West Seattle, Washington
While overall voter turnout wasn’t so great, there were some positive numbers associated with this month’s primary election – including the number of voters using the new permanent ballot dropbox by the High Point Library. A King County Council committee got a briefing from KC Elections today on how the new dropboxes – this was one of 19 in the county – did; here’s the resulting news release:
…Nearly 36 percent of voters (more than 160,000 voters) cast their primary ballots via drop boxes. This is a substantial increase compared to the 2015 general election, in which 26 percent of ballots were returned via drop boxes. This year, over 100,000 primary ballots were returned to drop boxes on Election Day, 20,000 more than any previous Election Day total….
…In December 2015, the King County Council passed a motion asking King County Elections to develop a plan to improve access and convenience of ballot drop-off locations throughout King County. A primary aim of the motion was to lower barriers to voting. The Elections Division’s plan, which was approved by the Council on May 2nd, 2016, adds 33 additional ballot drop-off locations in King County for a total of 43 locations.
For the August primary election, a total of 29 ballot drop box locations were ready for voters. The remaining locations will be open in time for this fall’s general election. Once the plan is completed later this year, more than 90 percent of King County residents will live within three miles of a ballot drop box.
Among the most used new locations are the Lake City Library, University of Washington – Schmitz Hall, and High Point Library drop boxes, all located in areas that scored highest in the evaluation for key equity demographic characteristics. Scores were based on an Equity and Social Justice metric that considered a combination of diversity, household income, and English proficiency. Strong return rates at these locations signal progress for King County’s ongoing efforts to lower barriers to voting and strengthen the ability for all citizens to exercise the right to vote.
We followed up to get the West Seattle-specific numbers: 5,548 ballots were turned in via the High Point drop box for this year’s primary. King County Elections spokesperson Nancy Standifer tells WSB more than 4,300 of them were dropped off on Election Day (August 2nd). While it’s not an apples-to-apples comparison given that ballot vans only were sent over for a few days and limited hours each election, we asked for those numbers: August of 2015, 1,725 ballots at the West Seattle Stadium dropoff van; August of 2016 (two days) at the HP Library dropbox, 4,912 ballots.
Just in from City Hall – while it’s not West Seattle-specific, it deals with a citywide challenge, so we thought you might be interested. Mayor Murray has just filled the announced-last-April cabinet-level position of “director of homelessness.” The news release:
Mayor Ed Murray today announced that George Scarola will serve as the City’s first ever cabinet-level director of homelessness. Scarola will be responsible for leading the City’s homelessness efforts across departments, providing oversight and evaluation of outcomes, strategic guidance, and leading community engagement.
“Homelessness is a national epidemic, leaving cities like Seattle stepping in to fill the large gaps left behind by state and federal agencies,” said Mayor Murray, “We have made unprecedented investments in homelessness prevention and services. Because of the growing scope of work around homelessness, Seattle needs a proven manager to ensure we are achieving our desired outcomes. I have known George for many years, working alongside him in Seattle and Olympia, and know him as a unifying leader that excels at creating successful results through community engagement.”
Scarola is an experienced public affairs and community relations manager having led advocacy organizations in Seattle and Olympia for over 25 years.
A tumultuous City Council meeting this afternoon (Seattle Channel video added above) included a passionate packed house at City Hall opposing the proposed Seattle Police North Precinct project, currently proposed at $149 million, $61 million over a previous estimate (page 10, here), nicknamed “The Bunker” by those who want it scrapped. The council didn’t kill it, but didn’t give it final approval, either. Earlier in the day, this and other recent overbudget and/or behind-schedule projects led our area’s Councilmember Lisa Herbold and one a colleague to propose a new oversight committee. Here’s their announcement:
Councilmembers Rob Johnson and Lisa Herbold called for creation of a special Council committee to oversee City-funded capital projects following recent capital expenditures that exceeded initial budgets, including the North Precinct Police Station, the downtown waterfront Seawall, and the New Customer Information System which handles billing issues at the City’s utility departments.
Councilmember Lisa Herbold (District 1, West Seattle & South Park) said, “It’s been frustrating when large projects go millions over budget, or are years behind schedule – such as Fire Station #32 in the West Seattle Junction. In creating this committee, Councilmembers can more closely monitor large projects, so we’re not faced with no-win options when presented with updates late in the process.”
The Council Capital Projects Oversight Committee would share characteristics with capital oversight best practices, such as the Sound Transit Capital Committee oversight process, which creates a series of systematic check-ins as projects progress, both through planning and construction. The Council committee’s oversight work would establish a baseline level of transparency to help ensure City capital projects remain on budget and the public remains informed along the way.
Councilmember Rob Johnson (District 4, Northeast Seattle) said, “‘Transparency’ should be the name of the game as we develop our capital facilities. As Sound Transit develops their projects, staff seeks Board authorization at eight points throughout the process, including for preliminary engineering, final design, and baseline budget, which includes total project costs and construction. As a Seattle City Councilmember, I expect the public to hold me accountable for delivering our capital projects on time and within budget, but we need the tools necessary for proper oversight. If City facilities are projected to run over-budget, the Council should have plenty of lead time to develop alternatives or contingencies.”
The Council receives annual reports on all City capital investments, but they can be of limited utility because of the volume of information provided. A Council Capital Projects Oversight Committee would likely identify characteristics of projects they wanted to review, including large projects or projects that are at least 10% over initial budgets.
Councilmembers will work with their colleagues to develop oversight committee legislation for introduction at a later date.
Herbold’s comment refers to the new West Seattle fire station that, as we first reported last fall, is running more than 9 years behind the original schedule. Construction of the new Fire Station 32 in The Junction finally began with demolition four months ago; the original estimate, with the 2003 fire levy that funded it, was for a 2007 completion – now, it’ll be 2017.
If you are a renter – or own rental property – you’ll want to know about new rules passed by the City Council today. They were sponsored by our area’s City Councilmember Lisa Herbold. Read the related documents; here’s the announcement:
Council unanimously adopted comprehensive tenant protection legislation today. Currently it is illegal to discriminate against a prospective renter whose primary source of income is a Section 8 voucher. The legislation adopted today expands that legal protection to include people who receive alternate sources of income such as a pension, Social Security, unemployment, child support or any other governmental or non-profit subsidy. It also creates a new First- come, First-served screening process that will seek to help address discrimination in housing across all protected classes.
According to the Seattle’s Renting Crisis Report from the Washington Community Action Network, “48% of individuals who pay for rent with Social Security Disability Insurance or Social Security retirement income said that discrimination prevents them from having successful rental applications.”
Councilmember Lisa Herbold (District 1, West Seattle & South Park), the legislation’s sponsor said, “When the Seattle Office for Civil Rights conducted secret shopper fair housing testing relating to applicants who applied for housing using Section 8 vouchers, 63% of applicants were shown different treatment, which is already illegal. Today we’re expanding those protections, and I expect this new law will have positive impacts for renters.”
The legislation adopted today is aimed at making the housing application process more objective as a tool to mitigate unconscious bias and ensure the city investments in addressing our affordable housing crisis and homeless crisis are effective.
The source of income discrimination proposal was developed following recommendations from the Mayor’s Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda task force. Council further amended the proposal to provide further protections:
After the third day of primary-election vote-counting, King County Council chair Joe McDermott of West Seattle has conceded in the race for second place in the 7th Congressional District. State Rep. Brady Piñero Walkinshaw of Capitol Hill widened his lead over McDermott, though both remained far behind State Sen. Pramila Jayapal of Columbia City.
Pramila Jayapal 68,337 41.31%
Brady Piñero Walkinshaw 35,134 21.24%
Joe McDermott 32,556 19.68%
McDermott was in second place on Election Night, but was 1,000+ votes behind by last night, and the margin doubled today. His statement included:
…I remain confident and hopeful that real work can be done on the important issues we’ve led on during this race – campaign finance reform including overturning Citizens United, and tackling the public health epidemic that is gun violence in our country. I remain just as passionate about these issues moving forward as I was in 2008 when passing statewide campaign finance reform, in 2013 when we declared gun violence a public health crisis in King County, and over the past seven months of this hard fought campaign. …
McDermott has three more years in his second full term on the King County Council, representing the 8th District, which stretches from West Seattle to Burien and Tukwila, and to Vashon and Maury Islands.
Today’s updated vote count is in from the 7th Congressional District (which includes parts of King and Snohomish Counties). The top two candidates will advance to the November general election; while West Seattle’s Joe McDermott was in second place on election night, this is his second day in third place:
Pramila Jayapal 55,001 40.02%
Brady Piñero Walkinshaw 29,334 21.34%
Joe McDermott 28,112 20.45%
King County has released its second ballot count of the primary. The headline is in the race for second place in the U.S. House 7th District primary, to see who will advance to the November general election against Pramila Jayapal. Last night, West Seattleite Joe McDermott was in second, Brady Piñero Walkinshaw in third; tonight, it’s the other way round.
Jayapal 44,540 39.06%
Walkinshaw 24,285 21.29%
McDermott 23,798 20.87%
Most of the district is in King County, with a small slice of Snohomish County, so the official results are on the Secretary of State‘s website. Hundreds of thousands of ballots are still out, and the results won’t be certified until August 16th.
FIRST REPORT, 8:16 PM: From the Election Night vote count – just the first count, but the only one we’ll get tonight.
Congress District 7 – Pramila Jayapal leads with 38%, and the race to see who also goes into the general is close – Joe McDermott 21.5%, Brady Piñero Walkinshaw 20.9%. (All three are Democrats. See below for our side note on this race.)
Seattle Housing Levy – winning, 68% yes to 32% no.
Seattle Initiative 123 (elevated waterfront park) – 81% no, 19% yes
All the King County results are here.
Statewide results are here. Among the key primary races (note that these may change tonight depending on what various counties’ tallying policies are, and we’ll continue to update them):
Governor (updated 11:13 pm) – Democrat incumbent Jay Inslee 48.6%, Republican Bill Bryant 38.1%
Lt. Governor (updated 11:13 pm) – the leaders so far are Republican Marty McClendon at 20.3% and Democrat Cyrus Habib at 19.6%.
ADDED 9:36 PM: Again, the statewide races will change; the ones that are King County-only won’t. The link in each statewide race will take you to the most-recent results; we’ll be checking at least every half-hour until the early morning. Here are a few more, starting with two races without incumbents:
State Superintendent of Public Instruction (updated 11:13 pm) – Erin Jones 22.8%, Chris Reykdal 20.6%
State Commissioner of Public Lands (updated 11:13 pm) – Steve McLaughlin (R) 39.1%, Hilary Franz (D) 20.8%
And this one does have an incumbent:
Secretary of State (updated 11:13 pm) – Kim Wyman* (R) 48.5%, Tina Podlodowski (D) 45.7%
ADDED 11:17 PM: Only one election night party in West Seattle – Joe McDermott, at Alki Huddle. We stopped by after cutting our Night Out coverage a bit short to stop at the event. He was juggling a variety of interview requests, including ours – we talked with him briefly on video outside the bar:
A small section of the 7th District is in Snohomish County. The final results won’t be certified until two weeks from tonight; we’ll watch this race daily until it’s settled.
Thanks to Ken Gollersrud at the High Point Library for the photo reminding us all that West Seattle’s new permanent King County Elections dropbox awaits your ballot – cutoff time for your primary vote is tomorrow (Tuesday, August 2nd) at 8 pm. You can mail it, too, but that’ll cost you a stamp; using the dropbox is free.
You also will narrow the fields for the 7th Congressional District seat, as well as U.S. Senate, Governor, Lt. Governor, and other statewide offices, plus races for State Supreme Court and King County Superior Court, and one 34th District State House seat.
The dropbox is just north of the library, along SW Raymond east of 35th SW [map].
Story, photos, and video by Tracy Record and Patrick Sand
West Seattle Blog co-publishers
Though cleanups preceding Monday night’s Find It, Fix It Community Walk in Westwood/Roxhill left less of the area’s rawest problems to be “found,” it wasn’t all pre-sanitized.
The top photo is from a peek into an overgrown lot just off Trenton, northeast of Westwood Village, passed by the 120=plus walkers between official stops; the previous stop had been nearby, at a spot where a resident took the microphone and talked about a “recycling” bin that seemed to be a dumping magnet.
Another unofficial stop was a home on 24th with signs meant to catch the procession’s eyes – asking for speed bumps and police reform.
The department heads in whose purview those lay – SDOT’s Scott Kubly and SPD Chief Kathleen O’Toole – both stopped for a look, though not a chat, so far as we saw.
A few minutes earlier, we talked to the people in the yard, who said that regarding the speed bumps, their street is a popular cut-through, and somebody who zoomed through recently not only almost took out young siblings, but actually, they say, flipped off the kids before continuing on their way.
Also unplanned: A question about long-promised improvements that hadn’t materialized along Barton, after an SDOT employee promised some community-requested improvements are on the way to the crossing by the RapidRide stop and Longfellow Creek,
But let’s get back to how it all started. Community members and city staffers gathered in and around Longfellow Creek P-Patch, east of Chief Sealth International High School, awaiting Mayor Ed Murray:
Once he arrived, it was showtime: Read More
We counted at least 130 people at the start of West Seattle’s second Find It, Fix It Community Walk. It wrapped up in Roxhill Park just after 8 pm. While it was certainly planned, it wasn’t staged, and there were some raw moments, including resident Ami standing at the bottom of a problem-plagued stairway at 22nd and Henderson, playing a video by a former neighbor (see it here) who moved away, saying she couldn’t take the threats and trouble any more but begging the mayor to help those still there.
Lots of photos and video – and the commitments we heard – to come, in our second report.
On Saturday, Mayor Ed Murray walked in the West Seattle Grand Parade. Tomorrow night, the mayor will be back in West Seattle for this area’s second Find It, Fix It Community Walk – the first one was last October in Delridge (WSB coverage here). The route is already planned, after several weeks of community discussions – as previewed here last week – but that doesn’t mean everything is scripted, so come along and join not only the mayor but some of his department heads, and see where the conversation goes. The walk starts at 6:30 pm from Longfellow Creek P-Patch on SW Thistle east of Chief Sealth International High School and will proceed through Westwood, to end at Roxhill Park:
You can arrive at the P-Patch as early as 6 pm for pre-walk refreshments and mingling.
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
“Light rail is coming to West Seattle.”
That’s how King County Executive and Sound Transit board chair Dow Constantine opened his speech to the West Seattle Chamber of Commerce Thursday afternoon – his second pitch in the area in less than 24 hours for the transit megameasure known as ST3. He proclaimed it even more jubilantly in his first one, talking to the 34th District Democrats Wednesday night, as you can see and hear in our video:
Shortly after Constantine’s speech, the 34th DDs endorsed ST3 (as reported here earlier). His appearance before the Chamber – which did not involve an endorsement vote – was longer, and more educational; Constantine called it the “transit planner” or “nerd” version of the speech, rather than the “campaign” or “stemwinder” version.
The vote is still three-plus months away; ballots for the August primary hadn’t even arrived yet as he stood before the two local groups talking about ST3, which won’t be decided until November. But with an 11-digit price tag, this is no ordinary ballot measure. And supporters are pulling out the stops to avoid what happened with Sound Transit 2, a defeat, rewrite, and revote.
One day after Mayor Ed Murray announced that he plans to cut city support for neighborhood-district councils and come up with a different way of “engaging” neighborhoods, reaction continues to churn. As one of our followups, we asked our area’s City Councilmember Lisa Herbold for comment. Her reply ties into the other big mayoral announcement made two hours later – that the city will keep the Myers Way Parcels – which also cut short what was expected to be a longer process of discussion and decisionmaking.
The fact that this announcement came on the same day as the Myers Way announcement was interesting. The Myers Way decision is evidence that when Councilmembers, geographically-based neighborhood groups, and citywide issue-based groups all work collaboratively and effectively, we can potentially address items on our shared agenda. We have about 70 Boards and Commissions that are not geographically-based and are either subject matter based or demographically based – they are all appointments made by the Mayor and Council. We have 13 geographically-based, self-selected councils. Surely we have room for both.
One person writing to the Council said, when you look around your holiday dinner table and realize that you have the same people at the table every year, you don’t disinvite them, you invite more people. I like that analogy. The 2009 audit (attached) had numerous recommendations that had they been implemented any time up to now would have us in a very different conversation. I don’t believe that there is anything inherently undemocratic in a District Council system and that – in addition to identifying and implementing brand new methods of engagement – the improvements to our current system in diversity and representation could have instead been addressed by:
a. creating new expectations/metrics for outreach, membership, and involvement
b. city support to District Councils so that they can meet these new articulated expectations
c. consequences for failure to meet these expectations
Whether City Councilmembers plan to challenge the mayor’s plan remains to be seen; it will include legislation for them to consider, regarding formally cutting off city support for district councils (which are NOT the same as City Council districts, as explained in our story from yesterday, nor are they neighborhood-level community councils). The Myers Way Parcels work mentioned by Councilmember Herbold had included groups such as the North Highline Unincorporated Area Council, White Center Community Development Association, Highland Park Action Committee, Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council, Seattle Green Spaces Coalition, TreePAC, and others.
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
34TH ENDORSES ST3: The group voted to endorse the Sound Transit 3 ballot measure, shortly after the chair of the Sound Transit board, County Executive Dow Constantine, got up and told the 34th DDs that he never thought he’d be standing before the group and able to say, “Light rail is coming to West Seattle.” He gave a short, raucous speech – including his note as a UW alum that light rail would mean a ride to Husky Stadium – urging the group to give it their support. Constantine is scheduled to talk about ST3 at this afternoon’s lunch meeting of the West Seattle Chamber of Commerce, and we’ll include his 34th DDs speech in that report.
MAYOR MURRAY: We recorded his entire appearance on video:
He started by saying he wants to keep his speech short, so he can answer more questions. But first – “the events of last week – in Minnesota, in Louisiana, in Dallas. … This is a pivotal moment in our history as a country. The unfinished business of racism is once again at the forefront of our discussion, and it’s a good thing if we are able to engage in that discussion.” He recapped local communities with whom he spoke in the past week – both “communities of color” and the “police community,” both experiencing pain and fear. He talked about his plans to change the Office of Police Accountability and auditor positions, which recently made citywide headlines. But, he warned, “We did not get here overnight and we are not going to get out of this overnight.” And he warned that this all must be dealt with in the context of the other issues with which police deal, including domestic violence and sexual assault. And the fact “there are bad police officers, the same way there are bad politicians.”
Next, he acknowledges “the growing homelessness crisis in this country,” and says other cities are dealing with it too, not just Seattle.
(Added 8 pm, WSB video of this afternoon’s announcement, including Q&A, where we’d embedded Seattle Channel live stream during event)
2:30 PM: We’re at City Hall downtown, where Mayor Ed Murray is about “to announce the formation of the Community Involvement Commission, which will replace the District Council system,” per the media advisory sent about this time yesterday. The live Seattle Channel stream should appear above, once the event begins, if you hit “play.”
QUICK PRIMER: For the purpose of interaction between city government and neighborhoods, Seattle was split into 13 “districts” more than a quarter century ago.
West Seattle has two – western WS comprises most of the Southwest District, while most of eastern West Seattle is in the Delridge Neighborhoods District. They, and the other 11, each have a “district council” made up of representatives from community councils and other organizations in their respective areas. District councils usually meet monthly; each of their member groups/organizations decides who to send as a representative. They are informal advisory councils, without governmental powers, without stipends or salaries; the city has supported them with neighborhood district coordinators, whose numbers have been reduced in the past five years.
When the City Council switched last year to being elected mostly by district – seven districts whose boundaries had nothing to do with the 13 pre-existing neighborhood districts – they issued a “statement of legislative intent” asking the Department of Neighborhoods to evaluate the neighborhood-district system and whether the community involvement might be realigned with the council districts.
The draft report on that review came out in May; the final report was expected at the end of this week – and suddenly, the mayor announced he was going to make a move.
2:36 PM: The mayor has entered the room. He says, “We should constantly be looking for ways to bring down barriers and open up dialogue. Our city has changed dramatically … since the district councils were created. We communicated by picking up a phone or putting a letter in the mail.”
He says communities have been created in the years since then. Going to an evening meeting doesn’t work for many people, he says. “The executive order I’m about to sign directs city departments to begin developing robust community engagement plans, and take steps toward dissolving the city’s ties to each of the 13 district councils. The district councils may still exist, but Department of Neighborhoods resources that previously supported the district councils will be redirected to support all City departments in these efforts.”
The mayor says the city will be “more in touch with itself” once a number of steps are completed – civic engagement focus groups in August, and Department of Neighborhoods drafting “legislation for a new citywide community engagement framework and strategic plan” by September 26th. A “digital engagement plan” will have to be submitted by March 1st, with the city’s IT department working on that along with Department of Neighborhoods.
We asked the mayor how much of a budget cut would result – he said there will be no budget cut resulting, “the money will stay in the neighborhoods.” He says the spending had to change, though, to evolve to being offered to a “more diverse group of people” per the city’s race and social justice policies.
Kathy Nyland (at left in photo above) of the Department of Neighborhoods says the current eight district coordinators will keep their jobs – the descriptions will be updated, and hasn’t been updated in 15 years.
The mayor also says the timing of this – as we mentioned in the “primer” above, sooner than expected – does not have anything to do with an upcoming possible “backlash against HALA,” as one reporter asked.
We asked who the people in the front of the room are, besides the University District renter and Ingraham High School student who have spoken. Evan Clifthorne from Belltown came up and spoke. DoN director Nyland then explains more, saying she has a “file of complaints” about existing community councils, and the people who were invited are those who” were in that file.
2:55 PM: In the FAQs, one question is “Will the District Councils and City Neighborhood Council be disbanded?” The answer is no – but “the level of staff support that is provided” is what this is about. They “can continue to participate/advocate/inform as they do now even if not formally supported by City. They don’t need to be formally recognized by statute to exist or to be valued.”
We ask about Neighborhood Matching Funds and how this will affect those. The mayor says basically, what will change is who decides who gets that money. (District councils have had some review responsibilities.)
Nyland says that the Statement of Legislative Intent final report IS still coming out on Friday – the mayor says he hasn’t seen it, but “doesn’t think these things will be in conflict with each other.”
And with that, the event is over. We never did hear who the rest of the people behind the mayor were. The news release isn’t online yet so far as we can tell, but another line of interest – #3 of the 5 action steps:
The Department of Neighborhoods, in partnership with the Seattle Office of Civil Rights and the City Budget Office will draft a resolution for City Council consideration detailing the community outreach and engagement principles and ending the City’s official ties to District Councils and the City Neighborhood Council.
So the city council does have a role in this, regarding whether the city formally breaks its ties with the DCs and CNC.
3:27 PM: We’re heading back to West Seattle now, and will add either the city’s archived video of the event or ours, whichever is ready first. Meantime, the “Community Involvement Commission” touted in the announcement of today’s event did not get much discussion; the printed materials say it will be created by January 2017, but that “details regarding the commission have not been worked out.”
Two West Seattle neighborhood advocates were here to observe, Cindi Barker from the Morgan Community Association – a veteran of many city-appointed committees and commissions – and David Whiting from the Admiral Neighborhood Association, current co-chair of the Southwest District Council. We talked with them briefly afterward; Barker said she was puzzled about why this wasn’t presented by the mayor and council with a unified front, since the latter was already engaged in a process of reviewing the district-council system. Whiting said the statement that the district councils could continue to exist really wouldn’t mean much without any city support.
P.S. If you have a question for the mayor about this or something else – reminder, he’s due at the 34th District Democrats‘ meeting tonight at The Hall at Fauntleroy (9131 California SW), around 8 pm (the meeting starts at 7).
Ballots for the August 2nd election go out next week, and Seattle voters will be asked to decide two ballot measures, both of which will be discussed at tomorrow night’s Southwest District Council meeting. As described on the King County Elections website, Proposition 1 replaces the expiring current city levy “to fund: housing for low-income seniors, workers, and households, and the disabled and mentally ill; and homelessness prevention and reduction programs, including emergency rental assistance for at-risk families.” Initiative 123 “would establish a public development authority to build and operate an elevated park and other amenities along the waterfront integrating one block of the existing Alaskan Way Viaduct into the design.” Tomorrow’s SWDC agenda says two speakers are scheduled for the Housing Levy, but that anti-levy speakers were “unavailable for the meeting”; for I-123, one pro speaker and one con speaker are scheduled. The meeting is at 6:30 pm Wednesday at the Sisson Building/Senior Center in The Junction, California/Oregon).
2:27 PM: One day after President Obama‘s departure, one of his predecessors paid a much-lower-key visit to Seattle – including a stop here in West Seattle. Thanks to Jerry for the tip on this one. He was walking his dog in Fauntleroy when, he said, he saw some unusual vehicle activity and he swore he saw President Bill Clinton in the back seat of one of the vehicles – he waved, and the man waved back. We just did a bit of searching; nothing in citywide media, but then we found first a Politico story mentioning the former President was fundraising in Seattle today – no specifics – and then these photos posted on Facebook by King County Councilmember Jeanne Kohl-Welles as proof. The hosts mentioned in that post are the owners of the historic Laurentide estate in Fauntleroy.
5:29 PM: Found a page for this on the Hillary Clinton campaign website, where contribution levels for this event were listed as ranging from $1,000 to $27,000+.
— Nathalie Wargo (@nathaliewargo) June 23, 2016
Thanks to Nathalie Wargo at High Point Library for tweeting the photo – King County Elections‘ permanent ballot dropbox has arrived! Earlier this year, the county committed to restoring dropboxes in areas including West Seattle, where the last one was removed more than five years ago. For the past few years, ballot vans had been brought here for a few days before each voting deadline, but otherwise, using postal mail was required, which required stamps; county dropboxes don’t. So when your ballot arrives for the August primary, you’ll be able to drop it off at High Point Library (35th and Raymond) if you don’t want to use the U.S. Mail.
A reader just e-mailed a reminder that tomorrow is the City Council hearing about the proposal to regulate short-term rentals. The reader included a link to the following video by another West Seattleite concerned about the proposal – she says enforcement of an existing city rule shut down her AirBnB:
It’s been almost two weeks since we published the city’s announcement of the proposal to limit how many days a year some units could be rented out via tech platforms such as AirBnB and VRBO. Another West Seattleite, Rhonda Porter, has said she plans to comment tomorrow too; she and her husband have a Beach Drive bungalow that’s available as a vacation rental. She wrote in the discussion section on our June 1st story that “90 days is not enough time to break even on a vacation rental” – that’s the proposed limit for some rentals. Tomorrow’s hearing is at City Hall downtown, 9:30 am, before the Affordable Housing, Neighborhoods, and Finance Committee.
Three weeks ago, we reported on the call for 11-to-25-year-olds to vote in the Youth Voice, Youth Choice “participatory budgeting” process – with $700,000 in city money to be spent on the winning projects, themselves the result of a series of discussions around the city.
3,065 people voted, the city says, and here are the results, as announced in a city news release. (We added the descriptions, dollar amounts, and locations as listed on the “sample ballot,” where you can also see the projects that didn’t make the cut.)
· Houses for People Experiencing Homelessness – Youth collaborate with carpenters to build 10 tiny homes for people experiencing homelessness.
Estimated Cost: $128,500
· Youth Homeless Shelter Improvements – Physical improvements for a youth homeless shelter such as installing lockers, washers and dryers, and new paint.
Estimated Cost: $42,000
Location: Central, North Seattle
· Job Readiness Workshops for Homeless Youth – A term-limited expansion of existing services for youth experiencing homelessness focusing on job readiness.
Estimated Cost: $43,600
· Homeless Children and Youth Liaison Services – A term-limited expansion for school liaison services connecting youth experiencing homelessness to needed resources.
Estimated Cost: $70,400
· Wi-Fi Hotspot Checkout – A term-limited expansion of the Seattle Public Library’s checkout system to include more Wi-Fi hotspots, which increase internet access.
Estimated Cost: $165,000
· Park Bathroom Upgrades – Creating a map of public bathrooms in the city and implementing improvements at 1-2 bathrooms in parks in most need of repair.
Estimated Cost: $205,000
Location: South, West Seattle
· Safe Routes to Schools – Improve crosswalks in areas near schools to create safer routes to school for students.
Estimated Cost: $145,000
Location: South, West Seattle
The announcement says, “Now that the choices have been made, City staff and local agencies will implement the projects.” (We’re following up with a few questions, including location and final cost tally, since it appears the estimated costs are about $100,000 over that $700,000.)
At City Hall this afternoon, councilmembers voted unanimously to pass an ordinance that “prohibits rent increases on properties with unsafe housing-code violations,” as described by the announcement from the bill’s sponsor, Councilmember Kshama Sawant, who proposed it last year with then-Councilmember Nick Licata. All the documents related to the ordinance are here. From the slide deck, here’s how it works:
• Landlord provides written notice of a rent increase
• Tenant must respond in writing within ten days and describe defective conditions
• Landlord can cure the problem any time before rent increase is set to take effect.
• Tenant or Landlord may call SDCI to request inspection any time before effective date of rent increase
• If SDCI inspects and finds RRIO checklist failures, then rent increase delayed until defective condition is remedied
It will take effect 30 days after Mayor Murray signs it.