2016 Mayor’s Film Award Winner Announced

Mayor Ed Murray announced the 2016 recipient of the 11th annual Mayor’s Award for Outstanding Achievement in Film, Washington Filmworks. The award recognizes an individual or entity for exceptional work that has significantly contributed to the growth, advancement and reputation of Seattle as a filmmaking city.

“The incredible staff of Washington Filmworks dedicates their time every day to ensuring Seattle and our state are competitive locations for film productions,” Mayor Ed Murray said. “Thanks to their efforts, Seattle’s film community continues to create jobs and support our local economy.”

Washington Filmworks is the non-profit organization that manages the state film and production incentive programs. Its mission is to create economic development opportunities by building and enhancing the competitiveness, profile and sustainability of Washington’s film industry. The organization creates possibilities for local and national filmmakers, offering comprehensive production support as well as financial incentives.

“Seattle faces significant competition for film work from our neighbors to the north and south, yet Washington Filmworks works tirelessly to ensure our city and Washington State are competitive,” Kate Becker, Director of the Office of Film + Music + Special Events said.

“While Washington Filmworks is best known for offering financial assistance and production support, we are most proud of our partnership with the statewide creative community and our role in helping to build careers and make Seattle and Washington State a place for film now and in the future. We share this award with our local cast and crew, who’s passion and talent inspire the work we do every day,” said Amy Lillard, Executive Director of Washington Filmworks.

The Seattle film industry representative on the Nomination and Selection Committee chose to award Washington Filmworks this year rather than a filmmaker because of the incredible amount of energy the organization exhibited this year to support the industry.

Amy Lillard will accept the award on behalf of Washington Filmworks tonight at Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF)’s Opening Night Gala at Marion Oliver McCaw Hall.

Mayor Murray, Councilmember Sawant unveil tenant protection bill

Mayor Ed Murray and Councilmember Kshama Sawant unveiled a proposal today strengthening protections for vulnerable renters living in unsafe or substandard housing. The measure prohibits landlords from raising rents on homes that are in violation of existing maintenance and safety codes, and allows Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections (SDCI) to take action against landlords for retaliating against tenants that report unsafe living conditions or fail to provide proper notice of rent increases.

“The practice of raising rents on substandard homes is unacceptable and we must take steps to protect vulnerable renters from displacement and unsafe living conditions,” said Mayor Murray. “This is a race and social justice issue that disproportionality impacts communities of color. We’ve seen landlords let homes fall into disrepair or raise rents to displace and redevelop the property. If Seattle is to become more equitable, we must ensure that rental housing is safe and remains affordable for residents.”

The tenant protection bill is a recommendation from the Mayor’s Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda (HALA). Studies have shown that more than half of Seattle’s occupied housing units are rentals. After reports surfaced last fall of landlords pushing out low-income and immigrant tenants, Councilmember Sawant and then Councilmember Nick Licata called for the City to step in and ban such practices.

“Tenants at 6511 Rainier Ave. S. organized their building into the Tenant’s Union of Washington to stop the abuse of their landlord,” Councilmember Sawant said. “They called demonstrations to expose the deplorable conditions, and this legislation shows that tenants can win their rights when they organize and fight back.”

Highlights of the bill include:

  1. Prohibit landlords from increasing the rents charged for units that do not meet basic maintenance standards.
  1. Enhance protections for tenants who experience retaliation or other prohibited landlord-led actions.
  1. Transfer primary City responsibility for enforcing against prohibited acts by landlords and tenants from the Seattle Police Department to the
  1. Allow SDCI to enforce a City requirement that a must provide at least 60 days’ notice before applying a rent increase of 10 percent or more.

“I’m happy to see Mayor Murray and Councilmember Sawant introducing legislation to better protect tenants,” said Sahra Farah, Executive Director of Somali Community Services of Seattle. “Too often, members of the immigrant and refugee community are taken advantage of because they do not know their rights and are forced out of their homes. This proposal will give tenants protection from rent hikes and retaliation from their landlords when they report unsafe living conditions in their homes.”

The Council is expected to consider the proposal this spring.

SPD, Seattle Public Schools parter to expand Safe Place program

Mayor Ed Murray, along with Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole and Seattle Public Schools Superintendent Larry Nyland, announced today that Seattle Police Department’s (SPD) “Safe Place” will expand to all 98 Seattle Public Schools. SPD Safe Place is a public education and visibility program aimed at preventing and responding to anti-LGBTQ bias crimes.

“While we see a rolling back of civil rights protections for LGBTQ people in some corners of the country, Seattle remains inclusive and welcoming to all people,” said Mayor Ed Murray. “SPD Safe Place brings together businesses, community organizations, and the public to stand up against hate and intolerance. I applaud Seattle Public Schools for bringing this important program to our schools, empowering students to speak out against anti-LGBTQ harassment.”

Launched in May of 2015, SPD Safe Place is a voluntary program that provides businesses and organizations with decals and information on how to report malicious harassment, more commonly known as hate crimes. Training for these organizations includes when and how to call 911, sheltering victims of crime until police arrived, and proactive outreach about working with the SPD’s LGBT liaison officer.

“We are thrilled that SPD Safe Place is growing through a partnership with Seattle Public Schools,” said Chief Kathleen O’Toole. “We want to create a safe, inclusive community for everyone and are encouraged by the ongoing support we have received for this program.”

“Our district is proud to partner with the City and the Seattle Police Department to make all of our schools Safe Places,” said Seattle Public Schools Superintendent Larry Nyland. “This is a continuation of our commitment to ensuring all our students feel safe and equal in our schools”

SPD Safe Place program has reached 1,600 locations. Businesses, organizations and educational institutions can request SPD Safe Place placards or posters and learn about how to work with police to prevent and address anti-LGBT crime concerns at http://www.seattle.gov/spd-safe-place/.