8 nights away from your First Look at District 1 council candidates

January 28, 2015 at 10:03 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle politics | No Comments

We’ll forgive you for having trouble concentrating on anything but The Big Game.

We’re looking ahead a few days past it – to the District 1: First Look city council candidates’ forum that we at WSB are presenting eight nights from now, February 5th, 7 pm (doors and mingling at 6:30) at Highland Park Improvement Club.

Five days after Councilmember Tom Rasmussen surprised politics-watchers by deciding not to run after all, the race remains with a field of three, listed here in order of their announcements:

*Chas Redmond, who was first to announce, in December of 2013
*Amanda Kay Helmick, who announced her candidacy last October
*George Capestany, who announced his run in November

They’re confirmed, and we’re looking forward to it. Yes, the field may well change between now and the filing deadline on May 15th. Doesn’t matter – it’s well past time NOW to find out what those who are running have to say in response to your questions and ours. This is the first time West Seattle and South Park get to elect a councilmember by district and you might as well make the most of it. You’ll have time to ask questions during the forum and you are also welcome to get suggestions in now (editor@westseattleblog.com). Meantime, there’s lots of room at HPIC (12th/Holden) – full transportation info to come. We’ll have beverages and treats. See you there on February 5th.

West Seattle politics: Councilmember Tom Rasmussen not running, elaborates on ‘very difficult’ decision

January 23, 2015 at 10:18 am | In West Seattle news, West Seattle politics | 30 Comments

10:18 AM: West Seattle-residing City Councilmember Tom Rasmussen has just announced he’s changed his mind about running to stay on the council. Here’s his statement. The field of candidates for West Seattle’s City Council District 1 seat is now down to three, with the first forum less than 2 weeks away. More to come.

10:29 AM: Rasmussen has been on the council since 2004 (here’s his bio), and currently chairs the Transportation Committee. His statement (linked above) says in part, “This wasn’t an easy decision but, it is the right one. It is now time to direct my efforts toward the same causes I have always been most passionate about — in exciting new ways.” He is the second councilmember to announce this week that he’s not running to stay on the council, which has all nine seats going to voters this fall, seven for the new districts, two at large. Nick Licata made his not-running announcement on Wednesday.

11:04 AM: Mayor Murray‘s statement:

Councilmember Rasmussen has been deeply engaged in public life as long as I can remember. As an advocate for seniors, human services, parks and innovative transportation solutions, Tom demonstrates active and effective leadership for our City. He was instrumental in our successful campaign last year to expand bus transit – for which I’m very grateful. I am especially thankful for his partnership in our effort to secure civil rights and marriage equality for the LGBT community. Seattle is losing a major champion on the council, but we know his community activism will find new outlets as he writes his next chapter.

11:14 AM: We contacted Councilmember Rasmussen to ask about his decision. In a phone interview a short time ago, he told us it was “very difficult – I love my job, I love working with the community and in the community, but I was torn” between spending the next year doing that job AND campaigning, or focusing on the work. He points out he still has almost a full year left in office, and he vows that he won’t be “slacking off” – most days, he says, he’s “out of the house by 5, back after 6″ (back on Wednesday night, he was at the Delridge District Council meeting, which ran until 9) and after his final year, he looks forward to a “more balanced” life.

He says he felt the need to announce this early because he was receiving donations and offers of volunteering, endorsements, and other campaign help already, and because “other folks who might be interested can step up.” No, he’s not endorsing a candidate yet, but says he’ll be looking for one who also will be out in the community – “you can’t just sit in your office, you have to be a problem-solver.” As quoted above, he said he hopes to focus more on the causes for which he has long worked; we asked which might be his major focus in post-council life, and he said that “working on issues relating to seniors and people with disabilities is really fundamental.”

Countdown: 2 weeks away from ‘District 1: First Look’

January 22, 2015 at 10:03 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle politics | 6 Comments

Four people want your vote in their quest to become the first City Councilmember for District 1, representing West Seattle and South Park (listed this time in first-name reverse-alphabetical order):

*Tom Rasmussen
*George Capestany
*Chas Redmond
*Amanda Kay Helmick

Though voting in the first-ever district elections (explained here) is six months away (August 4th primary), now’s the time to start finding out what the contenders are all about. And so, two weeks from tonight, WSB invites you to get your first look at them side by side as we present “District 1: First Look,” the first candidates’ forum in the race. Hope to see you at Highland Park Improvement Club on Thursday night, February 5th – doors open 6:30, forum at 7, admission and refreshments free, bring the question(s) you want to be sure get answered!

ADDED 10:35 AM FRIDAY: As noted in comments, Rasmussen has just left the race, leaving Redmond, Helmick, and Capestany. If anyone else files before the forum, they’ll be invited to participate.

11 West Seattle areas proposed for ‘Pedestrian Zone’ tweaks

January 16, 2015 at 5:24 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle politics | 20 Comments

Last year, the city’s draft proposal for Pedestrian Zones was circulated to neighborhood and district councils around West Seattle and the rest of the city via a series of briefings, several of which were covered here, starting with one almost a full year ago in Morgan Junction.

It’s meant to tweak zoning in some business districts to ensure that future development is more pedestrian-friendly. And tonight, the mayor’s office has announced the final proposal is ready for review. The announcement came via a news release you can read here, and a sheaf of documents linked here. Maps show the 11 sections of West Seattle where changes are proposed; you can see the maps here. There are five maps – scroll through the first 25 until you get to:

*Exhibit Z, showing a stretch of Delridge Way from north of Juneau to just north of Brandon
*Exhibit AA, showing stretches of 35th SW in Morgan, Gatewood, Westwood
*Exhibit BB, showing a section of South Delridge
*Exhibit FF, showing a section of Admiral
*Exhibit GG, showing part of The Junction

(Specific information about each area proposed for tweaks can be found in this report.) None of the proposed rezoning shown would change maximum allowable height for development in the affected areas. This all goes now to the City Council, which will set dates for hearings and votes.

Your first all-in-one-place look at West Seattle’s would-be District 1 City Councilmembers: 20 days away

January 16, 2015 at 1:34 pm | In Highland Park, West Seattle news, West Seattle politics | 5 Comments

Sounds like a long time, but it’s not: We are now less than 3 weeks away from your first side-by-side look at the four (so far) people who want to be the first-ever Seattle District 1 City Councilmember, representing West Seattle and South Park. WSB is presenting the first announced candidates’ forum in this race:

Thursday, February 5, at Highland Park Improvement Club (1116 SW Holden)
Doors open 6:30 pm
Forum 7-8:30 pm

The candidates are (in first-name alphabetical order this time):

*Amanda Kay Helmick
*Chas Redmond
*George Capestany
*Tom Rasmussen

If you need to bookmark a reminder, here’s the official listing on the WSB West Seattle Event Calendar (Facebook event page coming up soon too). HPIC has lots of room, and we’ll have refreshments, so have dinner and then come see and hear (and bring a question for!) the contenders for this area’s new seat on the City Council, which starting this year will be made up of seven people elected by district, two at large.

Election 2015: One month until City Council District 1 forum

January 5, 2015 at 1:08 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle politics | 14 Comments

2015 is here, and its elections (August 4th primary/November 3rd general) will bring Seattle voters’ first chance to choose 7 of 9 City Councilmembers by district. The field of candidates for District 1 (West Seattle/South Park) has remained at four for some weeks now – in reverse-alphabetical order this time, they are:

*Chas Redmond
*Tom Rasmussen
*Amanda Kay Helmick
*George Capestany

Today, we’re exactly one month away from what will likely be your first chance to see and hear from all four in one place. As announced last month, WSB is presenting the campaign season’s first announced District 1 Candidates Forum, on Thursday, February 5th (6:30 pm mingle/7 pm forum), at Highland Park Improvement Club. We hope you’ll be there, and we’re hoping you’ll participate in the preparation too. For starters: Which issue(s) do you think matter most in this race? Comment here when you have a moment, or e-mail editor@westseattleblog.com – thanks!

Followup: Trinity West Seattle launches tomorrow at ex-Mars Hill

January 3, 2015 at 2:46 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle politics | 20 Comments

The banner at 7551 35th SW announces the new name of what had been Mars Hill Church-West Seattle since fall 2006Trinity West Seattle, officially launching with services tomorrow morning. It’s been just two months since Mars Hill announced it would disband, leaving its churches to close or go independent. It appears they’re making the transition with familiar faces/voices, including Pastors David Fairchild and Cliff Ellis, who are on the new website’s list of “elders and staff” (the former preached last Sunday, the church’s last as MH-WS). Pastor Ellis was among the signatories on this August letter calling for MH’s controversial founder Pastor Mark Driscoll to permanently step down, which he did in October, not long before the entire church announced it would disband. The new Trinity West Seattle website says the church will launch with a seven-week series of sermons under the title, “Long Story Short: Finding Ourselves in the Biblical Drama,” described in part as “a particularly good series for both seekers and skeptics while shaping and forming our church to embody the biblical story.”

Election 2015: Now 4 in the running for West Seattle/South Park’s City Council District 1; announcing our February forum

December 16, 2014 at 12:10 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle politics | 7 Comments

2015 will make history in West Seattle for at least one reason: Our area’s first-ever District 1 City Councilmember will be elected. Today, there’s a change in the list of who’s in the running: According to the city’s election-information website, one of the five declared candidates, David Ishii, has moved his candidacy to one of the city’s two at-large seats, so that leaves four District 1 candidates so far (with other changes likely of course since the deadline for declaring is months away) – in alphabetical order:

*George Capestany
*Amanda Kay Helmick
*Tom Rasmussen
*Chas Redmond

checkbox.jpgAnd this gives us the chance to mention that all four candidates are confirmed for an early City Council District 1 Candidates’ Forum that we at WSB are presenting on February 5th – get it on your calendar now! It will start with mingling and refreshments at 6:30 pm, forum 7-8:30 pm, at Highland Park Improvement Club – we thank HPIC, one of West Seattle’s great historic community venues, for agreeing to provide the space for the forum!

Though West Seattleites will vote on three City Council seats in August and September 2015 – District 1 plus two at-large – we are focusing this forum ONLY on D-1, the one seat that will be accountable directly to this area. Stay tuned to WSB for more details as it gets closer. (P.S. If anyone else files to run in District 1 before then, s/he will of course be invited to participate too – contact us at editor@westseattleblog.com if we don’t contact you first!)

How to pay for education? What your legislators said tonight @ 34th District Democrats

November 12, 2014 at 9:05 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle politics | Comments Off

From tonight’s meeting of the 34th District Democrats, a look back at the November election, a look ahead to the Legislature in January, and more, ahead:

Click to read the rest of How to pay for education? What your legislators said tonight @ 34th District Democrats…

And now there are five: George Capestany running for West Seattle’s City Council District 1 position

November 11, 2014 at 12:21 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle politics | 5 Comments

A fifth candidate just announced he’s in the running for West Seattle’s new City Council District 1 seat next year: George Capestany. He’s made news here as owner of the well-known Jacobsen Road goats, and now he’s jumping into politics. As described in his official announcement, Capestany is also “a longtime West Seattle resident, active community volunteer, and US Navy Veteran” and “professional artist, teacher, a small business owner, … coach for Pony & Little League Baseball, West Seattle Soccer, and West Seattle Football.” The announcement notes that Capestany would be the first councilmember of Hispanic descent, as the “son of Hispanic immigrants forced to leave (Cuba) due to communist rule.” He says, “For a long time, West Seattle residents have been left out of virtually everything that goes on at City Hall. … I will work to ensure the unique needs of West Seattle are heard and addressed.” (Photo courtesy Capestany campaign)

Also in the running so far for District 1, which includes South Park as well as West Seattle, in order of their announcements/filings: Chas Redmond, David Ishii, Tom Rasmussen, and Amanda Kay Helmick. The filing deadline is May 1st of next year.

Election 2014: After five days of ballot-counting, a look ahead for transit, preschool, class-size measures

November 9, 2014 at 12:04 am | In West Seattle news, West Seattle politics | Comments Off

Today (Sunday) will be the first day King County Elections has *not* released updated results since Tuesday night. That night’s ballot count was followed by two daily Wednesday-Friday and one more Saturday evening. Here are three notes following the latter:

TRANSIT FUNDING (Transportation Benefit District Prop 1):
Yes 61.14% – 109,139 votes
No 38.86% – 69,380 votes

What’s next? Since Wednesday’s media briefing (WSB coverage here) with the mayor and county executive, Metro general manager Kevin Desmond has sent an e-mail message to bus-alert subscriber lists, including this:

… We’re working with the city now to flesh out the agreement, including the exact route improvements. It will be submitted to the city and county councils in December for adoption early next year.

The need is clear. Seattle voters, like transit riders across the county, undoubtedly have experienced the packed buses that have come with growing ridership. Metro is on track to deliver 120 million rides countywide this year—a record high—and our financial situation has not allowed us to expand to meet the demand.

Our just-released 2014 Service Guidelines Report, which analyzes the performance of our transit system and identifies investment needs, found that Metro should be providing 15 percent more service to meet current demand countywide. …

(That report does not appear to be online yet; it wasn’t linked, and we could only find the 2013 version. We’ll check on Monday.)

PRESCHOOL (Seattle Propositions 1A/1B):
Prop 1A – 31.29% – 49,393 votes
Prop 1B – 68.71% – 108,477 votes

What’s next? Thanks to Diane for forwarding e-mail about meetings to discuss how the resulting Seattle Preschool Program will be planned and implemented. Two meetings, both on December 6th, are in West Seattle, at Youngstown Cultural Arts Center, the first focused on curriculum, the second on teacher training/coaching. They and others around the city, starting later this month, are listed on this flyer.

SMALLER CLASS SIZE (Statewide Initiative 1351):
Yes 50.49% 945,851 votes
No 49.51% 927,356 votes

What’s next? This trailed on election night, but now supporters have declared victory. How this will be made to happen, the Legislature has to work out, as the text says.

SEE FULL, UPDATED LOCAL AND STATE RESULTS: If there’s something else you want to check on, King County’s results are all linked here; statewide races and measures are all linked here.

Election 2014: Transit taxes passing – what will your money buy?

November 5, 2014 at 1:51 pm | In Transportation, West Seattle news, West Seattle politics | 36 Comments

(WSB photos by Torin Record-Sand)
West Seattle Metro riders will get more buses with the money from Transportation Benefit District Prop 1, which got 59 percent of the first round of the November 4th vote. That’s according to the “framework of an agreement on transit funding and service delivery between Seattle and King County,” as distributed at today’s post-election briefing downtown, with city and county leaders including Mayor Ed Murray, County Executive Dow Constantine, and City Councilmember Tom Rasmussen, plus local transit advocates. We recorded it all on video (added, 3:05 pm):

Here are the West Seattle highlights, as promised in a 2-page doc distributed today (see it here):

*A list of “neighborhoods that will get more buses” includes Admiral, Alaska Junction, Alki, Arbor Heights, Delridge, Fauntleroy, Gatewood, Morgan Junction, Pigeon Point, Roxhill, Westwood Village

*”More buses on … chronically overcrowded routes” including RapidRide C Line, starting next June

*”Revised schedules on … chronically unreliable” routes including RapidRide C Line, 21X, 21, 37, 55, 56, also to start next June

*”Better frequency with more trips per hour on at least 28 high-demand routes” including RapidRide C Line and 125; this is to be “phased in between June and September 2015″

Also promised: An “expanded network of frequent transit,” defined as every 15 minutes or better.

So how will you be sure you’re getting something for your money? Another handout sheet (see it here) promises:

The agreement will:

-Require robust ridership and performance data reporting by Metro
-Allow for regular financial reviews and independent third-party audits of Metro finances and performance data
-Reduce city responsibility for county administrative overhead
-Credit Seattle for higher farebox revenue roduced on city trolleybus routes
-Pay only the annual share of new buses required for increased service
-Protect against supplanting

Constantine reiterated at today’s event that the extra funding is only a “bridge” until the Legislature fixes transportation funding someday.

Transit advocates who were there included West Seattleite Marci Carpenter:

(By the way, we learned today that Carpenter is now the president of the National Federation of the Blind-Washington – congratulations!)

P.S. In case you forgot the details of Proposition 1, here’s the heart of it, from the ballot:

To fund transit service in Seattle, the Seattle Transportation Benefit District seeks voter approval to impose an annual vehicle-license fee up to an additional $60 per vehicle, with a $20 rebate for low-income individuals, and an additional sales-and-use tax of no more than 0.1%. Each would expire no later than December 31, 2020. Combined, they would raise approximately $45,000,000 annually.

After administrative costs, including the rebate program, revenue will be used to fund: (1) Metro Transit service hours on routes with more than 80% of their stops within Seattle, with funding first being used to preserve existing routes and prevent Metro’s proposed service cuts and restructures scheduled to start in February 2015; (2) up to $3,000,000 annually, to support regional transit service on bus routes that enter or terminate service within the City of Seattle; and (3) up to $2,000,000 annually, to improve and to support access to transit service for low-income transit riders.

Any remaining revenues may be used to address overcrowding, reliability, and service frequency within the City of Seattle. Revenues will not supplant other funding for any routes partially or completely operating within Seattle that Metro would otherwise provide in accordance with the adopted Metro Transit Service Guidelines. More about this proposal can be found at: http://www.seattle.gov/stbd/documents/resolution_12_s.pdf

Watching for updated election results? 2 sets tonight, beyond

November 5, 2014 at 12:29 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle politics | Comments Off

Waiting to see what the second round of vote totals looks like? King County Elections just announced plans for TWO daily updates for the rest of the week:

King County Elections will post two sets of general election results reports today and for the rest of this week due to the volume of last-minute voters returning ballots. The Elections Department will issue a first set of results by 4:30 p.m. as planned, along with a second set of results by 8:00 p.m.

King County Elections has received about 518,000 ballots to date for the general election, not counting a substantial number of drop box returns yesterday. Ballots will continue to arrive, however, they must have valid postmarks indicating that they were mailed on or before election day in order for them to be processed and counted.

Each voter’s signature must be verified before a ballot is opened, inspected, scanned, and ultimately tabulated. Ballots that come in that are damaged, reflect write-in votes or were not voted consistent with the directions, require additional handling and time to process. On average, a ballot takes a little more than a day to process so it can be added to the results report.

You can use the King County Ballot Tracker to see if your ballot was received and signature verified. (Example: We dropped ours at one of the vans on Monday. Ballot Tracker shows they’ve been received.) And you’ll find the latest results update here.

2014 Election results: Local ballot measures – transit, monorail, preschool, more

November 4, 2014 at 8:14 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle politics | 39 Comments

The election-night vote count for King County is in, and here’s how the local ballot measures are going:

TRANSPORTATION BENEFIT DISTRICT PROPOSITION #1results here
59 percent yes, 41 percent no

*Added 9:13 pm: Mayor Murray issued a statement saying in part, “Great cities need great mass transit – and Seattle is a great city. Seattle voters understand that, and today’s passage of Prop 1 is the next step to getting the transit system that Seattle wants and that Seattle needs. With today’s vote, we are now able to do something that has eluded elected leaders of this City for decades, and that’s significantly add to existing transit service in Seattle.”

*Added 11:52 pm: Murray, County Executive Dow Constantine, City Councilmember Tom Rasmussen and others will meet the media downtown Wednesday morning to talk about what’s next now that Prop 1, which includes a car-tab fee and sales-tax increase, has passed. We’ll be there.

PROPOSED TRANSPORTATION AUTHORITY, CITIZENS’ PETITION (MONORAIL)results here
80 percent no, 20 percent yes

SEATTLE PRESCHOOL MEASURES – This is a two-part set of results – here (“should either measure become law?” and here (which is preferred, 1A or 1B)
Should one become law? 65 percent yes, 35 percent no
Which one? 67 percent for 1B, 33 percent for 1A

HIGHLINE PUBLIC SCHOOLS BOND MEASURE: Results here
57 percent yes, 43 percent no (note: 60 percent approval is required for passage)

MORE RESULTS: Other county results are here.

Election 2014: Statewide ballot measures I-594, I-591, I-1351; Legislature, Congress races

November 4, 2014 at 8:12 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle politics | 7 Comments

In this story, we’re tracking the big statewide measures for starters, and will add other regional results, including Legislature and Congress races. The initiative numbers, you should note, will change often, since results are coming in from counties all over the state, and some will be counting all night long (unlike here in King County, where there won’t be a second count until tomorrow). We’ll update the initiative results, with time notations, as often as we can, in the hours ahead.

I-594 (FIREARMS) – results here
9:09 pm – 59.72% yes, 40.28% no

I-591 (FIREARMS) – results here
9:09 pm – 45.44% yes, 54.56% no

I-1351 (CLASS SIZE) – results here
9:09 pm update – 49.43% yes, 50.57% no

STATEWIDE ADVISORY VOTES – results linked here

U.S. HOUSE, DISTRICT 7 – results here
Jim McDermott, 80%
Craig Keller, 20%

STATE SENATE, 34TH DISTRICTresults here
Sharon Nelson, 98% (unopposed)

STATE HOUSE POSITION 1, 34TH DISTRICT
Eileen Cody, 98% (unopposed) – results here

STATE HOUSE POSITION 2, 34TH DISTRICTresults here
Joe Fitzgibbon, 81%
Brendan Kolding , 18%

Voted yet? Ballot vans back in West Seattle, Greenbridge tomorrow

October 31, 2014 at 10:25 am | In West Seattle news, West Seattle politics | Comments Off

checkbox.jpgTuesday is Election Day; more like Election Deadline Day ever since our state converted to voting by mail. If you haven’t sent in your ballot yet, three of the next four days bring visits by the King County Elections ballot-dropoff vans. Same spots as recent elections – on the driveway into West Seattle Stadium (4432 35th SW) and on the street outside Greenbridge Library (9720 8th SW). Both locations are scheduled for 10 am-5 pm tomorrow and Monday, 10 am-8 pm Tuesday. No postage needed if you’re taking your ballot to a van or to the 24-hour dropboxes elsewhere in the county, but you DO need correct postage if you’re mailing yours. If you’ve already sent in/dropped off your ballot, track it online. Two other links of potential interest: Sample ballot here; pamphlet info here.

Amanda Kay Helmick becomes 4th candidate for West Seattle’s new City Council District 1 seat

October 20, 2014 at 8:32 am | In West Seattle news, West Seattle politics | 14 Comments

The hottest local political race isn’t on the November 4 ballot you should have received by now – and won’t even be decided for another year.

Four candidates are now running in City Council District 1, which includes West Seattle.

This morning, Amanda Kay Helmick, chair of the Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council, is announcing she’s in the race.

She joins Chas Redmond, David Ishii, and Tom Rasmussen, the only member of the current City Council living in the District 1 boundaries, which were set when city voters approved Charter Amendment 19 last year, changing the council from nine at-large members to seven by-district and two at-large.

Along with chairing WWRHAH, Helmick co-founded the West Seattle Transportation Coalition, which launched in September 2013 as the WS Transit Coalition and expanded its focus weeks later while emerging as an early voice against proposed Metro cuts.

Helmick also represents Delridge on the City Neighborhood Council, which she says needs to be strengthened and empowered. She is an eight-year West Seattleite whose full bio is on her newly launched website. From her official announcement:

“We have multiple and disconnected plans, and no one in the city is talking about how these plans overlay and affect the people of Seattle,” Helmick said of the city’s current transportation and land use initiatives. “I want to empower the under-served communities of West Seattle and South Park and give them a voice in these plans.”

According to Helmick’s campaign website, she is collecting petition signatures to get onto the ballot. The filing deadline for next year’s council elections is May 1st, 2015.

Update: West Seattle Transportation Coalition votes to endorse transit-funding measure, but no position on monorail

October 14, 2014 at 9:06 pm | In Transportation, West Seattle news, West Seattle politics | 11 Comments

Two toplines so far from tonight’s West Seattle Transportation Coalition meeting: WSTC voted to endorse the bus-funding measure on the November 4 ballot, officially Transportation Benefit District Proposition No. 1. And it voted NOT to endorse the monorail measure on the ballot, officially Seattle Citizen Petition No. 1. More to come.

ADDED WEDNESDAY MORNING: More toplines from the WSTC meeting:

Click to read the rest of Update: West Seattle Transportation Coalition votes to endorse transit-funding measure, but no position on monorail…

Election 2014: Not registered to vote? Deadline tomorrow

October 5, 2014 at 8:23 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle politics | Comments Off

checkbox.jpgThere’s a lot to decide in the November 4th election, now less than a month away – closer, really, since voting begins when ballots start arriving at mid-month. If you’re not registered and want to sign up online or by mail, tomorrow’s the deadline – here’s how to register (same goes for updating your address if you ARE registered). If you miss that, you’ll be able to register in person at the King County Elections offices in Seattle and Renton on September 27th – but why delay? Easiest way to do it is to sign up right here, right now.

Could Neighborhood Conservation Districts protect neighborhood ‘character’ amid rapid growth? Council discussion Monday

September 28, 2014 at 5:31 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle politics | 6 Comments

With relatively rapid redevelopment in parts of some Seattle neighborhoods – West Seattle, Ballard, Capitol Hill come to mind – concern percolates about losing “character.” In some cases, neighborhoods have special districts as “overlays” meant as an attempt to preserve some of that character – Pioneer Square, notably, and Capitol Hill’s Pike-Pine area, for example. But what about other neighborhoods, like West Seattle, where the Southwest District Council has been trying for two years to get a historic-resources survey going for part of our area, as a first step?

“Neighborhood Conservation Districts” might be a tool for our area and others, suggests Councilmember Tom Rasmussen, who is sponsoring a briefing on the concept tomorrow, during the first part of the City Council’s two-part Monday meeting. Here’s the slide deck they’ll be going through:

The presentation during tomorrow’s 9:30 am Council meeting (agenda here) will not include a vote – it’s just a briefing, and there’s no specific council bill attached to it. But Councilmember Rasmussen tells us, “If my colleagues agree, I will continue to work for legislation to establish a process for neighborhoods to nominate themselves to become Conservation Districts.” Tomorrow’s briefing should start around 10 am and will be live online and on cable via Seattle Channel.

Election 2014: Tom Rasmussen officially running in District 1

September 26, 2014 at 7:40 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle politics | Comments Off

Sometime this week, since we last checked the city’s Elections and Ethics website, its list of candidates in next year’s elections switched to show the only City Councilmember living in West Seattle now running for its new council district. Tom Rasmussen had been listed there as “undesignated,” running for either one of the two at-large seats that will remain, or for District 1 (West Seattle/South Park), but now is listed as one of three candidates in that district, along with Chas Redmond and David Ishii. You can see all the declared-so-far council candidates (and city ballot measures) on the right sidebar of this page.

Election 2014: Gatewood forum Sunday on I-591, I-594

September 26, 2014 at 6:01 pm | In Gatewood, West Seattle news, West Seattle politics | 2 Comments

With ballots going out in mid-October, the “November 4″ election is closer than it seems. Just announced by Rev. Erik Kindem from Peace Lutheran Church in Gatewood, a forum this Sunday on two of the statewide initiatives you’ll be voting on:

Peace Lutheran Church is hosting a forum on two firearms-related initiatives that will be on the ballot in November: I-594 (text here) and I-591 (text here).

. I-594 would expand current criminal background-check requirements to include all gun sales and transfers in Washington State with specific exceptions.

. I-591 would limit the circumstances in which firearms can be confiscated and would limit the ability of government agencies to require background checks.

Stacy Anderson from FAN (Faith Action Network) will be leading the forum, which will begin at 12 noon. Peace Lutheran is located at the corner of SW Thistle and 39th Avenue SW in West Seattle. Members of the public are invited to attend.

Update: Mayor presents budget proposal; West Seattle toplines – miniature-golf course, $ to finish Fauntleroy Boulevard design, keep SPD Mounted Patrol

September 22, 2014 at 2:06 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle politics | 20 Comments

2:06 PM: Click the “play” button above and you’ll get the live webcast, under way now, of Mayor Murray‘s budget speech to the City Council. We’ll be linking the documents and noting toplines here as it goes (and as we review the docs). **Update: Post-speech, window above now takes you to ARCHIVED video of speech**

BUDGET DOCUMENTS: Find them here. Wondering how to navigate them? That’s explained here. Direct link to the full budget is here.

From our first search for West Seattle mentions in that document:

*On page 28, our area described as a “current construction hub”
*On page 101, a miniature golf course to be installed at the West Seattle Golf Course in about a year
*On page 150, a renovation project is mentioned for the West Seattle (Admiral) Library Branch
*On page 414, $500,000 to finish design for the Fauntleroy Boulevard plan. (Remember, your Q/A/info opportunity is at tomorrow night’s open house – details in our newest update.)

2:22 PM: Those are just the outright “West Seattle” mentions; we’re now going through to look for what are certainly many other points of interest. The mayor, meantime, has spoken of reforming the budget process, of “coordination” in development reviews, of “ending the transportation-mode wars.” Speaking of transportation, more school-zone cameras are on the way (though specific locations are not noted). In public-safety and human services, he is proposing a new office to focus on domestic violence and sexual assault, and he has acknowledged that despite the city’s investment in helping homeless people, homelessness is not ending, and there has to be a better way.

(added) Another West Seattle note, from the SPD budget overview:

In addition, the proposed budget continues funding for maintenance staff and expenses associated with the SPD’s Horse Patrol Unit. Private resources will no longer be available to support the ongoing costs of this unit in 2015. Therefore, General Funds are being provided to continue this valuable public safety service.

The Mounted Patrol, you’ll recall, is based in Highland Park (and just had an open house on Saturday).

2:36 PM: The mayor’s speech has ended. We’re continuing to look for toplines. The council is in recess; we’ll substitute the archived video later when it’s available.

3:05 PM: Joe Szilagyi points out in comments that the budget includes money to fix the Schmitz Park Bridge.

3:57 PM: Replaced previous “live video” window above with embedded archived video of mayor’s speech.

5:12 PM: This is not West Seattle-specific, but likely of interest to many – from the Department of Planning and Development budget, page 248-249:

Seattle’s Design Review program is one of the principal opportunities for members of the public to interface with development projects. Design review is intended to influence the design of projects consistent with citywide and neighborhood-specific design guidelines. As development activity has increased, the Design Review program has come under increased scrutiny. A challenge identified during public participation in project review is that many communities are concerned about the direction of certain land use policies and have non design related concerns.

In response to these two issues, DPD will evaluate potential changes to the design review process and will explore new ways to improve public engagement in the planning and land use policy areas. The department will begin this work through surveys and focused public discussions with community stakeholders to gather information about the design review process, and will report on general findings. The department will evaluate, identify, and draft Land Use Code revisions based on this community work. The department will also begin a process to engage communities, provide information about growth and development issues, and provide opportunities for dialogue outside of the design review process. The work will be conducted through public meetings and online engagement, and be targeted toward different neighborhoods and demographics throughout the city. The pilot program will include citywide events with opportunities for dialogue, and will include feedback to community participants. This work will be done in 2015 and 2016 by shifting existing resources and revising the City Planning work program.

WHAT’S NEXT? The entire budget calendar for the next two months, including two major public hearings (neither in West Seattle), can be seen here.

Video: New partnership plan saves Greenbridge clinic, moves West Seattle Planned Parenthood clinic

September 15, 2014 at 4:07 pm | In Health, West Seattle news, West Seattle politics | 1 Comment

At the surface, what brought King County Executive Dow Constantine, County Councilmember Joe McDermott, Public Health acting director Patty Hayes, Seattle Deputy Mayor Hyeok Kim, Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest CEO Chris Charbonneau, and others to White Center’s Greenbridge Plaza at noontime was news that a nearby county health clinic won’t have to close.

Their remarks are all featured in our video of the event, above, as well as what a clinic staffer and client had to say about the importance of saving the clinic. But what they explained in the media briefing wasn’t quite that simple:

*Mayor Murray’s proposed budget will include money for Greenbridge clinic operations (this was mentioned briefly in his Friday announcement about human-services and public-safety spending – the $ mentioned in that news release differs from what’s in today’s county news release, so we’re trying to verify which is correct)

*Planned Parenthood of the Great NW will take over family-planning services at the clinic, meaning layoffs for county-employed family-planning staffers unless they find jobs with PP

*As a result, PP will close its current West Seattle clinic (9641 28th SW) and merge its services into the Greenbridge location (9942 8th SW)

*County employees at the clinic will continue providing other services such as maternity support and Women/Infant/Children (WIC) nutrition support

Though Greenbridge is across the city/county line, it serves many Seattle residents, Constantine said, so city funding is appropriate. (The clinic relocated two years ago from its previous site about a mile south.) His plan for the clinic’s future will be in the budget proposal he presents one week from today.

P.S. The full county news release is part of coverage on our partner site White Center Now.

Video & as-it-happened coverage: Mayor Murray’s public-safety-spending plan, and how he’d address homelessness

September 12, 2014 at 12:08 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle police, West Seattle politics | 3 Comments

(Added – archived video of briefing)

TOPLINES:
-Mayor promises 50 more SPD officers will be on street by end of 2015
-100+ neighborhood “micropolicing” plans in the works
-Re: homeless encampment sweeps, he says policies haven’t changed since before he took office

(added) OFFICIAL NEWS RELEASE HERE

As-it-happened notes after the jump:

Click to read the rest of Video & as-it-happened coverage: Mayor Murray’s public-safety-spending plan, and how he’d address homelessness…

Yes on transit tax, yes on city’s preschool proposal, and other 34th District Democrats endorsement votes

September 11, 2014 at 3:58 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle politics | 18 Comments

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

It’s just a matter of weeks before your November ballot arrives – and it’s busier than you might think, as was evidenced when last night’s 34th District Democrats meeting in West Seattle, centered on ballot-measure discussions and endorsement votes, began with chair Marcee Stone-Vekich warning, “It’s going to be a long night.”

Here are highlights from the ensuing two hours:

PRESCHOOL PROPOSITIONS: There are two on the Seattle ballot, 1A and 1B, in one measure – you’ll be asked if you think either should be approved, and then, regardless of how you answered that, which one you would prefer. Each one had a presentation at last night’s meeting, followed by both sides sitting down as a panel to answer questions. We recorded video:

Click to read the rest of Yes on transit tax, yes on city’s preschool proposal, and other 34th District Democrats endorsement votes…

Video & as-it-happened coverage: ‘Impact fees’ for development? City Councilmembers discuss possibly doing what 80 other WA cities already do

September 10, 2014 at 12:05 pm | In Development, West Seattle news, West Seattle politics | 19 Comments

(UPDATED WEDNESDAY NIGHT with archived Seattle Channel video of meeting added below, document links added inline, new Rasmussen quote at end)

POST-MEETING TOPLINES:
-Council told that 80 other WA cities have impact fees
-State law doesn’t allow them to be imposed for transit service, though
-Councilmember Rasmussen suggests creating a ‘working group’ to look at it
-Most public commenters say ‘long overdue’

ADDED WEDNESDAY NIGHT:
-Above, full video of meeting
-Meeting documents, provided by Rasmussen’s office *adding*
-Added quote at end of story – we asked him “what next?” post-meeting

AHEAD: Our as-it-happened chronicling of what was said during the meeting:

Click to read the rest of Video & as-it-happened coverage: ‘Impact fees’ for development? City Councilmembers discuss possibly doing what 80 other WA cities already do…

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