By Mellow DeTray

Employee recognition, sexual assault awareness, Kent 101, Mayor’s Report and more were discussed at Tuesday night’s (April 4, 2023) Kent City Council meeting – here’s our recap:

Employee of the Month

Josh Gonzalez, Multimedia Supervisor for the city of Kent, was given the honor of Employee of the Month. He leads a national award winning communications team, and coworkers describe him as talented and innovative. Gonzalez interacts daily with every city department and the public, creating graphics and videos for the city in an efficient and effective manner. He was hired in 2017.

Recognition of Kent 101 Graduates

A very engaged group of 38 people completed the free 8 week program, learning all about the city of Kent. The fall program will take applications beginning in August. Learn more here.

Sexual Assault Awareness Month

This proclamation recognizes April as Sexual Assault Awareness Month. 45% of women and 22% of men report experiencing sexual violence, which includes any form of unwanted sexual contact, in person or online harassment, abuse, and assault.

Supportive resources are available for those who have experienced sexual violence. King County Sexual Assault Resource Center (KCSARC) located in Renton, supports victims of rape, often working with children and teens. Kent was one of the first cities to stand up with the organization, then called King County Rape Relief.

National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week

This proclamation honors 911 operators, who work around the clock, including weekends and holidays, to ensure the community has access to first responders. Valley Communications has been serving Kent in this capacity since 1977. For people interested in working in this role, they are currently hiring.

Greater Kent Historical Society Presentation

Mike Evans, elected Chief of the Snohomish Tribe and master carver, has created a welcome figure for the city. Everyone is invited to the dedication of this carving, which is the traditional figure native to the area, not totem poles, as Evans explained. The dedication will be held at the Kent Museum on April 29 at 1 p.m.

Mayor’s Report

Mayor Dana Ralph reported back after returning from a legislative session where she was able to give testimony on multiple issues of import to Kent.

One topic was the Blake drug possession ruling, which currently allows individuals to use drugs openly without repercussion. Ralph explained that the city of Kent believes there needs to be criminal justice involvement in situations of drug use, providing users with a way to get into drug treatment.

Ralph is also a member of the Puget Sound Regional Council, which is responsible for transportation planning. Federal Transit Administration (FTA) funding traditionally used a system where areas with more riders received the bulk of the funds. This makes it hard for smaller agencies like Pierce County Transit to get enough resources to grow routes, especially in rural areas. Through a series of 8 meetings, a working group came up with a way to more equitably distribute these federal funds.

Mellow DeTray is a Seattle native who has spent the last 16 years raising her family in the region. She has volunteered at many local establishments over the years, including the Burien Library, Burien Actors Theatre, and Hot Feet Fitness. For many years she published a moderately popular cooking & lifestyle blog, and she had a brief stint in political journalism during a local election. Clear and informative writing has always been a side hobby of Mellow’s and she looks forward to bringing you unbiased coverage of City Council meetings.

Scott Schaefer

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