Even before the second vote count comes out this afternoon for Metro/roads-money measure Proposition 1, a new ballot measure is in the works, says a group calling itself Friends of Transit, seeking a property-tax increase to be used only for bus service inside the Seattle city limits. The announcement received via e-mail:
Friends of Transit today announced it will file an initiative for the November 2014 ballot that would save bus service within Seattle city limits. The measure could raise up to $25 million a year for the next six years, enough to reverse most cuts to King County Metro routes that serve Seattle.
“Seattle will grind to a halt if we don’t act fast to save buses,” said Ben Schiendelman, founder of Friends of Transit and proponent of the ballot measure. “Seattle voters want better transit. We will not rest until we have reversed these cuts and begun making the investments we need to provide Seattle with the transit system it deserves.”
A signboard is up for this but you might not have caught all the details, so we just checked with SDOT for details: The Admiral Way offramp from the westbound West Seattle Bridge will be closed 8 am until ~3 pm (reopening earlier if the work is done) this Saturday (April 26th). SDOT’s Marybeth Turner explains that crews “will be working on a project to restore the sidewalk where a traffic accident took out a pole last fall. City Light performed their work, and now we’re following up. On Saturday the crews will remove the temporary fill material (this requires the ramp to be closed) and they plan to pave during this coming week.” That paving work, she adds, will NOT require subsequent closures.
Thanks to Lise for sharing her photo of birds in the buffet line! Before the day moves too much further along, four notes for tonight:
SOMETHING TO SAY ABOUT COMCAST? As noted here yesterday, the city is reviewing citizens’ opinion of its service, as it prepares a potential franchise renewal. The franchise technically only involves the cable-TV service, but the city also has been soliciting opinions regarding its Internet service as well. If you have something to say about Comcast service and/or how you think Seattle’s cable service should be, be at High Point Community Center at 6 pm. (6920 34th SW)
CUB SCOUT INFO NIGHT: 6:30 pm, it’s Cub Scout Pack 799’s “Join Scouting Night” at Arbor Heights Elementary. From the announcement: “We will have leaders from the Pack as well as the Seattle Scouting Council to talk to boys and their families about joining our exciting Pack. Boys who attend will have the chance to build their own Pinewood Derby Car, and then come back on Friday night to race their car in our Annual Pinewood Derby Race!” (37th/104th)
LAST DAY TO REGISTER FOR WEST SEATTLE COMMUNITY GARAGE SALE DAY: We opened registration three weeks ago, and tonight we close it just before midnight, so mapmaking can begin. If you haven’t signed up your sale for the big day (9 am-3 pm Saturday, May 10th) yet – hurry! Here’s the form.
(Added 8:55 am: Photo by Carolyn Newman)
Lots of orca-watching going on this morning, from Beach Drive to Elliott Bay, where the newest reports are from – likely the same two transient male orcas who have been visiting the area for the past several days. Photos shared via Twitter:
— Jonathan Evans (@jhewiz) April 23, 2014
— Melinda Simon (@melindasimonsea) April 23, 2014
8:38 AM: Found out they started the day off West Seattle pretty early – James was watching them off Fauntleroy in the 6 am hour! Meantime, another photo tweeted from the Water Taxi vicinity (Seacrest Boathouse/Pier, 1660 Harbor SW, in case you are new in the area):
— KellyD (@kdbokay) April 23, 2014
— Russ Walker (@russ_walker) April 23, 2014
9:36 AM: Thanks again to everyone who has tweeted, e-mailed, texted/called (206-293-6302 any time), Facebooked – speaking of which, Melinda posted video of the orcas off Beach Drive; not embeddable, unfortunately, but here’s a direct link to see it on FB.
(Latest bridge and Highway 99 views; more cams on the WSB Traffic page)
6:07 AM: Happy midweek! Our traffic watch begins. No road work today but we did spot a sign on the westbound West Seattle Bridge announcing that the Admiral Way offramp will be closed for much of Saturday (April 26th); we’re checking on that today and will update with whatever info we get.
8:50 AM: If you use Denny Way downtown and haven’t headed out yet – we haven’t heard exactly where but a light is out and big backups are starting, according to radio discussion (monitored via scanner). Otherwise, this morning’s big commute news has been the Water Taxi orca-watching!
During Tuesday night’s West Seattle Block Watch Captains Network meeting (full report to come), Southwest Precinct commander Capt. Steve Wilske listed Lincoln Park as one of his emphasis priorities for the summer season, particularly because of its ongoing car-prowl problem. The first of two West Seattle Crime Watch reader reports includes another example of that:
Michelle reports a car break-in during the West Seattle High School tennis team’s game at the Lincoln Park tennis courts on Monday. She says two backpacks with “several valuable items” were stolen from the trunk of a Honda Accord, and the debit cards in those backpacks were used quickly at stores including Roxbury Safeway. The car break-ins have been reported to police and they are hoping to find clues on store surveillance video. If you find any tossed-aside backpacks, and/or personal paperwork, please report it to police.
Ahead, our second reader report – the case of the unauthorized tree-cutter:
Click to read the rest of West Seattle Crime Watch: Student athletes hit by car prowler(s); plus, rogue tree cutter…
Good fan turnout for Tuesday afternoon’s Chief Sealth International High School-West Seattle High School soccer rematch. Sealth’s Devin Offord had a cheering section (above) and scored the first of Sealth’s four goals, helping the Seahawks to a final score of 4-1 over the Wildcats.
Last time the two teams met, one month ago, WSHS won, 2-1.
Other scoring in Tuesday’s match at Southwest Athletic Complex: Alazar Gilay had WSHS’s lone goal; Luis Medina had two for Sealth, and the final one was by Yael Pina (who assisted on two of the three other Sealth goals).
Both are on the road for their next games: Sealth plays at Franklin, 3:30 pm Thursday; WSHS plays Cleveland, same time/day, at Van Asselt Playfield.
8:13 PM: Tonight’s results have just been made public for Proposition 1, the Metro/roads money measure, and it’s 55 percent no, 44 percent yes. More to come.
8:28 PM: This is the only vote count we’ll get tonight, with another to come tomorrow. The details, from the county website:
No – 200887 votes, 55.28%
Yes – 162508 votes, 44.72%
In addition to your thoughts in the comment section, we’re watching for other reaction around the net. Metro is a county service; from King County Executive Dow Constantine:
Dow Constantine "the voters have spoken" , not rejecting metro, rejecting this proposal to fund metro. pic.twitter.com/HvAKj1MsQf
— Alison Grande (@Alison_Grande) April 23, 2014
9:09 PM: So what happens now? The vote-counting usually takes a few weeks. If the measure is indeed defeated, the West Seattle-specific cut list would have to be reshuffled, because it included an extra cut that was averted two months ago, when the state agreed to continue providing “mitigation money” related to Highway 99 construction for at least another year. (And that was BEFORE Monday’s news that the Highway 99 tunneling machine won’t get moving again for almost a year.)
Metro did recently make a slight reduction in the number of service hours it said would be necessary if no new funding became available – 550,000 instead of 600,000; that draft revision included this route-by-route table.
It leaves more routes unchanged than the original proposal, and would be phased in between September 2014 and September 2015. Still on the list of routes to be eliminated: 21, 22, 37, 57. Route 113 was on the deletion list in November but is on the “would be unchanged” list now.
Congratulations go out to an award-winning West Seattle High School student artist, just announced by art/design teacher Michelle Sloan, who also shared the photo:
West Seattle High School Student Regine Fernandez wins an Outstanding Achievement award for her Oil Pastel Drawing of “Grandma’s Girl” in the Puget Sound Regional Art competition. The drawing was of her family’s pet dog.
More information about the competition is here.
We’re welcoming Straight Blast Gym of Seattle as a WSB sponsor – with a special event coming up this weekend. Here’s what they want you to know about their business:
At Straight Blast Gym of Seattle, we not only teach martial arts, we teach movement. We strive to connect the sense of effort and enjoyment, providing an environment that is physically demanding yet playful in nature. We operate out of a 5300-square-foot warehouse converted into a martial-arts and fitness facility, conveniently located on Delridge Way, with more than 1700 square feet of mat space. Needless to say, there is plenty of room to climb, jump, lift, roll, kick, punch, and most importantly, MOVE.
Straight Blast Gym of Seattle is what we like to call the “third place.” It is a community that fosters deep bonds and relationships with individuals that are just like you. Everyone knows that we are a martial-arts gym, and anyone with a computer can Google search “Straight Blast Gym” and figure that our coaching methods are world class – there is no doubt that you’ll learn something new, and learn it well. So, what sets us apart? Why are we different? Community. Oftentimes, the sense that people truly care about you is overlooked when looking for a martial arts and fitness facility. We emphasize community because it’s the most important element in helping you reach your goals.
Most people seek us out because we are very approachable, and our community is so diverse. Our gym is not like your typical martial-arts academy, as it has plenty of personality. We do not adhere to the norms, because everyone here is considered family. People continue coming back because they see results, whether that is weight loss, increased confidence, learning martial arts, or that feeling of being alive again; everyone eventually reaches their goals, whether you’re a child or adult. Our Growing Gorillas is a children’s martial arts program designed to help your child improve focus, self-control, discipline, and a positive self-image within a fun, safe, and family-friendly environment that emphasizes goal setting and achievement. No matter what program you enroll in, you will begin to achieve the goals you’ve set.
The coaches never think about how they transform lives, because we are so busy noticing how much our students change our own lives. We offer a variety of programs for people of all ages, our youngest student is 3 and our oldest student is 59:
Warrior Woman Strength and Conditioning
Youth Martial Arts
Before and After School Care
Also coming up: We are hosting a free women’s self-defense seminar on Sunday, April 27th at noon:
We will also be collecting items for New Beginnings, a women’s shelter in Seattle that does some amazing things. Here’s the Facebook event.
If you want to see for yourself what we offer and what we’re all about, contact us today to schedule your free consultation and private lesson.
We thank Straight Blast Gym of Seattle for sponsoring independent, community-collaborative neighborhood news via WSB; see our current sponsor team listed in directory format here, and find info on joining the team by going here.
Four more hours to get your ballot in for the Proposition 1 (Metro/roads money) special election, and if you’re not mailing it, the ballot-dropoff vans in West Seattle and White Center will take it for free. Above, Taylor and Benjamin were on duty at the West Seattle Stadium van when we stopped by around noon; they already had received more than 150 ballots in two hours at that point. The other nearby van is in Greenbridge, 8th SW south of Roxbury. P.S. The other voting option is an accessible voting center – explained here; three locations – Renton, Bellevue, and Union Station downtown, also until 8 tonight. (Tonight’s round of results will be made public shortly after that, and we’ll have them here as soon as they’re available.)
A wild sight outside West Seattle’s PCC Natural Markets (WSB sponsor) store on Monday – a honeybee swarm! (Thanks to K for the photo.) This reminds us that it’s the season for a reminder – If you spot a bee swarm, don’t panic about them, don’t poison them, don’t even spray them with water – check out this info from the Washington State Beekeepers’ Association, and then this page from the Puget Sound Beekeepers’ Association, which includes a link to this year’s list of beekeepers you can call to remove the swarm (which is what we’re told PCC did – called a beekedper).
P.S. While checking those pages, we discovered that the Puget Sound Beekeepers Association’s monthly meeting is tonight (not in WS, but in case you’re a beekeeper and not already involved with them, thought we’d mention it given the timing).
P.P.S. Learn more about bees – and celebrate their vital role in our ecosystem – at the second annual West Seattle Bee Festival on May 4th; info here.
One more registration reminder – this time, for the West Seattle Cup, a free World Cup-style family soccer tournament (kids AND parents/guardians!) coming up in West Seattle in June. Organizer Terry Kegel says the deadline to sign up is 11:59 pm tonight – you can do it online, or in person at West Seattle YMCA (WSB sponsor) or Neighborhood House’s High Point Center.
More than 200 sales are signed up for the 10th annual West Seattle Community Garage Sale Day coming up Saturday, May 10th, and after three-plus weeks, registration closes tomorrow night. Would-be registrants have just alerted us to a problem with the form that for some reason started late last night, so if you’ve tried to sign up in the past 12-plus hours, and encountered a problem with the form, please try this alternate link (we just tested it):
Aside from one registration around 9:30 this morning, our tracking system does NOT show any other registrations since about 9:30 last night, so if you believe you registered during that 12-hour interval, please e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll doublecheck. PayPal doesn’t show anything in that interval either. (Remember that every official registration generates two receipts – one from us acknowledging your registration, one from PayPal acknowledging your payment.) Sorry for the hassle! The company whose form technology we have used for years for WSCGSD, Formstack, is troubleshooting. If you registered at any other time and didn’t get two acknowledgments, we’d be happy to doublecheck on your status – e-mail that same address, email@example.com. Thank you!
Something to say about Comcast? We just found out the city has scheduled a community meeting in West Seattle TOMORROW NIGHT (Wednesday 4/23) about the city’s cable-franchise renewal process. (Thanks to Deb and Karen of the Block Watch Captains’ Network – which by the way has an unrelated meeting tonight – for the tip.) The cable-franchise meeting is at 6 pm Wednesday, High Point Community Center (6420 34th SW), with a chance for you to tell the city what you think about Comcast, as it gets ready for a potential 10-year franchise renewal. If you can’t make it to the meeting, and haven’t filled out the city survey, it’s still open – go here; other ways to have your say are here.
One thing that might be on your agenda today – whale watching! Carolyn Newman got that photo this morning (and also got the visitors on camera Monday). Thanks to everybody who’s called and texted – we’ve been sharing updates here as well as on Twitter and on Facebook. Meantime, other highlights for today/tonight:
BALLOT DROP-OFF VAN UNTIL 8 PM: It’s Election Day, which really means “ballot-dropoff-or-mailing deadline day.” No stamp needed IF you use a King County Elections dropoff box or van; our area has two of the latter until 8 pm tonight – West Seattle Stadium (enter off northbound 35th just south of Avalon Way) or Greenbridge (east side of 8th SW just south of SW Roxbury). We should get one round of results tonight around 8:15-8:30, and we’ll publish them here on WSB as soon as they’re available.
EARTH DAY/WEEK AT FLEURT: Today through Sunday (April 27th), Fleurt (WSB sponsor) in The Junction celebrates Earth Day/Week by offering you an incentive to recycle a vase/container – for every donated vase/container turned in, Fleurt will give you a mini-plant! (4536 California SW)
SPA DAY AT THE SENIOR CENTER: 2-7 pm, one admission price gets you up to five spa services (or you can buy a la carte) during this special event at the Senior Center of West Seattle (WSB sponsor) – details on the center’s home page. (California/Oregon)
CHIEF SEALTH INTERNATIONAL HIGH SCHOOL PTSA, DIFFERENT LOCATION: 7 pm, the Chief Sealth IHS PTSA meets NOT at the school, but this time, at Neighborhood House’s High Point Center. From president Ted Reed:
For the first time, the PTSA at Chief Sealth Int’l High School is going mobile with its general meeting. It will be held at the High Point Neighborhood House. Come hear Principal Aida Fraser-Hammer discuss the process of bringing the school budget to completion. As an initial proposal from the school district – to its final version approved by the teaching staff – the Chief Sealth annual budget is a work-in-progress throughout the year. She will also detail the budget for the upcoming school year. We’re also proud to have Marty McLaren, Seattle School Board Director, presenting the latest news from the district. She will discuss the State Court’s decision to “fully” fund education in the State. If there is an eventual windfall from the State, does have the District have a plan for its use? Priorities?
(6400 Sylvan Way)
WEST SEATTLE BLOCK WATCH CAPTAINS NETWORK: 6:30 pm at Southwest Precinct, with tonight’s special topic, SPD’s online information, what’s helpful, what would be more helpful, what’s in the works. (Delridge/Webster)
NIGHTLIFE: Jazz, blues, trivia, karaoke, singer/songwriter showcase – see the listings on the WSB West Seattle Event Calendar. (Mouse over the right side of any line on the calendar and click the “plus sign” to open it for more information.)
Another stolen-vehicle report this morning – this time on the west side of The Junction – and this one should be very recognizable. From Adam at Clean Air Lawn Care (WSB sponsor):
We just realized that one of the trucks that we use for our business was stolen overnight. It’s a 2013 White Chevy Silverado 1500, license plate number B08424Y. The kicker is, the truck is logoed with Clean Air Lawn Care all over the sides and back, including our phone number 206-941-4180 and website www.cleanairlawncareseattle.com. If anyone sees this truck, can you please call us or the police immediately.
If you have medicine around the house that’s expired or no longer needed, this Saturday (April 26) is the next Drug Take-Back Day, and you’ll be able to drop it off, anonymously, at the Southwest Precinct (Delridge/Webster), 10 am-2 pm. That’s the only dropoff spot listed in West Seattle; here’s a regional list.
(Latest bridge and Highway 99 views; more cams on the WSB Traffic page)
No major problems reported in, or headed out of, West Seattle so far. Buses headed out of Fauntleroy might be more crowded with the Vashon Water Taxi canceled for this morning (vessel trouble); and speaking of water, if you’re riding ferries or the West Seattle Water Taxi (which IS running as usual), watch for whales again – we just got a text of a sighting in The Arroyos.
TRANSPORTATION NEWS: In case you missed it, the Highway 99 tunneling machine is now expected to take nearly a year (from now) to fix.
ELECTION DAY: Ballots for King County Proposition 1, Metro/roads money, must be in the mail by tonight (or dropped off by 8 pm – the ballot van’s back at West Seattle Stadium 10-8 today, along with one on 8th SW south of Roxbury in Greenbridge).
TRAFFIC ALERT, 8:25 AM: Two-car collision reported in the 3300 block of Harbor Avenue SW, blocking the center lane.
TRAFFIC ALERT, 2:51 PM: Crash with injuries at 1st/Cloverdale, between West Seattle/White Center and South Park. We’re checking it out – don’t know yet how/whether traffic is affected.
Much to celebrate tonight at the West Seattle Helpline Founders’ Day Dinner. In honor of the emergency-assistance agency’s 25th anniversary, founders, supporters, and current leaders gathered for dinner at Salty’s on Alki (WSB sponsor) – among them, Kate Stannard, just chosen as WS Helpline’s ninth executive director, who paused for a photo with board president Brooks Riendl:
A thumbnail history of the Helpline notes that its inspiration started with the late Queen Anne Thriftway owner Dick Rhodes starting the Queen Anne Helpline in the 1980s, and wanting to do something similar in West Seattle when he opened Admiral Thriftway a few years later. The three organizers of the first planning meeting – Maureen Hersholt, Gregg Hersholt, and Phil Talmadge – were among the 20-plus guests at tonight’s dinner.
10:27 PM: Thanks to Kate Giannaros for sharing that photo of one of two orcas she reported seeing in Elliott Bay this afternoon. Lise also reported seeing one from the Water Taxi. Two transient male orcas have been seen around the area in recent days. P.S. See a whale? That’s breaking news – text or call our 24/7 hotline, 206-293-6302 – thank you!
ADDED 7:11 AM TUESDAY: Someone just did exactly that to report a sighting in The Arroyos this morning.
8:02 AM: Another text – northbound orcas by Alki Point.
8:57 AM: Guy and Kate (who shared the photo above) have both reported in recent minutes that the orcas are back in Elliott Bay! (And thanks to Carolyn Newman for the photo above this paragraph, also from the sighting yesterday.)
First they walked – then they ran. Concluding a day that began on the East Coast with the first Boston Marathon since last year’s deadly attack, about 40 people gathered at West Seattle Runner (WSB sponsor) this evening to head out on a run in tribute and solidarity. Co-proprietor Tim McConnell showed his solidarity-themed gear:
You’ll see that same shirt on one of the six West Seattleites mentioned in our earlier story about locals running in Boston today. (And if there’s anyone we missed – we’re still updating that story – let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org – thanks!)
(Photos courtesy Village Cooperative School)
The students of West Seattle’s Village Cooperative School have read her work – and now they’ve heard from author/storyteller Atinuke in person. She visited the school’s home on the South Seattle College (WSB sponsor) campus today, after getting a letter from student Henry Banker, who wrote to her about reading her book “No. 1 Car Spotter” in the book club at school:
Atinuke’s books are set in Africa; she is a resident of Wales, born in Nigeria and raised in both Africa and the UK. Her 12 children’s books also include the “Anna Hibiscus” series, described as “a medley of traditional folklore and contemporary urban life” by Sarah Schieron of the Village School, who says the letter kindled “a conversation between author and student … and culminated in an in-person meeting today. This is a great example of how parent supported, small, cooperative educational settings promote innovative learning opportunities for school aged students.” Students from The Bridge School, a similar school in Normandy Park that serves ages 5-11, were at the Village School for today’s event.
P.S. Village School, in its inaugural year, is having an open house on Thursday, May 1st, 6:30-8:30 pm.
Auto theft in The Triangle today; Lori hopes you will watch for her SUV:
Our green 2007 Honda CRV, license plate #425XBU, was stolen from the West Seattle Family YMCA around 12:30 pm today, along with my husband Charlie’s wallet and keys. Someone broke into his locker while he was working out, took the keys and wallet, and sped off in the car. A police report has been filed, case # 14-122027, and we appreciate people keeping an eye out for it.
In case you haven’t heard – there’s new timetable for getting the Highway 99 tunnel going again. Digging is expected to resume in “late March 2015,” according to the latest update from WSDOT’s contractor Seattle Tunnel Partners. That would be 15 months after the tunnel machine’s December 2013 stall. At one point, the tunnel was supposed to open by the end of 2015. The state says 2016 might still be possible.
(TOPLINE: The long-debated alley vacation is approved by the City Council in a 6-3 vote.)
We’re at City Hall this afternoon for the City Council meeting expected to bring a vote on the “alley vacation” for 4755 Fauntleroy Way, aka The Whittaker (or, the “Whole Foods” project). Five councilmembers voted in favor of it at the Transportation Committee‘s meeting almost two weeks ago.
The meeting begins with public comment on whatever’s on the agenda, not just this item; Deb Barker, a longtime opponent, is the first to comment on the alley vacation, urging the council to vote “no.” Next commenter is Elena Perez (above), coordinator of the group that has opposed the development for a year, Getting It Right for West Seattle. She says that after outreach done by the group, “Overwhelmingly, the conclusion is that this development is bad for our community” and calls the potential alley vacation “a land grab.”
First speaker in favor of the alley vacation is Sharonn Meeks (above). She says there’s a misconception – “the developer is going to pay” for the alley, not get it for free. She’s followed by Dave Montoure, who also is a supporter and says he has been to many meetings and hearings: “Density supports business, not just Fortune 500 businesses, (but also) small businesses like my own.”
2:25 PM: Now to the alley vacation item. Councilmember Mike O’Brien, one of three councilmembers who voted “no” at the Transportation Committee meeting, presents the “minority report” first. He says the main reason he’s opposing it is because of “the public-benefit tradeoff.” He says he doesn’t think it will meet the needs of pedestrian access. Next, the “majority report,” presented by Councilmember Tom Rasmussen. He says it’s been vetted through “dozens of meetings” at community and city-department levels. After a brief bit of history about the alley/street-vacation process, he notes that the committee he chairs reviewed the project and determined that it meets the requirements laid out in the process, including public benefits such as green-street improvements on 40th, a crosswalk to the north, landscaping, a $25,000 contribution to the new city park on 40th, and a new bike lane on the west side of Fauntleroy. And Rasmussen reiterates that the developer would pay “full market value” for the alley land.
Next, Councilmember Nick Licata, who voted against it at the committee meeting, says he is still opposed because he believes it does not provide “a significant public benefit.” After him, Councilmember Sally Clark reiterates her support, and also says she’s glad to hear that West Seattle is forming a Land Use Committee (via the Southwest District Council – see our earlier coverage). She says she believes the project “is providing more than adequate public benefit” while acknowledging that the project might not be perfect, but it has gone through boards and committees and other layers of feedback and “sets of expectations.”
Rollcall vote: 6 yes, 3 no. The alley vacation petition is approved. Rasmussen offers closing words that the development will upgrade what is currently a “bleak” site. He also thanks everyone for public involvement in the extensive process. The “no” votes are Mike O’Brien, Nick Licata, and Kshama Sawant; the “yes” votes are Tom Rasmussen, Sally Bagshaw, Tim Burgess, Bruce Harrell, Sally Clark, Jean Godden.
The council will be talking about parks funding after this meeting so we’ll be staying for that, as parks funding is a big issue for much of West Seattle.
TUESDAY MORNING NOTE: We’re working on a separate followup for later today, but a project spokesperson says a published report today of construction starting in July is NOT accurate. They continue to expect that work will begin “by year’s end.”
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