2:29 PM: If you’re seeing smoke from a distance – it’s a brush fire in High Point, near the pond, on a grassy slope.
Firefighters are here and taking care of it but the smoke was visible from a couple miles away. More to come.
2:38 PM: Engine 36 is the crew on scene and the flames are out, the smoke has dissipated, but they’re soaking the charred slope in a big way – as neighbors are observing, it’s really dry here, even just over the green embankments by the pond itself. This was stopped before it could spread to any buildings, and no injuries are reported. No info yet about how it started.
10:01 PM: Still awaiting the cause info but we do know that it burned a quarter of an acre and came perilously close to a fence. SFD planned to check back at the scene tonight to be sure no hotspots remained.
8:45 AM: Firefighters are arriving at the scene near 31st and Morgan of what’s being described as a brush fire that spread to a vehicle and fence. More to come.
8:48 AM: From the scanner – the fire’s been declared under control.
8:52 AM: And now the fire’s tapped. Some units have been dismissed.
9:06 AM: Our crew talked with firefighters at the scene. They don’t yet know how it started, but it’s out. It happened at a residence along 31st south of Morgan. No injuries.
9:22 AM: Photo added.
Summer weather arrived early, and it’s led to an early opening for the High Point Market Garden Farm Stand, selling freshly harvested vegetables grown steps away, at 32nd and Juneau. Today is the first of the farm stand’s weekly selling sessions between 4 and 7 pm on Wednesdays – while there, we noted peas on sale for $3/pound and a variety of other veggies, including greens, leaf lettuce, and root vegetables, on sale for $2/bunch. We also were there for a blessing by The Venerable Soveth Mountain from Wat Dhammacakkaram Khmer Buddhist Temple, dedicating the stand’s season:
The words of gratitude, as printed on a commemorative card:
Thank you, earth, for this food,
Thank you to the gardeners who till this soil,
Thank you to the sellers who bring the food to market,
Thank you for this abundance,
Which we accept in grace and deep gratitude.
The stand is extra-abundant this year because of a new partnership with the urban farmers of ROAR (Roots Of All Roads), who are selling at a table by the stand – what’s there today is from Hillman City, we were told:
They’re also offering samples of a squash salad prepared with some of the items on sale today. Again, if you don’t make it there by 7 pm, stop by next Wednesday, 4-7 pm, and see what’s fresh. The Market Garden, by the way, is tended by community farmers, in partnership with the city Department of Neighborhoods P-Patch Community Garden program.
(WSB photo, looking eastward across the garden this afternoon)
It’s a mini-farm in the middle of a residential neighborhood – the High Point Market Garden. Every summer, its farm stand offers a weekly chance to buy fresh-grown produce steps from where it’s grown, and the city Department of Neighborhoods sent word that this Wednesday is opening day. Just-harvested organic produce will be on sale 4 pm-7 pm at the farm stand at 32nd and Juneau (map), every Wednesday from this week through September 30th. EBT cards are accepted and the stand participates in Fresh Bucks, doubling the first $10 spent on the card. The announcement adds, “A new feature at the High Point Farm Stand will be the ROAR mobile farm stand that sells produce grown by local farmers across Puget Sound. ROAR, which stands for Roots of All Roads, is focused on connecting community with locally grown produce and sharing new ways to enjoy it.” DoN oversees the High Point Market Garden (one of two in the city – the other is at NewHolly) as part of its P-Patch program.
TUESDAY P.S. We noticed the city webpage for the program had listed a later opening date, in July; the warm, dry weather that’s led so many gardens to bloom earlier has also accelerated food gardens like this, so the date was moved up.
(WSB file photo, teacher Alonzo Ybarra and MCHS High Point students in fall 2012)
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
Supporters of Middle College High School‘s West Seattle program are fighting to save it, and asking for community support.
We first reported nine days ago that Seattle Public Schools had abruptly announced it would cancel the alternative high-school program’s longtime West Seattle branch, which moved to Neighborhood House’s High Point Center three years ago after more than a decade and a half at South Seattle College (WSB sponsor). The district now says that even after three years, that “was a temporary lease while SPS assessed transition to other Middle College sites.” The three that remain are all in North Seattle.
The district blamed the closure primarily on low enrollment. In response to one of the questions we asked last Friday, asking for elaboration on that, the district responded:
Enrollment projections are generated by Enrollment Services and the second round of projections (for the 2015-16 school year) for all SPS schools are currently being finalized. These projections (went) out to principals on May 29th. High Point ended the 2013-14 school year with 58 students. The 2014-15 projection for High Point was 60 students and they were staffed with 2.2 core teachers. On October 1st, enrollment had dropped to 50 students. In the beginning of February 2015, the enrollment dropped again to 36 students. Enrollment numbers stayed at high 30’s until the High Point staff was told to stop enrolling students.
The district seems to be blaming teachers for the enrollment trouble: “Many students enroll through word of mouth but this year we have had much fewer due to the poor climate at High Point this school year. Teachers have been unhappy with the schedule and have communicated their discontent to students.”
MCHS-HP teacher Alonzo Ybarra, who sent first word of the impending closure, has said that MCHS’s principal Cindy Nash “forcefully imposed an arbitrary schedule that severely diminished our abilities to deliver exciting and creative curriculum and instruction.”
He says the staff has yet to hear directly from her. He is circulating this letter outlining what can be done to show support for MCHS-HP; it was shared with us by a West Seattle resident who received it and asked us to publish it:
On the MCHS blog-format website, Ybarra has published some of the letters of support that have come in so far – you can read them here. One letter is from a former MCHS student who is the parent of a current student; he writes in part, “It makes absolutely no sense shutting this program down. These teachers and this program should be the gold … no, platinum standard for our school district. I’d go as far and say that all Seattle Public High School teachers should job shadow the teachers at Middle College. This program should not be reduced, it should be expanded, and publicly promoted.”
West Seattle’s school-board rep Marty McLaren, though, told WSB she “couldn’t make a strong case against” closing MCHS-HP. Her response to our request for comment last week:
I had been briefed by Alonzo and visited the SSCC site in 2012, and have regularly visited and/or maintained contact since the move to HP, and have advocated for MCHS in the southwest area ever since. There have been various issues in the last two years that have indicated to me that the strength of our program was in question by district. My main way of addressing this has been to make absolutely sure that district leaders were hearing all sides — to facilitate communication. At various points, MCHS staff members maintained that they had not been given adequate chance to meet with leadership; although I couldn’t force meetings, I did make sure, with MCHP staff permission, that their communications were seen by district leadership, and did repeatedly remind our leaders of the value the community places on the program. I think I’ve heard of a recent meeting between MCHP staff and district leaders, but am not sure.
As far as the closure announcement: I learned over a month ago, I think, that staff had been told not to enroll for MCHP for next year. I was told that enrollment had been down, but I don’t have figures. At that time, I pushed with inquiries about the future of the program; there were enough issues that I couldn’t make a strong case against the impending decision to close the site. Staff knows that I am adamant that SPS needs to find a way to serve the kinds of students who have thrived at MCHP.
SIDE NOTE: Some wondered what Neighborhood House plans to do with the space that MCHS-HP has been using. (The district says it was paying $28,000/year to lease the space.) From NH’s David Johnson:
. The “classroom” is really a couple of shared spaces, Middle College successfully used a large partitioned area for their main classroom, and another space, designated as a Teen Center for an office and secondary classroom. Both are in shared hallways, amidst the many offerings from Neighborhood House and other providers.
. SPS leased the space through SHA, which is a traditional and strong partner of NH, both in the operations of the building and in its support of the construction of the building. NH is the owner and leases space to SHA in a long-term relationship, that benefits the entire HP community.
. There are currently no plans as of this date for another tenant or agreement on the uses of those spaces. There are discussions happening with SHA and our other partners about the best uses of these spaces.
. I would also say we were happy to host Middle College, that the students and staff brought a liveliness to our space and community that will be missed.
WHAT’S NEXT? Ybarra says they are asking supporters to turn out at the next School Board meeting, this Wednesday (June 3rd) at district HQ in SODO; public comments start at 5 pm (advance signup is required and starts this morning, as shown on the agenda). That happens to conflict, though, with the MCHS-HP graduation ceremony, 5:30 pm the same night. But, he vows, “we will have a presence” at the board meeting. Meantime, if you have any questions about this for School Board rep McLaren, her last community-conversation meeting of the year – open to any SPS topic – is tonight (Monday, June 1st), 6 pm, at Southwest Branch Library, 35th and Henderson.
In case you’re wondering, as are some who’ve messaged us – police are checking on reports of possible gunshots heard between High Point and Delridge. One texter said it sounded like six to eight shots in the Home Depot area; the area officers are investigating is west of there, near 27th and Shinkle (map). No report of anyone or anything being hit so far; often it’s impossible for officers to know whether it was gunshots or fireworks unless they find shell casings and/or property damage. We’ll update if we find out anything else.
4:47 PM: A crash at 35th and Juneau is reported to be blocking the northbound side of the road. No word yet on injuries; police and fire are arriving. We’re en route to check.
(Added: WSB photo)
5:19 PM: Two people have been taken to the hospital, neither with serious injuries. Another person is being cut out of his car because the door won’t open, but we are told he’s OK. 35th is open both ways but Juneau is blocked at 35th on the east side.
Officers working to locate missing Thus Nguyen, 81. Please call 911 if seen. pic.twitter.com/k3qgiKKZMc
— Seattle Police Dept. (@SeattlePD) May 27, 2015
7:30 PM: Have you seen 81-year-old Thus Nguyen? Since SPD sent that tweet, we have learned that she is missing from her home in High Point and has a serious medical condition; she might be in West Seattle or the International District. Please call 911 if you see her or know where she might be.
9:27 PM: Via scanner, we’ve learned that she turned up safe at Fire Station 37 and police confirmed it’s her.
(WSB photo from MCHS High Point’s 2014 graduation ceremony at The Hall @ Fauntleroy)
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
With just a few weeks to go in the school year, Seattle Public Schools has abruptly announced that one of its high schools in West Seattle won’t reopen next year.
In a letter dated May 18th, the district told families that it’s closing alternative Middle College High School‘s High Point campus, also known as the School for Social Justice and Community Engagement, after almost 20 years, citing declining enrollment. (If you’re not familiar with the overall MCHS program, it’s explained here.)
A statement on MCHS’s staff-maintained website suggests they’re not going without a fight:
The faculty and staff at Middle College High Point are very disappointed with this decision and are working with our community supporters, parents and students to prepare an organized response to this decision and to challenge the justification for closure.
It’s only been three years since MCHS’s West Seattle program went through a major transition:
A Southwest Design Review Board hearing is now set for the mixed-use building planned on part of High Point’s most prominent undeveloped site, at 35th/Graham.
We last mentioned it here eight months ago, when it surfaced in the city’s online files. The outline on the project page hasn’t changed much since then; it now describes “a 4-story structure containing 89 residential units, 8,500 sq. ft. of office space and 1,500 sq. ft. of retail space located at ground level. Surface parking for 98 vehicles to be provided.” The “site plan” dated last month shows an L-shaped building stretching across all of the currently vacant 35th SW frontage, from the corner of Graham northward. The parking entry would be on the east side of the building. The rest of the sprawling site is still set for residential development – most if not all townhouses – but only the mixed-use building is involved in the Early Design Guidance meeting that’s planned for the SWDRB’s next meeting, June 25th at 8 pm at the Senior Center of West Seattle. (As reported here on May 5th, the 6:30 pm project review that night is for the CVS drugstore project at 4722 Fauntleroy Way SW.)
(WSB photos by Torin Record-Sand)
Without bees … we’d “bee” in big trouble. While kids decades ago grew up mostly scared of getting stung by a bee, today’s kids are learning about their irreplaceable role in the ecosystem, and celebrating them with events like this one … the parade at today’s third annual West Seattle Bee Festival.
Kids and pets were invited to parade around High Point Commons Park.
Costumes, as you’ve probably guessed, were encouraged. They weren’t limited to the littlest paraders.
The parade was part of a five-hour festival centered around the West Seattle Bee Garden on the north side of the park.
If you missed the festival, you’re welcome to stop by the garden some other time.
It’s at 31st and Graham and will have special features this summer such as Tuesday morning storytimes starting June 16th. Don’t miss the flowers! Today’s parade celebrated those too.
(2013 photo: West Seattle Bee Festival parade)
Big weekend ahead. Tomorrow’s third annual West Seattle Bee Festival, at the WS Bee Garden in High Point, is part of it, and a new event has just been announced: The Lunchbox Cookoff. From the Events Committee of the High Point Open Spaces Association, which is presenting the festival:
Chef Chad Brown from Whole Foods Market has created three recipes just for the Bee Festival. He will demonstrated these easy-to-make, delicious, nutritious and fun lunchbox recipes for your family. You can sample his dishes and vote on which one you like the best. Come to the Events Committee table on the north side of Neighborhood House’s High Point Center [6400 Sylvan Way SW]. Get your free ticket for 11:30, 12:00, 12:30 or 1:00 demonstrations. Servings are limited.
Also happening at the Bee Festival:
*Come to the Honey Run at 9
*Make your own bee costume at 10, march in the parade at 11.
*Visit the Information Fair at 11:30 or tour the WS Bee Enclosure at 12.
*Enter the Bee-Ball Tournament or play Field Games at 12.
Find out more at westseattlebeegarden.com; the garden is at 31st/Graham, on the north side of High Point Commons Park.
The West Seattle Bee Garden is getting ready for its biggest season yet, despite a disappointing discovery over the weekend – vandalism against its student-and-teacher-made mosaic sign. We first reported it after hearing from garden volunteers on Saturday, and then went over to follow up, not just on the vandalism, but on what’s ahead at the garden.
Bee Garden founder Lauren Englund (above) tells us that they are gathering financial and time/skills support to fix the mosaic, but can still use more. Both sides were damaged when someone hit it with a brick – it’s a two-sided sign greeting Bee Garden visitors as they enter and exit on the south side of the garden, which is at 31st/Graham, on the north side of High Point Commons Park. This is the side not shown in our weekend coverage:
If you can offer help to restore it, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Now, looking ahead: Besides the third annual West Seattle Bee Festival in less than three weeks, other activities at the garden this spring/summer include a series of storytimes, 10 am Tuesdays from June 16th through August 18th. On June 23rd, July 14th, July 28th, August 11th and 18th, a beekeeper will be there for a hive demonstration, too.
The bees at the garden now made it through the winter, and will soon be joined by more, as Lauren installs another hive this Thursday. Volunteers made big progress with the garden itself – weeding and planting – last weekend and plan to be out again next weekend.
In June, something new and big will be added to the garden, a pergola designed by Josh Chambers, the architect of the bee enclosure. Before then, seven more school field trips to the bee garden are planned – one all the way from Wallingford! The garden also is getting some enhancements including hive-monitoring equipment so that the garden can participate in research and you can track hive details online, plus sound equipment so that Lauren or beekeeper Krista Conner can narrate and answer questions during demonstrations.
In the meantime, plan to visit for the Bee Festival on May 16th – Deborah Vandermar of the High Point Events Committee is hard at work on that, Lauren says – and later in the summer, the Puget Sound Beekeepers Association will have a Kids’ Day, which Lauren tells us “will have lots of beekeepers onsite, providing activities for kids (scavenger hunt for pollinator-friendly plants, etc.) and multiple hive demonstrations.” Also assisting, Nathalie Gelms, the children’s librarian from the High Point branch. Keep track of all this by checking in at westseattlebeegarden.com.
7:15 PM: No serious injuries so far as we’ve heard, but a three-car crash is blocking Sylvan Way at Sylvan Heights (map), west of Delridge, east of High Point, so if you were heading that way, you’ll need to use another east-west route between Delridge and 35th (SW Holden, perhaps). No estimate yet how long this will last.
8:08 PM: Via the scanner, we learn the road has just reopened.
The West Seattle Bee Festival will be back this year! It’s the third year for the celebration surrounding the WS Bee Garden in High Point, and we just received the official flyer (above) as well as this list of highlights for the festival on Saturday, May 16th:
*The Honey Run starts at 9 am at High Point Pond, SW Juneau & 30th (no registration necessary, just show up)
*Come to Neighborhood House (6400 Sylvan Way SW) at 10 am and make your own bee or flower costume (materials and help provided) so you can march in the Kids and Pet Parade in High Point Commons Park at 11 am
*Learn about Bee-Friendly gardening, food, books and activities at the Information Fair from 11:30 am-2 pm
*Taste healthy, delicious, easy-to-prepare food at the Lunchbox Cook Off from 11:30-1:30
*Take a tour of the West Seattle Bee Enclosure (SW Graham and Lanham Pl. SW) and Garden from 11:30-2 pm, where you can buy honey from the Puget Sound Bee Keepers Association
*Kids can participate in the Bee-Ball Tournament or Field Games in Commons Park
*Music by DA Productions will fill the park. Text your request to 57682 on the day
*Crafts, henna, face painting and more…..
For everyone who’s asked if any free shredding events are coming up in West Seattle – we FINALLY have word of one: 1-4 pm Sunday, April 19th, at High Point Branch Library (35th/ Raymond) – details here. Then, to recycle what you can’t put at curbside, it’s Fauntleroy Church‘s spring Recycle Roundup – 9 am-3 pm Sunday, April 26th; yes/no list here.
10:44 PM: Thanks for the tips – the Guardian One helicopter is in West Seattle now, in the High Point area, over Graham/Lanham. Not sure yet what it’s about – they seem to be focused on a vehicle – we’ll add what we find out.
10:55 PM: Officers are searching on the ground, too – one tells us this involves “stolen property.”
(Police at the Calugas Apartments in High Point)
11:01 PM: Guardian One appears to have moved on. We’ve heard on the scanner multiple times that this involves law enforcement from Mercer Island as well as SPD. Not sure how much more we’ll find out tonight.
11:06 PM: Guardian One’s Twitter account confirms:
Assisted Mercer island pd on search for burglary suspect in west Seattle. Seattle PD also assisting. @SeattlePD
— KCSOAirsupport (@KCSOAirsupport) February 15, 2015
11:32 PM: Photos added.
The 52-year-old woman arrested after last night’s stabbing outside the 35th/Morgan minimart remains in jail, with bail set today at $50,000. According to the probable-cause documents, obtained latelate today from the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, Police were first called to the store for a report of a fight between two women, with about 10 people watching. The call quickly changed to a report that one had stabbed the other.
When police arrived, they found the suspect inside the store and arrested her with their weapons drawn at “low ready.” She didn’t have the knife in her possession but officers found one in a trash can. The suspect, who lives about half a mile from the store, claimed the victim had “been after (her) for weeks” and was the aggressor. Four witnesses told police they saw the suspect attack the victim, whose age is not mentioned in the report; the report says officers smelled alcohol on the suspect’s “breath and person.” They talked to the victim while medics were treating her for a small, shallow chest wound. She is described as working at West Seattle Food Bank across the street from the store and having “ongoing issues” with the suspect, who is due back in court on Monday, by which time prosecutors should have made an initial decision on charging her. The King County Jail Register says she spent three days in jail right before Thanksgiving for investigation of assault.
7:28 PM: Police and fire are responding to an “assault with weapons” call at 35th and Morgan. More to come.
7:33 PM: One person is reported in custody in connection with the incident. Most of the SFD units have been canceled.
7:36 PM: A 17-year-old girl is reported (via medical communications on the radio) to have been stabbed. She’s being taken to Harborview.
8:37 PM: Via SPD Blotter – the suspect arrested at the scene outside the 35th/Morgan convenience store is a 54-year-old woman. The circumstances of the stabbing are described as “a fight.” The victim’s injuries are described as non-life-threatening.
Catching up with more local school-related news: Ten students from West Seattle Elementary School were among the participants at the citywide Girls On The Run 5K earlier this month. The photo shared with us also includes teachers, parents, and community volunteers who serve as running buddies, including accompanying their assigned “buddy” in the 5K after weeks of preparation. GOTR isn’t just about running – it’s also about empowerment and character development, helping build self-esteem. Those involved with GOTR at WSES include teachers Colleen Farrell, Amber Simonton, and Hannah Ory, along with afterschool coordinator Alex Cali. As mentioned here on WSB before, GOTR runs on plenty of volunteer power, so if you’re interested in getting involved (WSES is one of six West Seattle schools involved), go here to find out how.
Congratulations to West Seattle Elementary Chess Club members who did very well at a regional chess tournament before the Thanksgiving break. The fifth-grade team placed third overall and two students qualified for the state tournament, Rory Moriarty Carey and Jimmy Oto. Thanks to Ritchie for sharing the news.
(P.S. – You might recall that chess at WSES made news last spring, when the school was visited by international chess star Phiona Mutesi.)
7:40 PM: Suddenly Sylvan Way, which runs through High Point between Upper Morgan and Delridge, is a hot spot for crashes. Police and fire are currently at the scene of another one near Sylvan Way/Sylvan Heights (map). No details yet, but it’s affecting traffic, with at least one lane blocked.
8:24 PM: The crash involved just one vehicle; it ran into a fence and took out a tree. Police told us at the scene that no one was hurt. This was very close to the spot where a driver hit a tree two nights ago.
If you’ve driven Sylvan Way east of High Point this evening, you might have noticed the car crumpled into a tree on the south side of the street. Looks bad, but police told us at the scene that the driver was not hurt.
(Thanks to @hommesea for tweeting that photo)
12:33 PM: Thanks to everybody who texted about this. A driver hit a utility pole on Sylvan Way just east of High Point, and the eastbound side of the road is closed, so if you’re trying to get from High Point to Delridge, you’ll have to go another way. The westbound (uphill) side is open. Police tell us nobody was hurt, but Seattle City Light is headed out to figure out if the pole has to be replaced.
P.S. SCL says this has left two customers without power.
1:31 PM UPDATE: In comments, Terri says it’s now closed both ways.
5:40 PM: Still closed at last report and Metro has been rerouting 128. We went by around half an hour ago – the closure is far from the actual crash scene so no way to tell what kind of progress they’re making.
8:30 PM: As Egan reported about 20 minutes ago in comments, it’s now open again. Thanks to everyone for the updates.
(Photo courtesy Michelle)
One person was taken to the hospital after that flipped-vehicle crash near 30th/Graham in High Point about an hour ago. Thanks to Michelle for the top photo. She reports that, “My husband and I heard a loud crash and then the sound of a car speeding away at a very high speed. We came out and found a car flipped in the intersection, with 1 man inside. The man seems to have some injuries, but was able to climb out of the car with some assistance.” At least one parked car was damaged (at right in the photo). This was originally dispatched as a “heavy rescue,” but the response was scaled back when it was determined the person in the vehicle got out OK.
Officers at the scene told us the man did not have life-threatening injuries.
(WSB photo, substituted for cameraphone photo that was originally published)
8:11 PM: Big Seattle Fire/Police response on the way to Sylvan Way/SW Morgan in High Point, for a reported two-car crash, with one car on fire, and people reported to be trapped in the other car. More to come.
8:22 PM: Two people are reported to be injured – one seriously. The scene is just east of Neighborhood House’s High Point Center at Sylvan/Lanham, on the westbound side of the road. The more-seriously hurt patient will be taken to the hospital by SFD medic unit, the other by private ambulance. Police are investigating the possibility of DUI.
8:38 PM: Eastbound lanes will be reopened soon, police are saying, while westbound will be closed a while. The crash involved a Honda Pilot and Subaru Forester (the latter is the one that caught fire, and is in the foreground of our top photo). At this point, the Traffic Collision Investigation Squad is *not* being called out, which indicates they expect both people to survive. A 128 bus was having some trouble getting through the area a few minutes ago, so if you rely on that route, you might seem some delays.
9:34 PM: SPD just announced via emergency radio that Sylvan is open again, both ways.
10:08 PM: Just published to SFD’s Fire Line website, a summary identifying the Subaru’s driver as a 26-year-old man who was pulled, unconscious, from the burning vehicle by a Good Samaritan before fire crews arrived. He was “alert, oriented and conscious when medics transported him to Harborview Medical Center,” SFD reports. The driver of the Honda Pilot is described only as male; he’s the one who was taken to the hospital by private ambulance, indicating less-serious injuries.
FIRST REPORT, 7:18 PM: We’re at High Point Community Center along with a crowd we’d estimate to number at least 200, at what was supposed to be an informational/Q-A meeting about the Seattle Housing Authority‘s controversial “Stepping Forward” rent-increase proposal.
— West Seattle Blog (@westseattleblog) September 30, 2014
SHA executive director Andrew Lofton barely got through the pre-planned slide deck, with chants and shouts between almost every line.
After a few attempts at Q/A – really, just Q, because SHA said it would not answer any of the questions – one man shouted that those in attendance were being insulted and should walk out.
Many did, and went into the gym, where they and protesters rallied, with City Councilmember Kshama Sawant on hand.
(Added 9:26 pm – here’s our video of what Sawant told them, amplified via “human mike”:)
Others, meantime, stayed behind, and some spoke about the “stepped” rent increase proposal, which could take a subsidized household now paying $50 in rent, up to $1,000 in the fifth year. Even those who said they supported the concept of encouraging self-sufficiency said unemployment is high and there’s no guarantee anyone can get work, no matter how hard they try.
This man says unemployment is high and he is worried about people find self-sufficiency pic.twitter.com/Ik9Ncq1Tar
— West Seattle Blog (@westseattleblog) September 30, 2014
There were declarations that while SHA is calling for tenant accountability, no one is calling for developer accountability to provide more low-income housing.
The meeting is now in an “open house” phase at which those with questions are seeking answers in one-on-one conversations.
9:26 PM: Above, we’ve added our video of what Councilmember Sawant said after “the other meeting” convened in the Community Center’s gym – we had one crew in each room.
Our full video of the meeting in the original room, including all of the protests and the presentation they punctuated, will be added after we get it uploaded later tonight. (Added: Here it is:)
Meantime, Sawant told those gathered in the gym that the SHA meeting was “a joke” and called for “a big action in City Hall” on October 15th.
Opponents of “Stepping Forward” have a petition, and details of their position and objections, online here.
Meantime, the “next steps” slide in the official presentation said a possible “workforce pilot” would begin late this year, and that the proposal would be revised, more public comment taken, a recommendation made to SHA’s Board of Commissioners, then a phase-in with about 4 years from Board approval to full implementation, “rent changes no earlier than 2016.”
“We don’t want it revised!” someone yelled. “We want it gone!”
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