West Seattle, Washington
— Nathalie Wargo (@nathaliewargo) June 23, 2016
Thanks to Nathalie Wargo at High Point Library for tweeting the photo – King County Elections‘ permanent ballot dropbox has arrived! Earlier this year, the county committed to restoring dropboxes in areas including West Seattle, where the last one was removed more than five years ago. For the past few years, ballot vans had been brought here for a few days before each voting deadline, but otherwise, using postal mail was required, which required stamps; county dropboxes don’t. So when your ballot arrives for the August primary, you’ll be able to drop it off at High Point Library (35th and Raymond) if you don’t want to use the U.S. Mail.
A reader just e-mailed a reminder that tomorrow is the City Council hearing about the proposal to regulate short-term rentals. The reader included a link to the following video by another West Seattleite concerned about the proposal – she says enforcement of an existing city rule shut down her AirBnB:
It’s been almost two weeks since we published the city’s announcement of the proposal to limit how many days a year some units could be rented out via tech platforms such as AirBnB and VRBO. Another West Seattleite, Rhonda Porter, has said she plans to comment tomorrow too; she and her husband have a Beach Drive bungalow that’s available as a vacation rental. She wrote in the discussion section on our June 1st story that “90 days is not enough time to break even on a vacation rental” – that’s the proposed limit for some rentals. Tomorrow’s hearing is at City Hall downtown, 9:30 am, before the Affordable Housing, Neighborhoods, and Finance Committee.
Three weeks ago, we reported on the call for 11-to-25-year-olds to vote in the Youth Voice, Youth Choice “participatory budgeting” process – with $700,000 in city money to be spent on the winning projects, themselves the result of a series of discussions around the city.
3,065 people voted, the city says, and here are the results, as announced in a city news release. (We added the descriptions, dollar amounts, and locations as listed on the “sample ballot,” where you can also see the projects that didn’t make the cut.)
· Houses for People Experiencing Homelessness – Youth collaborate with carpenters to build 10 tiny homes for people experiencing homelessness.
Estimated Cost: $128,500
· Youth Homeless Shelter Improvements – Physical improvements for a youth homeless shelter such as installing lockers, washers and dryers, and new paint.
Estimated Cost: $42,000
Location: Central, North Seattle
· Job Readiness Workshops for Homeless Youth – A term-limited expansion of existing services for youth experiencing homelessness focusing on job readiness.
Estimated Cost: $43,600
· Homeless Children and Youth Liaison Services – A term-limited expansion for school liaison services connecting youth experiencing homelessness to needed resources.
Estimated Cost: $70,400
· Wi-Fi Hotspot Checkout – A term-limited expansion of the Seattle Public Library’s checkout system to include more Wi-Fi hotspots, which increase internet access.
Estimated Cost: $165,000
· Park Bathroom Upgrades – Creating a map of public bathrooms in the city and implementing improvements at 1-2 bathrooms in parks in most need of repair.
Estimated Cost: $205,000
Location: South, West Seattle
· Safe Routes to Schools – Improve crosswalks in areas near schools to create safer routes to school for students.
Estimated Cost: $145,000
Location: South, West Seattle
The announcement says, “Now that the choices have been made, City staff and local agencies will implement the projects.” (We’re following up with a few questions, including location and final cost tally, since it appears the estimated costs are about $100,000 over that $700,000.)
At City Hall this afternoon, councilmembers voted unanimously to pass an ordinance that “prohibits rent increases on properties with unsafe housing-code violations,” as described by the announcement from the bill’s sponsor, Councilmember Kshama Sawant, who proposed it last year with then-Councilmember Nick Licata. All the documents related to the ordinance are here. From the slide deck, here’s how it works:
• Landlord provides written notice of a rent increase
• Tenant must respond in writing within ten days and describe defective conditions
• Landlord can cure the problem any time before rent increase is set to take effect.
• Tenant or Landlord may call SDCI to request inspection any time before effective date of rent increase
• If SDCI inspects and finds RRIO checklist failures, then rent increase delayed until defective condition is remedied
It will take effect 30 days after Mayor Murray signs it.
(Click for full-size PDF version)
That map shows confirmed shots-fired incidents around the city so far this year. We obtained it from Mayor Ed Murray‘s office in connection with this afternoon’s announcement that the city is again seeking “acoustic gunshot detection.” This comes four years after his predecessor announced a plan to budget for a gunfire-detection system – a plan that never came to fruition. Back then, part of West Seattle was suggested as ripe for such a system; today’s announcement focused more on other areas of the city including South Park – you can see the map above includes clusters there and in North Delridge.
The mayor was joined by Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole in making the announcement on Gun Violence Awareness Day. The announcement also says he will “work with the Seattle City Council to require that all surplus firearms from the Seattle Police Department are only sold to other law enforcement agencies.”
Regarding the potential detection technology, the announcement says:
Gunshot locators actively listen for gunshots and detect the exact location where guns are fired. Unlike reports from nearby residents who may be uncertain, these systems’ advanced technology reliably report when and where the shots were fired. A video camera attached to the system is activated to capture the incident. Law enforcement authorities are notified immediately and a police officer can be dispatched to the vicinity without delay. …
A federal grant would pay for a pilot system, says the announcement, which you can read in its entirety here. It also says that while the number of confirmed shots-fired incidents to date this year is smaller than last year – 144 this year, 154 a year earlier – they’re deadlier, with five shooting deaths this year, two last year.
The U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has issued a Request for Proposals to gather interest from potential contractors who could construct the system. The city says the system would be paid for with a federal grant.
A new move today in the city’s attempts to address the affordable-housing crisis: New rules proposed to crack down on alleged abuse of the new technology-enabled short-term-rental market. Here’s the announcement, just out of the WSB inbox:
Mayor Ed Murray and Councilmember Tim Burgess today announced a proposal to prevent long-term rental units from being converted to short-term rentals, while still providing residents the flexibility to earn additional income by renting out their homes.
The measure focuses on commercial operators who use platforms, such as Airbnb and VRBO, to rent multiple properties year-round. Approximately 80 percent of existing short-term rentals in Seattle will see no new regulations.
“Property owners are shifting hundreds of homes from the long-term residential market to short-term rental platforms like Airbnb, and in doing so dangerously reduce our housing supply,” said Councilmember Burgess, chair of the Council’s Affordable Housing, Neighborhoods and Finance Committee. “At the same time, Seattle homeowners offering short-term rentals in their own homes earn valuable supplemental income. These proposed regulations focus narrowly on the commercial operators that take advantage of home-sharing platforms to exacerbate our housing crisis.”
Under the proposed rules, any property may be provided as a short-term rental for up to 90 nights in a 12 month period. Only properties that are the primary residence of the short-term rental operator will be allowed to rent past the 90-night threshold. The primary residency requirement will curtail the growing year-round commercial operation of these platforms.
“We must protect our existing rental housing supply at a time when it is becoming harder for residents to find an affordable home in Seattle,” said Mayor Ed Murray. “This proposal ensures that apartments and houses are not being used exclusively as short-term rentals, while still providing a means for homeowners to earn some extra money by occasionally renting out their property.”
Consistent with current City rules, all short-term rental operators must secure a City business license tax certificate and pay all applicable taxes.
“Our communities are facing steep rent increases and having difficulty staying in their homes, and the fast growing short-term rental industry is making it worse,” said Rebecca Saldaña, Executive Director at Puget Sound Sage. “The Mayor and Councilmember Burgess have started an important conversation about how short-term rentals should help, and not hurt, people who want to stay in Seattle.”
The small percentage of operators renting their primary residence for more than 90 nights will be required to also obtain a City regulatory license. This license will require proof that the unit being rented is the operator’s primary residence, proof of liability insurance that covers the short-term rental use, a local contact number for guests, a signed declaration that the unit meets building and life safety codes, and basic safety information posted for guests in the unit.
Under the proposed regulations, all short-term rental platform companies will also need to obtain a new regulatory license with the City. The platforms will be required to give the City limited data on a quarterly basis necessary for enforcement of the proposed law.
More information on the proposals can be found in these documents:
The proposal is due to get its first council review before the Affordable Housing, Neighborhoods and Finance Committee two weeks from today, 9:30 am Wednesday, June 15th.
Two election notes tonight:
PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARY TOMORROW: If you’re voting in our state’s presidential primary, tomorrow’s the voting deadline. While the state Republican Party will use its votes to allocate delegates for the national convention, the state Democratic Party is only using the caucus process, so the primary votes are just for show. You can mail your ballot as long as it gets postmarked with tomorrow’s date, or you can drop it off – no postage needed – at one of the county’s dropoff spots, including the dropoff van making its last appearance at West Seattle Stadium:
Joseph and Third, who said they’d received 175 ballots by our 3 pm visit, reminded us that by the August election, West Seattle’s new permanent ballot dropbox will be in place at High Point Library. In the meantime, the ballot van will be at the stadium (4432 35th SW) 10 am-8 pm tomorrow, in the northwest corner of the parking lot. If you’re in south West Seattle or White Center, your closest dropoff van is on 8th SW in Greenbridge, about a block south of Roxbury; that too will be a thing of the past after tomorrow, as White Center also gets a permanent dropbox, at the new library (1409 SW 107th) that opened last Saturday.
AUGUST PRIMARY: Filing for the August primary is over, and here’s the list of who’ll be on ballots for state and federal offices in our state. Both 34th District State House Representatives have challengers this time (names are linked to the campaign sites/pages we found):
Benson and Pilloud are the first Republicans to run in the 34th District since 2010, when Ray Carter challenged Cody while declaring his party preference “Reluctantly Republican”; in 2014, Cody was unopposed, while Kolding ran against Fitzgibbon; in 2012, Cody had a Democratic opponent, while Fitzgibbon was unopposed.
Also of local note, West Seattleite KumRoon “Mr. Mak” Maksirisombat (his ballot listing includes the nickname), a teacher at Chief Sealth International High School, is one of the nine candidates in the running for state Superintendent of Public Instruction.
The state primary election is August 2nd.
If you are – or know someone who is – between ages 11 and 25, this week brings your/their chance to help make a big decision – voting on how to spend almost three-quarters of a million dollars in the city budget.
It’s voting time in the city’s first-ever Participatory Budgeting process, dubbed “Youth Voice, Youth Choice.” While online voting has just gone live, a special feature of this is the chance to vote in person – and it’s happening in places where the participants are likely to be found.
North Delridge resident Nancy Folsom e-mailed to say she will have ballots with her on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons, starting at 3:30 pm, at Delridge Skatepark (Delridge/Genesee).
Then, from the city, youth-engagement strategic adviser Jenny Frankl sent this message:
As you might recall, there were a series of Idea Assemblies held in February, where Youth Voice, Youth Choice collected 530+ ideas for projects. Since that time, a group of youth budget delegates have been culling that list and have now narrowed that list down to 19 project proposals. Youth ages 11 – 25 are being asked to select their top 7 projects out of this list of 19 during Vote Week (which is currently underway!). There are two ways to vote: Youth can vote online @ bit.ly/youthvoicevote or via a paper ballot. In West Seattle, some in-person polling stations have been set up in various locations:
· Chief Sealth IHS, through their Social Studies classes
· Southwest Youth & Family Services (contact Fernanda Hernandez, email@example.com, for exact times)
· Delridge Skatepark [see above]
· High Point Youth Program
· High Point Youth Tutoring Program
· West Seattle branches of the Seattle Public Library
Anyone who needs a paper ballot or is interested in participation by youth with whom they work – contact Jenny at firstname.lastname@example.org or 206-396-0200.
P.S. If you’re not eligible to vote but interested in what projects are on the ballot – go here and choose the “preview” (non-voting) option.
How should our city handle its next 20 years of growth?
With the recommended plan’s release, it heads to the City Council’s Planning, Land Use, and Zoning Committee (whose members include our district’s Councilmember Lisa Herbold). This is the first major comprehensive-plan update since 2004. One of its key points is an echo of what happened a decade before that, in the city’s first such plan: “The urban village strategy is this Plan’s approach to managing growth. … The City intends for each of these areas to see more growth and change over time than other commercial locations or primarily residential areas, and together they will accommodate the majority of the city’s expansion during this Plan’s life span.”
The announcement from the mayor’s office – which you can see in its entirety here – includes:
Seattle 2035 includes goals and policies, including those that:
· Guide more future growth to areas within a 10-minute walk of frequent transit
· Continue the Plan’s vision for mixed-use Urban Villages and Urban Centers
· Monitor future growth in greater detail, including data about racial disparities
· Increase the supply and diversity of affordable housing consistent with the Mayor’s Housing Affordable Livability Agenda (HALA)
· Update how we measure the performance of the city’s transportation and parks systems
· Integrate the City’s planning for parks, preschool, transit, housing, transportation, City facilities and services
Our area has four urban villages – which are part of the list of neighborhoods in the section of the report that includes highlights from neighborhood plans. You can search that section for each of these:
Delridge (not an urban village)
West Seattle Junction
The plan spans many topics, from off-street parking to potential North Highline annexation. As the announcement observes, “Forecasts suggest that over the next twenty years, Seattle will need to accommodate 70,000 additional housing units, 120,000 more residents, and 115,000 additional jobs.” This would set a framework for doing that. The plan “and related legislation” will go to the PLUZ Committee later this month, the announcement says. The comments that went into it were gathered in a variety of ways, including meetings like this one in West Seattle last November.
10:20 PM: Even if you weren’t part of it, you might recall the discussion of last Sunday’s long-running caucus in the 34th Legislative District (West Seattle, White Center, Vashon, and vicinity). The lists of who got elected are posted – but according to one precinct-committee officer who e-mailed us, urgent action is needed. Here’s the note we received Jennifer Knutson, Precinct 1252 PCO:
Long story short, because they were counting delegates so late … most of the delegates didn’t get their paperwork filled out – and it must be filled out by TOMORROW in order for both Clinton and Sanders delegates to be seated. We need your help getting the word out to our West Seattle/Burien neighbors.
Here’s what they say:
If you were elected as a delegate or alternate you need to submit a delegate form by Friday to this email address: email@example.com
If you already completed one of these forms on the day of the caucus, you still need to submit again.
Contact Chair Marcee Stone-Vekich with questions. Her contact information is here.
Here is the credentials report for the caucus (PDF).
7:26 AM FRIDAY: See an update from the 34th chair in comments.
Tonight we know the locations where King County Elections is proposing to add more than three dozen fixed ballot dropboxes, including West Seattle (where the last one was removed more than five years ago), White Center, and South Park. Each would get one dropbox before primary voting starts in mid-July, if this plan is approved. Read the full news release here.
Toplines for our area:
In West Seattle, the location would be High Point Library (35th/Raymond); in White Center, it would be the White Center Library (the address listed in the county report is for the current one on 16th, though the new one on SW 107th is scheduled to open soon, so we’ll be doublechecking on that tomorrow). The South Park Library is proposed for a dropbox by the November general election. A 132-page report including how and why these locations (and the others around the county) were chosen – and why some other locations were not chosen – can be seen here.
The county says it will spend $239,695 to have the boxes made, wrapped, and installed. Assuming approval is received from the King County Council and all property owners, this would put 91.5% of the county’s population within three miles of a dropbox, the county says. A public hearing is planned before the County Council’s Government Accountability and Oversight Committee at 9:30 am Tuesday, April 26th, in the council chambers downtown.
— 34th Democrats (@34dems) April 17, 2016
12:12 PM: That photo tweeted by the 34th District Democrats is from the next step in the process of choosing the party’s presidential-nomination delegates: The legislative-district caucus, officially starting at 1 pm at West Seattle High School (3000 California SW). Those voting there today were chosen at the precinct-level caucuses last month; the list and other info can be found here. More than 1,000 delegates and alternates are expected; if you’re going, please bring a donation of non-perishable food for the West Seattle and White Center Food Banks.
5:20 PM: No word on results yet – commenters and tweeters say the event has moved very slowly.
7:09 PM: Not over yet, according to Twitter reports (see the latest from the hashtag #WAcaucus here), which indicate some other legislative-district caucuses are also still in progress.
9:24 PM: As of the top of the hour, the delegate counting wasn’t over yet, according to an e-mail report from Jill, who sent this photo:
Meanwhile, from the official 34th District Democrats‘ Twitter account:
— 34th Democrats (@34dems) April 18, 2016
But the bottom line: if you are frustrated you must become actively involved in Democratic Party process to change the way things are.
— 34th Democrats (@34dems) April 18, 2016
10:41 PM: While the caucus adjourned about an hour and a half ago, delegate tallying isn’t over, Jill adds – the Sanders delegates’ ballots are still being tallied.
12 MIDNIGHT: Another photo from Jill. Still waiting for word:
12:39 AM: 34th Dems’ web editor Bill Schrier has published a post on the organization’s website with some explanation, as promised, of what happened over those many hours. Bill, like everyone else in the org, is a volunteer, something he mentions they needed, and need, more of.
That slide deck is from the agenda for a City Council committee meeting tomorrow morning, and it’s the first time we’ve seen an all-in-one-place visual breakdown of a subject that comes up in discussion often – property taxes.
The 9:30 am meeting is actually the entire City Council meeting as the Select Committee on the 2016 Housing Levy, and one of its agenda items is a general discussion on property taxes in the city, as they consider the proposed levy, which is double the one that’s about to expire. If you scroll through the slide deck – or get it here as a PDF – you’ll see that it looks at the taxes on a “median”-valued home in the city (half are worth more, half worth less), valued at $480,000, paying $4,553 a year. As shown on page 5, a little less than a third of that – $1,472 – is from/for the city, and in turn, about half of that goes to 7 voter-approved levies, including the housing levy that is expiring:
*Transportation levy, $279
*Park district levy, $140
*Families/Education levy, $98
*Housing levy, $61
*Campaign financing, $9
If you want to hear how this is presented and discussed tomorrow morning, you can go to the meeting at City Hall or watch live via Seattle Channel, cable 21 or seattlechannel.org.
(LOOKING FOR RESULTS? Go here)
FIRST REPORT, 10:24 AM: The Democratic caucuses are on – and we’re already getting reader reports via Twitter of crowds just about everywhere:
— Jana on Occasion (@jana_obscura) March 26, 2016
— Jean-Paul Willynck (@jwillynck) March 26, 2016
— Chris Monsos (@ChrisMonsos) March 26, 2016
More to come. We’re about to step inside West Seattle High School to see how it’s going there.
11:05 AM: The initial balloting is over and people are rising, at tables in the WSHS Commons, to argue in favor of their candidate. Here’s how the vote went at one table where we spent some time:
— West Seattle Blog (@westseattleblog) March 26, 2016
— West Seattle Blog (@westseattleblog) March 26, 2016
— West Seattle Blog (@westseattleblog) March 26, 2016
The speeches continue. People can choose to change their votes – so that’s the point of speeches. Again, if you missed the backstory, this is the first step in the process of allotting our state’s delegates to the Democratic National Convention. (Republicans had caucuses but not to support presidential candidates; they’ll do that in the primary vote later this spring.) Here’s a quick Instagram-video circle around the WSHS Commons:
— West Seattle Blog (@westseattleblog) March 26, 2016
Next, tables are electing delegates to the next level of the process. We’ll have more photos/info later, including official numbers expected this afternoon.
ADDED 12:42 PM: We also stopped at Chief Sealth International High School:
And the Boren Building, home to Louisa Boren K-8 STEM and, until June, Arbor Heights Elementary:
Reminders that the caucuses run on volunteer power – from the 34th District Democrats, chair Marcee Stone-Vekich was at the mic at Boren:
And at Sealth, the 34th DDs’ state committeewoman Lisa Plymate:
Also just in – a photo from Vy Duong, who caucused at Lafayette Elementary:
Vy reports seeing County Executive Dow Constantine, an Admiral resident, there; we noted County Council Chair Joe McDermott, a Morgan-area resident, at Sealth.
More to come! Photos welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org.
2:47 PM: Statewide and county-by-county results, by the way, are being updated here – big lead for Sanders so far. We hope to have local-level results at some point too. Another photo to share, from an anonymous reader – Madison Middle School:
9:33 PM: Most of the results are in at the state-party site and it shows Sanders winning the state with 73 percent to Clinton’s 27 percent.
If you’re a Democrat and planning to caucus Saturday, but still not sure exactly how it works and/or where to go – here’s the full how-to, as just sent by the 34th District Democrats:
Democrats from across the 34th Legislative District will caucus on Saturday, March 26, in multiple locations. During the caucus Democrats will elect delegates pledged to either Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders. These delegates will attend conventions and caucuses to be held later in the year at the legislative district, congressional district, King County and Statewide level, where they will elect the 118 delegates to the Democratic Party’s national convention in Philadelphia in July. The 34th Legislative District includes West Seattle, White Center, North Highline, Vashon Island and the northern part of Burien. In this district, the caucuses will be held at schools. Here is a detailed list of precinct caucus locations in the 34th District:
Anyone can attend their caucus, but voting for presidential delegates is limited to registered voters who
publicly attest that they are Democrats. People who are currently 17 years old but will be eligible to vote in the Nov. 8 election also can vote in the caucuses. People can find their precinct on the King County website here:
As the Legislature wrapped up its regular session – which moved immediately into a special session – our area’s largest political organization convened a panel to review how social-equity policy legislation fared this year. That was part of the 34th District Democrats‘ March meeting last Wednesday at The Hall at Fauntleroy, and we recorded the panel on video. Attorney and 34th District precinct-committee officer Jamila Johnson moderated the discussion featuring (left to right in our video) Rachel Myers, executive director for the Washington Low-Income Housing Alliance / Washington Housing Alliance Action Fund; Janet Chung, legal/legislative counsel from Legal Voice; and Doug Honig, communications director from the state branch of the ACLU.
This month’s 34th DDs meeting also was its last membership meeting before the March 26th caucuses in our state. A training session preceded the meeting; for those involved in the group, logistics were the big topic. If you’re planning to participate as a Democrat, here’s the info, and here’s where to go to find your caucus location. They start at 10 am on March 26th (which is a Saturday); this state-level guide explains how the process works.
(Our state is having a presidential primary on May 24th, but the Democrats are using the caucus process for their nominating-convention delegates, while the Republicans are using the primary for theirs.)
ORIGINAL REPORT, 4 PM: What’s happening right now at the Southwest Neighborhood Service Center is part of what was supposed to happen when the Seattle City Council changed to seven district-elected members and two at-large (citywide-elected) members – more local presence. District 1 (West Seattle/South Park) City Councilmember Lisa Herbold is in the middle of her first office-hours day “in the district,” which started at noon and continues until 7 pm. She already had had five visitors when we stopped by in the second hour, and then a TV crew recorded a short interview before we took our pic and cleared out, making way for two more waiting constituents. Herbold, a Highland Park resident elected last November, says she expects to rotate between West Seattle and South Park locations for future office-hours days. But three hours remain today – no advance appointment needed – just stop by the SWNSC, which is in the same building as Southwest Pool and SW Teen Life Center, at 2801 SW Thistle, near the street-level front door.
ADDED 8:25 PM: Councilmember Herbold just posted a wrapup, including: “24 people came to meet with me during my first District 1 office hours! Issues ranged from Secure Scheduling to the 35th SW Road Rechannelization to homelessness to Pronto to property taxes to ArtsWest, to public safety, to shore power at Terminal 5, to pedestrian safety to senior employment services to drainage issues. Over the entire 7 hours there wasn’t more than 5 minutes when there wasn’t someone waiting to talk with me.”
If the City Council goes along with Mayor Murray‘s request, you’ll vote on the renewed/increased Housing Levy in August – until now, there hadn’t been a decision about whether it would be on the primary or general ballot. From the announcement, just out of the WSB inbox:
Building on over 30 years of success, today Mayor Ed Murray delivered his proposal to City Council to replace and expand the Seattle Housing Levy in 2016. His $290 million proposal follows three months of stakeholder and community engagement to discuss the levy and hear what the community’s priorities are for this affordable housing resource.
“Expanding the Housing Levy is the most important thing we will do this year to support affordability in Seattle,” said Mayor Murray. “The levy is a powerful resource to build more affordable homes for low-income families and help people at risk for falling into homelessness. We value an equitable and diverse city and we will renew our commitment to affordable housing.”
The Mayor is recommending the Housing Levy be placed on the August ballot.
The City Council has created a select committee, chaired by Councilmember Tim Burgess, to consider the Mayor’s proposal. A public hearing on the proposal will take place at City Hall on April 4, 2016 at 5:30 p.m. …
Read the rest of this morning’s announcement here.
Two West Seattle meetings with briefings about and discussion of the levy have already been held. We covered both. Here are our reports:
During the campaign for West Seattle/South Park’s first-ever City Council District 1 seat, Lisa Herbold promised to keep regular hours in the district. She’s just announced when and where she’ll do that for the first time. From her latest e-mail update:
I am happy to announce that I will soon be starting my District 1 office hours. Every other week I will be holding office hours from 12:00 pm – 7:00 pm; the in-district office will rotate to help best serve all communities in District 1.
I’m still working on finalizing a schedule and locations, but I do know that my first office hours will be at the Southwest Neighborhood Service Center (2801 SW Thistle St) on March 4th from 12:00 pm – 7:00 pm.
I’m including evening hours for folks who want to stop by after work. These will be open office hours for anyone to stop by; additionally, you’re welcome to schedule a meeting with me through my scheduler, Alex Clardy (email@example.com). There likely will have to be adjustments as we move forward, but I’m eager to try this out and see what works and what does not. Your input is welcome!
Caucus season starts this Saturday, with our state’s Republicans holding pooled precinct caucuses. To find out how the process works, we went to Wednesday night’s monthly meeting of the 34th District Republicans, who moved their regular meeting spot from Burien to West Seattle last year.
About 30 people were there. 34th GOP chair Chuck Rangel explained that while you can declare a presidential preference on Saturday, the delegate allocation will be determined in the May 24th primary vote, so Saturday’s caucusing is really about starting the process of choosing delegates for the district, county, and state conventions.
There are two locations this year – West Seattle High School (3000 California SW) for everyone north of Cloverdale, the Evergreen Campus in White Center (830 SW 116th) for everyone south of Cloverdale. As Rangel explained it, doors open at 9 for registration; bring a government-issued picture ID and your voter-registration card. If you don’t have your card, people with laptops will look you up to check your status.
Caucusing will start at 10 am, with the rules explained until 10:30, when discussion begins. By 11:30, caucusgoers have to start choosing people to advance to the next round, the district convention. Results will go to the county Republican Party offices. Dates for the ensuing conventions, all the way up to the national one, are here.
If you’re wondering about eligibility to participate, that’s explained here.
(Democrats start caucusing March 26th; we covered early info in our report on last week’s 34th District Democrats meeting.)
When the West Seattle Block Watch Captains Network met three weeks ago, police staffing turned to be the hottest topic of the meeting. Southwest Precinct commander Capt. Pierre Davis said he’d like to have more officers, but hiring citywide wasn’t going very quickly.
Maybe it will now – in his State of the City speech this afternoon, Mayor Ed Murray doubled his promise of new officers to be hired before his first term is up – saying he’ll now commit to hiring 200 more officers, above and beyond ongoing attrition.
Acknowledging that while violent crime in Seattle is low, property crime is not, he said SPD is forming a “dedicated team” working on reducing it.
He announced a Commercial Affordability Advisory Committee to, as the news release about his speech describes it, “identify issues that lead to displacement of small businesses in growing Urban Villages and recommend actions that support affordable commercial spaces.”
He spoke of renewed commitment for transportation projects including Sound Transit light rail to West Seattle and the Lander Street overpass in SODO, which was named in the Move Seattle levy. And he said the Vision Zero safety campaign – which has cut speed limits and rechannelized streets, including parts of 35th and Roxbury in West Seattle – is working, with traffic deaths down 25 percent, at an all-time low.
Read more highlights here.
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
Less than two months into her first term as the first City Councilmember for District 1 – West Seattle and South Park – Lisa Herbold made her first official appearance before the West Seattle Chamber of Commerce on (after a few unofficial appearances).
“I see my role at City Hall as a person you can count on to … keep things moving. Progress at City Hall can sometimes be slow and incremental.” She pointed out that Economic Development is part of her mission of the committee she’s chairing. She also said she hopes to serve the public by showing people how to “be their own best advocate.” Along the way, she also touched on several of the city’s current hot topics, including the SODO arena, the proposed bicycle-share takeover, and potential White Center annexation. Here’s our video:
The format was Q/A – starting with several pre-collected by Pete Spalding, who leads the Chamber’s government-affairs committee. The first gave her the opportunity to summarize her committee involvement on the council (as detailed here). The committee she chairs – Civil Rights, Utilities, Economic Development, and Arts – includes one that is charged with strengthening and enforcing workers’ rights, but with an “explicit commitment to business,” to “bring employeers and employees to the table together.” She’s also on the Affordable Housing, Neighborhoods & Finance Committee, and says housing affordability, “something I’ve been passionate about,” is part of her portfolio there. Job readiness, including apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship programs, is part of what she’s working on there.
Taking care of small businesses is important, she said, saying she’s “scoping out” whether the city could have a program like one in the Bay Area that protects “legacy businesses” (those in operation for decades) – determining how many had closed over a period of time, and then creating a registry of those still in business. “Once you quantify what you’ve lost, what you want to save, you can strategize how to save them,” she said, observing that voters in the Bay Area passed a fund specifically targeted at “helping these legacy businesses stay afloat.”
Another question: How does she plan to keep up on issues that businesses on the peninsula will be keeping up during her term?
One example she cited: The presentation at her committee meeting earlier this week, highlighting the South Seattle College (WSB sponsor) training program at Vigor‘s shipyard on Harbor Island. You can see it at 18 minutes into the Seattle Channel video of the meeting:
Herbold told the chamber lunch’s ~40 attendees, “They have found that 81 percent of daytime graduates of this program were employed within the industry they were being trained for.” She also mentioned the Priority Hire program, focused on city public-works projects. That’s meant to increase what she said was a shrinking percentage of Seattle residents working on city-funded projects – now just 40 percent.
She promised to be “a regular” at Chamber meetings, and assured the group that transportation issues are among her priorities, too, describing the West Seattle Transportation Coalition is a good funnel for those advocacy issues, and suggesting the Chamber synergize with groups like that on key issues: “When we get letters that are written/signed by several interest groups, they’re compelling. … It really makes us take notice.”
When the floor was opened to questions, Chas Redmond – who had run for the seat Herbold won – asked how the new council is dealing with the proposed SODO arena.
“I was disappointed that we are moving forward with scheduling the street vacation public hearing,” she said. “I thought the appeal could conceivably identify some useful information to help guide us in the policymaking around the street vacation.” She said it doesn’t seem all the issues around the project have been revealed. She’s also interested in examining street-vacation policies in general. But she says she believes in negotiating from a position of strength and the street vacation “is a contract.” (Next questioner asked for an explanation of “street vacation” – find it here.)
After that: What might be your roadblocks for doing great things?
“Often, roadblocks associated with resources, sometimes the interest of folks in maintaining the status quo … we have a regressive tax structure in hte state and means we can’t do a lot of things we want to do, so we have to focus on the priorities.” She says she wants to focus on things affecting people’s day-to-day lives, and then expressed concern about the current proposal for the city to bail out and take over the bike-share program for $1.4 million (followed up by an expansion that would not likely include West Seattle): “The Pronto discussion, for example – I don’t know that keeping that afloat when it’s facing bankruptcy is the best use of finite resources.” So, she said, she’s “asking tough questions” about whether that would be “throwing good money after bad.”
Speaking about income inequality and homelessness, Herbold said: “We’re experiencing a lot of growth in the city and it’s not always being felt by everyone in the city.” She said the current efforts focus on “unsheltered homeless people.” She said that part of the problem in the past has been “up until a year and a half ago,” new resources was only being spent on permanent housing, rather than to get emergency shelter for the thousands of people sleeping outdoors.
White Center entrepreneur and North Highline Unincorporated Area Council board member Elizabeth Gordon then asked about how Herbold sees her role as representing a “border district,” with unincorporated WC next door, facing potential Seattle annexation (local voters rejected Burien’s overture years ago and that city is on record as no longer interested).
Herbold pointed out that she lives in a “border neighborhood” – Highland Park. She also reiterated what she had voiced repeatedly during the council campaign – that her view of WC/NH annexation is cautious at best. “I think it’s just a matter of partnerships – we have to always be in partnership with representatives and stakeholders that are our neighbors. I know there’s a lot of interest in pursuing annexation – I have a lot of concerns about annexation … I have an open mind but moving forward on these discussions … I don’t want to annex a new part of the region and have that part of the region just become another neighborhood on the list of underserved neighborhoods here in district 1.” She said she would want to make sure there are enough resources, and she’s not entirely sure that what the state might allocate this year (sales-tax-credit legislation is advancing) would be enough to cover the costs.
Your next chance to see Councilmember Herbold out in the district, by the way, is during the Nature Consortium’s Neighbor Appreciation Day work party tomorrow (Saturday, February 13th), 10 am-2 pm at Pigeon Point Park at 4418 21st SW, next to Pathfinder K-8.
Two more notes from the meeting:
CHAMBER’S NEW HOME: CEO Lynn Dennis mentioned that the Chamber has found a new HQ location – 5639 California SW, as reported here post-meeting yesterday afternoon.
YMCA UPDATE: The West Seattle/Fauntleroy YMCA (WSB sponsor) is now expecting to break ground on its expansion around mid-April, once the permits are finalized, Josh Sutton told the Chamber gathering. He also noted that the Y has 240 employees and is an $8 million business in West Seattle. It’s raised $3.65 million in West Seattle for the expansion, and its annual fundraising campaign is under way (as reported here)
For more information about the West Seattle Chamber, explore its website at wschamber.com; monthly events include lunches and “After Hours” gatherings. WSB is among the hundreds of local businesses comprising its membership.