West Seattle Blog... » West Seattle politics http://westseattleblog.com West Seattle news, 24/7 Wed, 26 Nov 2014 12:07:16 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.4.2 How to pay for education? What your legislators said tonight @ 34th District Democrats http://westseattleblog.com/2014/11/how-to-pay-for-education-what-your-legislators-said-tonight-34th-district-democrats/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/11/how-to-pay-for-education-what-your-legislators-said-tonight-34th-district-democrats/#comments Thu, 13 Nov 2014 05:05:55 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=291952

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

ELECTION POSTMORTEM: Chair Marcee Stone-Vekich lamented the “slightly depressing” election results and especially the fact that our state had its lowest voter turnout since 1978. She said the 34th Dems had done their part with get-out-the-vote, but while it didn’t pay off this time around, she expressed optimism for 2016. In the 34th, though, she said almost everything and everyone the group endorsed had won election/passed, except for the Highline Public Schools bond measure, which needed 60 percent approval to pass, and is falling short at 59.1%. (Speaking about that later, a supporter said that it’s not expected to gain much more ground, and that next spring, Highline has to take a maintenance/operations levy to the ballot, but a bond measure “will be back.”

LEGISLATORS’ UPDATE: Sen. Sharon Nelson said she doesn’t think the education goals can be done “without new revenue … so it’s a question of, what revenue. I’m asking my caucus not to take any option off the table. … We have a Republican majority again in the Senate. They need to govern.” Their “no new taxes” mantra, she said, “is something they’re going to have to face. … We won’t go to cutting the social safety net.” The educational needs are going to have to be met: “We’re not getting out of town without taking care of our kids.” She spoke personally of a grandchild, now 18 months, leading to “a whole new look that I’ve been giving education these past 18 months … and it’s refreshing.”

Speaking next, longtime Rep. Eileen Cody, first calling for applause for Sen. Nelson, saying the Senate Democrats did better in the election than the House Democrats, who “had a few losses we didn’t expect.” In particular, she says, her Health Care Committee “has been decimated” by losses among fellow health-care professionals who had been House members. She says they’ll get through it, but it means mutual support – “that’s the message we’re giving each other, we all have to stick together … you may have to vote for some things you don’t like” if any of their initiatives are to succeed.

And then Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon, just re-elected, called it “a terrible year for Democrats,” who he said “just stayed home” rather than “suddenly changing their mind and voting for Republicans.” The districts that saw Democratic losses tended to have a “terrible turnout,” he said. Switching gears, he said, “We’re all tired of coming up here and telling you how bad the budget is, but this year it’s really bad, worse than before.” He also expressed optimism for 2016, saying the Democrats don’t want to stay in the Senate minority, at a 51-vote bare House majority, etc.

Asked how the funding for McCleary (the mandated education spending) might look, Nelson said more than $3 billion would be needed, and that again is why she wants everything on the table – “until we know how we’re going to fund this.” Property tax? Sales tax? Closing loopholes? Lists are being made she said, and “there are options out there … we’re going to have to look at every possible revenue source.”

“Is there any chance we’re going to pass a transportation package?” is the next question.

Fitzgibbon said flatly, “No.”

Cody then said, “It’s not totally off the table.”

“I agree, I was being a little flip,” Fitzgibbon then said.

Nelson pointed out that there’s water trouble in Eastern Washington – possibly a $4 billion bond issue needed – and that might be leverage for getting Republicans to agree on education funding, maybe even transportation.

Reacting to a suggestion of sin/sugar taxes, Cody said that’s not so easy, recalling the passed-then-repealed pop tax, and also pointing out that tobacco use is migrating to “vaping,” which has many ramifications.

Next question: Dollar value for I-1351, the class-size-reduction measure now passing? “It adds potentially another $3 to $4 billion dollars,” Sen. Nelson replied, adding that part of it is covered in McCleary. “I’m expecting that the Republicans will ask us to suspend it.” (That could be done with a two-thirds majority immediately, it was clarified shortly thereafter.) It’s “going to be a heavy lift,” Nelson says. “I want to see (the Republicans’) answer to 1351, I really do.”

What about marijuana tax revenue? Fitzgibbon says, “We’re kind of hesitant to book a bunch of revenue when we’re not sure how much … we know it’s not going to be enough for McCleary.” As for 1351, he mentioned an initiative that was funded for a few years – I-728 – which was suspended after two years, when that could be done with a simple majority, and then was eventually repealed.

Discussion about loopholes ensued. Addressing the Boeing loophole, for example, Nelson said they have a “sledgehammer” because of the jobs they could pull, although she then said she is “tired of being held hostage.”

Bill Schrier brings up the issue of body-worn video for law enforcement now facing “massive requests” (public disclosure) that could render it a burden on some local governments, and might they consider an exception.

“Public disclosure, whenever it comes up on refining that law and scaling it back, becomes incredibly difficult,” responds Nelson.

TRANSIT-FUNDING PROP 1: City Councilmember Tom Rasmussen spoke for a few minutes about its passage, calling the 62 percent approval “powerful.” He also reminded, “Keep in mind, this is only a temporary tax … that’s why it’s important we elect Democrats to the Senate and House because we need a transportation package (with) a more equitable way of (funding) transit.” He mentioned the citizens’ oversight committee that will be created, and promised to let the group what the process to get onto that committee will be. He said an oversight committee will “make sure promises are kept.” Once the money flows into the bus service, “you’ll see the best bus service Seattle has ever had.”

COUNTY COUNCILMEMBER JOE McDERMOTT: Speaking next, Councilmember McDermott sounded an optimistic note post-election, regarding local successes such as Prop 1 and preschool passage, and declared, “Our district is strong – we have a fantastic legislative delegation … we want to support them by assisting districts around us.” He also mentioned that he’s been focused on the County Council’s budget work over the past two months or so, with a final vote due next Monday, and highlights including a plan to keep all 10 county health clinics open – for now – and “re-funding the Sheriff’s unit for domestic violence.”

OPEN MICROPHONE: Topics brought up included Ivan Weiss mentioning a report that that city Families and Education Levy money has been found to be usable for charter schools, and urged everyone to keep watch for that happening, and “raise a stink” if it does. … Max Vekich spoke about longshore workers working without a contract for more than four months, and decried the terminal operators’ claim of a work slowdown, ignoring factors such as reduced terminal space (he mentioned the T-5 closure) and larger ships. What about the higher number than usual of anchored freighters in the area? For one, he mentioned grain ships that are still catching up from a lockout; and he added that a lot of current challenges that are leading to less productivity than usual. The presidential election also came up, with one member declaring she’s hoping for more options than Hillary Rodham Clinton.

PARK DISTRICT BOARD: Ted Barker pointed out that the City Council will meet as the Park District Board on November 24th, so anyone interested in how that’s going to work should be there.

VETERANS’ DAY REMEMBRANCE .. was offered by former State Rep. Max Vekich, looking back to its origins, followed by a moment of silence.

The 34th District Democrats usually meet on second Wednesdays, 7 pm, The Hall at Fauntleroy, and are online at 34dems.org.

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And now there are five: George Capestany running for West Seattle’s City Council District 1 position http://westseattleblog.com/2014/11/and-now-there-are-five-george-capestany-running-for-west-seattles-city-council-district-1-position/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/11/and-now-there-are-five-george-capestany-running-for-west-seattles-city-council-district-1-position/#comments Tue, 11 Nov 2014 20:21:31 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=291759 A fifth candidate just announced he’s in the running for West Seattle’s new City Council District 1 seat next year: George Capestany. He’s made news here as owner of the well-known Jacobsen Road goats, and now he’s jumping into politics. As described in his official announcement, Capestany is also “a longtime West Seattle resident, active community volunteer, and US Navy Veteran” and “professional artist, teacher, a small business owner, … coach for Pony & Little League Baseball, West Seattle Soccer, and West Seattle Football.” The announcement notes that Capestany would be the first councilmember of Hispanic descent, as the “son of Hispanic immigrants forced to leave (Cuba) due to communist rule.” He says, “For a long time, West Seattle residents have been left out of virtually everything that goes on at City Hall. … I will work to ensure the unique needs of West Seattle are heard and addressed.” (Photo courtesy Capestany campaign)

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

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Election 2014: After five days of ballot-counting, a look ahead for transit, preschool, class-size measures http://westseattleblog.com/2014/11/election-2014-after-five-days-of-ballot-counting-a-look-ahead-for-transit-preschool-class-size-measures/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/11/election-2014-after-five-days-of-ballot-counting-a-look-ahead-for-transit-preschool-class-size-measures/#comments Sun, 09 Nov 2014 08:04:36 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=291533 Today (Sunday) will be the first day King County Elections has *not* released updated results since Tuesday night. That night’s ballot count was followed by two daily Wednesday-Friday and one more Saturday evening. Here are three notes following the latter:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Election 2014: Transit taxes passing – what will your money buy? http://westseattleblog.com/2014/11/election-2014-transit-taxes-passing-what-will-your-money-buy/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/11/election-2014-transit-taxes-passing-what-will-your-money-buy/#comments Wed, 05 Nov 2014 21:51:51 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=291158

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The agreement will:

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

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

Transit advocates who were there included West Seattleite Marci Carpenter:

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

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

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

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

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

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Watching for updated election results? 2 sets tonight, beyond http://westseattleblog.com/2014/11/watching-for-updated-election-results-2-sets-tonight-beyond/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/11/watching-for-updated-election-results-2-sets-tonight-beyond/#comments Wed, 05 Nov 2014 20:29:02 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=291161 Waiting to see what the second round of vote totals looks like? King County Elections just announced plans for TWO daily updates for the rest of the week:

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

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

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

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

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2014 Election results: Local ballot measures – transit, monorail, preschool, more http://westseattleblog.com/2014/11/2014-election-results-local-ballot-measures-transit-monorail-preschool-more/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/11/2014-election-results-local-ballot-measures-transit-monorail-preschool-more/#comments Wed, 05 Nov 2014 04:14:24 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=291083 The election-night vote count for King County is in, and here’s how the local ballot measures are going:

59 percent yes, 41 percent no

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

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

80 percent no, 20 percent yes

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

57 percent yes, 43 percent no (note: 60 percent approval is required for passage)

MORE RESULTS: Other county results are here.

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Election 2014: Statewide ballot measures I-594, I-591, I-1351; Legislature, Congress races http://westseattleblog.com/2014/11/election-2014-statewide-ballot-measures-i-594-i-591-i-1351-and-more/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/11/election-2014-statewide-ballot-measures-i-594-i-591-i-1351-and-more/#comments Wed, 05 Nov 2014 04:12:58 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=291090 In this story, we’re tracking the big statewide measures for starters, and will add other regional results, including Legislature and Congress races. The initiative numbers, you should note, will change often, since results are coming in from counties all over the state, and some will be counting all night long (unlike here in King County, where there won’t be a second count until tomorrow). We’ll update the initiative results, with time notations, as often as we can, in the hours ahead.

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

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

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

STATEWIDE ADVISORY VOTES – results linked here

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

Sharon Nelson, 98% (unopposed)

Eileen Cody, 98% (unopposed) – results here

Joe Fitzgibbon, 81%
Brendan Kolding , 18%

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Voted yet? Ballot vans back in West Seattle, Greenbridge tomorrow http://westseattleblog.com/2014/10/voted-yet-ballot-dropoff-vans-back-in-west-seattle-greenbridge-tomorrow/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/10/voted-yet-ballot-dropoff-vans-back-in-west-seattle-greenbridge-tomorrow/#comments Fri, 31 Oct 2014 17:25:27 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=290540 checkbox.jpgTuesday is Election Day; more like Election Deadline Day ever since our state converted to voting by mail. If you haven’t sent in your ballot yet, three of the next four days bring visits by the King County Elections ballot-dropoff vans. Same spots as recent elections – on the driveway into West Seattle Stadium (4432 35th SW) and on the street outside Greenbridge Library (9720 8th SW). Both locations are scheduled for 10 am-5 pm tomorrow and Monday, 10 am-8 pm Tuesday. No postage needed if you’re taking your ballot to a van or to the 24-hour dropboxes elsewhere in the county, but you DO need correct postage if you’re mailing yours. If you’ve already sent in/dropped off your ballot, track it online. Two other links of potential interest: Sample ballot here; pamphlet info here.

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Amanda Kay Helmick becomes 4th candidate for West Seattle’s new City Council District 1 seat http://westseattleblog.com/2014/10/amanda-kay-helmick-becomes-4th-candidate-for-west-seattles-new-city-council-district-1-seat/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/10/amanda-kay-helmick-becomes-4th-candidate-for-west-seattles-new-city-council-district-1-seat/#comments Mon, 20 Oct 2014 15:32:15 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=289295 The hottest local political race isn’t on the November 4 ballot you should have received by now – and won’t even be decided for another year.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Update: West Seattle Transportation Coalition votes to endorse transit-funding measure, but no position on monorail http://westseattleblog.com/2014/10/west-seattle-transportation-coalition-votes-to-endorse-transit-funding-measure/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/10/west-seattle-transportation-coalition-votes-to-endorse-transit-funding-measure/#comments Wed, 15 Oct 2014 04:06:06 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=288713 Two toplines so far from tonight’s West Seattle Transportation Coalition meeting: WSTC voted to endorse the bus-funding measure on the November 4 ballot, officially Transportation Benefit District Proposition No. 1. And it voted NOT to endorse the monorail measure on the ballot, officially Seattle Citizen Petition No. 1. More to come.

ADDED WEDNESDAY MORNING: More toplines from the WSTC meeting:

Before making endorsement (or non-endorsement) decisions, there was spirited discussion. WSTC’s Chas Redmond suggested a protest vote – yes monorail, no transit funding – to send the message that people are not happy with the way things are going.

Advocates for both sides on both issues spoke as well. Monorail-measure creator Elizabeth Campbell said her initiative, raising money to start planning one again, empowers citizens, in the face of a need for more transit. It would be planned by people outside the usual inner circle that gets called on for transportation issues, she contended.

On the no-monorail side, Jonathan Hopkins from SeattleSubway.org called it a 15-year-old idea that would repeat past failures, with no provisions to build anything after the studies that the tax would fund.

Arguments for and against the transit-funding measure – which has now become a “restore cut service/add more service” campaign, with future Metro cuts shelved – came from City Councilmember Tom Rasmussen on “pro,” WSTC member Michael Taylor-Judd on “con,” as they had done at last week’s Southwest District Council meeting in West Seattle.

Bottom line, Rasmussen contended this measure is the clearest, best shot at transit improvement now; Taylor-Judd says it’s a regressive tax that will hurt those who can least afford it.

Redmond, a declared candidate for next year’s first-ever City Council District 1 (West Seattle/South Park) election – as is Rasmussen – also criticized the regressive nature of Prop 1′s money-raising tools. He also pointed out that West Seattle voters gave the lowest approval margin to the countywide version of this last April.

WSTC chair Joe Szilagyi wondered if approval of this, and potential similar steps by other municipalities, might break the Olympia logjam on transportation funding. Maybe, Rasmussen said, but also consider that if Seattle doesn’t pass this, legislators could draw the conclusion that city voters can’t be bothered, so they won’t worry about it further.

And again, here’s how the votes came out, as summarized later on WSTC’s Facebook page:

The WSTC membership vote on endorsing Petition 1 – monorail, failed 1-10-1. The WSTC does not endorse the monorail vote. The WSTC membership vote on endorsing Prop 1 – bus funding, passed 7-2-1. The WSTC endorses a Yes vote on Prop 1 to fund buses.

ALSO: WSTC’s letter to city leaders – featured here September 28th – was recapped.

NEXT WSTC MEETING: Tuesday, November 11th, 6:30 pm.

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Election 2014: Not registered to vote? Deadline tomorrow http://westseattleblog.com/2014/10/election-2014-not-registered-to-vote-deadline-tomorrow/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/10/election-2014-not-registered-to-vote-deadline-tomorrow/#comments Mon, 06 Oct 2014 03:23:56 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=287932 checkbox.jpgThere’s a lot to decide in the November 4th election, now less than a month away – closer, really, since voting begins when ballots start arriving at mid-month. If you’re not registered and want to sign up online or by mail, tomorrow’s the deadline – here’s how to register (same goes for updating your address if you ARE registered). If you miss that, you’ll be able to register in person at the King County Elections offices in Seattle and Renton on September 27th – but why delay? Easiest way to do it is to sign up right here, right now.

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Could Neighborhood Conservation Districts protect neighborhood ‘character’ amid rapid growth? Council discussion Monday http://westseattleblog.com/2014/09/could-neighborhood-conservation-districts-protect-neighborhood-character-amid-rapid-growth-council-discussion-monday/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/09/could-neighborhood-conservation-districts-protect-neighborhood-character-amid-rapid-growth-council-discussion-monday/#comments Mon, 29 Sep 2014 00:31:02 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=286924 With relatively rapid redevelopment in parts of some Seattle neighborhoods – West Seattle, Ballard, Capitol Hill come to mind – concern percolates about losing “character.” In some cases, neighborhoods have special districts as “overlays” meant as an attempt to preserve some of that character – Pioneer Square, notably, and Capitol Hill’s Pike-Pine area, for example. But what about other neighborhoods, like West Seattle, where the Southwest District Council has been trying for two years to get a historic-resources survey going for part of our area, as a first step?

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

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

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Election 2014: Tom Rasmussen officially running in District 1 http://westseattleblog.com/2014/09/election-2014-tom-rasmussen-officially-running-in-district-1/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/09/election-2014-tom-rasmussen-officially-running-in-district-1/#comments Sat, 27 Sep 2014 02:40:54 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=287010 Sometime this week, since we last checked the city’s Elections and Ethics website, its list of candidates in next year’s elections switched to show the only City Councilmember living in West Seattle now running for its new council district. Tom Rasmussen had been listed there as “undesignated,” running for either one of the two at-large seats that will remain, or for District 1 (West Seattle/South Park), but now is listed as one of three candidates in that district, along with Chas Redmond and David Ishii. You can see all the declared-so-far council candidates (and city ballot measures) on the right sidebar of this page.

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Election 2014: Gatewood forum Sunday on I-591, I-594 http://westseattleblog.com/2014/09/election-2014-gatewood-forum-sunday-on-i-591-i-594/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/09/election-2014-gatewood-forum-sunday-on-i-591-i-594/#comments Sat, 27 Sep 2014 01:01:05 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=287005 With ballots going out in mid-October, the “November 4″ election is closer than it seems. Just announced by Rev. Erik Kindem from Peace Lutheran Church in Gatewood, a forum this Sunday on two of the statewide initiatives you’ll be voting on:

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

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

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

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

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Update: Mayor presents budget proposal; West Seattle toplines – miniature-golf course, $ to finish Fauntleroy Boulevard design, keep SPD Mounted Patrol http://westseattleblog.com/2014/09/happening-now-mayor-presents-this-years-budget-proposal/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/09/happening-now-mayor-presents-this-years-budget-proposal/#comments Mon, 22 Sep 2014 21:06:27 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=286554

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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