West Seattle, Washington
6:38 PM: Our Election Night headquarters this year is Admiral Bird, which took reservations for its cozy space and is filling up.
Results have been on the big screen here for almost an hour and a half. “If anything is certain about tonight, it’s uncertainty,” said one of the CBS anchors just now. A moment later, CBS called Connecticut for Democrat Hillary Clinton, and a cheer erupted – first one of the night. We’ll have updates from here and from the West Seattle ballot dropbox, where WSB photojournalist Leda Costa is stationed as the 8 pm voting deadline approaches. (added) Jon sent this photo of daughter Sydney “helping me vote!”
6:50 PM: If you’re looking for somewhere to watch – we just checked a couple nearby spots; nobody at the West Seattle Library (2306 42nd SW), which has results on until 7:45, and not many at Parliament Tavern (4210 SW Admiral Way).
7:02 PM: “White-knuckles kind of night,” declares another CBS anchor, suggesting people are drinking. Yes, here at Admiral Bird, where wine and beer are offered as well as coffee, and it’s a pro-Clinton crowd, they are. Meantime, LOTS of voting. Leda sends this photo of an overflow bag, brought in after the dropbox has already had to be emptied twice today:
7:50 PM: A few minutes ago, the 15-minute warning was sounded at the dropbox:
As for the race, Trump has retained the electoral edge. The pro-Clinton crowd here has cheered when there was a reason to, such as the recent call of Colorado in her corner:
— West Seattle Blog (@westseattleblog) November 9, 2016
Minutes left to get your ballot in. And we’ll get local results – which we’ll publish separately – within half an hour or so.
8:02 PM: More cheers as projections came in with the West Coast poll closings.
8:22 PM: King County’s results release has been delayed. Meantime, here’s the countdown from the West Seattle dropbox at the top of the hour:
Here at Admiral Bird, the big screen remains on CBS and the current estimated electoral-vote count is 197 Clinton, 193 Trump, with some major states as-yet-uncalled.
8:29 PM: Local TV has put up some early numbers in the statewide races but with conversation continuing to buzz, few realize that those numbers include no King County results yet. Meantime, CBS has called Florida for Trump, who is back in the electoral lead, 222-197. “This night has gone much differently than anyone has predicted,” says an anchor. Meanwhile, a TV photographer has showed up here.
8:40 PM: “I don’t understand how it’s this close,” says one of the 25-plus people here. Meantime, the one person in the room who seems oblivious to what’s unfolding on screen is many years away from voting:
On screen now, Trump 227 electoral votes, Clinton 197.
9:02 PM: The King County votes are finally tallied in a readable way – so we’re tracking the local and statewide races/measures here.
9:16 PM: The presidential race hasn’t yet been called; Trump 244, Clinton 209, is the current count. The CBS anchors also have shown a number suggesting the financial markets are not happy about it. “Holy s–t!” is the exclamation here, in reaction to that. Some have gone home.
9:30 PM: Two rounds of cheering, but not related to the presidential race – they cheered reports that Pramila Jayapal has won the 7th Congressional District seat, and that Sound Transit 3, set to bring light rail to West Seattle in 2030, is winning. Meantime, the electoral tally is 244 Trump, 215 Clinton.
10:02 PM: The electoral #’s haven’t changed (if you’ve lost track, 270 is required to win). A local TV cut-in brought a brief glimpse of Governor Inslee, who’s winning re-election tonight, and that sparked a cheer among the remaining partygoers here at Admiral Bird.
10:21 PM: Another couple comes up to the bar at the Bird, where we’ve been sitting. Going home, they say. “Going to sleep?” they’re asked. “Probably not” is the reply.
10:40 PM: Someone just walked in, saying she didn’t want to be sad by herself. The CBS people on the TV keep pointing out how late it is, Eastern time, and wondering what’s holding things up – “absentee ballots?” asks one.
10:46 PM: Next to us at the Bird bar, a woman talks of a friend or relative whose 6-year-old half-Latino child is worried, saying that “Trump hates Mexicans, and I’m half Mexican.” The sadness is palpably mixed with fear.
11:40 PM: After six hours, the laptop died and we headed back to HQ, right after a Clinton campaign official told her supporters to go home, that she wouldn’t have anything to say tonight. Donald Trump, meantime, is expected to speak sometime soon. We’re watching NBC, which says Clinton has called Trump to concede.
4:04 PM: Starting our pm rounds … including the inbox:
Thanks to Barry J. White for the photos: “Here’s some shots of fifth graders from Gatewood Elementary who were encouraging turnout this afternoon. Pramila Jayapal walked over from her office nearby to meet the kids, a really wonderful scene.”
Jayapal, the state senator running for Congress, has had a field office for some months in the former West Seattle Kids Salon storefront about half a block from the school. More to come. Again, the voting reminders:
King County Elections dropboxes, until 8 pm. Local ones are here:
-High Point Library (SW Raymond just east of 35th)
-White Center Library (1409 SW 107th)
-South Park Library (8604 8th Ave. S.)
Post Office – get there early – your ballot needs to be postmarked by tonight
If you can’t find your ballot, you can print a replacement (the KCE helpers at the High Point dropbox told us they have extra envelopes)
5:23 PM: We’re at Admiral Bird, a cozy space that took reservations for tables and will be standing-room-only. Here in the early going, they’ve been decorating:
— West Seattle Blog (@westseattleblog) November 9, 2016
We’ll have coverage from here as the presidential results come in over the next few hours -the bigscreen is already on a national results broadcast. And at 8:15-ish pm, when King County’s one and only results release of the night comes out, we’ll have the local/regional/state numbers for key races – since this is a statewide/presidential year, not many mega-local races, but Sound Transit 3 is the marquee measure.
By the time we got to 35th/Avalon/Fauntleroy around 8:30 am to look for morning sign-wavers, this was the last person left, standing at the SB RapidRide stop:
But we have photos from earlier, thanks to readers who were up on the pedestrian overpass over the Fauntleroy entrance to the bridge. Chris Porter sent these two (that’s him at left in the first one, with fellow West Seattleite Liliana Eagan):
From left in this photo, West Seattleites Lisa Wolters, Sawyer Wolters. Pat Bowen:
(Thanks to Lisa Cipollone for also sending a photo of those three, and the IDs!)
And Cause Haun sent this photo:
(Anyone else out this morning? email@example.com – also, if you’re planning to be out sign-waving this afternoon, tell us where and when.) Quick voting reminders:
King County Elections dropboxes, until 8 pm. Local ones are here:
-High Point Library (SW Raymond just east of 35th)
-White Center Library (1409 SW 107th)
-South Park Library (8604 8th Ave. S.)
Post Office – get there early – your ballot needs to be postmarked by tonight
If you can’t find your ballot, you can print a replacement (the KCE helpers at the High Point dropbox told us they have extra envelopes)
And here’s our list of local viewing parties (can still add others if you’ve heard of any).
We promised a list by night’s end. Here’s what we have:
WEST SEATTLE (ADMIRAL) LIBRARY: Planning to watch early returns, from 5:30 pm-7:45 pm – library closes at 8. (2306 42nd SW)
SOUND & FOG: 5-9 pm. “An election party with sparkling wine to celebrate the end of this election cycle,” says proprietor Justin Krebs. (4735 40th SW)
ADMIRAL BIRD: 6-10 pm, asking for RSVPs via this Facebook event page. (California/Admiral)
PARLIAMENT TAVERN: Watching returns with Happy Hour starting at 4 pm “and extends until winners are declared.” 21+. $4 micropints, $4 well drinks, and a specialty cocktail menu including “The Bad Hombre, La Presidente No. 1, Peppermint Patty, The Light Rail, and the Peaceful Transfer of Power.” (4210 SW Admiral Way)
CIRCA: 5-10 pm party. “Special food & drink menu (regular menu too) and free celebration goodies when the results are announced.” (2605 California SW)
Any place else? firstname.lastname@example.org or 206-293-6302, text or voice – thank you!
Election Eve sights:
AT THE BALLOT DROPBOX: We went by West Seattle’s semi-new permanent ballot dropbox outside High Point Library and found a team of four helpers from King County Elections. They told us they’re there until 5 pm today and again 9:30 am-8 pm tomorrow to manage traffic among other things – to keep it from backing up onto 35th, in particular. You can even give them your ballot without getting out of your car, and they’ll pop it in the dropbox while you watch. If you need a pen, or an envelope, they have those supplies too. A steady stream of voters were coming by, in cars and on foot, while we were there around 1:30 pm. SW Raymond, just east of 35th SW. (No van at WS Stadium – the permanent box at HP Library replaces it.) Nearby boxes are also at the White Center Library (1409 SW 107th) and South Park Library (8604 8th Ave. S.) – full countywide list here. (Or, use a stamp and postal-mail your ballot – be sure it’ll be postmarked no later than tomorrow.) If it’s been a few days since you dropped off or mailed your ballot, use the online Ballot Tracker to be sure it’s been received and verified.
GET OUT THE VOTE: Victoria at VAIN (WSB sponsor) in The Junction sent us the photo:
She says VAIN has posters they would like to offer to anyone interested in displaying/holding them up to encourage people to vote. (They’re at 4513 California SW, open until 8 tonight.)
P.S. If you’re out campaigning/getting out the vote, we’d love a photo – email@example.com
P.P.S. Last call to let us know about any election-night results-viewing parties in the area … later tonight we’ll publish the list, though it’s still not very long – same address, firstname.lastname@example.org – thank you!
Maybe everyone’s planning to watch election results at home Tuesday night … we’ve been asked for a list of West Seattle viewing parties/events/gatherings, and so far, it’s a very short list. If your establishment/organization is having an event that’s open to the public, in West Seattle or White Center, please let us know – comment, or e-mail email@example.com, or text 206-293-6302 – thank you!
Last Tuesday, Chief Sealth International High School invited the news media to stop by as students participated in a statewide “mock election,” making their choices on five ballot measures as well as President, U.S. Senator, and Governor. We checked in with social-studies teacher Noah Zeichner to see how it turned out. He pointed out that the Secretary of State’s website published results from participating schools around the state. Sealth for some reason was counted in two groups – 767 votes as Chief Sealth, 17 as Sealth. Here’s how the larger group of students voted:
I-1433, state minimum wage
I-1491, “extreme risk protection orders”
I-735, constitutional rights for individuals, not corporations
Clinton/Kaine (D) 69%
Trump/Pence (R) 11%
Stein/Baraka (G) 8%
Johnson/Weld (L) 5%
Kennedy/Hart (SW) 2%
La Riva/Puryear (SL) 2%
Castle/Bradley (C) 2%
Murray (D) 81%
Vance (R) 19%
King County Charter Amendment #2, gender-neutral language
Seattle I-124, hotel workers’ health/safety/standards
Same winners for the small group, though the percentages varied a bit, especially in the presidential race, where some of the third-party candidates got no votes. You can see all the results by going here – the dropdown lists many schools statewide, though many show no results, or what appear to be less-than-schoolwide results.
West Seattle hasn’t seen much bigtime campaigning this election season, but that changed today, as three elected officials headlined a media briefing today at Youngstown Cultural Arts Center, making West Seattle-specific pitches for approval of Sound Transit 3. (Our video shows the entire 12-minute event.)
Mayor Ed Murray, City Councilmember Lisa Herbold, and State Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon all repeated the point that our region shouldn’t repeat the mistake it made 40+ years ago by rejecting measures that would have led to a major transit system. Herbold noted that while some in West Seattle are unhappy that ST3 won’t bring light rail to West Seattle until 2030 (here’s our coverage of the June vote finalizing the measure) – three years earlier than the first draft of the measure projected – it does include other improvements in the meantime, including more RapidRide bus service. Fitzgibbon said that while everyone wishes light rail could get here before 2030, if ST3 is defeated, any future replacement proposal won’t get it here any sooner. Supporters also have been warning that a downsized measure might not include West Seattle at all. We asked the campaign manager Abigail Doerr afterward why they’re saying that; she says the West Seattle line is projected to have less ridership than Ballard, so if one had to go, it would likely be us (the final say, of course, would be up to the Sound Transit board).
The only other person to speak at the news conference was David Bestock (above), who manages Youngstown, saying he’s excited about making West Seattle more accessible via light rail, and about its affordable-housing component. And Mayor Murray – after mentioning his West Seattle roots – said that light rail has been a “lifechanging experience” for his current neighborhood, Capitol Hill.
You can read the full text of the measure, plus pro/con/explanatory statements, on this page of the King County Elections website – assuming you haven’t voted already. Doerr told us many have, citing new stats showing at least a third of Seattle voters already have turned in their ballots.
Here’s a ray of hope in the midst of what has been a disheartening election season, with six days to go until the vote-counting begins: Future voters learning that they have more choices that it seems, despite hearing so much this time around about only two parties and two candidates.
That’s what students at Chief Sealth International High School were learning as they voted in a mock election on Tuesday, according to senior Lilian Soto, assisting social-studies teacher Noah Zeichner with the project:
Results are expected on Friday afternoon.
P.S. Also related to the election, Zeichner told us, a group of 12th-grade students are working on a “virtual-reality documentary” finding out how their schoolmates feel about the presidential contest.
Two major events at City Hall last night. While we were covering a Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda “focus group” meeting talking about proposed rezoning (story to come), the City Council was listening to public comment about the budget. Among those commenting: A South Seattle College (WSB sponsor) contingent there to ask the city to contribute to expansion of the 13th Year Promise scholarship program. SSC communications director Ty Swenson shares the photo and report:
It was democracy in action at a Seattle City Council public hearing at City Hall as South Seattle College students, faculty, and leadership spoke to the council about the impact of our college’s 13th Year Promise Scholarship, and encouraged passage of a proposal to expand the program to three more high schools.
Seattle City Councilmember Bruce Harrell has submitted a budget proposal that would expand the 13th Year Promise Scholarship to additional high schools over 2017 and 2018 with city support.
Currently offered to all Rainier Beach, Chief Sealth International, and Cleveland high school graduating seniors, the 13th Year Promise Scholarship provides one year of tuition-free college at South along with support services. It has increased access to higher education for area youth, particularly those from underrepresented groups including first-generation college students, low-income students, and students of color. The program began in 2008, and to this point has been funded by donations to the college’s foundation.
Speaking on behalf of the proposal to city council were South Seattle College President Gary Oertli, South Foundation Chair (and West Seattle resident) Catherine Arnold, Mathematics Instructor Heidi Lyman, and students Ken Bert and Blanca Olivera, both attending college through the 13th Year Promise Scholarship.
The potential expansion schools include West Seattle High School. The program expanded to Chief Sealth in 2011; CSIHS was the second school, and Rainier Beach was added in 2014.
Two weeks until Election Day arrives, and the vote-counting begins. With King County Elections having sent out ballots last Wednesday, you should have yours by now, and KCE wants to hear from you if you don’t – 206-296-VOTE.
If you do, and you’re ready to vote, a few reminders:
*The new dropbox on SW Raymond outside High Point Library (photo above) is open for business, 24/7. A reader asked us how often it’s emptied; we checked today with KCE, and spokesperson Kendall Hodson replied, “Ballot drop boxes are picked up at least daily. For some higher-volume locations, we’ll actually pick up even more frequently than that.”
*One thing Hodson wanted to add: “Let people know that if they are mailing their ballot they only need a single stamp (there’s been a lot of confusion around this).”
If you’re using postal mail, make sure your ballot is postmarked by Election Day (November 8th). If you are using a dropbox – here’s the full list of locations – you need to get yours there by 8 pm November 8th. Don’t start marking it at 7:55 that night … you have more than three dozen races/issues to decide!
P.S. Voted already? Use the online Ballot Tracker to ensure yours is received.
P.P.S. Not registered? You still have until next Monday (October 31st) to register – but you have to do it in person.
BY THE WAY: That’s an image of suffragist/abolitionist Elizabeth Cady Stanton taped by someone to the front of the box.
… the marquee at The Admiral is already reminding you that the waiting is almost over: King County Elections says it has sent ballots on their way today, so as soon as you get yours, you can vote. You can mail your ballot OR drop it in West Seattle’s new permanent ballot drop box at High Point Library (SW Raymond just east of 35th SW) – deadline is Tuesday night, November 8th. If you don’t see your ballot by next Monday (October 24th), KC Elections says, call them at 206-296-VOTE. In the meantime, you can see exactly what and who is on your ballot by setting up the customized voter guide via the KC Elections website.
P.S. The county has accessible voting centers to help voters with disabilities. Locations and dates are here – the one in Renton opened today.
(Added Wednesday morning: Live feed from Seattle City Council budget meeting)
Two more City Council notes:
TOMORROW’S BUDGET REVIEWS: The City Council reconvenes as the Budget Committee at 9:30 Wednesday morning. We tracked today’s 9:30 am and 2 pm review sessions here; four more departments are up tomorrow during sessions at those same times. Each department name below is linked to the newest briefing memo we found in the system :
The documents include changes proposed by councilmembers. One West Seattle-specific proposal from our area’s Councilmember Lisa Herbold is in the SDOT budget memo:
Add $100,000 for West Seattle Bridge studies – Councilmember Herbold
This proposal would provide one-time funding for two traffic management studies including:
(1) evaluate the feasibility of traffic management modifications to improve the eastbound Spokane St Viaduct connection to I-5; and (2) evaluate the City’s ability to share data with the Federal Railroad Administration to better manage and enforce rules regulating the blockage of public grade crossings by trains.
And from the Parks memo:
Community Planning Process for Myers Way Properties, Statement of Legislative Intent (SLI) – Councilmember Herbold
This proposal would request the executive to conduct a community planning process to determine the future uses of the Myers Way Properties. Such uses/purposes would include: green space that can serve to clean the air and water near an environmentally degraded area; protection of wetlands and Hamm Creek Watershed; hill stabilization; natural park space in an under-served area; preschool; expansion of the Joint Training Facility for firefighters to include training for police. In July, the Mayor announced the Myers Way Properties would be retained in City ownership, and that the northernmost portion be used for expansion of the Joint Training Facility. The remainder of the property would be retained and designated for open space and/or recreation purposes, consistent with community input. The Mayor indicated that DPR will conduct further public outreach to determine how best to use the properties.
She and other councilmembers have many other proposed changes you can see in each of the linked memos (usually toward the end), but we’re highlighting those as WS-specific. The budget-review process continues until a final version is passed in November.
COUNCILMEMBER’S ‘OFFICE HOURS’: Herbold announced today that she’ll be at the Senior Center of West Seattle this Friday (October 21st) for “in-district office hours,” noon-7 pm. Walk-ins welcome, but she says you are also welcome to make an appointment via her scheduler Alex Clardy (firstname.lastname@example.org).
(9:43 pm update: What’s above is Seattle Channel video of today’s first Budget Committee session)
9:02 AM: City Councilmembers’ proposed changes to the mayor’s budget start going public today, with the Budget Committee‘s 9:30 am meeting kicking off the “deliberations” phase of the process. Some proposals are summarized in the documents that are published online as part of the agenda. Here are the six departments scheduled to appear before councilmembers today, in agenda order:
Office of Economic Development (OED)
Department of Education and Early Learning (DEEL)
Office of Labor Standards (OLS)
Seattle Police Department (SPD)
Seattle Public Utilities (SPU)
Department of Neighborhoods (DON) and Neighborhood Matching Fund (NMF)
Each department name above links to the document that’s in today’s agenda; those documents review key budget points, and – generally toward the end in the ones we’ve read – councilmembers’ proposed changes.
Of particular note here, since we are a neighborhood-news publication – the Department of Neighborhoods document mentions proposals from our area’s Councilmember Lisa Herbold that include a few that would somewhat soften the mayor’s proposal to cut all city ties to and support for neighborhood district councils. She is suggesting that the city budget retain the ~$7,000 in support for the 13 district councils; each generally uses its ~$500 share of that to rent meeting space for the year. Herbold also is suggesting keeping an advisory role for the district councils in the review processes for community grants, before they go to the mayor’s new proposed citywide Community Involvement Commission.
In the Department of Education and Early Learning document, Herbold has this proposal, which appears to be inspired by what happened to some West Seattle programs this year, saved by the deal to house them at the currently otherwise-unused Schmitz Park Elementary:
$2 million for both 2017 and 2018 to create a Child Care Space Mitigation fund to address the displacement of before- and after-school child care from Seattle Public Schools’ buildings. In February, the District notified providers at seven schools that they would be displaced for the 2016-2017 school year and, given the trend of increasing enrollment and state reductions in class size, it is expected that additional displacements will occur in future years. The funding would be prioritized for use by the District to make arrangements to keep child care on-site at schools where providers would otherwise be displaced.
LOTS of other proposals are on the table, and the budget process has another month to go, but this is the point where the most changes stand to be made, so it’s good to pay attention – we’re still reading the docs, too. You can watch today’s discussions live on Seattle Channel (online or Cable 21), starting at 9:30 am – we’ll add the video window to this story when it’s live.
P.S. Councilmembers’ contact info is here.
9:38 AM: The morning session has begun, and we’ve added the live-feed window above; budget chair Councilmember Tim Burgess indicates they’ll be going through the first three departments on the list this morning.
11:43 AM: The meeting is in recess until 2 pm, at which time the same “live” video window above should be operable again. The final 3 departments listed above will be in the afternoon discussion.
2:17 PM: The meeting has resumed. SPD is up now, SPU to follow, and then the Department of Neighborhoods.
5:26 PM: Meeting’s over. The council reconvenes as the Budget Committee at 9:30 am Wednesday.
9:43 PM: Seattle Channel’s archived video of today’s first session is available and we’ve substituted it atop this story. We’ll add session two when it appears online, likely tomorrow.
(UPDATED 6:40 PM – Video in box below is now the archived recording of today’s meeting)
9:31 AM: Click the “play” button and you’ll see the Seattle Channel‘s live feed from City Council chambers, where the encampment proposals that have drawn so much attention and discussion this past week are about to be discussed by the Human Services and Public Health Committee.
9:38 AM: Committee chair Councilmember Sally Bagshaw is setting the stage for the discussion, recapping some of what the mayor announced last night (WSB coverage here) and the alternatives she and Councilmember Mike O’Brien proposed earlier in the week (WSB coverage here). You can find all the related documents, including the alternative proposals, in this portion of the agenda for today’s meeting.
“This has been an extraordinarily stressful time for all of us,” Bagshaw then declared. She says the proposal brought in about 5,000 e-mails to council offices. Most were focused on opposition to camping in parks and on sidewalks, and Bagshaw reiterated that the mayor declared last night that he wanted those areas to remain officially off-limits. She also has reiterated that the committee is NOT voting today, but will be discussing the “principles” of what they’re trying to do.
First guest speaker at the meeting is the newly hired city Director of Homelessness George Scarola. (Also note, councilmembers present at the hearing include those who are not members of the committee, including our area’s Councilmember Lisa Herbold.) Scarola recapped what the mayor said last night (again, covered here, with full details promised next week). He’s followed by the mayor’s counsel, Ian Warner, who has reiterated, once more, that the mayor will not support camping in parks, on sidewalks, or on school properties (which aren’t city-owned anyway).
9:53 AM: Now speaking, the mayor’s public-safety director Scott Lindsay. He says that the mayor’s promise of expanding outreach personnel means the city will have the capacity to reach out to every unsheltered person “to bring them indoors,” while the city works “to have a place for them to go.” He says the mayor’s budget proposal includes $2 million for additional trash (and needles) cleanup related to unsheltered living.
Talk turns to those cleanup plans. Herbold asks about the scope and concern about the expansion of what had been a pilot program at four sites. Bagshaw points out that for many of the people from whom the council have heard, the trash is the problem much more than the tents.
10:20 AM: Pressed by Councilmember O’Brien, a mayoral rep says there is “no capability or plan to sweep people off all park property” though the mayor does not support a plan that would not “preserve that capability.”
10:36 AM: Scarola warns that communities might be “nervous” about some of the forthcoming solutions, including the four new authorized encampments, but “we have to work together.”
10:40 AM: Committee vice chair Councilmember Bruce Harrell suggests they get on to details of the various proposals. Councilmember Tim Burgess speaks first, saying of unsheltered people, “They are our neighbors and we want to help them.” He draws applause by reiterating, “I just want to say we should not proactively authorize camping in our parks and on our sidewalks … that violates public trust.” He says he supports what the mayor announced last night, including four new authorized encampments similar to the ones currently open in Ballard, Interbay, and Othello. Burgess also says, “There’s a lot of … trash (in locations) where campers are no longer there” and urges that mayor use “emergency powers” to get that cleaned up. Then he says it’s “not helpful” to use this controversy to “denigrate those who are homeless” in Seattle. A few minutes later, Councilmember Kshama Sawant notes that “homelessness is an absolutely brutalizing experience … nobody chooses that.”
11:09 AM: Bagshaw says 90 people are signed up to speak in the public-comment period they’re trying to get to, and at 2 minutes each, “you do the math.” Harrell asks about O’Brien’s revised proposal for the city to pay a $50 fine if it doesn’t follow through on whatever rules it implements. The latter says he’ll work with Harrell on that offline – and audience members howl. Bagshaw says, “I oppose the idea of having penalties on this kind of legislation.”
11:17 AM: Public comment begins. Bagshaw says she’ll stay until everyone has spoken, even if other councilmembers have to leave.
11:49 AM: So far, a variety of viewpoints have been voiced.
12:10 PM: There’s been opposition, support, alternatives. One person suggested spending tens of millions more on housing. (For context on the investment required, the DESC Cottage Grove Commons building in Delridge, which houses 66 formerly homeless people, cost $14 million to build earlier this decade.)
12:31 PM: There have been emotional speeches from people on multiple sides of the issue, including, just now, a woman who asked “what do you want us to do? Just die? … You want me to be you. I was you. Then, something happened” – mental illness, drugs, job loss, and a variety of things. She was shortly after a man in football gear flanked by kids holding up signs saying “Needle-Free End Zones,” saying they had to chase loiterers off their field (not in WS) every week, and that they had found three needles on the field so far this season.
12:40 PM: Public comment continues – now at #49 of what was announced as a list of 90 who signed up. We’re moving on to other stories but the live feed will continue as long as the meeting does, and when the full recorded video is available later in the day, we’ll then substitute that.
1:03 PM: One more note if you’re not watching … councilmembers still at the hearing right now are Herbold, González (citywide rep and a West Seattleite), Burgess (citywide rep), Harrell, Bagshaw.
1:34 PM: The meeting has just wrapped up. We’ll switch to the archived video when it’s available. Latest info is that a vote wouldn’t be likely before December, because the council has to immerse itself in the budget from hereon out, but we’ll keep watch.
More new developments on the night before a City Council committee next discusses how to shape the city’s rules about where unsheltered people can camp:
That’s the archived video of a media briefing called by Mayor Murray late today. While the announcement said it would be “a press conference ahead of the severe storms expected to impact Seattle (and to) lay out steps the City is taking to protect people experiencing homelessness during the severe weather,” more time was spent on the encampment legislation and the mayor’s plan for a proposal of his own.
A key point he stressed is that he would not allow camping in parks or on sidewalks, period, and that any such campers “will be removed.” He also said that he has city staff looking for sites for four new authorized encampments somewhere in the city (no locations mentioned), “safe alternative locations for people living unsheltered.” He also said that he will address the “trash crisis” related to so many living without shelter or services, including a system for picking up needles, and 10 new “dropoff boxes” for them “around the city.” (Again, no locations mentioned.) And he repeated something he’s said often, that the state and federal governments need to “step up” to help with the homelessness emergency, which he says has been brewing for decades.
Also present at the briefing, in addition to various city department heads, were Councilmembers Tim Burgess, Sally Bagshaw, and Debora Juarez. Bagshaw, who chairs the Human Services and Public Health Committee that will meet at 9:30 am tomorrow to discuss the encampment rules, spoke briefly; she reiterated that her committee will not vote tomorrow, but will discuss the alternatives that are now public, including the divergent bills she and Councilmember Mike O’Brien are offering (covered in this WSB story last night). She also issued this statement.
WHAT COUNCILMEMBER HERBOLD IS SAYING: Our area’s City Councilmember Lisa Herbold has issued an updated statement on the encampment-rules issue. It’s published in its entirety on her blog-format City Council website; she says it’s the reply she sent to people who had contacted her about the issue.
-“There is still much more work to be done before this bill is ready for a vote.”
She says her three goals for the process are:
*Better manage public property and respond to the crisis of public homelessness with the objective of having fewer people living outside in our community
*Ensure that our current encampment removal practices are not barriers to people accessing housing and shelter resources.
*Address the legitimate and immediate public health and safety issues impacting both housed and unhoused residents in our communities
Elaborating extensively on all three points, she notes in reference to the first that: “There are 619 known encampments today, on city owned land, with only vague, ineffective written guidelines for how the city defines and prioritizes its work associated with cleaning areas, or removing people from specific locations.” And that’s why she says the council is trying to write rules/guidelines.
Toward the third point, Herbold says, “No one working on this legislation intends to create a ‘right to camp’ much less a ‘right to camp anywhere.’ The reality is that people are and will, for the near term, be living outdoors and that no one has a magic wand to change that reality overnight.”
Again, you can read her entire statement here.
(UPDATED THURSDAY AFTERNOON with council staff analysis of the differences between the two alternatives)
6:52 PM: Two city councilmembers’ alternative versions of the camping-in-public-places proposal are now part of the agenda for Friday morning’s committee meeting. One is by the Human Services and Public Health Committee’s chair Sally Bagshaw, and the other is by Mike O’Brien, who is sponsor of the original bill. We’re reading them right now but wanted to publish them so you can read them too. First, from Bagshaw:
In hers, the expanded definition of “unsuitable” areas starts at page 6, so if you’re just going to skim, that’s where to start.
And from O’Brien:
Toplines to come. Though the committee is NOT expected to vote on Friday, the 9:30 am meeting at City Hall is still on, and will include a public-comment period.
10:15 PM: After reading both, here’s a quick summary of the differences: Besides, as mentioned earlier, a more expansive definition of what’s an “unsuitable” location – including all areas of parks, not just the “improved” ones – her bill does not mention vehicles, as the draft we obtained last week did. O’Brien’s alternate bill does mention, as did the draft, coming up with rules about vehicle camping within a few months. Meantime, his mentions setting up an advisory committee to oversee implementation of whatever new rules are passed; Bagshaw’s does not. And finally, hers includes this:
Unsuitable Location Options – Within 30 days of the effective date of this ordinance, the City shall set up additional sanctioned, or managed encampments or spaces where people can safely camp. Such identified spaces and sites shall be numerous and large enough to accommodate the reasonably estimated unsheltered population in need of such outdoor living spaces.
Again, the 9:30 am Friday committee meeting at City Hall is now NOT set to include a vote, but this will be discussed, and there will be public comment. It’ll be live on Seattle Channel, online and cable 21.
ADDED 1:32 PM THURSDAY: If you haven’t thoroughly compared the two alternatives yet, this council-staff memo, just added to the agenda for tomorrow’s meeting, does exactly that.
11:28 AM: While much of the City Council-focused talk right now deals with the proposal regarding where unsheltered people can camp (WSB coverage here), that’s mostly outside the scope of the biggest task with which councilmembers are dealing right now: Reviewing, and potentially changing, the mayor’s proposed 2017-2018 budget.
Today, two of the departments we cover most often, Police and Transportation, are bringing their overviews before the council’s Budget Committee. As we publish this at 11:15 am, SPD is up (watch live here). Here’s the overview document SPD provided the council:
Besides adding 72 officers in the next two years, the overview document also points out that SPD proposing something that will make a difference in our area – a fulltime Crime Prevention Coordinator for each precinct; right now, Southwest CPC Mark Solomon also serves the South Precinct, and he is one of two doing double duty.
At 2:30 pm today, the review includes SDOT. Here’s their overview, including the proposal to expand the controversial bike-share program:
You should also be able to view the afternoon meeting live via seattlechannel.org.
After SDOT, it moves to the Office of Planning and Community Development, whose overview you can download here (PDF). Its focus is on planning, like the Seattle 2035 Comprehensive Plan, and possible community-planning projects, including, the document mentions, a possible project for “Westwood-Highland Park and the North Highline potential annexation area.” The document also asks a question that is related to the city’s apparent initiative to reduce use of the term “neighborhood,” asking, “Is the Council comfortable with a shift away from ‘neighborhood planning’ toward ‘community planning’?”
If there is anything you want to tell the council about adding to or taking out of the budget, let them know ASAP – according to the budget timeline that our area’s Councilmember Lisa Herbold shared, tomorrow (Tuesday) is the deadline for councilmembers to propose changes “for the first round of budget deliberations.” Her contact info, and that of the other eight councilmembers, can be found here.
12:20 PM UPDATE: The SPD review is over and it’s public-comment time.
2:57 PM UPDATE: The council just finished a short business meeting and will resume Budget Committee business with SDOT and OPCD shortly.
3:34 PM UPDATE: SDOT is up now.
11:55 AM: Once again on the eve of a presidential debate (6 pm our time on Sunday), we’re being asked about West Seattle venues planning to view it. So we’re again putting the question out to you, in case you’ve heard of one … so far we have Admiral Bird (California/Admiral), a debate-watching fixture, and Sound & Fog (4735 40th SW). Anywhere else? Comment, or e-mail us – email@example.com – so we can add. Thanks!
ADDED 5:22 PM: Parliament Tavern (4210 SW Admiral Way) is showing the debate, adding “Happy Hour extends throughout the proceedings featuring $4 micros and well drinks, as well as $2.50 Rainiers and PBRs.” Afterward, it’s the John Lennon Birthday Bash.
ADDED SUNDAY AFTERNOON: OutWest Bar at California/Brandon – 2 screens!
ORIGINAL 10 AM REPORT: This morning, the City Council’s Budget Committee is taking a closer look at what the mayor proposes the city spend on homelessness in the next two years.
But it’s just a briefing – no vote.
Meantime, the council is getting closer, outside the budget process, to voting on a controversial proposal that we are told is continuing to take shape, but “changing daily” according to one source – a new city policy regarding people camping on city-owned property, when and where it will and won’t be allowed, and for how long.
Some have described the evolving proposal as “opening” city-owned public property to camping. At one recent meeting, as reported here, Councilmember Lisa Herbold said 40 percent of city parks, for example, already have campers, so what they are trying to do is codify what to do about that beyond pushing campers from one place to another.
One councilmember, Tim Burgess (one of two current councilmembers elected to citywide “at large” spots), declared this week that he thinks the general concept goes “too far.” The proposal doesn’t just address parks as potential campsites. It includes sidewalks.
Here is what our source says is the newest version of the proposed legislation (if you look at the PDF, you’ll see how it’s been changing).
Its definition of public areas:
“Public space” means any area within the City limits which is owned, leased, maintained, controlled, or managed by the City, and does not include Public Development Authorities, privately owned land, public schools and colleges, the University of Washington, or the Port of Seattle.
And it includes this definition of public areas that would be “unsuitable” for camping:
“Unsuitable location” means a public space that has a specific public use that is substantially impeded as a result of an outdoor living space in that location. Improved areas of City parks, including restored natural areas or natural areas actively undergoing restoration, and public sidewalks in front of houses and dwelling units are per se unsuitable. Sidewalks in commercial areas are prohibited to sitting and lying during certain hours under SMC 15.48.040.
“Specific public use” is defined, in turn, as “lawful, appropriate use that benefits, assists, or is enjoyed by members of the public more than incidentally and occasionally.”
So, that all said, two maps are in circulation related to this. Note that since this is all evolving, they are not definitive “here’s where camping would be allowed” maps – and note that the park map shows parks that have what, under the definition above, could be considered “unimproved” areas; while Lincoln Park is entirely shaded in, for example, the “unsuitable” definition above would seem to rule out camping in much of its space. Here’s the citywide map of parks and greenbelts that have some “unimproved” areas (click it for a full-size PDF version):
If it’s determined that campers should be moved, the proposal includes a long list of rules regarding notification, proof of it, what has to be offered in terms of services/shelter – you can read the current proposal for rules starting on page 5 of the current draft legislation.
Also worth noting: This would be followed, under a proposed change in the legislation this week, by a followup process to determine where vehicle camping would be allowed:
Section 7. Individuals Using Vehicles as Residences. The 2016 one night count of unsheltered homeless identified over 900 people using vehicles as residences. The unsheltered population living in vehicles faces similar instability to those who reside in outdoor living spaces and risk impoundment of their vehicles and loss of personal property. The Human Services and Public Health Committee and the Gender Equity Safe Communities and New Americans Committee of the Council shall draft, consider, and introduce to the full Council legislation in 2017, based on the same principles contained in this ordinance, coupled with a long-term goal of providing adequate housing for those individuals living in vehicles. The legislation should address the multiple ordinances and laws that govern parking throughout the City with the goal of providing stability and protections for those people using vehicles for shelter commensurate to those established in this ordinance. To achieve that goal, the legislation will provide to people living in their vehicles protected areas for parking and modifications of parking standards, provide for outreach to address the reasons for homelessness, and establish standards for notice and safeguarding personal property, including impounded vehicles, equivalent to those established in this ordinance. The Committees named above shall be tasked with proposing legislation that meets these purposes to the Full Council by April 30, 2017.
Back to the proposals about camping, the current version of the proposal suggests a two-year limit:
In keeping with the recognition that public camping as a substitute for permanent housing is detrimental to the health and safety of all, and that these measures are an interim response to a situation the City is expected to resolve through other policy measures, this ordinance shall expire two years after its effective date unless expressly extended by the City Council. The Mayor shall report to the Council every six months in the interim on implementation of this ordinance.
Now the big question: When will this be voted on, whatever shape it finally takes?
We checked with City Council communications staff just before publishing this. The reply: “Too soon to tell.” While there’s nothing related to it on next week’s calendar, something could be added with just a few days’ notice.
SOMETHING TO SAY? City councilmembers’ contact info is here.
ADDED 11:38 AM: The Seattle Green Spaces Coalition has sent city officials this letter expressing opposition. An excerpt:
We oppose funding for temporary, outdoor “solutions,” which leave homeless people exposed to increasingly severe weather as winter approaches. Instead, we urge you to find indoor shelter, which is available in city-owned vacant and underutilized buildings, and make that your preferred option going forward.
Meantime, the City Council Twitter account has now confirmed a committee hearing on the proposal next Friday (October 14th) at 9:30 am. It’s also been added to the council calendar since we first published this story.
Got a strong sentiment about what you do, or don’t, want the city to do with your money? Tomorrow is a big night to step up and speak your mind, as the City Council‘s first budget hearing happens Wednesday night. It’s at City Hall downtown, but traditionally, people come from all over Seattle for a moment in the spotlight as they voice their thoughts about the budget.
One issue of particular interest to community advocates: The resolution that would formalize what Mayor Murray announced in July – his hopes of cutting off city support for neighborhood-district councils (of which West Seattle has two), moving much of it to a new citywide Community Involvement Commission. Below, you can read the resolution that spells out how that group would be formed, among other things – one member from each of the seven City Council districts, seven more members to be appointed by the mayor, and two to be chosen by the commission, with mayoral and council approval required:
This is one of many budget topics the council is likely to hear about Wednesday night. The entire 841-page proposed-budget document is here; what the council wants to hear most at this stage, as explained by our area’s Councilmember Lisa Herbold (read her budget-process explainer/timeline here), is what you would like them to change, or NOT change, in the mayor’s proposal. We featured a few other toplines the day it was made public.
HEARING INFO: The hearing starts at 5:30 Wednesday at City Hall downtown (600 4th Ave.). Child care will be available – scroll down this page to see where to go and when.
6:39 PM: Admiral Bird is among the West Seattle spots where people are gathered right now to watch the first Hillary Clinton vs. Donald Trump presidential debate. From TV to YouTube to Twitter, in the words of one anchor, this might just be the “biggest electronic event in history.” It’s scheduled to continue until 7:30 our time; if you missed this one and want to see rounds 2 and 3 – here’s the schedule – October 9th and 19th, with the one and only VP debate on October 4th.
7:41 PM: Debate’s over. Just in case you weren’t watching it, but were wondering.