News blog for Seattle's Fremont neighborhood

 

City Attorney Wants To Restore Precinct-Liaison Program

By Sean Keeley · August 4th, 2011 · 1 Comment

Via West Seattle Blog comes news that Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes is proposing that the next city budget restore the full-time liaison program. The program helped local communities with problems that might have been missed otherwise, like public nuisances and neighborhood-specific problems, but went away with budget cuts.

Now, it could be returning, which would be a big deal to many Fremonsters who remember the effectiveness of the program in regard to the Aurora Motel issues.

“During my 20 years in the restaurant and nightlife industry, I’ve witnessed firsthand the value that the City Attorney’s precinct liaisons deliver to both local businesses and the neighborhoods they are situated in,” said Pete Hanning, president of the Seattle Nightlife & Music Association and owner of the Red Door in Fremont. “The liaisons also play a critical role in facilitating proactive communications and ensuring a safe and vibrant nightlife economy.”

Holmes’ plan, laid out Wednesday to the Council’s Public Safety and Education Committee, is also endorsed by Oscar Velasco-Schmitz, who provides medical marijuana to patients through the Dockside Co-op in Fremont. “The City Attorney’s Office provides an integral legal insight not only into the civic affairs of Seattle’s citizens, but also into the relationship of our citizenry with our Seattle Police Department,” he said. The precinct liaison program “provides a crucial element of support in each of our city’s precinct communities and builds a strong relationship between SPD, City Attorney’s Office and the public. The city as a whole benefits greatly from these open lines of communication, resulting ultimately in an open, more well-informed, and safer Seattle.”

“The City Attorney’s Office, and Ed McKenna’s dedicated work — with the North Precinct SPD, with motel owners, with the community — made a crucial difference, both in putting necessary legislation in place and in keeping the issue on the front burner until real results were achieved,” Linda Clifton of Upper Fremont said of the coordinated efforts that shut down several trouble-plagued Aurora Avenue motels in 2010.

“Now, with proposals to add significant Catholic Community Services and DESC housing on the Aurora corridor, we will need this kind of support both to assure safety for everyone living here, in the neighborhoods, in those large facilities, and on Metro, and to reassure the neighborhoods that they have protection as things change,” Clifton added.

Holmes is seeking an additional $470,000 in the budget year beginning Jan. 1, 2012 to fully fund the program in his 2012 budget proposal.

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