West Seattle Blog... » White Center http://westseattleblog.com West Seattle news, 24/7 Sat, 28 Nov 2015 09:31:56 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.4.2 YOU CAN HELP! White Center Food Bank needs turkeys, volunteers tomorrow http://westseattleblog.com/2015/11/you-can-help-white-center-food-bank-needs-turkeys-volunteers-tomorrow/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/11/you-can-help-white-center-food-bank-needs-turkeys-volunteers-tomorrow/#comments Wed, 25 Nov 2015 03:02:09 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=330147 One more day to make sure hundreds of local families can celebrate the holiday with a traditional meal … First, the White Center Food Bank needs more turkeys, and you can bring them by 8:30 am-7 pm on Wednesday. If you can spare some time, they also need help distributing food Wednesday afternoon/evening:

Volunteers needed Wednesday, 4:30-8 pm. It’s holiday distribution time again at the White Center Food Bank and we are currently short volunteers for the afternoon/evening of November 25 to pass out food to clients. We get set up at 4:30 pm. We distribute food from 5:00 to 7:30 pm and then clean up. Families welcome. If you can help, please call Audrey at 206-762-2848 or e-mail audrey@whitecenterfoodbank.org

WCFB is at 10829 8th SW.

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VIDEO: Freedom for 13 cleaned-up birds from oiled White Center pond; 61 remain in rehab http://westseattleblog.com/2015/11/video-freedom-for-13-cleaned-up-birds-from-oiled-white-center-pond/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/11/video-freedom-for-13-cleaned-up-birds-from-oiled-white-center-pond/#comments Wed, 18 Nov 2015 19:44:14 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=329566

Our phone video is the first look at post-cleanup freedom for 13 of the birds captured at the oil-contaminated White Center stormwater-retention pond. A team from PAWS just brought them back to the area and joined state and county reps in opening the carriers and watching them go free. We first reported on the pond problem a week and a half ago; last Friday, the state announced that a WC food-manufacturing business, La Mexicana, had taken responsibility. They say the pond is now clean enough for the birds to return to it safely, but they were released this morning across the street at Steve Cox Memorial Park. As you can see in the video, all 13 brought back by PAWS this morning were mallards; crews have captured 78 in all, a mix of mallards and Canada geese. Four birds did not survive, including two that were euthanized, according to the state Ecology Department.

ADDED 2:20 PM: A few more photos and additional information about today’s release and the cleanup:

Ecology spokesperson Larry Altose says oil-recovery efforts wrapped up at the pond yesterday, as contractor National Response Corporation removed the last cleanup materials. NRC’s subcontractor Focus Wildlife captured the oiled birds and, Altose says, “housed and treated the birds at the Progressive Animal Welfare Society Wildlife Center in Lynnwood,” where, he adds, the state Department of Fish and Wildlife “supplied a bird rescue trailer to provide extra space for the effort.”

Of the 61 birds still in treatment after today’s release, he adds, 27 are mallards and 34 are geese. All four of the birds that died were mallards. A WDFW spokesperson confirmed that this is the largest bird-rescuing operation in our state in some time, in terms of spill recovery.

Meantime, as for the birds released today …

… they were last seen taking a few test flights around the field. If you see oiled or distressed birds, WDFW asks, call 800-22-BIRDS, but don’t “approach or handle the wildlife,” the state asks, adding that “WDFW asks dog and cat owners in the area to keep their pets under control, as oiled birds are less able to escape from animal attacks.”

P.S. In addition to reporting to the state, the federal EPA also tells us they are interested in information about environmental violations – here’s how to report them. (You can also call the local office directly at 206-553-8306.)

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Saw the flash? Heard the boom? Big power outage south of here http://westseattleblog.com/2015/11/saw-the-flash-heard-the-boom-big-power-outage-south-of-here/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/11/saw-the-flash-heard-the-boom-big-power-outage-south-of-here/#comments Sun, 15 Nov 2015 10:23:17 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=329177

2:23 AM: Some West Seattleites saw one or more flashes and heard booms about the time more than 4,300 homes and businesses lost power south of here – parts of White Center, Shorewood, Boulevard Park, also a pocket of the southeastern edge of WS at Olson/Myers. We’re covering it on partner site White Center Now but thought we’d mention it here too, because of the sights and sounds. No official word on the cause yet but Seattle City Light says crews are headed toward its Duwamish Substation.

3:39 PM: Most have been back on for some time but City Light spokesperson Scott Thomsen says about 10 percent of those originally affected remain out – he also updated us on the cause: “A tree fell into wires, which caused a fault current that was big enough that it damaged some of the wire. So crews have been working to replace the damaged wire. There are about 450 customers still out. We estimate having them back in service around 4:15 pm.”

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FOLLOWUP: White Center company takes responsibility for oil spill; 51 birds affected http://westseattleblog.com/2015/11/followup-white-center-company-takes-responsibility-for-oil-spill-51-birds-affected/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/11/followup-white-center-company-takes-responsibility-for-oil-spill-51-birds-affected/#comments Sat, 14 Nov 2015 00:14:45 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=329040

(WSB photo from last weekend, as wildlife rescuers capture an oiled Canada goose)
One week after a neighbor noticed oil contaminating a stormwater-retention pond in White Center, the state Ecology Department announced that a food company has taken responsibility. La Mexicana says it was transporting oil that accidentally spilled and will pay the costs of cleanup and wildlife rehabilitation; 51 birds have been captured for cleaning and treatment, says the state, and one had to be euthanized. Full details of the state’s announcement are on our partner site White Center Now.

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FOLLOWUP: Another oiled bird rescued at White Center pond http://westseattleblog.com/2015/11/followup-another-oiled-bird-rescued-at-white-center-pond/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/11/followup-another-oiled-bird-rescued-at-white-center-pond/#comments Sun, 08 Nov 2015 21:50:02 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=328558

As promised, we went back this morning to the White Center stormwater-retention pond where the state and its contractors are cleaning up what’s believed to be a cooking-oil “spill” (yes, as has been pointed out, it could also have been intentional dumping) and rescuing oiled birds. The Canada goose caught while we were there late Saturday was the first bird captured for cleanup, a state Ecology Department spokesperson told us today, right before they caught a second one:

(Aside from a honk of protest, the goose didn’t resist.) Oiled feathers impair a variety of vital functions for birds, as explained here, including waterproofing and temperature regulation; we learned at the spill scene yesterday that rescued birds would be warmed on site and then transported to PAWS for rehabilitation. We expect to find out more tomorrow about where the investigation of the spill stands and how the birds are doing.

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UPDATE: Wildlife experts rescuing oiled birds after White Center pond spill http://westseattleblog.com/2015/11/wildlife-experts-rescuing-oiled-birds-after-spill-in-white-center-pond/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/11/wildlife-experts-rescuing-oiled-birds-after-spill-in-white-center-pond/#comments Sat, 07 Nov 2015 23:09:33 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=328473

(Photo added 5:32 pm, looking southward over the pond, toward SW 102nd)

FIRST REPORT, 3:09 PM: Wildlife experts are hoping to help more than a dozen birds struggling with oiled feathers after a spill in a White Center pond. A reader texted us this photo:

King County has sent this news release:

Crews are responding Saturday afternoon to an oil spill that was discovered in a King County stormwater retention pond in White Center.

An estimated 20 to 50 gallons of what is believed to be cooking oil was found floating in the pond, which sits along 13th Avenue Southwest at Southwest 100th Street in unincorporated King County. Lab analysis of the oil will determine its exact composition.

Employees with the Water and Land Resources Division (WLRD) of the King County Department of Natural Resources and Parks were at the pond this morning, along with Washington Department of Ecology spill response personnel, to assess the spill and determine its source.

An oil-spill response team from NRC Environment was also on site this morning to contain and clean up the oil from the pond. A crew trained in cleaning wildlife was on its way to the pond to capture and clean the estimated 20 waterfowl that appeared to have been in contact with the oily water.

Stormwater system experts with WLRD will look into how the oil got into the retention pond, which accepts runoff from the surrounding neighborhood and helps clean stormwater runoff before it continues downstream to Hicklin Lake.

Shorelines along the White Center pond system have been a focus of cleanup efforts we’ve covered on partner site White Center Now, but usually the problems have been on the shore, not in the water.

5:17 PM UPDATE: We’re just back from the scene, where we talked with a Department of Ecology rep; others on the scene include NRC (spill response) and Focus Wildlife, the contractor there to help with the birds. While we were there, they captured one Canada goose that had been wandering in busy SW 102nd on the south side of the scene, apparently unable to fly because of the oil.

They found out about the oil because of a nearby resident who watches the area and often photographs birds; they haven’t traced the source yet but because of its smell and consistency, they’re fairly certain it’s cooking oil. What looks like a white boom around the edges of the pond is actually absorbent material intended to soak up anything that can’t be cleaned up.

The responders were going to work until it got dark and then return at first light tomorrow. The rescued birds were going to be warmed in a truck on site, and then taken to PAWS for rehabilitation. Besides the wandering goose, we saw a group of ducks milling on the sidewalk along the pond’s western side; the Ecology rep said they’d been there all day.

Most of the oil, he added, was on the north end of the pond.

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VIDEO: Deputies ask for help identifying suspects in bus-stop stabbing http://westseattleblog.com/2015/10/followup-deputies-ask-for-help-identifying-suspects-in-bus-stop-stabbing/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/10/followup-deputies-ask-for-help-identifying-suspects-in-bus-stop-stabbing/#comments Thu, 29 Oct 2015 00:22:30 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=327439

5:22 PM: If you recognize any of the men in those surveillance-video images, the King County Sheriff’s Office wants to hear from you. They say these are the suspects in the Sunday night bus-stop stabbing at 15th and Roxbury, an attack that left a West Seattle restaurant worker paralyzed. KCSO spokesperson Sgt. Cindi West‘s update has new details:

The stabbing occurred around 6:30 pm near the Bartell Drugs store at 15th Ave SW and SW Roxbury. When police first contacted the victim after he had been stabbed, he thought he had been on a bus with the suspects. During recovery in the hospital, he told detectives that the suspects had not been on the bus. The victim told police he had gotten off the bus and gone to a smoke shop near the Bartell Drugs store. He went back to the bus stop near Bartell’s and was smoking when the suspects bumped into him. He said words were exchanged and an altercation ended with him being stabbed multiple times.

When the first deputy on the scene arrived he found the victim, barely conscious, with a blade stuck in his back near his spine. The victim told the deputy that he could not feel his legs. The three suspects fled on foot southbound and can be seen in the video running away. The victim is still in intensive care at Harborview and is paralyzed as a result of the stabbing.

Detectives are asking for the public’s help identifying the suspects on this video. They are described as three Hispanic males, late teens or early 20s, and had blue bandanas. If you have any information related to this case, please call the King County Sheriff’s Office at 206-296-3311.

As reported here last night, the victim has been identified as Ramon Aspeitia, who works at Shadowland and Ma’Ono in The Junction; his employers and friends put together a crowdfunding drive to help him and his family as he recovers.

P.S. KCSO is working on making the full video clip available – we will add it here if and when that happens.

ADDED 6:12 PM: Two short clips have just been made available, and we’ve uploaded them. In the first one, Sgt. West explains, you’re seeing “when they first flee”:

In the second, Sgt. West says, they start to go back toward the scene, “then run back”:

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FOLLOWUP: White Center stabbing victim ID’d as West Seattle restaurants’ employee; community contributions sought http://westseattleblog.com/2015/10/followup-white-center-stabbing-victim-idd-as-west-seattle-restaurants-employee-community-contributions-sought/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/10/followup-white-center-stabbing-victim-idd-as-west-seattle-restaurants-employee-community-contributions-sought/#comments Wed, 28 Oct 2015 01:33:56 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=327322

(White Center Now photo from Sunday night)
Two nights ago, on our partner site White Center Now, we reported on a stabbing at 15th and Roxbury in White Center, as King County Sheriff’s Office deputies and detectives searched for three men who stabbed a 26-year-old after he got off a bus. What we didn’t know until tonight is that the victim is an employee at two West Seattle restaurants. The co-proprietor of one, Ma’Ono’s Marjorie Chang Fuller, forwarded us the YouCaring page that seeks help for the victim’s recovery, with this update:

Ramon Aspeitia is a highly respected and extremely hard working employee at both Shadowland and Ma’ono in the West Seattle Junction neighborhood. He was viciously attacked by 3 men and brutally stabbed in the back on his commute home after work Sunday Oct 25th around 6:30 pm at his bus transfer in White Center. He is currently in Harborview Medical Center, fighting to be stabilized and to regain feeling in the lower half of his body. We are all hoping for a full recovery and he could use your thoughts and prayers at this time. This is gonna take a tremendous toll on his family and of course his 2 children. We’re asking the community to help in any way they can. Every bit will help his family with the medical and monthly bills while he recovers. His family will greatly appreciate anything you can do to help..

Here’s the direct link.

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SUNDAY NIGHT: Free concert and film pay tribute to Richard Hugo http://westseattleblog.com/2015/10/sunday-night-free-concert-and-film-pay-tribute-to-richard-hugo/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/10/sunday-night-free-concert-and-film-pay-tribute-to-richard-hugo/#comments Sat, 10 Oct 2015 18:10:38 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=325540

Sunday nights are usually quiet on the calendar – event highlights often ending around mid-afternoon. Not tomorrow. So here’s a heads-up if you haven’t already seen this on the calendar: The Southwest Seattle Historical Society is presenting a free concert and film, “Some Places Are Forever Afternoon: A Tribute in Music, Words, and Film to White Center’s Richard Hugo,” 6 pm Sunday inside the historic White Center Fieldhouse at Steve Cox Memorial Park (1321 SW 102nd). Admission is free, thanks to funding by 4Culture; the concert features pianist/composer Wayne Horvitz (who’s in the video invitation above), who released a Hugo-tribute CD in July. The event also will screen “Kicking the Loose Gravel Home,” an hour-long 1976 film about Hugo, who was just 58 when he died in 1982.

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YOU CAN HELP! Ticket time for White Center Food Bank’s Harvest Dinner and Auction http://westseattleblog.com/2015/09/you-can-help-ticket-time-for-white-center-food-banks-harvest-dinner-and-auction/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/09/you-can-help-ticket-time-for-white-center-food-banks-harvest-dinner-and-auction/#comments Tue, 29 Sep 2015 18:11:17 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=324428 Earlybird price is about to expire for one of this fall’s biggest benefits. Kristina at the White Center Food Bank (which serves West Seattle from SW Myrtle southward, too) sends the reminder:

The White Center Food Bank’s 11th Annual Harvest Dinner & Auction is coming up on October 17, 2015 at South Seattle College’s Brockey Center. This is our biggest fundraiser of the year, and helps us to continuing feeding our community; in 2014, we served 64,473 people from West Seattle, White Center, and Burien. The auction is really fantastic this year, with items ranging from restaurant gift cards to a week in Mallorca, Spain, and everything inbetween; the dinner is a delicious steak and salmon entrée (vegetarian also available). Tickets are on sale now, and the price goes up October 1st, so the time to buy is RIGHT NOW! Last year, the event sold out, and we hope for the same this year. Information, tickets, and a preview of items up for bid, all available at whitecenterfoodbank.maestroweb.com

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UPDATE: Meander’s Kitchen changes management, closes early today, says it will reopen Monday http://westseattleblog.com/2015/08/meanders-kitchen-changes-management-closes-early-today-says-it-will-reopen/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/08/meanders-kitchen-changes-management-closes-early-today-says-it-will-reopen/#comments Sun, 02 Aug 2015 22:26:03 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=318687 By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

Popular diner Meander’s Kitchen in White Center closed early today – about two hours short of its usual 3 pm closing.

That wouldn’t be noteworthy, except for the circumstances: A management change, made with King County Sheriff’s Office deputies standing by, following 12-plus hours of unofficial claims, attributed to employees, that today would be Meander’s last day of operations.

First word of this came with postings in various spots on Facebook late Saturday night/early Sunday morning – including the “posts by others” section of the WSB page – saying that Sunday would be the restaurant’s last day open and urging customers to come show support. We also received a text message to that effect, saying the staff was opening the restaurant in hopes of making enough money to cover payroll and vendors. By morning, this sign was up at the restaurant (several people texted us the image):

Patrons told us employees were also telling them personally that it was closing. Contacted via Facebook, restaurant founder Miranda Krone – working out of town as a maritime chef – told us that was definitely not true, and that a new general manager/partner, Afton Larsen, who had been part of Meander’s operations in its early West Seattle days, would arrive at the restaurant later in the day to sort things out.

Larsen also contacted us directly to say she would be at the restaurant “this afternoon to talk with staff in person and keep our doors open.” And a post on the restaurant’s official FB page echoed, “We are NOT closing”:

We had planned to check in by mid-afternoon – and then came a text from a patron about the arrival of deputies, around 1:15 pm, with diners being told that service was ended for the day (regular daily closing time has been 3 pm). That accelerated our plan to go check on the situation. WSB co-publisher Patrick Sand was told on arrival that the deputies were there to ensure an orderly transition, but that there was no trouble and no one had been arrested.

Some employees say their paychecks had bounced, but so far, no one has reported filing a complaint with state Labor and Industries. Larsen (photo below) told us she was just starting to go through the books so didn’t know the status of the restaurant’s accounting yet.

She said some of the current staff has agreed to stay on; she said she hopes Meander’s will be open tomorrow, usual hours, but if circumstances make that infeasible, they would expect to reopen by midweek, potentially with limited service until things are straightened out.

Meander’s first opened in January 2011 in the tiny ex-Jade West Café north of Morgan Junction. Its popularity led Krone to seek a new, larger space, and Meander’s moved to its first White Center space in fall 2012. That turned out to be a bit too big, she said, moving the restaurant to its current space at 9809 16th SW in late summer 2013.

6:54 PM UPDATE: Via e-mail, Larsen says, “We will be open from 10-3 tomorrow running a limited menu with a skeleton crew.”

11:25 PM UPDATE: As discussed in the comment section, while a variety of allegations/rumors continue flying here, we don’t report what can’t be substantiated/verified, until and unless it is. One thing we did verify a short time ago, after some difficulty getting into online court records: An unlawful-detainer (potential eviction) complaint was initiated against the restaurant in late June by the previous tenant from whom they sublease. A hearing date was set for July 10th but online records do not indicate any court action taken then or since. We are seeking clarification from the new management on whether that means it’s been resolved.

11:19 AM MONDAY: Owner Krone responded via text that the rent is now current and resolution of the case is being negotiated by lawyers. Asked if there was any chance the restaurant would be evicted, she replied, no.

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TOMORROW: Fireworks show launches White Center Jubilee Days http://westseattleblog.com/2015/07/tomorrow-fireworks-show-launches-white-center-jubilee-days/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/07/tomorrow-fireworks-show-launches-white-center-jubilee-days/#comments Wed, 15 Jul 2015 01:17:02 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=316580 Every year we publish a reminder about the White Center Jubilee Days fireworks show, in case you want to go see it, or just want to be forewarned about the booms in the distance. This year’s show is tomorrow night (Wednesday, July 15th) at dusk, at Steve Cox Memorial Park in White Center (1321 SW 102nd), where it’ll also be the first night of the Jubilee Days carnival.

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Cannabis crackdown: County, state target ‘unlicensed’ marijuana businesses in unincorporated area; City Council discussion ahead too http://westseattleblog.com/2015/07/cannabis-crackdown-county-state-target-unlicensed-marijuana-businesses/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/07/cannabis-crackdown-county-state-target-unlicensed-marijuana-businesses/#comments Tue, 07 Jul 2015 23:19:54 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=315892 Tomorrow morning in White Center, King County Prosecuting Attorney Dan Satterberg and King County Sheriff John Urquhart plan to brief the media on what their advisory describes as an “effort aimed at closing down unlicensed marijuana businesses operating in unincorporated King County,” which includes WC. Sources tell us they’ve already been circulating letters to some of those businesses. Some unincorporated-area community advocates have long been expressing concern about the proliferation of medical-marijuana enterprises in North Highline, particularly White Center; it’s been a frequent topic at North Highline Unincorporated Area Council meetings, including one we covered in April. This follows passage of a new state law requiring that medical marijuana be handled as a sideline in state-licensed recreational-marijuana shops. (One of the latter recently opened in downtown White Center.)

Here in the city, Seattle is moving toward a crackdown of its own – the issue is, in fact, on the agenda for the City Council’s Finance and Culture Committee tomorrow afternoon.

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From White Center Now: A fish (store) story http://westseattleblog.com/2015/06/from-white-center-now-a-fish-store-story/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/06/from-white-center-now-a-fish-store-story/#comments Sun, 07 Jun 2015 01:28:12 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=312629 EDITOR’S NOTE: Earlier this year, WSB reader Jerry sent us a postal-mail letter expressing concern about the future of White Center’s B & D Aquarium, the only aquarium-supplies store for miles around. He asked us to do a story. Took a while, but here it is – first published on our partner site White Center Now, republished here tonight.

Story and photos by Randall Hauk
Reporting for West Seattle Blog & White Center Now

“I’ve been hanging on so long, I’ll hang on as long as I can.”

Being a brick-and-mortar retailer these days can be a challenging prospect, even for businesses which have accumulated decades of expertise in their industry while serving their community.

Such is the case with White Center’s B & D Aquarium, regarded by many Puget Sound-area hobbyists as a valuable resource for serious hobbyists, who rave about the shop’s knowledgeable staff and the intense care paid to keep healthy stock available.

B & D’s owner, who prefers to be identified only as P.D. (“That’s what all my friends call me.”), started his business in 1972, at 35th SW & Roxbury. Listen to P.D. tell his story:

The current location at 10450 15th Ave SW (next to the White Center Eagles), with a large Clown Loach painted on the north-facing side, is the fourth iteration of the store.

Between P.D. and his two employees, B & D Aquarium staff offer knowledge compiled through more than 100 years collectively in the business, which started and has been maintained all through the passion of a true hobbyist. In addition to all the advice and equipment needed to start and maintain your home aquarium, B&D Aquarium’s 70 tanks offer a variety of fish from “all over the world . . . except Antarctica.”

A year after quitting his aquarium-shop job, P.D. found himself missing the atmosphere of being surrounded by fish, especially after having had to get rid of most of his 52 tanks at home due to the expense. In an early ’70s version of crowdfunding, P.D. opened a shop with “the help of friends and donated tanks.”

When the shop found itself in need of a new home, “customers and ex-employees all came in to help move,” says P.D. And though he also says he was “lucky to find this place,” four years later, B & D hasn’t entirely recovered fiscally from that move, as his humble business has struggled to compete with larger pet shops and online retailers.

“I’ve seen (chain pet stores) selling equipment for less than our wholesale cost,” says P.D. of the challenges in staying competitive. “People tell me, ‘We bought our stuff somewhere else because it was cheaper, but we come to you for advice because you know what you’re talking about.”

The loss of revenue from that segment of their potential customers already forced B & D to get out of the saltwater side of the aquarium business several years ago. Advising people who were not spending money in their shop was also taking too much time away from the time needed to properly care for the fish they have on hand.

And for P.D. and his colleagues, all dedicated hobbyists themselves, taking shortcuts to create time and reduce operating costs is simply never a consideration.

In order to assure the fish he sells leave the shop in good health, P.D. says, “they have to be treated, quarantined, and watched. We make sure they’re 100% healthy, which takes ten times as much work as making sure they’re even 99% healthy.”

His love for the hobby and the fish themselves also can get in the way of cynically taking every dollar that presents itself at his cash register.

“I spent far too much time talking people out of buying things to be profitable!”

That level of dedication is precisely what draws hobbyists from throughout the greater Puget Sound region for their aquarium needs. It also speaks to why B & D has such a loyal, if small, customer base. Spending the extra money on the fish initially saves them later on the cost of chemicals and other treatments that follow fish not properly prepared for the move to a home-aquarium environment.

But how do people get drawn so strongly to a hobby that requires significant expense and effort to maintain? Perhaps even to the point of running a struggling shop for forty-plus years?

“It’s a spiritual experience,” explains P.D.. “It can lower your blood pressure. They prescribe it for hyperactive children. It can really open your eyes . . . (one gets a) completely different understanding of the whole universe.”

He concludes: “It can be wonderful.”

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QUESTION FOR DISTRICT 1 CANDIDATES: Annex White Center and the rest of unincorporated North Highline, or not? http://westseattleblog.com/2015/06/question-for-district-1-candidates-annex-white-center-and-the-rest-of-unincorporated-north-highline-or-not/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/06/question-for-district-1-candidates-annex-white-center-and-the-rest-of-unincorporated-north-highline-or-not/#comments Wed, 03 Jun 2015 05:47:11 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=312204

(Looking southward over the heart of White Center. Photo by Long Bach Nguyen)
Tomorrow (Wednesday) morning, as reported here Monday, the issue of White Center/North Highline annexation comes up for another briefing before the City Council’s Education and Governance Committee. Last December, that committee voted to take a step that it stressed just kept the city’s options open for potentially seeking an annexation vote in time to use a state tax credit considered vital for covering some of the costs. Now, another step has to be taken to keep that option open, councilmembers will be told tomorrow. But another vote would be required to actually pursue a vote by residents of the potential annexation area, and if that vote happens, it might not be until after the November election. As a prelude to tomorrow’s briefing – we asked the nine candidates for City Council District 1 (West Seattle/South Park) whether, and why, they do or do not support annexing WC/NH. We sent the questions to their official e-mail addresses just before noon Monday, with a deadline of midnight. Seven candidates replied; we’ve published their responses in the order received and as received, unedited:


First would favor for the voters to have the option to express in voting what is their choice.

I will tell you that this is not a hard issue for me to give you my take.

I have always believed that there are far too many government subdivisions in most metro areas and that does not make for an efficient government and taxing system. We would realize efficiencies by consolidating the many functions of the local government into one.

Many jurisdictions around the country are even discussing the consolidation of services between the local county and city governments to realize some economies of scale. These are jurisdictions that are having budget problems and these measures are seen as responses to save while keeping governments effective and efficient.


You asked not good question.

In this case it does NOT matter what I think: I must act what the most of We the People, for theirs benefits will say me to do.


As long as it makes financial sense, Seattle should annex White Center and the rest of unincorporated North Highline. Currently, the costs of providing services to the area are greater than the revenue the area will generate. Further, annexation will bring with it substantial capital costs. If we annex the area, we have to take care of it, invest in its infrastructure and economic development. White Center cannot remain unincorporated for much longer. King County has no interest in continuing to pay for the area and the State’s Growth Management Act requires that some city or other annex it. Still, we should make sure the time is right and that we don’t take a significant loss on the deal. We need to work with King County to get the State Legislature to increase the tax incentive available to Seattle to offset the costs of annexation.


I support the annexation of White Center and the rest of unincorporated North Highline to Seattle. Seattle and White Center are linked in people’s daily lives–many of us dine, repair cars, go to McLendon’s, etc. in White Center. I am all too aware of the fact that the County is constrained when it comes to revenue options and has been forced to reduce services that people in White Center need – roads, parks, human services, and public safety. The county simply is not set up under state law and our tax structure to serve urban unincorporated areas. Cities can fund services with a balance of sales taxes, property taxes, B&O taxes, and utility taxes. Counties can’t levy the last two and tend to have weaker revenues from sales and property taxes due to the lack of major tax generators in unincorporated areas. A significant portion of White Center is in the city and it makes it difficult to do strategic urban planning for the area with split jurisdiction. White Center is already a vibrant business district with over 300 businesses, but could benefit from the planning expertise and business assistance that the city provides – the city has many programs the county can’t afford to assist businesses, provide human services, fund parks, and improve roads. West Seattle, South Park, and White Center would have a larger voice working together on issues such as environmental justice, food deserts and improving public safety and community policing. It is a big undertaking and I would ensure an open dialogue and outreach on all the issues related to annexation. Ultimately, I believe it is an issue of equity and worth the investment. A vibrant and diverse White Center belongs in the city of Seattle and will make both White Center and Seattle stronger together.


I am personally in favor of annexation. I live along the Delridge corridor, and so much of the political boundary separating White Center and unincorporated North Highline feels arbitrary, an imaginary line separating neighbors and similar neighborhoods. So I think it makes a lot of sense culturally and geographically. That said, annexation must also include full integration. It’s one thing to move a boundary line, but we can’t make this decision unless we commit to making these residents full-fledged, equal citizens of Seattle—entitled to the same services and consideration as the rest of the city, and not treated as a bonus property tax base with little power or voice.


I support the annexation of White Center and the rest of unincorporated North Highline. Annexations are always complex issues, often with intense emotions on both sides.

My reason for supporting this annexation is quite simple. Safety and Support.

The unincorporated area operates under a different set of rules which allows for unlawful activity on one side to slip across to the other side and be gone. The border between Seattle and White Center is a permeable one, where unlawful activity can cross a jurisdiction line and disappear. Development permits, licensing of liquor and marijuana establishments and even investments such as street lights, signage, social services, and police presence, all impact the behavior one experiences. Bringing White Center into Seattle will put everyone and every business under the same rules with a unified vision of safety.

There is also a significant tax base in the area that I fully expect to grow over time which will support these additional services.

The eastern area of North Highline provides another location for investment and development. With vision and a DPD willing to work to lure firms with larger numbers of employees, we could develop new jobs in the North Highline area. Imagine living and working without leaving the peninsula. Incorporating White Center into Seattle also brings some very well developed parks and open space areas, sorely needed in a growing city.

Therefore, it is in Seattle’s interest to bring developed areas right on our border under the same jurisdiction. Fortunately, I also believe annexation is good for the residents of these communities. We would be bringing greater control over crime and the umbrella of city services Seattle would provide gives greater stability to everyone that might be struggling. Seattle’s minimum wage rules also will help all employees in the White Center and North Highline areas.

Annexation should not occur without the approval of the residents. However, once our White Center and North Highline neighbors are offered the many benefits Seattle can provide, I am confident they will support joining our city.


It is not a simple issue. Supporters refer to annexation as a social justice issue. I agree; it absolutely is a social justice issue. If I was certain that Seattle could actually deliver on the promise of addressing the needs of the potential annexation areas, I would also agree that it was Seattle’s responsibility to annex these areas to address those needs. Yet, the challenge is that I am not certain Seattle could deliver on such a promise.

We have a long list of needs in existing Seattle neighborhoods and we already know that revenue generated by annexing North Highline & White Center is not sufficient to fund needed services and our attempt to do so might only further delay our ability to address the pressing demands of our existing underserved Seattle communities.

If voters approved annexation I would want to consider that position seriously. In addition, if we received additional revenue from the State sufficient to fund the services needed by a newly annexed North Highline and White Center, I would similarly reconsider.

I’m very sympathetic to the needs of these areas, but I believe that the needs of our existing Seattle neighborhoods are the first responsibility of our elected officials.

To date, we have not heard from Jody Rushmer and Phillip Tavel. Thanks to the candidates who did reply!

Your next chance to see and compare them side-by-side is Monday night, June 8th, 7 pm, at the Pigeon Point Neighborhood Council‘s forum in the Pathfinder K-8 cafeteria (1901 SW Genesee).

The primary election to shorten the list of contenders to two is on August 4th; you’ll get your ballot in mid-July.

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