Video: Mayor Murray visits Hiawatha to announce park-district proposal

March 13, 2014 at 12:32 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle parks | 38 Comments

(UPDATED FRIDAY MORNING with full Seattle Channel video at end of story)

(3:10 pm: Short WSB clip added, still awaiting full archived city video)
12:32 PM: Mayor Ed Murray is making his first major West Seattle appearance since taking office – but it’s a matter of citywide interest; he’s at century-old Hiawatha Community Center for a news conference about parks funding.

(Photos by WSB’s Patrick Sand)
The event just started – click “play” in the window above to see and hear the live video; if you have any trouble with the feed, you should also be able to see it via the mayor’s webpage. We’ll publish notes as well as the archived video, and photos, later.

12:38 PM UPDATE: Just one topline so far – the mayor has confirmed his proposal is for a park district, “an independent taxing authority,” which he says would guarantee a sustainable funding source, though he also pledges to protect Parks’ basic funding source in the regular city budget. He acknowledges there are concerns, but, “I believe we can address” them. He described it initially as a $54 million proposal which he says would cost the average homeowner $14/month.

(With the mayor, Steve Daschle of Delridge-headquartered SW Youth and Family Services at left, West Seattleite Bruce Bentley at right)
1:15 PM UPDATE: The Hiawatha event is over – we’ll re-add archived video when Seattle Channel makes it available. In the meantime, you can read the official news release on the city website, which in turn links to a webpage devoted to more info about the proposal, including the projects proposed for initial funding. (We will put together a West Seattle breakout soon as we can.)

3:27 PM UPDATE: We’ve added a video clip shot by our crew at the event, and two photos. Here’s a background document showing how the initial funding is proposed to be spent.

ADDED FRIDAY MORNING: Here’s the full Seattle Channel video of the event:

ADDED FRIDAY MIDDAY: Here’s the map showing the projects proposed for funding. If you use the buttons at left to zoom way in, you can find out more about each one.

38 Comments

  1. Thanks for covering this TR – the Mayor’s map of projects are good ones.

    Comment by AmandaKH — 2:08 pm March 13, 2014 #

  2. why not put into the sales tax so everyone pays this increase? just cause you own a home does not mean you should get stuck with all the increases.

    Comment by joel — 3:55 pm March 13, 2014 #

  3. Why not create an income tax, funding is truly equitable.

    Comment by D — 4:28 pm March 13, 2014 #

  4. @joel
    Someone will always be affected.
    .
    If it were to go into Sales tax, then everyone through the state as well as tourist/visitors end up paying.
    .
    The key is better budgeting and the realization that things generally cost more year to year, which is why prices go up and never down.

    Comment by Wes C. Addle — 4:30 pm March 13, 2014 #

  5. NO MORE TAX INCREASES!!!

    Comment by Marty — 4:34 pm March 13, 2014 #

  6. Wes…..sales tax is made up of several different tax rates. if you are funding Seattle parks then you could raise the sales tax within the city limits of Seattle.

    when businesses forward sales tax to the department of revenue it is broken down into various tax rates within the state, city, possibly county, etc receiving their portion of the money. an increase tax in Seattle would not affect the remainder of the state.

    but there is plenty of money in the budget….it just needs to be spent more wisely and not wasted. funny how there is an extra 200 million for overruns on 520 bridge but no money for the parks?

    plus with real estate selling again at a good clip and housing prices rising there all kinds of revenue associated with buying and selling houses.

    Comment by Joel — 5:17 pm March 13, 2014 #

  7. Ed Murray is the best mayor we’ve ever had.

    Comment by Seahawks Momma — 5:17 pm March 13, 2014 #

  8. I’m not willing to subsidize golfers to golf on any new tax money.
    Ex- President, Vice Pres., Board member for over ten years of West Seattle Mens Golf Club-1987-2000. The golf courses were making money but, with creative accounting in “The Parks Dept. they always showed a loss= due to the fact of a general fund. Similar to the State run “lottery For Education” when it was birthed. This a is a stupid tax period

    Comment by let them swim — 7:22 pm March 13, 2014 #

  9. These small fees, “only $14 per month for the average home” added $800 to my RE taxes this year. I cannot take anymore, no matter how inexpensive it is, it all adds up.

    Comment by silverback — 7:40 pm March 13, 2014 #

  10. Our new mayor is a piece of work. He just wants to start collecting money to help pay for the new waterfront rebuild and park area downtown that his dream team are designing for the tourist. Funny how he can’t come here and have an open form to address some of the problems our city government has created here and how he as mayor plans on addressing them. Interesting how they keep spending money buying properties for future parks that they have to maintain for being so broke, cart in front of horse that’s seattle gov.

    Comment by wetone — 8:23 pm March 13, 2014 #

  11. Great idea!

    Comment by Norma — 10:35 pm March 13, 2014 #

  12. “only $14/month” for average home owner… Give me a break! For many months and many years on end which would more than likely increase over the years. I appreciate the parks and visit them now and then. I pay for annual parking permit, pay extra option for parks when paying car tabs. I’m also a homeowner.
    if parks can no longer be fully funded by government (why not after all these years, who messed up the budget?) then funding assistance should come from all employed or who purchase goods/services. At the same time I don’t want another tax added to the list.

    Comment by Sparkybo — 12:43 am March 14, 2014 #

  13. No more taxes please. Enough already!

    Comment by Born on Alki — 2:14 am March 14, 2014 #

  14. Photo caption lists Steve Daschle as a West Seattleite. While he may be employed in WS didn’t he move to Redmond ten years ago?
    -
    Gives one pause as to how people who are unaffected by Seattle tax rates, and in this case another tax increase, cozy up to Seattle politicians to butter their bread or pet projects at others expense.

    Comment by Carpet Bagger — 3:45 am March 14, 2014 #

  15. 3rd and Pike is worse now than with McGinn; I guess I shouldn’t be surprised.

    Comment by CandrewB — 5:37 am March 14, 2014 #

  16. I will change the caption to reflect that he heads up SWYFS.

    Comment by WSB — 6:48 am March 14, 2014 #

  17. I’m curious how this new tax and taxing authority will affect Murray’s spouse – currently #5 in parks chain of command.

    The city already wastes a ton of money on the stupid lawsuits they find themselves on the wrong side of. Stop getting sued and stop offering outrageous settlements and there will be plenty of money for parks.

    Comment by Been there — 7:40 am March 14, 2014 #

  18. I’m a big user of our parks, and putting aside obvious waste I’m willing to support them. But why a new taxing authority instead of existing funding sources? It’s not like the jurisdictions are not contiguous, Seattle is Seattle. Is it just to keep sales tax below that mental threshold of 10%? Do they believe it will get more support as a separate entity than a straight property tax increase? It just seems like unnecessary complication.

    Comment by Jeff — 8:06 am March 14, 2014 #

  19. Unnecessary complication is how government operates. Interesting observation by Been there……I believe it is called nepotism.

    Comment by Born on Alki — 8:31 am March 14, 2014 #

  20. For all the tea party commenters parroting the standard nonsense talking point about “waste,” stop repeating you hollow talking points and present your evidence. Specifically, what waste, how much, and how did you find out about it? Again: evidence and specificity please.

    Comment by P — 8:46 am March 14, 2014 #

  21. P, I’m not sure that was directed at me since waste wasn’t really the focus of what I was talking about, but I’m happy to outline a couple ways I believe they could spend money better.

    First, when there is already a maintenance budget shortfall I don’t believe the Parks department should be acquiring any additional property. I accept the reasoning that land is almost never cheaper than “right now” going forward, but still feel that unless we can adequately maintain what is already owned it should not expand.

    Second, I think that while many local parks are incredible resources some of the Parks are just bad use of funds. Here in West Seattle we have both ends of the spectrum. Lincoln Park is amazing. Morgan Junction park (and Junction Plaza park) is a tiny piece of property full of drunks and dog crap. The Parks department would (IMO) be much better off selling that park to a developer and using the funds to maintain more useful parks.

    Comment by Jeff — 9:10 am March 14, 2014 #

  22. You actually want MORE proof of government waste? I don’t have the time to commit to researching all of the governments waste, especially since it has been proven time and time and time again. Besides, I’m too busy working my a** off paying for it and having a bit left over to feed the kids and keeping a roof over our heads. How about you specifically prove how it doesn’t exist. When you can, please get back to me.

    Comment by Rick — 9:26 am March 14, 2014 #

  23. The idea that we shouldn’t give more money for parks is crazy. I am not a fan of new taxes either, but without parks our Communities would be very ugly. The long term of buying land and creating new parks is WELCOME in West Seattle with all the new development getting put up. Compared to other cities, our property taxes are pretty low. And I do not mind paying more property taxes for common good things like transit, parks, schools and services. And for all the people complaining, I assume you never use a park ever, right?

    Comment by AmandaKH — 9:39 am March 14, 2014 #

  24. P, ditto what Rick said. I believe Pearl Vision is having a two for one sale on glasses right now. Just a thought.

    Comment by Born on Alki — 9:42 am March 14, 2014 #

  25. Rick, logically speaking you can’t prove something doesn’t exist. The burden of proof is on the person that claims it does.

    Comment by Jeff — 9:44 am March 14, 2014 #

  26. Annual homeowner taxes $5k
    Discover Pass $30
    Boat Launch fees $120 (while the docks at Armeni are sinking and caused significant damage to my boat last year.)
    Federal tax 25%
    FICA 10%
    Retirement 10%
    B&O taxes, ugghhhh
    Gas tax…ouch
    Sales taxes approaching 10%
    And now a new parks tax?

    Comment by Born on Alki — 9:56 am March 14, 2014 #

  27. Please note, not that we are endorsing this (we don’t do endorsements or editorials) but for clarification’s sake: There have been park levies in effect for at least the last 10 years. Most recent one, Parks and Green Spaces Levy, approved by voters in 2008. Instead of a levy this time, this permanent “park district” is being proposed. Just FYI. Sorry to have not had that in the copy. – TR

    Comment by WSB — 10:07 am March 14, 2014 #

  28. for proof of waste regarding lawsuits just google or bing city of seattle lawsuits or settlements by city of seattle or any other combination of words and a lot of examples will pop up. The problem as I see it is the city gets itself into a mess for being stupid (nice word) and then ends up getting sued. They run the course of the investigation and then when it gets time to go to court they settle for some outrageous amount. They should have just settled right off the bat and saved the money spent on early litigation or they should have been smarter and never gotten sued in the first place. I don’t give high marks to the city attorney’s office. But that would take more smarts on the part of the city. And parks has had their share of stupid lawsuits, too.

    Comment by been there — 10:24 am March 14, 2014 #

  29. Waste?
    Has anyone walked down the Seattle waterfront lately? Check out the nice little parks that are there, complete with fountains. Who uses them? Winos. I would never stop there with my family. From the looks of the users, I am not the only one.

    Comment by marty — 10:24 am March 14, 2014 #

  30. especially since it has been proven time and time and time again
    .
    I see a lot of assertions of this but can’t recall the last time I saw evidence cited. (A tax increase is not in and of itself evidence that existing resources are being wasted. It might be true that they are, but this isn’t proof.)

    Comment by datamuse — 10:35 am March 14, 2014 #

  31. $14/month in new taxes… as someone who uses parks, has no problem paying taxes for services, this is getting rough. Great case of the government pushing people towards government assistance.

    Comment by DP — 11:26 am March 14, 2014 #

  32. Rick – you made me laugh out loud. You are too busy working your “a**” off to provide proof of your wild claims … but not to busy to go on this site and make those claims. I’ll bet $100 your radio is set to Rush Limbaugh and your TV to FoxNews. Your claims are perfect in that world. And I like my odds to win the bet.

    Comment by wscommuter — 12:40 pm March 14, 2014 #

  33. I’ve been a volunteer for Seattle Parks for the last ten years as a member of Camp Long’s Advisory Council. During that time, I’ve picked up some insight into our Parks department’s structure, challenges, and needs.
    .
    My first observation is that Parks is highly silo’d. The silos don’t necessarily communicate well, and that causes problems. This is partly attributable to the silos themselves constantly changing, and the management teams running them are constantly shuffled. In some areas having the same boss for a whole year is considered somewhat remarkable. My second observation is that Parks can’t decide what it wants to be. Rather than commit to doing one thing well (e.g. running and operating parks), the department attempts to do a dozen things less than completely successfully.
    .
    This proposal establishes a permanent tax authority. Permanent. It will never go away. It will provide for 25% of the Parks operating budget, the remainder of which is from the City’s general fund (100% today). The City Council will oversee this new funding source. So, it essentially provides a boost to the general fund, but without an assurance that Parks spending in the general fund will remain constant. You could make the argument that a tax district prioritizes and guarantees Parks funding. You could also make the argument that this option was always present.
    .
    I love Seattle Parks. I hate that they have financial challenges. But I don’t believe that as an organizational structure they are ready for a funding stream of this type and I don’t trust the proposal that’s being offered.

    Comment by Mcbride — 12:49 pm March 14, 2014 #

  34. perhaps before hiring the city administration staff at 30-50% salary increases over the previous administration for the same positions why not first make sure funding is in place for roads, parks, schools and transportation. once everything is running as it should be then maybe give the 30-50% pay increases. tough to hear no money for parks and higher taxes when those types of pay increases were handed out.

    Comment by joel — 3:04 pm March 14, 2014 #

  35. A better idea would be to contract park maintenance and development to someone in the private sector.
    .
    That would be the only way to escape from the more than 20 public sector unions that are strangling this city and its ability to do or pay for anything.

    Comment by JoAnne — 8:48 pm March 14, 2014 #

  36. wscommuter
    If You don’t see any Gubment waste I’ll bet $100.00 You’re radio is set to NPR and T.V. set to MSNBC.

    Comment by DDS — 10:46 pm March 14, 2014 #

  37. Waste, look at their work trucks, 2012 Ford F250 superduty. Won’t a 2002 do the same job? Cheaper to fix and maintain.

    Comment by sheeple — 8:20 am March 15, 2014 #

  38. if the city, county, state would just crack down on fraud in section 8 housing and food stamps and those getting unemployment while being paid cash under the table….oh and those on workers comp. and disability who should not be………crack down on those areas and there would be a budget surplus

    Comment by joel — 9:53 am March 15, 2014 #

Sorry, comment time is over.

All contents copyright 2014, A Drink of Water and a Story Interactive. Here's how to contact us.
Header image by Nick Adams. ABSOLUTELY NO WSB PHOTO REUSE WITHOUT SITE OWNERS' PERMISSION.
Entries and comments feeds. ^Top^