April 29, 2016

State Planning More Increases for 520 Bridge Toll

520 Bridge Toll IncreasesStop the Madness: No New Increases for 520 Bridge Toll

The new 520 Bridge is not even completely open and state government is already trying to push two MORE 520 Bridge Toll increases.  Washington State Transportation Commission is proposing increases to the already unreasonably high rates on the SR 520 Bridge Toll: [Read more…]

Police Bike Patrol Back on Streets and Trails of Bellevue

A Bellevue oficer (partly yellow uniform) trains for bike patrol alongside Seattle Police.After a six-year hiatus caused by recession-related budget cuts, the Bellevue Police bike patrol returned to the streets of our fine City Friday morning.

The restoration of the team was made possible after the City Council voted to restore funding for the unit as part of the mid-biennium budget. The department’s former bike unit was eliminated in 2011 as a result of the last economic downturn. [Read more…]

Trump’s War on Women, Hillary’s Wall Street Support a Boost to Eventual “Write-In” TV Candidate

The Write In TV ShowLionHound Productions CEO Michael Wilson today said Hillary’s tight connections with Wall Street and Trump’s “war on women” add up to good news for LionHound’s new TV program, “The Write-In.” Wilson, creator of the program, pointed out that “only Sanders and Kasich have bothered to court millennials,” which Wilson called the “forgotten demographic.”

“Millennials and other disenfranchised voters are our target audience,” Wilson said. “This forgotten demographic will have no part of the establishment, but could end up voting in large numbers if the candidate is right.” [Read more…]

“Bernie is Right,” Show Creator Says: “Our Campaign System is Corrupt”

CEO Michael Wilson Invites Sanders to Audition on “The Write-In”

The Write In TV ShowLionHound Productions CEO Michael Wilson recently said Independent Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is “on the money” when he describes a “rigged and corrupt campaign system.” Wilson is creator of the “Write- In,” a new TV program designed to allow viewers to narrow a field of “citizen candidates” auditioning to be a popular write-in presidential candidate this fall.

“Sen. Sanders is the only major candidate making an effort to reach both Millennials and minorities,” Wilson said. [Read more…]

No More Apple Pie for the FBI

Allison Goodman headshotBy Allison Goodman

For years, law enforcement agencies across the world have been sending locked iPhones to Apple and Apple has been serving up the data from these phones like a piece of Apple pie (with the appropriate subpoena or search warrant).  When Apple released the iOS 8 operating system back in 2014, it announced that they would no longer have the ability to extract data from iPhones running this (and subsequent) operating systems, essentially cutting off the free Apple pie.     [Read more…]

Open house on making Bellevue more bicycle friendly

Bicycle Friendly BellevueIf you’re interested in improving the city’s bicycling network, an upcoming open house offers a chance to shape project ideas to create a safer, better-connected system.

The open house will take place from 5 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 23, at City Hall, 450 110th Ave. NE. A short presentation followed by an instant-feedback polling exercise will run from 5:30 to 6 p.m. Other open house resources will include display boards, project maps, and Transportation Department staff available to answer questions. Light refreshments will be served. [Read more…]

Washington Earns a C+ For Small Business Friendliness, A+ for Training and Networking Programs

WA Governments Barely Passing, Need Improvement in Attitude Towards Small Business
Small business owners in Washington gave the state one of the country’s highest marks for local training programs, but found its regulatory environment challenging, according to Thumbtack’s annual Small Business Friendliness Survey. Complete results for Washington are

published at https://www.thumbtack.com/wa/.

Nearly 18,000 U.S. small business owners responded to the survey, including 488 in Washington. The study asked respondents to rate their state and city governments across a broad range of policy factors. Thumbtack then evaluated states and cities against one another along more than a dozen metrics.
“Small business owners on Thumbtack have consistently told us that they welcome support from their governments but are frequently frustrated by unnecessary bureaucratic obstacles,” said Jon Lieber, Chief Economist of Thumbtack. “Washington-based small business owners love their state’s support, but want to see some improvement on the regulatory front to make their lives easier.”
“I love doing business where I live,” commented a piano instructor in Seattle. “Setting up a business is easy and encouraged.”
Key Findings for Washington:
  • Washington performed better in 2015 than it did in 2014, when it ranked #25 and earned a C overall.
  • Washington’s highest scores were an A+ for training and networking programs and an A- for ease of starting a business.
  • Seattle, WA earned a B- for overall business friendliness, outperforming Tacoma’s overall C grade.
  • Washington’s worst scores were D+ grades for both tax and labor regulations.
  • Neighboring Oregon earned an overall friendliness score of a B and ranked #18 nationally.

Eastside Employers Invited to Commute Advantage WorkSmart Telework Workshop in Bellevue

Bellevue Employers Choose Your Way BellevueEastside Employers to Learn How to Profit from Workplace Strategy

Eastside Employers Will Find Predictable, flexible and efficient commute options keys to employee retention and productivity

Teleworking allows employees to do more while commuting less with Eastside employers seeing a return to their bottom line. Eastside Employers could save 25 to 90 percent in overhead, in situations where employees do not require permanent workspace at the office, according to WorkSmart, a King County Metro program specializing in workplace strategy. Eastside employers can hear more from WorkSmart at a free Telework Lunch-and-Learn 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Wednesday, June 17, in Downtown Bellevue.

The first 25 people to register and attend receive a $10 coffee card. The event is free but a registration is required. RSVP by emailing commuteadvantage@cywb.org.

Commute Advantage Telework Lunch-and-Learn

Date: Wednesday, June 17th, 2015

Location: The Summit (PSE Building), 10885 NE 4th St, Bellevue

Paid parking available

(Access off of 108th Ave NE or 110th Ave NE – Parking cost: $11)

 

Doors open 11:30 a.m. Program noon to 1 p.m.

Complimentary lunch will be served

 

According to WorkSmart Telework and Flexible Work Hours can help businesses:

  • Improve productivity by up to 20 percent
  • Reduce absenteeism by two to four days per worker per year
  • Improve employee recruitment and retention
  • Eliminate tardiness
  • Save on overhead costs
  • Ensure business continuity during construction or other disruptions

Eastside Employers will learn:

  • How an effective telework or flexible work-hours program benefits your business’ Bottom line and improves work/life balance.
  • What other local business leaders have done to implement successful programs.
  • About WorkSmart’s free consulting services for developing or expanding teleworking and flexible work hours

About Commute Advantage

Commute Advantage is a Choose Your Way Bellevue program made possible by a partnership between the City of Bellevue, King County Metro and the Bellevue Downtown Association. Choose Your Way Bellevue is Bellevue’s one-stop shop for learning about your travel options. Bellevue’s transportation system offers a range of travel options that provide people who live and work in the City with viable alternatives to the single-occupant vehicle. Strategies to balance the options for how people travel into, out of, and through the City are considered under the heading “transportation demand management” or TDM.

About WorkSmart

The WorkSmart program offers workplace strategies to help your company increase employee productivity, improve business continuity and contribute to environmental sustainability. These cutting-edge strategies include telework, coworking, compressed work week, and alternate scheduling. WorkSmart services are free to employers, thanks to the Washington State Department of Transportation, King County Metro, the City of Seattle, and the Federal Transit Administration.

King Conservation District Announces $650,000 in Regional Food System Grants

King Conservation DistrictKing Conservation District to Award Grants to Support King County Agriculture

King Conservation District will make available $650,000 of regional food systems grants in support of King County agriculture through a grant process that was just announced on their website (www.kingcd.org). Grants will be awarded to fund food system related projects with demonstrated public benefit and a link to improving working farm lands in King County.

To learn more, a Launch Event will be held on Wednesday, June 10, at the TAF/Bethaday Learning Center (605 SW 108th Street, Seattle, WA 98146) at 10 am and is open to the public.

Any individual, non-profit, business, school, special district, Tribe or King County jurisdiction within the boundaries of King Conservation District may submit a Letter of Intent for consideration. Documents to submit a Letter of Intent can be found on KCD’s website (www.kingcd.org) and are due by 5pm on Wednesday, July 1, 2015. In addition to responses of four relevant questions regarding the proposed project, applicants must arrange for submission of three peer reviews. “Our hope is, by requiring three peer reviews for each Letter of Intent, we will be encouraging a sense of community around the entire grant application process,” notes King Conservation District Program Manager, Josh Monaghan.   KCD is available to help facilitate the peer review match making process, if needed.

Upon receipt, Letters of Intent will be ranked and based on the results invitations will be issued to attend a Grant Proposal Workshop on Monday, July 20, 2015.   At the Workshop, applicants will give a 15 minute presentation of their proposed project. Once again, this step is intended to encourage a sense of community amongst grant seekers and foster collaboration between proposed projects.   A full grant proposal is due to KCD by Friday, September 4, 2015.

During the months of September and October 2015, a cadre of external grant reviewers, KCD’s Advisory Committee and Board of Supervisors will be ranking the grant proposals and award announcements will be made at the end of October.

In the development of this grant program, KCD staff has been actively engaged with regional food systems planning groups including the King County Local Food Initiative and the Regional Food Policy Council’s Action Plan among others. These groups have been key in identifying gaps in infrastructure, production and marketing that affect King County agriculture and keep it from becoming a more robust economic driver in our region. Outgoing King County Food Initiative Program Manager, Lilly Simmering, attests to the importance of this grant opportunity, “The funds that KCD brings to the table help fill the critical gaps left open by restrictions in federal and state grants.”

The public is encouraged to download the Letter of Intent documents on KCD’s website (www.kingcd.org) and attend the Launch Event at 10 am on June 10th at TAF/Bethaday Learning Center (605 SW 108th, Seattle, WA 98146). Questions regarding the grant process can be directed to foodfarmgrant@kingcd.org.

King Conservation District is a special purpose district created to assist private landowners manage and steward their natural resources through education, technical assistance and cost share programs.

Governor To Sign NFIB-Backed Health-Care Costs Bill

NFIB logoAt a bill-signing ceremony scheduled for this morning at 10:30 a.m. in his office, Gov. Jay Inslee will put his signature on a measure that NFIB led the coordination and legislative passage of: An All-Payer Claims Database (APCD) that will eventually empower everyone in Washington state to compare quality and costs among health-care providers.

“Pairing cost and quality metrics in an All-Payer Claims Database is our best hope of educating and empowering employers to identify or design health-benefits plans that meet the needs of their particular workforce, and ultimately, give families and individuals access to meaningful information to guide their health-care purchasing decisions,” said Patrick Connor, Washington state director for America’s leading small-business association, the National Federation of Independent Business.

According to a report from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, The Basics of All-Payer Claims Databases, “APCDs are large-scale databases that systematically collect medical claims, pharmacy claims, dental claims (typically, but not always), and eligibility and provider files from private and public payers. The first statewide APCD system was established in Maine in 2003 … Currently, more than 30
states have, are implementing, or have strong interest in APCDs.”

Senate Bill 5084, which the governor will sign into law today, had strong support among small businesses, health-care providers and patient organizations with 35 groups supporting the bill when it was initially heard in the Senate Health Care Committee and 27 groups signing in support of the House version of the bill. No group stated opposition to the bill.

SB 5084 corrects flaws in a law passed by the Legislature last year to establish an APCD. Among the problems with the existing law was that it lacked a requirement for all health insurers to submit their data. Experience in other states has shown that without a mandate, it is impossible to provide a comprehensive picture of the cost and quality of health care.

Data that would be submitted under the new law would include financial information, which would allow for analyses about health-care value—meaning quality and cost information about the cost of episodes of care, such as hospitalizations, which had not previously been broadly available.

Because the cost and availability of health care has been the No. 1 worry of small-business owners for 30 years, Connor took the lead in coordinating the activities of the Coalition for Health Care Cost Transparency. “It has been a two-year effort to enact and perfect the statutory framework authorizing a true All-Payer Claims Database for Washington state, but once it is fully up and running, employers, consumers, providers, and even policymakers should see the immense value of it in making health-care providers more competitive, the result of which will make medical coverage more affordable while improving outcomes for patients.”