Monday, October 13, 2008

King County Budget Cuts

King County is facing a huge budget shortfall. Why? "Bottom line: higher costs, flagging revenues." Q&A | Dissecting King County's general-fund shortfall, Seattle Times, Sept. 29, 2008. County shortfall to trigger up to 255 layoff notices, Oct. 13, 2008.

Sheriff Sue Rahr has said she will have to eliminate deputy positions, likely cutting back the Marine Patrol and investigations of narcotics, organized crime, cold cases, domestic violence and thefts and vandalism.

Prosecutor Dan Satterberg has already reduced his staff and next Monday will begin filing many drug-possession cases and thefts or vandalism with losses below $5,000 as gross misdemeanors rather than felonies.
Q&A supra.

One article focuses on the county-supported programs that support victims of sexual assault: Many King County service providers face significant cuts, Oct. 13, 2008.
Their efforts are important not only because they help crime victims heal but because they play a key role in bringing sex offenders to justice.

Without public funding, said Mary Ellen Stone, executive director of the [Sexual Assault Resource Center], many victims of sex crimes are unable to stick with a case through trial. "Some people assume you just make a report. No. This turns your life upside down for a year and a half at least."

Senior Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Lisa Johnson, who heads the prosecutor's special-assault unit, said victim-advocate groups are "absolutely critical and vital" to successful convictions. "We couldn't do our cases without them."

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