West Seattle, Washington
Thirteen of the 15 people running for the two at-large City Council positions on next week’s ballot were at Highland Park Improvement Club tonight for the last West Seattle forum of the primary-election campaign, presented by the Delridge Neighborhoods District Council, and moderated by its chair, Mat McBride.
Rather than a Q&A format, the forum began with each candidate getting 5 minutes to make a statement, followed by time for mingling and one-on-one conversation. Here’s our video of the presentations, in two parts:
In the first part above, McBride’s introduction is followed by Position 9 candidate Eric Smiley, allowed to go first so he wouldn’t miss curfew at the shelter where he lives, and then Position 8 candidates in their ballot order – Charlene Strong, Rudy Pantoja, Sheley Secrest, Jon Grant, Teresa Mosqueda, Hisam Goueli, Mac McGregor. The next video includes the other five participating Position 9 candidates:
In order, the candidates in that video are Ty Pethe, Ian Affleck-Asch, David Preston, Lorena González, Pat Murakami. Ahead, we have photos and summaries of key points made by each candidate:
Thanks to Greg for the photo – a few minutes before it came in, someone had texted about a submarine sighting off Beach Drive, but there was no way we could get downhill to try for a photo; then, this arrived. As is usually the case for military vessels, this one isn’t showing on MarineTraffic.com, so we don’t know which sub it is. Greg said it was headed northbound.
SIDE NOTE: We just noticed that Seafair has finally posted the list of five vessels participating in the Parade of Ships on Wednesday, August 2nd, visible off West Seattle’s north-facing shores as they head into Elliott Bay – see it here.
You’ve heard it many times – The Big One is a matter of when, not if. So, are you ready in case of a major earthquake? Part of the preparedness is knowing where your nearest Emergency Communication Hub is:
The hubs are gathering places where you’ll be able to get and share information if the regular means of communication become inoperable/inaccessible in the wake of a quake (or other major disaster). The Hubs are run by volunteers, and they welcome your help during a drill this Saturday (July 29th) that will include the activation of hubs around the city, including three in West Seattle. Here’s the official announcement, which explains the scenario:
The exercise imagines that a catastrophic earthquake hit the Puget Sound area mid-day on Monday, July 24th, causing major damage to infrastructure and widespread casualties. For the Hubs and Spokes drill, it is now the morning of July 29th — day 6 of the disaster. Despite several aftershocks, many of the major infrastructural problems have received initial treatment from City departments, so attention is now being directed to neighborhood needs.
In this type of disaster, the neighborhood Hubs would mobilize immediately to assist with the immediate needs of residents, especially those not reached by regular emergency services. However, as the days after the event go by, as simulated in this exercise, resources may run low and volunteer availability and energy will flag.
The three hubs participating in West Seattle on Saturday are:
Alaska Junction – Hope Lutheran Church: 4456 42nd Ave SW
High Point – Neighborhood House: 6400 Sylvan Way SW
E.C. Hughes Playground – 29th Ave SW & SW Holden
You are welcome to show up (starting at 8 am) to be part of the drill as a “citizen actor” – you’ll be assigned a role to play. You’re also welcome to stop by at any point during the 8 am-1 pm exercise to observe, and to learn.
3:45 PM: We’ve been meaning to publish another reminder about the door-to-door-soliciting laws, as we’re getting reports of questionable solicitors again. Now it’s urgent, as Tom just e-mailed a warning about magazine sellers claiming to be benefiting a local nonprofit – which in turn told Tom they’re not affiliated. The solicitors came to Tom’s house in the 6000 block of 21st SW, and at first he was impressed:
But when we started to get into the money, their demeanor changed, it started to look like THEY were getting the money, not a charity …..and it didn’t feel right. So I gave them checks with the idea I’m gonna check this out then cancel the checks if it doesn’t pan out. Then I contacted “Mary’s Place” (where they said the donations go to). Mary’s Place said it’s a scam that they are being used a lot for this spring, and advised me to file a police report. I cancelled the checks.
Tom forwarded a receipt in the name of “PS Circulation” (many references online) as well as the reply he received from Mary’s Place (which IS a bonafide nonprofit all its own, helping homeless families, with shelters including a new one in White Center, but NOT seeking donations in this way).
Before you even consider opening the door to solicitors – know the rules (we recapped them again here).
9:59 PM: We’ve also heard from another local nonprofit that solicitors are using their name without authorization or connection. West Seattle YMCA (WSB sponsor) executive director Shalimar Gonzales e-mailed us to say a member told her that two solicitors were going door to door “asking for donations for the YMCA … The YMCA does not solicit donations door to door.”
Four months after pleading guilty to two counts of an eight-count indictment, a former West Seattle bank manager has been sentenced to four and a half years in federal prison. Here’s the announcement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office:
The former manager of a JPM Chase bank branch in West Seattle was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Seattle to 54 months in prison for embezzling more than half a million dollars from the accounts of elderly customers, announced U.S. Attorney Annette L. Hayes.
Roberta Castillo, 43, acted as a trusted friend and financial helper to various elderly customers of first Washington Mutual and later Chase after WAMU was sold. These elderly clients trusted Castillo to assist them with their financial affairs. Instead, she stole their funds by manipulating the electronic records at the bank, committing identity theft with their personal information, and using innocent subordinates to make it difficult to track the disappearing funds. Chase has agreed to restore the funds to the customer accounts. At sentencing, U.S. District Judge John C. Coughenour said Castillo had preyed on “vulnerable victims,” and asked to be updated that Chase had made the victims whole.
“This defendant stole from her elderly victims when they were most vulnerable – after the loss of a spouse, while battling illness or dealing with the challenges that sometimes come with age,” said U.S. Attorney Hayes. “In one instance, she stole more than $350,000 from the estate of a deceased customer. This defendant’s shameful behavior deserves substantial punishment.”
According to records filed in the case, Castillo began working for what was then Washington Mutual in the late 1990s. She started as a teller and worked her way up to being a branch manager in West Seattle. Along the way Castillo worked with many customers who, as they aged, came to rely on her for their financial services. With access to their accounts, Castillo drained resources from at least three different sets of clients. Castillo was embezzling as much as $20,000 per month. She drained $364,000 from an overlooked CD in the account of a deceased client; she made 37 unauthorized transfers totaling more than $140,000 from the accounts of an elderly brother and sister; and she committed identity theft against another client opening and using a credit card in his name and getting cash from his line of credit. Castillo used the money to pay her bank loans, routine expenses such as manicures and gas, hotel rooms, airplane tickets, a cruise, and for bail money for a boyfriend in trouble with the law. In the wake of the thefts some of the victims have struggled to pay bills or make necessary home repairs.
In addition to the prison sentence, Castillo will serve five years on supervised release and is ordered to pay restitution of more than $500,000 to Chase.
The case was investigated by the Seattle Police Department and the FBI. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Susan Roe.
After receiving the announcement, we asked which branch Castillo had managed in West Seattle. According to the sentencing-memo document in the case (which contains many more details of her crimes), Castillo managed two Chase branches in grocery stores. Other documents say her crimes happened between 2011 and 2014.
You saw their grand-prize-winning performance in Saturday’s West Seattle Grand Parade … you might have seen their practice and photo shoot at Seacrest five days earlier … and now, the All-City Band has one more West Seattle performance, at this year’s Band Jam on Friday night. ACB director Marcus Pimpleton shares the full lineup in this invitation to you:
The Seattle All-City Band will once again be hosting the annual Band Jam event at the Southwest Athletic Complex in West Seattle.
This year’s event will take place this coming Friday, July 28th, from 7:00-9:00 pm and feature musical performances by the Junior All-City Band, the Gents Drumline, the John F. Kennedy Catholic High School Marching Band, the Rainbow City Band, the Sumner High School Spartan Marching Band, and the Seattle Schools All-City Band.
Stadium concessions will be available beginning at 6:00 pm and pre-show entertainment by the Ten Man Brass Band will begin at 6:30. This family-friendly event celebrating young people and music is free to the public.
Exactly one week away from Night Out – the first Tuesday in August, when neighbors around the U.S. organize block parties to celebrate community collaboration toward safety and crime prevention. We have another update from Southwest Precinct Crime Prevention Coordinator Jennifer Burbridge:
As of today, the SW Precinct has 214 registered events!! 2nd-highest number of events of any precinct in the city of Seattle!
Be sure to get your event registered [scroll down this page] before registration closes on Monday, July 31st, at 5 pm!
During the registration process, it will ask if you would like visits from the Police Department, Fire Department, Office of Emergency Management and/or Elected Officials. Please make sure to pay attention to these boxes, as these questions give us helpful information when planning visits. However, due to the high volume of requests – we cannot promise a visit but we will do our best to visit as many events as possible through the evening!
If you have any questions about Night Out – please contact me, your SW Crime Prevention Coordinator, at Jennifer.Burbridge@seattle.gov.
Registering is most important so you can close your (non-arterial) street.
P.S. If you’re planning a Night Out party, let us know if we can stop by for a photo (thanks to those we have heard from already) – firstname.lastname@example.org – thank you!
— West Seattle Blog (@westseattleblog) July 25, 2017
10:44 AM: If you’re anywhere near Alki and noticing the Guardian One helicopter over a Seattle Fire fireboat – it’s not a rescue, it’s a drill. This is part of a demonstration SFD has been putting on for us and the citywide media this past half-hour, showcasing the new SFD “rescue swimmer” program. Lots of photos, video, and info to come!
11:24 AM: The demonstration is over and we’re back at headquarters. SFD explains that this new program is meant to bridge the gap between a regular response and deployment of the Dive Team (which is based in SODO), but is not replacing any existing components or units – this is an addition, as explained by SFD Deputy Chief Ron Mondragon:
SFD says 38 firefighters are now trained as “rescue swimmers,” and the department’s goal is to have at least nine on duty in each 24-hour period, stationed around the city – not just deployed via certain stations. They’ve been in training, including with the help of partners such as West Pierce Fire and Rescue (south of Tacoma), and officially launched these new duties as of last Wednesday. Whenever there’s a water-rescue response, dispatchers will ensure that two rescue swimmers are part of the response. They can deploy from almost anywhere/anything – boats, beaches, piers, rocky shorelines, etc.
Their gear, which also was explained at the demonstration, includes a yellow “marker buoy” they can deploy to help divers that follow them into the water, if applicable.
This is a pilot program, SFD says, that will be evaluated after a year.
Meantime, besides emergencies, their planned upcoming assignments include Seafair weekend on Lake Washington, when four teams of two swimmers will be on duty.
Thanks to Dan Ciske for the view of the waxing crescent moon in last night’s sunset. Along with sunset-watching, here’s what else you can do in the hours ahead:
WADING POOLS AND SPRAYPARK OPEN TODAY: Lincoln Park wading pool and Highland Park spraypark are both open 11 am-8 pm; Delridge wading pool is open noon-6:30 pm. (Find addresses here)
LOW-LOW TIDE, WITH BEACH NATURALISTS: One more round of beach-exploration information at Constellation and Lincoln parks, 11:30 am-2:30 pm. Low-low tide is -2.1 feet at 12:55 pm.
DINE OUT FOR HIGHLAND PARK ELEMENTARY: The HPE playground project will benefit from part of the proceeds at Mioposto in Admiral, 4-10 pm, including takeout as well as dine-in. (2139 California SW)
TIMOTHY BROCK AND MUSIC OF THE SILENT GIANTS: 6:45 pm at The Admiral Theater, a night of entertainment and enlightenment, raising money to restore its 1942 murals, featuring Timothy Brock, who grew up in West Seattle and went on a one-of-a-kind career as a composer and conductor who specializes in scores for silent films. First, you’ll see and hear him talk with West Seattle’s Dave Beck, and as the Southwest Seattle Historical Society explains:
Interspersed will be stills and clips from silent films that Brock has scored. Following an intermission, Brock will introduce the screening of the Chaplin feature “Modern Times,” for which Brock has restored and re-recorded the original 1936 Chaplin score.
As a bonus, two Chaplin items donated and personally inscribed by Brock — his score to the short “A Night in the Show” and a BluRay/DVD of the feature-length “The Gold Rush” (1925) that includes a Brock featurette — will be auctioned.
Tickets are $20, and proceeds will go to the Historic Admiral Theater mural restoration led by our historical society. A VIP opportunity, to attend the presentation and visit one-on-one for an hour with Brock and Beck beforehand, will begin at 5:30 p.m. at the theater. VIP tickets are $100.
Buy yours in advance – don’t run the risk it’ll sell out before you get there – go here now. (2343 California SW)
CANDIDATES’ FORUM: 7 pm at Highland Park Improvement Club, hear from a dozen of the 15 candidates in the running for the citywide City Council positions (8 and 9), organized by the Delridge Neighborhoods District Council, as previewed here again last night. (1116 SW Holden)
METROPOLITAN MARKET CLOSING EARLY: Late-night shoppers take note, signage at the store -usually open 24/7 – says it’ll be closed 10 pm tonight to 5 am tomorrow for installation of new card/chip readers. (41st/Admiral)
LOTS MORE FOR TODAY/TONIGHT … on our complete-calendar page.
(HERE’S THE REVAMPED SDOT MAP with travel times/video links)
7:02 AM: Good morning. There’s a crash response in the 1300 block of Alki SW right now, though SFD closed out of it within minutes – no other outbound incidents from West Seattle so far.
7:15 AM: Trouble on NB I-5 – stalled vehicle blocking right lane before Seneca.
7:40 AM: I-5 now clear but slow.