Rehabilitating the King County Juvenile Courthouse
Presiding Judge King County Juvenile Court
Scribe: Jenny Andrews Editor: Jim Kindsvater
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Presiding Judge Richard McDermott presented a compelling case to rehabilitate the King County Juvenile Courthouse. Bob Holert is our Rotarian of the month. Glenn Foster gave us an entertaining classification talk. Mike Ralph lauded the three Rotary families that hosted our exchange student last year, Farina. Wendi Fischer gave a rave performance extracting funds from several Rotarians.
Our Speaker – Richard McDermott, Presiding Judge of King County Juvenile Court & Juvenile Court Judge, Patricia Clar, was introduced by Bob Holert. Judge McDermott presented a compelling case for the need to build a new juvenile court and detention center in Seattle. The ballot measure will be taken to the voters on August 7 and he strongly encouraged Rotary members to approve the project.
According the Judge McDermott, there are significant problems at the current facility including over $20 Million in deferred maintenance and major security issues. He introduced Judge Patricia Clark who said she spends every day of her work week trying to ensure that our kids are safe, cared for and will grow up to become healthy, happy adults.
In King County alone there are 2500 abused kids that come through her system every year. In WA, there are 15,000 such cases each year. When parents arrive at juvenile hall they are in an atmosphere that is absolutely chaotic. The noise level is huge and there are no private places for families to talk with their attorneys.
King County has reduced its detention population from 250 a day to 75 a day through programs that provide treatment programs that allow kids to remain at home with their families. Even with those steps, King County has maxed out its current facility and must be updated.
The courtrooms were designed for a time when courtrooms were closed to the public. That’s no longer the case but the courtrooms are so small that they cannot accommodate observers.
Judge Clark said her courtroom is so small that defendants sit only a few feet away from the witnesses who will be testifying against them. Judge Clark said this is “a disaster waiting to happen”.
Judge McDermott said that parts of the building have been closed down because it is so dangerous. Water and power issues plague the building and compromise security and safety. It sends a message to “clients” that they are not important.
Judge McDermott underscored his plea for support for this project with very graphic photos of the shabby status of the building.
The proposed new courtroom would have 10 new courtrooms, with the ability to flex into a 17 courtroom facility when needed, and a 154 bed detention center. It would provide space for on-site services and linkages to off-site services for juvenile court clients. In addition, the sale of the current property would allow for a public/private partnership that would raise revenue for the county.
The new and improved building would be at 12th and Alder, near Seattle University. It will sit on a 9 acre site and four corners of the site could be used for private development. The middle of the site would be for the new court and detention facility. Some people who have studied the project believe that the new facility would pay for itself within 12 years because of the lower operating expenses.
Judge McDermott said that kids of all types end up in juvenile court. He talked about receiving calls from his friends in the Bellevue Rotary Club whose kids were at juvenile hall asking him what to do.
Invocation: Rick Klobucher read St. Theresa’s Prayer
Introductions: Chris Ballard, with no visiting Rotarians, introduced guests.
Rotarian of the Month
Bob Holert who chairs the Student of the Month Program and the Programs Committee was awarded Rotarian of the Month for all of the behind the scenes work he does each and every week.
Club Administration Committee Update – Paul Chapman
Paul Chapman provided a wonderful synopsis of the work his committee does throughout the year. He noted that several of the committee chairs who report to him have been awarded Rotarian of the Month. With great sincerity, Paul said that one of his proudest achievements was “firing Sayoko and hiring Kim.”
Classification Talk –Glenn Foster
Glenn, who has been a member for almost a year began his talk by showing a video of his father performing in light opera. Glen is clearly over-educated with five or ten advanced degrees. Claiming that “when you go to school too long you end up doing something stupid” and in his case this was buying a “corroded old plane then taking it apart and flying it even though it was falling apart.” Glen is very proud of his son who now lives in Florida.
Glen is an inventor and patent attorney who has worked with several large companies, including Boeing, through his company.
International Services Update – Mike Ralph
The Youth Exchange Committee has sponsored Farina, our wonderful exchange student from Germany. Mike recognized the three Rotary families who hosted Farina this year: Rourke and Sayoko; Morris & Carolyn Kremen and Laura Adams Guy and her family.
The International Services Committee has been very busy this year, funding projects with B-Peace, Antigua Computers for the World and a restroom project in Nepal.
Sergeant-At-Arms – Wendi Fisher
Wendi, reverting to SAA techniques from 25 years ago, fined Jim Carney $25 for “excessive publicity” for articles that appeared in several local rags. She then fined John DeWater and Jim Kindsvater for an error that appeared in last week’s Reveille so your humble correspondent is being EXTRA careful. Chris Ballard was then excoriated for wearing a Rotary pin that claimed “perfect attendance”.
Committee Sign-up – Lee Smith
Lee encouraged everyone to sign up for committee service for the coming Rotary year.
Fashionista Event – An unplanned schedule to “go green” involved three of our ladies.
Chapmanesque Thought for the Week:
Most human beings are quite likeable if you don’t see too much of them.