By Sarah Brusig
The Kent City Council meeting on Tuesday February 15, 2022 opened at approximately 7:05 p.m. Attending were Kent Mayor Dana Ralph, Kent City Council Speaker Bill Boyce and Council Members Brenda Fincher, Satwinder Kaur, Marli Larimer, Zandria Michaud. , and Toni Troutner. Council member Les Thomas was not present.
BLACK HISTORY MONTH
The meeting opened without modification of the agenda. Karena Cazares has been appointed to the Commission on Human Services and February 2022 has been proclaimed Black History Month.
Council member Boyce commented on the many accomplishments of black Americans. Notable feats include the ironing board, the first home security system, the hair straightener, and the electric microphone.
Notable community events in the Kent area are the Seattle Thunderbirds games, the Awaken Music Festival and other offerings at the ShowWare Center. Spotlight tickets are available at www.kentwa.gov.
Public Safety was at the top of the conversation Tuesday night with Police Chief Rafael Padilla offering the year-end homicide statistics were 14 in 2021 – up from eight in 2020. Of those cases, 11 were completely resolved. Higher than the national homicide clearance rate at 85% versus 51%. Eleven of the 14 homicides resulted in the victims’ deaths from gunshot wounds; 1 stabbed; 2 aggravated assaults; and 2 related to domestic violence.
Public assistance is still needed to help resolve the May 16, 2021 shooting at the Babylon Hookah Bar (306 Washington Ave. S.). Like us before reported, the victim, Dante Green, 29, was shot dead. The man who tried to help Green was shot twice and fled. Anyone with information should contact the advice line at (253) 856-5808. Callers can choose to remain anonymous.
The second case under active investigation occurred at 420 Alderlane on June 20, 2021. Antoine Nelson, then 28, was found in his vehicle on the side of the road. A Good Samaritan discovered Nelson and took him to the hospital where he later died. Anyone with information should contact the advice line at (253) 856-5808. Callers can choose to remain anonymous.
Chief Padilla then presented highlights from the “2021 Year End King County Firearm Violence Report” (aka the “Shots Fired Report”) available for download at kingcounty.gov/gunviolencedata. In King County, shooting deaths increased 64% in 2021 from the five-year average at 88 victims, non-fatal shootings increased 54% to 372, and there were 17 fatalities and 102 victims non-fatal more than in 2020.
Officer Padilla presented that the racial distribution of victims confirmed “many years of consistent data” indicating that “members of our BIPOC community are more victims of gun violence than their white counterparts”. Members of the black community accounted for “48% of all gunshot wound victims” in King County in 2021. “We’ve seen this trend for several years now,” Padilla added.
Kent Police Academy is open for enrollment with the new program running from 15 April to 14 June 2022. Further information is available at https://www.kent.edu/policeacademy.
The next item on the agenda included the six-year transportation plan for the region, which Mayor Ralph reminded is open for public comment. Ralph offered social media as a viable option for getting involved in the trajectory. She then thanked Lowe’s Home Improvement on Pacific Highway for helping with materials and volunteers for graffiti removal in the area.
RETIREMENT FROM THE CITY COUNCIL
Chief Executive Derek Matheson then mentioned the Kent City Council Retreat 2022 where topics on the agenda included the budget, climate issues, talks on policing, housing and other topics. Matheson said his team is set to launch its first-ever public-facing performance dashboard with more than 30 mechanisms to track Kent City Council goals.
COUNCIL MEMBERS’ REPORTS
Councilman Boyce spoke of ‘increasing diversity in the hiring process’ and said he was happy with the Parks Department regarding open spaces in Kent. The Kent Historical Society was next on Boyce’s report. Boyce read the organization’s mission statement and thanked them for their time in compiling the data and telling Kent’s story.
Council Member Michaud then spoke about the Parks and Human Services Committee, including an update on Human Services funding, new playground equipment and related matters.
Council Member Kaur provided a brief update on the Clean Buildings Incentive Program.
Council Member Larimer spoke to the King County Aging and Disability Advisory Council, where the group endoflifewa.org gave a presentation on methods to help “streamline paperwork related to advance directives and living wills “. Larimer also sits on the Affordable Housing Committee and said the group has approved its work plan for 2022 and has put in place initiatives to track, measure and monitor affordable housing.
Council Member Troutner provided an update on the Economic Community and Development Committee. The committee approved countywide planning policies for growth management and planning guidelines. The regional transit committee will then meet on Wednesday, February 16, 2022. Troutner thanked pandemic partners for helping more than 408,000 people gain access to COVID testing and more than 89,000 vaccinations, including more than 5,000 served by mobile units.
Ccuncil Member Fincher provided an update on the Traffic Box Murals, Centennial Gallery and Public Works Committee, including the Storm and Surface Water Utilities Ordinance. “If you’re home, the wipes don’t go down the drain…even if the wipes say they can be flushed down the toilet, they aren’t. Don’t throw the wipes away… Nothing but toilet paper down the drain,” council member Fincher warned. King County Conservation’s election went largely unnoticed and should be added to the ballot, she said.
There was no public hearing or public comment at the February 15 city council meeting. The consent agenda was adopted unanimously. The Board also voted unanimously to extend the Avenue 55 LLC contract through the March 22, 2022 meeting. State of Washington, was unanimously awarded to Key Peninsula Construction.
With no executive session, the Kent City Council meeting was adjourned.
The recorded show is available on Kent TV21, www.facebook.com/CityofKent and