West Seattle Blog... » West Seattle politics http://westseattleblog.com West Seattle news, 24/7 Sat, 10 Oct 2015 08:44:00 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.4.2 What the people who want your City Council votes were saying at the Fauntleroy forum http://westseattleblog.com/2015/10/what-the-people-who-want-your-city-council-votes-were-saying-at-the-fauntleroy-forum/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/10/what-the-people-who-want-your-city-council-votes-were-saying-at-the-fauntleroy-forum/#comments Thu, 08 Oct 2015 00:07:40 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=325151

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

With four weeks left until the general election – the night the voting ends and the vote-counting begins – a forum in Fauntleroy last night featured the six candidates for the three City Council seats that will be on your ballot.

“This is a unique election,” observed Boots Winterstein from the Westside Interfaith Network (WIN), which co-presented the forum with the League of Women Voters of Seattle-King County, whose Lucy Gaskill-Gaddis served as moderator.

The format put most of the questions to all of the candidates – for City Council District 1, West Seattle/South Park, Lisa Herbold and Shannon Braddock; for at-large (citywide) Position 8, Jon Grant and Tim Burgess; for at-large Position 9, Bill Bradburd and Lorena González.

The sharpest differences were evident between each of the two sets of citywide candidates; in the local race, it was more subtle, with little all-out disagreement. And District 1 is where the forum Q/A began.

(Please note that what you read below are not full transcriptions of the candidates’ entire replies, but rather the key points that we noted while listening, with some direct quoting. No report can ever match seeing/hearing for yourself firsthand.)

A decreasing supply of affordable housing is a factor in the increase in homelessness – a major WIN concern (with member congregations involved in helping homeless people in a variety of ways). Which means would the candidates use to address the lack of affordable housing that leads to homelessness?

BRADDOCK: She said she was drawn to this area because of its economic diversity. And despite its economic growth, “We have definitely seen through the years that not all of our residents are having that opportunity.” She noted that she supports housing with services when needed, and that she is happy to see the mayor and council move forward with the HALA recommendations, including “mandatory inclusionary housing,” plus the “linkage fee” and “an increase in the housing levy as it comes up … When you look at the work that levy does to help lower-income families get financing to help buy affordable units, it’s important for us to do that work.”

HERBOLD: She began with “a couple stats – for every 10 percent a city has in average rent increases, you see a 15 percent increase in homelessness. … Ten years ago more than 50 percent of our work force could afford to live in the city; now it’s 40 percent.” Increasing supply, improving regulations to require developers to include (affordable) housing, tenants’ rights, increasing shelter capacity, are all things she believes could help. She went on to talk about preservation of the current affordable-housing supply, “to dis-incentivize the demolition of it … In the first six months of this year, there were 2,500 units slated for demolition.”

BRADDOCK REBUTTAL: “As a city, we cannot do this work alone … we have to build relationships with other municipalities and at the state level … to perhaps find more low-income, low-interest financing … if someone rents a space affordably, we can find a way for them to get the repairs and maintenance they need,” so they can stay in that housing. “We’re going to really have to build on those relationships to keep moving forward.”

HERBOLD REBUTTAL: “I do agree that these are regional issues .. our 10-year plan to end homelessness was a regional plan.” But now something “must be done differently,” including addressing “the lack of shelter capacity in our system.” She said she’s a “fan of the ‘Housing First’ model” [get people into housing, then address the issues in their lives], but acknowledged it’s costly, so for starters, the matter of people “sleeping on the street … needs to be treated as an emergency.”

How would the “Move Seattle” transportation levy on the November ballot fix any of the (local) traffic issues? (The candidates were also asked if they support it.)

HERBOLD: The levy addresses the traffic problem “as a multi-modal issue.” She reiterated what she’s said before, that she’s voting for it, though she thinks we should “move toward a less-regressive form of taxation.” The levy is important in part, she says, because it represents “a quarter of SDOT’s budget.”

BRADDOCK: She mentioned she’s multi-modal, with her own van plus a lot of bus commuting. She says she supports the levy because “we have got to invest in our infrastructure.” She said she’s “most concerned about the accountability … I want to know that when SDOT is telling me it’s investing” (in transit), “I want to (hold them accountable).” She said that if she’s elected, she wants you to know that you can call her office if you have a concern about this. She mentioned that improvements in RapidRide C and turning Route 120 into an RR line are two things that will help. “But it’s not just about getting better transit service, it’s about better ways to get on and off the West Seattle Bridge.” She mentioned the corridor task force.

HERBOLD REBUTTAL: “Accountability is important but so is equity.” She said she would make sure that investments are made in communities with the greatest needs, not just the greatest density. She wants to take a look at restoring cuts made in transit service before Prop 1 was approved, and added that the city needs to look through its own equity lens when telling the county how to allocate the hours that city taxpayers are paying for.

BRADDOCK REBUTTAL: She points out that she has experience working directly with county-provided transportation services as County Councilmember Joe McDermott‘s chief of staff and that she appreciates that the city recognized that it’s important to invest in some of the lines – like the 120 – that don’t just stay within city limits. “It’s not always just the 9-to-5 commute routes; we need to provide better service to people (with unconventional working hours).”

Solutions for what some perceive as “runaway growth”?

BRADDOCK: We all know it’s growing fast … Developers absolutely need to pay their fair share … but when that fair share is paid, it’s important to know how those dollars are being used. She said she’s glad that some are pursuing citizen education (such as Tuesday night’s WWRHAH meeting listening to a community advocate’s “Land Use 101″ presentation). She said she expects a more “holistic” look at community planning, and hopes for resources such as “neighborhood facilitators” to help communities understand where they can weigh in on issues and projects.

HERBOLD: Passage of laws is where a community is truly shaped, not necessarily something at the street level like Design Review, where community members can only “fuss around with the details.” She said that it’s important to look at how land-use rules interact with how the community wants things to work. She pointed out that some of West Seattle’s urban growth areas, such as the West Seattle Junction, are way past what was projected as their growth levels. So it’s important to look at areas that aren’t reaching their growth goals, she mentioned, noting that one locally is not (she didn’t name it, but that’s Westwood-Highland Park). She said that it’s natural for developers to want to keep going to the areas that are meeting their goals and where things seem to be going well.

BRADDOCK REBUTTAL: She says this is a perfect reason why the city decided to transition to city representation by district. “District representation is a really good opportunity to address that issue – all of you will know which office to call .. Not all urban villages are the same; the one on Capitol Hill is not the same as the one in The Junction.”

HERBOLD REBUTTAL: The people she speaks to while doorbelling understand growth is going to happen … but “don’t feel we’re doing a good enough job managing our growth.” So, she said, impact fees and investing in affordable housing are important, in places with the greatest needs for investment, so we have to be sure the decisions we are making” reflect that.

The questioning expanded to add González and Bradburd, same question re: “runaway growth.”

GONZALEZ: She hears a lot about not how to “stop” growth but how to “manage” it. In particular, she hears a lot about how it’s tied to transportation infrastructure – parking difficulties, crowded buses, etc. She says it needs to be examined in a “holistic” way, and it’s important to be “realistic” in tying growth to “issues around transportation, additional space for cars, safe space to walk on, giving people what they need to get around.”

BRADBURD: “If you think growth is out of control, you’re absolutely right … The city has not managed growth very well.” Transportation, schools, parks are all obligations but “the city has walked away from those obligations.” He said the HALA proposals are going to make things worse, except for developers and real-estate investors. The proposal, he said, would lead to 50,000 units of housing in the next 10 years, which would lead to “very rapid growth … and the way they’re going to do that is to upzone our neighborhoods … to increase the chance a developer’s going to buy the house next to you and knock it down and put in three or four townhouses.” He stated, “We don’t need more upzones, we do not need to be fostering and fueling” the (runaway growth).

GONZALEZ REBUTTAL: “We are anticipating an additional influx of 120,000 people into our city in the next 10 years, and I don’t believe that we have enough housing available for these folks. There’s no question that we need to create more housing in the market for these folks, and it cannot only be” housing for high-income people. “So part of the solution is not to squash development entirely, but to manage (it).” Re: upzoning, she said, tying it to mandatory inclusionary zoning has been shown to create “an affordability solution to the housing crisis.”

BRADBURD REBUTTAL: He points out that 100 units will have to have five affordable units under the “mandatory inclusionary zoning,” and that’s not enough – “we have given away the candy store to the developers in HALA.” He contends that more affordable units could be produced in other ways. He declared, “HALA is a bamboozle.”

Same question.

BURGESS: “I’d much rather be living in a series that’s experiencing growth than a city that’s not experiencing growth,” such as Detroit. “We can’t build a big wall around Seattle -” people want to live here, companies want to offer jobs here. It’s also a “great place to grow old.” He said he agreed with Gonzalez, it’s about managing growth, not stopping it. Without mentioning Bradburd by name, he said that “some here” seemed to be from (what was once dubbed) “Lesser Seattle.” He mentioned that he thinks we’ll get a chance to vote next year on whether to expand light rail to West Seattle (and elsewhere). “Let’s keep moving forward, protect the city for what it is, and grow smartly.”

GRANT: He mentioned that he used to be director of the Tenants’ Union. He said that developers couldn’t have been paying hundreds of millions of dollars in fees “left on the table.” HALA didn’t go far enough, he contends. “I don’t think it’s unreasonable for us to say developers should pay their fair share – and should do more.” The city doesn’t have development-impact fees that could pay for roads, parks, schools, but should, he contended. “Why don’t we have these things?” He alleged that incumbent councilpeople including his opponent take money from developers and maybe that’s why we don’t have those fees.

BURGESS REBUTTAL: He said that HALA has led to a variety of groups “com(ing) together and saying, ‘let’s work in common cause, let’s move the ball foreward and create affordable housing … usually all of these people are in front of us and fighting, never agreeing … so it’s a huge accomplishment that (they) are agreeing and moving forward .. we’re going to create more affordable housing than we could have with the original linkage fee.”

GRANT REBUTTAL: More than half the HALA advisory committee members were from development/real estate and the only recommendations that moved forward were those on which there were concensus. Instead of their “grand bargain,” there should have been one, he said, “with the community.” He said we have district elections because “people are fed up … I think we need to ask for more so that Seattle can be affordable for all.”

Next question, one the D-1 candidates had been asked earlier: How can the “Move Seattle” levy address traffic?

BRADBURD: He’s against it – it’s taxing people for what he thinks developers should be taxed for, and he doesn’t think it addresses a $2 billion backlog of road needs (and that, he said, just involves arterials). “Move Seattle does not begin to scratch the surface on that.” He says the levy lists projects but says ultimately other decisions might be made; he thinks any levy should be very specific, with what it funds and when it’ll be funded. He thinks that if this is rejected, something new could go to voters next year, after consultation with the new district-elected councilmembers.

GONZALEZ: She is in favor of Move Seattle and said that’s mostly for the reasons that Herbold and Braddock meant. She is a West Seattleite and spends a lot of time “on our roads, mostly by car, (sometimes) by bus. … We have to be realistic that getting the infrastructure we need … requires significant investment.” Though it’s a $930 million levy, the “overall cost to the homeowner is small,” she contended. She believes it devotes a fair amount of money to maintenance.

BRADBURD REBUTTAL: “Lorena says it’s going to address maintenance … it does not.” He said there’s a $2 billion maintenance backlog and this would address only a fraction of that. “We need to get developers to pay for this and to get things fixed as quickly as possible and not get the bells and whistles that ‘Move Seattle’ represents.”

GONZALEZ REBUTTAL: “I don’t know about you but I think $400 million is a lot of money … I think that bogging (this) down in process is not an effective solution … I think this is the time right now for making a serious investment in our infrastructure …” She believes it will help get us out of traffic.

Same question, re: “Move Seattle”:

GRANT: He supports it. “But I have to say I’m not very happy that I’m going to be voting for it … when we talk about our priorities we have to talk about how we’re paying for it, and any kind of levy is the most regressive way to address our transportation needs.” He’d like to see “the private sector” paying too. He would bring back the “employee hours tax,” to help pay for transportation infrastructure. The levy is “so much money … because we let things get that bad” after repealing the employee hours tax more than five years ago. He says Burgess led the charge to repeal that. “It’s not just where these investments are made, but who’s paying for them.” He alleges that the current council is “too cozy” with developers and downtown interests. “If you want change and greater equity, you need a change at City Hall.”

BURGESS: He said he had to “correct” Grant because property taxes are “paid by everyone,” the private (business) sector as well as “citizens like you and me.” He said he strongly favors Move Seattle. “The Bridging the Gap Levy – which expires at the end of this year – has been highly successful and has been used (the way the previous council) had said it would be used.” He noted that this levy is a successor to that and will add $12/month – “What’s that, three lattes?” If you think transportation is great now, don’t vote for it; if you don’t, do. He mentioned that Safe Routes to School would benefit from levy dollars: “This is a great investment, and I’m sorry that Mr. Eyman prevailed so we have to keep voting on these things all the time … The “Move Seattle” levy is a wise, solid investment in our city.”

GRANT REBUTTAL: He wanted to point out a difference in world views, that Burgess said it’s “the same” for a homeowner to pay as for a developer to pay. “You’re not on the same ground as some of the biggest corporations in this country, and I think it’s inequitable to pay for these transportation costs solely by levy … I think you have every right to be upset that these costs are being imposed disproportionately on you. … We need a chance at City Hall.”

BURGESS REBUTTAL: “The property tax is applied fairly to everybody … The Move Seattle levy is an investment …” he thinks it’s fair. He also thinks next year’s Sound Transit 3 ballot measure will be a wise investment, too.

What’s the role of the at-large member?

GONZALEZ: That’s a question she said the candidates get often – she hopes the district and at-large reps will work together closely “as the specific needs arrive per district … That being said, I think this is a new day for the city council, I think it’s going to be very important for (everyone elected) to have a breadth and depth of experience, (be) able to communicate … even with people they disagree with. … I represent that type of leadership, and I hope you will consider voting for me, as I’ve worked on a lot of different issues around the city.”

BRADBURD: “I’m proud to be one of the people who put together the proposal for district elections … Part of the reason we (did it) was because City Hall was not being responsive to communities … Many of us has been frustrated by how different it is to get City Councilmembers to talk to people …In this city, people have been kept away from information. When people say ‘Bridging the Gap’ has been a huge success – (some of the money) has been diverted to … South Lake Union, where .. some of the buildings haven’t even been built yet, and we have these beautiful streets.” He says neighborhoods “have lost (their) voice” as developers urge rezoning, and set the tone for the HALA recommendations. “I do believe we are a regional area and have to work with all the other parts of the Puget Sound region,” including as it relates to transit.

GONZALEZ REBUTTAL: “I think it’s really important that when voters look at the citywide seats that they look at people who are not just focused on one issue.” Bradburd is focused on land use, she noted, while she has worked on a variety of issues. And, she said, she will work with a strong commitment to equity and social justice.

BRADBURD REBUTTAL: He’s not just about land use – he is supported by people from a variety of disciplines and interests, but his opponent, he said, is supported by business interests. “She may say she supports a lot of people, but we’re all concerned where the money comes from – I will represent you, the people.”

BURGESS: “The at-large councilmember is going to do the same thing district councilmembers do, represent the city, but with an added interest – regional.” He mentioned City Councilmembers’ campaign “Seattle For Washington” and thinks that will continue. He said it’s about forming collaborative relationships with people “to actually get things done, and that’s what I’ve done.” As successes, he listed the preschool program, the gun-violence tax, the Families and Education Levy – “All of those things came down because we sat down with a variety of stakeholders and crafted solutions that would make a difference in people’s lives.” He said his varied endorsements are from people “who know my style.”

GRANT: He ticks off problems including runaway rent increases, police problems, giant gender-pay gap. “There are things we can do to be bold and make progressive change that is lasting … but we have to have a change at City Council to make that happen.” He said it’s important for underrepresented communities like South Park, Georgetown, Lake City to be better represented and that he will work with the district reps for those areas. “That is my worldview – we need a direct connection.” He said it’s important to make changes so Seattle “can be affordable for all.”

BURGESS REBUTTAL: He said that counterparts around the country see Seattle as very progressive, with the minimum wage law, universal preschool, and more: “These are huge progressive wins for us, for the city … I’m proud of the work the council has done. We do have challenges, transportation, affordable housing … you can be our partners (in addressing them).”

GRANT REBUTTAL: He says the labor movement is who was responsible for the minimum wage, NOT the City Council. “If we want to continue partnering with the grass-roots movement on systemic change, we need grass-roots leadership at City Hall. … Why don’t we just cut to the change and elect somebody who holds those values?” rather than having grass-roots people pressuring the politicians, he suggested.


HERBOLD: “I’ve been having some fun with opposition to my candidacy … the Rental Housing Association has been putting a lot of money into the effort to defeat me.” So, she said, she’s been using that group’s verbiage about her potential advocacy for tenants’ rights, as a positive point. “I do think this race is important, we’re at a crossroads in the city, and it’s time for us to put a fine focus on addressing the affordability of the city.”

BRADDOCK: “The residents of District 1 are the deciding factor and I’m proud to be running to represent them.” She detailed her time here, her volunteer work, her time working with the King County Council, and believes it’ll all add up to make her “a very effective representative for you.”

GRANT: “We are electing nine new city councilmembers and I think the district election was a referendum on the middle-of-the-road tinkering we’ve seen at City Hall.” He said police problems, rental affordability, pay equity are all things that can be addressed “if we have strong, bold progressive leadership.”

BURGESS: He described himself as a Seattle native, “We love this city and I love my job, I love getting good things done for the people of Seattle.” He said that even though his opponent is about affordable housing, advocates have endorsed him. “This is a great city and we are electing all nine members of the City Council, which is why we need a steady hand, someone who’s been there and knows how to get things done.”

BRADBURD: “What we need is someone who is willing to speak truth to power.” He says Burgess does not have all affordable-housing developers behind him. He said he’s been calling out corporate deals, and that the council needs someone who will say “no to downtown and no to developers.” He said he is supported by “small, grass-roots, real environmentalists.”

GONZALEZ: “I want to share with you a little bit about my background … I grew up in Central Washington,” the child of undocumented immigrants from Mexico who later naturalized. “I earned my first paycheck at the age of 8 years old,” and put herself through college. “I share that with you because these are experiences that people in our city are currently living … I am so hopeful for our city. I fundamentally believe in opportunity, in equal opportunity. I am backed by a lot of diverse interests and that is a testament to what I bring to this seat. … I can talk to folks I do not agree with.”

How do you plan to address population growth and maintain open spaces?

BRADBURD: The city has plenty of capacity for growth already but developers want to upzone single-family neighborhoods and instead should be building family-size apartments. “I want to be sure that when developers build, they are required to build larger units … instead we have allowed them to build microhousing .. What that kind of housing does is drive up costs.”

BURGESS: He said he led a recent Council effort to have the mayor use eminent domain to take back a beach in North Seattle, and he mentioned the Roosevelt High School condemned-housing-to-park effort. He also mentioned increased funding for parks and open space.

HERBOLD: she said she is aware of activism in the community, especially regarding the surplus substations, and lots of interest in how to use that land. She said she’s been working with people to have the city look at how it values its assets, “a new way that looks at valuing city open space as green infrastructure and putting a value (on that)” so that discussions of the property are looking at “the true value of the property” and asking if there’s a true benefit in keeping it for use later as open space.

No one else wanted to respond (it was optional at this point).

AUDIENCE QUESTION, primarily for Burgess: Why haven’t you implemented the employee hours tax (head tax) again?

BURGESS: The repeal vote, 8-1, was done because businesses told them the tax “was incredibly complicated” and “we wanted to do something for small businesses at the height of the Great Recession.” It brought in $4 or $5 million a year, he said. He wouldn’t support it in its former form but maybe if it were tied to something like “congestion relief.”

GRANT: If the problem was that it was complicated, why wouldn’t they have looked at simplifying it rather than just getting rid of it? He said he favors not just reinstating it but expanding it, to bring in perhaps $30 million a year. He contends that businesses really weren’t complaining that it was complicated, but just didn’t want to pay it.

No one else chose to address the topic.

AUDIENCE QUESTION for Braddock and Herbold: What’s the biggest difference between you and your opponent?

HERBOLD: “A matter of perspective – my background before working for Councilmember Licata was as a community organizer, so (I worked) to bring people together, people who didn’t have so much access.” She mentioned a media story about the City Council candidates in which they were asked to choose as an interview location someplace that mattered to them in the context of their campaign – she took them to the former Linda Manor apartment building in north Gatewood, where rents had been dramatically increased; Braddock, she said, had taken them to the location of her first “starter home.” She said that both choices are valid, but her background has focused on “needs that are often not paid attention to.”

BRADDOCK: “Perspective is a good answer to this question. (That’s where I took the reporter) because that’s what brings a lot of people to this community. I have been very engaged in this community for a long time” – with volunteer groups, her kids’ school’s PTA, with those she works with at Councilmember McDermott’s office. “I’m very excited about the district aspect of this becusae I believe I would be a great representative for this district.”

Others were invited to answer, but chose not to.

The next question relates to something North Seattle-specific, and was posed to Councilmember Burgess – what was the rationale for allowing private housing at Fort Lawton (at Discovery Park in Magnolia)? We’re skipping that one.

Then: Is rent control an effective way to maintain housing affordability – do you support it?

HERBOLD: “I think it’s a matter of definitions – rent control is a particular model that’s been largely phased out in this country, establish(ing) caps. (What came up recently) is going to the state legislature to ask for local control over our rent regulations. … It’s time that we take that control back. We can do things like increase the amount of time required for rent increases … rent stabilizations … an “unconscionable-rent-increase” law … a whole slew of things to do. I think the conversation about rent control has been a distraction.”

BRADDOCK: “I do not support traditional rent control but I’m pleased to see options before us … no one thing is going to fix our affordability crisis … we have to look at it holistically.”

BURGESS: “I think this is a great issue to talk about my approach, my style.” He contended that Councilmembers Licata and Sawant brought forth a measure about “traditional rent control” (sitting next to him, Herbold said, “It wasn’t!”) and there was a committee deadlock. So, he said, he proposed a different form of it, supporting asking the Legislature to allow the city to experiment with different things. “That resolution passed 8-1.”

GRANT: “This misdirection that’s happening … Kshama Sawant does not support rent control that caps rents. So this argument that the resolution was going to cap rents, (was wrong).” (At this point Herbold and Burgess appeared to be discussing what he had said.) Grant said something needs to be done about “price gouging in the city” and that Burgess’s resolution got more support but had “stripped out” language including stats that could have gone to the Legislature “because Tim does not actually support (doing something about the rent increases).”

GONZALEZ: “I agree with what Lisa was saying … we talk about rent control in a very monolithic canned way and I think we do the city a disservice by talking about it that way.” What should be the focus of the discussion, she said, is “economic eviction,” with rents being jacked up, “is there a way for us as a city to have tools to address that (issue), in the way we address other issues like not being paid a living issue, gun tax, etc.” She said cities should “always be fighting” for the right to have all the tools to address issues.

BRADBURD: “I don’t trust the Legislature” … he said that sometimes rents go up because owners are hit with something new that they are required to do, and they are terrified by limits, so he’s been arguing for city bonding capacity to help, in exchange for them to voluntarily stabilize rents.


With that, the forum ended. Three more are planned in West Seattle next week:

-Tuesday, October 13th, 6:15 pm, Neighborhood House’s High Point Center (6400 Sylvan Way), presented by the West Seattle Chamber of Commerce and WS Transportation Coalition

-Wednesday, October 14th, 7 pm, The Hall at Fauntleroy (9131 California SW), presented by the 34th District Democrats

-Thursday, October 15th, 6:30 pm, High Point Library (35th SW & SW Raymond)

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ELECTION 2015 UPDATES: One-month countdown begins http://westseattleblog.com/2015/10/election-2015-updates-one-month-countdown-begins/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/10/election-2015-updates-one-month-countdown-begins/#comments Sun, 04 Oct 2015 06:59:11 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=324897 The general election is November 3rd – exactly one month away – with ballots going into the mail in a week and a half. Two notes tonight:


Both finalists, Shannon Braddock and Lisa Herbold, were at the city’s “Find It, Fix It” walk on Saturday morning:

At one point in the introductory speeches, it sounded as if Mayor Murray was inviting both to come up to the podium – but they stayed in the crowd. Saturday night, both were due to participate in the Inspire Seattle candidates’ forum at a private residence in West Seattle. If you weren’t there, don’t fret – at least four more chances to see them side by side:

-This Tuesday (October 6th), 6:30 pm at Fauntleroy UCC Church (9140 California SW), presented by the Westside Interfaith Network and League of Women Voters

-Tuesday, October 13th, 6:15 pm, Neighborhood House’s High Point Center (6400 Sylvan Way), presented by the West Seattle Chamber of Commerce and WS Transportation Coalition

-Wednesday, October 14th, 7 pm, The Hall at Fauntleroy (9131 California SW), presented by the 34th District Democrats

-Thursday, October 15th, 6:30 pm, High Point Library (35th SW & SW Raymond)


If you’re not registered – this Monday (October 5th) is the deadline to get it done online. Just go here.

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VIDEO: Delridge ‘Find It, Fix It’ walk sees mayor, big city contingent considering concerns from safety to drainage http://westseattleblog.com/2015/10/video-delridge-find-it-fix-it-walk-sees-mayor-big-city-contingent-considering-concerns-from-safety-to-drainage/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/10/video-delridge-find-it-fix-it-walk-sees-mayor-big-city-contingent-considering-concerns-from-safety-to-drainage/#comments Sun, 04 Oct 2015 03:01:58 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=324841

Story, photos, video by Tracy Record and Patrick Sand
West Seattle Blog co-publishers

Successes, challenges, even tragedy took turns in the spotlight as Mayor Ed Murray and a strike force of city staffers descended on North Delridge today for their 12th Find It, Fix It Community Walk, first one in West Seattle.

This was no “drop in and we’ll wander around” event. It was meticulously planned for months, with a community committee involved in planning the route and who would speak where and when. An audio system was carted from stop to stop, and speeches – by community members as well as the mayor and staffers – took up about a third of the hour and a half it actually lasted. With so much planned, it was far more thorough than the last mayoral walking tour we recall in the area, by Murray’s predecessor Mike McGinn five years ago, though part of the route was the same.

We’ll begin at the beginning:

At the starting point, the Louisa Boren STEM K-8 school at 5950 Delridge Way SW, the mayor was introduced by Neighborhood District Coordinator Kerry Wade, who spent months working with community volunteers to ensure this happened without a hitch. With a podium, PA system, and the full crowd, speeches ensued, starting with the mayor explaining what the walks are about:

He introduced the many department heads who were along for the walk:

From left, Seattle Public Utilities’ Ray Hoffman, Seattle City Light’s acting GM Jim Baggs, SPD Deputy Chief Carmen Best, Department of Neighborhoods’ Kathy Nyland, SDOT’s Scott Kubly, Parks Superintendent Jesús Aguirre, budget director Ben Noble, Department of Finance and Administrative Services’ Fred Podesta. Also taking a turn at the podium, City Councilmembers Tim Burgess and Tom Rasmussen:

The school was also the official first stop on the walk, highlighting the success story of its new crosswalk, installed just before this school year began:

Ironically, as community member Craig Rankin pointed out – having been deeply involved in making it happen (as reported here in March 2014) – it wouldn’t be where it is if the city had had its way:

After he spoke, it was off to the next stop, with residents Michelle Whelan and Maketa Wilborn pointing out one of the many places where the Delridge area – mostly a narrow valley, the “dell” between the “ridges” – has drainage challenges:

Using a tablet, they showed the mayor and SPU director Hoffman some images of problems in the past, and pointed out that nearby slopes are slated for development, wondering just how much worse things will get because of that, if something’s not done.

Stop number 3, as the group headed north, was a piece of city-owned property that will remain greenspace thanks to a community organization’s efforts to keep it from being sold off.

That’s Willard Brown from the Delridge Neighborhoods Development Association, which – as reported here recently – will be using grant money and donations to buy one of City Light’s surplus substation sites; here’s the aerial look from SCL’s website.

During the Find It, Fix It walk, Brown spoke about how preserving the greenspace will benefit students from the nearby school:

But some “fixing” is still needed here, he noted, adding his voice to those clamoring for drainage and water-routing improvements in the area. Turning west, the group crossed Delridge Way, and stopped by the planting strip on the south side of the Super 24 store, where, as previewed here last week, the Nature Consortium had a cleanup project under way:

(You might recall some controversy over that planting strip – which previously had been part of a small perpendicular-parking area, and then, when converted, was overpaved, leading to the creation of the beds that were weeded today.) NC executive director Merica Whitehall spoke here during today’s event:

She told the mayor and participants about her organization’s work with the community and with the West Duwamish Greenbelt, in tandem with thousands of volunteers every year:

The alley leading toward Delridge Library was the next segment of the route:

While walking northbound in the alley, community advocate Pete Spalding (above right) talked about neighbors’ watchfulness and the principle “if you see something, say something.” The mayor also heard from library manager Jane Appling, whose staffers and clients have to deal with what happens in the alley, too, and with North Delridge Neighborhood Council‘s Michael Taylor-Judd (below left):

(At right in the photo above is city traffic engineer Dongho Chang, seen at many a local project meeting.) Concerns related to the alley, besides its overall condition, continue to range from vandalism to drug use; the mayor mentioned the ongoing work to hire more officers for SPD, as well as rampant problems attributed to the nation’s “drug epidemic.” Finding needles and syringes was a problem also mentioned by Delridge P-Patch volunteers, who spoke at the next stop:

They also spoke of successes including their Giving Garden – growing food-bank donations – and how they were able to convert some young area troublemakers into garden volunteers. Some of the walkers moved on through the garden, still beautifully in bloom for fall …

… while some stopped for treats, including the mayor:

Food was the focus at the next stop, the space reserved on the ground floor of Cottage Grove Commons for the Delridge Grocery Co-op‘s future permanent home:

DGC volunteers met the visitors and talked about their years of work to get a store open to help make Delridge less of a “food desert.” This week, they announced to their 400+ members that they had been told “informally” that DGC would be declined for a loan it had hoped would bring a big boost toward opening – but they vow to push on and find financing some other way. This stop was a rare chance, by the way, to look inside their future space at 5444 Delridge Way SW – mouse over our Instagram clip to play a :15 clip panning around inside:

In the courtyard of Cottage Grove Commons, those who hadn’t straggled off along the way heard about the building – open now for almost two years as housing for people who were previously homeless – and that one of residents and managers’ biggest concerns is nearby traffic and safely crossing the street. This is where tragedy was mentioned – the death of a CGC resident hit by a car in November of last year. This next clip also includes the mayor’s closing remarks:

With his promise to return, the first West Seattle “Find It, Fix It” walk wrapped up after about an hour and 20 minutes – a visit that had been months in the making.

Perhaps one of the most important exchanges was back at the P-Patch, where the garden volunteers said they didn’t know how to ask for help with some of their problems – where to go in city government. The mayor said for one, speaking up at the event was the same as asking for help. For two, he said, his staff is working on ways for people to navigate the tangle of city departments and services more easily. Sometimes it might seem like departments are in silos – but a sighting along the way was a reminder that it doesn’t have to be that way:

Staffers from multiple departments – including the firefighter in our photo – carried grabbers and bright yellow bags, picking up trash and debris as they walked in the Saturday sunshine.

P.S. Both candidates for West Seattle’s new District 1 City Council seat were there too; photos to come, in a separate report looking ahead to Election Day, now exactly one month away.

P.P.S. Lots of side conversations – we’ll be adding notes about the ones we hear of, like this mention from Sanislo Elementary, whose reps brought up the illegal dumping that’s a chronic problem nearby.

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TOMORROW: Delridge neighbors host the mayor for his first Find It, Fix It Community Walk in West Seattle http://westseattleblog.com/2015/10/tomorrow-delridge-neighbors-host-the-mayor-for-his-first-find-it-fix-it-community-walk-in-west-seattle/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/10/tomorrow-delridge-neighbors-host-the-mayor-for-his-first-find-it-fix-it-community-walk-in-west-seattle/#comments Fri, 02 Oct 2015 20:20:56 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=324734 From 11 am to 1 pm tomorrow, many eyes will be on Delridge Way SW as the first Find It, Fix It Community Walk in West Seattle travels along about a mile of the busy arterial. It’s happening one year into the mayor’s program, which describes each walk as “a gathering of community members, City officials, and the Mayor to help identify issues that affect the safety and aesthetics of a neighborhood.” In addition to the mayor and community advocates, Councilmembers Tom Rasmussen and Tim Burgess are also expected, according to a council tweet. A group of residents has spent many weeks planning for this, and some events are already scheduled – we mentioned the Nature Consortium-led beautification project (volunteers appreciated!) – and the Delridge P-Patch has announced that it will host a Cider Social 1-4 pm, starting right after the walk, which ends at the garden. You don’t have to register to be part of any or all of this – either be part of it from the start (11 am, Louisa Boren STEM K-8, 5950 Delridge Way SW) or join along the way (should be hard to miss). See you there!

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FOLLOWUP: West Seattle surplus substations’ future goes before council committee http://westseattleblog.com/2015/09/followup-west-seattle-surplus-substations-future-goes-before-council-committee/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/09/followup-west-seattle-surplus-substations-future-goes-before-council-committee/#comments Wed, 23 Sep 2015 19:20:46 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=323848

West Seattleites who don’t want former substation sites sold to the highest bidder made their case to the City Council Energy Committee this morning, as previewed here on Monday. (Above, you can watch the full Seattle Channel video of this morning’s meeting.) In addition to the two sites – Delridge and Fauntleroy – for which community groups might get an extra year to raise purchase money, the Dakota site on Genesee Hill might also get a partial reprieve:

Councilmember Tom Rasmussen said this morning that he’s introducing an amendment to give that community, where the save-the-sites-as-open-space movement began, up to three years to raise money to buy it. Katie Stemp of Seattle Farm School told the committee about her new idea for the site, and members of the Genesee-Schmitz Neighborhood Council spoke of their longtime advocacy for keeping it as community-owned space – particularly considering it’s across the street from the under-construction Schmitz Park at Genesee Hill, which will be home to West Seattle’s most populous elementary school when it opens next school year. The two West Seattle substations that do not appear to have community purchase efforts under way right now are Dumar (in north Highland Park) and Andover (on Pigeon Point); Seattle City Light has said other city departments are not interested in the West Seattle sites. In addition to testimony about specific purchase efforts, some West Seattleites argued that open space is priceless -citing a big backlog of demand for community features such as P-Patches, for example. As committee chair Councilmember Kshama Sawant pointed out, this was the committee’s first look at the substations’ fate, so no vote today on the proposed ordinance that would authorize their sale – that’ll be at a future meeting; we’ll continue to follow up as the process proceeds.

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FOLLOWUP: Big ‘action report’ for West Seattle Bridge gets little discussion @ busy council-committee meeting http://westseattleblog.com/2015/09/followup-big-action-report-for-west-seattle-bridge-gets-little-discussion-busy-council-committee-meeting/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/09/followup-big-action-report-for-west-seattle-bridge-gets-little-discussion-busy-council-committee-meeting/#comments Wed, 23 Sep 2015 04:40:53 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=323748

That’s the Seattle Channel video from this morning’s City Council Transportation Committee meeting, where the big “action report” for the West Seattle Bridge-Duwamish Waterway Corridor received relatively little examination, since everything else ahead of it on the agenda had taken so much time. (Advance the video to 2:17:34 to get right to it; it’s the final 15 minutes of the meeting.)

We brought you the first look at the report, with its 27-item project list and an even weightier “white paper,” on Sunday night – if you haven’t seen it already, take a look here for direct links as well as embedded versions of the three project documents.

West Seattle-residing, and soon-departing, City Councilmember Tom Rasmussen – the committee’s chair – reminded those on hand this morning that ours is “the busiest traffic corridor in Seattle.” As the report notes, the number of “incidents” (crashes, stalls) in the corridor isn’t high – but any incident’s impact IS, affecting traffic for an estimated 47 to 55 minutes on average.

A few “highlights” mentioned by SDOT staffers from the project list, in the brief briefing:

*Red bus-lane markings (happening now) – “we’ve seen some promising results” from elsewhere in the city, SDOT says. Rasmussen reinforced that more enforcement will be sought.
*ITS improvements (messaging-board signage, signal adjustments, etc.)
*Incident-management protocols
*Enhanced crossing improvements at the notorious 5-way intersection
*4th Avenue improvements, especially to make it more viable for transit, particularly looking ahead to the post-Viaduct Highway 99 future

Some of the changes won’t require more money – just more training, for incident-management protocol changes, for example. Some ITS changes will require more money, though, and that’s part of November’s Move Seattle levy, the committee was reminded.

Rasmussen asked about a long-sore subject – working with the U.S. Coast Guard on reducing low-bridge openings during peak times, or at least during incidents – SDOT’s Bill LaBorde did not sound terribly optimistic. It’s still “voluntary compliance” with the request to reduce some of those openings. (Rasmussen led multiple attempts to change this in recent years, and the feds said no each time – saying maritime takes precedence.)

So what happens to all these ideas now? We asked Councilmember Rasmussen that last night, during a short interview in the bus-lane-marking zone. He said he’s glad to get all this out there – but others will need to step forward to hold the city accountable. (He didn’t say it, but whomever’s elected to the District 1 City Council seat – which he decided not to seek – is a prime candidate, obviously.)

(For starters, the West Seattle Transportation Coalition, which pushed for much of this even before its first year was out, will be talking about it at its meeting this Thursday, September 24th, 6:30 pm at Neighborhood House’s High Point Center, 6400 Sylvan Way SW.)

RELATED NOTE – TRAFFIC INCIDENT MANAGEMENT: Preceding the bridge-report presentation, Heather Marx from SDOT said 17 of the recommendations have now been acted on. She handed the baton to Mark Bandy, an urban-traffic-corridors specialist hired by SDOT from WSDOT, as mentioned in our followup a month ago on the incident-management recommendations.

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VIDEO: Missed it ‘live’? See the first local post-primary faceoff between City Council District 1 hopefuls Shannon Braddock & Lisa Herbold http://westseattleblog.com/2015/09/video-missed-it-live-see-the-first-local-post-primary-faceoff-between-city-council-district-1-hopefuls-shannon-braddock-lisa-herbold/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/09/video-missed-it-live-see-the-first-local-post-primary-faceoff-between-city-council-district-1-hopefuls-shannon-braddock-lisa-herbold/#comments Mon, 21 Sep 2015 22:44:02 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=323680

That’s the video just published by the Seattle Channel from last Thursday’s first local post-primary forum (dubbed a debate, but not really in that format) featuring the finalists for Seattle City Council District 1 (West Seattle and South Park), Lisa Herbold and Shannon Braddock. It’ll be shown on SC’s cable channel (21) sixteen times between now and October 1st, so if you want to watch that way, here’s the schedule:

Mon, Sep 21, 7:00 p.m.
Tue, Sep 22, 5:00 p.m.
Wed, Sep 23, 4:00 a.m.
Thu, Sep 24, 12:00 a.m.
Thu, Sep 24, 11:00 a.m.
Thu, Sep 24, 4:00 p.m.
Fri, Sep 25, 1:00 a.m.
Fri, Sep 25, 7:00 a.m.
Fri, Sep 25, 8:00 a.m.
Sat, Sep 26, 4:00 a.m.
Sun, Sep 27, 8:00 a.m.
Mon, Sep 28, 8:00 a.m.
Tue, Sep 29, 4:00 p.m.
Wed, Sep 30, 4:00 a.m.
Wed, Sep 30, 2:00 p.m.
Thu, Oct 01, 6:00 p.m.

And if you’d like to see and hear the candidates in person, you have at least four more chances:

The next local, open-to-the-public forum on the schedule is 6:30 pm Tuesday, October 6th, at Fauntleroy UCC Church (presented by the League of Women Voters and Westside Interfaith Network). That’ll be followed by 6:15 pm October 13th at Neighborhood House’s High Point Center (presented by the West Seattle Chamber of Commerce and West Seattle Transportation Coalition), along with 7 pm October 14th at The Hall at Fauntleroy, presented by the 34th District Democrats‘ regular meeting; and one set for October 15th at the High Point Library (not on the calendar yet so stay tuned for the time).

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West Seattle surplus ex-substations about to go up for sale, if council says OK http://westseattleblog.com/2015/09/west-seattle-surplus-ex-substations-about-to-go-up-for-sale-if-council-says-ok/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/09/west-seattle-surplus-ex-substations-about-to-go-up-for-sale-if-council-says-ok/#comments Mon, 21 Sep 2015 17:29:03 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=323636 ORIGINAL REPORT, 10:29 AM: The community coalition that’s been trying to convince the city not to sell off a group of ex-substation sites, mostly in West Seattle – saying we’ll regret the lost open space – has just discovered that a decision is near.

At Wednesday morning’s meeting of the City Council Energy Committee, City Light will ask official permission to sell eight sites (there originally were nine, but one in the Rainier Valley has been transferred to Seattle Public Utilities). Aerial views and addresses of the sites are here. Two (in south Highland Park, below, and Burien) are planned for sales to other public agencies:

Two (in Fauntleroy and Delridge, below) might go to community non-profits:

The other four (three in West Seattle, below – in Genesee Hill, Pigeon Point, and north Highland Park – one in SeaTac) will, at this point, just plain go up for sale:

Here’s the slide deck the council committee will be shown:

(Other meeting documents are here.)

This all goes back more than two years; in summer of 2013, Seattle City Light announced it was “studying” what to do with the surplus substations. A formal public hearing was held in fall 2013. Individual community groups took a look at the sites in their respective areas, such as the Highland Park Action Committee‘s discussion of the Dumar site in September 2013; the Genesee-Schmitz Neighborhood Council has been focused on the Dakota site’s fate. The two nonprofits hoping to purchase sites are the Fauntleroy Community Association, looking at raising money to buy the Fauntleroy site, and Delridge Neighborhoods Development Association, hoping to get the Delridge site.

Sale of the remaining four would bring $1.2 million into the city treasury, SCL estimates, adding that – as noted in the slide deck – they’ve already asked other city departments, including Parks, about their interest, and found no takers, aside from the aforementioned SPU transfer.

The Seattle Green Spaces Coalition – founded as the West Seattle GSC, focusing on the substation sites but expanding citywide to advocate for open-space preservation – says it didn’t even get notification this was coming up for council consideration this week, but rather found out by reading the committee agenda sent out at the end of last week. It’s asking supporters to contact the mayor and the council, which certainly can be done with any opinion on the proposed sale, pro or con. As with most council committee meetings, there’ll be a public-comment period on Wednesday as the 9:30 am meeting gets under way; it’ll be shown live via Seattle Channel, cable channel 21 and online at seattlechannel.org. Once the committee has considered the City Light recommendation, it’ll move on to the full council for a final vote.

ADDED 12:10 PM: City Light spokesperson Scott Thomsen clarifies the process: This Wednesday’s Energy Committee meeting is when the bill to “dispose” of the surplus ex-substations will be introduced; a briefing is planned but not a vote – that would come at a subsequent meeting. Also, reviewing the full agenda, this item IS listed as an official “public hearing.”

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West Seattle projects included in mayor’s first Parks District budget proposal http://westseattleblog.com/2015/09/west-seattle-projects-included-in-mayors-first-parks-district-budget-proposal/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/09/west-seattle-projects-included-in-mayors-first-parks-district-budget-proposal/#comments Sat, 19 Sep 2015 02:15:30 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=323321

One year after voters approved creating the Seattle Park District to provide more money for the city’s park system, Mayor Murray has gone public with his first full-year budget proposal for the district. He was in South Park this morning for the announcement; above, you can watch Seattle Channel‘s archived video of the event. The news release is here – and probably of most interest locally is the list of what will be funded if his proposal goes through. See it here; we’ve excerpted specific West Seattle mentions below (but note that some items on the list are very general, so these are not necessarily ALL the ways in which WS facilities/locations would get funding):


Renovate play areas with new play equipment and make any necessary safety and ADA improvements. Complete Lincoln Park (North), Webster Park and Gilman Park play areas in 2016. Begin the following 7 renovations: Prentis Frazier, Georgetown, High Point, Dearborn, Discovery, Hiawatha and South Park play areas.


Condition assessments under way for the following community centers: Green Lake, Hiawatha, Jefferson, Loyal Heights, Magnolia, Queen Anne, South Park, Lake City. This information and the Community Center Strategic Plan will inform priority projects


New Third Shift Crew of journey-level trade positions (electricians, painters, carpenters and plumbers) maintains recreation facilities at night to avoid disruption to the public during operating hours and to work more efficiently. In 2016, the Third Shift Crew will work at 14 sites Camp Long, Rainier Beach CC, Van Asselt CC, International District/Chinatown CC, Alki CC, Miller CC, Yesler CC, Montlake CC, Laurelhurst CC, Ravenna-Eckstein CC, Magnolia CC, Green Lake CC, Loyal Heights CC, South Park CC. These are in addition to 10 sites already funded for preventive maintenance in the department’s base budget: Colman Pool, Mounger Pool, Mount Baker Bathhouse, SW Crew Quarters and the following facilities which will require closures: Evans Pool, Southwest Pool, Amy Yee Tennis Center, Madison Pool, Queen Anne Pool. This means improved maintenance at 24 facilities in 2016, and moving from a 5-7 year cycle of visits to a 2-year cycle. Because much of the work is done at night, there will be fewer 2-3 week closures and fewer interruptions of child care programs, before- and after-school care, sports and many other activities.


Improve parks grounds maintenance, landscaping, and tree work by adding a third tree crew to protect the long-term health of park trees (decreasing tree maintenance cycle from once every 50 years to once every 14 years); increasing support for the Seattle Conservation Corps; and increasing park maintenance including doubling weekly cleanings of comfort stations during peak season at 41 locations: Cal Anderson, Powell Barnett, Volunteer, Madison Beach, Madrona Beach, Washington, Pratt, Garfield, Seward, Atlantic City, Genesee, Othello, Jefferson, Judkins, Alki, Rainier, Van Asselt, EC Hughes, Seacrest, Highland Park, Lincoln Beach, Riverview, Roxhill, Lincoln Wading Pool, John C. Little, Gas Works, Upper Woodland, Lower Woodland, Central Woodland, Green Lake, North Acres Spray Park, Carkeek, Golden Gardens Upper, Golden Gardens Beach, Soundview, Maple Leaf, Matthews Beach, Magnuson, Viewridge, Dahl, Meadowbrook.


Working with the Office of Arts and Culture, recruit and select artists to “activate” parks through approximately 40 performances and temporary installations. While not limited to these sites, the following parks have high priority for activation: Cal Anderson, Dr. Blanche Lavizzo, First Hill, Judkins, Flo Ware, Powell Barnett, Denny, Ballard Commons, Lake City Mini Park, Mineral Springs, Salmon Bay, University Playfield, Hutchinson, John C. Little, Othello, Pritchard Beach, Delridge, Duwamish Waterway, Roxhill.


Start planning and design from 2016 to 2018 for 14 new parks all over the city on land acquired with 2008 Parks and Greenspaces Levy including: Lake City Hub Urban Village, Baker Park Addition, Greenwood Park Addition, Greenwood/ Phinney Residential Urban Village, Wedgwood, U District UCV, Fremont HUV, Denny Triangle, International District UCV, 48th and Charlestown, North Rainier HUV, West Seattle Junction, Morgan Junction RUV, South Park Plaza (bold indicates the sites planned to start in 2016).

The local “land-banked sites” mentioned for West Seattle are, in the Junction, the one on 40th SW south of SW Alaska, current interim home to Fire Station 32, and in Morgan Junction, just north of MJ Park, the site currently housing a commercial building. Those two and 48th/Charlestown are all now city-owned but there’s no money to develop them as parks, pending this proposal (or something else in the future). Again, LOTS more in the full list linked above, but these are the items that include specific, called-out-by-name West Seattle locations. Next year is the first year that property taxes will be collected to fund the Park District and its projects.

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City Council District 1 candidates Lisa Herbold & Shannon Braddock face off in first local post-primary forum http://westseattleblog.com/2015/09/happening-now-watch-city-council-district-1-candidates-lisa-herbold-shannon-braddock-in-first-local-post-primary-forum/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/09/happening-now-watch-city-council-district-1-candidates-lisa-herbold-shannon-braddock-in-first-local-post-primary-forum/#comments Fri, 18 Sep 2015 02:35:37 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=323218

(Photo substituted for video window post-event, until archived video is available; thanks to County Councilmember Joe McDermott for permission to republish)

7:35 PM: Click the play button and you should get the live feed of tonight’s Youngstown Cultural Arts Center faceoff between the City Council District 1 candidates who made it to the general election, Shannon Braddock and Lisa Herbold. This is one of a citywide series of forums/debates presented by Town Hall and the Seattle Channel; lead moderator tonight is your editor here, with community moderators Cecile Hansen, chair of the Duwamish Tribe, and Fernando Mejia-Ledesma of OneAmerica, and Q&A moderator Edward Wolcher from Town Hall. You can e-mail a question to debates@townhallseattle.org or ask one via Twitter with the hashtag #seacouncil.

7:40 PM NOTE: This program is intended to run an hour, by the way, so it will go until about 8:35 pm. After that – we’ll be watching for the archived video.

8:38 PM UPDATE: The forum’s over, so the live feed is too; Edward from Town Hall says it will be on Seattle Channel (cable) Monday night. Archived video will also be available via the SC website, and we’ll add it here when it is. Thanks to everyone who came to Youngstown to be in the “live” audience – the lights were bright and we didn’t get a count, but in a quick early glance, seemed like most of the seats are filled. Town Hall is doing these in all the districts – this was the first one. Also, if you missed it but want to be sure to see the candidates in person before you vote, you’ll have at least four more chances – we know of four forums in West Seattle next month – stand by for those dates.

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CAMPAIGN SEASON: City Council District 1 candidate debate Thursday; 34th District Democrats’ endorsements http://westseattleblog.com/2015/09/campaign-season-city-council-district-1-candidate-debate-thursday-34th-district-democrats-endorsements/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/09/campaign-season-city-council-district-1-candidate-debate-thursday-34th-district-democrats-endorsements/#comments Mon, 14 Sep 2015 05:43:46 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=322803 Though other matters are holding the spotlight, the November election is just seven weeks away, and you’ll have a lot to decide. The coverage ramp-up has begun.

CITY COUNCIL DISTRICT 1 CANDIDATES DEBATE THURSDAY: The finalists for the City Council’s new West Seattle/South Park seat will debate in the district on Thursday (September 17th) for the first time since last month’s primary.

Shannon Braddock and Lisa Herbold will face off at Youngstown Cultural Arts Center (4408 Delridge Way SW), 7:30 pm Thursday. Your editor here is lead moderator, with community moderators including Duwamish Tribe chair Cecile Hansen. The debate is presented by Town Hall Seattle, whose website has full details – they’re also requesting you RSVP via that page (though admission is free).

34TH DISTRICT DEMOCRATS’ ENDORSEMENTS: We’ve already reported on some of what happened at last Wednesday’s meeting of our area’s largest political organization, the 34th District Democrats – a resolution supporting the striking Seattle Education Association‘s contract proposals, and a speech plus Q/A with SEA’s lead bargainer. Also at the meeting Wednesday night, in addition to endorsements they made before the primary, a block of general-election endorsements was approved, including Courtney Gregoire for re-election to Port Commission Position 2, approval of Seattle I-122 “Honest Elections,” approval of King County Proposition 1 “Best Starts for Kids,” and rejection of State Initiative 1366. In separate votes, Fred Felleman was endorsed for Port Commission Position 5 and the Move Seattle transportation levy was endorsed. The full list of new 34th endorsements is here.

The group also heard from numerous candidates and candidate reps. One memorable point was made by County Elections Director candidate Zack Hudgins, who spoke disapprovingly of the 25 percent turnout for the primary and said action was needed because “to get better government we need better participation.” One of his ideas: More ballot boxes in the county. West Seattle, you might recall, doesn’t have a fixed dropoff box – the last one was removed five years ago.

(West Seattle’s last fixed-location ballot-dropoff box – WSB photo, 2009)
A ballot-dropoff van visits for three of the four days before the voting deadline. Otherwise, you have to pay postage and get your ballot into the mail, an idea that once was suggested as a turnout-booster, not reducer.

Next month’s 34th Dems meeting (7 pm October 14th, Hall at Fauntleroy) is scheduled to include a City Council candidates’ forum.

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FOLLOWUP: City’s defense in lawsuit filed against gun, ammunition tax http://westseattleblog.com/2015/09/followup-citys-defense-in-lawsuit-filed-against-gun-ammunition-tax/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/09/followup-citys-defense-in-lawsuit-filed-against-gun-ammunition-tax/#comments Thu, 10 Sep 2015 16:50:36 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=322389 Just in from the City Attorney’s Office, this announcement of how it’s defending against the lawsuit filed challenging the recently approved gun and ammunition tax:

The $25 per firearm tax on retailers enacted to mitigate the costs of gun violence in Seattle is “a proper and lawful exercise” of the City’s authority as granted by the Washington Constitution and Legislature, the City declared in rebutting a lawsuit filed by the NRA, among other gun-rights groups, and several individuals. “The Ordinance does not limit any person’s right to purchase, sell, acquire, transfer, discharge, or transport firearms or ammunition,” the City said in its answer to Watson v. City of Seattle.

“This is where Seattle draws the line,” City Attorney Pete Holmes said as assistant City attorneys, aided by national and local counsel working pro bono, entered their appearances in the case Wednesday in King County Superior Court.

“The NRA doesn’t get to come into our City and tell our elected officials that they lack the authority in Washington state to tax businesses that sell a product that, when misused, so dearly costs our constituents, most of them young people.”

In a Seattle summer marred by random gunfire, the City Council unanimously approved, and Mayor Ed Murray signed, the ordinance that, come January, will levy a $25 tax on businesses for each firearm sold at retail within City limits to provide a sustained local revenue source for research and prevention programs. In addition, the City will impose a 2-cent tax for every round of .22 caliber ammunition sold and a 5-cent tax for every other round of ammunition sold. A companion ordinance mandates that lost or stolen firearms be reported to the Seattle Police Department.

“With Congress under the NRA’s thumb, even after mass shootings in such innocuous places as elementary schools and movie theaters,” Holmes said, “cities and counties are asserting their right to find inventive, legal ways to alleviate the physical and emotional results of the violence.” A $25 gun tax on retailers in Cook County, Illinois, is being collected, and the revenues placed in escrow, while a lawsuit plays out in trial court.

“Gun-fueled tragedies like Sandy Hook, where 20 children and six school staff were slaughtered, ironically result in a stampede to buy even more weapons,” said Holmes, a founding member of Prosecutors Against Gun Violence. “It’s a pattern seen over and over again, apparently out of the misplaced fear that government would step in to curtail gun sales.”

“This City acted to control its own destiny,” Holmes said of the ordinance authored by Council President Tim Burgess.

Burgess, after meeting this week with lawyers from the prominent national and international firm, Steptoe & Johnson LLP who are working with City attorneys pro bono, said, “This is a strong legal team to defend the city’s gun violence tax, a common sense step designed to reduce gun violence in Seattle. This tax will allow the City to provide broad-based public benefits related to gun violence. The time is long overdue for the gun industry to stop obstructing and instead take positive steps to address the harm their products cause.”

In June 2013 Seattle became the first U.S. city to provide local government funding for basic gun safety research. The following year the Harborview Injury Prevention and Research Center in Seattle delivered a report on the predictors and consequences of firearm violence in King County that found that individuals hospitalized for a firearm injury are 30 times more likely to be re-hospitalized for another firearm injury than people admitted to the hospital for non-injury reasons.

Steptoe’s local counsel is Gordon Tilden Thomas & Cordell. The two firms’ pro bono work for the City debunks the accusation by Chris Cox, executive director of NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action, that, “It’s a shame to see such a waste of public resources on issues the courts have already ruled to be unconstitutional.”

The team from Steptoe, which has a rich history of working without compensation on issues such as civil rights, civil liberties and child trafficking, is directed by William F. Abrams, head of the firm’s Palo Alto, CA, office and a consulting professor at Stanford University. Joining Abrams from Steptoe are Laurie Edelstein, Sarah Jackel and David Kwasniewski.

Abrams said, “Seattle has the right to mitigate the costs of gun violence, which exceeded $12 million at Harborview alone last year, by taxing those who engage in the sale of firearms and ammunition in the City. This tax addresses a public health crisis that imposes a huge financial burden on the City – it does not regulate the sale or use of firearms.”

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What happens to leftover campaign cash if you don’t win? Here’s what City Council District 1 ex-candidate Chas Redmond did http://westseattleblog.com/2015/08/what-happens-to-leftover-campaign-cash-if-you-dont-win-heres-what-city-council-district-1-ex-candidate-chas-redmond-did/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/08/what-happens-to-leftover-campaign-cash-if-you-dont-win-heres-what-city-council-district-1-ex-candidate-chas-redmond-did/#comments Fri, 21 Aug 2015 21:25:38 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=320543

(Photos provided by Chas Redmond: Above, at WS Food Bank today with Judi Yazzolino, Lester Yuhand, and Christopher Dickie)

With two of nine candidates in the primary for Seattle City Council District 1 advancing to the general election, what’s next for the other seven? We heard today from one of them – Chas Redmond, who was first to start campaigning for the seat, and finished fifth. As far as we can recall, he’s the first ex-candidate who’s ever sent word of what he’s doing with the leftover campaign cash:

Now that I’m out of the race, I have to close out my campaign finances. I ran a very tight campaign and underspent my fundraising, meaning I had surplus funds at the conclusion of my run for office. I raised $12,467 and spent $9,967, making my cost-per-voter among the lowest, if not the lowest, of all 47 campaigns for City Council – my cost-per-voter was $7.86.

According to the Public Disclosure Commission, I can do several things with surplus campaign funds including donating them to non-profits and charities. Thanks again to all who donated. I had $2500 in surplus funds and have donated $1250 of those funds to Sustainable West Seattle and another $1250 of those funds to the West Seattle Food Bank.

(Above, at Sustainable WS picnic last night, presenting check to president Bryan Fiedorczyk)
As I kept saying throughout the campaign, there are no losers in this race, all of West Seattle and South Park are winners.

After receiving that announcement from Redmond, we asked him about future plans:

I’m working on a few ideas that still involve being an activist in local politics and I think it’s going to be really hard to take me out of the music scene, so music will remain part of my life. And I’m an active member of VIEWS, and we’re looking to do all sorts of cool things to increase engagement here in West Seattle in South Park. The campaign was amazing and getting to know everyone was even more amazing. West Seattle and South Park are very fortunate to have the quality of people running for public office and engaged in civic activities that we do. And finally, hats off to Lisa Herbold and Shannon Braddock, you were great competitors; I thoroughly enjoyed running with the pack.

We published the final election results after certification this past Tuesday.

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The WSBeat: Bowling-alley attack; rental scam; more… http://westseattleblog.com/2015/08/the-wsbeat-bowling-alley-attack-rental-scam-more/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/08/the-wsbeat-bowling-alley-attack-rental-scam-more/#comments Sat, 15 Aug 2015 12:04:33 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=319995 By Megan Sheppard
On the WSBeat, for West Seattle Blog

The WSBeat features summaries written from recent incident reports filed by Southwest Precinct officers – generally cases that (usually) have NOT already appeared here in breaking-news coverage or West Seattle Crime Watch reports; some are not crimes, but might at least answer a lingering question such as “what WERE all those police doing on my block?” Or on the bridge, or the beach, or …

*A group of people left a bowling alley on the 9th without paying their tab. An employee ran outside to persuade them to ante up. He reached them just as a driver from a car service pulled alongside. The employee advised the driver not to take the passengers, warning that if he did, his car’s license would be provided to police as “the getaway car.” The driver left; the employee was punched in the face twice and kicked in the head four times by two men in the group. A bystander who tried to help was also kicked in the head. The attackers fled eastbound on SW Oregon. One was described as a white man, about 6’2”, in his forties, with gray hair. He wore a black sweater with white stripes. The other was described as a Hispanic man in his forties, wearing a white button-up shirt and black slacks.

Ahead, seven more summaries, including a stopped shoplifter, a rental scam, and warrant arrests:

*On the afternoon of August 5th, a twenty-year-old Montana resident ran out of a Harbor Avenue convenience store with an armful of items and threw them into his car. To his dismay, he did this and pulled out of the parking lot just as an officer was pulling *into* it. He was booked into King County Jail for investigation of theft/shoplift.

*A local apartment manager reports that someone is running fraudulent Craigslist ads for an apartment rental in West Seattle. He or she pockets the funds, and when the would-be renters show up, they find that no apartment is available. Both CL and PayPal have been alerted.

*Acting on a request from Lakewood police, officers were able to track down and arrest a 27-year-old West Seattle resident wanted on a no-bail warrant for sexual assault of a child. He was booked into King County Jail on the 6th.

*When they saw a man shaking in what appeared to be physical distress, concerned officers pulled over near Avalon and SW Genesee on the 5th. The man claimed to be OK. But after a routine records check showed that he was wanted on a $7,500 warrant for property destruction, the 24-year-old was booked into King County Jail.

*On the 10th, officers followed and clocked a woman driving on Olson Place SW at nearly 50 mph in a 30-mph zone. When stopped, she explained that she was late for her mother’s birthday party. She also admitted she didn’t have a driver’s license. A records check showed she was wanted in SeaTac ($250) for driving without a license and in Renton ($1,100) for theft. She was arrested and booked into the SCORE jail in SeaTac for the warrants.

*A driver suspected of being high on heroin was involved in a four-car collision at 8th and SW Cloverdale on the 6th. Officers viewed syringes (one loaded with a brown liquid) in plain sight in his car; his pupils were pinpoints. He didn’t seem to be in pain. He provided an out of state driver’s license, and when asked for the registration he began looking in the glove box. Seconds later he asked, “What am I looking for again?” Medics began taking him to Highline but when the severity of his injuries (life-threatening) became evident, he was diverted to Harborview.

*On the 5th, in the 6900 block of Delridge Way SW, at least four citizens called 911 to report that one of their neighbors was intoxicated, pounding on doors, and yelling that residents were Muslims “who kill people.” He vowed he was going to “kill and destroy” the officers who responded to the scene. He also approached one with a lit cigarette and stated he was going to extinguish it in the officer’s eye. Officers de-escalated the situation enough that the suspect became willing to take a seat. Then one of the officers spotted a handgun near the suspect’s feet. When the officer tried to grab the gun, the suspect stood up, grabbed that officer by the shirt and then grabbed the other officer’s radio. They were able to remove his hands and place him into handcuffs. When other officers arrived to transport the suspect, they were greeted with mouthful of spit to their faces. His response when read his rights? “F*^& you, bitch.” He was booked into King County Jail for investigation of three counts of assault.

EDITOR’S NOTES: Remember, the CRISIS CLINIC hotline is a resource for those in crisis, including thoughts or acts of self-harm, or trying to find help for someone in crisis: 206.461.3222 … Previous WSBeat roundups are archived here. We also publish crime reports when we get tips or otherwise hear about noteworthy incidents – they don’t all turn up on the scanner, so please don’t be shy about letting us know when you see/hear something happening = call or text 206-293-6302.

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12 days until 34th District Democrats’ Garden Party dinner/auction http://westseattleblog.com/2015/08/12-days-until-34th-district-democrats-garden-party-dinnerauction/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/08/12-days-until-34th-district-democrats-garden-party-dinnerauction/#comments Sun, 09 Aug 2015 23:36:58 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=319428 Our area’s biggest political organization is returning to the lakeside TAF Bethaday Community Space for its biggest fundraiser. The 34th District Democrats are advertising their annual Garden Party dinner/auction on WSB to help get the word out – it’s set for 6 pm Friday, August 21st, and since it’s the 20th annual Garden Party, the theme is “Roaring Twenties,” complete with costume contest. The latest list of items donated for the silent and live auctions includes a football bearing Seahawks star Russell Wilson‘s autograph, a wine-country retreat in Napa, a train trip to Portland with weekend lodging, and one year of having West 5‘s legendary mac and cheese once a month. Garden Party’ers will be entertained by the Casey MacGill Duo. If you haven’t been to the Bethaday Community Learning Space, it’s in White Center’s wooded Lakewood Park, which is home to Hicklin Lake. Garden Party tickets are on sale now online – find the link here.

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