harrell Statement on Ferguson Decision

Statement issued 11/25/2014:

SEATTLE – Councilmember Bruce Harrell, chair of the Council’s Public Safety, Civil Rights and Technology Committee, issued the following statement regarding the Ferguson grand jury decision:

“As a society and nation, we have gone through turbulent times between law enforcement and communities of color. After certain incidents of police violence against African Americans, we make incremental changes, but fail to adopt longstanding systematic changes that might prevent future violence in this country. The changes occur independently in each community impacted. Remember, Martin Luther King, Jr. said, ‘Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.’ The Rodney King incident resulted in violent riots, but the LAPD is steadily changing for the better. Our City, two decades later, is under a Department of Justice Settlement Agreement to ensure constitutional, bias-free policing. I am hopeful the aftermath of this grand jury decision will lead to a meaningful dialogue between law enforcement and communities of color. The result should lead to positive changes in all cities and police departments. It would be easy to close our ears and not listen; we must demonstrate a capacity and willingness to listen and learn.

“Martin Luther King, Jr. also stated, ‘The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.’ When we roll up our sleeves to turn our reaction into action, I see the bend towards justice as a greater commitment and investment in our black youth through education, jobs, and mentoring. A recent report says Seattle now has the ninth lowest income for African American households. This speaks to the affordability issue in Seattle where many African Americans are having to relocate to the suburbs. As a lifelong resident of Seattle, this is unacceptable. We must do a better job of creating a pathway to success. The two biggest economic drivers in the Seattle region since the recession have been the aerospace industry and companies like Amazon. We need to make a relentless commitment to help our young black males graduate from high school, attend college, and enter fields of science, technology, engineering, and math. Council just added $175,000 in this year’s budget for youth outreach programs like Project M.I.S.T.E.R., which is operated by Southeast Youth and Family Services. Project M.I.S.T.E.R. is a school-based program that provides mentoring and guidance to African American youth. When we demonstrate a laser focus on helping our youth, we have seen results. Cleveland High School just graduated 89 percent of its senior class, rivaling Roosevelt’s 90.3 percent rate and surpassing Ballard’s 87.9 percent rate. When community members, parents, and elected leaders focus on the problem, work together, and take action, we can see results and justice.

“The Ferguson decision is a sobering reminder that we need to equip all police offers with cameras. The family of Michael Brown released a statement after the decision calling on people to join them in their push to, “…ensure that every police officer working the streets in this country wears a body camera.” The public deserves to have clear video evidence of police and civilian interactions, so we can more accurately examine incidents of police misconduct and produce video and audio evidence when shootings occur. The grand jurors in the case heard 70 hours of testimony from roughly 60 witnesses with differing accounts. One answer to prevent the incident at Ferguson from occurring again is to deploy body cameras on all police officers.”

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Nov 04 2014

City of Seattle launches digital privacy initiative

News Release issued 11/03/2014 (From the Office of the Mayor):

City of Seattle launches digital privacy initiative

SEATTLE (Nov. 3, 2014) – Mayor Ed Murray and Councilmembers Bruce Harrell and Mike O’Brien today announced a citywide privacy initiative, aimed at providing greater transparency into the City’s data collection and use practices.

“In the course of doing business with the public, the City is collecting and exchanging increasing amounts of data,” said Murray. “As we continue to make innovative technology investments, we need to implement practices that support public trust in the security and privacy of personal information.”

“This initiative is a chance to demonstrate to the people of Seattle that their local government is managing their personal information responsibly,” said O’Brien. “It is yet another chance for Seattle to lead the nation on an important issue in people’s daily lives—we are not aware of any other cities proactively working to protect people’s privacy like this initiative sets out to do.”

“We will go through a robust process to completely re-examine how the City collects, use, retain, and delete data to ensure the privacy of our residents,” said Harrell, chair of the Public Safety, Civil Rights, and Technology Committee. “The city has never approached it in this kind of methodical and transparent manner across all City departments and engaging with privacy leaders in Seattle.”

The collection of data occurs in every day City processes, such as paying a utility bill, renewing a pet license, browsing a web page, or signing up for an email list. Police, fire and emergency services collect different forms of video and electronic data. The increasing complexity of emerging technologies, business systems and laws mean the City must take appropriate steps to facilitate the collection, use, and disposal of data in a manner that balances the needs of the City to conduct its business with individual privacy, in a manner that builds public trust.

As part of this initiative, the City has convened a group of stakeholders from across City departments including Police, Fire, City Light, Transportation, Information Technology, Law, and Seattle Public Library. This team will create a set of principles that govern how the City approaches privacy-impacting decisions and a privacy statement that communicates the City’s privacy practices to the public. In addition, the group will propose an approach to educating City departments on privacy practices and assess compliance.

“One of the challenges police departments face is how to maintain public trust while embracing new technologies to support officers in the field and using data to more effectively deploy resources to address crime and disorder issues,” said Seattle Police Department Chief Operating Officer Mike Wagers. “Protecting the privacy of citizens, while deploying useful technologies and being more data-driven as a department, is of paramount importance and is why this initiative is so critical.”

To advise the City’s efforts, Murray announced the creation of a Privacy Advisory Committee. Comprised of privacy researchers, practitioners, and community representatives, this group of experts will provide guidance on leading privacy practices and potential public impact of proposed solutions.

The City expects to deliver a completed privacy statement and plan for implementation to Council by June 2015.

City partners with University of Washington on privacy research
Working in partnership with the City of Seattle, University of Washington’s Dr. Jan Whittington was recently announced as the recipient of a grant to examine the relationships that exist between open data, privacy and digital equity and what harm municipal data could lead to with consumers or the marketplace.

This funding, $50,000, was awarded through a request for proposal from the Berkeley Center for Law and Technology on the exploration of implications of government release of large datasets. This research is funded by Microsoft, with a $25,000 match from the City of Seattle.

This joint effort will enable the City to be more transparent by making more of its data available through its open data platform,, while implementing the processes necessary to protect the privacy of data subjects. It will also result in a set of model policies and practices that can be leveraged by other municipalities seeking to enhance the privacy and utility of their open data programs.

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Oct 31 2014

Council to Host ‘Privacy Initiative’ Discussion

Media Advisory issued 11/03/2014:

Council to Host ‘Privacy Initiative’ Discussion

SEATTLE – Councilmember Bruce Harrell and Councilmember Mike O’Brien will host a discussion with Executive staff on the creation of a citywide Privacy Initiative this Monday. The initiative is intended to establish the City’s privacy practices and provide the public with greater transparency into the City’s data collection, use and retention practices.

The discussion will occur during Council’s regular Monday morning Briefings meeting and the conversation is expected to start approximately 9:30 a.m.

WHAT: Council Briefings meeting re: Seattle Privacy Initiative

WHEN: Monday, November 3, 9:30 a.m.

WHERE: Council Chambers, 2nd floor
Seattle City Hall, 600 Fourth Avenue, Seattle 98104

WHO: Councilmembers
Representatives from Seattle Police Department
Representatives from Office of Policy & Innovation
Representatives from Seattle Department of Information Technology

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Oct 03 2014

Councilmember Harrell to host Chief O’Toole for First SPD Report

Media Advisory issued 10/03/2014:

Councilmember Harrell to host Chief O’Toole for First SPD Report

SEATTLE – Councilmember Bruce Harrell, chair of the Council’s Public Safety, Civil Rights and Technology Committee, will host the Seattle Police Department (SPD) at Monday morning’s Council Briefings meeting to receive Chief O’Toole’s first quarterly report to Council and to review the bias crime report from the first half of 2014.

SPD provides quarterly progress reports to Council, but this Monday’s meeting will be Chief O’Toole’s first report since taking command in Seattle. The bias crimes briefing comes in response to Council’s request to receive updates about bias crime incidents in the city and how SPD responds to those crimes.

The discussion will occur during Council’s regular Monday morning Briefings meeting and the conversation is expected to start approximately 9:30 a.m.

WHAT: Council Briefings meeting re: Quarterly SPD Progress Report; Bias Crimes in Seattle

WHEN: Monday, October 6, 9:30 a.m.

WHERE: Council Chambers, 2nd floor
Seattle City Hall, 600 Fourth Avenue, Seattle 98104

WHO: Councilmembers
Chief Kathleen O’Toole, Seattle Police Department
Representatives from Seattle Police Department

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Sep 29 2014

Council Adopts Bill to Improve High-Speed Fiber Network Deployment

News Release issued 9/29/2014:

Council Adopts Bill to Improve High-Speed Fiber Network Deployment

SEATTLE – City Council unanimously approved legislation today that will help expand high-speed fiber network deployment by removing excessive administrative requirements for siting of new broadband cabinets, incentivizing smaller cabinets that deliver higher speeds and requiring landscaping and screening in neighborhoods.

All neighborhoods will benefit, but the changes will initially help companies like CenturyLink launch one-gigabit-per-second (Gbps) fiber internet service to Beacon Hill, the Central District, Ballard and West Seattle. New cabinets are necessary for the delivery of 1 gigabit-per-second (Gbps) service. One-gigabit-per-second is equivalent to 1,000 megabits-per-second (Mbps). According to in Seattle, the current average download and upload speeds are 34.95 Mbps and 19.85 Mbps.

“This critical change will bring next-generation broadband to unserved and underserved neighborhoods,” said Councilmember Bruce Harrell, chair of the Public Safety, Civil Rights and Technology Committee. “We have gone through an extensive community process to get to this point, balancing the concerns of home-owners, street character and the desire to push fiber further out into neighborhoods. Next-generation fiber broadband is vital for our students’ education, helps mitigate traffic by allowing residents to work from home, and businesses and startups benefit by stimulating innovation and jobs. We must continue to think outside the box to create an environment competitive for companies to build fiber to your home and business.”

“This legislation is a win-win for neighborhoods. Underserved neighborhoods will receive a lightning-fast level of broadband service, while the visual clutter typically associated with these communications cabinets will be greatly reduced. I look forward to the expansion of this service throughout the city,” said Councilmember Tom Rasmussen, chair of the Transportation Committee.

Robert Kangas, chair of Upping Technology for Underserved Neighbors, said, “This is a great first step to opening our neighborhoods to improved broadband. Thank you to the Mayor’s office and the Seattle City Council for working with members of the community and the broadband providers to give us more competition and improved service. This will help Seattle remain a leader in the tech community for years to come. While this is an immediate win for the under-served areas of Seattle, it will benefit the entire city.”

Brian Hsi, chair of the Citizens’ Telecommunications and Technology Advisory Board’s Broadband and Cable Committee, said, “I’m pleased to see progress being made toward bringing more broadband choices for Seattle residents. For too long parts of our City could not receive the infrastructure necessary to build out affordable, quality, high speed broadband options. That changes today with the passage of this legislation.”

Beginning in January 2013, SDOT began engaging with stakeholder groups and sought feedback on siting issues for new telecommunication cabinets in the public right-of-way and held meetings with stakeholders from North Beacon Hill, Seattle Pedestrian Advisory Board, Seattle Commission for People with Disabilities, Citizens’ Telecommunications and Technology Advisory Board, Public Space Management Task Force, Department of Information Technology, Department of Planning and Development, Office of Economic Development, Seattle City Light, CenturyLink, AT&T, Comcast, Wave, Verizon and various other community groups. The consensus of the group concluded that new legislation must prioritize:

1) Improving broadband deployment, especially in underserved areas;
2) Keeping our public spaces and rights-of-way free from visual clutter; and
3) Maintaining other priorities for the public spaces and rights-of-way for community activation goals.

Council Bill 118208 will help broadband deployment by:

1) Incentivizing smaller cabinets (less than 36”) that deliver faster connection bandwidth by streamlining the permitting and outreach requirements.
2) Providing a dis-incentive for siting larger cabinets by requiring additional public outreach and visual mitigation for cabinets taller than 36”.
3) Eliminating “veto power” from adjacent property owner as currently required in SDOT Director’s Rule 2-2009.
4) Eliminating requirement of obtaining 60% approval from within 100 feet on proposed installation as currently required by SDOT Director’s Rule 2-2009.
5) Requiring written notification to all residents, businesses, and property owners within 100-foot radius if the proposed installation cabinet is greater than 36 inches in height.
6) Requiring screening mitigation such as landscaping and vinyl wrap for new cabinet installations in residential zones above 36 inches.
7) Removing graffiti in a timely manner.
8) Requiring all service providers to submit quarterly reports to SDOT that describe each complaint received, how complaint was resolved, and how long it took to resolve the complaint.

# # #

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Sep 24 2014

Council Confirms New Immigrant and Refugee Affairs Director

News Release issued 9/23/2014:

Council Confirms New Immigrant and Refugee Affairs Director

SEATTLE – City Council this week unanimously approved Cuc T. Vu as Director of the Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs (OIRA).

“Cuc’s compelling background as a refugee of the Vietnam War, immigrant upbringing and experience working on immigrant and refugee affairs issues makes her the ideal director to help the immigrant and refugee communities achieve success,” said Councilmember Bruce Harrell, chair of the Public Safety, Civil Rights and Technology Committee. “Her previous experience in leading national and local immigrant rights groups and establishing the first national immigrant rights coalition will be invaluable as she engages with city departments to empower refugees and immigrants to advance their priorities.”

As director, Ms. Vu’s goal is to implement the City’s five-point plan:

1. Expand citizenship programs and services
2. Create career pathways through ESL and computer training for the most limited English-proficient immigrants and refugees
3. Improve access to City programs, services and resources through ethnic media engagement
4. Enhance public safety for immigrant and refugee communities through a Refugee Women’s Institute, where emerging refugee women leaders will learn to use City services to advocate for themselves, their families and their communities
5. Implement a language access program to improve the City’s ability to engage its immigrant and refugee residents

Ms. Vu most recently served as the first Chief Diversity Officer for the Human Rights Campaign and has worked at SEIU, AFL-CIO and the U.S. Department of Labor. Vu earned an undergraduate degree at Pomona College and a graduate degree as a Woodrow Wilson Fellow at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs.

Immigrants account for nearly one-fifth of all Seattleites, and approximately one-third of children in Seattle are in immigrant families.

The Council created the Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs in 2012.

Link to Cuc T. Vu Questions & Answers
Link to Cuc T. Vu Confirmation Packet

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