West Seattle, Washington
10:20 PM: Even if you weren’t part of it, you might recall the discussion of last Sunday’s long-running caucus in the 34th Legislative District (West Seattle, White Center, Vashon, and vicinity). The lists of who got elected are posted – but according to one precinct-committee officer who e-mailed us, urgent action is needed. Here’s the note we received Jennifer Knutson, Precinct 1252 PCO:
Long story short, because they were counting delegates so late … most of the delegates didn’t get their paperwork filled out – and it must be filled out by TOMORROW in order for both Clinton and Sanders delegates to be seated. We need your help getting the word out to our West Seattle/Burien neighbors.
Here’s what they say:
If you were elected as a delegate or alternate you need to submit a delegate form by Friday to this email address: email@example.com
If you already completed one of these forms on the day of the caucus, you still need to submit again.
Contact Chair Marcee Stone-Vekich with questions. Her contact information is here.
Here is the credentials report for the caucus (PDF).
7:26 AM FRIDAY: See an update from the 34th chair in comments.
Tonight we know the locations where King County Elections is proposing to add more than three dozen fixed ballot dropboxes, including West Seattle (where the last one was removed more than five years ago), White Center, and South Park. Each would get one dropbox before primary voting starts in mid-July, if this plan is approved. Read the full news release here.
Toplines for our area:
In West Seattle, the location would be High Point Library (35th/Raymond); in White Center, it would be the White Center Library (the address listed in the county report is for the current one on 16th, though the new one on SW 107th is scheduled to open soon, so we’ll be doublechecking on that tomorrow). The South Park Library is proposed for a dropbox by the November general election. A 132-page report including how and why these locations (and the others around the county) were chosen – and why some other locations were not chosen – can be seen here.
The county says it will spend $239,695 to have the boxes made, wrapped, and installed. Assuming approval is received from the King County Council and all property owners, this would put 91.5% of the county’s population within three miles of a dropbox, the county says. A public hearing is planned before the County Council’s Government Accountability and Oversight Committee at 9:30 am Tuesday, April 26th, in the council chambers downtown.
— 34th Democrats (@34dems) April 17, 2016
12:12 PM: That photo tweeted by the 34th District Democrats is from the next step in the process of choosing the party’s presidential-nomination delegates: The legislative-district caucus, officially starting at 1 pm at West Seattle High School (3000 California SW). Those voting there today were chosen at the precinct-level caucuses last month; the list and other info can be found here. More than 1,000 delegates and alternates are expected; if you’re going, please bring a donation of non-perishable food for the West Seattle and White Center Food Banks.
5:20 PM: No word on results yet – commenters and tweeters say the event has moved very slowly.
7:09 PM: Not over yet, according to Twitter reports (see the latest from the hashtag #WAcaucus here), which indicate some other legislative-district caucuses are also still in progress.
9:24 PM: As of the top of the hour, the delegate counting wasn’t over yet, according to an e-mail report from Jill, who sent this photo:
Meanwhile, from the official 34th District Democrats‘ Twitter account:
— 34th Democrats (@34dems) April 18, 2016
But the bottom line: if you are frustrated you must become actively involved in Democratic Party process to change the way things are.
— 34th Democrats (@34dems) April 18, 2016
10:41 PM: While the caucus adjourned about an hour and a half ago, delegate tallying isn’t over, Jill adds – the Sanders delegates’ ballots are still being tallied.
12 MIDNIGHT: Another photo from Jill. Still waiting for word:
12:39 AM: 34th Dems’ web editor Bill Schrier has published a post on the organization’s website with some explanation, as promised, of what happened over those many hours. Bill, like everyone else in the org, is a volunteer, something he mentions they needed, and need, more of.
That slide deck is from the agenda for a City Council committee meeting tomorrow morning, and it’s the first time we’ve seen an all-in-one-place visual breakdown of a subject that comes up in discussion often – property taxes.
The 9:30 am meeting is actually the entire City Council meeting as the Select Committee on the 2016 Housing Levy, and one of its agenda items is a general discussion on property taxes in the city, as they consider the proposed levy, which is double the one that’s about to expire. If you scroll through the slide deck – or get it here as a PDF – you’ll see that it looks at the taxes on a “median”-valued home in the city (half are worth more, half worth less), valued at $480,000, paying $4,553 a year. As shown on page 5, a little less than a third of that – $1,472 – is from/for the city, and in turn, about half of that goes to 7 voter-approved levies, including the housing levy that is expiring:
*Transportation levy, $279
*Park district levy, $140
*Families/Education levy, $98
*Housing levy, $61
*Campaign financing, $9
If you want to hear how this is presented and discussed tomorrow morning, you can go to the meeting at City Hall or watch live via Seattle Channel, cable 21 or seattlechannel.org.
(LOOKING FOR RESULTS? Go here)
FIRST REPORT, 10:24 AM: The Democratic caucuses are on – and we’re already getting reader reports via Twitter of crowds just about everywhere:
— Jana on Occasion (@jana_obscura) March 26, 2016
— Jean-Paul Willynck (@jwillynck) March 26, 2016
— Chris Monsos (@ChrisMonsos) March 26, 2016
More to come. We’re about to step inside West Seattle High School to see how it’s going there.
11:05 AM: The initial balloting is over and people are rising, at tables in the WSHS Commons, to argue in favor of their candidate. Here’s how the vote went at one table where we spent some time:
— West Seattle Blog (@westseattleblog) March 26, 2016
— West Seattle Blog (@westseattleblog) March 26, 2016
— West Seattle Blog (@westseattleblog) March 26, 2016
The speeches continue. People can choose to change their votes – so that’s the point of speeches. Again, if you missed the backstory, this is the first step in the process of allotting our state’s delegates to the Democratic National Convention. (Republicans had caucuses but not to support presidential candidates; they’ll do that in the primary vote later this spring.) Here’s a quick Instagram-video circle around the WSHS Commons:
— West Seattle Blog (@westseattleblog) March 26, 2016
Next, tables are electing delegates to the next level of the process. We’ll have more photos/info later, including official numbers expected this afternoon.
ADDED 12:42 PM: We also stopped at Chief Sealth International High School:
And the Boren Building, home to Louisa Boren K-8 STEM and, until June, Arbor Heights Elementary:
Reminders that the caucuses run on volunteer power – from the 34th District Democrats, chair Marcee Stone-Vekich was at the mic at Boren:
And at Sealth, the 34th DDs’ state committeewoman Lisa Plymate:
Also just in – a photo from Vy Duong, who caucused at Lafayette Elementary:
Vy reports seeing County Executive Dow Constantine, an Admiral resident, there; we noted County Council Chair Joe McDermott, a Morgan-area resident, at Sealth.
More to come! Photos welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org.
2:47 PM: Statewide and county-by-county results, by the way, are being updated here – big lead for Sanders so far. We hope to have local-level results at some point too. Another photo to share, from an anonymous reader – Madison Middle School:
9:33 PM: Most of the results are in at the state-party site and it shows Sanders winning the state with 73 percent to Clinton’s 27 percent.
If you’re a Democrat and planning to caucus Saturday, but still not sure exactly how it works and/or where to go – here’s the full how-to, as just sent by the 34th District Democrats:
Democrats from across the 34th Legislative District will caucus on Saturday, March 26, in multiple locations. During the caucus Democrats will elect delegates pledged to either Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders. These delegates will attend conventions and caucuses to be held later in the year at the legislative district, congressional district, King County and Statewide level, where they will elect the 118 delegates to the Democratic Party’s national convention in Philadelphia in July. The 34th Legislative District includes West Seattle, White Center, North Highline, Vashon Island and the northern part of Burien. In this district, the caucuses will be held at schools. Here is a detailed list of precinct caucus locations in the 34th District:
Anyone can attend their caucus, but voting for presidential delegates is limited to registered voters who
publicly attest that they are Democrats. People who are currently 17 years old but will be eligible to vote in the Nov. 8 election also can vote in the caucuses. People can find their precinct on the King County website here:
As the Legislature wrapped up its regular session – which moved immediately into a special session – our area’s largest political organization convened a panel to review how social-equity policy legislation fared this year. That was part of the 34th District Democrats‘ March meeting last Wednesday at The Hall at Fauntleroy, and we recorded the panel on video. Attorney and 34th District precinct-committee officer Jamila Johnson moderated the discussion featuring (left to right in our video) Rachel Myers, executive director for the Washington Low-Income Housing Alliance / Washington Housing Alliance Action Fund; Janet Chung, legal/legislative counsel from Legal Voice; and Doug Honig, communications director from the state branch of the ACLU.
This month’s 34th DDs meeting also was its last membership meeting before the March 26th caucuses in our state. A training session preceded the meeting; for those involved in the group, logistics were the big topic. If you’re planning to participate as a Democrat, here’s the info, and here’s where to go to find your caucus location. They start at 10 am on March 26th (which is a Saturday); this state-level guide explains how the process works.
(Our state is having a presidential primary on May 24th, but the Democrats are using the caucus process for their nominating-convention delegates, while the Republicans are using the primary for theirs.)
ORIGINAL REPORT, 4 PM: What’s happening right now at the Southwest Neighborhood Service Center is part of what was supposed to happen when the Seattle City Council changed to seven district-elected members and two at-large (citywide-elected) members – more local presence. District 1 (West Seattle/South Park) City Councilmember Lisa Herbold is in the middle of her first office-hours day “in the district,” which started at noon and continues until 7 pm. She already had had five visitors when we stopped by in the second hour, and then a TV crew recorded a short interview before we took our pic and cleared out, making way for two more waiting constituents. Herbold, a Highland Park resident elected last November, says she expects to rotate between West Seattle and South Park locations for future office-hours days. But three hours remain today – no advance appointment needed – just stop by the SWNSC, which is in the same building as Southwest Pool and SW Teen Life Center, at 2801 SW Thistle, near the street-level front door.
ADDED 8:25 PM: Councilmember Herbold just posted a wrapup, including: “24 people came to meet with me during my first District 1 office hours! Issues ranged from Secure Scheduling to the 35th SW Road Rechannelization to homelessness to Pronto to property taxes to ArtsWest, to public safety, to shore power at Terminal 5, to pedestrian safety to senior employment services to drainage issues. Over the entire 7 hours there wasn’t more than 5 minutes when there wasn’t someone waiting to talk with me.”
If the City Council goes along with Mayor Murray‘s request, you’ll vote on the renewed/increased Housing Levy in August – until now, there hadn’t been a decision about whether it would be on the primary or general ballot. From the announcement, just out of the WSB inbox:
Building on over 30 years of success, today Mayor Ed Murray delivered his proposal to City Council to replace and expand the Seattle Housing Levy in 2016. His $290 million proposal follows three months of stakeholder and community engagement to discuss the levy and hear what the community’s priorities are for this affordable housing resource.
“Expanding the Housing Levy is the most important thing we will do this year to support affordability in Seattle,” said Mayor Murray. “The levy is a powerful resource to build more affordable homes for low-income families and help people at risk for falling into homelessness. We value an equitable and diverse city and we will renew our commitment to affordable housing.”
The Mayor is recommending the Housing Levy be placed on the August ballot.
The City Council has created a select committee, chaired by Councilmember Tim Burgess, to consider the Mayor’s proposal. A public hearing on the proposal will take place at City Hall on April 4, 2016 at 5:30 p.m. …
Read the rest of this morning’s announcement here.
Two West Seattle meetings with briefings about and discussion of the levy have already been held. We covered both. Here are our reports:
During the campaign for West Seattle/South Park’s first-ever City Council District 1 seat, Lisa Herbold promised to keep regular hours in the district. She’s just announced when and where she’ll do that for the first time. From her latest e-mail update:
I am happy to announce that I will soon be starting my District 1 office hours. Every other week I will be holding office hours from 12:00 pm – 7:00 pm; the in-district office will rotate to help best serve all communities in District 1.
I’m still working on finalizing a schedule and locations, but I do know that my first office hours will be at the Southwest Neighborhood Service Center (2801 SW Thistle St) on March 4th from 12:00 pm – 7:00 pm.
I’m including evening hours for folks who want to stop by after work. These will be open office hours for anyone to stop by; additionally, you’re welcome to schedule a meeting with me through my scheduler, Alex Clardy (email@example.com). There likely will have to be adjustments as we move forward, but I’m eager to try this out and see what works and what does not. Your input is welcome!
Caucus season starts this Saturday, with our state’s Republicans holding pooled precinct caucuses. To find out how the process works, we went to Wednesday night’s monthly meeting of the 34th District Republicans, who moved their regular meeting spot from Burien to West Seattle last year.
About 30 people were there. 34th GOP chair Chuck Rangel explained that while you can declare a presidential preference on Saturday, the delegate allocation will be determined in the May 24th primary vote, so Saturday’s caucusing is really about starting the process of choosing delegates for the district, county, and state conventions.
There are two locations this year – West Seattle High School (3000 California SW) for everyone north of Cloverdale, the Evergreen Campus in White Center (830 SW 116th) for everyone south of Cloverdale. As Rangel explained it, doors open at 9 for registration; bring a government-issued picture ID and your voter-registration card. If you don’t have your card, people with laptops will look you up to check your status.
Caucusing will start at 10 am, with the rules explained until 10:30, when discussion begins. By 11:30, caucusgoers have to start choosing people to advance to the next round, the district convention. Results will go to the county Republican Party offices. Dates for the ensuing conventions, all the way up to the national one, are here.
If you’re wondering about eligibility to participate, that’s explained here.
(Democrats start caucusing March 26th; we covered early info in our report on last week’s 34th District Democrats meeting.)
When the West Seattle Block Watch Captains Network met three weeks ago, police staffing turned to be the hottest topic of the meeting. Southwest Precinct commander Capt. Pierre Davis said he’d like to have more officers, but hiring citywide wasn’t going very quickly.
Maybe it will now – in his State of the City speech this afternoon, Mayor Ed Murray doubled his promise of new officers to be hired before his first term is up – saying he’ll now commit to hiring 200 more officers, above and beyond ongoing attrition.
Acknowledging that while violent crime in Seattle is low, property crime is not, he said SPD is forming a “dedicated team” working on reducing it.
He announced a Commercial Affordability Advisory Committee to, as the news release about his speech describes it, “identify issues that lead to displacement of small businesses in growing Urban Villages and recommend actions that support affordable commercial spaces.”
He spoke of renewed commitment for transportation projects including Sound Transit light rail to West Seattle and the Lander Street overpass in SODO, which was named in the Move Seattle levy. And he said the Vision Zero safety campaign – which has cut speed limits and rechannelized streets, including parts of 35th and Roxbury in West Seattle – is working, with traffic deaths down 25 percent, at an all-time low.
Read more highlights here.
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
Less than two months into her first term as the first City Councilmember for District 1 – West Seattle and South Park – Lisa Herbold made her first official appearance before the West Seattle Chamber of Commerce on (after a few unofficial appearances).
“I see my role at City Hall as a person you can count on to … keep things moving. Progress at City Hall can sometimes be slow and incremental.” She pointed out that Economic Development is part of her mission of the committee she’s chairing. She also said she hopes to serve the public by showing people how to “be their own best advocate.” Along the way, she also touched on several of the city’s current hot topics, including the SODO arena, the proposed bicycle-share takeover, and potential White Center annexation. Here’s our video:
The format was Q/A – starting with several pre-collected by Pete Spalding, who leads the Chamber’s government-affairs committee. The first gave her the opportunity to summarize her committee involvement on the council (as detailed here). The committee she chairs – Civil Rights, Utilities, Economic Development, and Arts – includes one that is charged with strengthening and enforcing workers’ rights, but with an “explicit commitment to business,” to “bring employeers and employees to the table together.” She’s also on the Affordable Housing, Neighborhoods & Finance Committee, and says housing affordability, “something I’ve been passionate about,” is part of her portfolio there. Job readiness, including apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship programs, is part of what she’s working on there.
Taking care of small businesses is important, she said, saying she’s “scoping out” whether the city could have a program like one in the Bay Area that protects “legacy businesses” (those in operation for decades) – determining how many had closed over a period of time, and then creating a registry of those still in business. “Once you quantify what you’ve lost, what you want to save, you can strategize how to save them,” she said, observing that voters in the Bay Area passed a fund specifically targeted at “helping these legacy businesses stay afloat.”
Another question: How does she plan to keep up on issues that businesses on the peninsula will be keeping up during her term?
One example she cited: The presentation at her committee meeting earlier this week, highlighting the South Seattle College (WSB sponsor) training program at Vigor‘s shipyard on Harbor Island. You can see it at 18 minutes into the Seattle Channel video of the meeting:
Herbold told the chamber lunch’s ~40 attendees, “They have found that 81 percent of daytime graduates of this program were employed within the industry they were being trained for.” She also mentioned the Priority Hire program, focused on city public-works projects. That’s meant to increase what she said was a shrinking percentage of Seattle residents working on city-funded projects – now just 40 percent.
She promised to be “a regular” at Chamber meetings, and assured the group that transportation issues are among her priorities, too, describing the West Seattle Transportation Coalition is a good funnel for those advocacy issues, and suggesting the Chamber synergize with groups like that on key issues: “When we get letters that are written/signed by several interest groups, they’re compelling. … It really makes us take notice.”
When the floor was opened to questions, Chas Redmond – who had run for the seat Herbold won – asked how the new council is dealing with the proposed SODO arena.
“I was disappointed that we are moving forward with scheduling the street vacation public hearing,” she said. “I thought the appeal could conceivably identify some useful information to help guide us in the policymaking around the street vacation.” She said it doesn’t seem all the issues around the project have been revealed. She’s also interested in examining street-vacation policies in general. But she says she believes in negotiating from a position of strength and the street vacation “is a contract.” (Next questioner asked for an explanation of “street vacation” – find it here.)
After that: What might be your roadblocks for doing great things?
“Often, roadblocks associated with resources, sometimes the interest of folks in maintaining the status quo … we have a regressive tax structure in hte state and means we can’t do a lot of things we want to do, so we have to focus on the priorities.” She says she wants to focus on things affecting people’s day-to-day lives, and then expressed concern about the current proposal for the city to bail out and take over the bike-share program for $1.4 million (followed up by an expansion that would not likely include West Seattle): “The Pronto discussion, for example – I don’t know that keeping that afloat when it’s facing bankruptcy is the best use of finite resources.” So, she said, she’s “asking tough questions” about whether that would be “throwing good money after bad.”
Speaking about income inequality and homelessness, Herbold said: “We’re experiencing a lot of growth in the city and it’s not always being felt by everyone in the city.” She said the current efforts focus on “unsheltered homeless people.” She said that part of the problem in the past has been “up until a year and a half ago,” new resources was only being spent on permanent housing, rather than to get emergency shelter for the thousands of people sleeping outdoors.
White Center entrepreneur and North Highline Unincorporated Area Council board member Elizabeth Gordon then asked about how Herbold sees her role as representing a “border district,” with unincorporated WC next door, facing potential Seattle annexation (local voters rejected Burien’s overture years ago and that city is on record as no longer interested).
Herbold pointed out that she lives in a “border neighborhood” – Highland Park. She also reiterated what she had voiced repeatedly during the council campaign – that her view of WC/NH annexation is cautious at best. “I think it’s just a matter of partnerships – we have to always be in partnership with representatives and stakeholders that are our neighbors. I know there’s a lot of interest in pursuing annexation – I have a lot of concerns about annexation … I have an open mind but moving forward on these discussions … I don’t want to annex a new part of the region and have that part of the region just become another neighborhood on the list of underserved neighborhoods here in district 1.” She said she would want to make sure there are enough resources, and she’s not entirely sure that what the state might allocate this year (sales-tax-credit legislation is advancing) would be enough to cover the costs.
Your next chance to see Councilmember Herbold out in the district, by the way, is during the Nature Consortium’s Neighbor Appreciation Day work party tomorrow (Saturday, February 13th), 10 am-2 pm at Pigeon Point Park at 4418 21st SW, next to Pathfinder K-8.
Two more notes from the meeting:
CHAMBER’S NEW HOME: CEO Lynn Dennis mentioned that the Chamber has found a new HQ location – 5639 California SW, as reported here post-meeting yesterday afternoon.
YMCA UPDATE: The West Seattle/Fauntleroy YMCA (WSB sponsor) is now expecting to break ground on its expansion around mid-April, once the permits are finalized, Josh Sutton told the Chamber gathering. He also noted that the Y has 240 employees and is an $8 million business in West Seattle. It’s raised $3.65 million in West Seattle for the expansion, and its annual fundraising campaign is under way (as reported here)
For more information about the West Seattle Chamber, explore its website at wschamber.com; monthly events include lunches and “After Hours” gatherings. WSB is among the hundreds of local businesses comprising its membership.
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
Tonight the 34th District Democrats endorsed King County Council chair Joe McDermott for the 7th Congressional District seat that longtime Rep. Jim McDermott is giving up.
He pointed out that he’s never run for something without his home district’s endorsement. More than 70 34th DD members were eligible to vote; 44 of them supported him.
Before the endorsement vote, the group heard from six candidates:
CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATES SPEAK: 5 minutes were allotted to each declared candidate who was present – roughly 3 minutes of speech, then a few questions. They spoke in alphabetical order. We recorded each on video – the text does not cover everything they said, but the video does (updated 1:47 am: we’ve added all candidates’ clips):
The day after another low-turnout election – only 1 in 4 Seattle ballots was in by the close of voting last night – the County Council is following up on its directive for more permanent ballot dropboxes around the county. The one above, for example, is the last one West Seattle had – removed more than five years ago, with only temporary dropoff vans sent here, during the last few days before the close of voting, since then.
Right now, only 10 permanent dropboxes are in place around King County, but the in-progress proposal from Elections Director Julie Wise – with funding approved by the County Council today – would quadruple that to 40. No locations finalized yet, though. The proposal also will pay for increased voter outreach in communities where English is not the primary language. That would include printing voter materials in Spanish and Korean as well as Chinese and Vietnamese, the two languages in which they’re offered now. More details on the added-dropboxes plan are due in April; read today’s announcement in full here.
8:14 PM: The one-and-only Election Night vote count is just in. Both Seattle Public Schools levies are passing with more than 70 percent approval:
OPERATIONS LEVY (PROP 1) – 71 percent approval
BTA LEVY (PROP 2) – 71 percent approval
As of tonight, fewer than 1 in 4 ballots had been returned, according to county statistics. Next vote count by 4:30 pm tomorrow.
9:15 PM: In its news release hailing the vote trend, the district included these bullet-point explanations of what the levies will pay for:
The Operations Levy represents more than 25 percent of Seattle Public Schools’ general fund operating budget and supports educational programs and services not fully funded by the state. It pays for;
· A portion of teacher, instructional assistant and support staff salaries
· Textbooks, classroom supplies, safety and building security,
· Special education and bilingual services,
· Professional development and training,
· Bus transportation,
· Student activities such as athletics, music, arts, extra-curricular and co-curricular activities.
The Buildings, Technology and Academics IV Capital Levy support the district’s long-range plans to;
· Upgrade and renovate aging school facilities and address enrollment growth.
· Three school buildings will be reopened to address capacity needs due to growing enrollment.
· Buildings projects including renovations, major maintenance, and health and safety improvements.
· Technology classroom equipment and instructional support to enhance student learning.
· Academics projects to meet the educational requirements and needs of students.
· Athletics improvements to upgrade fields.
Operations is a 3-year levy, BTA a 6-year levy. One of the “three school buildings (to) be reopened” is EC Hughes Elementary in Sunrise Heights, which the district has said will be the new home of the school that’s now at Roxhill Elementary.
The city has made its next move toward potentially selling off most of the undeveloped land in the southeasternmost corner of West Seattle that’s known as the Myers Parcels.
It’s circulating this document declaring almost one and a half million square feet as surplus – three parcels on both sides of Myers, as shown above – and asking for your thoughts on what to do with it. (There’s a page for each parcel/address – 9501 Myers here, 9600 Myers here, 9701 Myers here.)
This has been in the works for years; one year ago, we reported on a citizen campaign gearing up in hopes of saving at least part of the site as parkland. But the city says its departments have evaluated it and weren’t interested.
The site is part of a former gravel pit purchased by the city in 2003, with part of the land becoming the Joint Training Facility. A commercial sale for part of the leftover land fell through, but the parcels remain zoned for “C2” commercial development up to 6 stories. When we wrote last year’s update, the city told us it had millions of dollars left to pay off on the land via a “bridge loan”; since then, the mayor announced last November that $5 million from the sale of unspecified property at the site would go toward the city’s efforts to help people without homes. (That money was being advanced via a different type of loan to be paid off with sale proceeds.)
A sale would require City Council approval. And first, the city is asking for your thoughts on the property’s future. The notice suggests directing those comments to Daniel Bretzke at firstname.lastname@example.org or by postal mail at City of Seattle – FAS, P.O. Box 94689, Seattle 98124-4689.
P.S. Thanks to the reader who tipped us about this after receiving a notice from the city, which hadn’t been sent to media.
Haven’t sent in your ballots yet for Tuesday’s vote on two Seattle Public Schools levies? The King County Elections ballot-dropoff vans are at West Seattle Stadium (4432 35th SW) and Greenbridge Library (9720 8th SW) until 5 pm today, and again 10-5 Monday and 10-8 Tuesday. Above, we visited Daylin, Alana, and Lorenzo at the stadium spot around 11 am and they’d already received 34 ballots. Getting there is a little more of a challenge today because of the crane-removal lane closures just north of the stadium (see the photo in our daily preview), but it’s a fairly easy turn from and into the outside northbound lane. If you use the vans (or 24-hour dropboxes outside our area), it’s free, no stamp required, but if you are going to mail your ballot, be sure it has postage and that it will be postmarked by Tuesday.
ABOUT THE LEVIES: Both are renewals, though at higher amounts than the previous versions. The three-year, $750,000,000+ Operations Levy provides a quarter of the district’s day-to-day budget; the six-year, half-billion-dollar BTA Levy funds projects including capacity expansion and renovations. One big BTA project for West Seattle is renovation work at now-vacant E.C. Hughes Elementary in Sunrise Heights, which as first reported here last fall is expected to be reopened as the home for what is now Roxhill Elementary.
West Seattle is the first stop on the city’s tour of briefings about the next housing levy. Mayor Murray has said he wants it to be much bigger than the last one, a $145 million, seven-year levy expiring this year, as a piece of the puzzle toward easing homelessness. While full details aren’t out yet, they apparently will be by Wednesday (February 3rd), because that’s when the tour starts here:
Todd Burley from the city’s housing office is the guest at Wednesday’s Southwest District Council meeting, 6:30 pm at the Sisson Building in The Junction (California/Oregon)
9:59 PM: Two events of note over the next two nights:
JUST ANNOUNCED – MAYOR’S SPEECH ON HOMELESSNESS: Mayor Ed Murray‘s office just announced that he’ll speak live to the city Tuesday night at 7:30 pm via Seattle Channel (cable 21, or seattlechannel.org), with an update on what’s been done since he declared homelessness an emergency two months ago. He’ll be speaking from Mary’s Place Family Center in North Seattle, which is a shelter for women and families that opened last summer in a City-owned building.
WEDNESDAY NIGHT – DEPUTY MAYOR AT HPAC: Related to the emergency, the mayor announced last week that he would open two “safe lots” for people living in RVs and other vehicles, one of them in Highland Park, a paved lot adjacent to the former unauthorized encampment at West Marginal Way SW and Highland Park Way SW. The community council for that area, the Highland Park Action Committee, meets Wednesday night, and says city reps who are confirmed so far include Deputy Mayor Hyeok Kim and District 1 Councilmember Lisa Herbold. The meeting’s at 7 at the Highland Park Improvement Club (12th SW/SW Holden).
10:53 PM P.S. Just published on SPD Blotter, a roundup of cases the department cites as proof it’s “committed to addressing criminal behavior associated with car campers.” No West Seattle cases are mentioned, but several were in SODO.
Youth around the city have the chance to decide how $700,000 of the city budget will be spent, via the Participatory Budgeting Initiative, and the next step will include seven gatherings, one in West Seattle. The city’s announcement:
Youth Voice, Youth Choice, the City’s new Participatory Budgeting (PB) Initiative for youth, kicks off this week with the first of seven idea assemblies to be held across the city. This is the first stage of the program which gives youth the opportunity to decide how to spend $700,000 of the City’s budget.
The idea assemblies are where the public can brainstorm ideas for projects they would like to see in their communities. Anyone can attend and participate. The dates and times are:
· January 28 from 4 – 6 p.m. at Meridian Center for Health
· February 3 from 3 – 5 p.m. at UW Ethnic Cultural Center, Unity Room
· February 4 from 4 – 6 p.m. at Greenwood Library
· February 9 from 3:30 – 5:30 p.m. at Douglass Truth Library
· February 10 from 4 – 6 p.m. at Youngstown Cultural Arts Center
· February 18 from 3:30 – 5:30 p.m. at New Holly Gathering Hall
· February 23 from 5 – 7 p.m. at Seattle Center Armory, Loft Room #2
Once the public assemblies are completed, the next stage involves youth volunteers who will turn the ideas into concrete proposals with help from Seattle Department of Neighborhoods and City staff. Seattle youth will then get to vote for the projects they would like to see implemented. Once the projects are decided, City staff and local agencies will implement the projects.
Participatory Budgeting (PB) is a democratic process where community members directly decide how to spend part of a public budget. This initiative began here last July when Seattle Mayor Murray and former Councilmember Nick Licata announced the launch of a citywide youth PB process. Youth Voice, Youth Choice is managed by the Seattle Department of Neighborhoods (DON) with the goal of empowering youth to make decisions on how to spend a portion of the budget.
Need more info? The city’s youth engagement strategic adviser Rahwa Habte is at 206-615-2008.
(UPDATED with meeting video and documents showing what was approved/changed)
(Click above to see Seattle Channel video of this afternoon’s relatively brief meeting)
3:37 PM: Happening now at City Hall – the special meeting of the City Council to consider Mayor Murray‘s emergency order setting up, among other things, two “safe lots” for people living in their RVs and other vehicles – one of them on the paved area adjacent to what for years was an unsanctioned encampment at West Marginal Way SW and Highland Park Way SW in HP. As District 1 City Councilmember Lisa Herbold told the Delridge District Council last night, she and her colleagues have the opportunity to amend the order as they consider it. We’ll be updating live as we monitor it via Seattle Channel.
They’re beginning with public comment; one of the first speakers is an advocate who says she is concerned about the city’s current schedule of “sweeps” at unauthorized encampments – “there’s real harm done to real people” – and says that the schedule does not reflect what councilmembers heard at their briefing about those sweeps back on Tuesday. Another speaker, an Interbay businessperson, says he’s concerned about the RV lots creating an inhospitable atmosphere both for those living in them or those near them. A third speaker is advocating for the city to “stop the (encampment) sweeps. The fourth and final person who signed up to speak says she’s a Magnolia resident concerned about crime that she and her neighbors believe is related to unauthorized encampments.
3:48 PM: Council President Bruce Harrell is saying the council has four options – do nothing, accept the mayor’s order, reject it, or modify it. After asking city staffers for some background, he also notes the council has the authority to revoke an order like this if they don’t feel it’s accomplishing its goal. Right after that, Councilmember Herbold proposes amendments. “The amendments broadly fall into two categories,” she says, adding that they include “reporting-back requirements” regarding demographics of those served, impacts on nearby communities, and what the city will do after the “safe lots” end – “we’ll still have RV camping, and what will the city do then?” And she’s asking to make sure that the lots are not just for “one particular part of the city” but that outreach is done all over the city. (Much of what she’s listed are points that came up at last night’s meeting in Delridge.) Herbold also says her questions include what she’s heard from “(her) community” about whether the Highland Park lot is truly suitable, particularly because of its lack of nearby services.
4:08 PM: After a lot of trying to straighten out fine print, questions ensue. Councilmember Rob Johnson wonders what kind of a dent these two lots with a combined 50 spaces or so will make, when at least 800 people are believed to be living in their vehicles around the city, and will it affect the ability of religious and other institutions to host “car campers”? He is told it won’t affect that ability. They’ve just passed an amended resolution; we don’t have the documents yet but will add them when we get them. Councilmember Sally Bagshaw, joining the meeting by phone, says it’s about knowing who the people are (in the lots/encampments), knowing that they’re safe, and knowing that neighbors are safe. And at 4:13 pm, the meeting’s adjourned.
4:37 PM: Updated – here’s the amended order – scroll to what’s in blue, to see what was added/changed:
You also can see it here as a PDF.
4:56 PM: Here’s the second document, an amended resolution. As with the one above, scroll through to see (in purple) what was added/changed:
And here it is as a PDF if you’d rather read it that way. Again, the lots are supposed to be operational in about a month, so we’ll have more followups about what’s planned, what’s expected, and other related issues/questions.
ADDED 7:30 PM: A statement received from Councilmember Herbold via e-mail:
“Last year in the One Night Count, volunteers found approximately 760 vehicles with people living inside them. I thank the Mayor for acting on the clear need to assist these people and, in doing so, addressing the impacts on people living without access to water, garbage, and bathroom facilities.
“Today, Council amended the Order before it took practical effect. If we hadn’t acted within 48 hours, it would have gone into effect without our changes. Firstly, it was important to explicitly ensure we are collecting demographics on the people served in the safe parking lots. As outreach workers attempt to find solutions to find permanent housing, it’s essential we track the barriers they face. We must also track perceived and actual impacts on communities and the City’s response to those impacts. Looking forward, we also need to hear from Executive departments how the City intends to address vehicle camping after the terms for these particular safe lots end. This was all addressed in the amendments adopted today.
“Secondly, we memorialized operational commitments that were not included in the original Order relating to site management, sanitation, electricity, and potable water, and defining a length of term for the individual lots (six months, with the option for a one-time six month renewal). In addition there is an expectation that these lots will not be reserved for vehicle residents from one particular set of neighborhoods, rather the City will do outreach to all neighborhoods where people are living in their vehicles. The amendments also require the Executive to justify site suitability and name the factors used to justify that selection.
“Moving forward, it’s important that the Seattle community serves their unhoused neighbors in a way that best meets their needs. Choosing a remote location with little access to grocery stores, transportation, social services, showers and laundry facilities simply because it’s the easiest choice helps no one.
“Further, these lots cannot be opened to simply serve people living in RVs in Magnolia. There are vehicle campers all over the city, including Delridge and South Park. If we are to continue this model I want to see the City use a race and social justice lens to fully analyze the properties available citywide and identify choices that are best for those whom we wish to serve, as well as the surrounding community.
“Lastly, I’d like to thank my fellow Councilmembers Sally Bagshaw, Debora Juarez, and Lorena González for working with me to develop amending language to the Mayor’s Order of Civil Emergency. I’m pleased with our vote today, and we intend to continue our efforts to find housing for people who need it most.”
The mayor also has issued a statement: ““Thanks to the Council for the quick approval of emergency order that will provide a safer, cleaner environment for some of those who are homeless. By organizing better sanitation and centralizing the delivery of human services for those in need, we will work to move them to permanent housing as quickly as possible. While these aren’t long-term solutions, they do allow us to respond to more of the impacts of unpermitted parking and tents in neighborhoods around the city.”