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    Conlin Receives Award for Developing Secure Medicine Return Program

    City of Seattle
    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 10/23/2013

    Councilmember Richard Conlin

    Conlin Receives Award for Developing Secure Medicine Return Program

    SEATTLE — On Monday, October 21, 2013, Councilmember Richard Conlin was honored as one of the four members of the King County Board of Health Subcommittee on Secure Medicine Return to receive the Washington State Exemplary Substance Abuse Prevention Award in the Local Government category. The award was presented at the Washington State Prevention Summit in Yakima. 

    The honor was conferred for their efforts to design the second mandatory collection system in the United States for unused and surplus pharmaceuticals.  The Subcommittee developed a rule and regulation to establish a secure medicine return program in King County that will reduce the amount of unused and unwanted medicines in homes and be part of a comprehensive, community-wide strategy for preventing youth substance abuse. Alameda County in California was the first mandatory collection system but it is currently being challenged in court.

    “Over half of the 37,000 calls to the Washington Poison Center in 2009 were for young children poisoned by medicines found at home,” said Conlin, who serves as Vice-Chair of the King County Board of Health.  “Requiring pharmaceutical companies to pay for the collection of unused or surplus medicines is a smart way to ensure the convenient, safe, secure, and environmentally-sound medicine return.”

    The Prevention Summit is convened by the Division of Behavioral Health and Recovery of the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services. The prevention community includes the Liquor Control Board’s Alcohol Awareness Program, Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, Washington Association for Substance Abuse and Violence Prevention, the Prevention Specialist Certification Board of Washington, and local providers.  The Subcommittee reached out to community organizations including substance abuse prevention coalitions, environmental groups, and medical providers, in addition to pharmaceutical companies to gain input about policy development.  

    The adoption of a secure medicine return program in King County is part of a multi-pronged strategy for preventing youth medicine abuse. It goes hand-in-hand with coalition and community-based educational activities; the statewide prescription monitoring program; law enforcement efforts to break up illegal sales of medications; and national campaigns teaching people to lock up their medications. 

    The Board of Health, led by King County Councilmember Joe McDermott, adopted the program in June of this year, and it will go into effect early in 2014.

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    Council Voices Support for Future Light Rail station at 130th Street

    City of Seattle
    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 10/9/2013

    Councilmember Richard Conlin

    Council Voices Support for Future Light Rail station at 130th Street
    Calls on Sound Transit to study an additional station

    SEATTLE — On Monday, October 7, Council unanimously adopted Resolution Number 31486 making recommendations to Sound Transit’s Board about the Lynnwood Link extension through Seattle. The Council recommended that the Board adopt a surface route in the I-5 right-of-way with stations at 130th and 145th as the Preferred Alternative in the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS). The surface route is the least expensive and least disruptive alternative. The proposed station at 130th Street was not part of the original Sound Transit plan, but the Council asked that it be included in the final environmental review.

    “Without this station, there would be no stop between Northgate and 145th, a stretch of almost four miles, and residents of North Seattle would have to access light rail via either the congested Northgate area or the 145th Street station. Both of these options are challenging for buses and motor vehicles and downright daunting for bicycles and pedestrians,” said Councilmember Richard Conlin, sponsor of the resolution and Sound Transit Board member. “While it is very important that Sound Transit, as a regional organization, move forward with connecting key regional centers, it is also important that those lines serve key neighborhoods within Seattle and other cities.”

    The Sound Transit Capital Committee will take up this issue and is likely to agree to support the City recommendations for studying the 130th St. station at its meeting on Thursday, October 10th. The full Board of Directors will vote in October or November on the alignment and stations to be designated as the Lynnwood Link Preferred Alternative in the FEIS.

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    Council adopts far-reaching plan to sustain urban trees

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 9/16/2013
    Councilmember Richard ConlinCouncil adopts far-reaching plan to sustain urban trees
    SEATTLE — City Council voted unanimously to adopt Seattle’s Urban Forest Stewardship Plan today, which will preserve and enhance S…

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    City Council, Sound Transit agree on Capitol Hill Station development

    City of Seattle
    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 8/5/2013

    Councilmember Richard Conlin

    City Council, Sound Transit agree on Capitol Hill Station development

    SEATTLE — The Seattle City Council unanimously passed Council Bill 117818 today which approves a Development Agreement between the City and Sound Transit that realizes the community’s vision for affordable housing and public space on the property currently being used for construction of the Capitol Hill Light Rail Station.

    Councilmembers supported the Capitol Hill Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) plans which were developed in cooperation with the Capitol Hill Champion. The Champion represents the Capitol Hill community and is comprised of members of the Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce and the Capitol Hill Community Council. On July 15, the Planning, Land Use and Sustainability (PLUS) Committee hosted a public hearing at the Miller Community Center on Capitol Hill to receive comments and field questions from community members. The committee also worked with Sound Transit to develop companion agreements to ensure that the community’s goals would be met.

    The legislation authorizes additional height, density and flexibility in meeting other zoning requirements in exchange for workforce and affordable housing, and urban design features to enhance the public realm. The negotiations also provide for a public-private plaza that can serve as a permanent site for the farmers market.

    “Today’s vote tells the Capitol Hill community that their voices were heard,” said Councilmember Richard Conlin, who sponsored the agreement, serves as Chair of the PLUS Committee and is a Sound Transit Board Member. “This agreement is the outcome of a multi-year process of cooperation among the City, Sound Transit and the Champion. The development agreement reflects a model for future transit-oriented development projects in Seattle and along the light rail line in other jurisdictions,” Conlin added.

    The first trains are expected to arrive at the Capitol Hill Station in 2016.

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    Seattle City Council Votes on Bill to Restore Publicly Financed Elections in Seattle

    City of Seattle
    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 6/24/2013

    Council President Sally J. Clark
    Councilmember Sally Bagshaw
    Councilmember Tim Burgess
    Councilmember Richard Conlin
    Councilmember Jean Godden
    Councilmember Bruce Harrell
    Councilmember Nick Licata
    Councilmember Mike O’Brien
    Councilmember Tom Rasmussen
               

    Seattle City Council Votes on Bill to Restore
    Publicly Financed Elections in Seattle

    Proposal to be sent to voters in November

    SeattleCity Council voted on legislation today to restore public financing for local elections. Seattle was the first municipality in the country to introduce public financing, also called “voter-owned elections,” in 1979, but has not had an operating program since 1992.  The proposal will now be sent to Seattle voters on the November ballot.

    Public financing is a system in which qualifying campaigns are funded in part with public dollars in order to increase the number of candidates running for office and increase the role of small donors in the electoral process. The Council’s public financing proposal would only apply to City Council races and would be instituted in the 2015 elections.

    “I’m looking forward to the robust debate about the role of money in politics in the months ahead,” said Councilmember Mike O’Brien.

    To opt into the program, candidates must first qualify by collecting contributions of $10 or more from at least 600 Seattle residents. Once qualified, donations up to $50 would be matched six-to-one on the first $35,000 raised. Candidates who fully utilize the matching system would receive $210,000 in public funds throughout the entire campaign, split between the primary and general elections. Voters would be asked to approve a 6-year, $9 million property tax levy to finance the program, which would cost an estimated $2 million per year, or about $5.76 for a home valued at $350,000. Candidates would have the option to run for office without participating in the public financing program.

    In December 2012, Councilmembers Sally J. Clark, Nick Licata, Mike O’Brien and Tom Rasmussen sent a letter to the Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission (SEEC) asking the body to recommend a public financing model that meets three goals: (1) increases electoral competitiveness, (2) reduces financial barriers to entry for candidates and (3) increases the role and emphasis of small donors in the electoral process. In March, the SEEC delivered its recommendations to Council for consideration, over which the City Council’s Public Campaign Finance Committee has been deliberating since April.

    Seattle had partial public financing of campaigns in 1979 and 1981, and from 1987-1991. In 1992, state Initiative 134 passed, prohibiting public financing. In 2008 the State legislature adopted legislation allowing local jurisdictions to establish programs to publicly finance campaigns, if approved by a public vote, and the funding is derived from local sources only.

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    Seattle City Hall to host Pike Place Farmers Market Expres

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 6/17/2013
    Councilmember Richard Conlin

    Seattle City Hall to host Pike Place Farmers Market Express
    Weekly market will run Tuesday June 18 through October 29
    Seattle – Grab your reusable shopping bags and spend your lunc…

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    Council encourages creation of prescription drug disposal program

    City of Seattle
    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 6/17/2013

    Councilmember Richard Conlin

    Council encourages creation of prescription drug disposal program

    SEATTLE – Seattle City Council today adopted a resolution today encouraging the Seattle/King County Board of Health to establish a secure return program for unwanted and expired medicines from households.  The resolution asks that the return program be financed by pharmaceutical manufacturers to cover the cost of collection, transportation and disposal of unwanted medications.

    A similar program in British Columbia has been operating for ten years and provides the public locations (often in retail pharmacies or law enforcement offices) to deposit unwanted prescription medication for free secure disposal.  In King County, voluntary medicine take-back programs currently exist, but at insufficient levels to protect public safety.

    “It’s important we establish a convenient, safe, secure, and environmentally sound medicine return program,” said Councilmember Richard Conlin, Vice-Chair of the King County Board of Health.  “Over half of the 37,000 calls to the Washington Poison Center in 2009 were for young children poisoned by medicines found at home.  There’s a smarter way.”

    Improperly disposed prescription medications can have negative environmental consequences when they enter the waste stream or sewer lines because wastewater treatment facilities cannot effectively remove or degrade all pharmaceutical compounds. A range of medications show up in the tissues of fish and other aquatic wildlife, which are part of the larger food chain.

    The King County Board of Health is currently deliberating whether to create a disposal program.  More information about the King County Board of Health’s proposed secure medicine return program is available here.

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    City Council Adopts Bold Climate Action Plan Plan provides pathway to carbon neutrality by 2050

    City of Seattle
    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 6/17/2013

    Council President Sally J. Clark
    Councilmember Sally Bagshaw
    Councilmember Tim Burgess
    Councilmember Richard Conlin
    Councilmember Jean Godden
    Councilmember Bruce Harrell
    Councilmember Nick Licata
    Councilmember Mike O’Brien
    Councilmember Tom Rasmussen

    City Council Adopts Bold Climate Action Plan
    Plan provides pathway to carbon neutrality by 2050

    SeattleSeattle City Council voted unanimously to adopt Seattle’s Climate Action Plan (Resolution 31447) today. The Climate Action Plan is composed of recommended actions to be taken to meet Seattle’s goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2050.

    The Seattle Climate Action Plan is the result of a three year collaborative effort between the City and community to produce a blueprint for a prosperous and climate-friendly city. “With this bold plan to reduce our carbon emissions now in place, we must now get to work on implementing the actions called for in the plan,” said City Councilmember Mike O’Brien. “In the Energy & Environment Committee, we will begin exploring how to make energy use more visible to consumers and developing the tools we need to improve Seattle’s home and building energy performance.”

    The Climate Action Plan includes specific short- and long-term actions the City needs to meet its ambitious goal of carbon neutrality by 2050. For example, the transportation sector accounts for 40% of Seattle’s greenhouse gas emissions, but the biggest challenge Seattle faces to reducing emissions in this sector is funding. The plan calls for new funding sources like extending the Bridging the Gap levy and securing local authority for a motor vehicle excise tax (MVET) to help improve bus service and reliability, invest in improvements that make it easier and safer to walk or bike and take steps to build out the region’s light rail system. The plan also calls for supporting the adoption of low carbon vehicles and fuels.

    In the building energy section, the Plan calls for accelerating Seattle’s already strong conservation work by enhancing the tracking of utility use, providing better energy performance information to building owners and users, and generally help to improve the public’s understanding and manage their energy consumption. Additionally, the Plan calls for getting the right mix of policies and incentives to spur retrofitting in Seattle’s housing stock and commercial buildings.

    “Making Seattle carbon neutral is an audacious goal that takes time, hard work, creativity and the commitment of the City, business community and Seattle residents,” said City Councilmember Richard Conlin. “We have laid out the path to meet this preeminent moral challenge of our time and we will lead the way to secure the future for generations to come.”

    “We must ready the city’s infrastructure for climate change meanwhile leading in reducing carbon emissions,” said City Councilmember Jean Godden. “Recycling and composting, as well as preparing for more intense rainstorm episodes with green stormwater infrastructure, are the first steps my committee will take.”

    This policy document sets very ambitious environmental goals to stride towards, 62% and 91% greenhouse gas emissions reduction by 2030 and 2050 in the vehicle and building energy sectors. At each step, our strategies to reach these targets must go through the lens of the Race and Social Justice Initiative. In order to get residents and businesses to support climate action and include it as a part of their lives, we must be inclusive in our education and outreach with all communities,” said City Councilmember Bruce Harrell.

    “While I’m pleased that Council adopted the Plan today, we know the real work is just beginning,” said Jill Simmons, Director of the Office of Sustainability & Environment.

    The Plan focuses on three sectors where the City of Seattle can have the greatest influence in reducing carbon emissions: transportation and land use, building energy and solid waste. The Plan also includes a section outlining how the City should prepare for the impacts of climate disruption we expect to occur, as well a section on actions individuals can take to reduce emissions through purchasing decisions.
    The Climate Action Plan can be viewed online at: http://www.seattle.gov/environment/climate_plan.htm

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    Council expands access to healthy food for food stamp enrollees

    City of Seattle
    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 6/10/2013

    Councilmember Richard Conlin

    Council expands access to healthy food for food stamp enrollees

    SeattleSeattle City Council adopted a budget amendment to add funding to the Fresh Bucks program today, which doubles the value of food stamp benefits when used to purchase fresh food at Seattle farmers markets. The Fresh Bucks program began as a pilot project in 2012, serving only 7 farmers markets in Seattle. With the additional funding from the City, along with funding from JP Morgan Chase and the Seattle Foundation, Fresh Bucks will expand to all of Seattle’s farmers markets.

    “Many low-income people would like to purchase healthy food options, but costs can be prohibitive.  Fresh Bucks puts fresh fruit and vegetables on the dinner table, while supporting local farmers,” said Councilmember Richard Conlin, sponsor of the budget amendment.

    According to Fresh Bucks, the 2012 pilot helped nearly 1,500 low-income shoppers, including 900 who had never shopped at farmers markets before.  The leveraging of food stamp value, now known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), resulted in 81% of survey respondents that Fresh Bucks made a difference in their families’ diets.

    Councilmember Richard Conlin sponsored the budget amendment to add $50,000 to the Fresh Bucks program.

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    City to develop outreach strategies for Affordable Care Act

    City of Seattle
    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 5/13/2013

    Councilmember Richard Conlin
    Councilmember Nick Licata

    City to develop outreach strategies for Affordable Care Act

    SeattleSeattle City Council adopted a resolution today enlisting City departments to develop outreach strategies to educate and inform the public about new healthcare coverage programs made available through the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) Departments will coordinate with the efforts of community partners to enroll all newly eligible residents in the new healthcare coverage options.

    “The City of Seattle has an extraordinary opportunity to increase the health of our residents by working diligently on enrolling folks in the health care insurance exchange,”said Councilmember Richard Conlin, sponsor of the resolution. “This is one of the most significant advances in health care since the implementation of Medicare in 1965 and it is imperative that we take a leadership role in this.”

    Seattle’s outreach plan will include person-to-person support for individuals, particularly communities who need more intensive help with the application processes and accessing health care services. The Affordable Health Care Act requires that most members of the public enroll for healthcare coverage by January 2014. An estimated 30,000 Seattle residents will become eligible for subsidized health care coverage through Washington’s Health Benefit Exchange and Council has made it a priority to enroll them all.

    Councilmember Nick Licata said, “The Council action to expedite healthcare coverage is particularly timely considering this week’s report that each year in the US, 11,300 newborns die within 24 hours of their birth, 50% more than all other industrialized countries combined.”

    “Nearly 60,000 Seattle residents are currently without health insurance,”said Mayor Mike McGinn. “I am enlisting City departments to inform and enroll people into expanded Medicaid and subsidized insurance that will soon be available through the Affordable Care Act. This is an unprecedented opportunity that will help our residents receive the care they need and lower health care costs by decreasing reliance on high-cost medical services including emergency room visits.”

    “We have a landmark opportunity to increase access to health care in our community,”said Dr. David Fleming, Director and Health Officer for Public Health – Seattle & King County. “By connecting residents to coverage, we will ultimately improve the health of our community.”

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