Wedgwood Community Council meeting – Safer Streets for All (LIVE COVERAGE)

Rebecca May 15, 20138:59 PM

Main speakers done. Heading out.

Rebecca May 15, 20138:55 PM

The benefits are so high, Rasmussen says.

Rebecca May 15, 20138:54 PM

Rasmussen: Changing the physical layout can help so much, but there is SO MUCH push back. Citing the Nickerson Street Road Diet example. First road diet in the city, I believe. But after the change, very few complaints.

Rebecca May 15, 20138:51 PM

Ex-taxi driver: Drunk guy doesn’t care about signs and lights. Physical barriers are the thing. Farrell: Lots of issues here. DUI is part of it. But signs and lights help with other parts.

Rebecca May 15, 20138:45 PM

Rasmussen urging folks to tell their representatives that traffic safety matters. Let local governments decide what they need. (Like red light cameras a Five Corners, for instance).

Rebecca May 15, 20138:42 PM

But these projects are costly. The new light near Seattle Childrens cost a million dollars. And they had to pay for it themselves (hospital addition and emergency room to cause more traffic in the area).

Rebecca May 15, 20138:40 PM

Talking about the RBCA meeting again. So many signs already up to warn drivers. But what needs to happen is making cars *slow down.* Highest criteria for getting transpo projects going? Public safety.

Rebecca May 15, 20138:37 PM

Next up: Councilmember Tom Rasmussen. Chair of the Transportation Committee.

Rebecca May 15, 20138:36 PM

Pollett saying that he was passed on the right by three cars in front of Eckstein tonight. This happens to us, all the time, and we are all neighbors. “Our state spends a pittance on pedestrian safety.”

Rebecca May 15, 20138:31 PM

Farrell now talking Safe Streets with Pollett. There is grant money for safe route to schools programs. Looking at more money for safe pedestrian and bicycle routes in transportation budget. Street-side signals to drivers to drive more safely.

Rebecca May 15, 20138:29 PM

Question about mandated treatment. At what point? Goodman: After a conviction, as a condition, with repeat offenders (second and subsequent). Judge can also order additional assessments if results seem incongruent with the suspect’s behavior and actions.

Rebecca May 15, 20138:26 PM

Goodman thinks they can “shame the senate” into funding the bill.

Rebecca May 15, 20138:25 PM

DUI package on the ballot as a referendum? Could be an option.

Rebecca May 15, 20138:23 PM

Goodman saying that the beer tax would pay for the DUI package. If there was a beer tax.

Rebecca May 15, 20138:22 PM

Five judicial days between arrest and before a judge. Taking a chance with the five days, yes, but, as an example, Mark Mullan was driving for months with his suspended license.

Rebecca May 15, 20138:20 PM

Question: Why even wait a few days to install? Goodman: Vehicle custody issues, installation can be complicated, device must be calibrated, best installed in the installer’s shop, and judge must determine first if the arrest is valid. Car is released after 12 hours, but suspect is still in jail.

Rebecca May 15, 20138:18 PM

Marilyn Schulte: How many convictions before a IID is installed? Goodman: Second negligent or reckless conviction. Many DUIs were knocked down to those charges. On the books now. But the time between charging and installation can be months. New bill would install them much, much sooner.

Rebecca May 15, 20138:12 PM

Woman who grew up in Europe speaking about the drinking culture here, watching friends drink a drink and then drive, with their kids and all. Boggles her. Where are the designated drivers? Goodman: There’s the culture change we need. Also, here we drink to get plastered. We eat dinner in 15 minutes and leave. Strong car culture.

Rebecca May 15, 20138:09 PM

Forfeiture of car is a law now, after second conviction. But does not happen very often do to costs.

Rebecca May 15, 20138:07 PM

Find the repeat offenders, get them the devices to keep them off the road if drinking. Get them the treatment they need. Coercion, and compassion.

Rebecca May 15, 20138:06 PM

Get to the underlying problem with substance abuse treatment. Comprehensive chemical dependency assessments will be required. And then treatment will be paid for, whether the person can afford it or not (under Obamacare as of January 2014).

Rebecca May 15, 20138:04 PM

Mandatory minimum jail times would increase. And can be traded for the using of devices that can tell if the user is staying alcohol-free. 24/7 monitoring for repeat offenders, or more jail time.

Rebecca May 15, 20138:02 PM

Goodman saying that the extra staff needed and jail space will only cost $10 million. Wants to tax the “bad beer” (not the craft stuff) saying that the “bad beer” causes the majority of DUI incidents.

Rebecca May 15, 20138:01 PM

After the courthouse, about 20,000 become DUI conviction. And for every arrest, 88 people have driving impaired and NOT been caught. Arrested for 2+ DUIs? Mandatory jail now (was citation and home). Car AND person both “impounded.” Next probable cause hearing. .08 means nothing. If officer believes you are impaired, you go to jail. Condition for release from jail at that point would require an IID. Within five days, DUI suspect must come back with device installed, or he/she is back in jail.

Rebecca May 15, 20137:57 PM

Those who STILL continue to drive, this group is getting smaller and smaller. Speaking about HB 1182 now. 40,000 arrests in WA every year for DUI.

Rebecca May 15, 20137:55 PM

Third most effective way to reduce DUIs: ignition interlock devices. 80% of those with suspended licenses will continue to drive. Now these people can have this new license where they can have a special license that permits them to continue to drive if they have the IID.

Rebecca May 15, 20137:52 PM

Roadside checkpoints very effective at preventing DUIs. 39 states have these. Washington state law, however, does not allow these.

Rebecca May 15, 20137:51 PM

Change the culture: DON’T drink and drive. Don’t even drink one drink. Public awareness helps here (Mothers Against Drunk Driving, for instance).

Rebecca May 15, 20137:49 PM

Deaths by DUI reduced by 35% in the last few years. But tragedies do still happen.

Rebecca May 15, 20137:48 PM

Drunk driving and domestic violence are the top sources of crime in the state.

Rebecca May 15, 20137:48 PM

Goodman first. Chair of the House Public Safety Committee as well. Criminal justice background.

Rebecca May 15, 20137:46 PM

* Roger Goodman, District 45 (Kirkland area) Representative and House Democrat Point Person on the new proposed DUI laws;
* Jessyn Farrell and Gerry Pollet, District 46 Representatives

Rebecca May 15, 20137:45 PM

Per transitioning to the legislative folks who are here, to speak about DUI law.

Rebecca May 15, 20137:42 PM

Q: Ignition interlocks. Mark Mullan was required to have one. No one checked. Why? Courtney: There has been very little staff to do such checks. The number has increased, but is still inadequate.

Rebecca May 15, 20137:39 PM

Q: Feds want to lower the limit to .05. Law enforcement at the RBCA meeting said that there is no legal limit here now. Courtney: We are a no limit state. If you are impaired to any degree, you are under the influence. Lower number and the no limit number should keep people from getting into a car in the first place.

Rebecca May 15, 20137:36 PM

Q: Difference in laws now with penalties regarding blood alcohol limits? Courtney: Yes. And if you refuse the breath test. And if you are a repeat offender.

Rebecca May 15, 20137:35 PM

Courtney: It’s very costly to impound cars. And some people don’t even want the cars back. Taking the cars can cause punishment for the family, who’s trying to survive.

Rebecca May 15, 20137:33 PM

Ex-cabbie question: You’re trying to write laws for people who aren’t sensible. You need laws so Draconian that their friends will stop them. Take their cars. Confiscatory laws. 30 days, 60 days, 90 days, then smash the vehicle. You’ve lost your job? Your wife? A day in jail is nothing. A day in jail is a good story to tell your friends when they pick you up from jail to buy you drinks.

Rebecca May 15, 20137:29 PM

Question about suspended licenses, and getting them back. Courtney says, “You would be horrified at how many people with suspended licenses are still driving.” Ignition interlock devices make a big difference here.

Rebecca May 15, 20137:28 PM

Another point of education is jury selection. Jury members must be educated about DUI law, and what impairment means, before serving.

Rebecca May 15, 20137:26 PM

A friend of family member saying something. A visit from an officer. These things make people think, and can stop further tragedies.

Rebecca May 15, 20137:25 PM

You can get a ignition interlock device installed on a family member’s vehicle. For a neighbor you see getting into a car, you can call 911. Someone you know who has a substance abuse problem? Mental health problem? TALK TO THEM.

Rebecca May 15, 20137:23 PM

Q: As citizens, what can we do about [drug] abuses we see, but don’t see anything being done?

Rebecca May 15, 20137:22 PM

Has many good things to say about Amy Friedheim, Senior Deputy King County Prosecutor, who is working on one of the recent local DUI homicide cases.

Rebecca May 15, 20137:19 PM

She works with younger, less experienced prosecutors. Fields calls, provides resources. Only difference between DUI and vehicular assaults/homicides are the outcomes.

Rebecca May 15, 20137:17 PM

DUI cases are the most scientifically complicated cases.

Rebecca May 15, 20137:16 PM

Very walkable neighborhood, but not a very safe neighborhood. Even in a car. “Many people seem very inattentive.”

Rebecca May 15, 20137:15 PM

Next up: Traffic Safety Prosecutor Courtney Popp. Here to answer questions about DUI law. Lives in the area.

Rebecca May 15, 20137:13 PM

Marilyn said she’s able to stay for a long time, which is very helpful to Dan and Elias.

Rebecca May 15, 20137:12 PM

Elias is home. “He is smiling, and doing the things a baby should be doing.” Karina is doing better every day. Long road ahead.

Rebecca May 15, 20137:11 PM

The family is being cared for by neighbors like family.

Rebecca May 15, 20137:10 PM

Marilyn Schulte up first. Expressing thanks for the support from Wedgwood and Ravenna. Thank you to the first responders, and those who are working on the case. Thank you to businesses and residents for flowers, meals, walks, all the support. Thanks to Per for starting the funds, to Rebecca (me) for keeping the family in the news, Jess Creach for the Take Them a Meal calendar…

Rebecca May 15, 20137:08 PM

Photojournalist with KOMO is here, and just interviewed Marilyn Schulte (Dan’s sister, and daughter of Judy and Dennis Schulte). Thank you, KOMO.

Rebecca May 15, 20137:05 PM

Tonight’s agenda, from wedgwoodcc.org:

* Marilyn Schulte will be attending the meeting to thank the community for the support of her family over the past several months since her parents, Dennis & Judy were killed and her sister-in-law and nephew were struck by an intoxicated driver while crossing NE 75th Street.
* Roger Goodman, District 45 (Kirkland area) Representative and House Democrat Point Person on the new proposed DUI laws;
* Jessyn Farrell and Gerry Pollet, District 46 Representatives;
Courtney Popp, Statewide Traffic Safety Resource Prosecutor with the State Patrol; and
Tom Rasmussen, Seattle City Councilmember and Chair of the Council’s Transportation Committee.

Rebecca May 15, 20137:04 PM

WCC President Per Johnson is starting things up. Call for dues, and voting for paid-up members (for trustee positions and some by-law changes). Thanks for Top Pot for the treats, and for their support of traffic safety and the school biking programs. Also, a petition to support Wedgwood parks and open space.

Rebecca May 15, 20136:59 PM

At the Wedgwood Presbyterian Church at NE 80th St and 35th Ave NE for the Wedgwood Community Council community meeting. All the other usually used rooms were scheduled up, so tonight’s meeting is in the sanctuary. And I am typing this on top of a harpsichord (I think).

Comments

  1. Andres Salomon says

    Thanks for covering this! I wish I could’ve been there. I’m Glad to see road diets getting a mention, as they end up creating such a huge improvement for everyone (including drivers).

  2. Roosevelt Dad says

    Nice work with the coverage. I would have liked to have seen this meeting taking place in their sanctuary!

  3. Richard Fuhr says

    Thanks for doing this live blog. We appreciate it. This enables us to share the details of the meeting with those who couldn’t be there.

  4. says

    Rebecca, thank you so much. I relied on your post to do a report which is on the Wedgwood Community Council page at wedgwoodcc.org I was taking notes with pen and paper! Your live-blog report helped me a lot.

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