Seattle Parks’ future: Budget hearing; acting superintendent

April 29, 2010 at 6:55 am | In West Seattle news, West Seattle parks | 11 Comments

We did not get to Beacon Hill last night for the first City Council/Mayor public hearing on the city budget, but monitored more than an hour and a half of testimony via a live stream (which ended before the hearing did). Most of it focused on citizens’ pleas to spare Seattle Parks facilities and programs from the deep cuts that have been rumored, and warned of, as city departments face “midyear” cuts shortly, as well as the plan for next year’s budget. One of the most impassioned voices was that of Alki’s Jackie Ramels – prefacing her remarks by noting she was speaking as a private citizen and not in her role as chair of the Seattle Parks Board – all but telling the council and mayor they had no right to even think about slashing parks, given how much public support they have: “How can you even think about closing parks and community centers, when the public has approved parks levies time and time again? The public gives and gives and gives, and the electeds take and take and take. … Fund parks, fully, now.” The image above, by the way, is our screen grab from the aforementioned live feed; Ramels tells WSB she got the EPIC FAIL T-shirt specifically for the occasion. (She also provided the crowd shot we used above.) Liesa Rose from Alki Community Center‘s Advisory Council spoke of the value of Parks programs such as after-school care, saying she could not work if there wasn’t someplace safe, affordable and convenient – the community center is adjacent to Alki Elementary – for her child to go. West Seattle’s Bruce Bentley (screen-grab image at right), on the board of the Associated Recreation Council that runs many programs at Parks facilities, said its revenue is $11 million, more than it’s ever been, because of the value citizens find: “We touch so many different lives across this process.” If you could not be at this hearing, another one is set for May 5 in North Seattle – details on the City Council’s page – where you’ll find council contact info (mayor contact info here) – even more budget info on the Budget Committee‘s page. Side note: We haven’t seen a comprehensive article about last night’s hearing from any regional-news sites yet, but will add a link if/when we do.

One other Parks note, in case you hadn’t already heard: Deputy Superintendent Christopher Williams was named Acting Superintendent on Wednesday, two days after Superintendent Tim Gallagher announced he’s resigning. Delridge Neighborhood Services Coordinator Ron Angeles, when forwarding this announcement to his mailing list, pointed out that Williams is a graduate of Chief Sealth High School (as noted in the last line of the official city news release about the appointment).

11 Comments

  1. Don’t forget the teen groups from High Point, South Park, Alki, Hiawatha, and Delridge Community Centers that also came out to advocate for their site programs. The High Point teens, in particular, gave very touching and articulate testimonies. This was good stuff!

    Comment by Brian — 7:27 am April 29, 2010 #

  2. Thank you, Brian. I am sorry to have missed them – I watched the stream from about 6:20 till it died an early death around 7:50 (and Councilmember Godden had said there were still many more speakers) – but I didn’t want to NOT write about this just because we only saw part of it. Hope to hear from others who were there. If Seattle Channel puts up a video of the entire session, I will add it here too – would guess it’ll turn up here soon:
    http://www.seattlechannel.org/videos/newVideos.asp

    Comment by WSB — 7:38 am April 29, 2010 #

  3. Thank you Jackie and Liesa!

    Comment by Cami — 8:49 am April 29, 2010 #

  4. Wonderful that it was streamed so that we can watch it. Thanks for posting what you could about it. LOVE the EPIC FAIL tee shirt!

    Comment by Holli — 9:29 am April 29, 2010 #

  5. Agree with Holli, the EPIC FAIL t-shirt lady rocks! :)

    Comment by marco — 10:14 am April 29, 2010 #

  6. Way to go, Jackie!
    Jo Ofsthus

    Comment by jo — 10:16 am April 29, 2010 #

  7. God bless Jackie and Liesa! Anyone for impeaching the Mayor??? Sign me up! I wish McGinn would travel more.

    Comment by Emerald — 1:03 pm April 29, 2010 #

  8. I hope the City Council gets it!! We have funded 4 (four) Parkes Levies over the last 15 years. Added over 40 new parks and built or renovated Community Center space. Unfortuately even though Community leaders asked about adding maintanance to the new levy, We were rebuffed by Council leadership. It is time to look at a new way to fund Parks in the City of Seattle. We have started a new facebook site Metropolititan Parks District for Seattle. Join and be a friend of Parks!!
    I ask all Park lovers, be they teen, life long learning,rowing,special Populations,use our day care facilites, or what ever strip join and tell the Council that enough is enough!! FUND OUR PARKS SYSTEM IN A SUSTAINABLE WAY!!

    Comment by Bruce Bentley — 3:56 pm April 29, 2010 #

  9. And my good friend Jackie was awesome last night!!

    Comment by Bruce Bentley — 4:02 pm April 29, 2010 #

  10. Thanks, guys! And my good friend Bruce was awesome, as usual! :-)) Here’s the raw link for the hearing: http://www.seattlechannel.org/videos/video.asp?ID=4545

    I haven’t watched it to see how far it goes, though.

    don’t forget there’s another budget hearing on May 4 at the North Seattle Community College cafeteria, 9600 College Way North, sign in at 5 pm.

    Comment by JRamels — 11:46 am April 30, 2010 #

  11. Jackie, GREAT JOB! You are inspiring.

    Comment by Alki — 12:25 pm April 30, 2010 #

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