Councilmember O'Brien left office on December 31, 2019. This website is for archival purposes only and is no longer updated.

Posts for 'Public Safety'

Expanding LEAD to North Seattle

July 3rd, 2018

Less than seven years ago, the Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion program, or LEAD, was little more than a local experiment aimed at breaking the cycle of arrest and incarceration. Initially launched with private foundation funds, the $950,000-a-year, four-year pilot program offered carefully chosen participants individualized alternatives to arrest. Today, LEAD is one of the City’s […]


Do No Harm and Do the Most Good

August 12th, 2016

On July 27, in what felt like one of our warmest evenings of the summer, I joined almost 200 neighbors and community members in Ballard to have a conversation about the issues I’ve been hearing most about in recent months – homelessness, property crime, and drug addiction. The Safe and Healthy Communities Public Forum (video […]


Encouraging Safer Environments

April 26th, 2016

As you may have heard, last Saturday afternoon a young man, believed to be using methamphetamine, smashed a window of La Isla Restaurant in Ballard and proceeded to use a shard of glass to attack and injure two people on the sidewalk outside. It is upsetting to see this happen in our community, and I […]


Portland’s Neighborhood Greenways Worth Emulating

March 9th, 2011

Last week we joined our fellow Councilmembers, the Mayor, and several local business leaders on a trip to Portland to learn more about their transportation system. One of our favorite parts – and not just because we got to ride our bikes – was a tour of Portland’s “Neighborhood Greenways.” Portland has connected specific neighborhood […]


Working Toward Systemic Change in Public Safety

February 19th, 2011

Two nights ago King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg announced that he would not be filing criminal charges against Seattle Police Officer Ian Birk. Birk shot and killed John T. Williams on August 30, 2010.  This is very discouraging and undoubtedly sends another signal to the community that our police and public safety system is broken. […]


Managing Risk vs. Managing Costs

May 26th, 2010

At a press briefing on Tuesday, I shared some of my current thinking about cost overruns on the Alaskan Way Viaduct replacement project. The conversation with press was a good chance to step back from the sound bites being thrown around and to talk in plain terms about the risk being assumed – by both […]


Un día triste para Seattle

May 10th, 2010

Esta mañana vi el video de un polícia de Seattle usando palabras completamente inaceptables y racistas mientras que detenía y pateaba a una persona que al final era inocente.  Ya está desarollandose una investigación y, aunque es difícil imaginar otra manera de interpretar ese video, se garantiza el derecho de un proceso legal en nuestra […]


Balancing public safety with first amendment rights

March 19th, 2010

I am kicking this off with a discussion of the Aggressive Solicitation ordinance. If the volume of e-mails my office received in the last week is any indication (over 600!), this definitely falls into the controversial category. Councilmember Tim Burgess’s Public Safety and Education committee work plan started with discussion of his five point plan […]


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