Under fire over downtown violence, Mayor Mike McGinn this afternoon announced an extra $400,000 to keep extra officers on the streets through the end of the year. Interim Police Chief Jim Pugel said the money means roughly to six to eight extra officers available on a daily basis. The officers will be deployed in all of the city's police precincts. McGinn said the assignment of the officers will depend on crime data, community input and police officers' own knowledge of their neighborhoods.
At a press conference, Leslie Smith of the Pioneer Square Community Association voiced her support for the efforts. She said it's important for officers to get out of their cars and be in touch with businesses and the people on the streets. And she said a variety of approaches are needed: "We cannot social work, police or ignore our way out of the issues we are facing."
Earlier in the day, three Seattle City Council members wrote a blog post suggesting that downtown crime is considerably worse than the mayor and Pugel have suggested. On Monday, McGinn said crime had declined downtown. They noted a Seattle Times analysis of downtown crime showed a steady level of violence, but the council members — Tim Burgess, Sally Clark and Bruce Harrell — said the council analysis of a slightly larger area showed an increase in violence in some parts of the downtown.
SoDo arena impact: More traffic
Update: 4:15 p.m.
A draft environmental analysis of the arena proposal for the SoDo area says that an additional 2,200 cars would be added to rush-hour commutes on weekdays because of games, the Puget Sound Business Journal reports. Additionally, the study said that delaying the building of an arena could lower the odds of getting a pro basketball or hockey team. The mandatory 45-day public comment period now begins, and a public hearing is scheduled for Sept. 10 at City Hall. The city of Seattle and King County officials will use as the final environmental impact statement as they determine whether or not to construct the arena.
U.S. to Washington, Oregon schools: Get your act together
Washington, Oregon and Kansas have officially been warned by U.S. education officials over their sub-par teacher and principal evaluations, according to the Associated Press. The trio of states were deemed "high risk status" and had already received one extension to get their teacher evaluation systems up to federal standards by the end of the 2012-13 school year. However, all three have failed to find a way to include improvement in student test scores as a factor in teacher evaluations. The U.S. Department of Education gave them all one more year, but say the end of the 2013-14 school year is the final cutoff.
Education Week suggests that Washington may have the biggest challenges in meeting the federal demands. State law leaves the decision whether to include test results in teacher evaluations to a local school district, which the feds don't buy. If the 2013-14 school year ends and the states don't get their educational acts together, then they may have to revert back to old federal rules requiring every school and every district to meet certain standards for students in various ethnic and economic groups. A spokesman for the Office of Public Instruction said it would be challenging to the get the Legislature to eliminate the state law's option for districts to forgo using test results in teacher evaluations. But one expert tells Education Week that the federal government would hesitate to make any state go through all the paper work and data processing that would be required. An Oregon schools official expressed confidence the state could meet federal expectations but said Oregon would ask to have the "high-risk" label removed.
Elephants with TB in Oregon
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