Two topics of much discussion here go before City Council committees next Tuesday (December 10), as confirmed by agendas just made public:
EVERY-OTHER-WEEK TRASH PICKUP: Last week, many WSB’ers had something to say about a council proposal that paves the way for Seattle Public Utilities potentially changing to every-other-week garbage service citywide, following a test last year that included part of Highland Park. That proposal, adding an every-other-week option to the city’s contracts with haulers including Waste Management, will be considered by the Libraries, Utilities, and Center Committee at noon Tuesday. This would not be a final decision; as we reported last week, the council is committing itself to deciding by next March whether to pursue the plan, and would have to approve additional legislation to make it reality – but it’s never too soon to speak up if you feel strongly about it, pro or con.
(WSB Monday photo by Patrick Sand)
TRANSPORTATION TROUBLE: Remember the bridge shutdown back on Monday, after de-icer applied in relatively warm afternoon sunshine led to multiple crashes? City Councilmember Tom Rasmussen promised that the Transportation Committee, which he chairs, would seek an SDOT briefing at its next meeting – and there is indeed an agenda item titled “SDOT planning and procedures for roadways during inclement weather” toward the end of the agenda for Tuesday’s 9:30 am meeting.
Both of the above meetings have public-comment periods at the start; both are in council chambers at City Hall downtown; both will be live via Seattle Channel, seattlechannel.org online or cable channel 21.
2:02 PM: After a pilot project that included part of Highland Park, the Seattle City Council is now ready to talk about whether to extend every-other-week trash pickup to single-family homes citywide. That’s according to the text of this proposed council bill on the council’s next Introduction/Referral Calendar; it seeks to amend the Waste Management and CleanScapes contracts to permit the “option,” and it declares that the council will decide by March 1st of next year whether to “exercise its earliest option” for every-other-week service. Text further into the bill appears to indicate that “earliest option” would be April 1st, 2015, but a separate bill would have to be passed.
ADDED 6:47 PM: In comments, Admiral Neighborhood Association president David Whiting says a Seattle Public Utilities rep is booked for ANA’s January 14th meeting (7 pm, Admiral Congregational Church, California/Hill) to talk about this.
ADDED THURSDAY MORNING: The city’s report on last year’s pilot every-other-week-pickup project is here. It says that while 89 percent of people reported satisfaction with weekly service, 63 percent reported they were satisfied with every-other-weekly service (52 percent in the Highland Park test zone).
Council approves 2014 city budget with design $ for ‘Fauntleroy Green Boulevard,’ planning $ for DelridgeNovember 25, 2013 at 3:27 pm | In Transportation, West Seattle news, West Seattle politics | 8 Comments
That’s the design so far for the “Fauntleroy Way Green Boulevard” plan – two lanes each way, a partial cycle track, and a median if utilities allow, among other safety and beautification components. $1.3 million to finish the design is in the 2014 budget just finalized by the City Council (more backstory in our report from last Monday). SDOT told us earlier this month that they expect at least one community meeting about the design early next year; the last one was in 2012. Other budget changes include $100,000 for Delridge Way “multi-modal corridor development” planning, explained here. You can see the full list of council changes here; lots more budget documentation here.
(WSB photo from November 2012 Spokane St. Viaduct celebration; SDOT’s Peter Hahn is at right)
As Mayor-elect Ed Murray continues his first transition team meeting, the media has received a first list of which city department heads are staying (for now) and which are going. Among those leaving: The head of SDOT, Peter Hahn. Here’s the full announcement:
Mayor-Elect Murray began meeting individually with the heads of city departments to discuss his plans and priorities for when he takes office in January. These are ongoing meetings that will continue through December.
“I mentioned earlier in the week that there would be some changes in personnel, as can be expected with any transition to a new administration. I wanted (to) share where things stand in that regard at the present time,” Murray said.
The following department heads will be not be returning once the new administration takes office:
The state senator who represents our area, Sen. Sharon Nelson, has just been elected leader of the Senate Democratic Caucus, a position held by State Sen. Ed Murray, leaving after his election to be Seattle Mayor. Click ahead to read the news release:
Story/video by Tracy Record
Photos by Patrick Sand
West Seattle Blog co-publishers
As the morning traffic of busy 35th SW – including Metro buses – rolled behind them, three local elected officials joined members of the new grass-roots West Seattle Transportation Coalition to decry the political standoff that could lead to dramatic cuts in bus service, hitting hard in densifying West Seattle.
(L-R, City Councilmember Tom Rasmussen, County Councilmember Joe McDermott, State Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon)
Metro outlined those potential cuts at a briefing a week and a half ago (WSB as-it-happened coverage here) – including a map showing the shrunken local route system that would result:
(Click for full-size view)
WSTC’s board met last week to plan strategy, and the first result was this morning’s rally – 14 minutes, which you can watch in its entirety in our clip above, bookended by WSTC’s Deb Barker (below) and Amanda Kay Helmick.
“We can’t keep putting a Band-Aid on this problem, we can’t keep expecting Metro to find funds and close this gap,” warned County Councilmember Joe McDermott, who chairs the council’s Transportation Committee. He pointed out that Metro already has taken $800 million in gap-closing actions.
City Council Transportation Committee chair, Councilmember Tom Rasmussen, pointed out that his own bus route, 37, is one of those that Metro says will be “deleted” if its proposed cuts have to be made. And the effects go beyond citizens’ commutes, potentially putting thousands of cars back on the roads and snarling traffic further, affecting freight and commerce: “If this region is in gridlock, we are in deep trouble with regard to our economy.”
Also there, State House Transportation Committee member Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon, who told WSB before the event that a special session is still not looking likely for later this week (when legislators will be in Olympia anyway), because they’re not close to an agreement yet. A special session would be vital for legislators to pass a package that would at least allow local voters to be asked to approve taxes/fees to replace the transit funding that is expiring next year; the package is not just about transit, it’s been stressed, but would include road funding too.
If legislators can’t do it, said Helmick (below), closing out the rally speeches, WSTC wants city and county leaders to go immediately with “Plan B,” which could include asking voters to approve a license-plate tax up to $100. “We need action and we need it now,” she declared.
They closed with a round of chanting “Save our Metro,” and WSTC members lingered for Q/A with media in attendance, which included three TV crews.
WSTC members are all volunteers and looking for more reinforcements – as explained on the WSTC website.
Meantime, to share your opinion on the Metro cuts – which, if nothing changes, would start taking effect next September – and what to do to avoid them, the county invites you to:
*Take this online survey
*Send e-mail to email@example.com
*Come to a meeting December 3rd, 6-8 pm, Youngstown Cultural Arts Center (4408 Delridge Way SW), described as an open house with optional presentation/small-group discussions starting at 7 pm
9:56 AM: Right after this morning’s West Seattle Transportation Coalition media briefing – full coverage on that is coming up – we spoke with City Councilmember Tom Rasmussen about his proposal to add money to the design budget for the “Fauntleroy Way Green Boulevard” project. As we first reported a week and a half ago, he proposed shifting $1.8 million to the project to finish design next year – it’s a plan that’s been more than a decade in the making.
More than $1 million was to come from sidewalk work that SDOT couldn’t start until 2015 anyway, and half a million was to be diverted from design work for a Northgate pedestrian project related to light-rail service that is still almost a decade away. Advocacy groups including Feet First pointed out that while the service is far away, the project involving an overpass needs to be designed ASAP or else some other parts of the project might be in jeopardy. So this morning, in response to our followup question, Councilmember Rasmussen said he plans to propose leaving the $500,000 in the Northgate budget, and downshifting the Fauntleroy request to $1.3 million, and that he is hopeful his fellow councilmembers will support that. Above is the latest version of the Fauntleroy proposal (click it to see the full-size PDF with details including 2 traffic lanes each way and a “cycle track”); SDOT told us earlier this month that they’ll be seeking community comments early next year – the last community meeting about the “Green Boulevard” was in 2012.
3:10 PM UPDATE: The sheaf of budget-amending “green sheets” attached to this afternoon’s Council agenda does indeed include a revised version for this project, with the $1.3 million we reported earlier.
After this afternoon’s added ballot count put Kshama Sawant 1,640 votes ahead of Councilmember Richard Conlin, he has just conceded. Here’s a tweet from Seattle Times (WSB partner) reporter Brian Rosenthal:
Standing behind Conlin at concession: Councilmembers Tim Burgess and Sally Bagshaw pic.twitter.com/oTVSwIDvwd
— Brian M. Rosenthal (@brianmrosenthal) November 16, 2013
See the newest vote total for this race here. Another note of interest: Though it’s not close enough to change the outcome, the gap has tightened in the mayor’s race since election night, and it’s now 52 percent for Ed Murray, 47 percent for Mike McGinn.
4:39 PM: Just in – today’s ballot count shows Kshama Sawant widening her lead over incumbent Councilmember Richard Conlin to 402 votes; see the new numbers here.
P.S. The one-sheet with every race in the county is here. Next ballot count, about this time tomorrow.
ADDED 5:16 PM: A media-advisory excerpt from the Sawant campaign, with some context and the numbers as they’ve shifted since Election Night eight days ago:
(Added: Seattle Times photo by Greg Gilbert, republished with permission)
4:23 PM: The newest ballot count is just in from King County Elections, and the race that has had the city on the edge of its election-watching seat has continued going the challenger’s way: Kshama Sawant now leads incumbent Richard Conlin in the Seattle City Council Position 2 race. Numbers here – 79,751 for Sawant, 79,710 for Conlin:
4:41 PM: If you haven’t been paying close attention, Sawant is a community-college economics teacher who ran as a Socialist. If she wins, she will be the first Socialist member of the Seattle City Council; she would be the fourth woman and second person of color on the current council. She would have to run again in 2015 because of Seattle Charter Amendment 19, which won in a landslide, setting up elections by district for seven of the council’s nine seats, including the creation of West Seattle’s District 1. (A Facebook group is already active for discussing ramifications – find it here.)
Meantime, the numbers from the next batch of ballots will be announced tomorrow around 4:30 pm. As our partners at The Seattle Times note, Sawant had 46 percent of the vote on Election Night, but has been closing the gap daily ever since.
Why no transportation solution? Rep. Fitzgibbon headlines West Seattle Chamber of Commerce ‘Lunch With LEO’November 12, 2013 at 3:47 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle politics | 4 Comments
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
One of West Seattle’s three state legislators, just back from the short special session in Olympia, shared insights today at a West Seattle Chamber of Commerce-sponsored brown-bag-lunch discussion.
As noted here on Saturday, the session led to approval for extending Boeing tax breaks but inaction on a transportation package that could save Metro from slashing service.
State Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon, a Burien Democrat who’s on the House Transportation Committee, told today’s “Lunch with LEO” (local elected official) gathering at ArtsWest that he didn’t think transportation “was ever likely to get resolved” in this special session: “We’re not close enough to a deal on a transportation package,” between the Democratic-led House and Republican-led Senate. “We have some philosophical differences on things. … The Senate does not believe transit, pedestrian (etc.) is a state responsibility.”
If you haven’t taken the quick and easy online step of checking to see whether your ballot from last week’s election was received and validated, you might consider doing it now. You’ve probably heard that one City Council contest has narrowed dramatically since the original Election Night count – Position 2 incumbent Richard Conlin and challenger Kshama Sawant are now 1,237 votes apart, – and the ballot-counting isn’t over yet, so it could come down to a handful of votes.
Both campaigns have suggested that while we await the next round of ballot totals tomorrow, you check to make sure your ballot has been counted. It can get lost on its way to Elections HQ; one West Seattleite tells us his was dropped into a box at the Junction post office on Election Day – but came back marked “return to sender.” He contacted King County Elections and received an e-mail reply explaining that he needed to bring it in ASAP; the reply included, “We have heard of this happening to other voters …” Other things that can go awry include the possibility your signature wasn’t validated (happened to us a couple elections ago). Don’t wait to see if yours turns up back on your doorstep. Just go here – it’s really quick.
The state Legislature’s latest special session is over on its third day – and still no transportation-money deal, despite high-profile pleas like the one County Executive Dow Constantine headed south to make after warning again of the major Metro cuts that loom if funding isn’t found (Thursday WSB coverage here). The Legislature did approve breaks for Boeing meant to keep that company from building the 777X elsewhere; asked about transportation at a briefing minutes ago, the governor said he would call legislators back “if we have an agreement [on a transportation bill] by November 21st.” If not? Metro moves closer to setting the wheels in motion for making those cuts next year.
(ADDED 1:42 PM: Updated partial design for Fauntleroy ‘boulevard’ – click for full-size PDF)
The process of shaping next year’s city budget is into the final stretch now, and proposed changes are going before the City Council for discussion. This afternoon, potential transportation-budget changes will be considered, and two involve major roads in West Seattle:
First – City Councilmembers Tom Rasmussen, Sally Bagshaw, and Richard Conlin are proposing adding $1.8 million to the Fauntleroy Way Green Boulevard project, which, the budget document says, would complete its design next year.
It’s been two years since the first council discussion of design funding for the project; the detailed budget document goes into other background (including mentions of Fauntleroy’s “gateway” status that date back to the ’90s), and then:
Currently, Fauntleroy Way SW is a poorly defined street that has numerous curb cuts and paved planting strips. Pedestrian and bicycle safety are cited as major concerns by residents and business owners. It is perceived as a difficult street for pedestrians to safely cross.
The Fauntleroy project will improve the pedestrian environment and crossings, access, traffic safety, lighting, and drainage on Fauntleroy Way SW between 35th Ave. SW and SW Alaska St. as well as implementing the boulevard concept for this section of roadway, as originally discussed in the West Seattle Streetscape Concepts Plan.
The project was first funded in 2012. Additional funding was provided in 2013. The base budget includes sufficient funding for work through July 2014 when SDOT expects to complete 60% design. SDOT reports that it could complete final design by December 2014 if Council added $1.8M to the project’s budget. Construction costs are currently estimated at $11.4M and could begin in early 2015, sixteen years after the adoption of the Neighborhood Plan.
The aforementioned “additional funding” emerged last July, the council added $200,000 more to the design budget, as reported here.
Where would the $1.8 million come from, you ask? More than half is from sidewalk work that the budget document says SDOT can’t do until 2015 anyway); half a million would be moved from “planning work on pedestrian amenities in the vicinity of the Northgate Link Light Rail Station, scheduled to open in 2021 (or potentially sooner). This is work that will have to be done, but it need not be done in 2014.”
Second – This afternoon’s presentations/discussions will also include Councilmembers Jean Godden, Sally Clark, and Rasmussen’s proposal to add $100,000 to the SDOT budget for Delridge Way “multi-modal corridor development” planning. Here’s the detailed budget document, which explains in part:
The Delridge corridor has increasing importance as a priority transit corridor, and funding for the corridor study will support the community’s intense desire to address a number of pedestrian safety, bicycle access and transit priority upgrades. By initiating planning in this corridor in 2014, SDOT can begin the public engagement phase with the community, as well as data collection and an inventory of existing conditions and potential improvements recommended in the relevant modal plans.
The transportation-budget proposals are on the agenda for the council’s 2 pm budget-discussion session today; you can watch via the Seattle Channel, online or cable. If you have comments for the council – e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll update later with the outcome on these items.
1:44 PM UPDATE: We have just obtained the newest rendering for Fauntleroy, added atop the story, and explained by SDOT spokesperson Rick Sheridan: “This represents the current design, which has not yet reached 60 percent. To incorporate the recommendations of the draft Bicycle Master Plan, a cycle track is part of this latest design. SDOT will return to West Seattle in early 2014 to collect feedback from residents and businesses on the design.” Cycle tracks are bike lanes separated from motorized-vehicle traffic for safety. They’re the brown-shaded areas in the rendering.
*EDITOR’S NOTE: Though this was published Tuesday night, you can still get the NEWEST results at any point afterward, by clicking the headline for each race*
(ADDED – KIRO-TV raw video of Ed Murray’s speech after 1st round of results)
UPDATE, 8:15 PM: The first numbers are in. Ed Murray has a big lead in the Seattle Mayor’s race; incumbents are leading in the City Council races. Results below.
UPDATE, 8:30 PM: Citywide reporters say Mayor McGinn is conceding. (Or something similar to it.)
Mike McGinn 43 percent
Ed Murray 56 percent
SEATTLE CITY COUNCIL POSITION 2
Richard Conlin 54 percent
Kshama Sawant 46 percent
SEATTLE CITY COUNCIL POSITION 4
Sally Bagshaw 83 percent
Sam Bellomio 16 percent
SEATTLE CITY COUNCIL POSITION 6
Edwin Fruit 12 percent
Nick Licata 87 percent
SEATTLE CITY COUNCIL POSITION 8
Mike O’Brien 64 percent
Albert Shen 35 percent
Next round of results, Wednesday around 4:30 pm. See separate WSB stories for other results.
*EDITOR’S NOTE: Though this was published Tuesday night, you can still get the NEWEST results at any point afterward, by clicking the headline for each race*
8:24 PM UPDATE: Here’s where we’re tracking key ballot measures. Though King County only updates once tonight, the state numbers on I-522 will change throughout the night as multiple counties come in, so we’ll update those as long as they keep changing.
STATE INITIATIVE 522 (GMO labels on food) – 9:02 pm update
Yes 45 percent
No 55 percent
STATE INITIATIVE 517 (changing initiative procedures) – 9:02 pm update
Yes 40 percent
No 60 percent
Other state-ballot-measure/advisory-vote results are linked here
SEATTLE CHARTER AMENDMENT 19 (electing councilmembers by district)
Yes 64 percent
No 36 percent
SEATTLE PROPOSITION 1 (public campaign financing)
Yes 46 percent
No 54 percent
KING COUNTY PROPOSITION 1 (Medic One)
Approve 83 percent
Reject 17 percent
KING COUNTY CHARTER AMENDMENT 1 (Office of Public Defense)
Approve 59 percent
Reject 41 percent
Also of interest:
SEA-TAC PROPOSITION 1 ($15 minimum wage)
Yes 54 percent
No 46 percent
Tuesday night is your deadline to vote – and if you want to save the cost of a stamp, you have two more chances to use the King County Elections dropoff van in West Seattle. Today was the first of three days in the West Seattle Stadium parking lot (4432 35th SW); by mid-afternoon, Cindy (above) and Sharon were almost up to 100 ballots. The van will be back 10 am-5 pm Monday and 10 am-8 pm Tuesday; those same days/times, you can also find one in White Center’s Greenbridge, just south of the city/county line (9720 8th SW). All the other options for returning your ballot are listed on this KC Elections webpage.
With nine days until voting ends and vote-counting begins, mayoral candidate State Sen. Ed Murray rallied supporters this afternoon at West Seattle’s Beveridge Place Pub. It was more an appearance to energize supporters than to win new ones; though Murray’s been leading in polls, he and supporters warned that victory “is not a done deal.” Three West Seattle-residing backers – State Rep. Eileen Cody, County Councilmember Joe McDermott, and SEIU 775NW health-care-workers-union president Dave Rolf — spoke for twice as long as Murray’s four-plus minutes; you can see our entire video clip, starting with their speeches, by clicking here, or hit “play” in the window below to skip ahead to what Murray said:
The mayoral hopeful harkened to his West Seattle roots, and singled out a locally hot topic, transportation, as an issue he thinks he can sort out: “We can have a transportation system where we can actually make bicycles, cars, buses, streetcars, pedestrians, all be able to interact … it’s going to take a different vision and a different approach … the ability to think differently about public policy, and not just say, ‘oh, we (already) have a plan for transportation’ …” Among the catch phrases in his remarks: He says he would be a mayor who “doesn’t fight Seattle, but fights for Seattle.” The event concluded with a request for volunteers to work the phones and/or walk the precincts to help “get out the vote.” Murray’s opponent Mayor Mike McGinn is scheduled to campaign in West Seattle next Saturday (November 2nd), with a 2:30 pm “town hall”-style gathering at Delridge Branch Library.
Hasn’t been much campaigning on this side of the bay during this year’s race for Seattle Mayor – some quiet fundraisers, only one public forum (WSB coverage, with video, here). But both candidates have sent word they’re headed this way in the next week:
SEN. ED MURRAY: “Get Out the Vote” rally, all invited, 3-4 pm tomorrow (Sunday, October 27th) at Beveridge Place Pub. The Murray campaign says local supporters including King County Councilmember Joe McDermott and State Rep. Eileen Cody will be there.
Remember that ballots are due November 5th, and the county will have dropoff vans at West Seattle Stadium and in Greenbridge in White Center; addresses and hours (the days are Nov. 2, 4, and 5) are on this King County Elections infopage.
While Election Day is almost three weeks away, the voting begins at your home as soon as tomorrow – since King County Elections has announced that ballots for the November 5th election are going out in the mail today. Once again, they’ll have drop vans in West Seattle and White Center, this time on November 2nd, 4th, and 5th. More information here on how to get your ballot back to the county – remember that if you mail it, it needs a stamp.
WEST SEATTLE TRANSPORTATION COALITION: Speaking to the 34th Dems on behalf of the just-launched, and now renamed, advocacy group were Mat McBride and Joe Szilagyi. “We want to do the greatest good for the greatest number of folks,” explained McBride – not just advocating for the peninsula with Metro, but also addressing issues such as development density without transportation capacity. 6:30 pm November 12th at High Point Center/Neighborhood House (6400 Sylvan Way SW) is the next meeting, Szilagyi announced, and there will be work to build a transportation-improvement plan “and bring everybody together, come hell or high water, to solve these things” – they’re hoping for all stakeholders, everyone interested, to come and be part of it. (The WSTC website is here.)
SPEAKING OF TRANSPORTATION: Seattle City Councilmember Tom Rasmussen spoke toward the start of the meeting regarding the state Senate Transportation Committee‘s upcoming public hearing, Monday 10/14, 6-9 pm at a new location – First Presbyterian Church at 1013 8th Ave. downtown, larger than the original location. “They said they want to hear from regular people – they want to hear from you,” he said. County Councilmember McDermott included concerns in his brief speech toward the meeting’s start, too.
Ahead, other topics from the federal shutdown to immigration reform, and more:
That’s our video of King County Executive Dow Constantine and Councilmember Joe McDermott (who chairs the county Board of Health) in White Center at noontime today, speaking out against the federal-government shutdown as it threatens a program that serves 38,000 pregnant women, new mothers, and young children. Layoff-warning notices went out today to 82 King County employees who work on the Women/Infants/Children nutrition program, since federal funding expires October 31st if the situation doesn’t change. “It’s time for Congress to stop holding America’s future hostage,” declared Constantine. Also speaking to reporters at the media briefing was Crystal Ruegger, a WIC client and spouse of a furloughed federal employee.
Lots to decide in the November 5th election – from Seattle Mayor to ballot measures including electing councilmembers by district and adding info to food labels. But you won’t have a say if you’re not registered to vote, and with one big deadline days away, King County Elections has just shared a raft of reminders:
Count yourself in by voting in the next election. Be sure you’re registered to vote and that your voter registration information is up to date.
Monday, Oct. 7 is the deadline for mail-in and online voter registration and address changes. King County Elections will mail ballots to all registered voters on Oct. 16 for the general election, so it’s important that citizens register to vote and keep their address and other information, including their signature, updated.
King County residents not currently registered to vote in Washington can register in person at the King County Elections office or the Voter Registration Annex through 4:30 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 28.
Voters can check to make sure their registration information is current by:
View Proposed sidewalk projects in a larger map
You’ve probably heard that Mayor McGinn went public on Monday with his city-budget proposal for next year. Now, it’s in the hands of the City Council for reviews, tweaks, additions, subtractions, etc. Not everything in it that would affect West Seattle specifically MENTIONS West Seattle – but we’re going through it right now and looking for specifics, and will publish “budget bits” notes here and there as we find them. For starters, from the proposed transportation budget:
In 2015, SDOT will use $1,450,000 of REET II funds to build sidewalks at the following locations:
• 35th Avenue Southwest between Southwest 104th Street and Southwest 106th Street to complete the sidewalk network on 35th between Southwest Roxbury Street and Southwest 106th Street;
• 21st Avenue Southwest between Southwest Dawson Street and 22nd Avenue Southwest to provide a connection between two non-arterial segments of the proposed 21st Avenue Southwest neighborhood greenway; and,
• Southwest Barton Street/Place and 24th Avenue Southwest to improve access to a transit center and shopping at Westwood Village.
The funding source, REET, stands for real-estate excise tax. More budget bits as we find them! And if you’d like to say something about this or anything else in the budget – or that you think SHOULD BE in the budget – two public hearings are coming up October 3rd and 24th; details on the council’s budget-process home page. They’re also taking e-mail feedback at email@example.com.
1 PM: We’re at the Senior Center of West Seattle, where the upstairs meeting hall is filled with people here to see and hear the two men vying to run Seattle for the next four years, Mayor Mike McGinn and State Sen. Ed Murray. This is expected to last an hour; we will be updating here live. We also are rolling video, so if all works out, we’ll be able to add that to this later. (ADDED 3:32 PM: Here it is, in its entirety, starting with the center’s executive director Karen Sisson and moderator Lucy Gaskill-Gaddis:)
1:05 PM: Five-minute opening remarks from each candidate, starting with McGinn. He goes through introductory comments – why he ran four years ago, how he took off in the “deepest economic recession since the Great Depression.” He contends Seattle has the “fastest-growing urban economy in the nation.” After listing a few other things, he reiterates, “We DO have economic growth.” He says they made a promise to neighborhoods like West Seattle that have been “accepting growth,” promises not yet kept, such as how transportation and other infrastructure will be handled. He mentions that Sound Transit (whose board he’s on) is studying getting light rail to West Seattle. He says, “I want to invest in all our neighborhoods,” including making it “safe to walk.” His 5 minutes are up.
1:11 PM: Now, Murray’s introduction. He gets quickly to his West Seattle roots, including his time at Holy Rosary School, and how he doorbelled with his mom when he was five “for John Kennedy for president.” He says “West Seattle is a special place,” and promises it “won’t be an afterthought” if he is elected. Moving on to his legislative work, he says he is working with seniors’ best interest in mind – he talks about regulation for home-health-care workers. As for why he’s running for mayor, he touts himself as “bring(ing) people together … I think Seattle is craving leadership that is willing to sit people down at a table” to find solutions “not just ideologically based, but (to) move us forward as a city.” Then: “This is a city that has a public safety problem … a transportation problem .. that cannot be blamed on the Legislature alone …” He mentions Tatsuo Nakata (not by name)’s death at the 47th/Admiral crosswalk in 2006, and accuses McGinn of “resistance” to the long-sought-after crosswalk there. The mayor says “That’s false.” (Here’s what happened: He had proposed money for a beacon and to study a traffic signal there; the City Council then upgraded that to full funding of a signal.)
1:15 PM: Now to Q/A. Audience members have filled out cards with questions. First one read by moderator Lucy Gaskill Gaddis: Transportation problems and density with many apartments on the way and Metro facing more cuts. “What practical solution do you advocate” to those, she asks. Murray first: “We’re going to have to create a high-tech war room of (many jurisdictions’) officials” to make sure that traffic can move through. He says he’s feeling “positive” about a transportation solution in the Legislature. He says “you can’t starve cars without transit to replace it.” Next, McGinn – he starts with an attempt at correcting Murray regarding the 47th/Admiral light, and touts current paving projects that are under way such as Delridge. Then: “This tunnel project … isn’t going to do that much for us in the long run.” Transit is the only way to solve things, he says. He says “a legislative session or something else” is needed to solve things. “Our local transit money is being held hostage to highway projects around the state.”
(EDITOR’S POST-DEBATE NOTE: Here’s our coverage of what happened re: the signal)
Murray rebuttal: “You can bash Olympia or you can choose to work with Olympia. Your senators (state) are not the reason transportation is not moving forward … What we’re missing is a partnership with the city of Seattle,” instead of bashing Olympia.
McGinn rebuttal: He says the legislature has “underfunded” many things. He addresses Murray directly: “You couldn’t keep control of the Senate, you couldn’t manage the budget … I’m not blaming everyone in Olympia … that was your job to keep the majority.”
1:24 PM: New question: What role do communities and social issues play in land use policy and development? First McGinn: Affordability is important. He says he’s appointed a stakeholder committee that’s drawing up a report. “If you ask for too much, (developers) won’t use the incentives to build affordable housing.” He gets quickly to the Whole Foods/4755 Fauntleroy Way SW alley-vacation opposition and why he thinks that wages are important.
Murray: He says he supports the concept of what the mayor did but “not how (he) did it” – after sighing, “The attacks go on.” He also responds to something McGinn said earlier regarding accountability and goes on to point out city fraud – rather than replying to the question that the moderator had asked.
New question: Public safety, and what will they do about it? Murray first brings up the Justice Department/Seattle Police situation, going back to the beginning, and suggests that the city fought the feds and instead led to “years of a police force that was in turmoil… and remains in turmoil.” And: “We have to admit we have a problem … not all crime is down in all parts of the city … We have to move forward on public safety” and mentions a Junction business walkthrough and hearing from businesses: “The same thing I hear from downtown, the same concerns.”
McGinn: “I would love to have a discussion about the future … but Sen. Murray’s campaign has not been about the idea, it’s about saying I can’t get things done, I can’t work with people. … Let’s talk about crime. When I took office, we did in fact have a police department not trusted by the community.” He says he took action including bringing in a Community Police Commission. And he touts the announcement earlier today of 15 more officers to be added. He says Murray passed bills that put felons on the street without dealing with mental-health issues. Murray rebuttal: This year, we expanded social services bigger than anything since the Johnson Administration, and mentions a Medicaid expansion which will mean “mental health funding … for people on the streets.” And he talks about people being released because they are “not violent offenders” after being accused of having “too many people” behind bars … “we were able to close an entire juvenile facility because we could put them in programs with best practices.” McGinn rebuttal: “I was referring to Senate Bill 5891 … with respect to mental-health services … we do have a situation where this state is 50th in terms of mental-health beds available.” He says interim Police Chief Pugel testified about the situation in Olympia, and a bill is pending to eliminate a tax exemption for tourists, to use the money to spend on mental health – “But the business community objected, the same business community that’s funding his campaign.” He accuses Murray of “pretty neat trick” to vote to let felons out without voting for mental-health funding.
1:37 PM: New question: What will you do or have you done to preserve industrial job base? McGinn: Funding a freight master plan, working with the Port to mitigate traffic impacts … “When you cross the West Seattle Bridge, you’ll see the new Harley Marine building … we changed the rules for that …” to accommodate their headquarters. He says he is working on job training because he hears from industrial firms that they need qualified people. “We’re fortunate to have multiple thriving sectors.”
Murray: “This city’s traditional industrial industry is a key part of the future of our economy … Preserving and growing that has not been a priority of this administration.” He says that both the SODO and Ballard industrial areas should be addressed with plans, and mentions the possible sports arena (which McGinn did not mention) could affect industry and that should be dealt with. He also mentions that Nucor’s predecessor, Bethehem Steel, is where his father worked. He says he would work with the Port to “design a brand-new industrial plan.” He then brings up the mayor’s claim about campaign funding: “(He) inferred my supporters are rich” and mentions supporters who are not. He says he’s “not trying to divide the city by saying ‘he’s the rich guy’” … “I’m not trying to divide this city.”
1:41 PM: Last question, budget priorities for the city? Murray: “Serious inventory of our infrastructure – not just the roads and streets, but also (utilities) …. when infrastructure fails, it’s the poor and elderly who get stuck. You can see it in New Orleans, you can see it back east … #2, public safety … #3, deal with the backlog of major maintenance … of crumbling sidewalks and streets … Then he mentions he’d like to see some of the talent from past administrations come back “so that our budget will be a sustainable budget and not a budget where you read about … fraud that was never addressed.” McGinn: “We discovered that fraud, removed that person …” And then he accuses Murray of not taking responsibility for an issue he had to deal with. “Our big challenge is that we are a growing city and not everyone gets to share in that prosperity … What we’re doing: #1, Early Learning Academy … working with the council on a plan for universal preschool … We’ve increased our spending on basic infrastructure 37% in the past (few) years even without new funding from the state … Transit Master Plan, working to get Sound Transit to the ballot by 2016 so our neighborhoods will get the transit they need … If the state won’t act (on transportation) we’ll figure out how to get the money we need.” He mentions again his roots as a neighborhood activist.
1:46 PM: Murray’s five minutes of closing remarks: He compliments the WS Senior Center for reaching out to LGBT seniors. “As I mentioned before, I have worked in Olympia for 18 years,” and he mentions that it took a long time for some things to get done, like the 17 years it took to pass marriage equality. “That’s what Olympia is like … you have to get people to the table…that’s why I want to be mayor … that’s the kind of leadership Seattle is craving.” He mentions he’s been endorsed by several City Councilmembers, “unusual when you have an incumbent who’s running.” He says West Seattle legislators have endorsed him as has County Councilmember Joe McDermott and the 34th District Democrats: “it’s good to be home in West Seattle … I want to work to bring this city together … I want to be a mayor who doesn’t spend two years fighting with the state over the viaduct.” He accuses McGinn of waiting four years to announce programs and says he will make announcements from the start. He says he grew up here as a “poor kid,” if “that kid from 61st Street would grow up to be the mayor of Seattle.”
1:50 PM: McGinn’s closing remarks – he says yes, Murray’s been a uniter, and rattles off corporation names. Then he says, yes, we all get contributions from all over the place. He says, “We’ve gotten a lot done … leading the nation in jobs … innovative new programs to hire local workers … doubled the Families and Education Levy … all of our libraries open on Sundays … rebuilding the Rainy Day Fund … and none of those things happened all by themselves … it took a team of people, the mayor and City Council .. to get them done … imagine what we can do if … I’ve been to ‘mayor’s school’. … I have made myself available, held myself accountable, passionate about this job, working to divest from fossil fuels, want universal preschool ….This city can be a leader demonstrating what it means to the world to live as a multicultural society … and other cities will look at us and say, ‘We want to be that city.’ … I would love to continue to be your mayor.”
1:53 PM: The forum is over and the two shake hands. A few minutes of mingling is promised for the standing-room only crowd. It was intense and lively and pointed; our words cannot quite convey it as well as the video will, and we will upload it as soon as we get back to HQ.
For the first time in almost two years, per our archives, City Councilmembers Sally Clark (current council president) and Sally Bagshaw will bring their “Coffee with the Sallys” community chat back to West Seattle. (Our photo above is from their stop at the West Seattle Farmers’ Market in November 2011.) Just got confirmation from council staff that they will be at High Point Branch Library (35th/Raymond) 2:30-4 pm on September 28th. It’s an informal drop-in event – so if you have a concern, question, idea, be there.
P.S. Not that it should limit what you bring up, but if you want to know which committees they’re on, check here. Clark currently chairs the Economic Resiliency and Regional Relations Committee, while Bagshaw chairs the Parks and Neighborhoods Committee.
There’s overdevelopment – and then there’s underdevelopment. The proposed one-story, 14,000 standalone pharmacy at 4722 Fauntleroy Way SW – first reported here in July – is considered by some to be a potential case of the latter, along with two similar projects we mentioned in that story, one in Wallingford, one in lower Queen Anne, since they are planned on sites where much bigger developments could be built. City Councilmember Richard Conlin has announced a proposal that would prohibit these types of projects in certain urban areas in the future:
Councilmember Richard Conlin introduced interim controls legislation today that sets a minimum density requirement for new buildings in pedestrian-oriented Neighborhood Commercial zones in Seattle’s urban villages and urban centers. Councilmember Conlin developed the legislation in response to neighborhood concerns about one-story, suburban-style projects proposed in various Seattle urban villages.
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