Voted in this historic election yet? Most haven’t; do it by Tuesday

July 30, 2015 at 9:18 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle politics | 9 Comments

Two weeks after ballots arrived in most local mailboxes, more than 80 percent of them are still waiting to be turned in, according to the newest King County Elections numbers:

That’s the screen grab from the KCE webpage with tonight’s count of ballots received so far (at right, compared to how many were sent out, at left) – we are in City Council District 1, as we hope you know by now, in this history-making year, with the seven newly created districts each electing its first councilmember. That’s not the only contest on your ballot, but it’s the highest-profile one. The decisions you’ll make:

*King County Elections Director (3 candidates)
*Seattle Port Commission Position 2 (3 candidates)
*Seattle Port Commission Position 5 (9 candidates)
*Seattle City Council District 1 (West Seattle/South Park; 9 candidates)
*Seattle City Council Position 8 (citywide; 4 candidates)
*Seattle City Council Position 9 (citywide; 6 candidates)
*Seattle School Board Position 6 (West Seattle/South Park; 3 candidates)

Whomever you support, vote for them and get your ballot in the mail or into a dropbox by Tuesday night – here’s the list of dropboxes (open now) and ballot vans (open Sat. and Mon. 10 am-5 pm, Tues. 10 am-8 pm).

STILL MULLING YOUR COUNCIL DISTRICT 1 CHOICE? See our nine “Last Look” interviews/stories (first published last Friday), one per candidate.

LAST DAY! Voter-registration deadline for historic council primary

July 27, 2015 at 10:39 am | In West Seattle news, West Seattle politics | No Comments

One week from tomorrow, it’s the last day to vote in the first-ever primary for the newly reconfigured Seattle City Council – seven people elected by district, two at-large (right now all nine are elected at-large). If you’re not registered to vote in this state, TODAY is your last chance to sign up in time to be part of it – and you have to do it in person, by 4:30 pm. Two options:

*King County Administration building downtown, 500 4th Avenue (note they close for 1-2 pm break)
*King County Elections HQ, 919 Grady Way, Renton

Whether you’re a new voter or not, if you’re in West Seattle, your ballot features seven decisions to make, including Council District 1. They are:

*King County Elections Director (3 candidates)
*Seattle Port Commission Position 2 (3 candidates)
*Seattle Port Commission Position 5 (9 candidates)
*Seattle City Council District 1 (West Seattle/South Park; 9 candidates)
*Seattle City Council Position 8 (citywide; 4 candidates)
*Seattle City Council Position 9 (citywide; 6 candidates)
*Seattle School Board Position 6 (West Seattle/South Park; 3 candidates)

Voting deadline is next Tuesday night – get your ballot in the mail (you pay the postage) so that it’s postmarked by August 4th, or get it to a dropbox (open now) or ballot van (next Sat., Mon., Tues.) by 8 pm that night (no postage needed).

STILL MAKING UP YOUR MIND ON COUNCIL DISTRICT 1? Check out our nine “Last Look” interviews/stories (first published last Friday), one for each candidate, even if just to verify you’re voting for the one you think is best!

ELECTION EXTRA: 11 days to vote. 9 candidates on your ballot in Seattle City Council District 1. Take one last look if you’re still deciding.

July 24, 2015 at 12:50 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle politics | 57 Comments

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

Back in February, when campaigning for this year’s history-making City Council elections was just stirring to life, we presented a “First Look” forum featuring what were, at the time, four candidates in the race for the new District 1 (West Seattle and South Park).

Two of them are still in the running, with seven more who have since joined. Along the way, five others were in the race for a while. Now, phase one of the numbers game is almost over. Nine candidates are looking for your vote by August 4. When the votes are all counted, two will move on to the November 3rd general election.

Ballots were mailed last week. If you’re a typical voter, yours is still sitting on a table or shelf, unopened. You might be planning to sit down this weekend or next to take some time before voting.

That’s why we decided to bookend our coverage with a “Last Look.” Not another forum – you’ve had plenty of chances to go watch one of those, and if you couldn’t go in person, we’ve videotaped most of them (here’s the one that featured all 9).

Instead of a forum, we sat down with each of the nine candidates, with the goal being a conversation – not all “where do you stand on X?” nor “if you could be a tree, what kind of tree would you would be?”, but something inbetween. We recorded each candidate on video for the entirety of our conversation, and have written a story to go along with each video, including some other links that might help you, if not make up your mind, at least ratify – or re-evaluate – your choice.

The interviews were all done in West Seattle in the past two weeks; thanks to West Seattle Office Junction and Swift Media Solutions for providing quiet conversation spaces.

One candidate told us they don’t get the chance to “be ourselves” enough during the campaign, to show a little personality. This has a little of that. Because they were more conversation than interview, we didn’t ask everyone the same questions – this is not meant as a comparison guide so much as a chance to gut-check your decision/leaning/etc.

Click any candidate’s name (they’re listed in first-name-alphabetical order) to read, watch, listen.

Arturo Robles

Brianna Thomas

Chas Redmond

Jody Rushmer

Karl Wirsing

Lisa Herbold

Pavel Goberman

Phillip Tavel

Shannon Braddock

P.S. There’s been one forum in South Park – we have it on video via our partner site The South Park News.

P.P.S. Remember you’ll also be voting for at-large Positions 8 and 9. Wish we had had time to check in with all of those candidates too. Here’s our coverage of the at-large-candidates forum in nearby Georgetown back in May (with video), which also featured two local School Board candidates.

P.P.P.S. Not registered yet? Hurry! You can still register but you have to do it in person, today OR by 4:30 pm Monday – info on the King County Elections website.

Voting deadline is the evening of August 4th – get your ballots in the mail ASAP or to a van/dropbox by 8 pm that night.

Mayor’s housing plan: First council discussion; plus, clarifying what’s proposed for single-family neighborhoods

July 21, 2015 at 11:16 pm | In West Seattle housing, West Seattle news, West Seattle politics | 55 Comments

The week after Mayor Murray went public with his housing proposals – concurrent with release of a report by the advisory committee appointed to examine the issue – the City Council got its first official briefing:

The Seattle Channel published video today of Monday’s first meeting of the council’s Select Committee on Housing Affordability – the creation of which was announced last week, at the same time as the mayor’s proposals and the Housing Affordability and Livability Advisory committee (HALA) report.

For this update on the plan, we also sat down with a West Seattleite from the HALA committee, Cindi Barker, to talk through a few of its more-confusing points. (She was not on the committee as a West Seattle representative, but as a member of the City Neighborhood Council.)

First – some toplines from Monday’s council meeting. Early on, a city staffer offered an understatement, saying it will be a “long conversation” because “some of the suggestions do step outside of the comfort zone.”

Much of the briefing focused on the backstory of how this all happened.

One major issue of interest brought up by Councilmember Tom Rasmussen was the oft-quoted contention that the city has enough “capacity” for all the new housing it needs, without any upzoning.

Click to read the rest of Mayor’s housing plan: First council discussion; plus, clarifying what’s proposed for single-family neighborhoods…

ELECTION 2015: Voting begins; campaigning continues

July 16, 2015 at 11:56 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle politics | 2 Comments

Did you get your ballot today too?

Voting has begun for the August 4th primary. If you’re like many people and planning to leave your ballot unopened for a while as you decide what to do, here’s what you need to know:

SEATTLE CITY COUNCIL
You have three positions to vote on – technically, no incumbents, because these are all-new seats, seven districts and two at-large:
District 1 (this is the one we’ve been talking about the most, the first-ever West Seattle/South Park seat), with nine candidates)
Position 8 (this is one of the two at-large City Council seats, with four candidates)
Position 9 (the other at-large City Council seat with six candidates)

SEATTLE PORT COMMISSION
You’ll be voting on two spots
Position 2 (three candidates, including the incumbent)
Position 5 (nine candidates, no incumbent)

SEATTLE PUBLIC SCHOOLS
You’ll be voting on one board position
–District 6 (three candidates, including the incumbent)

KING COUNTY ELECTIONS DIRECTOR
–Three candidates, no incumbent

It’s been a busy primary season, with the first City Council District 1 candidates’ forum in February, the “First Look” forum we presented at Highland Park Improvement Club on February 5th. Four candidates were in the race; two of them are among the nine on your ballot now. Others jumped in (and in some cases jumped out) after that. The final forum was this past Wednesday night at South Seattle College (WSB sponsor), presented by SSC and the West Seattle Chamber of Commerce. While it was in the “candi-dating” format, which means no way to record it in its entirety without a small army of videographers, we did get the opening statement by all participants:

(Those statements start at 5 minutes into the video; 8 of the candidates were there.) In the past week, we also have recorded interviews with each of the nine D-1 candidates, one at a time, in case you’re interested in a “Last Look” before you cast your vote. We will publish them simultaneously at some point in the next few days, as soon as the stories to accompany them are all ready. You can also review our coverage by scrolling through our West Seattle Politics archive, here. All this assumes you didn’t cast your vote the second the ballot showed up; if not, you have 2 1/2 weeks, so no rush. But do vote – this election is historic, with the council change to 7 district reps plus 2 at-large.

Election 2015: One more chance to see the candidates pre-primary

July 11, 2015 at 8:15 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle politics | Comments Off

Next week, King County Elections mails the ballots for the August 4th primary, and yours will include the nine candidates in the historic first-ever District 1 (West Seattle/South Park) City Council race. One forum remains before the voting begins – next Wednesday night (July 15th) at South Seattle College (WSB sponsor), which is partnering with the West Seattle Chamber of Commerce to present this forum, focused on business, jobs, and education issues. It’s set for the Brockey Center at SSC (6000 16th SW), and the Chamber describes it as follows:

The event will begin at 5:30 pm with a meet and greet between the candidates and the attendees of the forum. At 6 pm all candidates will have an opportunity for an opening statement, and then we will begin the next phase of the forum. This will consist of “candidating” with the attendees. After the opening statements, all candidates will be sent to a table of attendees for 8 minutes. At the end of 8 minutes, the candidates will move on to the next table of attendees. We will continue this process as time allows. There will be time allowed at the end of the “candidating” portion for all candidates to give a 30-second closing statement. We plan to conclude the event by 8 pm.

The candidates in the at-large Positions 8 and 9 races have a concurrent forum outside West Seattle but if it finishes sooner, some might drop by toward this one’s end. While there is no admission charge for the forum, the Chamber is hoping you will pre-register so it knows how many people to expect – you can do that from this page.

City Council to consider two new laws ‘to improve gun safety’

July 8, 2015 at 10:07 am | In West Seattle news, West Seattle politics | 47 Comments

Two proposals today from City Councilmember Tim Burgess are described in his announcement as “part of the City’s latest effort to improve gun safety in Seattle.” One would be a tax to be charged to gun and ammunition sellers, with its proceeds “dedicated to prevention programs and research intended to reduce the burden of gun violence on Seattle residents and neighborhoods.” The other would require filing a report with SPD if a gun is lost or stolen. Read on for more:

Click to read the rest of City Council to consider two new laws ‘to improve gun safety’…

West Seattle scene: Trivia, the District 1 campaign edition

July 2, 2015 at 2:40 am | In West Seattle news, West Seattle politics | Comments Off

2:40 AM: As previewed here Monday, this week’s Wednesday night trivia at Talarico’s in The Junction featured a special guest team – some of the present-and-past City Council District 1 candidates. Trivia host Phillip Tavel – in the race himself – came up with the idea. (L-R above, that’s Tavel with Brianna Thomas, Karl Wirsing, Shannon Braddock, Tom Koch, and Chas Redmond.) Another team of community leaders jumped into the fray:

They had just walked over from the monthly Southwest District Council meeting up the street at the Senior Center (we know because we covered it – report to come later today) – from left, SWDC co-president David Whiting of the Admiral Neighborhood Association, district coordinator Kerry Wade from the Department of Neighborhoods, Cindi Barker from the Morgan Community Association, SWDC co-president Eric Iwamoto of the Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council, and Susan Melrose of the West Seattle Junction Association.

But no, it wasn’t WS community trivia, at least not in the early going when we stopped by for photos. And we don’t yet have the results (checking; will add when we get them!).

Speaking of results – just two weeks until you’ll get to make your choice from among the full field of nine D-1 hopefuls … the top two advance to the November election. At least two more forums are set before then – 2 pm Saturday, July 11th, on the GreenLife Stage at West Seattle Summer Fest, and 5:30 pm Wednesday, July 15th, at South Seattle College (WSB sponsor)’s Brockey Center.

ADDED THURSDAY MORNING, 10:15 AM: The trivia results, courtesy of host Tavel:
*The candidates’ team, “The Primary Is August 4th,” placed 6th with 33 points
*The SW District Council team, “The Dark Horses,” placed 2nd with 36 1/2 points
*The night’s winners were “Jane Austen’s Super-Excellent Butt-Kicking Trivia Masters,” with 38

Sound Transit light rail for West Seattle? Next steps for ‘ST3′ – including one you can take right now

July 1, 2015 at 9:51 pm | In Transportation, West Seattle news, West Seattle politics | 45 Comments

Will West Seattle get light rail if Sound Transit‘s next ballot measure passes? That’s not certain yet but the ballot measure itself is closer to reality because of the transportation package that finally made its way through the Legislature. In an announcement today, ST leaders including board chair King County Executive Dow Constantine said they’re proceeding with the measure known as ST3 for short, because legislators gave them the full potential funding authority they were seeking. That’s described in the announcement as:

*Property tax of up to 25 cents for each $1,000 of assessed valuation ($75 annually for a $300,000 house). …

*Sales tax of up to an additional 0.5 percent ($.50 on a $100 purchase).

*Motor vehicle excise tax (MVET) of up to 0.8 percent of vehicle value ($80 annually on a $10,000 vehicle).

Again, that’s just the taxing authority that Sound Transit will be given. The Legislature’s decision itself does not guarantee you’ll be taxed that way – it’s up to ST to ask voters and get their approval. The ST announcement says “ST3″ will take shape over the next year. If you want to speak up for West Seattle light rail or anything else in particular and have not yet taken the ST survey – go here to do it now – it’s only live for another week. Same survey we mentioned a month ago, so if you took it then, you’re covered.

(Back in Olympia, the transportation package itself still has a few more hurdles to clear, according to the Associated Press’s report from Olympia, and its own inherent costs – unrelated to the Sound Transit component – are calling for a gas-tax increase.)

2 weeks until ballots go out in historic City Council election. Are you registered?

July 1, 2015 at 12:54 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle politics | 1 Comment

(WSB photo from May 18th Fauntleroy forum: L to R – Phillip Tavel, Shannon Braddock, Jody Rushmer, Brianna Thomas, Karl Wirsing, Chas Redmond, Arturo Robles, Pavel Goberman, Lisa Herbold)

If you’re looking forward to voting in the primary for the first-ever City Council District 1 (West Seattle/South Park) election – you’ll be able to do that (as well as voting on at-large Positions 8 and 9, School Board Position 6, Port Commission Positions 2 and 5, and County Elections Director) starting in a little over two weeks: King County Elections says it’s sending out the August 4th ballots two weeks from today. But you can’t vote if you’re not registered, and the deadline for getting that done is a lot sooner – July 6th, if you want to do it the easy way, registering (or updating your info) online or by postal mail. If you need to register, start here. If you want to be sure your address is correct in county records, so you get that ballot they’ll be sending, go here – that’s also where you can go right now to create your customized sample ballot, to see the races and follow candidates’ infolinks.

P.S. If you miss this deadline, you can register in person up until July 27th, but don’t procrastinate and set yourself up for the hassle – get it done now.

‘Move Seattle’ transportation levy: After City Council sent it to the ballot, 4-month campaign begins

June 30, 2015 at 10:21 am | In Transportation, West Seattle news, West Seattle politics | 62 Comments

Now that the City Council has taken final action to send the Move Seattle” transportation levy to the November 3rd ballot – you’re going to hear a lot about it over the next four months. We noticed early today that SDOT has a new round of infosheets. The one below, for example, incorporates changes made by the City Council, including the revised categories for investments – “congestion relief” is now a focus – and added language, such as the “West Seattle ingress and egress planning” that Councilmember Tom Rasmussen pushed to add:

Breakouts by City Council district are now posted – though they’re still relatively short on specifics. Here’s the one for District 1 (West Seattle and South Park):

Again, the funding for Move Seattle – $930 million in property taxes – did not change before the final vote. And if you want to see the discussion before that vote, the Seattle Channel‘s archived video of yesterday afternoon’s meeting is up:

More background about the levy is on its city webpage.

Think you can outsmart the (current/former) candidates?

June 29, 2015 at 9:35 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle politics | 1 Comment

Special event this Wednesday night at Talarico’s in The Junction – the regular weekly trivia night, long hosted by Phillip Tavel – who happens to be a candidate for City Council District 1 – features seven of his current and former fellow candidates, comprising one of the competing teams. Tavel says those who accepted the invite are ex-candidates Tom Koch and Dave Montoure plus current candidates Karl Wirsing, Brianna Thomas, Jody Rushmer, Chas Redmond, and Shannon Braddock. If they win, their prize and his pay get donated to a local nonprofit. You’re invited, 8:30 pm Wednesday at 4718 California SW.

$930 million transportation levy: Council vote on Monday; WSTC survey for you now

June 26, 2015 at 4:00 pm | In Transportation, West Seattle news, West Seattle politics | 17 Comments

From the agenda for next Monday’s City Council meeting, that’s a revised summary of what the proposed $930 million Move Seattle transportation levy would go toward – mostly in generalities, though the Fauntleroy Boulevard project is mentioned by name. The full council votes Monday on whether to send it to the November ballot, after its committee approval this week (including rejection of a suggestion to mix up the funding – which will remain 100 percent property tax). Meantime, the West Seattle Transportation Coalition is wondering what YOU think of the levy, and launched a two-question survey today to find out. Go here to take it.

Goodbye, Department of Planning and Development; hello, Office of Planning and Community Development

June 23, 2015 at 12:48 pm | In Development, West Seattle news, West Seattle politics | 20 Comments

Mayor Murray is breaking up the Department of Planning and Development, and longtime director Diane Sugimura is retiring. Those are the bottom lines from an announcement this morning at City Hall. The mayor is creating a new city department, the Office of Planning and Community Development, that is supposed to have the big picture in terms of planning – not just construction/development but also transportation, among other things – and dismantling DPD, whose other functions such as permitting will be handled by a department to be named later. Read the full announcement ahead:

Click to read the rest of Goodbye, Department of Planning and Development; hello, Office of Planning and Community Development…

VIDEO: ‘Delridge, all the way!’ Neighborhood-focused forum for Seattle City Council District 1, feedback clickers & all

June 18, 2015 at 12:57 pm | In Delridge, West Seattle news, West Seattle politics | 5 Comments


By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

Last night’s Seattle City Council District 1 candidate forum at Youngstown Cultural Arts Center was a first even in this election year of many firsts – first one with audience-feedback clickers, first one specifically and pointedly insisting that candidates explain how they would outline and take action on particular priorities for Delridge, aka eastern West Seattle.

The forum was organized by, and held in the regular monthly meeting slot for, the Delridge Neighborhoods District Council, whose chair Mat McBride energetically emceed it over the course of almost two hours at Youngstown Cultural Arts Center.

There to answer the questions and goodnaturedly endure the feedback were seven of the nine D-1 candidates you’ll see on your August 4th ballot – left to right across the stage, Phillip Tavel, Shannon Braddock, Arturo Robles, Lisa Herbold, Jody Rushmer, Karl Wirsing, Chas Redmond. McBride explained that Brianna Thomas had RSVPd to participate as well but had to cancel at the last minute because of a family-health emergency.

Each person in attendance was offered a clicker-type device to be used after each candidate’s reply to a question, with four options for rating the reply, with the results then shown on the big screen behind the candidates. Here’s what the clicker (borrowed from the city Department of Neighborhoods, which uses them at certain types of meetings, according to district coordinator Kerry Wade) looked like:

Each of the seven participating candidates had randomly drawn a specific Delridge-priority question to answer in the first round, then got to choose which one of the priorities to address in round two, and finally, it was “talk about whatever you want” for round three. Our first clip has the introduction to the event plus the first round:

Ahead, highlights of the replies from our as-it-happened notes, plus video of the second and third rounds:
Click to read the rest of VIDEO: ‘Delridge, all the way!’ Neighborhood-focused forum for Seattle City Council District 1, feedback clickers & all…

City Council District 1 campaign: Wednesday forum with ‘feedback tool’ & food truck; video from Monday’s Pigeon Point event

June 14, 2015 at 9:53 am | In West Seattle news, West Seattle politics | 4 Comments

Voting in the first-ever Seattle City Council District 1 primary is sooner than you think. Ballots you’ll use to help narrow the field of nine candidates to two finalists will arrive in about five weeks. So it’s down to decision time, if you haven’t made your choice yet.

NEXT WEDNESDAY: 7-9 pm Wednesday (June 17th) at Youngstown Cultural Arts Center, your next chance to see the D-1 candidates side by side will be presented by the Delridge Neighborhoods District Council. DNDC chair Mat McBride promises some format change-ups: “The audience will be equipped with a feedback/voting tool, and reactions to candidate statements will be displayed on screen.” Also – come early for dinner; Indian-food truck Spice on Curve will be at Youngstown. (4408 Delridge Way SW)

WHAT YOU MISSED LAST MONDAY: The Pigeon Point Neighborhood Council‘s candidate forum in the Pathfinder K-8 cafeteria used the “candi-dating” format – after introductions at the front of the room, the candidates circulated between tables. Seven of the nine candidates participated (Arturo Robles, Brianna Thomas, Chas Redmond, Jody Rushmer, Karl Wirsing, Lisa Herbold, Phillip Tavel – organizers said Pavel Goberman declined the invitation and Shannon Braddock was ill) and each table got to talk with five of them before time ran out. Since we’ve been videotaping all the D-1 forums, we had to do this one too; the format was a challenge for that, so our cameraperson picked a random table at which to record the turns. Challenging acoustics, but here’s the result:

Then we recorded the candidates answering one final question at the front of the room – they were asked what they specifically would do for Pigeon Point if elected, but the answers turned out to speak more to West Seattle-wide issues:

We also sat in at a second table without video. The questions varied from candidate to candidate, so no comparison is possible, but the questions asked by those at the table involved White Center annexation (we put that question to all candidates earlier this month), rent control and housing affordability, workers’ rights, education, transportation, weed control, and crime.

FINAL FORUM? In addition to the June 17th event mentioned at the start of this story, the West Seattle Chamber of Commerce also has finalized the plan for what might be the final forum before the primary – July 15th at the Brockey Center on the South Seattle College (WSB sponsor) campus. It’ll start with a 5:30 pm meet-and-greet, then 6 pm opening statements, followed by table-to-table “candi-dating,” and a closing statement. This will be open to all, members and non-members, no admission charge. (6000 16th SW)

West Seattle Transportation Coalition says ‘Move Seattle’ levy needs to ‘move West Seattle first’

June 11, 2015 at 1:40 pm | In Transportation, West Seattle news, West Seattle politics | 29 Comments

As the City Council gets deeper into shaping the “Move Seattle” transportation levy proposed for the November ballot, the West Seattle Transportation Coalition has just announced its official statement on what it wants to see in the levy:

West Seattle has been working to resolve its transportation challenges for 125 years. We initiated Puget Sound’s first ferry service in 1888 and we built America’s first municipally funded commuter rail system in 1906. Today, that extensive rail line is gone, replaced by inadequate bus service and single lane choke points that hamper the mobility of our 100,000 citizens.

Seattle has not supported or expanded our historically great transportation ideas. Thanks to the lags and half measures the city has offered over the years, there’s widespread perception here that West Seattle and its transportation issues are not, and never have been priorities for the City of Seattle.

It took the City five years to re-build the South Park Bridge after significant lobbying efforts of citizens, six years to rebuild Seattle’s Spokane St. bridge after a freighter rammed the old one in 1978, and decades to re-start the seasonal cross bay West Seattle Water Taxi to downtown. After significant citizens efforts and pressure, the City is finally addressing safety and speeding issues on SW Roxbury Street and 35th Ave SW.

As our Peninsula population increases, traffic increases and further chokes ingress-egress. Our two bridges are gridlocked for hours every day now — with 93,000 vehicles crossing West Seattle’s high bridge, and 13,000 crossing the low bridge. Together, these bridges are Seattle’s busiest, non-freeway traffic corridor, carrying more human and freight volume than any other city bridge. By the time Move Seattle expires, West Seattle’s population in our Alaska Junction and Triangle areas alone will grow to equal or surpass that of Ballard.

Move Seattle fails to address West Seattle’s key issue — getting into and out of the peninsula, safely and efficiently. While the WSTC appreciates and supports the proposals West Seattle pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure improvements, we ask the Mayor and City Council to support and clearly define Council Member Tom Rasmussen’s amendment to Move Seattle. We would like the levy to:

Provide a fully funded, integrated, West Seattle Peninsula ingress-egress plan with a scope of work, timeline, and funding source. Its structure should be fully compatible with conversion to a future Sound Transit dedicated right-of-way, Light Rail or Bus Rapid Transit system.

In Sound Transit polling, more than 94% of West Seattle residents supported a dedicated solution for the people living in District 1. Currently, all of West Seattle’s transportation hopes and dreams seem to be bolted to the forthcoming Sound Transit 3 (ST3) proposal. Meaning, West Seattle’s transportation fate is now in the hands of Olympia legislators, the Sound Transit Tri-County Board, and competition from regional and local interests who also need ST3 resources.

Meanwhile, the clock is ticking down for West Seattle as our population and development density increase, and the Port gears up with planned expansions on Terminal 5, where freight and industrial growth will further choke traffic flows to SR 99, I-5, I-90, Marginal and Alaskan Ways. It’s a perfect storm of adverse effects on our situation.

West Seattle and South Park need a solution today. We cannot wait for some future, theoretical ST3 or ST4 package. We expect our leaders and elected officials to do whatever it takes to move the people of District 1 now.

We wrote about Councilmember Rasmussen’s proposed amendment, mentioned above, back on Monday.

P.S. Haven’t shared your comments on the levy yet? This page on the city website explains how.

More for West Seattle in transportation levy? Two amendments on the agenda for councilmembers’ discussion tomorrow

June 8, 2015 at 4:59 pm | In Transportation, West Seattle news, West Seattle politics | 8 Comments

Tomorrow morning at 9 am, the City Council – meeting as the Select Committee on Transportation Funding – takes another look at the revised transportation levy destined for this November’s ballot. Councilmembers are proposing a variety of amendments, and we’ve found at least two that include West Seattle-specific language:

*Under the section proposing spending $35 million for “transit corridor improvements,” Councilmember Tom Rasmussen – who chairs the transportation-funding committee – proposes adding the language “including planning for access and egress improvements to the West Seattle peninsula.” See it on page 6 of his amendment:

Rasmussen also has a separate amendment that redefines the “core categories” in which the levy would seek to make “transportation improvements” – instead of “safety … interconnectivity … vibrancy … and repair,” his categories would be “safe routes, “congestion relief,” “maintenance and repair.”

*Under the “Safe Routes to School” section, Councilmember Tim Burgess proposes adding language mentioning two West Seattle elementaries while requiring that SDOT “Complete projects within the first three years of the Levy in walk zones of the following schools that have high levels of poverty: Bailey Gatzert, Martin Luther King, Jr., West Seattle, Dunlap, Dearborn Park, Wing Luke, Northgate, Van Asselt & Wing Luke, Emerson, Concord, Rainier View, Roxhill.” See it on page 4 of his amendment:

The committee meeting taking up these and other proposed changes to the now-$930 million levy intended for the November ballot starts at 9 am tomorrow at City Hall; you’ll be able to watch live on Seattle Channel (cable channel 21 or online at seattlechannel.org). As for your role in the process – more amendments, discussions, public-comment opportunities are ahead before the ballot language has to be finalized in August.

Election 2015: ‘Candidating’ forum Monday in Pigeon Point

June 7, 2015 at 6:47 pm | In Pigeon Point, West Seattle news, West Seattle politics | Comments Off

If you haven’t gone to a candidate forum yet in the first-ever City Council District 1 (West Seattle/South Park) race yet – maybe you don’t just want to sit down and listen to people answering questions from a table up at the front of the room – tomorrow night’s event in Pigeon Point might be for you. The Pigeon Point Neighborhood Council has invited the candidates over for a round of “candi-dating” – circulating from table to table, so you and your tablemates get to talk with one candidate at a time. That’s at 7 pm Monday (June 8th), Pathfinder K-8 cafeteria (1901 SW Genesee), all welcome. The primary election is August 4th, so the start of voting is only about six weeks away.

West Seattle scene: Green Party’s past & possibly future presidential candidate Dr. Jill Stein visits

June 6, 2015 at 12:46 am | In Delridge, West Seattle news, West Seattle politics | 4 Comments

Such a busy Friday night, we didn’t get to stop by the West Seattle Tool Library for this visit of a past and potentially future presidential candidate – but thanks to Chas Redmond for sharing the photo of Dr. Jill Stein. He says about 25 people were there to hear from and talk with her in the North Delridge evening sunshine. Dr. Stein was the Green Party‘s candidate in 2012 and with 456,169 votes became “the most successful female presidential candidate in U.S. history.” She formed an exploratory committee earlier this year to consider seeking the Green Party nomination again for 2016.

QUESTION FOR DISTRICT 1 CANDIDATES: Annex White Center and the rest of unincorporated North Highline, or not?

June 2, 2015 at 10:47 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle politics, White Center | 24 Comments

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

Click to read the rest of QUESTION FOR DISTRICT 1 CANDIDATES: Annex White Center and the rest of unincorporated North Highline, or not?…

TRANSPORTATION LEVY: Proposal for partial ‘alternative funding’ instead of raising all $930 million via property-tax levy

June 2, 2015 at 12:15 pm | In Transportation, West Seattle news, West Seattle politics | 7 Comments

Some of the concerns about the city’s proposed $930 million transportation levy – which, as mentioned in our daily preview, is the subject of a public hearing tonight – involve how it would be paid for: A property-tax levy. Councilmember Nick Licata proposes shifting a third of the cost to other sources – making it a $600 million levy, with $330 million to be raised via development-impact fees, commercial-parking taxes, and an employee-hours tax. Read on for the full news release:
Click to read the rest of TRANSPORTATION LEVY: Proposal for partial ‘alternative funding’ instead of raising all $930 million via property-tax levy…

Should Seattle annex White Center and vicinity? City Council committee to discuss Wednesday; ‘intention’ notice due Friday

June 1, 2015 at 11:29 am | In West Seattle news, West Seattle politics, White Center | 42 Comments

Will the Seattle City Council move ahead with an attempt to annex White Center and the rest of unincorporated North Highline?

(Potential annexation area is in green)
The topic will come back before the council’s Education and Governance Committee, chaired by Councilmember Tim Burgess, this Wednesday morning, largely because time is running out for a specific notice to be filed, if the city wants to keep its options open for accessing a tax credit that would make annexation more financially viable. Details are on our partner site White Center Now; we’re also putting the question “annex, yes or no?” out to all nine City Council District 1 candidates.

City Council District 1 updates: ‘South Park Shows Up’ video; West Seattle Chamber Q&A; new voters’ cards

May 28, 2015 at 12:37 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle politics | Comments Off

In the history-making first-ever City Council District 1 campaign – three things to share today:

‘SOUTH PARK SHOWS UP’: Our video clip above is the heart of last night’s community-organized candidate forum in South Park. You’ll find full coverage, including the start of the forum – testing the candidates on what they know about SP – on our partner site The South Park News.

SEVEN QUESTIONS: The West Seattle Chamber of Commerce asked the candidates to answer seven questions. Six sent replies, and they are all now published on the Chamber’s website – scroll down the main page for a link to each question and how those six candidates replied.

VOTER REGISTRATION CARDS: Shortly after we got a news release from King County Elections about brand-new voter-registration cards, ours arrived via postal mail. The “card” (paper, not plastic) includes your voter ID number, precinct info, and the numbers of the districts in which you elect representatives – with City Council District 1 brand new on the list.

Election 2015: Your next 2 chances to see/hear City Council District 1 candidates

May 25, 2015 at 9:19 pm | In Pigeon Point, South Park, West Seattle news, West Seattle politics | Comments Off

Made a decision yet on who you’re voting for in the first-ever City Council District 1 race? Still lots of time to decide, with primary ballots due August 4th, and your next two chances to see and hear the candidates are coming up within the next two weeks:

MAY 27 (THIS WEDNESDAY): “South Park Shows Up!” is not your standard candidate forum, South Park community members promise. They are planning a pop quiz on South Park facts, in fact. But West Seattleites are invited too – and kids’ activities are promised as well as food. 7 pm Wednesday at the SP Neighborhood Center, 8201 10th Avenue S.

JUNE 8 (2 WEEKS FROM TONIGHT): Most local neighborhood councils have had visits from several City Council candidates. The Pigeon Point Neighborhood Council is planning a full-fledged forum, 7 pm June 8th at Pathfinder K-8 (1901 SW Genesee), all welcome.

Any other D-1 forum dates locked in? Please let us know – editor@ westseattleblog.com – thanks!

What will you get for $930 million? Read the proposed transportation levy’s fine print

May 22, 2015 at 9:47 am | In Uncategorized, West Seattle news, West Seattle politics | 28 Comments

The heart of the decision over this fall’s transportation levy: What will you get for your money? Two weeks after Mayor Murray and SDOT director Scott Kubly went public with the revised proposed $930 million “Move Seattle” transportation levy (WSB coverage here), it’s officially appearing on the City Council’s Introduction and Referral Calendar – which means that you can read the “fine print.” That includes the proposed “ballot title,” what you’ll see before you vote in November, assuming the language isn’t changed:

CITY OF SEATTLE
PROPOSITION NO. 1

The City of Seattle’s Proposition 1 concerns replacing funding for citywide transportation maintenance and improvements.

If approved, this proposition would replace an expiring levy and fund bridge seismic upgrades, transit corridor and light rail station access projects, pedestrian and bicycle safety projects, upgraded and synchronized traffic signals, street maintenance and improvements, freight mobility projects, and neighborhood street fund projects.

It authorizes regular property taxes above RCW 84.55 limits, allowing collection of up to $95,000,000 in 2016 and up to $930,000,000 over nine years. The 2016 total regular tax limit would be $3.60/$1,000 assessed value, including approximately $0.62 additional taxes.

Should this levy be approved?
Levy, Yes
Levy, No

You can read the legislation in its entirety here – keep in mind the City Council now will start its review, with public-comment opportunities along the way – including a 5:30 pm public hearing at City Hall on June 2nd – before a final version is sent to the county in August. (This link also includes info on how to comment on it right now. And a new stack of “public outreach” links has just been sent around by SDOT – you can find them here; the links on that page include the map we’ve embedded atop this story.)

VIDEO: 34th District Democrats make key endorsements

May 20, 2015 at 9:03 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle politics | 21 Comments

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

“We all knew it was coming down to this anyway, so let’s give them a dual (endorsement) and take it to the streets.”

So said former 34th District Democrats chair Ivan Weiss – with current chair Marcee Stone-Vekich declaring it “the quote of the night” – just before the group took its third vote on an endorsement in the first-ever City Council District 1 race, resulting in dual endorsement of Shannon Braddock and Lisa Herbold (L-R photos above).

The voting had started with five of the race’s nine official candidates nominated for potential endorsement on the first ballot. No one ended up with 60 percent or more – Herbold received 63 votes, Braddock 60 votes, Chas Redmond 18 votes, Brianna Thomas 9 votes, Phillip Tavel 6 votes.

That sent the top two vote-getters to a second ballot, the results of which were Braddock 77, Herbold 70. And that set up the motion and the vote for a dual endorsement.

The other big vote was an endorsement in the West Seattle/South Park Seattle School Board race, which has three candidates, two of which were nominated for potential endorsement – incumbent Marty McLaren and challenger Leslie Harris. The results:


Harris declared herself “speechless.”

10:16 PM: The meeting has just wrapped up – endorsement votes for the two at-large City Council seats were delayed because the candidates were coming from earlier meetings to the north. Both of those races also resulted in dual endorsements – for Position 8, Tim Burgess and Jon Grant; for Position 9, Bill Bradburd and Lorena Gonzalez.

ADDED 7:51 AM MONDAY: Here’s our video (and embedded above) of the heart of the meeting – the hour and a half that involved the two aforementioned votes, among other business, and that started with the endorsement of King County Councilmember Joe McDermott, who is unopposed.

Added: Video from the Position 8/9 City Council speeches.

And ahead – play-by-play from the meeting, through the final District 1 results:

Click to read the rest of VIDEO: 34th District Democrats make key endorsements…

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