Seattle Municipal Archives Guide

ID: 4620-02

Record Group: Jim Compton

Record Series: Jim Compton Subject Files
1995 -2006
12.8 cubic feet (286 MB) 1118 digital files (32 boxes)

The Jim Compton Subject Files include correspondence, memoranda, reports, notes, Council Briefings, and press clippin gs relating to issues before the City Council during his tenure and especially to subjects discussed in committees Compt on chaired. Major subjects include public safety, including police accountability; governmental use of technology; management of ene rgy and municipal utilities; environmental protection; and transportation. Also of interest are records related to the W orld Trade Organization events of 1999. Compton's public safety related records document his work in improving fire department facilities, including support for the Fire Facilities Levy in 2003 and the City's decision to station a fire boat in fresh water, inside the Ballard Lock s at Fisherman's Terminal. There is a large body of records related to his concern for police accountability, combating racia l profiling, and equity for minorities and the poor who were disproportionately affected by legislation pertaining to dr iving with a suspended license. The records also illustrate his work in creating the Office of Professional Accountability, an indepe ndent agency that reviews certain police matters in an effort to maintain as much transparency as possible and improve t he relationship between the community and the SPD. Additionally, the records document the searches for a new fire chief and a new police chief. The latter was particularly significant because the initial post-WTO search was controversial and poorly managed. Compton helped create a process t hat provided greater community input and maintained a higher level of transparency in the ultimate selection of Chief Gil Kerlikowske . The technology-related records demonstrate Compton's efforts to extend access to government through technology and his d esire to create a municipally-owned wireless system that would be free to all citizens. He developed the concept of the Democracy Portal which included improvements to and expansion of the Seattle Channel, City website information, and web commerce f or bill paying and obtaining City forms and documents. Compton's energy records document the financial problems at City Light in the wake of the national energy scandals of th e late 1990s and early 2000s, including subsequent audits, reports, and hearings that played a significant part in the C ouncil's decision not to reconfirm Gary Zarker as City Light superintendent. The records also document the hiring of a new superi ntendent and some of the management and administrative changes at City Light. Other records document environmental projects and programs such as the matching grant program to help protect streams an d improve fish habitat; the revamping of comprehensive drainage and water quality policies; and transportation issues su ch as finishing the missing link on the Burke-Gilman Trail, and the auditing of the Monorail project that ultimately led to it s dissolution. Of special interest are the records related to the investigation of the WTO meeting riots in Seattle. Compton chaired th e special panel that carried out the investigation and issued a report that identified specific measures aimed to preven t similar episodes in the future. The records accumulated during the investigation are a separate collections in the Archives (180 2-K1).

Seattle Municipal Archives

Finding Aids:
Folder List
EAD Guide to the Jim Compton Subject F iles 1995-2006

Personal Name Subjects:
Compton, Jim

Corporate Name Subjects:
Seattle (Wash.). City Council.
Seattle (Wash.). Fire Dept..
Seattle (Wash.). Police Dept..
Seattle City Light.
Seattle Monorail Project.
World Trade Organization Accountability Review Committee.

Topical Subjects:
Energy -- Washington (State) -- Seattle
Public utilities -- Washington (State) -- Seattle
City planning -- Washington (State) -- Seattle
Transportation -- Washington (State) -- Seattle
Technology -- Washington (State) -- Seattle
Land use, Urban -- Washington (State) -- Seattle
Political ethics -- Washington (State) -- Seattle
Public Utilities
City planning
Monorail railroads -- Washington (State) -- Seattle
Public works

Geographical Subjects:
Seattle (Wash.) -- Politics and government