As-it-happened coverage: City Council committee takes up encampment-location issue – Nickelsville and elsewhereMay 22, 2013 at 2:06 pm | In 'Nickelsville' encampment, West Seattle news, West Seattle politics | 38 Comments
(TOPLINE, 4:12 PM: Council discussion’s over; next step, public hearing June 25th)
(We’ll replace this video window when archived video of meeting is made available – just checked at 10:12 pm and it’s not, yet)
We’re in the City Council chambers at City Hall downtown, along with more than 100 people, as the Housing, Human Services, Health, and Culture Committee prepares to take up two hot topics – encampments and marijuana.
We’ll be updating live, mostly on the former topic, because of the Nickelsville issue. We also hope to add the live-video window here in a moment (the 2 pm meeting is running a bit late). More to come.
2:13 PM: Public comment is about to begin. Council chair Nick Licata says each speaker will be limited to a minute and a half. First, Rev. Bill Kirlin-Hackett of the Interfaith Task Force on Homelessness says he supports Licata’s proposal. “What we all agree about is that we need to keep working on remedies to enable interim survival plans,” he says. Next, a woman identifying herself as a Tent City 3 resident, who says excluding campers from residential areas would be discrimination. “Because I’m homeless, you don’t want me in the residential areas where kids are and stuff like that … (but) I don’t want to hurt kids.” Another Tent City 3 representative speaks next, about discrimination. “We support our friends at Nickelsville and want a good solution to their current dilemma,” but this is not it, he says.
A Nickelsville resident who says she is living there with her son and two cats is next. She says more than 125 people are there now and last summer peaked at more than 180 people. She says conditions and order are OK – except for the lack of running water, sewer, and “little police protection … We are doing great but our preference is to be moved someplace” where they would have such things. She says they “hope to move within next 2 months” without any new city codes and that they oppose the ordinances because they are not necessary.
Another Nickelsville resident, Trace DeGarmo, brings up the newly proposed Nickelsville “Option 7,” which he says would work within the current religious-encampment ordinance. They would move to two sites under control of religious organizations with whom they would sign contracts, he says. “This plan is now entirely doable” and would enable Food Lifeline to take over the current site
He is followed by Carolyn Stauffer of Highland Park Action Committee, who mentions the petition they have circulated with more than 200 names.
“We would like to see you act now and enforce the existing land use codes, because that’s your job … That it’s taken the council two years to have this conversation is shameful and disappointing,” she says, reiterating their demand that the encampment be moved before “it begins a third summer” there.
CLICK AHEAD TO READ THE REST OF OUR DETAILED AS-IT-HAPPENED COVERAGE:
1:24 PM: City Councilmember Tim Burgess has just sent a news release to his media list announcing he’s dropping out of the race for mayor. He would have had to file by 4 pm today. Here’s the news release (PDF from his site). He had just been in West Seattle last Saturday for a chat with voters – we had received (but not published) a photo from his campaign that day:
1:36 PM UPDATE: You’ll probably recall that seven other candidates had declared they were running – they and Burgess all participated in the April 29th “Super Seattle Mayor’s Forum” co-sponsored by the 34th District Democrats (WSB coverage, including video, here). The other seven have all filed for official candidacy, according to this page on the King County Elections website; it had been noted by political-news site PubliCola that Burgess was the only one not to have filed by noontime today.
6:12 PM UPDATE: Two more candidates joined the race, making it a field of nine, by the deadline. One is West Seattle lawyer Doug McQuaid, who ran last year for state Supreme Court; his campaign website does not appear to be up yet (at least not at the link listed on the county Elections website), but his background is detailed on a site related to last year’s court campaign. The other new candidate to file in the mayor’s race is Joey Gray, whose bio is on her website. The full list of candidates in this office and others on King County ballots in the August primary is here.
(May 13, 2011, WSB photo)
Two years ago today, the homeless encampment that calls itself “Nickelsville” returned to the site where it had begun – a mostly-city-owned parcel on the eastern edge of West Seattle. According to a flyer posted on the semi-official Nickelsville Works Facebook group page, encampment residents and supporters plan a second-anniversary party next Sunday afternoon. That’s three days before their uphill neighbors from the Highland Park Action Committee have a meeting scheduled with Mayor McGinn.
Today was also the deadline that HPAC chair Carolyn Stauffer had given McGinn and City Councilmembers for announcing a move-out date for the encampment. The nonprofit Food Lifeline has proposed building a new center there, to collect and process food for food banks around the region. But in addition to the encampment’s presence, there’s also bureaucracy in the way, such as getting the site declared “surplus” so the city could consider selling it.
Stauffer writes on the HPAC website that only one city leader to whom the letter was sent, Councilmember Richard Conlin, replied, though without any commitment of specific action. As for the mayor, she writes in part:
The Mayor has donated [to Nickelsville] thousands of dollars in materials and rat abatement, and has been ignoring the neighborhood pleas for city action. We asked again that he be brave enough politically to stand up for our neighborhood and say no- that one cannot squat illegally on public land anymore, that it is too much to ask of our neighborhoods without due process and public comment. Giving the encampment a move out date is the Mayor’s job, and we are meeting with him on May 22nd to make sure that he understands that, and to make sure he knows that the neighborhood is serious when we ask for a move out date.
If he chooses to continue to ignore this, he will have a difficult time getting through the political season coming up without having to address his non-action. As we stated in our April 2nd letter, we will be taking steps to pursue legal action at this point.
We too have an inquiry out to the mayor’s office and will update when we hear back.
Seattle Port Commission races often get little attention, but deserve more, candidates told the 34th District Democrats at their monthly meeting in Fauntleroy last night. Most of the meeting was devoted to a candidates’ forum moderated by chair Marcee Stone-Vekich, with various races from Burien City Council to Southwest Sewer District – not including Seattle Mayor, since the 34th DDs co-sponsored the campaign’s first major forum just last week in Georgetown. (Here’s our coverage of that event, including video of the entire forum.)
Our video above features the three Port Commission candidates who showed up, from left: Commissioner John Creighton, candidate Michael Wolfe, and recent commission appointee Stephanie Bowman.
Part of the forum included unopposed (so far) candidates, among them King County Sheriff John Urquhart, who was elected last year to the remaining year of his predecessor’s term, so has to run again this year:
If you’re interested in having a say before the Seattle City Council adopts citywide rules for marijuana production, processing, selling, and delivery – now’s the time to speak up. Today’s edition of the twice-weekly city-issued Land Use Information Bulletin includes an announcement of proposed amendments – such as the potential for indoor growing sites spanning up to 50,000 square feet – on which they’re now taking comments along with the main proposals. While the notice says comments will be accepted up until the final vote – not scheduled yet – councilmembers would like to receive comments by 5 pm May 15th, so there’s time for review. Here’s the notice, which also includes links to the proposed rules and amendments.
6:42 PM: We’re with a standing-room only crowd at South Seattle Community College‘s Georgetown campus for the first big forum of the Seattle mayoral campaign, co-sponsored by the 34th District Democrats along with two other Democratic organizations on the south side of the city. All eight declared candidates are here, along with news media galore. We’ll be updating live, and we’re recording it on video too. (Added: Here it is in its entirety, starting with quick intros from Holly Krejci of the 11th DDs and Marcee Stone-Vekich of the 34th DDs:)
The eight candidates are starting off answering a question about the moment when they decided to run for mayor.
7:06 PM: The wi-fi signal in here is intermittent, which is preventing reliable live-chronicling. So we’ll point you to Twitter for the rest of the way – look for hashtag #seamayor (can’t get a direct link right now but find it via our account at twitter.com/westseattleblog).
7:16 PM: Question now for some of the candidates – which comes first, transportation or development, and do you support impact fees? Mary Martin starts by saying she doesn’t like the question. Tim Burgess says they should happen simultaneously but it doesn’t go that way, and we’re only now talking about zoning for light rail, “we should have done that four years ago.” He says infrastructure for transportation is an issue of social justice too. Kate Martin says she agrees with him, that transportation should be concurrent with growth – and freight must be kept in mind too.
7:25 PM: Next – should we move Nickelsville, and where? Bruce Harrell is asked first, and he says, “yes.” He says people shouldn’t be living with rats and no water hookups, “we can do better than that.” He has no specific location in mind. Peter Steinbrueck says, “We should not have to endure Nickelsville in the first place … no neighborhood should endure indefinitely those kind of conditions, nor should the people wh seek shelter have to endure those kinds of conditions.” Mike McGinn answers next and says it’s a “problem” that people prefer that situation to shelters. “I think we’re going to have to find a way to (change the situation) but I need the City Council to step up, and they haven’t.” (Some in the room boo that answer.)
7:33 PM: Subsequent questions include how to close the gender gap for wages – Bruce Harrell drew applause for saying “institutional practices,” after Tim Burgess quipped that “if everyone had daughters like mine,” the problem would “self-correct.”
7:45 PM: What’s the most surprising thing on your iPod? Steinbrueck says he doesn’t have one. How about most interesting app on his phone? He says, One Bus Away. Staadecker says most interesting thing on his iPod is his just-born granddaughter. Murray says he has an app for a new puppy. McGinn says he started listening to more local bands – but Seattle RainWatch is his favorite. Mary Martin says she prefers to talk to people face-to-face. Kate Martin says she collects vinyl records, and has a BlackBerry so no apps. Harrell says he has an app for estate sales. Burgess says he doesn’t have an iPod either but best thing on his iPhone is picture of his 15-month-old granddaughter, and another app tracking another daughter’s current pregnancy.
Next question, how to best get to know you as a candidate? Steinbrueck: Come over and have homemade pizza. Staadecker says to ask people about his authentic qualities. Murray says he likes to talk, so talk to him. McGinn: “Look at my budgets; come on a walking tour with me out in a neighborhood.” Mary Martin: Walk on May Day, to “unionize, organize.” Kate Martin: “Call me or have coffee with me, invite me over,” and come check out her vinyl collection. Harrell: “come by my campaign office and imagine with me, imagine a new Seattle.” Burgess says go meet his wife and daughter who are here (one of his three daughters), and look at the reading list on his “city blog.”
7:48 AM: Should Seattle annex White Center, West Hill, and “the sliver”? That drew mixed responses (we have most on video – it’s a lightning round so we’ll have to consult later). Next lightning questions, your three closest advisers. Then, which endorsement matters the most, that you’ve already received? And then – which two candidates will make it through the primary? McGinn said “me and somebody else.” Staadecker also said himself and (question mark). Harrell said himself and “waffle.”
7:54 PM: The forum is wrapping up, after yet another lightning-round question about “what was your favorite part of the forum?” Closing statement: Why should you be the next mayor? “We have lots to be thankful for,” said Steinbrueck, talking about transportation projects, and the 150,000 people he says are headed to Seattle – how do we balance growth and quality of life? Staadecker said the two most important issues are the qualities of a mayor – including trust, collaboration, integrity – and the long-term vision for the city: “jobs, education, city services, safety, infrastructure, and fun – life is too short …” Murray: “this race is about leadership and I think I have the leadership this city needs. … Look at my record; I’ve worked on contentious issues with people who disagree, but we turned defeat into victory because we found ways to bring people together …” McGinn said, “We worked to change the debate in Seattle,” including talking about education. “They said Seattle can’t do transit – we have a master transit plan …” and touted more initiatives he’s working on “to make the city what it can be” before mentioning Sierra Club and Cascade Bicycle Club endorsements and that he was called “the most progressive mayor in America” and wants to make Seattle “the most progressive city in America.” Mary Martin says “the capitalist system is in crisis” and adds that “the working class has no voice.” She says she’s not just running to be elected, but also to seek solutions – “once and for all remove the capitalist system and put workers and farmers in power.”
Kate Martin lists her resume of activism and parenting and “I invite all of you to join me on that journey … but it’s not going to be issue to issue, this is who I am: When it comes to children, I am a radical. When it comes to health care, I’m a socialist,” and she lists other beliefs including “when it comes to the bottom line, I’m conservative,” before pitching for contributions. Bruce Harrell begins, “There’s a reason why 7 people are challenging this mayor – they want (a mayor) who is fighting for us … imagine a city where the mayor demonstrates listening abilities … that’s what my candidacy is all about,” and says he has “walked the talk all my life, and I think that’s what Seattle is looking for … I hope to wake up Seattle, because I am tired of the same old/same old … we want to reset the norms on how we look at this beautiful city of ours.” Burgess: “This campaign is about leadership … to fulfill the promise to our children … It’s about leadership to help fulfill the promise to future generations, to protect the environment, it’s our promise to you that we’ll fulfill that, that you’ll be able to get to work on time and back, live in a safe neighborhood, grow old and reflect on life here in our great city … unleash the power of innovation … and the quality of leadership in the mayor’s office that will restore your trust and confidence in city government.”
And at 8:04, moderator CR Douglas thanks the candidates and the legislative district organizations (including the West Seattle-headquartered 34th District Democrats) and it’s over, with mingling and handshaking following. We’ll be adding photos and our video of the entire forum once we’re back at HQ.
P.S. The candidates, as they were seated from left to right, each one’s name linked below to her/his campaign website if available:
That “cartoon” is what Metro Transit executives used to wrap up their briefing for the Seattle City Council this morning. “Cartoon” isn’t quite the right word; the prospect of more bus-service cuts is no laughing matter, as they warned – the briefing was basically the same one that Metro general manager Kevin Desmond gave to news media four weeks ago (WSB coverage here), with one extra twist: The Legislature has now adjourned without approving a transportation-funding package, and there’s no guarantee it’ll do so in the special session that is set to start May 13th. If they don’t, Desmond warned councilmembers, “we risk taking a giant step backward … the impacts will be very, very significant, (putting) up to 70 percent of current routes at risk.”
What the Legislature didn’t do, voters might, say supporters of criminal-background checks for gun sales – here’s their announcement of an initiative drive:
Dozens of interfaith and denominational faith leaders from throughout the state came together this morning and announced plans to pursue a 2014 initiative to the legislature requiring criminal background checks for firearm sales in Washington State. The legislature adjourned yesterday without passing similar legislation.
“Today we are announcing a statewide campaign to bring an initiative to the State Legislature calling for universal background checks,” said Reverend Paul G. Ryan of St. James Cathedral in Seattle. “Preventing gun violence is not only a political issue; it is a solemn moral obligation.”
If you’re still making up your mind in this year’s race for Seattle mayor – plenty of time, since the primary’s not until August – tomorrow’s your first chance to see all the candidates together. West Seattle’s 34th District Democrats say all Seattle mayoral candidates (listed on the right side of the city-elections page) are confirmed for the Super South Seattle Mayor’s Forum that they’re presenting Monday night with two other Democratic groups, first announced two months ago. Tomorrow night’s event is at the Georgetown campus (6737 Corson Ave. S.; here’s a map) of South Seattle Community College (WSB sponsor), starting with social time at 6 pm, and the forum at 6:30. (Want to send in a question in advance? You can do that here.)
(Photo courtesy ‘Keep King County Moving’ Coalition)
Following up on our Monday report about transportation-funding proposals approved by the House Transportation Committee, two notes:
First – as promised, the “Keep King County Moving” coalition of political and organizational leaders hit the road for Olympia this morning to urge approval of the package. Among them were two West Seattleites seen in the photo above – County Executive Dow Constantine and County Councilmember Joe McDermott.
Second – a little more information on part of the proposal that sparked some discussion among WSB commenters following our Monday story. It would include funding to “split” Metro RapidRide Lines C and D – which currently are really one line going between West Seattle and Ballard. We asked the King County Department of Transportation if any more details were available, and spokesperson Rochelle Ogershok replied today:
This is a proposal for capital improvements. It calls for $15 million to split the RapidRide C and D lines to improve reliability and provide additional direct service to growing job centers in the South Lake Union and SODO neighborhoods.
The approach under consideration would have the C Line running between West Seattle and South Lake Union. The D Line would operate between Ballard and SODO. There is no specific routing sketched out at this point – that is something we would want to work with businesses and the city on if this legislation passes. Also, this proposal does not include added service hours or bus terminal/transit center space in South Lake Union that would be required to support these changes so this concept would need to be part of a broader legislative package that includes sufficient operating revenues.
Delridge RapidRide, splitting RR lines C and D, 47th/Admiral safety, more in bills passed by State House Transportation CommitteeApril 22, 2013 at 2:23 pm | In Transportation, West Seattle news, West Seattle politics | 53 Comments
From Olympia: 34th District House Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon – who is on the House Transportation Committee – says the committee passed a package of transportation-funding bills today, and tells WSB he “was able to help amend the bill to add some projects of local significance.” Keep in mind, this isn’t anywhere near final approval, but right now, here’s some of what he says the bills now contain:
*$125,000 for safety improvements at the notorious 47th & Admiral intersection.
*$500,000 for safety improvements on the West Seattle Bridge bike trail
*$33 million for improvements to Metro Route 120
*$15 million to split RapidRide C and RapidRide D – this will significantly improve reliability on both routes and add a new bus connection between West Seattle and South Lake Union
*Authorization for King County to seek the full 1.5% motor vehicle excise tax for transit (60%) and local roads (40%), subject to voter approval. This will enable Metro to maintain current levels of service.
That last one is related to the dire dollar situation outlined by Metro Transit general manager Kevin Desmond at his media briefing three weeks ago (WSB coverage here). Regarding the biggest proposal on the list, Route 120 improvements, Rep. Fitzgibbon says the money is proposed to “leverage nearly completed speed and reliability enhancements supported by the State Regional Mobility Grant Program to serve a rapidly growing ridership base of over 8,000 daily riders. Implementing RapidRide in the corridor would provide additional enhancements such as real-time information and off-board fare payment. An investment of service hours would be required to get to frequency levels of 10 minutes or better in the high commute times and 15 minutes all day.” We’re still waiting for all the fine print on today’s action to appear online; the bills involved are HB 1954 and 1955, according to Rep. Fitzgibbon, who says their next stop is the Rules Committee.
ADDED 4:02 PM: A group of local politicians and advocates is planning to head to Olympia tomorrow morning to lobby for this to make it the rest of the way through the Legislature. They’re planning a 10:30 am media briefing; County Executive Dow Constantine and City Councilmember Sally Bagshaw are among them.
Thanks to 34th District Democrats webmaster Bill Schrier for the photo from Wednesday night’s meeting, during a presentation on the proposal for electing some Seattle City Councilmembers by district. At left is James Bush, a supporter; next to him, former Councilmember Jim Street, an opponent; at right, 34th member Susan Harmon asking a question. The group did not take a position on the proposal – its endorsement meeting is coming up in June. Schrier’s full recap of the meeting, including resolutions that were approved, is on the 34th DDs’ home page. His live Twitter stream, with quick updates as the meeting unfolded, can be seen here. Next month, on May 8th, the group plans a candidates’ forum for everything on the primary ballot except Seattle mayor, since the 34th is co-sponsoring an April 29th forum in Georgetown.
West Seattle resident Kendall Jones sends word from Olympia that he is reporting live today for his site Washington Beer Blog, as the Legislature looks at Gov. Inslee‘s proposal to raise education money by extending a tax on brewers, and applying it to small breweries as well as large ones. He says there are two West Seattle angles to this – one, tax opponents are asking 34th District Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon for help; two, one of the small breweries leading the fight in Olympia today is West Seattleite-owned Schooner Exact. You can read Kendall’s ongoing report here.
That projection of a future bioswale/raingarden-added Westwood/Sunrise Heights block comes from a slide deck that will be shown to the Seattle City Council‘s Transportation Committee next Tuesday morning (April 9). This “green stormwater infrastructure” plan to reduce combined-sewer overflows at the Barton Pump Station is a county project, but it’s happening in city-owned right-of-way, such as the planting strip in the rendering, so the committee will be asked to give “conceptual approval” to the project. Public comment is on the agenda before the meeting’s business/action items including this one; the meeting is at 9:30 am Tuesday (April 9) in City Council chambers at City Hall downtown.
P.S. The latest project update on the county website identifies 15 blocks for construction of 93 bioswales and 15 underground drains, with four more to be monitored for possible later addition. Most are in the north part of the project area:
Construction is scheduled to start next year.
As the question of what will happen to the encampment that calls itself “Nickelsville,” its residents, and the government-owned site it’s on comes to a head, the nonprofit that wants to build a new facility on the site is asking for public support. Food Lifeline has been waiting to hear from city leaders whether they will help facilitate the purchase and ensuing project, or not; Mayor McGinn‘s office told WSB last week that they expected a report from the city’s finance office by mid-April. Food Lifeline spokesperson Amy Lee Derenthal says this is the “call to action” they are circulating among those interested in supporting their proposal:
Help Food Lifeline secure their chosen piece of land for the Hunger Relief Center.
Your voice in support of Food Lifeline being able to secure its parcel of land is critical to expediting the procedure. Reach out to the Seattle City Council today and let them know that you want them to declare the 10-acre site on West Marginal Way in Seattle surplus, and sell the land to Food Lifeline. The City’s plan for the property is a future storage site. Please call or email the Seattle City Council in support of Food Lifeline today.
Here is sample language for you to use when you call or e-mail the Seattle City Council:
“Food Lifeline distributes millions of pounds of food each year to help end hunger in Western Washington. Help Food Lifeline secure their piece of land to build the Hunger Relief Center by expediting the procedure for land purchase. As my representative on the Seattle City Council, I urge you to declare the 10-acre site on West Marginal Way in Seattle surplus, and sell the land to Food Lifeline NOW.
Thank you for your support of Food Lifeline.
Your Name Here”
Contact information for the council, whether collectively or individually, for this issue or any other, is on this page.
‘Nickelsville’ updates: HPAC wants move-out date; encampment says ‘returning to stability’; Food Lifeline waitsMarch 28, 2013 at 3:27 pm | In 'Nickelsville' encampment, West Seattle news, West Seattle politics | 45 Comments
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
Three years ago, Highland Park Action Committee marked the end of a two-year fight against a proposal to build, in their neighborhood, a city jail that ultimately turned out to be – as they had pointed out all along – unnecessary.
In the fight’s first year, 2008, the proposed jail site on city- and state-owned property at West Marginal Way and Highland Park Way was briefly occupied by a homeless encampment calling itself Nickelsville, until then-Mayor Greg Nickels ordered it evicted.
For months, the encampment was not an issue for the Highland Park community. But now, after Nickelsville declared itself to be in dangerous straits, as reported here Sunday, they’re on the brink of marshaling for another intensive fight.
That was the upshot of last night’s HPAC meeting – from which we reported live via Twitter – and of a letter that HPAC has sent to city leadership. And there is another letter involved – this morning, we received one from Nickelsville’s “Central Committee,” with its side of an incident we reported in last Sunday’s story, as well as their declaration that things are improving.
More on the major new developments, ahead:
(With the mayor at 47th/Admiral, Alki Mail’s Don Wahl at left, Karl de Jong at center)
From transportation to development to education, Mayor McGinn‘s one-hour-plus visit to Admiral today, organized by the Admiral Neighborhood Association, touched on most of the hottest topics in town. No big promises, but during the finale of the visit, a sitdown conversation with attendees who had followed him to Alki Mail and Dispatch, he promised to take another look at the status of the longstanding request for a signal light right outside, at the 47th/Admiral intersection where Tatsuo Nakata was killed more than six years ago. Jerry Whiting from Jet City Orange video’d the group crossing the road:
The tour started on the California SW side of Admiral Safeway, with initial remarks by both the mayor and ANA president David Whiting as well as development discussions – including concerns about the proposed 400-foot-long apartment building at 3210 California SW, which goes to Design Review next month:
As you can hear Reynolds explaining to the mayor, the project has not made the draft cut for the Parks and Green Spaces Levy Opportunity Fund; the mayor suggested the next Parks Levy (being readied for 2014, according to what City Councilmember Sally Bagshaw told the Delridge District Council this week) might be worth aiming for.
The tour proceeded westbound through residential neighborhoods and made two stops – first, to talk about bikeability in the area, with ANA president Whiting yielding the floor to Don Brubeck of West Seattle Bike Connections formed after, as ANA’s Whiting prefaced, it was noted that West Seattleites hadn’t been providing much input for the revision of the city’s Bicycle Master Plan:
Not too far west of there, the group paused for another development topic – the changing face of neighborhoods, with old houses coming down, and big ones, sometimes more than one per lot, going up:
And then it was on to the 47th/Admiral intersection, where ANA has been trying to get a stoplight, but has been told both that it’s very low on the SDOT priority list – and that it should try for an SDOT grant. Toward the end of the subsequent roundtable discussion inside Alki Mail’s coffee-shop area, ANA past president Katy Walum (who helped lead a demonstration/tribute at the site in November 2011) eloquently made the case. You can hear her at 11:41 into this next clip, after other issues – starting with the recent cuts in bus service, and continuing with a question about West Seattle and light rail:
The conversation continued past the scheduled 2 pm cutoff, and as the mayor acknowledged, it could easily have run much longer, but he was past due at his second West Seattle stop of the afternoon, Southwest Pool (WSB coverage here).
Meantime, as the mayor (a former neighborhood-council leader) said more than once during the tour, getting involved with your neighborhood council is the best way to have a say in what’s happening and what’s being planned; if you live or work in the Admiral area, ANA meets the second Tuesday of each month, usually at 7 pm in the lower-level meeting room of Admiral Congregational Church (California/Hill).
At the Admiral Neighborhood Association‘s past few meetings, they’ve talked about plans to get Mayor McGinn to The Admiral District for a walking tour – and it’s finally set. This Saturday afternoon, a delegation including ANA president David Whiting plans to take him from Admiral Safeway to Alki Mail and Dispatch in the span of an hour or so, starting at 1 pm, with issues to be discussed including development and safety.
In recent months, City Council President Sally Clark and Councilmember Nick Licata have made the rounds of neighborhood meetings to talk about the proposed city zoning restrictions for marijuana growing/selling/etc. (Here’s our video of Clark’s briefing at the Southwest District Council last November.) Today, the city has announced 2 pm April 24 as a City Council committee’s public-hearing date for its proposals – here’s the notice that just arrived with the biweekly Land Use Information Bulletin. You can read the newest revision of the proposed ordinance (dated two days ago) by going here, and/or reading the summary here; one topline for potential West Seattle effects – it would limit marijuana business/growing activity in single-family and multi-family residential zones, and in Neighborhood Commercial 1 zones. The city also created an “informal” map earlier this year with an overlay of proposed city and state rules. Today’s hearing notice also explains how to comment in writing if you can’t be there in person.
Tonight, the first big Election 2013 event in West Seattle – King County Executive Dow Constantine‘s re-election campaign kickoff filled The Hall at Fauntleroy, where he kicked off his State House campaign 17 years ago. He was introduced by County Councilmembers Larry Gossett and Joe McDermott (Constantine starts speaking about 7 minutes into the video):
We’ll add a few more photos later. This year’s primary is August 6th, and the general election is November 5th.
ADDED: Some other sightings from the event – and what public records show about who’s running:
Just announced by the 34th District Democrats: They’re co-sponsoring the “Super South Seattle Mayor’s Forum” with their counterparts in the 11th and 37th Legislative Districts – a chance to hear from candidates in the Seattle mayor’s race, which has eight candidates at last count (all listed and linked on the right side of the city-elections page). Details to come, they promise, but for now, mark your calendar – and/or RSVP via the Facebook event page – for 6 pm Monday, April 29th, at the Georgetown campus of South Seattle Community College (WSB sponsor).
This summer, you might be asked to vote for a new King County Parks levy, if the County Council agrees with a recommendation from the County Executive. Here are details on the levy that the county says would cost you $64/year if you have a home worth $340,000:
Acting upon recommendations from a citizen task force, King County Executive Dow Constantine today sent the King County Council a proposed a six-year, $360 million Parks Levy for the August primary that would enable voters to replace two parks levies that will expire at the end of this year.
“This measure is essential to taking care of the extraordinary network of parks and trails our parents and grandparents have left us, and keeping them clean, safe and open,” said Executive Constantine.
“Preserving our last, best places has been a priority for this region for several decades,” he added. “This measure would help us protect areas nearly the size of Discovery Park every year for the next six years.”
If approved by voters, the measure would fund maintenance and operation of King County’s 200 parks, 175 miles of regional trails, and 26,000 acres of open space. It would also:
Four years ago, our area’s State Sen. Sharon Nelson (D-Maury Island) was hailed for successfully pushing payday-lending reform. Today, she issued a statement warning that a new bill, SB 5312, passed by the Senate, could bring back that type of high-interest loan:
The new payday-lending scheme that passed off the Senate floor today will ensure that middle class families and military personnel can once again be trapped in a spiral of debt.
In 2009, we passed payday lending reform. It put safeguards on a predatory lending product, allowing borrowers to make reasonable payments and not end up buried in high-interest loans.
But the payday industry is back, marketing this new consumer installment loan as having a ‘36 percent interest rate.’ In reality, these loans include massive fees and penalties that take the rate as high as 220 percent. As a former banker, I’m confident that if a money lender can’t make a profit at 45 percent interest, as allowed in existing law, they have a failed business model.
As a legislator, I am shocked that a majority of my colleagues in the Senate voted to sidestep effective protections for Washington families and instead put high-interest lenders back in charge of people’s lives.
(TOPLINE: Public discussion promised – starting with Alki Community Council board meeting Thursday night; scroll to end of story)
2:05 PM: We’re at City Hall for the City Council’s Public Safety, Civil Rights, and Technology Committee briefing/discussion on the Seattle Police surveillance-camera/”wireless mesh” network first brought to light here three weeks ago (archived coverage here). In advance of the meeting, which is about to begin, two documents were added to the agenda today, one including more background detail on the federal-grant-funded $5 million project. Here’s here’s the background document; here’s the PowerPoint intended to illustrate a few of its points. The meeting is just getting under way. You can watch live here – or here:
(Editor’s note: The archived video from the meeting is now embedded above)
First – public comment. First up: A woman who says she wants to share “lessons we have learned” using security cameras in the International District. She says that the cameras installed there (part of a private network) have helped bolster safety and security in the area and provided evidence that will stand up in court. She says they only show the street in front of whatever building they’re installed at. The second speaker says she is a former Alki resident now living on Magnolia, and she is concerned about terrorist attacks via water. She is in favor of 24/7 surveillance and thinks “it’s a miracle” there hasn’t been a terrorist attack yet.
Third speaker from Stand Up America says that he is concerned about terrorists – “the terrorists sitting at (the council) table.” He accuses the government of terrorism and “ridiculous behavior.” He adds, basically shouting, “You guys are eroding our civil rights … don’t stand against the people, stand up for the people.” Councilmember Harrell has accused him of a “showboating tactic” after the speaker called him “a criminal.” Fourth speaker also has a red “Stand Up America” sign and identifies himself as an immigrant from the former Soviet Union who also is concerned about government oppression.
Fifth speaker – Jennifer Shaw, deputy director of the ACLU, which has already asked the city to reconsider these cameras, and makes it clear their concern is government surveillance – “government keeping track of the movements of individuals throughout our city.” She says the recent drone controversy was evidence that people in Seattle are not happy about having surveillance “thrust on them.” She refers to the fact that a city official (as noted in our early coverage) has been quoted as saying this is a potential step toward a citywide camera network, not just focused on waterways. Sixth speaker is Will Washington, who identifies himself as a Beach Drive resident. “This is a big issue for us,” he says, referring to conversations with neighbors in the Constellation Park area, where one of the cameras is installed. He says everyone is bothered by “the fact this was never brought to our attention … we never had a discussion about this.” He says the sentiment is that it’s a symptom of a growing “police state.” Seventh speaker says she is concerned about “be(ing) fearful of who I’m being watched by” as she is out walking her dog on Alki. She says she speaks for a friend who couldn’t be here but isn’t happy about being watched either. She says that if the cameras “were only meant for port security, they would only be facing the port.” She doesn’t want to feel like she’s being watched by somebody “for some reason or another … every time I walk out of my house.”
Eighth speaker is another Alki beachfront resident who says he lives just down the street from some of the cameras. He wants to talk about history. “Coming from a law enforcement family, I’m disappointed that a choice was made to purchase this technology that breeds complacency on the job.” He says this is the first time he’s spoken at a Council meeting. Ninth speaker is John Loftis, a former vice chair of the Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission, and 20-year Alki resident. “It is not a high-crime area … One of the main reasons for this is that Alki is flanked by a high-density residential neighborhood. Most of us seldom close our blinds … and represent hundreds of sets of eyes at any one time.” He says that’s a very effective type of surveillance and “don’t need this type of camera to monitor the beach.” He thinks someone should be embarrassed that one of the cameras is across the street from a popular volleyball and sunbathing spot, and calls it Bikini Cam. “One of these women might have a bomb in her bikini top, I guess.” He says he just hopes his wife does not become “Miss Torso” to someone who can point and zoom the camera.
Tenth speaker is a woman who says she doesn’t want to be seen on camera because she doesn’t want the government “all in my business. … I’m calling you out because you’re wrong.” She says “I came down here to say you’re out of control.”
At 2:32 pm, the briefing begins as SPD and others introduce themselves. Councilmembers sit at a smaller table during committee meetings. Harrell and O’Brien still are the only members here. Councilmember Licata has not arrived (he is due at an unrelated West Seattle meeting tonight, though).
**EDITOR’S NOTE, POST MEETING – IF YOU ARE READING THIS FROM THE HOME PAGE TO GET THE REST OF OUR AS-IT-HAPPENED COVERAGE AT THIS LINK: Click to read the rest of As-it-happened: Surveillance-camera briefing at City Hall; West Seattle meeting(s) ahead…
(Video from today’s council discussion)
Bottom line to today’s Seattle City Council briefing on possible annexations: While they’re planning to continue to pursue annexing two areas around South Park, now collectively known as “Sliver-Q,” council staffers suggest that even talking about the status of North Highline “Area Y” – including White Center – be put on hold till all that is settled, no sooner than late 2013. Just because Area Y said no to Burien doesn’t mean an automatic “yes” for Seattle, the councilmembers were reminded. Details are on our partner site White Center Now.
That’s one of two maps accompanying the last item on tomorrow morning’s Seattle City Council briefing agenda (9 am, City Hall downtown) – an update on possible annexations, as first reported on partner site White Center Now last week. Seattle leaders have a lot to talk about, since White Center and vicinity (“Area Y” on the map above) voters said no to Burien last November, and the Boundary Review Board rejected a bid for the Duwamish Triangle to be annexed by Tukwila. While it’s expected our city will pursue the Duwamish Triangle and the South Park “sliver by the river,” White Center and vicinity remains a wild card – the city has long had dibs on it but elected officials have repeatedly declared annexation unaffordable, and allowed Burien to pursue it first. There’s still an enticement dangling, but not for long – sales-tax credit to offset the cost of annexation, if it’s in the works by the start of 2015. Will the city pursue big, or small, or not at all? If you can’t be there tomorrow (note that it’s not a vote, just a briefing), you can watch live at 9 am via Seattle Channel (on-air or online).
(AMA photo from last night: Rep. Cody with (at left) Terry Moran of ABC News and AMA Board Chair Steven J. Stack, M.D.)
Congratulations to longtime State Rep. Eileen Cody of West Seattle, who chairs the State House committee overseeing health-care issues and is a nurse by profession – she just received a major award. Here’s the announcement:
The American Medical Association (AMA) honored Washington state Rep. Eileen Cody with the Dr. Nathan Davis Award for Outstanding Government Service, its top award for government service in health care. Rep. Cody was honored with the award last night at the AMA’s National Advocacy Conference in Washington, D.C.
“Rep. Cody has led efforts toward improving health care access for low income individuals and transforming mental health services in Washington state,” said AMA Board Chair Steven J. Stack, M.D. “Her dedication to public health has also earned the state national recognition for its long term health care services and support system.”
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