Northwest NEWS

January 31, 2000

Local News

No group has favored status in public process

by Marshall Haley, staff reporter

   WOODINVILLE--The Woodinville City Council's Jan. 24 meeting included discussions on what kind of police should ride Sound Transit vehicles; if the city should have to pay extra fees to King County agencies for unrequested investigations; if the Woodinville Fire & Life Safety District will expect the City to help pay for adding another fire inspector; and if the City should buy a defibrillator for City Hall.

   City Manager Pete Rose told the Council that the City of Sea-Tac has asked for support from other cities to oppose Sound Transit's (ST) proposal to hire the Pinkerton agency for security on their light-rail trains, rather than commissioned law enforcement officers.

   Councilmember Bob Miller said private security would certainly cut costs, but pointed out that security officers had no authority to make arrests or carry weapons. Rose guessed ST might believe they would have more control over the system by not contracting with King County or various cities to provide police protection.

   Miller said that scenario would seem to offer less control, at least regarding passenger safety and ST liability. Barbara Solberg said she would feel more secure riding a train with a real police officer present, in the event some rider posed a safety risk. Mayor Ransom asked Rose to draft a reply to Sea-Tac supporting its opposition to private security and recommending that the Sound Transit board hire commissioned officers.

   Rose also told the Council that several police-contract cities oppose having to sign separate contracts with King County for extra services, such as arson investigations. The problem is that the cities have been getting charged for investigations without requesting them. Some cities have complained such examples have been too frequent.

   "We don't get to pick when they are called, we only get to pay the bills," said Rose.

   Miller reported that the Woodinville Fire & Life Safety Commissioners and fire chief have agreed to hire another fire investigator. He asked Rose to check on their intentions, since Miller heard them say their budget would fund the new position's salary for one year. After that, they would review their revenues and might ask the City of Woodinville for help, said Miller.

   Miller also suggested the City follow the City of Redmond's lead in purchasing a defibrillator for City Hall. Redmond has already used it twice, and the price has recently dropped from $10,000 to $2,000, he said.

   Mayor Ransom said his meeting with U.S. Rep. Jay Inslee last week reinforced his belief that hydrostatic testing is the only reliable testing the federal government should allow to ensure pipeline safety.

   Solberg said the Suburban Cities Association will hold a "getting up to speed" meeting at the Mercer Island City Hall on Monday, Jan. 31, 5-7 p.m.

   Rose alerted the Council that U.S. Rep. Laura Ruderman will use Council Chambers for a town meeting on Sat., Feb. 19, from 1-2:30 p.m.