West Seattle jail-site fight: Conlin wants to reopen talks

April 9, 2009 at 12:54 pm | In Highland Park, West Seattle jail sites, West Seattle news, West Seattle politics | Comments Off

This item was going to be part of our forthcoming wrapup of various campaign speeches at last night’s 34th District Democrats meeting, but we’ve just received a response to a followup question we sent City Council President Richard Conlin, so we’re breaking it out: During his campaign speech to the 34th DDs (photo left), he mentioned the jail issue – Seattle teaming up with several other cities to pursue a potential new municipal-misdemeanor jail, with the potential sites including West Marginal Way/Highland Park Way SW – and told the 34th DDs: “… siting a new jail … is a terrible idea; we should only have to do it if we absolutely have to do it. I’m encouraged by a significant decrease in the King County jail population (recently) … we’re going to be sending King County a letter asking to reopen discussions about accommodating misdemeanants, so that we won’t go ahead (with a jail) unless we are ABSOLUTELY SURE we have to.” In other words, Conlin intends to ask a question others have posed before: Can’t the county keep handling misdemeanor inmates, at least a while longer, since their jail population in general has been dropping? We e-mailed Conlin this morning for a followup, and he replied:

Councilmember Burgess and I have decided to send this letter, but not sure yet whether it will be just from us or from the whole Council. We just made the decision this week and have not drafted it yet, but expect to do so shortly.

(Councilmember Tim Burgess chairs the council’s Public Safety Committee.) Officially, as noted in our coverage of recent Highland Park Action Committee meetings, the jail-site search is in the environmental-review phase. (WSB coverage of this issue is archived here, newest to oldest.)

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