We are at Corner Café on First Hill along with about 40 people who came for a coffee conversation with City Councilmembers Sally Bagshaw and Sally Clark – many of them from youth-sports groups furious about the major fee increase they have to pay because of the new city budget. Among them, West Seattle Little League president Mark Terao, who sounded the alarm citywide recently and was unhappy to hear Councilmember Bagshaw tell him flat-out, there’s nothing they can do about the fee increases this year – they’re in the 2011 budget to stay, but they can certainly talk about next year’s budget, although they couldn’t guarantee cuts next year – only that there won’t be another increase for 2012. She also said that leagues having trouble paying the fees should contact her. Seattle Lutheran High School and West Seattle Soccer Club are other West Seattle concerns that have been mentioned. And youth-sports reps from all over the city have pointed out, as has WSLL, that they put major amounts of their own money and volunteer time into field prep, upkeep and improvements, which should be taken into consideration, instead of charging them the same increases as other types of organizations. Bagshaw acknowledged, and apologized, that the teams did not get clear advance notice of how things were going to change: “This did not go well, that you didn’t know.”
We’ll add video later; this isn’t the only topic of the councilmembers’ meeting, which was announced as open to all – they’ve also heard concerns about human-services cuts and the Department of Neighborhoods changes/cuts – Bagshaw described the latter as “just nuts,” but also said, it’s nuts to cut other services too, and notes “nobody wants anything cut,” so, “when things get better, we’re going back.” And what they heard included a message from one attendee: “We want to be part of the process.” (Also among the attendees from West Seattle, City Council candidate Michael Taylor-Judd.) More later.
ADDED: Video of Seattle Lutheran High School athletic director Bob Dowding explaining their concerns to the councilmembers: