West Seattle politics 1327 results

VIDEO, PHOTOS: See and hear what happened on the Westwood/Roxhill Find It, Fix It Walk

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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.

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Another unofficial stop was a home on 24th with signs meant to catch the procession’s eyes – asking for speed bumps and police reform.

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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 hadnt 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:

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Once he arrived, it was showtime: Read More

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Westwood/Roxhill Find It, Fix It Walk, report #1

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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.

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Lots of photos and video – and the commitments we heard – to come, in our second report.

MONDAY NIGHT: Concerns about Westwood? Roxhill? Be on the mayor’s Find It, Fix It Walk

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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.

‘Greatest risk is in doing nothing’: Constantine campaigns for ST3 at 2 West Seattle events

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.

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FOLLOWUP: Councilmember Lisa Herbold on Mayor Murray’s plan to cut off neighborhood-district councils

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(WSB photo: Councilmember Herbold on May 12th community-group-reps tour she coordinated for Myers Way Parcels)

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.

VIDEO: 34th District Democrats endorse ST3, engage in Q&A with Mayor Murray

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

At a full-house meeting at The Hall at Fauntleroy last night, the 34th District Democrats had an hour of Q&A with the mayor, plus a major endorsement:

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.

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VIDEO: Mayor announces new ‘system for promoting public engagement,’ to ‘replace District Council system’

(Added 8 pm, WSB video of this afternoon’s announcement, including Q&A, where we’d embedded Seattle Channel live stream during event)

As-it-happened coverage:

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.

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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.

3:44 PM: The FAQs about the mayor’s action are now on the city website, here. And the news release is here.

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).

ELECTION 2016: 2 ballot measures on Wednesday’s Southwest District Council agenda

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).

The OTHER Presidential visit: Bill Clinton in West Seattle today

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+.

West Seattle gets a ballot dropbox, after 5+ years


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.

West Seattleites planning to comment at City Council short-term rentals hearing tomorrow

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.

See what 3,000+ Seattle tweens, teens, young adults want to do with $700,000 in city $

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
Location: City-wide

· 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
Location: City-wide

· 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
Location: City-wide

· 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
Location: City-wide

· 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.)

@ CITY HALL: Council passes renter-protection ordinance

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.

City tries again for gunfire-detection system


(Click for full-size PDF version)

That map shows confirmed shots-fired incidents around the city so far this year. We obtained it from Mayor Ed Murray‘s office in connection with this afternoon’s announcement that the city is again seeking “acoustic gunshot detection.” This comes four years after his predecessor announced a plan to budget for a gunfire-detection system – a plan that never came to fruition. Back then, part of West Seattle was suggested as ripe for such a system; today’s announcement focused more on other areas of the city including South Park – you can see the map above includes clusters there and in North Delridge.

The mayor was joined by Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole in making the announcement on Gun Violence Awareness Day. The announcement also says he will “work with the Seattle City Council to require that all surplus firearms from the Seattle Police Department are only sold to other law enforcement agencies.”

Regarding the potential detection technology, the announcement says:

Gunshot locators actively listen for gunshots and detect the exact location where guns are fired. Unlike reports from nearby residents who may be uncertain, these systems’ advanced technology reliably report when and where the shots were fired. A video camera attached to the system is activated to capture the incident. Law enforcement authorities are notified immediately and a police officer can be dispatched to the vicinity without delay. …

… Community feedback will be critical to designing the system, deciding where it is deployed, and defining how it functions. Working with the community, the City will to use its race and social justice toolkit during the assessment of the pilot program. The City will engage with civil liberties advocates and ensure that it complies with the City’s existing privacy policy.

A federal grant would pay for a pilot system, says the announcement, which you can read in its entirety here. It also says that while the number of confirmed shots-fired incidents to date this year is smaller than last year – 144 this year, 154 a year earlier – they’re deadlier, with five shooting deaths this year, two last year.

The U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has issued a Request for Proposals to gather interest from potential contractors who could construct the system. The city says the system would be paid for with a federal grant.

New city rules proposed for short-term rentals: 90-night-a-year limit for many

A new move today in the city’s attempts to address the affordable-housing crisis: New rules proposed to crack down on alleged abuse of the new technology-enabled short-term-rental market. Here’s the announcement, just out of the WSB inbox:

Mayor Ed Murray and Councilmember Tim Burgess today announced a proposal to prevent long-term rental units from being converted to short-term rentals, while still providing residents the flexibility to earn additional income by renting out their homes.

The measure focuses on commercial operators who use platforms, such as Airbnb and VRBO, to rent multiple properties year-round. Approximately 80 percent of existing short-term rentals in Seattle will see no new regulations.

“Property owners are shifting hundreds of homes from the long-term residential market to short-term rental platforms like Airbnb, and in doing so dangerously reduce our housing supply,” said Councilmember Burgess, chair of the Council’s Affordable Housing, Neighborhoods and Finance Committee. “At the same time, Seattle homeowners offering short-term rentals in their own homes earn valuable supplemental income. These proposed regulations focus narrowly on the commercial operators that take advantage of home-sharing platforms to exacerbate our housing crisis.”

Under the proposed rules, any property may be provided as a short-term rental for up to 90 nights in a 12 month period. Only properties that are the primary residence of the short-term rental operator will be allowed to rent past the 90-night threshold. The primary residency requirement will curtail the growing year-round commercial operation of these platforms.

“We must protect our existing rental housing supply at a time when it is becoming harder for residents to find an affordable home in Seattle,” said Mayor Ed Murray. “This proposal ensures that apartments and houses are not being used exclusively as short-term rentals, while still providing a means for homeowners to earn some extra money by occasionally renting out their property.”

Consistent with current City rules, all short-term rental operators must secure a City business license tax certificate and pay all applicable taxes.

“Our communities are facing steep rent increases and having difficulty staying in their homes, and the fast growing short-term rental industry is making it worse,” said Rebecca Saldaña, Executive Director at Puget Sound Sage. “The Mayor and Councilmember Burgess have started an important conversation about how short-term rentals should help, and not hurt, people who want to stay in Seattle.”

The small percentage of operators renting their primary residence for more than 90 nights will be required to also obtain a City regulatory license. This license will require proof that the unit being rented is the operator’s primary residence, proof of liability insurance that covers the short-term rental use, a local contact number for guests, a signed declaration that the unit meets building and life safety codes, and basic safety information posted for guests in the unit.

Under the proposed regulations, all short-term rental platform companies will also need to obtain a new regulatory license with the City. The platforms will be required to give the City limited data on a quarterly basis necessary for enforcement of the proposed law.

More information on the proposals can be found in these documents:

· One-page summary
· Frequently asked questions
· Detailed policy brief

The proposal is due to get its first council review before the Affordable Housing, Neighborhoods and Finance Committee two weeks from today, 9:30 am Wednesday, June 15th.

ELECTION 2016: Presidential primary Tuesday; who filed for state primary in August

Two election notes tonight:

PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARY TOMORROW: If you’re voting in our state’s presidential primary, tomorrow’s the voting deadline. While the state Republican Party will use its votes to allocate delegates for the national convention, the state Democratic Party is only using the caucus process, so the primary votes are just for show. You can mail your ballot as long as it gets postmarked with tomorrow’s date, or you can drop it off – no postage needed – at one of the county’s dropoff spots, including the dropoff van making its last appearance at West Seattle Stadium:

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Joseph and Third, who said they’d received 175 ballots by our 3 pm visit, reminded us that by the August election, West Seattle’s new permanent ballot dropbox will be in place at High Point Library. In the meantime, the ballot van will be at the stadium (4432 35th SW) 10 am-8 pm tomorrow, in the northwest corner of the parking lot. If you’re in south West Seattle or White Center, your closest dropoff van is on 8th SW in Greenbridge, about a block south of Roxbury; that too will be a thing of the past after tomorrow, as White Center also gets a permanent dropbox, at the new library (1409 SW 107th) that opened last Saturday.

AUGUST PRIMARY: Filing for the August primary is over, and here’s the list of who’ll be on ballots for state and federal offices in our state. Both 34th District State House Representatives have challengers this time (names are linked to the campaign sites/pages we found):

State Rep. Position 1
Eileen Cody (incumbent Democrat)
Brendan Kolding (Democrat)
Matthew Benson (Republican)

State Rep. Position 2
Joe Fitzgibbon (incumbent Democrat)
Andrew Pilloud (Republican)

Benson and Pilloud are the first Republicans to run in the 34th District since 2010, when Ray Carter challenged Cody while declaring his party preference “Reluctantly Republican”; in 2014, Cody was unopposed, while Kolding ran against Fitzgibbon; in 2012, Cody had a Democratic opponent, while Fitzgibbon was unopposed.

Also of local note, West Seattleite KumRoon “Mr. Mak” Maksirisombat (his ballot listing includes the nickname), a teacher at Chief Sealth International High School, is one of the nine candidates in the running for state Superintendent of Public Instruction.

The state primary election is August 2nd.

Youth Voice, Youth Choice: How 11-to-25-year-olds can vote this week in city’s ‘participatory budgeting’

If you are – or know someone who is – between ages 11 and 25, this week brings your/their chance to help make a big decision – voting on how to spend almost three-quarters of a million dollars in the city budget.

It’s voting time in the city’s first-ever Participatory Budgeting process, dubbed “Youth Voice, Youth Choice.” While online voting has just gone live, a special feature of this is the chance to vote in person – and it’s happening in places where the participants are likely to be found.

North Delridge resident Nancy Folsom e-mailed to say she will have ballots with her on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons, starting at 3:30 pm, at Delridge Skatepark (Delridge/Genesee).

Then, from the city, youth-engagement strategic adviser Jenny Frankl sent this message:

As you might recall, there were a series of Idea Assemblies held in February, where Youth Voice, Youth Choice collected 530+ ideas for projects. Since that time, a group of youth budget delegates have been culling that list and have now narrowed that list down to 19 project proposals. Youth ages 11 – 25 are being asked to select their top 7 projects out of this list of 19 during Vote Week (which is currently underway!). There are two ways to vote: Youth can vote online @ bit.ly/youthvoicevote or via a paper ballot. In West Seattle, some in-person polling stations have been set up in various locations:

· Chief Sealth IHS, through their Social Studies classes

· Southwest Youth & Family Services (contact Fernanda Hernandez, fhernandez@swyfs.org, for exact times)

· Delridge Skatepark [see above]

· High Point Youth Program

· High Point Youth Tutoring Program

· West Seattle branches of the Seattle Public Library

Anyone who needs a paper ballot or is interested in participation by youth with whom they work – contact Jenny at jenny.frankl@seattle.gov or 206-396-0200.

P.S. If you’re not eligible to vote but interested in what projects are on the ballot – go here and choose the “preview” (non-voting) option.

SEATTLE’S FUTURE: 20-year ‘comprehensive plan update’ goes public

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How should our city handle its next 20 years of growth?

The 575-page proposed answer to that question is now public – the updated “comprehensive plan” proposed by Mayor Murray.

With the recommended plan’s release, it heads to the City Council’s Planning, Land Use, and Zoning Committee (whose members include our district’s Councilmember Lisa Herbold). This is the first major comprehensive-plan update since 2004. One of its key points is an echo of what happened a decade before that, in the city’s first such plan: “The urban village strategy is this Plan’s approach to managing growth. … The City intends for each of these areas to see more growth and change over time than other commercial locations or primarily residential areas, and together they will accommodate the majority of the city’s expansion during this Plan’s life span.”

The announcement from the mayor’s office – which you can see in its entirety here – includes:

Seattle 2035 includes goals and policies, including those that:

· Guide more future growth to areas within a 10-minute walk of frequent transit
· Continue the Plan’s vision for mixed-use Urban Villages and Urban Centers
· Monitor future growth in greater detail, including data about racial disparities
· Increase the supply and diversity of affordable housing consistent with the Mayor’s Housing Affordable Livability Agenda (HALA)
· Update how we measure the performance of the city’s transportation and parks systems
· Integrate the City’s planning for parks, preschool, transit, housing, transportation, City facilities and services

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Our area has four urban villages – which are part of the list of neighborhoods in the section of the report that includes highlights from neighborhood plans. You can search that section for each of these:

Admiral
Delridge (not an urban village)
Morgan Junction
West Seattle Junction
Westwood/Highland Park

The plan spans many topics, from off-street parking to potential North Highline annexation. As the announcement observes, “Forecasts suggest that over the next twenty years, Seattle will need to accommodate 70,000 additional housing units, 120,000 more residents, and 115,000 additional jobs.” This would set a framework for doing that. The plan “and related legislation” will go to the PLUZ Committee later this month, the announcement says. The comments that went into it were gathered in a variety of ways, including meetings like this one in West Seattle last November.

FOLLOWUP: Elected as a delegate last Sunday? One more step!

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 the link from the 34th Dems.

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: 34demscaucus@gmail.com

Here is the delegate form and here is the Alternate Delegate form.

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.

See the permanent ballot-dropbox locations just proposed for West Seattle, White Center, South Park

dropboxes

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.

UPDATE: Next step in Democratic caucusing – 34th Legislative District @ WSHS


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:

finale

Meanwhile, from the official 34th District Democrats‘ Twitter account:



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:

waiting

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.

See the all-in-one-place breakdown of Seattle property-tax bills

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
*Libraries, $51
*Preschool, $43
*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.

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