West Seattle politics 1487 results

After week one in Olympia, here’s what your State Representatives are up to, from water to Sound Transit to bus-lane cameras

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

What’s everybody talking about in Olympia? was our first question when we sat down to talk with our area’s two State House representatives after the first week of the new legislative session.

Water, replied Reps. Eileen Cody and Joe Fitzgibbon, both West Seattle residents who represent the 34th District, which also includes White Center, Vashon/Maury Islands, and part of Burien. (The 34th District’s State Senator Sharon Nelson, now Senate Majority Leader, couldn’t join our Friday afternoon chat at C & P Coffee Company (WSB sponsor) because of extra business in Olympia.)

So back to the water issue. Read More

VIDEO: Parking-policy changes’ backstory @ City Council committee

City Councilmembers’ first discussion of proposed changes in city parking policy – offstreet parking, especially what will or won’t be required for buildings – began with a primer on who owns cars in Seattle.

You can watch the entire briefing for yourself starting 12 minutes into the Seattle Channels video of the Planning, Land Use, and Zoning Committee‘s meeting. The briefing was presented by council staffer Lish Whitson, who said car ownership is growing as the city’s population grows – though not at the same rate; as the city’s population grew 25 percent in recent years, car ownership grew 20 percent.

Other numbers included: 83 percent of Seattleites own cars; 75 percent of renters, and 95 percent of homeowners. “When people have access to ‘free’ parking, they are more likely to own a car,” Whitson noted.

Another number – $35,000 is the average cost per space to include underground parking in a project.

Whitson also provided a history lesson – saying that parking requirements didn’t make their debut in city zoning until 1957. He also touched on how a Hearing Examiner ruling (in a West Seattle-based case) had required the city to re-evaluate how it determines an area has “frequent transit service”; a new definition of that plays a large part in these new recommendations. West Seattle-residing Councilmembers Lisa Herbold and Lorena González had questions about that part of the plan in today’s discussion. Herbold also said she hoped to hear more about the contention that housing might be cheaper if parking wasn’t required, and was looking for data comparing rents on apartments with and without it.

What today’s 26-minute briefing didn’t do was get into details of the proposed changes, originally released in November by then-Mayor Tim Burgess (WSB coverage here). Committee chair Councilmember Rob Johnson noted that more reviews are coming up, starting at PLUZ’s next meeting (January 17), and a public hearing is planned in February. Johnson also said that on-street parking recommendations are in the pipeline too, pointing out that those would be under the jurisdiction of the Sustainability and Transportation Committee, chaired by Councilmember Mike O’Brien.

SOMETHING TO SAY? Here’s how to contact the council.

She’s now King County Sheriff Mitzi Johanknecht: West Seattleite takes oath of office

11:13 AM: We’re at the County Courthouse downtown, where Mitzi Johanknecht has just taken the oath of office and become King County Sheriff. She’s a West Seattle resident who has risen through the Sheriff’s Office ranks over a career of more than 30 years. The oath was administered by Superior Court Presiding Judge Laura Inveen; right after taking her oath, the new Sheriff led her staff in taking their oaths. Those scheduled to speak as the ceremony continues include two other prominent elected West Seattleites, County Executive Dow Constantine and County Council Chair Joe McDermott.

(Video added – the short speeches by Constantine, McDermott, and Johanknecht)

11:22 AM: “It is a new year, and a new day in King County,” Constantine began. He underscored the importance of public-safety services in citizens’ lives. He declared that Sheriff Johanknecht had “served well … and earned the right” to the office she now holds, hoping that she will help make King County “a safer and more-equitable place” for everyone. His brief speech was followed by that of McDermott. He noted that jobs like theirs take “an incredible amount of teamwork and listening” and said that he and his Council colleagues “look forward to working with you” on a variety of issues including budgeting. He expressed hopes that she will serve as an “accountable, transparent, and listening Sheriff.”

(The ‘all West Seattle’ photo, as one participant called it)

Then the sheriff took the microphone, thanking those in attendance for their presence on “this kind of special day” and she acknowledged the service of her predecessor, John Urquhart, who she defeated in November’s election. She said she hopes to “build and reimagine law enforcement” and looks forward to keeping “public safety … a high priority. It’s not just the Sheriff’s Office, it takes community to help us achieve those goals.”

(Sheriff’s wife Maureen pins on her new badge)

She concluded by thanking wife Maureen and the rest of their family, and describing herself as “honored and humbled.” We’ll add more photos and video when back at HQ.

2017 LOOKBACK: Councilmember Lisa Herbold’s year in review

(WSB photo: Councilmember Herbold at the Delridge Neighborhoods District Council, November 2017)

We usually put together a few year-in-review items, and you’ll see ours tomorrow – the year’s not over until it’s over! But many others go public with their lookbacks a bit sooner, and among them is West Seattle/South Park City Councilmember Lisa Herbold. Since her 2017 year-in-review writeup is not on the city website yet, you’ve probably only seen it if you’re on her mailing list. It contains way too many links for us to try to republish it via cutting and pasting, but you should be able to see the browser version here – nine parts (transportation, public safety, housing, land use, government accountability, economic development/equity, arts, budget, constituent contacts), 34 shortcuts to those sections and their sub-sections, followed by the full review.

P.S. As previewed here the other day, Herbold is scheduled to be the main guest when the Southwest District Council meets 6:30 pm Wednesday (January 3rd) at the Sisson Building/Senior Center (4217 SW Oregon), so if you have questions/concerns, bring them!

‘Neighborhood parking reform’ goes to City Council committee Wednesday

On the second day of 2018 City Council meetings, the Planning, Land Use, and Zoning Committee will take on the “neighborhood parking reform” proposal. We first wrote about it in mid-November, when the proposed changes to parking policy were released by the office of then-Mayor Tim Burgess. Wednesday’s 9:30 am committee meeting will bring the first official briefing for, and discussion by, councilmembers, according to the agenda circulated today, which includes this map:

The map (also viewable here, in PDF) shows areas of the city where the proposal would lead to reduction or elimination of parking requirements (see the legend at the bottom of the map, explaining the color coding). The proposal enables this by expanding the definition of “frequent transit service” to cover more areas. You can read a relatively short summary in this agenda attachment, or the long version in the “director’s report” here. Along with the change in parking requirements, it also lays out the rules for “flexible-use” and “shared” parking, intended to increase usage of what the city says is underutilized offstreet parking that already exists, or will be built, and it would require rental properties’ owners to “unbundle” parking so that renters who don’t want it aren’t required to pay for it. There are also some changes in requirements/allowances for car-sharing and bicycle parking, and also a provision to close a loophole that some said was leading to parking stalls that were too small to use – it would “require that non-required parking for residential and live-work uses meet the existing minimum size standards for parking spaces” (currently, the standards only apply to required parking). The full 138-page bill is here.

HOW TO COMMENT: This meeting isn’t scheduled to include a vote. But you can comment on this, or any other, proposed legislation by e-mailing and/or calling councilmembers – this page includes all that information, as well as details of which councilmembers are on which committees – our area’s Councilmember Lisa Herbold is a member of the PLUZ committee that will start this proposal’s review Wednesday.

You’re invited to see West Seattleite Mitzi Johanknecht take the oath of office to become King County Sheriff

One month after the final election results certified West Seattleite Mitzi Johanknecht‘s election as the next King County Sheriff, she will take the oath of office next Tuesday. Today’s advisory from the Sheriff’s Office says the public is welcome to attend the ceremony, 11 am Tuesday (January 2nd) in room E-942 at the King County Courthouse downtown (516 3rd Avenue). As noted in the announcement:

Johanknecht is a 32-year veteran of the Sheriff’s Office. Throughout her career, she served in various leadership positions in every division throughout the Sheriff’s Office. Johanknecht rose to the rank of Major and was the first woman to command the department’s SWAT Team.

In the final vote count, Sheriff-elect Johanknecht defeated incumbent Sheriff John Urquhart with 56.8 percent (283,745 votes) to his 43.2 percent (216,214). Photo: May 2017, White Center Now coverage of North Highline Unincorporated Area Council

Christopher Williams to be acting parks superintendent again, and other mayoral announcements

December 22, 2017 2:34 pm
|    Comments Off on Christopher Williams to be acting parks superintendent again, and other mayoral announcements
 |   West Seattle news | West Seattle politics

More mayoral announcements about who’s staying, going, including news that former West Seattleite Christopher Williams will be acting Parks Superintendent again. Here’s the announcement:

Mayor Jenny A. Durkan announced several new department leaders in her administration, including many with a focus on economic development and City planning.

With the previously announced resignation of Jesús Aguirre, Superintendent of Seattle Parks and Recreation, Mayor Durkan announced that Christopher Williams will serve as Acting Superintendent, effective January 13, 2018, as a search process for a permanent head begins. Williams currently serves as the Deputy Parks Superintendent.

With the resignation of Susan Coskey, Director of the Seattle Department of Human Resources, Mayor Durkan announced that Melissa Beatty will serve as Acting Director, effective January 3, 2018. Beatty currently serves as Chief of Staff at Seattle Department of Human Resources. Durkan will launch a search process to find a candidate for the permanent position.

“Both Susan and Jesús have served our City well for years, and I want to thank each of them for their dedication and vision,” said Durkan. “I have a bold agenda for Seattle, and our department leaders across the city will work closely with me to deliver results on our most urgent challenges of housing, homelessness and transportation and to ensure our City is striving for workplace equity. Through every department, our administration will be focused on tackling the affordability crisis from all angles, delivering services to our residents and businesses, and continuing to seize opportunities to build a better future for all of Seattle.”

In addition, Mayor Durkan announced that Lily Wilson-Codega will serve as the Director of the Office of Intergovernmental Relations, subject to confirmation by the City Council, effective January 8, 2018. Wilson-Codega is currently the Political Director of Teamsters Joint Council 28, the parent body of twelve Teamster Locals representing Union members across Washington State, Alaska, and northern Idaho. Chris Gregorich will continue working in the Durkan administration as an advisor at Department of Finance and Administrative Services focused on major projects including expansion of the Washington State Convention Center.

As Mayor Durkan evaluates the City’s approach to solving homelessness, she announced that George Scarola has moved into a role as a strategic advisor for homelessness response at the Department of Finance and Administrative Services, which also aligns with the 2018 budget passed by City Council.

Additionally, Mayor Durkan announced several officials who will continue to serve in their roles including:
• Sam Assefa, Director of the Office of Planning and Community Development
• Kate Becker, Director of the Office of Film + Music
• Randy Engstrom, Director of the Office of Arts and Culture
• Jessica Finn Coven, Director of the Office of Sustainability & Environment
• Ben Noble, Director of the Budget Office
• Marshall Foster, Director of the Office of the Waterfront
• Glen Lee, City Finance Director
• Nathan Torgelson, Director of the Department of Construction and Inspections

“Our City has many unique opportunities as we are continuing to grow and plan for the future. Working together, we will work to keep our economy thriving, our businesses growing, and our neighborhoods affordable,” concluded Durkan.

Last week, Durkan announced many department leaders and previously announced a number of public safety and utility officials who would serve in her administration.

CITY CHANGES: SDOT director Scott Kubly quits, and other announcements from the mayor

Though he didn’t get that Texas job he was reported to be seeking, SDOT director Scott Kubly has resigned anyway, Mayor Jenny Durkan‘s office announced this afternoon. The announcement includes word of an interim successor, another high-level city official’s departure, and a list of some who are staying on:

Mayor Jenny A. Durkan announced several officials who will serve in her administration including department leaders focused on housing, homelessness, civil rights, transportation, and economic opportunity.

“From housing to homelessness to transportation, our City faces a number of urgent challenges. Our residents and businesses expect our officials to make progress and deliver results, and this administration will be accountable to the people we serve,” said Mayor Durkan.

Following the resignation of Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) Director Scott Kubly, Mayor Durkan named Goran Sparrman as Interim Director, effective January 5, 2018. Sparrman was previously the Interim Director and Deputy Director of SDOT as well as the former Director of Transportation at the City of Bellevue and at Portland’s Bureau of Traffic Management. Durkan will launch a national search process to find a candidate for the permanent position.

“I want to thank Scott for his service to Seattle and wish him well as he pursues new opportunities. In a time of unprecedented growth, Scott set the stage for a significant increase in multi-modal investments in our city, which will have an impact for decades to come. Goran is well-respected leader and has immense experience as an engineer, manager, and planner in our region – I know he will execute over the months to come on my top transportation priorities,” said Mayor Durkan. “Our region has been trying to catch up to its transportation needs for decades, and the next few years will be critical for creating more safe, efficient, and well-connected transportation choices that make it easier and safer for residents to get around on foot, by bike and via mass transit. With a number of significant projects in the pipeline, the next leader must be well positioned to deliver on investments, improve bus service, effectively implement light rail expansion, and prioritize our maintenance backlog.

With the resignation of Patricia Lally, the Director of the Office for Civil Rights, Mayor Durkan announced Mariko Lockhart will serve as the Interim Director of the Office for Civil Rights effective January 3, 2018. Lockhart currently leads the 100,000 Opportunities Initiative – Demonstration Cities for the Aspen Forum on Community Solutions. She previously served as the Director of the City of Seattle’s Youth Violence Prevention Initiative.

“Patricia has fought for civil rights for decades and know she will continue her work to advance social justice,” said Mayor Durkan. “Our City can and must do better to address institutional and structural racism in our government. I have worked with Mariko and know she is committed to addressing true equity across education, affordability, and the criminal justice system.”

Additionally, Mayor Durkan announced several officials focused on housing, homelessness, and economic opportunity who will continue to serve in their roles including:

Dwane Chappelle, Director of the Department of Education and Early Learning
Fred Podesta, Director of Finance and Administrative Services
Catherine Lester, Director of the Seattle Human Services Department
Rebecca Lovell, Acting Director of the Office of Economic Development
Steve Walker, Director of the Office of Housing
Cuc Vu, Director of the Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs

“My administration is committed to tackling the affordability crisis from all angles. As we create more affordable housing, implement the Seattle Promise College Tuition program, and move more people off the streets and into permanent housing, these leaders are committed to working together to find innovative long-term solutions,” concluded Mayor Durkan.

Last week, Mayor Durkan announced a number of public safety and utility officials who would serve in her administration.

Kubly was appointed by then-Mayor Ed Murray three and a half years ago.

FOLLOWUP: City Council committee OKs Schmitz Park expansion purchase, years in the making

A long meeting of the City Council committee chaired by West Seattle/South Park Councilmember Lisa Herbold just concluded with a vote supporting a small but significant expansion of Schmitz Park.

We published the Southwest Seattle Historical Society‘s announcement of this on Sunday. (They’re a supporter, though not a party, to the matter.) Today the Civil Rights, Utilities, Economic Development, and Arts Committee heard from the 5,000-square-foot site’s owner Bruce Stotler (right) and from West Seattle-residing former Councilmember Tom Rasmussen, who shepherded the proposed purchase until his term ended two years ago, and handed it over to Herbold.

Stotler said at today’s meeting that he wanted to make sure his parcel on the southeast edge of the forested preserve – donated by the Schmitz family more than a century ago – wouldn’t someday become a “megahouse with a five-foot yard.” Under terms of the deal with the city, he will sell it for $225,000 but retain a “reservation of life estate” interest so he can continue living there until he dies (or if he chooses to move), at which time the city takes full ownership and will demolish Stotler’s house. The money will come from the levy-funded Seattle Park District.

The city originally didn’t have the money for this, the committee was told, but Stotler didn’t give up. And, said Parks’ Chip Nevins, “It’s important to protect the edges of these parks from encroachment by development.” The site might also be part of a new pathway into the park someday, Herbold noted.

The two committee members in attendance, Herbold and Councilmember Mike O’Brien, both voted to approve the deal, and the full council will have the final vote sometime next month.

SCHOOL BOARD: West Seattleite Leslie Harris is now president

While we’re talking local elected leadership – we should also note that the Seattle Public Schools Board of Directors rep for West Seattle/South Park, Leslie Harris, has just been elected board president. She is beginning her third year on the board. Her next community-conversation meeting, by the way, is 3-5 pm Saturday, December 23rd, at Delridge Library; that and her January and February meeting are listed here along with her contact info.

CITY COUNCIL: See who will be in charge of which committee next year

The City Council made its decisions today about who’s on which committee – in other words, who’s focused on which types of city business. West Seattle/South Park Councilmember Lisa Herbold will continue chairing the Civil Rights, Utilities, Economic Development, and Arts Committee. Herbold also will be vice chair of the Governance, Equity, and Technology Committee, a member of the Planning, Land Use, and Zoning Committee, and an alternate member of the Housing, Health, Energy, and Workers’ Rights Committee. Here’s the rest of the list of which committee each councilmember is chairing; to see who has membership on which committees, read the resolution text here.

P.S. Councilmember Herbold’s next “district office hours” are this Friday (December 15th), 2-6 pm at South Park Community Center (8319 8th Ave. S.).

DAY 7: Mayor seeking new police chief, new Seattle City Light CEO

12:32 PM: Even before the official announcement event at City Hall last hour, Mayor Jenny Durkan had revealed (as we noted on Twitter) that she would be looking for a new Chief of Police. Now we know she’s also looking for a new CEO/general manager for Seattle City Light.

From the announcement (which you can read in full here):

WHO’S GOING: SPD Chief Kathleen O’Toole‘s last day, after 3 1/2 years, is December 31st. Deputy Chief Carmen Best will be interim chief as of January 1st. (As we reported last week, we spoke with O’Toole at the new mayor’s Youngstown Cultural Arts Center event, and she said she was planning to talk with Durkan this week “about the department’s future.”) … City Light CEO/GM Larry Weis has resigned after less than two years; chief compliance officer Jim Baggs will run the utility in the interim.

WHO’S NOT GOING: The mayor says Fire Chief Harold Scoggins and Emergency Management director Barb Graff are staying. … Durkan also said she has asked Seattle Public Utilities CEO/general manager Mami Hara to stay.

No other cabinet mentions – staying OR going – so far.

ABOUT THE POLICE CHIEF SEARCH: The mayor announced a committee will search for O’Toole’s successor, with four co-chairs: Former mayor/City Council president Tim Burgess (who also is a former SPD detective), former King County Sheriff Sue Rahr, ACLU executive Jeffery Robinson, and Chief Seattle Club executive director Colleen Echohawk. (See their bios here.) The mayor promises the chief search will include “an extensive community outreach process during early 2018.”

6:12 PM: Here’s the chief’s full statement.

FOLLOWUP: Church’s rezone request for Morgan Junction townhouse project moves up to next Monday’s City Council meeting

(WSB file photo)

The West Seattle Church of the Nazarene‘s requested rezone for a six-townhouse project on its unofficial “park” space has moved up a week on the City Council‘s calendar. When the Planning, Land Use, and Zoning Committee voted on it this past Monday, they said it would go to the full Council for a final vote on December 11th, but instead, it’s on the December 4th agenda that just arrived. This is the project with a complication – though it’s been in the works for four years, long before the HALA Mandatory Housing Affordability (MHA) program was launched, the city says the project should be subject to MHA, which means either a $200,000-ish fee or setting aside two of the townhouses as “affordable.” The church was hoping for a waiver but the councilmembers who voted last Monday did not grant one. The land in question at 5911 42nd SW currently is zoned for three single-family houses; the church had been offering to preserve part of the open space as part of an agreement accompanying the upzone request. Next Monday’s meeting is at 2 pm at City Hall downtown.

VIDEO: 2 days, 2 West Seattle stops for Mayor Jenny Durkan , visiting South Seattle College to launch expanded free-college program

On Mayor Jenny Durkan‘s second day in office, she made her second visit to West Seattle, taking her first step toward fulfilling one of her campaign promises – two years of free community college for all Seattle high-school graduates. The program she calls Seattle Promise is set in motion by an executive order she signed at South Seattle College (WSB sponsor), which for almost a decade has been home to a program called 13th Year Promise. That program offers a free year at SSC to graduates of certain Seattle public high schools – currently including Chief Sealth International High School, and starting next year, to also include West Seattle High School.

Durkan’s plan is for ultimately all Seattle graduates to be able to get two years of free community college. But the order she signed at SSC – read it here – first guarantees a second year for those in the 13th Year Promise program this year, and then sets up a process for figuring out how to pay for expansion, with a plan due by next March:

Identify how existing resources and funding sources, including federal, state or regional
funds, the Families and Education Levy and Seattle Preschool Program Levy renewal, the
Seattle Public school local levy renewal, and philanthropic resources, can be deployed to
maximize student access to the Promise Program.

To underscore the mention of the levies, two paragraphs later, the mayor’s order directs two departments to “immediately consider the Seattle Promise College Tuition Program for inclusion in the proposal for the renewal of the Families and Education Levy and the Seattle Preschool Levy in 2018.”

This afternoon’s announcement was held with a gathered backdrop of SSC students – who were hailed as the real “dignitaries” at the event – plus others including City Council President Bruce Harrell (who spoke), Councilmember Sally Bagshaw (who did not), SSC and Seattle Colleges leaders including the system’s chancellor, Dr. Shouan Pan.

Dr. Pan said this program will be a “gamechanger” for many. (Added) He was the first speaker; here’s our video of the full event:

We also saw former SSC president Gary Oertli, who was beaming, saying the 13th Year Promise program “was my baby” and expressing pride that it’s up for expansion. Speaking of expansion, the event was held in the foyer of newly opened Cascade Hall on the northwest side of the SSC campus. While classes are being held there now and some faculty members have moved into offices, its formal dedication is still a few months away. It’s headquarters to the SSC nursing program, and we got a quick peek this afternoon into classrooms such as this hospital simulation area:

SIDE NOTE: So far, no third-day-in-a-row plan for a mayoral visit tomorrow – she has announced a visit to Capitol Hill, where she’ll tour small businesses (as she did during a campaign visit to West Seattle a few months ago) before announcing the creation of a Small Business Advisory Council.

ALSO REPRESENTING YOU: Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda takes office

November 28, 2017 11:22 pm
|    Comments Off on ALSO REPRESENTING YOU: Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda takes office
 |   West Seattle news | West Seattle politics

(Photo by Joseph Peha)

Also taking office as soon as the election results were certified today – new City Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda, who was elected to at-large (citywide) Position 8. Like Mayor Jenny Durkan, Mosqueda takes office earlier than would be customary because of a domino effect going back to former Mayor Murray’s resignation. Since the previous P-8 officeholder, Tim Burgess, was appointed to serve as mayor until today – he didn’t run for re-election anyway – interim councilmember Kirsten Harris-Talley‘s term concluded today, and Mosqueda took office. Her final margin of victory over Jon Grant was 60 percent to 40 percent. West Seattle-residing Councilmember Lorena González was re-elected to the other citywide position (9) but there’s no rush for her re-swearing-in.

VIDEO: Mayor Jenny Durkan takes office, with city tour including West Seattle stop

(WSB video of Youngstown event, replacing what was Seattle Channel live-stream window from earlier)

4:15 PM: We’re at Youngstown Cultural Arts Center in North Delridge, where newly inaugurated Mayor Jenny Durkan will be appearing soon. Though this was the initially announced time, it’s slid a bit, and is likely to be closer to 4:45. When she appears here, the Seattle Channel live feed will be accessible via the window embedded above, or by going here. She took the oath of office at the Ethiopian Community Center in Rainier Beach about half an hour ago, and declared it was time to “get to work.” We’ll update when she arrives.

The event here, by the way, is to be emceed by West Seattle-residing County Council Chair Joe McDermott, who has already arrived.

4:50 PM: The mayor is at the podium. We count 70+ people on the side of the room, including Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole and Fire Chief Harold Scoggins. County Executive Dow Constantine just administered a ceremonial 2nd oath:

The mayor said she realizes West Seattle used to be a city all its own but she’s glad it’s part of Seattle now.

5:03 PM: Mayor Durkan wrapped up her speech and signed an executive order about rent assistance (read it here), and shortly she will be off to her next stop, in the International District. Seattle Channel also planned to stream that, so we’ll leave the video window up for a while. We recorded our own video of this stop and will add it when it’s ready to upload. The mayor, by the way, promised she would be back in West Seattle often – so often we’ll “get sick of” her. In fact she is already planning a second visit tomorrow, at South Seattle College (WSB sponsor), to talk about her plan to expand college access. More later.

7:50 PM: Our video of the Youngstown event is now atop this story. We’ve added a few more photos, too. Among the people we talked to there was the police chief:

We asked her the question she said “everybody” has been asking her – is she staying on in the Durkan administration? She said she’ll be talking with the new mayor next week about the department’s future, but for today, she was planning to go to all five events, but staying on the sidelines because “it’s (Durkan’s) day.” Other top police brass were there, and County Prosecuting Attorney Dan Satterberg, too:

Not only is the new mayor coming back tomorrow as mentioned above, she also has a transition-team member coming to West Seattle tomorrow night to listen to community members’ concerns.

Jenny Durkan to visit West Seattle on Tuesday during 5-stop tour after becoming mayor

November 26, 2017 1:44 pm
|    Comments Off on Jenny Durkan to visit West Seattle on Tuesday during 5-stop tour after becoming mayor
 |   West Seattle news | West Seattle politics

The biggest story in the week ahead is likely to be the Seattle mayoral transition: Tuesday is the day that Jenny Durkan becomes Mayor. That afternoon, she will head out on a five-stop tour to “take City Hall directly into communities across Seattle … and share her vision for the City,” with the second stop scheduled to be in West Seattle. The advisory from her transition team says she will be at Youngstown Cultural Arts Center (4408 Delridge Way SW) at 4:15 pm Tuesday. Her other stops will be in the Rainier Valley, International District, Phinney Ridge, and Lake City. Tuesday is the day the election will be certified, and with only a handful of votes to be counted, Durkan’s victory over Cary Moon is 56% to 44%.

(P.S. Thanks to Diane for posting about the mayoral tour plan in the WSB Forum!)

CITY BUDGET: What’s in it for West Seattle and South Park

November 22, 2017 9:33 pm
|    Comments Off on CITY BUDGET: What’s in it for West Seattle and South Park
 |   West Seattle news | West Seattle politics

(Seattle Channel video of today’s budget signing)

The two-month-long process of changing and finalizing next year’s budget ended today with Mayor Tim Burgess signing what the City Council passed a day earlier. So what’s in it for our area? Here’s how West Seattle/South Park City Councilmember Lisa Herbold – who led the budget process this year – broke it down in her weekly update:

*Funding for public safety coordinator and pedestrian/lighting improvements identified by the South Park Public Safety Task Force

*Statement of Legislative Intent report from SPD by March 16 about solutions to vehicle-noise enforcement and cruising in Alki (which could also affect Fauntleroy and Belltown)

*Expand the Ready to Work project into District 1. There are unique challenges facing immigrants and refugees living in SW Seattle. The Ready to Work model is designed to support Seattle residents who are English learners and hinges on the intensive centralized and neighborhood-based support available to these English learners. The special features of this project include level 1-3 ESL classes, 12 hours a week of classes focused on supporting English learners to succeed in a professional environment, intensive case management, and curriculum focused on digital and financial literacy. The Ready to Work expansion is currently in its planning phase and is slated to open in April of 2018.

*Funding to plan and design walkable, bikeable path uniting the Georgetown and South Park neighborhoods to enhance walkability between Georgetown and South Park’s historic “Main Streets” and connect the heart of the Duwamish Valley

*Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD): expansion of LEAD to North Precinct, and to begin taking referrals from the SW and South Precincts, and a Statement of Legislative Intent to expand LEAD citywide in 2019

*Addition of $1 million for participatory budgeting (done through the Neighborhood Parks and Streets Fund), which, in 2017, funded projects in Delridge, Westwood/Highland Park, High Point, and South Park

*Vacant Building Monitoring Program: While working on legislation earlier this year to modify maintenance and demolition standards related to vacant buildings I worked to add an amendment that would require the department to present the Council with legislation by March 31, 2018. Requiring property owners to register vacant and foreclosed properties allows the City to register properties to ensure they are maintained and secure, and are not a nuisances to the public. The City has experienced a significant increase of complaints about vacant buildings – between 2013 and 2016 we saw an increase of 58%. Of those, District 1 has the second highest amount of complaints at 189 between 2013 and 2016.

That is only part of Councilmember Herbold’s budget wrapup (which you can read in full here). She also lists key points under these headings:

-Human Service and Homelessness
-Public Safety
-Civil Rights, Utilities, Economic Development and Arts Committee
-Fiscal responsibility

And finally, she writes about what’s next for the “head tax” proposal – explaining the resolution that the council passed, days after their 5-4 vote against including it in next year’s budget:

Often, we talk about economic prosperity not lifting all boats, but the proposition we are faced with — and the reason the Employee Head Tax was proposed — is because economic prosperity has not only failed to help everybody, but this economic prosperity has hurt some people, as noted in the Mayor’s proposed budget. I believe that the beneficiaries of that economic prosperity must do more to address the impacts of prosperity that has not been shared by all.

In seeking a budget that had, at its core, a principle of fiscal responsibility and sustainability, I proposed a progressive, ongoing revenue source to support a surge in affordable housing production – to more than double the units built with Housing Levy funds – to meet the great need of people living without homes. Instead of passing that ongoing revenue source, the Council passed Resolution 31782. This resolution requires the Council to assemble a task force to be appointed by December 11. This task force will develop recommendations for a dedicated progressive revenue source to support people experiencing or at high-risk for homelessness and to raise no less than $25 million a year. This task force will deliver recommendations by February 26, 2018, and the Council will take legislative action by March 26. 2018. This is a huge win for those who have been waiting for something big and bold to address the city’s civil emergency on homelessness.

The full list of council changes to the mayor-proposed budget is here.

CITY BUDGET CHANGES: Decision time, starting today

(SCROLL DOWN for afternoon & evening updates)

(Video of today’s committee meeting)

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

The City Council’s final budget decisions are getting closer.

In a two-session review today, at 9:30 am and 2 pm, councilmembers will start voting on changes to the budget presented by the mayor last month. As Budget Committee chair, West Seattle/South Park Councilmember Lisa Herbold has come up with the almost-final list of changes, formally known as the “revised balancing package.” The proposals are all linked from the agenda.

One potential showdown is over the “head tax,” a per-employee tax for businesses with a certain level of revenue. In her newest online update, Herbold calls the proposal “exciting” and says it “would provide sustained, ongoing funding for addressing the homelessness emergency and related items” and that “because it is an ongoing revenue source, the City could bond against this new revenue in the future.”

Opponents include a coalition of 90+ businesses, including a half-dozen-plus from West Seattle, that sent a letter (see it here) to the council on Monday, saying, “We need a compassionate and effective approach to solving homelessness. This proposed tax on jobs is not that, and comes on top of significant increases in business taxes, fees and utility rates that the Council has adopted in the last three years.” (Added 10:22 am: In opening remarks at today’s meeting, Herbold explained changes in the proposal, including a doubling of the threshold for the revenue level at which businesses would be affected, now $10 million.)

The items listed for discussion/votes today include an alternative proposal from Councilmember Bruce Harrell proposing that “the Executive work cooperatively with the Council to develop and participate in a community-led stakeholder engagement process around the establishment of an Employee Hours Tax and/or other revenue source.”

Also likely to be a hot topic, the topic of encampment removals. The “proviso” that has made it onto the list for discussion is Herbold’s alternative, which spells out accountability for determine where the city is removing them and why, not others’ proposals to all but shut them down.

And there’s a proposal from Councilmember Mike O’Brien to set aside $750,000 for at least 13 “safe parking” sites for people living in RVs and other vehicles.

The dozens of other potential budget changes that made this list also include two we’ve mentioned recently that specifically relate to West Seattle, including one related to noise/cruising violations on Alki:

By March 16, 2018, the Seattle Police Department (SPD) is requested to submit a report to the Councilmember representing Council District 1, the Chair of the Gender Equity, Safe Communities, and New Americans Committee, and Council Central Staff Director on SPD’s enforcement policies and practices with respect to vehicle noise and cruising in the Alki neighborhood during the warm-weather months.

And then there’s the item related to the forthcoming Delridge RapidRide conversion. Herbold staffer Newell Aldrich clarified for us that this is intended to add a greater level of transparency earlier in the process.

Again, the full list of what will be discussed in 9:30 am and 2 pm sessions today is here – each item in blue links to the document summarizing the proposal. You can watch live via Seattle Channel, online or channel 21. A final budget vote is planned next Monday; any last-minute thoughts, e-mail councilmembers at council@seattle.gov.

ADDED 2:32 PM: The first budget meeting of the day ran four hours, to within half an hour of the scheduled start of the second one, so the council decided to reconvene tomorrow morning instead. Among the decisions made: The “head tax” was voted down, with Councilmembers Bruce Harrell, Debora Juarez, Lorena González, Rob Johnson, and Sally Bagshaw voting “no.” There was a general commitment to bring back another version soon.

ADDED 6:14 PM: We’ve replaced the no-longer-needed live video window above with the archived video of today’s meeting. As you’ll hear in the final minutes, the rest of the reason they adjourned this afternoon to regroup for tomorrow is because the rejection of the “head tax” meant some subsequent proposals no longer had funding. Tomorrow’s agenda calls for a public-comment session at 9:30 am, then adjournment until 11 am.

ELECTION RESULTS UPDATE: Sheriff-elect Johanknecht, commissioner-elect Calkins

Just after the wind started roaring this afternoon, another round of election results went public. Six days after the election, things are fairly well finalized. Of particular interest here, West Seattleite Mitzi Johanknecht (right) is King County Sheriff-elect; today’s results count widened her lead over incumbent Sheriff John Urquhart to more than 62,000 votes, and he is reported to have conceded. Another incumbent named John also has been ousted – Seattle Port Commissioner John Creighton, almost 22,000 votes behind Ryan Calkins. Only about 14,000 ballots remain to be counted countywide; turnout for last Tuesday’s election is measured at 41 percent. See the full results update here.

ELECTION RESULTS, ROUND 2: No changes in Seattle/King County races

Short sum-up of the second round of election results, released this afternoon: No changes in Seattle/King County races.

A few notes:

*West Seattleite Mitzi Johanknecht widened her lead over incumbent Sheriff John Urquhart, now almost 13,000 votes. (Here’s our coverage of her election-night speech.)

*Cary Moon has just formally conceded in the race for mayor, won by Jenny Durkan, who maintained 60 percent of the vote. From Moon’s statement:

I ran for Mayor because I felt an immense duty and responsibility to ensure Seattle — our beautiful, vibrant, diverse city — works for everyone.

While the election results will probably continue to tighten, the outcome is unlikely to be what we hoped. We should not let that discourage us. Despite being outspent 3:1, we ran a strong, transparent, and honest campaign about vision and solutions. We drove the conversation around housing affordability, real estate speculation, municipal broadband, and wealth inequality.

l have offered my congratulations to Jenny Durkan, Seattle’s first woman mayor in 90 years. I urge her to boldly confront the challenges facing our city and to remember that Seattle’s prosperity should provide shared opportunity and success for everyone, not just the wealthy few. …

(added 6:11 pm) *Mayor-elect Durkan has sent a statement too. Excerpt:

… I want to congratulate Cary Moon on the strong race that she’s run and the ideas she brought to the table. In nearly 100 debates and forums, I saw firsthand her love for our city and her commitment to compassionately address the toughest challenges facing Seattle. I have no doubt that Cary will remain active in our city and continue to contribute to its vibrant future.

I am honored that the voters have given me this great opportunity, but with the honor comes a deep responsibility. The hard work of delivering progress starts today. Our city will – and must – come together around the solutions to address the urgent issues facing our city from homelessness to affordability to addressing systemic inequities. …

*The Seattle Port Commission Position 1 race between incumbent John Creighton (51.16%) and Ryan Calkins (48.84%) tightened a bit, with Calkins now 6,500+ votes behind Creighton – the margin was 7,400+ last night.

Next ballot count is due around 4 pm tomorrow. If you want to check to be sure your ballot has been received – follow the “track my ballot” options here.

ELECTION 2017: West Seattleites’ big night – Johanknecht leads King County Sheriff race; Constantine, González win re-election

November 7, 2017 10:46 pm
|    Comments Off on ELECTION 2017: West Seattleites’ big night – Johanknecht leads King County Sheriff race; Constantine, González win re-election
 |   West Seattle news | West Seattle politics

For three West Seattleites, it’s a big Election Night.

Top of the list is the only one who was having an official party in West Seattle – King County Sheriff’s Office Maj. Mitzi Johanknecht. We arrived at her event at the John L. Scott building in The Junction just after King County released its first and only set of results for the night, showing her with a lead of almost 10,000 votes over incumbent Sheriff John Urquhart. The candidate and her wife Maureen were beaming:

The “for” on Mitzi For Sheriff signs and buttons was covered with stickers reading “is”:

And the candidate spoke, with messages for constituents and colleagues:

With many votes left to be counted, some candidates might not be ready to immediately look forward, but the news for the incumbent has been not so good lately, to say the least, and it’s hard to imagine late voters turning his way, but it’s not over until it’s over …

… unless you have a huge lead already, as is the case for the other West Seattleite on the ballot for countywide office. Dow Constantine has won a third 4-year term as King County Executive, the second consecutive election in which he has had only nominal opposition.

And on the city ballot, Councilmember Lorena González has won her first 4-year term, two years after being elected to citywide Position 9:

West Seattle is also home to City Councilmember Lisa Herbold, who is midway through her first 4-year term serving District 1 (WS and South Park), and County Council Chair Joe McDermott, who is midway through his current 4-year term. He also had cause to celebrate tonight, as he advocated strongly for King County Proposition 1, which was approved by a wide margin.

ELECTION RESULTS: Here’s who’s winning, after the first count

The first count is in, and here’s a quick look at who’s ahead:

Jenny Durkan – 64,174 – 60.62%
Cary Moon – 41,683 – 39.38%

Teresa Mosqueda – 61,117 – 61.51%
Jon Grant – 38,241 – 38.49%

M. Lorena González* – 67,409 – 67.68%
Pat Murakami – 32,188 – 32.32%

(Added: At left, West Seattleite Mitzi Johanknecht, after first results showed her winning KC Sheriff race – separate story to come)

Mitzi Johanknecht – 139,644 – 51.84%
John Urquhart* – 129,725 – 48.16%

Dow Constantine* – 204,217 – 75.4%
Bill Hirt – 66,629 – 24.6%

John Creighton* – 129,039 – 51.48%
Ryan Calkins – 121,621 – 48.52%

Stephanie Bowman* – 169,277 – 66.79%
Ahmed Abdi – 84,159 – 33.21%

Peter Steinbrueck – 159,683 – 62.88%
Preeti Shridhar – 94,284 – 37.12%

Eden Mack – 81,337 – 85.97%
Herbert J. Camet, Jr. – 13,271 – 14.03%

Zachary Pullin DeWolf – 57,940 – 61.17%
Omar Vasquez – 36,775 – 38.83%

Betty Patu – 60,869 – 64.11%
Chelsea Byers – 34,074 – 35.89%

KING COUNTY PROPOSITION 1 (Levy Lid Lift for Veterans, Seniors and Vulnerable Populations)
Approved – 185,133 – 66.06%
Rejected – 95,106 – 33.94%

Pete Holmes* – 72,003 – 72.81%
Scott Lindsay – 26,895 – 27.19%

Again, full list of first-night resuls here.

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