West Seattle, Washington
First of two reports from tonight’s Highland Park Action Committee meeting: The group’s fireball chair Dorsol Plants (left; 8/08 photo courtesy Dina Johnson) announced he’s not running for re-election — because he’s going to jump into another election: He’s planning to run for one of the four Seattle City Council seats that will be on the ballot next year. Plants tells WSB he hasn’t decided which one — he wants to be an advocate for “the south end,” which he says has been represented thus far (though council members are elected “at large,” NOT by district) by Richard McIver, who’s not expected to run for re-election. (The other three whose terms expire next year: Nick Licata, Jan Drago, and council president Richard Conlin.) Plants has served as HPAC chair since this past spring, when the announcement of two possible city jail sites (now down to one) near Highland Park forced the group to rise to a new level of activism – though at the time, it was without a chair. While Plants has not previously held elected office, he notes that in addition to serving as HPAC chair during a time of intense lobbying and multiple public-speaking appearances because of the jail-sites fight (check our coverage archive for examples), he also has leadership experience as a veteran of the U.S. Army. The formal filing isn’t till next June, but Plants says he’s already doing paperwork, forming a committee and obtaining a campaign manager, and will have a website up soon.(HPAC’s other three officers also indicated tonight that they will step aside for new leadership; the group received some nominations and will keep that process open till elections at the next HPAC meeting January 26th – more on that in our second report later.)
Thanks to WSB’er “Hopey” for sending that photo of tonight’s sunset. The latest forecast suggests we may not see such nice weather for a few more days – Thanksgiving is now projected as cloudy with a chance of rain; as you know if you’ve lived here more than 5 minutes, it’s a tough place to forecast – so we checked to see what’s been written by the often-right-on-the-money meteorologists with whom we used to work at Channel 13 – tonight Walter Kelley writes (halfway down this page) “a few showers near the mountains or coast but no storm.” For the official kickoff to shopping season Friday, “mostly cloudy but pleasant” (the Holiday Happenings page will have the latest on early store openings, etc.; we’ll have that info finalized by tomorrow).
The Seattle City Council and King County Council both took final budget votes today (city news release here, county news release here); no last-minute drama – that was all worked out last week. Many of those councilmembers also send out newsletters, and one of them, Seattle City Councilmember Tim Burgess (left), followed up his budget note with his thoughts on what should be done to help stop the youth violence that flared in a particularly ugly, and deadly, way this past weekend – in several incidents including the Southcenter shooting. We wanted to share what he has to say – his voice is particularly loud in this matter, as he chairs the council’s Public Safety Committee:Read More
(WSB video from Jim Diers’ speech at May 4, 2008, Sustainable West Seattle Festival)
One of our fellow contributors at White Center Now, Ricardo from Cafe Rozella, reports he’s learned that Seattle neighborhood-activism guru Jim Diers — who he says is a Rozella regular — has consulted with President-Elect Obama‘s administration on urban affairs. Here’s Ricardo’s report. (Edited Tuesday to clarify that Diers has met once with the incoming administration.)
That’s the legendary Tony, of Tony’s Produce and – this time of year – Tony’s Christmas Trees, applying flocking to one of said trees. We went by after Sandra e-mailed the tip (following up on our earlier mention of tree lots in progress) that they were open (1st one in West Seattle that we know of). Tony says they’re there 9 am-9 pm daily, starting now (35th/Barton, here’s a map). We also have updates on two of the Christmas tree spots we mentioned earlier: “West Seattle Bros” on Alaska west of Fauntleroy will open Friday, and West Seattle Nursery (WSB sponsor) will start selling trees Friday too. ADDED LATER: Skyline Secure Park will have “Christmas Trees on Alki” again this year, entrance across from the Harbor Ave 7-11, also opening Friday.
Here’s the Fauntleroy Creek fall coho watch wrapup from Judy Pickens, who also just reported these results to government agencies for their tracking purposes:
We closed Salmon Watch 2008 today with a grand total of one coho spawner (code name “Hillary”), who appeared on Nov. 8 in the fish ladder and waited in vain for a mate. We didn’t see any cutthroat or pesky river otter.
During this return season, fishers reported seeing a few coho in the cove but also sea lions and seals, plus tribal purse seiners along the West Seattle peninsula. Creek conditions were excellent (at least .7′ of water at the gauge), and rains were periodic and generous.
Our watch ran Oct. 27 to Nov. 24 and involved 16 volunteers. They recorded some 35 visitors at the fish-ladder viewpoint or creekside.
As we reported this time last year, the 2007 salmon watch counted 90 — the 2006 salmon watch, zero. Here’s hoping for a better year in 2009.
Fauntleroy Way has its radar speed signs … and it has other reminders of the perils of the road, like this car with a smashed-in rear end. We spotted it along the south-of-Alaska stretch (the one proposed for repaving and reconfiguration) a few days ago but don’t have the story behind it (yet); Scott M suggested it was worth a photo, so here it is. Will be checking again shortly to see if it’s been towed yet. Not far away, Mike J spotted this new Christmas tree lot getting set up on Alaska, between Howden-Kennedy and Bank of America:
Once the lots are all up and running this weekend, we’ll bring you the annual WSB Christmas tree lot list (and price check). Other lots where we’ve seen setup include the legendary Holy Rosary Christmas Tree Lot, which opens this Saturday behind Admiral Safeway, and the lot at Tony’s Produce (35th/Roxbury), which shut down fruits and veggies a few weeks ago to get ready for the Christmas focus.
Last August, while we were at City Hall to cover another story, an SDOT manager told us the badly needed repaving on 16th SW (photo above) was scheduled within two months. In this past weeks, it’s been pointed out — at the Delridge District Council meeting and in WSB comments — that the paving work has yet to begin. We promised to follow up; here is the explanation we have just received from Marybeth Turner at the city Transportation Department (SDOT):
SDOT was planning to pave the 5400 block of 16th Avenue SW (from Findlay to Brandon, at north end of South Seattle Community College) last summer by adding it to another paving contract that we already had in place. In the end we did not receive approval to add 16th Ave SW to the existing contract, and we were instructed to seek competitive bids for the project.
The 16th Avenue SW project is now out to bid as part of a package that includes Second Avenue and Fourth Avenue paving. We must now wait and see what amount contractors will bid for this work. We expect to know this spring whether or not we have sufficient funds to proceed with 16th Avenue SW paving.
The complication with the paving of 16th SW is that it is not just a simple asphalt overlay, but requires more extensive work. The plan is to install a new storm drain and also street drain inlets. The road will be regraded and widened a bit. The asphalt path on the west side of the street will be improved. And of course the street will be repaved.
Paving funds are in shorter supply because of city budget changes last week in advance of the final vote expected today; as we reported last Thursday, the city is now trying to figure out how much money it will have to get repaving done on Fauntleroy between Edmunds and Alaska. We will keep checking on this one too.
TONIGHT: Highland Park Action Committee meets for the first time since the new list of potential misdemeanor-jail sites was announced last Thursday (WSB coverage here), with the Highland Park Way/West Marginal Way site still on the list (though now it’s one of six possible locations). But that’s far from all that HPAC is up to; read this WSB Forums post for reasons why you should join in. 7 pm, Highland Park Improvement Club building (11th/Holden; here’s a map).
TOMORROW: Seattle Public Schools‘ preliminary list of proposed school closures will go public. We know for sure that they will be presented and discussed in detail at a School Board workshop tomorrow night (6 pm, district HQ: here’s a map) – but we’re still awaiting final word on whether any sort of media briefing will be held to make the list public earlier in the day. The chances at least one West Seattle school will be on the list are considered to be fairly high for a variety of reasons including “excess capacity” and building age/condition (here’s our most recent coverage, including dates for “workshops” to talk about the closures). The last round of building closures less than 2 years ago led to the shutdown of Fairmount Park Elementary.
WEDNESDAY: The closures – whichever schools are on the list – are likely to be a major topic as West Seattle’s school-board rep Steve Sundquist has his monthly “coffee hour,” open for anyone to drop in and discuss district/education issues, 9 am at Coffee to a Tea with Sugar in The Junction. (Added later Monday: We have word he also plans an extra community availability at the Delridge Library from 3-5 pm Saturday 12/6.)
As for the holiday – you’ll find lots of new information and events added to our Holiday Happenings page — including info we’ve compiled so far about what happens on Thanksgiving, from free morning workouts to grocery store/coffee shop hours – that info will be complete by tomorrow but we’re adding it to the list as we get it.
Four West Seattle gas stations are selling regular for less than $2, as of our weekly survey a few hours ago. (We’re still over the national average detailed in this report.) Read on for our full list (with posted prices for regular and premium), including comparison numbers for previous weeks/months:Read More
Wasn’t on our radar, but the University of Washington Daily was there Friday night as friends and family of Amanda Knox — whose mother lives in Arbor Heights — gathered at the Holy Rosary School Hall to raise money for Knox’s defense against the murder charge that has made international headlines. The family also recently set up a fundraising website that includes personal photos from Knox’s younger years; it’s at amandadefensefund.org.