October 2009 Meeting Minutes
Call to Order
Pledge of Allegiance
Review and Approve Agenda
Public Comment on topics, which are not listed on the Agenda
Approval of minutes
King County Superior Court Judge Prochnau
There are 53 judges, who are elected officials in the Superior Court. Jury trials are 1/3 of what they do, and they typically hear the most serious cases. They are the only court that hears juvenile trials, and most of the civil cases are for more than $50,000. They also oversee protective orders such as guardianships, and they are seeing more of these cases because people are living longer. They are also dealing with juveniles at risk, and hear child abuse and neglect cases. They protect the most vulnerable in our society.
There are currently two volunteer opportunities that she would like to run past us. One opportunity is the Partnership for Youth Justice, a diversion program for youth who have been convicted of a crime, and the other is serving on a Community Accountability Board. The youth and their parents are interviewed, and a legally binding contract is written that may include restitution, community service, fines, and some type of skill building activities. The taxpayers save over $2 million dollars a year on this program. If interested, please go onto the courts website. Google King County Superior Court and link to volunteerism. The clerk’s office at the Department of Judicial Administration can also give you information. The third website that is useful is the Washington State Courts website. The second opportunity is on the CASA board. They represent the interest of the children, and they advocate for the child’s needs. Many of the children are in foster care, and they remain there because the courts don’t get the information they need to assist the children. CASA ensures that the case workers don’t lose track of the child’s needs. You are provided training for this opportunity. The common denominator of these children is that a child who she saw in the childhood neglect courts may graduate to more serious crimes without help.
The courts are financed through the state and local level. There are a few fees such as filing fees that help, but the budget is being cut. Filing fees for civil court is about $240. They were asked to reduce their budget by $7 million dollars in 2009, and are being asked to reduce expenses again in 2010. Cases are assigned based on filing, and at times cases are delayed because of the calendar. Total budget for King County Superior Court in 2008 was $50,311,562. They were asked to take a 10% cut in their budget in 2008 and succeeded in cutting the court’s budget by 3.6 million dollars and the clerk’s office budget by 1.2 million. Since 2002, they have cut their budget by a total of $8 million dollars. They are looking at serious cuts again this year, and Judge Prochnau is concerned about how they we will maintain their operations. Volunteers on the CASA dependency program are reimbursed for their mileage at the federal rate of .55 per mile.
Memorandum of Understanding / Lauren Smith
Lauren suggested that we might want to look at our survey as a way we can partner with the County, and write a memorandum of understanding. The purpose is to lay out common goals and to have something to refer to. Steve commented that this might be a way to work with other groups in the community.
Rural Economic Strategies / Julia Larson
Julia updated us on the Rural Economic Strategies, and the information provided by the community was summarized in a document she provided called the Summary of RES Strategies and Actins Table/October 2009. The Council does not adopt anything in regards to RES, but they like to keep them informed. Julia commented that the majority of parcels in our area are 2.5 acre parcels, and how we should look at smaller farms and addressing the smaller home based business. Julia will send us more information on the rural indicators, and wants us to give input on what we think we should measure. She said one of the challenges they have is that the licensing is through the state so they don’t have a lot of data.
Fereshteh Dehkordi / Rural Permit Coordinator
Fereshteh helps people in the rural area with the permit process. She has the position that was formerly held by Joelyn Higgens. There are two new programs, and one is a code enforcement property agreement where someone has violated code. The code citation program is being changed in order to avoid additional expense. Information can be found on their website. Fereshteh brought copies of some of the code changes. Most of the code changes are to streamline processes in the rural area.
Elections – Steve provided an example of a folded ballot. We worked through the questions on the survey.
Web site guidelines – Tabled until next month
Train Show volunteers – Steve will email
10:30 PM Adjourn