West Seattle, Washington
Folk-music legend Pete Seeger co-wrote “If I Had a Hammer,” but Peter, Paul and Mary made it famous. Seeger – whose impending 90th birthday will be celebrated in West Seattle and other locals nationwide – is much better known for his songwriting than his singing – this classic performed by The Byrds, also from the ’60s, is a prime example:
Here’s Seeger explaining how he wrote that:
So, after those clips, are you in the mood to sing along with songs like “If I Had a Hammer” and “Turn, Turn, Turn,” along with many others? On Seeger’s 90th birthday, Sunday 5/3, a day with celebrations planned around the country, the Seattle party will be right here in West Seattle, at the historic Admiral Theater. The singalongs will be part of an evening music slate, starting at 7 pm, following a documentary screening at 4 pm. West Seattle author/historian Clay Eals is the one who came up with the idea for the historic theater to host this celebration of living history – during an interview at the Admiral last Wednesday, he explained what it’s going to be all about:
Read on for more about the celebration, more from Eals – who explains the synergy between this event and the musician-biography project he worked on for years – ahead:Read More
The full City Council just made it official: You will vote August 18th on whether to approve or reject the ordinance that would require a 20-cent fee to be charged for every disposable shopping bag you use. Without discussion, councilmembers voted 8-0 to put the referendum on the ballot (approving this item).
TRASH/RECYCLING CHANGES: Today’s the day it all starts. If you’re like us and had Monday pickup before, they’re not supposed to show up till tomorrow. An online lookup tool is here (but it’s had a few reports of glitches). The recycling changes — more stuff can go in the bin, no more glass separation, etc. — are explained here. Remember that yard waste (including food scraps) is now picked up weekly. And if you’re confused, call 684-3000.
SPRING BREAK: Reminder that Seattle Public Schools (and others) are out this week for spring break, so you’ll see lots more kids around.
BAG FEE ELECTION VOTE: During the meeting that starts at 2 pm today (agenda here), the Seattle City Council is scheduled to take a final vote on putting the disposable-bag-fee referendum on the August 19 ballot. (If you’re new to this story, council members approved an ordinance that would charge shoppers 20 cents for each disposable shopping bag they use. A petition drive bankrolled by the American Chemistry Council [financial report here] was immediately launched to force a referendum vote on the proposal, so the fee hasn’t taken effect.)
LOST/FOUND PETS: If you are among the many people who found WSB for the first time during the recent snowstorm coverage — you may not be completely familiar with how the site works and everything that can be found here besides the news and features on the main page. So we wanted to remind you in particular about our Pets page — which for more than a year has been the only West Seattle-specific place to find information about (and photos of, when provided) lost and found pets. There’s been an uptick in activity these past few days, unfortunately, with about half a dozen people currently working hard to find either lost pets (even a missing goat!) or the owners of pets they found. The Pets page is here. We post the information and photos – same address as everything else – email@example.com
FOOD FOAM BAN YES, BAG FEE NO (FOR NOW): A note we just received suggests there may be a bit of confusion out there somewhere, even in some areas of the old-media world, about what took effect today regarding what was originally a two-part city ordinance passed last year — banning foam containers for takeout food/drink, and adding a fee for people who wanted disposable plastic shopping bags. Because enough signatures were gathered for a referendum vote, as reported last September, the bag fee is on hold till a vote later this year (expected to be during the August primary), but the foam ban takes effect today – read more about it at this page of the Seattle Public Utilities website. To see some of the “commercially approved” alternatives you might be getting with your food/drinks, go here.
STOLEN BIKE WITH “SENTIMENTAL VALUE”: DP’s had this bike since the ’60s — and now it’s gone — per this note sent to report …
… a stolen bike at corner of SW Trenton St & 32nd Ave on Monday morning 12/29. A thief took my 41 year old 10-speed (sentimental value = high) right next to two much finer bikes, which are now triple locked. Description: 10 speed with drop handlebar, bad silver paint, parcel carriers front and rear, old Huret Allvit deraillier, broken generator, new gumwall tires.
If you spot that bicycle, please alert police. EARLY FRIDAY UPDATE: In comments, Maria posted a POSSIBLE sighting not far from the theft location – DP went to check, and indeed, it was the stolen bike!
We told you three weeks ago that bag-fee opponents said they had 20,000 petition signatures – about a third more than they needed for a referendum vote; tonight two newspaper stories (PI here, Times here) say the county Elections Department has verified enough of those names are valid for the anti-bag-fee campaign to get what it wants. What’s next: The City Council decides whether the vote will wait for next August’s primary, or a special-election ballot sooner, and the bag fee/foam ban will be on hold pending referendum results. Side note per the P-I story – the plastics lobbying group American Chemistry Council paid almost $200,000 to help fund the petition drive. MONDAY MORNING UPDATE: Hizzoner is talking about this right now (9:37 am) on KIRO 710 radio (which streams online).
Fifteen days after we showed you the first West Seattle signature-gatherer sighting, the anti-bag-fee campaign reports 20,000 petition signatures, about 33% more than they need to make the ballot, so it looks like we’ll be voting on it next year. As for when — as mentioned here last week, that’s up to the City Council; the first “special election” opportunity isn’t till February, a month after the fee kicks in.
We’re checking to confirm this but West Seattle CoolMom.org leader Abby Suplizio tells WSB there’s word the grocery/chemical-industry-backed (references here and here) bag-tax referendum petition drive already has enough signatures to get it before voters next year, less than two weeks after they started circulating petitions (here’s our report from the Thriftway sighting August 10th). We’ll update this item when we hear back from the organizers. The bag-fee battle was featured on National Public Radio yesterday (Suplizio gave us this link, where you can find the audio) — says the Sierra Club “is organizing a campaign about the petition gatherers misleading people all over Seattle” and asking people to send their stories to firstname.lastname@example.org – here’s what she sent about a West Seattle encounter (followed by some other info we found):Read More
This just popped up on the LA Times Twitter feed we monitor (remember, you can follow us on Twitter, at westseattleblog; we also have set up a Twitter account for our partner site at whitecenternow): The “Save the Plastic Bag Coalition” has sued the Southern California city of Manhattan Beach over its plastic-bag ban, claiming the city failed to analyze environmental effects of the ban.
In the same spot where we first saw a signature-gatherer with anti-bag-fee petitions eight days ago, by the southwest door at Thriftway, CoolMom.org co-founder Kristy Royce of West Seattle (with some help!) showed support for it this afternoon by giving out free reusable shopping bags. A group of north-end CoolMoms had something similar planned at a store in their area.
Reminders about two events we’ve previewed here in recent days, both happening today/tonight: Supporters of the city’s upcoming disposable-bag fee plan to show their support for it by gathering at Thriftway in Morgan Junction between 3-5 pm (read previous coverage here); West Seattle residents concerned about train noise from Harbor Island and vicinity will meet with city and port officials at City Hall downtown, 5:30 pm (previous coverage here). Organizers of both events told us anyone interested in those issues is welcome to join in.
One week after WSB broke the news of signature-gathering for a city referendum to cancel the disposable-bag fee (see last Sunday’s report here), we have word of a counter-offensive: The sustainability-oriented moms’ group CoolMom.org is planning pro-bag-fee demonstrations citywide, including one at West Seattle Thriftway in Morgan Junction – same place where we found that paid signature-gatherer with referendum petitions last weekend – on Monday, 3-5 pm. West Seattle CoolMom leader Abby Suplizio says anyone who backs the bag fee is welcome to participate; CoolMom is being joined in the citywide pro-bag-fee effort by groups including BYOB (Bring Your Own Bag), Foam Free Seattle, People for Puget Sound, Sierra Club, Surfrider Foundation, Washington Toxics Coalition, Earth Ministry, Seattle Audubon Society, Seattle Rainforest Action Group, Sustainable West Seattle, WASHPIRG, Washington Physicians for Social Responsibility, and King County Conservation Voters. CoolMom also is suggesting its members show support by talking to management at independent grocers (whose advocacy group Washington Food Industry is partly behind the anti-bag-fee drive) such as Thriftway and Metropolitan Market, to reiterate support for the fee and the emphasis on using reusable bags. Meantime, WSB’er Diane Vincent noticed new disclosure text at the bottom of the anti-bag-fee website StopTheSeattleBagTax.com (which we mentioned here and here): It now says:
Paid for by the Coalition to Stop the Seattle Bag Tax.
Washington Food Industry
Progressive Bag Affiliates of the American Chemistry Council
Do 7-Eleven customers really use that many bags?
FIRST, ABOUT THAT WEBSITE: Huge kudos to Blogging Georgetown, one of our favorite nearby-neighborhood sites, for going an important step further than we did in our report last night on the anti-bag-fee website: As you can read in this BG post, he looked up the StopTheSeattleBagTax.com URL registration, and notes that the domain was registered Monday, to … the American Chemistry Council. No surprise, as several commenters on WSB speculated along those lines, but it is a little startling that they didn’t bother to register the domain in the name of Washington Food Industry. We have sent a note to WFI spokesperson Jan Gee asking for comment on the Chemistry Council’s relationship to her group and this referendum campaign. This section of the ACC site has links about its previous efforts to stop this bag fee (and proposals in other states), including the radio commercial BG mentions.
SECOND, ON A LIGHTER NOTE: Just got this link from West Seattle’s own “tea lady” Tracy (who closed her Admiral shop some months back to focus on her downtown Tea Gallery operation) — Her brother, syndicated comic-strip artist Keith Knight, took on plastic bags in his strip “The Knight Life” over the weekend. You can see it here.
12:51 PM UPDATE ON FIRST ITEM: Response from Jan Gee at WFI:
The ACC is a member of the coalition and was very active during the City’s public hearing process on this issue. Their membership includes the manufacturers and suppliers of many of our bags. We expect them to be very supportive of this effort including significant financial support. As an association of family owned businesses we don’t have the resources to meet all the demands Seattle places on citizen referendum. They also have an IT person and I don’t.
Though it’s not West Seattle-specific, we’re going to keep close tabs on the bag-fee-referendum drive because it’s clear a lot of people are passionate about it – on both sides. So here’s the latest: Jan Gee of Washington Food Industry, the grocer-advocacy organization that’s gathering signatures to cancel the bag fee/foam ban, points out that their website has gone live at StopTheSeattleBagTax.com. Gee also confirms what we had suspected – this was the first place where the petition drive was reported; they didn’t announce it publicly before signature gatherers like the one we met just started fanning out over the weekend. If you come across anyone organizing a “defend the bag fee” effort, let us know; meantime, one of the fee’s main backers is in West Seattle tomorrow night — City Council president Richard Conlin will be a guest at the 34th District Democrats‘ monthly meeting, 7 pm at The Hall @ Fauntleroy. (Also on the agenda, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Terry Bergeson, who’s in a tough re-election campaign looking ahead to next Tuesday’s statewide primary.)
We first told you yesterday about a petition drive to repeal Seattle’s upcoming disposable-bag fee (and foam ban) by referendum, after we encountered a signature-gatherer (toting the sign you see at left) outside West Seattle Thriftway. City law does not require such referenda to be recorded or even reviewed before signature-gathering begins, so we were having some trouble finding out who’s behind it — till two people (thanks to Alcina and Diane) just posted/sent word that the Puget Sound Business Journal reported about an hour ago, it’s the Washington Food Industry, a grocer-advocacy group.
Went down the hill to Thriftway in Morgan Junction a short time ago; as we got out of our car, the gentleman you see in the photo above was a few steps ahead of us, heading for a spot outside the store’s southwest-facing door. He identified himself as a paid signature-gatherer for petitions pursuing a referendum to cancel the 20-cent disposable-bag fee (and foam ban) just approved by the City Council (original WSB report, with 60+ comments, here). He said he wasn’t sure who’s sponsoring the referendum (we’ll be looking that up shortly), just that he’s got a contract to get paid to gather signatures. And from a quick look at the petitions (photo at left) after he’d been in business just about 15 minutes, he seemed to be having a success rate of almost one signature per minute. MONDAY MORNING UPDATE: Still trying to figure out how to find out who’s behind this. Found the city rules for referendums, and they note that you do not have to file anything in advance to circulate petitions – and you’re not supposed to bring them in till you think you have at least the required number (almost 15,000) – so this wouldn’t necessarily be on record anywhere.