West Seattle Blog... » West Seattle politics http://westseattleblog.com West Seattle news, 24/7 Thu, 28 May 2015 13:44:39 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.4.2 Election 2015: Your next 2 chances to see/hear City Council District 1 candidates http://westseattleblog.com/2015/05/election-2015-your-next-2-chances-to-seehear-city-council-district-1-candidates/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/05/election-2015-your-next-2-chances-to-seehear-city-council-district-1-candidates/#comments Tue, 26 May 2015 04:19:34 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=311409 Made a decision yet on who you’re voting for in the first-ever City Council District 1 race? Still lots of time to decide, with primary ballots due August 4th, and your next two chances to see and hear the candidates are coming up within the next two weeks:

MAY 27 (THIS WEDNESDAY): “South Park Shows Up!” is not your standard candidate forum, South Park community members promise. They are planning a pop quiz on South Park facts, in fact. But West Seattleites are invited too – and kids’ activities are promised as well as food. 7 pm Wednesday at the SP Neighborhood Center, 8201 10th Avenue S.

JUNE 8 (2 WEEKS FROM TONIGHT): Most local neighborhood councils have had visits from several City Council candidates. The Pigeon Point Neighborhood Council is planning a full-fledged forum, 7 pm June 8th at Pathfinder K-8 (1901 SW Genesee), all welcome.

Any other D-1 forum dates locked in? Please let us know – editor@ westseattleblog.com – thanks!

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What will you get for $930 million? Read the proposed transportation levy’s fine print http://westseattleblog.com/2015/05/what-will-you-get-for-930-million-read-the-proposed-transportation-levys-fine-print/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/05/what-will-you-get-for-930-million-read-the-proposed-transportation-levys-fine-print/#comments Fri, 22 May 2015 16:47:37 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=311214

The heart of the decision over this fall’s transportation levy: What will you get for your money? Two weeks after Mayor Murray and SDOT director Scott Kubly went public with the revised proposed $930 million “Move Seattle” transportation levy (WSB coverage here), it’s officially appearing on the City Council’s Introduction and Referral Calendar – which means that you can read the “fine print.” That includes the proposed “ballot title,” what you’ll see before you vote in November, assuming the language isn’t changed:


The City of Seattle’s Proposition 1 concerns replacing funding for citywide transportation maintenance and improvements.

If approved, this proposition would replace an expiring levy and fund bridge seismic upgrades, transit corridor and light rail station access projects, pedestrian and bicycle safety projects, upgraded and synchronized traffic signals, street maintenance and improvements, freight mobility projects, and neighborhood street fund projects.

It authorizes regular property taxes above RCW 84.55 limits, allowing collection of up to $95,000,000 in 2016 and up to $930,000,000 over nine years. The 2016 total regular tax limit would be $3.60/$1,000 assessed value, including approximately $0.62 additional taxes.

Should this levy be approved?
Levy, Yes
Levy, No

You can read the legislation in its entirety here – keep in mind the City Council now will start its review, with public-comment opportunities along the way – including a 5:30 pm public hearing at City Hall on June 2nd – before a final version is sent to the county in August. (This link also includes info on how to comment on it right now. And a new stack of “public outreach” links has just been sent around by SDOT – you can find them here; the links on that page include the map we’ve embedded atop this story.)

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VIDEO: 34th District Democrats make key endorsements http://westseattleblog.com/2015/05/happening-now-34th-district-democrats-make-key-endorsements/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/05/happening-now-34th-district-democrats-make-key-endorsements/#comments Thu, 21 May 2015 04:03:26 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=311083

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

“We all knew it was coming down to this anyway, so let’s give them a dual (endorsement) and take it to the streets.”

So said former 34th District Democrats chair Ivan Weiss – with current chair Marcee Stone-Vekich declaring it “the quote of the night” – just before the group took its third vote on an endorsement in the first-ever City Council District 1 race, resulting in dual endorsement of Shannon Braddock and Lisa Herbold (L-R photos above).

The voting had started with five of the race’s nine official candidates nominated for potential endorsement on the first ballot. No one ended up with 60 percent or more – Herbold received 63 votes, Braddock 60 votes, Chas Redmond 18 votes, Brianna Thomas 9 votes, Phillip Tavel 6 votes.

That sent the top two vote-getters to a second ballot, the results of which were Braddock 77, Herbold 70. And that set up the motion and the vote for a dual endorsement.

The other big vote was an endorsement in the West Seattle/South Park Seattle School Board race, which has three candidates, two of which were nominated for potential endorsement – incumbent Marty McLaren and challenger Leslie Harris. The results:

Harris declared herself “speechless.”

10:16 PM: The meeting has just wrapped up – endorsement votes for the two at-large City Council seats were delayed because the candidates were coming from earlier meetings to the north. Both of those races also resulted in dual endorsements – for Position 8, Tim Burgess and Jon Grant; for Position 9, Bill Bradburd and Lorena Gonzalez.

ADDED 7:51 AM MONDAY: Here’s our video (and embedded above) of the heart of the meeting – the hour and a half that involved the two aforementioned votes, among other business, and that started with the endorsement of King County Councilmember Joe McDermott, who is unopposed.

Added: Video from the Position 8/9 City Council speeches.

And ahead – play-by-play from the meeting, through the final District 1 results:

157 credentialed members of the group filled The Hall at Fauntleroy as the endorsement voting began.

First endorsements were “block nominations”:
King County Council District 8 (in which incumbent Joe McDermott is the only candidate – he was endorsed by acclamation)
King County Superior Court (no candidates present)

Second round:
Seattle City Council District 1
Nominated: Shannon Braddock, Chas Redmond, Lisa Herbold (loud cheers followed), Phillip Tavel, Brianna Thomas – those are the only ones Stone-Vekich said were eligible because they returned their questionnaires and identified themselves as Democrats. (Note: You can read the questionnaires in links from the 34th DDs’ website – go here.)

*Speaking for Braddock, Les Treall, who pointed out she’s been active in the 34th DDs. Braddock then spoke, saying she supports “progressive values” and appreciates that the group does. “I have the experience to go to work for you at the City Council,” she declared. Seconding her nomination was her boss, County Councilmember Joe McDermott.

*Speaking for Redmond, Pete Spalding, who quickly ceded his time to Redmond, who said, “I know what you want for transportation … I know how to keep people out of distress,” lauded his problem-solving skills, and noted he had joined the 34th DDs shortly after arrival 12 years ago. He concludes, “I will do an awesome job for you.” Seconding his nomination, Michael Taylor-Judd, who pointed out how much work Redmond had done with neighborhood organizations.

*Speaking for Herbold, Michele Thomas, who said she has long worked for affordable-housing issues, but that Herbold has worked on those longer, and that she has “bold and seasoned leadership” that can help solve that problem. “Lisa will work for the highest possible linkage fee,” she said. Seconding was a supporter who said Herbold is going to make Seattle more affordable. Herbold said the district “deserves strong, principled leadership that’s not afraid to lead,” saying she’s “earned my reputation working inside and outside of city government. … If I am elected … I will fight to make sure developers build with affordable housing for everybody who needs it.” She also promised “developer impact fees” to fund transportation.

*Ed Dupras nominated Phillip Tavel and turned over the microphone immediately. He remarked that the turnout (standing-room-only by this point) was “amazing” and asked, “Who do you want to be your voice” on the City Council – vowing to be the loudest voice advocating for District 1 (West Seattle/South Park). Lois Schipper seconded the nomination and said she’s interested in electing a councilmember who knows how the justice system works and thinks Tavel’s experience as an advocate for children in the system is part of what qualifies him for that.

*Jamila Johnson spoke for Brianna Thomas, pointing out that she is an award-winning activist. Thomas herself said she has been “humbled” by what has happened so far and spoke of the importance to maintain party unity, with the presidential year advancing, regardless of who gets endorsed. She alluded to conflict in other legislative-district organizations and said she hopes that won’t happen to the 34th.

Ballot collection and tallying ensued. Elected officials in attendance (in addition to McDermott) including State Reps. Eileen Cody and Joe Fitzgibbon were pointed out by Stone-Vekich, as was Seattle City Councilmember Tom Rasmussen.

Then, as the counting for District 1 continued, they proceeded to nominate candidates for School Board Position 6. (West Seattle/South Park). Nominated were two of the three candidates who will appear on the ballot – Leslie Harris and incumbent Marty McLaren.

Councilmember McDermott spoke in favor of Harris, calling her a “tenacious advocate” who has been “watchdogging Seattle Public Schools.” He said he doesn’t always agree with her, but knows she’s “watching carefully, is passionate, and engaged,” and is ready to approach board election as a policy-maker rather than as a micro-manager.

Her seconder said the School Board election “has to be about change … unfortunately we have a school administration that thinks everything is just fine, thank you. Well, it’s not.” He said she will be “confrontational when necessary and appropriate.”

Harris promised to “work really hard for you” if elected.

Les Treall spoke for McLaren, who he said could not be here because she’s at the School Board meeting. He said he is McLaren’s next door neighbor and knows that she is a good listener, among other attributes. Jonathan Knapp, president of the Seattle Education Association, was allowed to speak in her favor though his membership had lapsed (he had to promise to re-up before the night was out). He said that McLaren is not flashy but is the one person on the school board who “will listen to educators,” noting that she was a teacher. He said she’s the one person on the board who can help get to consensus to fix problems, instead of “grandstanding.”

Chris Porter was the first person of the night to speak against any candidate. He said he had presented McLaren with information about a problem with the Genesee Hill school-construction project and said her reply was “we’ll do better next time”; he also said that he was concerned about her vote on the proposed downtown school project.

Cecilia Palao-Vargas spoke next, also in opposition to McLaren, who she said had told her she had listened to the loud voices but now is “listening to the quiet voices.” She said that all voices need to be heard, and said she’s supporting Harris.

Then, the first ballot on District 1 was announced – and it meant a second ballot was needed:

Herbold 63 votes
Braddock 60 votes
Redmond 18 votes
Thomas 9 votes
Tavel 6 votes

To get an outright endorsement, a candidate/position would have to get 60 percent on the first ballot.

Next: The group voted on whether to endorse initiative signature-gathering campaigns. Proposed for endorsement:

*I-735 – seeking to amend U.S. Constitution regarding corporate personhood – signature-gathering was endorsed.
*I-732 – seeking a state carbon tax – signature-gathering was endorsed.
*City initiative 122 – Honest Elections Seattle (signature-gathering was endorsed later in the meeting)

At that point, the results of the School Board endorsement vote were announced – Leslie Harris won overwhelmingly, 123 votes to 12 for Marty McLaren, 4 for “no endorsement.” Harris spoke again and said she was “speechless.”

Lloyd Hara, incumbent, spoke, followed by John Arthur Wilson.

While those votes were counted, it was announced that the second ballot in the City Council District 1 race still didn’t turn out with a 60 percent winners, so it would go to a third ballot. This time, it was Braddock 77, Herbold 70. Susan Harmon spoke in favor of a dual endorsement, saying the results seemed to suggest there were two ‘really valuable” people. That’s when Ivan Weiss, a Herbold supporter, said “We all knew it was coming down to this anyway, let’s give them a dual and take it to the street.”

So with credentials held aloft, the 34th District Democrats did just that.

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FOLLOWUP: Final results of Amanda Kay Helmick’s City Council District 1 signature effort – 9 names short http://westseattleblog.com/2015/05/followup-final-results-of-amanda-kay-helmicks-city-council-district-1-signature-effort-9-names-short/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/05/followup-final-results-of-amanda-kay-helmicks-city-council-district-1-signature-effort-9-names-short/#comments Wed, 20 May 2015 17:53:19 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=311038 Last Friday we reported on the conclusion of King County’s election-filing week, with one matter left unsettled: City Council District 1 (West Seattle/South Park) candidate Amanda Kay Helmick had been determined to get on the ballot via 1,200 petition signatures rather than a $1,200 filing fee, and was told that despite a 100-plus-signature pad, she was still short of the required number of qualified signatures. After several days of doublechecking and other research, Helmick has just announced the official end of her campaign:

Exactly 7 months after announcing her candidacy for Seattle City Council in District 1, Amanda Kay Helmick has ended her grassroots campaign. Her steadfast choice to gather signatures in lieu of the filing fee was successful in getting 1318 people to sign for her, but fell 9 signatures short.

“I am disappointed in the process and outcome. The last several days of comparing the King County Elections list to the petitions, and speaking to individual signers, has been alarming. Invalid voters on the list had no idea their right to vote is in question. There is room for obvious improvements, and I hope King County Elections is working diligently to rectify the situation. I want to thank everyone who signed and helped me in my bid for inclusion on the ballot. Ultimately, the support I needed was not there.”

Amanda will continue to fight for District 1. She is co-chair of the Westwood/Roxhill/Arbor Heights Community Council, co-chair of the West Seattle Transportation Coalition, Delridge Rep to the City Neighborhood Council, and Budget Committee Chair of the City Neighborhood Council. She looks forward to working with the newly elected District 1 Councilmember.

This means the nine candidates who are on the King County list comprise the official, final field for the August 4th primary – this is the order in which they will appear on the ballot, per the county’s drawing:

Lisa Herbold
Jody Rushmer
Chas Redmond
Shannon Braddock
Karl Wirsing
Brianna Thomas
Phillip Tavel
Pavel Goberman
Arturo Robles

They all appeared at a candidates’ forum in Fauntleroy on Monday night (WSB coverage with video is here) and at least two more forums are coming up – May 27th in South Park and June 8th in Pigeon Point.

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VIDEO: Seattle City Council District 1′s nine candidates share a stage for the first time http://westseattleblog.com/2015/05/city-council-district-1s-9-candidates-share-the-stage-for-the-first-time/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/05/city-council-district-1s-9-candidates-share-the-stage-for-the-first-time/#comments Tue, 19 May 2015 04:49:22 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=310839

(WSB photo, from left – Phillip Tavel, Shannon Braddock, Jody Rushmer, Brianna Thomas, Karl Wirsing, Chas Redmond, Arturo Robles, Pavel Goberman, Lisa Herbold)

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

In the first-ever City Council District 1 (West Seattle/South Park) race, there’s been at least one candidates’ forum each month since February. The race has been fluid, and the participant lineup hasn’t been the same twice.

Tonight brought the first forum featuring all nine of the candidates that are in the running (as of the end of the official filing period last Friday).

About 60 people filled the seats in the Fellowship Hall at Fauntleroy UCC Church for the forum that the League of Women Voters of Seattle/King County co-presented with the Westside Interfaith Network; LWV’s Lucy Gaskill-Gaddis moderated, after an introduction by Boots Winterstein.

As we’ve done with all the previous forums, we recorded this one on video, and will add that here when it’s ready. (UPDATE – Here it is:)

Ahead, we did our best to summarize as it went:

First question: Why do you want to run, and what qualifications do you have?

Karl Wirsing, a Delridge resident who said this is his “first major campaign,” said he had long followed politics, and noticed patterns – people start with passion that “fizzles.” He said, “There’s a really fine line between being experienced and being entrenched – I’d rather … give everything I have and flame out, than tread water.”

Brianna Thomas said she is a housing/homelessness advocate who’s running because “my time in politics with the different campaigns I’ve been working on have led me to be a little impatient.” She said she’s lived all over District 1 – Admiral, Morgan, Alaska Junctions, and South Park. She said she “started out my political career in the State Senate and survived that” and then worked on campaigns including the SeaTac $15 campaign. She said she wants to “convince young women to be the voice that we made in government.”

Phillip Tavel said he’s running because he’s seen “so much potential … that’s gone unrealized … (and) a City Council that lacks leadership,” and is reactive instead of proactive. “We need people who are going to do more than that. … This is the first time in 100 years that we’ve gone back in districts, so we have the chance for a voice from West Seattle to represent West Seattle.” He touted his business background as well as his work as a public defender for the past decade. “It all adds up to the fact I’ve been involved in my career and I really want to serve you now.”

Jody Rushmer said he’s running because “our district has been underrepresented in city government for decades now.” He cited examples including the Move Seattle levy, which he said has too little for this area. “And I’m running to champion West Seattle/South Park schools … I want to make sure our children have the resources they need to be successful.” And he said the area needs partnerships – between community members, businesses, developments – “the horse has left the barn in terms of stopping development … I want to be sure we can build a coalition to build the West Seattle/South Park we want to live in in the future.”

Arturo Robles cited his qualifications as a background in city management and a rotation between types of city governments after graduation. “I’m hoping that experience will be good for me.” Why he’s running: He’s been unemployed, underemployed, uninsured at a hospital, so he knows what “an average person has to encounter”; also, he wants to see a discussion about education, possibly offering free community council so people can fill the tech jobs. He wants to see the Pre-K implementation go faster.

Chas Redmond noted his pre-Seattle background at NASA and said that since moving here, “for the last 12 years I’ve sort of been in everybody’s face here in West Seattle” – involved with parks, pedestrian advocacy, Sustainable West Seattle, the Tool Library, transportation planning, Morgan Community Association, the SW District Council, the City Neighborhood Council, “bringing citizens into government.” He said that’s all left him with an insight into what people troughout the city want, need, “what they think hasn’t been happening.” The city Department of Planning and Development “doesn’t listen to people,” he noted. He said that he’d be able to do even more than he has done as a volunteer.

Lisa Herbold said she’s running because the district “deserves a strong, progressive race” and she has a set of skills that make her “uniquely qualified,” after 16 years working with City Councilmember Nick Licata, following her start a quarter-century ago as a community organizer and then a tenant organization, “so I have a healthy appreciation” of the inside and outside perspectives. She said some call her an “insider” but “if being an insider means you know how to get things done, I’m an insider.” The city is growing fast and “I’m running because I want to cultivate jobs” that are good for the neighborhood, and she wants to work for affordable housing and policies ensuring Seattle is not just for the wealthy.

Pavel Goberman noted that he’s from the former USSR before coming here 36 years ago and has run for office to protect the Constitution. He said he has experience in solving problems and in a variety of areas of emphasis; he is concerned about government corruption and special interests.

Shannon Braddock said she’s running because she believes that government can partner with nonprofits, businesses, community members to get things to do. She noted her work as chief of staff for County Councilmember Joe McDermott and said she’d moved here more than 15 years ago because of the quality of life, but acknowledges that now growth is affecting the quality of life, and we need transportation solutions, as well as ways to make sure growth happens responsibly. She said that in her job she works with 9 councilmembers from diverse backgrounds and “we know how to pull people together,” getting budgets passed, among other accomplishments.

SECOND QUESTION: The Westside Interfaith Network is concerned about homelessness. What strategies would you propose for reducing the number of people experiencing it in Seattle?

RUSHMER: Seattle has the largest United Way in the USA, “and that’s helpful”; 6,000 low-income housing units have been built, “that’s helpful”; and he said that work continues on the plan to end homelessness. But that hasn’t reduced the number of those who are homeless, so he’d work with the Committee to End Homelessness “to build a next 10-year plan.” Another major initiative: Work with schools to get money through public and private partnerships “to build programs for our kids so in the future we don’t have to worry about them being homeless.”

ROBLES: Too many people are out on streetcorners having to ask for money, he said; he sees “promise in the linkage fee, which works in other cities.” He cited a $1400 average rent for this area and how minimum-wage workers can’t afford that; but, he said, many proposed solutions “ensure that we will always have a homeless population … we have a good number of shelters … maybe we need to think about converting some of them to permanent housing.”

REDMOND: “I think the solution is going to be a handful of different approaches” – the municipal-banking initiative would help, he thinks, and a conversion of older structures into public housing, as well as homeless encampments in accessible communities. The faith community could work with the city to acquire some properties, he thinks, and he would like to see DPD look at zoning – he mentioned accessory dwellings that could make more room and mean more income for homeowners, as well as co-housing, land trusts, home trusts, “a suite of solutions.”

HERBOLD: “The first thing we need to do is to accept the fact this is not purely a supply-side problem” – more supply won’t trickle down to those who need housing. Rent increases correlate to homelessness increasing, “so we need to start with a preservation strategy … identifying ways to preserve affordable housing,” plus laws that protect tenants “from arbitrary evictions.” She also called for a strategy re-upping the housing levy next year while realizing the taxpayer can’t do it all. And “raising the bar” for what it means to be a good developer is important, she said. For those sleeping on the streets, “shelters are full,” she said, and “those people can’t wait until we build (affordable) units, we need shelter now.”

GOBERMAN: He decried tax money being given to private companies but said he’d been ignored when trying to bring that to the attention of those in power.

BRADDOCK: (Editor’s note: Due to computer freezeup here, we missed part of the answer.) She talked about support for addiction treatment and said she has worked with the youth and young-adult homelessness initiative, and that working with LGBT youth is important given how many are part of the homeless population.

WIRSING: He said that addressing homelessness means thinking about more than the “home” itself – and that once someone is homeless, it’s important to think about how they got there and how they can get out of it. He said it’s “exasperating” to hear someone be asked, “Why don’t you just get a job?” given how difficult it is for most to get employed these days. He lauded Fare Start.

THOMAS: She spoke about the annual count and how it went up dramatically this year – 22 percent. She said she spoke to a group of international students today and they asked “Why do you HAVE homelessness – this is America?” “A matter of priorities,” she said. She talked about direct-service programs that the Church Council, a former employer of hers, had – “we need to make sure we’re creating programming to address all the needs” of homeless people – “primarily dignity.” She too talked about LGBT youth, who she said comprise 40 percent of the youth on the street. And she acknowledged that not all of Seattle’s homeless people are from here, so there has to be some “reciprocity” with communities whose homeless people end up here.

TAVEL: He said that some things that could be done include for example not putting people into encampments, but rather put people in an apartment and give them a social worker, which costs a city less money and gives the people “a starting place.” Also, he said mental-health and substance-abuse services need to be fixed; streamlining the Municipal Court system could mean money for that. “We have the resources, we have the willpower, we have the amazing organizations, if it’s a priority … get them off the street and you’ll have another 3,700 people who want to make Seattle better.”

Question #3 – Which issue(s) would be a priority for you as a City Councilmember?

HERBOLD: “Taking a stand for equity,” which she said could mean many things – infrastructure, responsible policing, development community paying its fair share, and more. She also mentioned transparent government and delivering results for West Seattle.

GOBERMAN: “First priority, create jobs.” He also wants to develop a “fish farm,” fight crime, toughen punishment, fix roads, improve discipline in schools, improve the transit system by using mini-buses to get riders to bus stops if they don’t live near a stop.

BRADDOCK: Housing affordability and homelessness prevention, support for children and families – she said the universal pre-K program pilot interests her – child-care resources for families at economic risk – transit/transportation, responsible growth, and making sure the neighborhoods, planning, and economic city teams can work together instead of in silos.

WIRSING: Smart growth and public transit, and fixing the fact that a single crash can “bring the whole city to its knees” – he mentioned the fish-truck crash on southbound Highway 99 several weeks ago. Also: “Aggressively preserving green spaces, parks, and undeveloped land, assuring Seattle’s place as a global environmental leader,” and helping small businesses.

THOMAS: “We’re all going to have to tackle the bridge because the bridge keeps tackling us,” she began. Also: Gender-pay equity and wage equity in general. “That doesn’t end at the city,” she said, urging a new paradigm about gender-pay equity “in the private sector.” She also mentioned predictive scheduling, and noted that minimum-wage workers aren’t kids, but that the average one is 36 years old. She also wants to “create trust with the police … get them out of their cars” and have them respond to crime the same way no matter where it happens.

TAVEL: He asked for a show of hands on whether Seattle is perfect and whether people are happy with the way West Seattle is changing. Nobody raised their hands. “We need to address these issues.” Not that development and growth are bad, he said, but people feel like they had no say in it, especially when it changes a neighborhood where you’ve lived for a very long time. Transportation issues also are important, he said, mentioning the latest bad news about the tunneling machine, and fixing transit – not just getting downtown, but getting across the city.

RUSHMER: He said he wants to focus on West Seattle issues first, including transit/transportation. He said he’s seen SDOT presentations recently at which all he’s heard is “removing parking, removing a lane on 35th,” and the levy, charging “to spend a billion dollars in other parts of the city.” He said he asked an official about that and was told that “West Seattle has to wait its turn.” Also, “we need to get some money in our public schools right now” – to make sure today’s kids are ready for good jobs in the future.

ROBLES: He mentioned reading “Age of Inequality.” He said the issues here are the same around the country, though Seattle has a “much more progressive type of attitude.” Education would be his priority, he said, going back to pre-K. He said his work in a mental-health facility that works “with substance disorders” leads him to want more emphasis on that. And, he said, transportation infrastructure is rotting – “at least here we are doing something about it.”

REDMOND: He observed that transportation, equity, and accountability seem to be everyone’s top issues. Especially the first – not just getting into and out of West Seattle, but getting around West Seattle. He mentioned the “failed intersection’ in Morgan Junction, and said he’s “been pushing back on SDOT in years.” He also mentioned drainage problems like The Junction’s back alley (west of the west side of California) “becom(ing) a lake” annually. For accountability, people need to be able to look at the city budget and know where the money’s going.

AUDIENCE QUESTIONS: These, read by Gaskill-Gaddis from index cards, were allotted 1-minute answers, after the first hour allowing 2-minute answers.

First one: How will you focus on citywide issues that aren’t just about West Seattle?

WIRSING: He said it’ll be easy because those issues will be important here too. Assertive representation is important.

THOMAS: Take a look at “what we understand to be best for the city as a whole” and then listen to what citizens think. She said West Seattleites aren’t shy about letting elected officials know when they’re not happy with them, so, they’ll watch whomever wins, closely.

TAVEL: You’re electing someone “who’s not going to back down, who’s going to be a loud, intelligent voice,” and if something is good for the rest of the city but not WS, it’ll be an 8-1 vote. “Our needs will be listened to.”

RUSHMER: He said he feels sad about “divisiveness in politics … it doesn’t seem we can agree on anything … everyone’s upset with each other.” He hopes to “build coalitions” if elected.

ROBLES: On some issues, such as homelessness, he said, it’s vital to “look at the entire city.” He said education “is a great equalizer.”

REDMOND: He talked about being on the City Neighborhood Council and working with “all 13 districts.” (Editor’s note: Those are not the same as the new City Council districts, but rather the divisions outlined by the city for district councils – West Seattle, for example, is split into “Southwest” and “Delridge.”) Many areas of the city have the same issues we do, he said. “The real issue is trying to distribute some of the assets” – getting more jobs here would solve some problems.

HERBOLD: She said she didn’t start thinking about running for council “until districts passed” and counts on voters “holding (her) accountable.” She said she “believes in squeaky-wheel governance” and agrees that many local issues “are also faced by other districts” and can be solved “together.”

GOBERMAN: He reiterated that he has a plan that he believes would “solve many problems.” He mentioned a few not-mentioned points such as reducing taxes, keeping the Senior Center of West Seattle open for four hours on Saturdays, and preventing nuclear war.

BRADDOCK: Collaboration is vital, she said, adding that building relationships is a big part of her County Council job, and would be big if she’s elected, and that would facilitate working with other councilmembers to be sure that their respective priorities don’t have unintended effects on other district.

Second audience question – Density. What would you do to deal with rising density in West Seattle?

RUSHMER: He talked about the creation of “urban villages” 20 years ago and it being said that infrastructure would be “thrown” at those areas. But it didn’t happen. “We’ve built a lovely urban village in The Junction but they haven’t given us any additional infrastructure.”

ROBLES: He wonders how apartment dwellers will “get in and out of here” and that the Planning Department needs to be worked with. “There needs to be a limit” to density, he said

REDMOND: The urban village area was effective where the city put money, he said, and The Junction was one of those, but the Monorail was being banked on and it didn’t happen, so he’d ask DPD to halt development until transportation needs caught up – including streets taken out of service for construction. Also, he said, what would it take to redo the entire zoning code?

HERBOLD: Development is the issue they hear about most, she said. If elected, she would: Look at passing developer impact fees, take a look at how development/density impacts displacement, and look at the 2010 policies that enable some urban-village construction without offstreet parking.

GOBERMAN: He said interest costs are a problem.

BRADDOCK: She encouraged people having input in the 2035 comprehensive plan, and said she agrees with looking at impact fees and reviewing the parking policy. She said she also supports the city Design Review policy, and reiterated wanting city departments to work together.

WIRSING: He said there are benefits from density, and parts of District 1 could benefit from having a walkable, slightly more dense neighborhood. He mentioned the Delridge development – almost all housing, not much business except for a few restaurants.

THOMAS: She mentioned living next to a construction site and saying there isn’t much construction going on for families, like 2-bedroom units. Those options are needed but not being built for – most of the building seems to be for young, single people “but at some point they might want to have a baby, and where are we going to put it?”

TAVEL: He said the effects of the thousands of apartments coming in need to be observed – “let’s see what happens to the parking, what happens to the traffic. … Let’s see what happens. A lot of people in the city would support more of this, they say people are coming in who don’t have cars … if that’s the case, let’s see what happens, and then see if we want more of it.”

Next audience question – taxes. How would you prioritize what goes on the ballot (levies, etc.)?

HERBOLD: A big transportation levy is coming up; “I do believe we need more than $930 million of investment but I believe (that levy) should be packaged differently.” She mentioned head tax and commercial parking tax as possibilities for adding to it, so it’s not just on the shoulders of individual taxpayers.

GOBERMAN: He wants to see sales and property taxes reduced.

BRADDOCK: The regressive state tax system has left cities in a situation like this, so she worries that taxpayers will say it’s too much, so accountability is called for. Other revenue sources should be looked at.

WIRSING: You can only squeeze your base so long before they will fold – even something you want will feel like too much, at some point. He said an income tax should be looked at.

THOMAS: She acknowledged levy fatigue and said she supports head taxes because employers should be “meaningfully reinvesting” in the infrastructure from which they are benefiting. She says the city is too hands-off with businesses.

TAVEL: He sees two problems with the way taxes “are done” locally – the regressive nature, and that “we seem to be levy-happy.” He’s a renter, he said, so it doesn’t seem to affect him much, but every time money is needed, “let’s just raise property taxes,” and “it adds up after a while.”

RUSHMER: He says he’s tired of hearing that a new levy is the solution to everything. “I think someone needs to dive into the budget and see where they’re spending the money we currently have … If elected, I’ll be the one diving into that budget.”

ROBLES: Local taxpayers “have shown great generosity,” he said, but “that piggybank has a limit. … I think we need to look at the federal level,” because dried-up federal funding has led to this situation, at least in part. He also suggested an income tax should be looked at.

REDMOND: His mortgage has gone up 33 percent in 12 years and he said there’s a limit at what he’d consider looking at levies for. “I also would like to take a look at what we could do with a municipal bank.” And he mentioned Local Improvement Districts for things like sidewalk repair.

And that was an hour and a half, so Gaskill-Gaddis called a halt and said the candidates and attendees would have half an hour to mingle.

Again, we’ll add the video when it’s ready, late tonight/early Tuesday. We’ll also be adding links to the candidates’ websites and to our coverage of previous forums.

(P.S. Any questions you want the candidates to answer, that didn’t get asked? Consider mentioning them in a comment!)

WHAT’S NEXT: Upcoming events in the race include the 34th District Democrats‘ endorsement meeting this Wednesday (May 20th) and the first candidates’ forum in South Park, a community-organized event called “South Park Shows Up” with promises of an interactive format, at 7 pm May 27th at the South Park Neighborhood Center. The primary election, to winnow the field to two, is August 4th.

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Election 2015: City Council District 1 candidates’ forum tonight; Helmick signature-challenge update http://westseattleblog.com/2015/05/election-2015-city-council-district-1-candidates-forum-tonight-helmick-signature-challenge-update/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/05/election-2015-city-council-district-1-candidates-forum-tonight-helmick-signature-challenge-update/#comments Mon, 18 May 2015 16:59:08 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=310771 Two notes this morning in the District 1 (West Seattle/South Park) City Council race:

CANDIDATES’ FORUM TONIGHT: Be at Fauntleroy Church (9140 California SW) tonight for the District 1 forum presented by Westside Interfaith Network and League of Women Voters-Seattle/King County. They describe the format as moderated with some opportunity for audience questions. Doors open at 6 pm, forum at 6:30 pm.

HELMICK SIGNATURES UPDATE: As reported here Friday night, seven months of campaigning might have come to a dead end for Amanda Kay Helmick, who was determined to get onto the ballot via gathering signatures. 1,200 valid signatures are required to make the ballot in lieu of that same number of dollars; Helmick was the only District 1 hopeful going that route. Hours after we covered her taking petitions to the King County Elections office in Renton at noontime Friday, she was notified she’d fallen short by 26. Helmick has since obtained a list of the 147 names that KC Elections had ruled invalid and as of late last night said she had “already found 10 people on the list that are completely unaware and shocked about their status. I have posted the list on my website in case others want to see their status and have it rectified. If someone’s name is on THIS LIST, King County Voter Services has challenged their right to vote. The names were found to be non-registered voters in District 1.” She has posted on her website’s home page what anyone who finds her/himself on that list is asked to do.

WHO’S IN: If anyone has withdrawn or anything else major has changed since filing closed on Friday afternoon, King County Elections will be updating this page at some time later today. But in the meantime, the District 1 race has nine candidates (listed this time in surname-reverse-alphabetical order): Karl Wirsing, Brianna Thomas, Phillip Tavel, Jody Rushmer, Arturo Robles, Chas Redmond, Lisa Herbold, Pavel Goberman, Shannon Braddock.

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City Council District 1 race: Who’s in, and why the lone signature-gatherer might be out http://westseattleblog.com/2015/05/city-council-district-1-race-whos-in-and-why-the-lone-signature-gatherer-might-be-out/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/05/city-council-district-1-race-whos-in-and-why-the-lone-signature-gatherer-might-be-out/#comments Sat, 16 May 2015 04:39:24 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=310493 The official filing period for this year’s elections is over. And for one of the first candidates to jump into the City Council District 1 race, it’s taken a turn at the end:

Amanda Kay Helmick, who’s been running since October, was the only District 1 candidate to declare she would get onto the ballot by collecting signatures instead of paying the $1,199.76 fee. We wanted to photograph that unique moment of the first-ever District 1 campaign, so we covered her visit to the County Elections Department offices in Renton at midday today as she turned in her stack of petitions.

The staff explained they would start verifying the signatures immediately, and offered her the chance to leave a standby check for the filing fee in case she fell short, since the filing deadline was just hours away. She declined, explaining to us in a short interview afterward that she believes a candidate should be put on the ballot by the people, not by money.

Then, late in the day, Helmick told us the Elections Department notified her she had fallen short and did not qualify for the ballot – she turned in 1,318 signatures but fell 26 short. She is asking for a “judicial review,” but for now, she’s not on the list: “I am supremely disappointed,” she told WSB, “but determined to at least see this all the way through.”

The nine candidates who are on the list, according to the unofficial list on the KC Elections website, are:

Pavel Goberman
Chas Redmond
Arturo Robles
Phillip Tavel

Shannon Braddock
Lisa Herbold
Jody Rushmer
Karl Wirsing

Brianna Thomas

Robles, Rushmer, and Wirsing just surfaced in the past week and a half; the other six have been in for a while, starting with Redmond, who declared his candidacy almost a year and a half ago.

Also of local note: County Councilmember Joe McDermott is running unopposed; two more candidates have joined the local School Board (Position 6) race since last night’s candidate forum, and the field is now Suzanne L. Sutton, Nick Esparza, Marty McLaren, and Leslie Harris. (Of the four school-board positions on the ballot this fall, McLaren is the only incumbent running for re-election.) Though the filing period has closed, this all remains “unofficial” until KC Elections finalizes it early next week. The primary election is on August 4th.

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Election 2015: Who’s filed for what so far, with one day to go http://westseattleblog.com/2015/05/election-2015-whos-filed-for-what-so-far-with-one-day-to-go/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/05/election-2015-whos-filed-for-what-so-far-with-one-day-to-go/#comments Fri, 15 May 2015 02:03:22 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=310365 One day remains in the official 2015 candidate-filing season – so by this time tomorrow, the field will be more or less set for this fall’s elections. Here’s the list of who’s filed for what so far; in offices of West Seattle note, District 8 County Councilmember Joe McDermott has filed for re-election and has no opponent at this point; in the District 1 (West Seattle/South Park) City Council race, six candidates have filed so far – Pavel Goberman, Chas Redmond, Arturo Robles, Phillip Tavel, Shannon Braddock, and Lisa Herbold; we know Amanda Kay Helmick, who’s been collecting signatures in lieu of the four-digit filing fee, plans to file tomorrow, so that means a field of at least 7 in this race. We’ll update tomorrow. (Side note: As we write this, we’re at South Seattle College‘s Georgetown Campus to cover the forum for at-large Council Positions 8 and 9 and School Board Position 6 – the WS/SP seat in which Marty McLaren and Leslie Harris are the two filers so far – coverage including video, coming up later.)

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Election 2015: As filing week continues, George Capestany leaves District 1 City Council race http://westseattleblog.com/2015/05/election-2015-as-filing-week-continues-george-capestany-leaves-district-1-city-council-race/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/05/election-2015-as-filing-week-continues-george-capestany-leaves-district-1-city-council-race/#comments Thu, 14 May 2015 17:08:04 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=310307 Today is the second-to-last-day of filing week for this fall’s candidates, so by the end of tomorrow, we’ll have the official list of who’s in the District 1 (West Seattle/South Park) City Council race. Some have already filed, and one person has just announced he’s out: George Capestany. The statement he sent:

Today, George Capestany, active community volunteer, “goat guy,” and longtime West Seattle neighbor, is withdrawing from the race for Seattle City Council, District 1.

“After much thought, have decided to not pursue the seat for City of Seattle, District 1,” said Capestany. “When I began this quest I truly felt that I could win. Tom Rasmussen was a opponent I could really separate from and define a distinct difference in political and economic views. While I still believe West Seattle residents have been left out of virtually everything that goes on at City Hall, I have been impressed by the many good candidates who have filed. And, once the districts take effect, I believe West Seattle will be well served.”

Campaign Treasurer, Ron Sullivan stated, “While many citizens of this community think George would have made an excellent representative in City politics, we respect his decision to end his campaign.”

“I sincerely want to thank all of my supporters for their help and support,” added Capestany.

Capestany had entered the race last November; Councilmember Rasmussen announced his decision not to run in January. Meantime, if you’re interested in tracking who’s filed so far, the countywide list – updated at least twice a day – is here. The voting begins in mid-summer, with the primary election on August 4th.

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West Seattle Chamber hears transportation-levy pitch, asks non-levy questions too http://westseattleblog.com/2015/05/west-seattle-chamber-hears-transportation-levy-pitch-asks-non-levy-questions-too/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/05/west-seattle-chamber-hears-transportation-levy-pitch-asks-non-levy-questions-too/#comments Thu, 14 May 2015 09:04:53 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=310270

(WSB photo)

One week after they stood on a Beacon Hill street corner with the mayor, announcing the revised Transportation Levy to Move Seattle, City Councilmember Tom Rasmussen and SDOT director Scott Kubly pitched it to the West Seattle Chamber of Commerce.

They were the guest speakers at the Chamber’s monthly lunch meeting on Wednesday at The Kenney (WSB sponsor).

The conversation wandered around to non-levy transportation topics too.

Councilmember Rasmussen, who chairs the Council’s Transportation Committee, talked about the $930 million levy in general, noting the big addition for West Seattle – the Fauntleroy Boulevard project, currently funded only through design, is now in the levy. Kubly gave more of an overview of SDOT’s mission, especially its multimodal intent, and its view that the future has arrived, with the increasing use of carsharing (Car2Go) and ridesharing (Lyft, Uber) in the big picture as his department also factors in existing infrastructure and neighborhood needs.

As for the levy process, he recapped the input SDOT had gathered so far, particularly via the online survey – with 8,000 respondents – and hundreds of comments, while explaining they also looked forward to events like this one where they could hear from people face-to-face.

When Kubly invited questions, a few did address points in the levy – how much money is West Seattle-specific (no numbers beyond the $16 million or so for Fauntleroy Boulevard) and why some of the levy was going to what seemed like basic needs like crosswalk repainting (state tax-revenue constraints were cited). But more of the questioning was along the lines of long-running West Seattle transportation issues:

-The increasing perception of a parking crunch and its effect on businesses. Kubly said people need transportation options, and reiterated his view of the importance of car-sharing among other such options.

-The challenge of limited options for heading outbound from West Seattle, which drew some mutters of agreement. This led Kubly to mention the city advocating for making sure West Seattle would get something out of the next Sound Transit ballot measure (aka Sound Transit 3).

-Concern about the likely rechannelization of 35th SW, in the face of increasing neighborhood population. Kubly said SDOT expects that 35th will become safer and more efficient.

The question of cost arose, specifically the cost of the levy ($275/year for the owner of a $450,000 home) and last year’s voter-approved transit-funding measure ($60 more on car tabs starting this summer). One attendee observed that the latter is still leaving deficiencies in local bus service, including the Alki area.

So, Kubly was then asked, is SDOT working on further efficiencies, in general as well as in light of the levy? He cited one example, working with utilities to reduce the amount of street-digging-up that’s been going on.

And then a question he was asked at a previous West Seattle meeting – what happens if the levy doesn’t pass?

It would mean cutting SDOT’s budget, Kubly replied.

Next steps for the revised levy: It’s going through the City Council, which ultimately will vote on whether to send it to the ballot (a November vote is expected).

P.S. Regarding the 35th SW project – this Saturday morning is the walking tour, and SDOT’s project page has details on where you can catch up with it if you don’t want to go along for the entire three-hour tour.

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City Council campaigning: Filing week begins, with a new District 1 name; at-large forum set for Thursday http://westseattleblog.com/2015/05/city-council-campaigning-filing-week-begins-at-large-forum-set-for-thursday/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/05/city-council-campaigning-filing-week-begins-at-large-forum-set-for-thursday/#comments Mon, 11 May 2015 23:30:38 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=309964 ORIGINAL REPORT, 4:30 PM: This year’s much-contested, much-discussed City Council races are intensifying – here are three reasons why:

FILING WEEK: By Friday, we’ll know who’s in and who’s out – it’s filing week, and candidates have to either pay a fee or submit signatures, to finalize their candidacy.

AT-LARGE CANDIDATES’ FORUM THURSDAY: We’ve been paying most election attention so far to the District 1 (West Seattle/South Park) City Council race – but you’ll also be voting on two at-large seats, Positions 8 and 9. So far, per the city website, six people are running for #8, including West Seattle resident David Trotter, and three for #9, including West Seattleites Alon Bassok and Lorena González. This Thursday (May 14th), three south-end groups including the 34th District Democrats are presenting a forum for the two at-large seats at the Georgetown campus of South Seattle College (WSB sponsor; 6737 Corson Avenue S.), 7 pm (with pre-forum mingling at 6:30).

TWO DISTRICT 1 FORUMS AHEAD: The District 1 field is back to 10 candidates listed on the city website; as previously reported here, two forums are scheduled before the month’s out, 6:30 pm Monday, May 18th, at Fauntleroy UCC Church, presented by the Westside Interfaith Network and League of Women Voters, and 7 pm Wednesday, May 27th, in South Park.

P.S. We had to look this up so thought we’d share – the rules for campaign-sign placement.

5:48 PM UPDATE: Another candidate – potentially the 11th, if everyone else on the list makes it official by end of day Friday – for District 1: Arturo Robles.

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Revised transportation levy: What’s in it for West Seattle? Sign up today for WS Chamber lunch on Wednesday http://westseattleblog.com/2015/05/revised-transportation-levy-whats-in-it-for-west-seattle-sign-up-today-for-ws-chamber-lunch-on-wednesday/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/05/revised-transportation-levy-whats-in-it-for-west-seattle-sign-up-today-for-ws-chamber-lunch-on-wednesday/#comments Mon, 11 May 2015 18:03:51 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=309927

(WSB photo from May 6th levy-revision announcement)
What’s in it for West Seattle? The next discussion of the revised city transportation levy is set for this Wednesday at the West Seattle Chamber of Commerce‘s monthly lunch meeting, 11:30 am at The Kenney (WSB sponsor). City Councilmember Tom Rasmussen, seen in our photo (above) speaking at last week’s announcement, will be there with at least one SDOT rep, updating the proposal announced last week. Today’s your last chance to register at the earlybird price, $25 members/$35 nonmembers – sign up here.

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UPDATE: Fauntleroy Boulevard project part of revised transportation levy http://westseattleblog.com/2015/05/fauntleroy-boulevard-project-part-of-revised-transportation-levy/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/05/fauntleroy-boulevard-project-part-of-revised-transportation-levy/#comments Wed, 06 May 2015 18:23:18 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=309349

(WSB photo from this morning’s announcement event)
11:23 AM: We are on Beacon Hill, where Mayor Murray is announcing the revised transportation levy. The West Seattle headline: The Fauntleroy Boulevard project is now part of the levy. More to come.

11:56 AM: Councilmembers Tom Rasmussen – longtime advocate of the Fauntleroy Boulevard project – and Mike O’Brien also spoke. Various notes: $35 million more for sidewalks in the revised levy (we’re looking for proposed locations). The total package to be funded is now up to $930 million – $30 million more than the first draft – but the city says that is not from an increase in the proposed tax level, but from additional revenue they expect will be generated as “assessed value of new construction” rises. Lander Street Overpass – touted as key for freight as well as for surface-level travel between West Seattle and SODO – is still in the package, and the Delridge corridor is shown on the highlights map, too. Rasmussen said the first council consideration of the revised levy will be on May 12th; a public hearing is planned June 2nd. More to come.

1:52 PM: If you’d like to see how the mayor framed this, here’s the news release. Meantime, we’ve added a few of our photos from the announcement event, and here are a few more notes. The amount of money allotted for the Neighborhood Street Fund also has increased. We’ve sent a followup question to CM Rasmussen’s office to ask whether the Fauntleroy Boulevard proposal that’s now in the levy is the with-undergrounded-utilities or without-undergrounded-utilities version, and will add the reply when we get it.

3:36 PM: CM Rasmussen says $16 million will be earmarked for Fauntleroy Boulevard. While that isn’t the full amount that would need for undergrounding, he says, they are working with Seattle City Light on “cost-sharing.” He also adds that he is “thrilled” that the project made it into the revised levy and says it’s evidence the mayor listened to community members, and him, who said they wanted it included. (It dominated the discussion during SDOT director Kubly’s visit to the Southwest District Council a month ago, for example.)

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Election 2015: Jody Rushmer joins District 1 City Council race, according to city’s online list http://westseattleblog.com/2015/05/election-2015-jody-rushmer-joins-district-1-city-council-race-according-to-citys-online-list/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/05/election-2015-jody-rushmer-joins-district-1-city-council-race-according-to-citys-online-list/#comments Mon, 04 May 2015 22:10:53 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=309187 One week from the start of the official filing week for the District 1 (West Seattle and South Park) City Council race, another candidate has appeared on the city’s list of who’s runningJody Rushmer. No contact info listed yet, and we haven’t found a website or Facebook page, but for everyone who’s keeping track, Rushmer becomes current candidate #9. Next candidates’ forum is two weeks from tonight, as noted here over the weekend.

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District 1 City Council election: Another chance to see/hear the candidates http://westseattleblog.com/2015/05/district-1-city-council-election-another-chance-to-seehear-the-candidates/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/05/district-1-city-council-election-another-chance-to-seehear-the-candidates/#comments Sat, 02 May 2015 22:51:15 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=308978 checkbox.jpgEarlier this week, we mentioned the May 27 candidates’ forum in South Park for those running for the new District 1 City Council seat serving SP and West Seattle. We’ve since learned of another forum happening before that one. The Westside Interfaith Network and League of Women Voters of Seattle-King County invite you to the forum they’re presenting at 6:30 pm Monday, May 18th – a little over two weeks away – at Fauntleroy UCC Church (9140 California SW). It’ll be a moderated forum “with the opportunity for questions from the audience,” according to WIN, which is a coalition of local churches.

SIDE NOTE: WSB coverage links from the three forums held so far, all in West Seattle (all of which we recorded on video):

–April 8th, presented by the 34th District Democrats @ The Hall at Fauntleroy
–March 14th, presented by VIEWS @ Senior Center of West Seattle
–February 5th, presented by WSB @ Highland Park Improvement Club

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