Just announced by the 34th District Democrats: They’re co-sponsoring the “Super South Seattle Mayor’s Forum” with their counterparts in the 11th and 37th Legislative Districts – a chance to hear from candidates in the Seattle mayor’s race, which has eight candidates at last count (all listed and linked on the right side of the city-elections page). Details to come, they promise, but for now, mark your calendar – and/or RSVP via the Facebook event page – for 6 pm Monday, April 29th, at the Georgetown campus of South Seattle Community College (WSB sponsor).
This summer, you might be asked to vote for a new King County Parks levy, if the County Council agrees with a recommendation from the County Executive. Here are details on the levy that the county says would cost you $64/year if you have a home worth $340,000:
Acting upon recommendations from a citizen task force, King County Executive Dow Constantine today sent the King County Council a proposed a six-year, $360 million Parks Levy for the August primary that would enable voters to replace two parks levies that will expire at the end of this year.
“This measure is essential to taking care of the extraordinary network of parks and trails our parents and grandparents have left us, and keeping them clean, safe and open,” said Executive Constantine.
“Preserving our last, best places has been a priority for this region for several decades,” he added. “This measure would help us protect areas nearly the size of Discovery Park every year for the next six years.”
If approved by voters, the measure would fund maintenance and operation of King County’s 200 parks, 175 miles of regional trails, and 26,000 acres of open space. It would also:
Four years ago, our area’s State Sen. Sharon Nelson (D-Maury Island) was hailed for successfully pushing payday-lending reform. Today, she issued a statement warning that a new bill, SB 5312, passed by the Senate, could bring back that type of high-interest loan:
The new payday-lending scheme that passed off the Senate floor today will ensure that middle class families and military personnel can once again be trapped in a spiral of debt.
In 2009, we passed payday lending reform. It put safeguards on a predatory lending product, allowing borrowers to make reasonable payments and not end up buried in high-interest loans.
But the payday industry is back, marketing this new consumer installment loan as having a ‘36 percent interest rate.’ In reality, these loans include massive fees and penalties that take the rate as high as 220 percent. As a former banker, I’m confident that if a money lender can’t make a profit at 45 percent interest, as allowed in existing law, they have a failed business model.
As a legislator, I am shocked that a majority of my colleagues in the Senate voted to sidestep effective protections for Washington families and instead put high-interest lenders back in charge of people’s lives.
(TOPLINE: Public discussion promised – starting with Alki Community Council board meeting Thursday night; scroll to end of story)
2:05 PM: We’re at City Hall for the City Council’s Public Safety, Civil Rights, and Technology Committee briefing/discussion on the Seattle Police surveillance-camera/”wireless mesh” network first brought to light here three weeks ago (archived coverage here). In advance of the meeting, which is about to begin, two documents were added to the agenda today, one including more background detail on the federal-grant-funded $5 million project. Here’s here’s the background document; here’s the PowerPoint intended to illustrate a few of its points. The meeting is just getting under way. You can watch live here – or here:
(Editor’s note: The archived video from the meeting is now embedded above)
First – public comment. First up: A woman who says she wants to share “lessons we have learned” using security cameras in the International District. She says that the cameras installed there (part of a private network) have helped bolster safety and security in the area and provided evidence that will stand up in court. She says they only show the street in front of whatever building they’re installed at. The second speaker says she is a former Alki resident now living on Magnolia, and she is concerned about terrorist attacks via water. She is in favor of 24/7 surveillance and thinks “it’s a miracle” there hasn’t been a terrorist attack yet.
Third speaker from Stand Up America says that he is concerned about terrorists – “the terrorists sitting at (the council) table.” He accuses the government of terrorism and “ridiculous behavior.” He adds, basically shouting, “You guys are eroding our civil rights … don’t stand against the people, stand up for the people.” Councilmember Harrell has accused him of a “showboating tactic” after the speaker called him “a criminal.” Fourth speaker also has a red “Stand Up America” sign and identifies himself as an immigrant from the former Soviet Union who also is concerned about government oppression.
Fifth speaker – Jennifer Shaw, deputy director of the ACLU, which has already asked the city to reconsider these cameras, and makes it clear their concern is government surveillance – “government keeping track of the movements of individuals throughout our city.” She says the recent drone controversy was evidence that people in Seattle are not happy about having surveillance “thrust on them.” She refers to the fact that a city official (as noted in our early coverage) has been quoted as saying this is a potential step toward a citywide camera network, not just focused on waterways. Sixth speaker is Will Washington, who identifies himself as a Beach Drive resident. “This is a big issue for us,” he says, referring to conversations with neighbors in the Constellation Park area, where one of the cameras is installed. He says everyone is bothered by “the fact this was never brought to our attention … we never had a discussion about this.” He says the sentiment is that it’s a symptom of a growing “police state.” Seventh speaker says she is concerned about “be(ing) fearful of who I’m being watched by” as she is out walking her dog on Alki. She says she speaks for a friend who couldn’t be here but isn’t happy about being watched either. She says that if the cameras “were only meant for port security, they would only be facing the port.” She doesn’t want to feel like she’s being watched by somebody “for some reason or another … every time I walk out of my house.”
Eighth speaker is another Alki beachfront resident who says he lives just down the street from some of the cameras. He wants to talk about history. “Coming from a law enforcement family, I’m disappointed that a choice was made to purchase this technology that breeds complacency on the job.” He says this is the first time he’s spoken at a Council meeting. Ninth speaker is John Loftis, a former vice chair of the Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission, and 20-year Alki resident. “It is not a high-crime area … One of the main reasons for this is that Alki is flanked by a high-density residential neighborhood. Most of us seldom close our blinds … and represent hundreds of sets of eyes at any one time.” He says that’s a very effective type of surveillance and “don’t need this type of camera to monitor the beach.” He thinks someone should be embarrassed that one of the cameras is across the street from a popular volleyball and sunbathing spot, and calls it Bikini Cam. “One of these women might have a bomb in her bikini top, I guess.” He says he just hopes his wife does not become “Miss Torso” to someone who can point and zoom the camera.
Tenth speaker is a woman who says she doesn’t want to be seen on camera because she doesn’t want the government “all in my business. … I’m calling you out because you’re wrong.” She says “I came down here to say you’re out of control.”
At 2:32 pm, the briefing begins as SPD and others introduce themselves. Councilmembers sit at a smaller table during committee meetings. Harrell and O’Brien still are the only members here. Councilmember Licata has not arrived (he is due at an unrelated West Seattle meeting tonight, though).
**EDITOR’S NOTE, POST MEETING – IF YOU ARE READING THIS FROM THE HOME PAGE TO GET THE REST OF OUR AS-IT-HAPPENED COVERAGE AT THIS LINK: Click to read the rest of As-it-happened: Surveillance-camera briefing at City Hall; West Seattle meeting(s) ahead…
(Video from today’s council discussion)
Bottom line to today’s Seattle City Council briefing on possible annexations: While they’re planning to continue to pursue annexing two areas around South Park, now collectively known as “Sliver-Q,” council staffers suggest that even talking about the status of North Highline “Area Y” – including White Center – be put on hold till all that is settled, no sooner than late 2013. Just because Area Y said no to Burien doesn’t mean an automatic “yes” for Seattle, the councilmembers were reminded. Details are on our partner site White Center Now.
That’s one of two maps accompanying the last item on tomorrow morning’s Seattle City Council briefing agenda (9 am, City Hall downtown) – an update on possible annexations, as first reported on partner site White Center Now last week. Seattle leaders have a lot to talk about, since White Center and vicinity (“Area Y” on the map above) voters said no to Burien last November, and the Boundary Review Board rejected a bid for the Duwamish Triangle to be annexed by Tukwila. While it’s expected our city will pursue the Duwamish Triangle and the South Park “sliver by the river,” White Center and vicinity remains a wild card – the city has long had dibs on it but elected officials have repeatedly declared annexation unaffordable, and allowed Burien to pursue it first. There’s still an enticement dangling, but not for long – sales-tax credit to offset the cost of annexation, if it’s in the works by the start of 2015. Will the city pursue big, or small, or not at all? If you can’t be there tomorrow (note that it’s not a vote, just a briefing), you can watch live at 9 am via Seattle Channel (on-air or online).
(AMA photo from last night: Rep. Cody with (at left) Terry Moran of ABC News and AMA Board Chair Steven J. Stack, M.D.)
Congratulations to longtime State Rep. Eileen Cody of West Seattle, who chairs the State House committee overseeing health-care issues and is a nurse by profession – she just received a major award. Here’s the announcement:
The American Medical Association (AMA) honored Washington state Rep. Eileen Cody with the Dr. Nathan Davis Award for Outstanding Government Service, its top award for government service in health care. Rep. Cody was honored with the award last night at the AMA’s National Advocacy Conference in Washington, D.C.
“Rep. Cody has led efforts toward improving health care access for low income individuals and transforming mental health services in Washington state,” said AMA Board Chair Steven J. Stack, M.D. “Her dedication to public health has also earned the state national recognition for its long term health care services and support system.”
Update: West Seattle politicians in D.C. for State of the Union; Councilmember McDermott’s thoughts afterwardFebruary 12, 2013 at 5:53 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle politics | 6 Comments
5:53 PM: West Seattle/White Center/Vashon (and vicinity) County Councilmember Joe McDermott mentioned on Facebook that he was in Washington, D.C., for the State of the Union; we asked for a photo but didn’t expect to get one, since he also mentioned everyone had to turn in their electronic devices upon entrance. But he managed to e-mail this just before going into the House gallery – a photo with North Sound U.S. House Rep. Rick Larsen and County Executive Dow Constantine, taken by Larsen staffer Bryan Thomas. The president’s speech is set to begin at 6 pm, televised/streamed/broadcast in a multitude of places.
P.S. Speaking of politics, one more reminder – Election Day for the Seattle school levies; the ballot-dropoff van is at West Seattle Stadium, along the driveway between the parking lot and 35th SW, till 8 pm, and we’re expecting the first results (only announcement of the night) around 8:15.
ADDED 10:24 PM: We invited Councilmember McDermott to share thoughts/observations after the State of the Union address:
I flew to Washington DC this afternoon to lobby our federal leaders over the next two days on behalf of King County. As I was in the air Congressman Jim McDermott’s office confirmed that I could attend the State of the Union as his guest.
As political theater it is an inspiring event to witness the President comply with Article II Section 3 of the United States Constitution, but it was personal specifics that spoke to me in the House Chamber tonight.
When President Obama announced the Fix it First program to repair 70,000 structurally deficient bridges across the country, I stood and applauded. Not many in the Gallery jump up — even if members of one or both parties on the floor do. Few others in the Gallery stood for this. But not everyone in the Gallery has had a major bridge in their district close due to safety concerns from age and deterioration. Thankfully the South Park Bridge will open in just about a year but the fact that it closed harming the South Park community and broader economy is a failure. I welcome cooperation with the federal government to prevent that happening to other communities.
The President addressed sequestration and how it will harm people and our economy. This underlines the message I will take to Capitol Hill tomorrow. For instance, I am concerned about the effects of an 8.2% cut to the Women Infants and Children Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (WIC SNAP) in the Farm Bill sequestration. Those cuts alone would affect 3,100 clients in King County.
Having worked on voting and election issues as a state legislator and now supporting the work of King County’s elections Director Sherril Huff, the call to action on voting rights struck a chord with me. That a guest who was in the First Lady’s box this evening waited six hours to vote — regardless of her age — demands to be addressed nationally and in every local community. Our vote by mail program doesn’t mean there aren’t other improvements possible locally.
In the most emotional moment of the evening, President Obama addressed gun safety in the wake of the Newtown shooting. The Chamber fell silent. The President demanded a vote. People rose and applauded the demand. Members chanted “Vote!” The King County Board of Health, which I chair, joined this call last month when we passed a resolution calling for state and federal action and committing to do what little state and federal laws allow local jurisdictions to adopt. Reasonable measures must be taken before even more are lost to gun violence — a public health crisis we can and must address.
Throughout the speech I reflected on how legislators and elected officials — Representatives and Senators in this case, but on any level — need to recommit to achieving the common good for our jurisdictions. In campaigns we can fight, but in governing we must put the fight aside, certainly there will be debate, and then act in the common good. I recommit to this imperative myself.
Within all of this policy and politics, the speech touched me most personally when in the beginning President Obama referred to ensuring equal opportunity for all. In doing so he spoke to who needs to be included and specifically called out that equal opportunity must be available to people regardless of who they love. To hear the President speak to inclusion of my lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community inspires me in how far we have come in equal opportunity. I am renewed in working for equal opportunity for all and encouraged by the state of our union.
If you haven’t mailed or dropped off your ballot for tomorrow’s vote on two Seattle Public Schools levies – time’s running out, since tomorrow night’s the deadline, and the first ballot count will be out in about 23 hours. #1 is the operations levy, which provides what SPS says is about a fourth of its budget. #2 is the fourth edition of the BEX – for Building Excellence – levy, and its proceeds are earmarked for projects including three big ones in West Seattle: Adding onto and reopening Fairmount Park Elementary in fall 2014, building a new elementary school to open on the site of shuttered Genesee Hill in fall 2015, and rebuilding Arbor Heights Elementary – currently scheduled for fall 2018, but as we first reported last month, with the district trying to get a bridge loan to move that up as much as two years. (This Crosscut story is the latest to take a look at Arbor Heights’ state of disrepair and lack of tech, particularly following the recent burglaries.)
There are also district-wide earthquake-safety projects, and technology items such as wireless Internet access. Get your ballot in the mail – remember to use a stamp – or drop it off at the ballot-dropoff van that’ll be at West Seattle Stadium (turn east off 35th SW just south of SW Avalon) 10 am-8 pm tomorrow.
(White House photo added, 5:40 pm)
FIRST REPORT, 12:34 PM: President Obama‘s nomination today of REI president/CEO Sally Jewell to be the next Secretary of the Interior has a double West Seattle link – she has a residence here (thanks to all the WSB’ers who e-mailed to point that out), and REI was founded here. Here are details on the nomination from our partners at The Seattle Times; if confirmed, Jewell – who also has worked in banking and the oil industry – would succeed Ken Salazar, who had announced he would leave Interior next month. Another prominent West Seattleite, King County Executive Dow Constantine, has issued a congratulatory statement:
President Obama has made a wise decision in looking to our deep pool of talent in the Pacific Northwest, and nominating Sally Jewell as our next Secretary of the Interior.
As the leader of an iconic outdoor recreation business, Sally has worked to preserve our natural lands as a board member for the Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust and the National Parks Conservation Association.
Her proven business success, and respect for the natural world, give her the background to successfully meet the many challenges of managing our public lands. My congratulations to Sally.
REI has issued a statement, too.
ADDED 9:12 PM: The White House’s video of today’s announcement is now available:
The first person who e-mailed us about the announcement suggested we should pursue an interview; we put in a request with REI, which told us it’s referring all requests to the White House.
‘Now is the time’: Constantine’s State of the County address includes call for gun-violence preventionFebruary 4, 2013 at 2:28 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle politics | 5 Comments
In his State of the County address today, King County Executive Dow Constantine included a call for “strategies” to prevent gun violence, pointing out that gun-related deaths outnumber motor-vehicle deaths in the county. Here’s the official news release:
King County Executive Dow Constantine today signed an executive order directing Public Health – Seattle & King County to develop innovative, data-driven local strategies for preventing gun violence in King County.
“Gun violence is a public safety crisis. It is also a public health crisis. Locally, we can approach gun violence as a preventable public health problem,” said Executive Constantine, as part of his 2013 State of the County address. “State and federal law pre-empt our ability to regulate firearms, but that should not stop us from thinking innovatively about what we can do within our own authority.”
At the State Capitol, legislators in both houses have introduced bills this week to abolish the death penalty, saying it’s too expensive. All three state legislators for the 34th District (which includes West Seattle) are sponsors of the bills – for House Bill 1504, State Reps. Eileen Cody (D-West Seattle) and Joe Fitzgibbon (D-Burien), and for Senate Bill 5372, State Sen. Sharon Nelson (D-Maury Island). The bills – subtitled “Reducing criminal-justice expenses by eliminating the death penalty in favor of life incarceration” – would limit sentencing for aggravated first-degree murder to life in prison with no chance of release. Our state has had 110 executions, most recently Cal Brown in 2010.
Interested in being District #1? Petition filed for electing City Council with 7 region-by-region repsJanuary 22, 2013 at 11:31 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle politics | 9 Comments
The campaign announced back in September to push for electing City Council members by district filed its charter-amendment petition with the city today, report our partners at The Seattle Times. Right now, for example, there’s one West Seattle resident on the City Council, Tom Rasmussen, but he, like his eight council colleagues, was elected to represent the entire city. The Seattle Districts Now proposal draws boundaries for 7 council districts (here’s the map; note that West Seattle would be District #1); read the full text here. So what would it take to pass this? All explained here.
(34th District Democrats’ leadership, photographed tonight by WSB’s Patrick Sand)
Tonight at The Hall at Fauntleroy, this area’s largest political organization, the 34th District Democrats, have elected a new leadership slate at their annual reorganization meeting. The candidates listed on this page of the 34th DDs’ site all ran and won unopposed:
Chair – Marcee Stone-Vekich
1st Vice Chair – Ted Barker
2nd Vice Chair – Tamsen Spengler
Treasurer – Karen Chilcutt
Secretary – Marlene Allbright
State Committeeman – Chris Porter
State Committeewoman – Lisa Plymate
King County Committeewoman – Maria Ramirez
King County Committeeman – Michael Arnold
KC Committeewoman Alternate – Layne Batista
KC Committeeman Alternate – Jimmy Haun
The 34th Legislative District encompasses not only West Seattle but also White Center and vicinity (including part of Burien) and Vashon/Maury Islands. Meantime – our crew is still at tonight’s meeting; we’ll add any other toplines when they’re back.
ADDED 10:21 PM: We’ve added the top photo of not only the leadership slate listed above, but also committee chairs. WSB co-publisher Patrick Sand also reports that the 34th DDs voted tonight to endorse the Seattle Public Schools funding measures on the February special-election ballot.
P.S. The group is co-hosting an Inauguration Day party, and you’re invited. Here’s the info – tickets are on sale online right now:
2013 Inaugural Party
West Seattle Democratic Women and the 34th District Democrats
Monday January 21, 5-9 PM
at the West Seattle Golf Course
The West Seattle Big Band
Tickets: $40 ($75 Couple) Cocktail Attire (must buy tickets online by 1/16/2013)
Buffet Dancing No-Host Bar
The West Seattle Democratic Women
and The 34th District Democrats
For more information go to www.34dems.org/2013
… and other answers to your legal-marijuana questions, provided by the WALCB in this FAQ document just made public. No, it’s not in the vein of the now-famous Seattle Police FAQ, but if you have questions – such as, until there are state-licensed marijuana stores, where do you legally buy some? – it will probably be helpful.
Just so you can’t say you weren’t warned … The other big thing happening at 12:01 am is the new marijuana law, which says a certain amount will be no longer against state law. The federal government, however, has sent the media the following statement to share:
The Department of Justice is reviewing the legalization initiatives recently passed in Colorado and Washington State. The Department’s responsibility to enforce the Controlled Substances Act remains unchanged. Neither States nor the Executive branch can nullify a statute passed by Congress. In enacting the Controlled Substances Act, Congress determined that marijuana is a Schedule I controlled substance. Regardless of any changes in state law, including the change that will go into effect on December 6th in Washington State, growing, selling or possessing any amount of marijuana remains illegal under federal law. Members of the public are also advised to remember that it remains against federal law to bring any amount of marijuana onto federal property, including all federal buildings, national parks and forests, military installations, and courthouses.
So now you know.
With final election results certified last week, analysts are digging deep into the official numbers. Our partners at The Seattle Times have drawn up maps showing how the vote went on three key ballot measures – marriage equality, marijuana, and charter schools. With permission, we’ve excerpted the West Seattle views – for marriage Referendum 74 (approved with a 7-point margin statewide), above, and marijuana Initiative 502 (approved with an 11-point margin statewide), below, dark green meant 60 percent or more voted to approve, light green meant 50 to 60 percent, and as you can see, both measures were very popular in West Seattle. (Click any image to get the full zoomable regional view as a PDF.)
For charter-schools Initiative 1240, below this paragraph, which passed by one percentage point statewide, West Seattle was mostly against it – dark red meant 60 percent or more voting no, pink is a 50-60 no vote, and the shades of green are the same “yes” percentages as the above two measures:
The Times also did a map for the governor’s race – click here to see it (PDF). And they have four separate updates analyzing the regional vote in these issues/races, on their Politics Northwest page. And if you want to check out the numbers in as-granular-as-it-gets form, the local precinct breakouts are available via the King County Elections website.
This morning, the City Council Transportation Committee gave its approval to something that’s been catching West Seattleites’ attention for a while now (though our part of the city apparently isn’t part of the initial plan). WSB Forums members have been talking about a lot near the east end of the West Seattle Bridge that is a holding zone for hundreds of Smart Cars awaiting the green light Car2Go, a car-sharing service that enables members to drive borrowed cars 1-way instead of roundtrip like Zipcar (the difference is explained in this city memo). The holding-lot video above was shot and published to YouTube a month ago by West Seattleite Jerry Whiting of JetCityOrange.com.
Today’s meeting was previewed in this story by reporter Lynn Thompson on SeattleTimes.com (WSB partner). It points out that West Seattle is one of the areas NOT in the initial service plan for Car2Go’s Seattle launch. Before the Transportation Committee’s 4-0 vote this morning, the fact some areas will be left out got “a lot of good discussion,” says Brian Hawksford, legislative assistant to West Seattle-residing Councilmember Tom Rasmussen, the committee’s chair. Hawksford says Car2Go expects to “be responsive to market demands from areas not in their initial boundaries.” Next step for the proposal: A vote by the full City Council on Monday afternoon.
(WSB photo from July 2012)
Breaking this evening – news that City Councilmember Tim Burgess is officially running for mayor. He filed paperwork today; the first big interview is on The Stranger‘s website. The news release just arrived in the WSB inbox. Burgess has visited West Seattle several times this year, including July’s joint Southwest District Council/Delridge Neighborhoods District Council meeting at the Southwest Teen Life Center, during which we took the photo above. He’s launched a campaign website here; you might recognize some West Seattleites’ names on the endorsements list, particularly in the right column. Burgess – midway through his second term on the council – is the second to declare, after Charlie Staadecker; McGinn has not made a formal announcement that he’s running, but hasn’t made any indication he isn’t. The primary is still nine months away, on August 6, 2013.
Just out of the WSB inbox, from Helen, who wonders if anyone else got a call like this:
I got a most peculiar message on my land line last night. The message was from a young woman claiming to be with the King County Republican party, and she was calling to report that my ballot could not be counted because of a discrepancy with my signature. I didn’t listen to the rest of the message, but I found it very odd, especially since this came the day AFTER the election. I checked to ensure my ballot was received and counted here:
My ballot was indeed received, verified and counted.
This morning I called the King County elections office and reported this. The number that my caller ID caught was 425-679-9085. According to the person I spoke with, the elections office is getting a pretty good number of complaints about this number.
The point of my message is this: If you got a call from these people, PLEASE report it, I don’t care what your political affiliation is. What they’re doing is a federal crime.
We have a message out to King County Elections to ask about this. We also called the number Helen mentioned – and it went to a voicemail greeting that self-identifies as the King County Republican Party, saying they are “currently reminding voters to return their ballot” as part of a “Get Out the Vote” effort, though a crossreference via Google does not list the number as anything official. We left a message. The official number for KC GOP is listed on its website as (425) 990-0404, and we’re also contacting them through official channels to ask about it. We’ll update this later as we find out more.
10:38 AM UPDATE: No replies yet to any of the aforementioned inquiries, but commenters say they received similar inquiries from someone claiming to be with the Democratic Party. As Helen notes above, you can check the county Ballot Tracker – but note that if you didn’t drop off or mail your ballot until the last minute, it may not have shown up yet.
(WSB photos by Nick Adams, from last night’s OutWest Bar election-night party)
After a long night of result-checking, even before the 2nd round of King County results is announced today, it’s clear that marriage equality will be the law of the land in our state: Referendum 74‘s passage is being celebrated. And King County Executive Dow Constantine just issued a statement saying the county’s ready to start issuing marriage licenses at the first possible moment:
“Marriage equality is now the law of the land in Washington State, thanks to voters who have made our state, Maryland, and Maine, the first in the nation to recognize this civil right at the ballot box. We can all be proud that our state is on the right side of history.
“This is a journey that started back in 1971, when Faygele Ben-Miriam and Paul Barwick were denied a marriage license by King County. Faygele did not live to see this day, but I think he would be proud of what we’ve accomplished.
“I want to thank all the legislative leaders for their tenacity in keeping the issue in front of the state Legislature. I have one of the pens Governor Gregoire used to sign the marriage equality bill into law, and I look forward to using that same pen to personally issue the first marriage license to a same-sex couple in King County on the first day the law goes into effect, December 6.
We expect large numbers of applicants for marriage licenses in those first few days, so our King County Recorder’s Office will be open for extended hours for the issuance of marriage licenses on Thursday and Friday, Dec. 6 and 7, and even on Saturday, Dec. 8.
At West Seattle’s OutWest Bar last night, WSB contributing photojournalist Nick Adams photographed a few of the people it will directly affect, like Michale Farrar and Nathan Adams, who have been together for three years and say they will marry next summer:
And Teri Gawne and Kristin Baron, who say they too plan to marry:
The champagne was already flowing last night, courtesy of OutWest owners and staff:
Washington was one of four states where voters were considering marriage-equality measures last night – and as of this afternoon, the pro-equality side won in all four: Maryland voters said yes to marriage equality, with Question 6 passing; so did Maine voters, approving Question 1; and Minnesota voters defeated an anti-equality measure. Meantime, we’ll add the newest Washington vote totals here when they come out later today/tonight.
4:27 PM UPDATE: King County Elections is not expecting the next round of numbers to be out until about 6:30 pm due to some equipment problems. Meantime, the R-74 victory is being celebrated at the Washington United for Marriage campaign headquarters – County Councilmember Joe McDermott sent this cameraphone photo of himself and fellow West Seattleite Anne Levinson during the celebration:
7:15 PM UPDATE: The margin after the latest ballot counts were added remains 52-48.
West Seattle Election Night 2012: President re-elected; Referendum 74 passing; Inslee leading for governor; more…November 6, 2012 at 8:19 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle politics | 32 Comments
(WEDNESDAY MORNING NOTE: The statewide updates stopped around midnight, so as the day begins, this reflects where things stand)
12:17 AM UPDATE: State results continue to be updated; King County results, done for the night. We’ll have breakouts later on a few key races/issues, but for now, we’re continuing to update them here:
Nationally, in case you missed it – President Obama has won re-election. (Photo above, by Kathy Oman for WSB, is from Feedback Lounge party, when the presidential race was called.) In King County, he has 68 percent of the vote (numbers here). (added) “We are an American family,” he says of the nation, in his speech @ 10:39 pm, adding, “I want to thank every American who participated in this election.” Earlier, he acknowledged his victory via Twitter:
Four more years. twitter.com/BarackObama/st…
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) November 7, 2012
In state and local ballot measures:
(At OutWest Bar: Photo by Nick Adams for WSB)
Referendum 74, marriage equality, ahead with 52 percent approval. (See numbers here)
Initiative 502, marijuana regulation, ahead with 56 percent approval. (See numbers here)
Initiative 1240, charter schools, ahead with 51 percent. (See numbers here)
Initiative 1185, Tim Eyman’s tax-and-fee-approval measure, leading with 65 percent. (See numbers here)
King County Sheriff, John Urquhart is leading with 57 percent. (See numbers here)
White Center annexation by Burien, trailing at 36 percent yes, 63 percent no. (See numbers here)
State races: Jay Inslee leading for governor with 51 percent – see all the state executive-level races here.
We’ll update this till the vote-counting stops for the night.
(Photo by Nick Adams for WSB)
So far, OutWest Bar has the earliest West Seattle Election Night party crowd we’ve found – as this area’s only LGBTQ bar, its partygoers will be keeping close watch on statewide marriage-equality Referendum 74 when those results start coming in after 8 pm. Meantime, WSB’s Katie Meyer is at the Feedback Lounge (WSB sponsor) party:
(This photo and next one by Jill Schmieder for WSB)
The Feedback is filling up, she reports, with cheers for some of the national/other-state results that came in a few minutes ago at 7 pm. The decor: Patriotic.
WEDNESDAY MORNING: It all went so fast – we’re working on galleries to publish this morning instead.
(Photo by WSB co-publisher Patrick Sand)
Unless we missed an unannounced visit, the only major candidate to visit the West Seattle-White Center-South Park area on Election Day was U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell, who stopped by the Machinists Union hall in SP this afternoon to lend her voice to a get-out-the-vote phone bank.
Until the 8 pm deadline, political volunteers are working to get out the vote. Michelle shares the photo of Elizabeth at Uptown Espresso, who she says was busy there, “coordinating volunteer door-to-door canvassers for Obama” around mid-afternoon. And Jena shares the next photo:
Those are students from her Tiny Tribe preschool, helping encourage voters earlier today in The Junction. Jena reports their message was: “Vote for our future!” Have an Election Day/Night photo to share? Send it when you can!
P.S. This just in from King County Elections – including an answer to a question some were asking earlier today, regarding ballot-signature challenges:
The first set of general election results are scheduled to be posted to the King County Elections website at about 8:15 p.m. Results will include tabulation of at least 520,000 ballots.
“This is a record-setting election for King County,” said Sherril Huff, Director of Elections. “Not only have we set a new record for number of voters registered this year, we will also have more ballots counted for tonight’s results report than in any previous election, including the 2008 presidential election when we still had polling places.”
There will be only one results report tonight. The Elections Department will update results again tomorrow by 4:30 p.m. and most subsequent weekdays until election certification on Nov. 27. Note that results may not be updated every day if there are not enough ballots to maintain voter privacy.
Voters have up until Nov. 26 to resolve any signature issues before the election is certified.
At 2 pm, a bit past midway through the last day of business for the King County Elections ballot-dropoff van in West Seattle – the part-time semi-replacement for the fixed ballot-dropoff box we used to have in Delridge – we stopped by for one more progress report. They estimated they had already received about 800 ballots by then – and we saw another half-dozen or so go by in the minute or two it took us to take the photo. One more time: You have to either get your ballot to a dropbox or dropoff van by 8 pm, or get it to the Post Office before they stop postmarking for the day (as in, before they close). That’s the only way to be sure it’ll count.
P.S. As usual, there will be one run of King County results, to be announced shortly after 8 pm. We’ll have local/state results when those come in.
(Photos and video by WSB’s Patrick Sand)
A presidential vote this morning at Roxhill Elementary! Above, students listen to Roxhill teacher Christopher Robert, who explained the plan in advance, via e-mail:
The 5th grade teaching team has collaborated for the past three weeks on a project in which students and some staff will finally cast their Presidential votes for either Lilly (Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse, Julius, the Baby of the World) or Sam (the Library Mouse books). The idea originated when librarian Pat (Bliquez) read Grace for President during Library time. Both classes were learning about the upcoming election during Social Studies time, and we began to think of a way to help make the idea of the Electoral College more concrete for the students. We decided to have an election at school on Election Day.
Instead of choosing between the real presidential candidates, they chose the book characters.
Made sense for a variety of reasons, Robert continued:
Of course, this tied in perfectly with our October unit on character during Readers’ Workshop. Books were read to students either during Library time, as read alouds, or as part of a minilesson during Workshop. Students brainstormed character traits that a President should have, and then they thought and wrote about which of these Presidential character traits were possessed by Lilly and Sam. At the same time, they were each randomly assigned one of the 50 states, and during Computer time, they did some research on their state (nickname, number of Electoral College votes, interesting fact).
We were there for the start of the election proceedings, which Robert explained in advance as follows:
We will gather in the cafeteria. Patriotic music will play as students enter. After a welcome, two students will share their essays, one in support of Lilly, one in support of Sam.
(Our video of the speeches)
We will then begin the alphabetical roll call of states in which students/staff will stand at the microphone with a placard of their state and cast their electoral votes for either Sam or Lilly. We will keep track of the votes as we go along (so a little mental addition will happen). Even if one of the candidates reaches the coveted 270 votes, we will continue the roll call till we get to Wyoming. Finally, a winner will be announced. From there, the 5th graders will retire to the library for a small celebration (patriotic cupcakes). Upon their return to the classroom, students/staff will color a map of their state either yellow (Lilly) or purple (Sam) based on how they voted, and we will place these states as a map on the wall between the intermediate restrooms.
Since we weren’t there for the entire “election,” we have a message out to see which character won.
5:10 PM UPDATE: Teacher Christopher Robert replied – saying Sam the “library mouse” was Roxhill’s choice for president.
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