Courtesy of King County
Seattle Public Schools
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Race to the Top
With the weak commitment to accountability for school results around here, Washington has done poorly on winning Race to the Top support for educational reform from the Obama administration. But there was quite a bit of well-deserved good news today with a U.S. Department of Education award of $40 million to a project for seven southend local school districts.
The money goes to seven south King County districts for the Road Map Project, an intensive effort to improve achievement among Seattle's middle and lower-income neighborhoods: Auburn, Federal Way, Highline, Kent, Renton, Tukwila and Seattle.
The project, which will be managed by the Puget Sound Educational Service District, focuses on community involvement, using data to spot problems and drive changes, building strong relationships among various groups, and building stronger systems. (We wrote about the effort last year here and here.)
Leadership for the project largely originated in the south King districts, but it's encouraging to see Mayor Mike McGinn tweeting and blogging about the federal support. And, in a press release, Seattle Schools Superintendent Jose Banda even managed to sound like a team player rather than the usual Seattle big-footer: “We are so pleased to be a part of this joint effort between the school districts and communities in our region. And I want to especially thank the Road Map Project for leading this effort.”
Third Avenue cooperation
As convenient as it can be to have downtown Seattle's Third Avenue as a bus corridor, the atmosphere is sometimes a bit less welcoming than it could be — if not downright uncomfortable and unsafe.
This afternoon, King County Executive Dow Constantine, Mayor McGinn and the Downtown Seattle Association's Kate Joncas signed a memorandum of agreement on improvements to the corridor. Frank Abe, a spokesman for Constantine, said there will be better coordination between the Seattle Police Department and Metro Transit's police, provided by the county.
Among the specifics, in the words of a joint press release:
- installation of real-time transit arrival information at all major stops,
- installation of new, well designed street furniture (i.e. litter cans, newspaper boxes),
- afternoon and evening cleaning of sidewalks,
- a more visible Seattle Police presence during periods of the day with greatest pedestrian volumes, in conjunction with Metro Transit Police,
- directed foot-beat patrols at hotspots,
- continued work between Seattle Police and human service providers and community leaders on non-traditional strategies to address low-level drug offenses, and
- DSA, through its MID Ambassadors, will work with the City and other stakeholders to conduct targeted outreach to individuals in need of housing and services who frequent Third Avenue.
Efforts at cleaning up parts of downtown have sometimes proven difficult, but at least on the surface, this approach appears to include human services as a part of the solution. Side note: Do McGinn and Constantine really think "litter cans and newspaper boxes" count as furniture?
How marriage was won
There's a new article from The Atlantic out today, headlined "The marriage plot: Inside this year's epic campaign for gay equality." The subhead is even more explanatory: "How activists rewrote the political playbook, reversed decades of defeat, and finally won over voters."
It leads off with a photo of Jane Abbott Lighty and Pete-e Petersen receiving a Washington state marriage license last Thursday (Dec. 6). And there's a good account, about a third of the way into the lengthy article, of our state legislative handling of marriage equality. But it's set in a wide-ranging national perspective.
Tully's stripping down to compete?
Linda Thomas at MyNorthwest.com and KIRO Radio had an early version of the business story that local media can't resist today: A bid to take over Tully's coffee chain, which is in bankruptcy, and focus on skimpily clad baristas.
Seattle-based Baristas Coffee Company, which features scantily clad female servers at drive-through coffee stands, says it's making a bid for Tully's.
The company has formed Baristas Acquisition Partners to complete the acquisition of Tully's.
Baristas Coffee Company thoughtfully provided a photo of a young woman in a bikini standing in front of an espresso machine. Naturally, at least one news outlet decided that a more illustrative video was needed to illuminate the experience (Skip to 0:42).
Seattle sidles into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
The latest inducted class in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame includes a strong Seattle element: Quincy Jones, who graduated from Garfield High School, and 70s rock group Heart. The Seattle Sounds blog on MyNorthwest.com has a nice look at the decade-long wait by Heart's Ann and Nancy Wilson for Hall entry.
Legendary Seattle music writer Charles Cross, the author of a Heart biography with the two sisters, told Seattle Sounds, "You know, music is not the exclusive domain of the male gender, but that's the way unfortunately that the Rock Hall has operated. So it's a horrible oversight that they have not been in before."
And how neat is this? On his official web site, Jones has a story about Garfield honoring him as an alum.
Seattle port deals
(Update) There could have been another serious blow to the Port of Seattle, but contract talks have succeeded in keeping a key client, Hanjin Shipping. A deal was approved unanimously by the board this afternoon. Cameron Williams, president of the Longshore Union local said in a press release: "This is a real win for family wage jobs, and for Seattle as a global trading partner."
The union also threw a jab at the proposed sports arena, saying it could put extension of the contract at risk.
For now, the presence of Hanjin allows Seattle to think about modernization of its cargo handling equipment.
The Seattle Mariners trotted out new outfielder Jason Bay to talk to the press on Monday. The well-liked Bay is intent on nothing more than a new start, according to a News Tribune account.
In December, baseball fans want to believe in next year. And the Mariners will do everything possible to court positive coverage and feed that kind of hope in coming months.
Still, there were good reasons for the New York Mets to part company with Bay. So, even while we root for the fresh start by a great guy, here's a bit of what New York has been saying (and believe us, there's a caustic rather than balanced commentary to be found on YouTube).
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