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Seattle City Councilmember Bruce Harrell

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Apr 27 2012

Apps for Seattle – Startup Weekend Gov comes to Seattle City Hall (April 27, 28 and 29)

News Release issued with the Department of Information Technology – April 25, 2012.

Startup Weekend Gov seeks participant to build apps using government data

Developers, designers, entrepreneurs, community members and government to mash up data and ideas this weekend in City Hall

SEATTLE – The first Startup Weekend aimed at connecting local application developers, entrepreneurs and community members with online government data will take place this weekend, April 27, 28 and 29, in Seattle City Hall.

“We’re asking the technology and start-up communities to help us find new ways to use government data. Startup Weekend Gov is a great opportunity to come build an application and make a difference in your community,” said Mayor Mike McGinn. “More than 125 people came to city hall last week to learn more about building government apps and I’m excited to see them back in City Hall on April 27 for the weekend.”

Startup Weekend Gov offers a 54-hour work session that begins at 6 p.m. on Friday, April 27. Developers will use data posted by the City of Seattle, King County and the State of Washington to create new mobile apps and business ideas that make government services more accessible and relevant to residents and businesses. It’s not too late to register and participate at Data sets can be found at
• City of Seattle:
• King County:
• Washington State:

“Startup Weekend is a great illustration of community members, local software developers, and government staff working together to build effective apps for the community to use. I hope to see some exciting and practical public safety apps. When the Council set forth the Open Data Initiative and Apps contest a few years ago, the City embraced crowdsourcing and transparency to engage citizens directly in the decision-making process,” said Councilmember Bruce Harrell, chair of the Public Safety, Civil Rights and Technology committee. “Thank you to everyone for participating at Startup Weekend this week.”

“I am excited to participate in this experiment. Participants have the opportunity to creatively change the way services based on Government data can reach citizens,” said Washington State’s Chief Information Officer Bharat Shyam. “I will try hard to support any reasonable requests for data sources in order to bring your ideas into existence.”

Projects like OneBusAway and Seattle Rain Watch have come from using government data in new ways. The Green Lake Park Tree Walk Map is an example of using data to enhance our lives. An app may involve anything government does, from recycling to parks to public safety, neighborhoods, energy, or helping people in need.

“With Startup Weekend Gov only days away we are looking forward to this unique opportunity to collaborate with our community, data owners, and developers to create sustainable applications that will help make government services more accessible in our region,” said King County Chief Information Officer Bill Kehoe. “Providing our open datasets in conjunction with city and state data is a powerful starting point for those interested in putting government data to work”.

Learn more and get involved:
• Share your ideas at
• Register for Startup Weekend Gov at

Startup Weekend is a non-profit, community-building event that brings together entrepreneurs of all backgrounds including software developers, marketers, designers, and other enthusiasts to pitch ideas, form teams and start companies in just 54 hours. The participants that attend have 60 seconds to make a pitch (optional), the pitches are whittled down to the top ideas, and then teams form around the ideas to come out with several developed companies or projects. Finally, the weekend culminates with demonstrations in front of an audience of judges and potential investors.

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Feb 06 2012

Seattle LGBT Commission seeks Candidates

Joint Press Release (Seattle LGBT Commission) – February 6, 2012

SEATTLE – The Seattle LGBT Commission (SLGBTC) is seeking candidates for vacant seats on the Commission. The Commission advises the Mayor, City Council and city departments on issues that impact the LGBT community in Seattle. The commission identifies areas of concern and recommends policy and legislative changes by providing feedback and opinions on issues of city, state budget, and acts as a liaison between the LGBT community and city government.

As advisors to the Mayor, City Council and city departments, commissioners have the opportunity to address issues of concern for LGBT communities in Seattle and to work for positive change. The Commission’s annual work plan is developed with input from the LGBT Community in Seattle. Terms are for two-years and are subject to confirmation by the City Council. Applicants must live or work in Seattle and be available for monthly meetings from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on the 3rd Thursday of the month at City Hall in downtown Seattle.

To apply for appointment to the Seattle LGBT Commission, submit your resume, a letter of interest, short bio and area of the city you live in by the March 6, 2012 deadline. All applications must be received by electronic submission to:

The City of Seattle is committed to promoting diversity in the city’s boards and commissions. Women, young persons, senior citizens, persons with disabilities, sexual and gender minorities, persons of color, and immigrants are encouraged to apply.

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Dec 03 2009

Chronic Nuisance Property Legislation

Sections of Aurora Avenue North have long been a subject of concern for neighbors, business owners, policy makers and law enforcement officials in our City. Some areas of Aurora have become a haven for prostitution, drugs and crime. This cuts against some of the tremendous progress made on Aurora relative to business growth, transportation improvements and economic development. I agree that prostitution, drug dealing and other criminal misconduct on some parts of Aurora and other parts of our city need to be addressed immediately. Therefore, I am supportive of legislation designed to assist our police department and City Attorney’s office address these problem areas and supported the passage of Council Bill 116667. This Bill modified the City’s nuisance laws and gave clarity to the definition of a nuisance by focusing on the criminal misconduct elements. It also modified the laws to impose greater liability to the property owner in the event of a chronic, unresolved criminal problem. I am hopeful that it will be effective in dealing with problematic property owners and geographic areas and I will monitor its implementation to make sure that the ordinance is enforced fairly and lawfully. At the end of the day, I want clean and safe areas in all parts of our city.

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Mar 09 2009

“Jail” – Not a Pretty Word or Concept

Seattle is consistently rated as one of the most desirable places to live in our country. Our city is known for its great people, entrepreneurial spirit, great neighborhoods, commitment to environmental sustainability, and our beautiful natural environment. As of mid-2008, the frequency of major crime was 11 percent lower than the previous year. Although Seattle’s population has increased by 8 percent in the last ten years, the misdemeanor jail population has decreased nearly 40 percent during the same period of time. Despite this decline, King County is requiring that Seattle and other cities discontinue their use of King County Jail for misdemeanor offenders by December 31, 2012. No extension of this lease has been offered. The County’s decision is based upon a King County Jail study which found that King County will need all of the space in its jail facilities to house their own felony offenders by 2015. During this same time, the Seattle Public schools have decided they must close several inner-city schools and consolidate several of its treasured programs. Seattle should be known for building castles for education — not jails for crime. This does not seem to be the case.

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Jan 12 2009

Snow Response

A few weeks ago, our city experienced one of the biggest snowstorms in over a decade, replete with the usual post-storm analysis. The public’s perception of how the City handled the storm can best be described as “frustration on steroids.” As the Mayor graded the City’s response as a “B” and we questioned the vacation schedules of department heads, I kept reminding myself that we, as a City Council, are the policy leaders and community leaders. As such, the issues of “salt” vs. “GEOMELT” or whether the City is in a position to demand better bus service from the County under snow conditions….are issues that we could own. It could have been determined last year that our use of salt, which could end up in our creeks and Puget Sound, was not considered the major detriment to salmon. I have never blamed a teammate for a team loss and won’t start doing that now. Yes, there is plenty of room to blast the Mayor, the County and even the City Council, but that won’t clear the 1,531 lanes of primary and secondary arterials under a pre-determined plan for snow and ice routes. It is cathartic to state that we could have done a better job. As a City Council, our focus should be “What can we do better!”

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Dec 08 2008

Youth Mentoring Initiative

By all estimates, an astounding 17.6 million young people in America – nearly half the population of young people between 10 and 18 years of age – live in situations that put them at risk for choosing the wrong path in life, and not living up to their potential, or much, much worse. When a young man was shot near a central district high school in November, he was a victim, as could be the innocent kids attending the school who have an absolute right to be safe at all times and in particular, when they are walking to and from their school. My daughter attends Madrona middle school in the central district. I am immensely concerned. At the core of the problem, are the actions of young people who may have a self-image of violence and destruction; who see no alternatives for their life; and who were never taught or embraced the values of respect, kindness and conflict resolution. I believe that one’s self-image – that which one believes to be true about their self – governs their beliefs, actions and attitude. However, self-imaging can be changed. Blame erodes self-accountability and human effectiveness. Our city must prioritize a commitment to mentorship strategies. As City leaders, we must align and provide the framework for a city-wide, coordinated strategy and call upon every decent person and every capable agency to help these young adults increase their human effectiveness. Our goal will transcend reducing violence and enhancing safety – but increasing the effectiveness of all of our young people. These young Seattleites can be and will be our next generation of productive citizens.

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