FOLLOWUP: Final results of Amanda Kay Helmick’s City Council District 1 signature effort – 9 names short

May 20, 2015 at 10:53 am | In West Seattle news, West Seattle politics | 21 Comments

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.

VIDEO: Seattle City Council District 1′s nine candidates share a stage for the first time

May 18, 2015 at 9:49 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle politics | 11 Comments

(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:

Click to read the rest of VIDEO: Seattle City Council District 1′s nine candidates share a stage for the first time…

Election 2015: City Council District 1 candidates’ forum tonight; Helmick signature-challenge update

May 18, 2015 at 9:59 am | In West Seattle news, West Seattle politics | 9 Comments

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.

City Council District 1 race: Who’s in, and why the lone signature-gatherer might be out

May 15, 2015 at 9:39 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle politics | 18 Comments

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.

Election 2015: Who’s filed for what so far, with one day to go

May 14, 2015 at 7:03 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle politics | 2 Comments

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.)

Election 2015: As filing week continues, George Capestany leaves District 1 City Council race

May 14, 2015 at 10:08 am | In West Seattle news, West Seattle politics | 6 Comments

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.

West Seattle Chamber hears transportation-levy pitch, asks non-levy questions too

May 14, 2015 at 2:04 am | In Transportation, West Seattle news, West Seattle politics | 7 Comments

(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.

City Council campaigning: Filing week begins, with a new District 1 name; at-large forum set for Thursday

May 11, 2015 at 4:30 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle politics | 3 Comments

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.

Revised transportation levy: What’s in it for West Seattle? Sign up today for WS Chamber lunch on Wednesday

May 11, 2015 at 11:03 am | In West Seattle news, West Seattle politics | 4 Comments

(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.

UPDATE: Fauntleroy Boulevard project part of revised transportation levy

May 6, 2015 at 11:23 am | In Transportation, West Seattle news, West Seattle politics | 44 Comments

(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.)

Election 2015: Jody Rushmer joins District 1 City Council race, according to city’s online list

May 4, 2015 at 3:10 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle politics | 6 Comments

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.

District 1 City Council election: Another chance to see/hear the candidates

May 2, 2015 at 3:51 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle politics | 1 Comment

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

City Council District 1 race: Next candidates’ forum announced for May 27, first one to be held in South Park

April 30, 2015 at 10:32 am | In South Park, West Seattle news, West Seattle politics | Comments Off

checkbox.jpgThe next candidates’ forum for City Council District 1 will be the first one in South Park. Just announced on the SP community mailing list, a 7 pm forum on Wednesday, May 27th, at the South Park Neighborhood Center (8201 10th Ave. S.). Organizers promise an “exciting and interactive event” with unique features including Spanish-language interpretation, voter registration, on-site child care, pizza, and a visit from a fire engine. It’s being organized by a committee of South Park community volunteers. This will be a week and a half after the filing deadline, so the final slate of candidates for the August 4th primary will be set.

P.S. Anyone else have a forum coming up in West Seattle/South Park? This is the only one we’ve heard of, but if others are set/planned, we want to get them into the calendar ASAP! editor@westseattleblog.com – thanks.

P.P.S. 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

Election results: King County-wide emergency-radio levy passing

April 28, 2015 at 8:41 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle politics | 17 Comments

8:41 PM: The first and only election-night results are out, and the one measure that was on ballots in our area, King County Proposition 1 to raise money to replace emergency responders’ radio system, is passing in a big way – 65 percent for, 35 percent against. It only required a simple majority for passage. Here are the numbers.

9:24 PM: County Executive Dow Constantine has sent this statement thanking voters: “A reliable emergency radio network is the lifeline that keeps all of our communities safe, used thousands of times a day by police, firefighters and medics in every corner of our county. I want to thank the voters of King County for acknowledging the need to replace a dangerously outdated system and ensuring that our first responders have the tools they need to communicate during life-threatening emergencies.”

Meet City Councilmember John Okamoto, just appointed for remainder of Sally Clark’s term

April 27, 2015 at 4:49 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle politics | 3 Comments

(City of Seattle photo: Councilmember John Okamoto’s swearing-in today)
The newest member of the Seattle City Council is 61-year-old John Okamoto of Seward Park, chosen today by his new colleagues to fill the unexpired term left when Sally Clark resigned to take a job at the University of Washington. Okamoto is a former city employee, including a recent sting as interim Human Services Director. Here’s the official city announcement; here’s Okamoto’s application material. Okamoto has pledged not to run for election this fall, as the Council had requested of applicants, so he will serve until the election is certified in late November.

Election 2015: Another departure from District 1 City Council race, David Ishii; eight candidates remain

April 25, 2015 at 12:04 am | In West Seattle news, West Seattle politics | 1 Comment

Taking a late-night look at the official city webpage listing who’s campaigning and who’s not … we see another candidate has left the District 1 City Council race: David Ishii. No public statement that we’ve seen, so we don’t know why. Ishii, a West Seattle resident, filed last fall for an intended District 1 run, then moved to an at-large race, then moved over to District 1 (West Seattle/South Park) in March, but didn’t participate in either of the two candidate forums held since then.

Three weeks remain for anyone interested in filing to be on the August primary ballot – May 15th is the deadline. With the departures of Ishii on Friday and Tom Koch on Thursday, the current slate of candidates:

CURRENT D-1 CANDIDATES: Pavel Goberman (declared 3/5/2015), , Lisa Herbold (declared 2/11/15), Shannon Braddock (declared 2/11/15), Brianna Thomas (declared 2/11/15), Phillip Tavel (declared 2/4/15), George Capestany (declared 11/11/14), Amanda Kay Helmick (declared 10/20/14), Chas Redmond (declared 12/20/13). Filing deadline is May 15th; primary election is August 4th. Along with voting on the D-1 position, West Seattle/South Park also will vote on the two “at-large” spots, Positions 8 and 9.

Sent your ballot in yet? Emergency-radio levy election Tuesday

April 24, 2015 at 7:40 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle politics | 5 Comments

In case you forgot about your ballot after it arrived a few weeks ago, now’s the time to vote on its lone measure: The levy to raise money to replace the area’s aged emergency-radio system. It’s a nine-year levy starting with 7 cents for every thousand dollars of property valuation. You can mail your ballot by Tuesday night as long as you use a stamp; if you want to turn it in for free, ballot drop-off vans will be at West Seattle Stadium and White Center’s Greenbridge Library, 10 am-5 pm tomorrow and Monday, 10 am-8 pm on Tuesday.

Election 2015: Tom Koch leaves District 1 City Council race

April 23, 2015 at 4:49 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle politics | 11 Comments

And now, the District 1 City Council race is down to nine candidates, three weeks from the filing deadline – Tom Koch has just sent word he’s withdrawing:

My decision is based on a number of factors including some personal considerations.

However, I am pleased to be able to look back at the past two months and see some good things that have come from this undertaking. First, I was lucky enough to meet a number of terrific people both via community organizations as well as during my doorbelling. Second, the thrust of my campaign has been pretty clear and I’ve been gratified to see many of the other candidates echo the feeling that impact fees must be adopted in order to more fairly fund public infrastructure.

Impact fees were Koch’s big issue during the two months he’s been campaigning since his February 19th candidacy announcement. So here’s who remains:

CURRENT D-1 CANDIDATES: David Ishii (back as of 3/9/2015), Pavel Goberman (declared 3/5/2015), , Lisa Herbold (declared 2/11/15), Shannon Braddock (declared 2/11/15), Brianna Thomas (declared 2/11/15), Phillip Tavel (declared 2/4/15), George Capestany (declared 11/11/14), Amanda Kay Helmick (declared 10/20/14), Chas Redmond (declared 12/20/13). Filing deadline is May 15th; primary election is August 4th. Along with voting on the D-1 position, West Seattle/South Park also will vote on the two “at-large” spots, Positions 8 and 9.

Lunch with Mayor Murray @ Senior Center of West Seattle tomorrow

April 15, 2015 at 3:34 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle politics | 8 Comments

Mayor Murray‘s visiting The Junction tomorrow for the second time in three weeks. This time, he’ll be at the Senior Center of West Seattle, circulating during lunchtime in the upstairs Junction Diner café, noon-12:30 pm. You’re invited, but if you want to have lunch, the Senior Center asks that you call ASAP for a reservation — 206-932-4044, extension 1 – so they know how much food to make – 60 or older, suggested donation of $3; if you’re under 60, $6. The menu: Jambalaya, mustard greens, corn bread, fresh fruit.

P.S. Looking ahead to the following Thursday (April 23rd) – City Councilmembers Tom Rasmussen and (departing) Sally Clark will be at the Senior Center for a forum on senior housing issues including affordability, 12:30 pm-2:30 pm – details on this flyer.

West Seattleites among 44 applicants to fill rest of Sally Clark’s City Council term

April 14, 2015 at 8:34 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle politics | 15 Comments

The city has just gone public with the list of 44 people who have applied to fill the rest of Sally Clark’s City Council term. We’re seeing at least two familiar West Seattle names – Delridge District Council chair Mat McBride and 34th District Democrats board member Chris Porter. (We’re still reading the list – let us know if we’re missing other West Seattleites.)

Other applicants include Mark Solomon, known here as Crime Prevention Coordinator for the Southwest and South Precincts; also, three former city councilmembers – Jan Drago, Heidi Wills, and Peter Steinbrueck.

The council is to announce finalists next Monday (April 20th) and to make an appointment one week later. Stand by for details on how to tell them what you think of the applicants.

Told the city what you think about the transportation levy yet? If not …

April 9, 2015 at 9:27 pm | In Transportation, West Seattle news, West Seattle politics | 3 Comments

Another transportation note: SDOT is trying to make sure you can’t say you weren’t asked for your thoughts on the draft 9-year, $900 million Transportation Levy to Move Seattle before it’s shaped into a final November ballot measure by the mayor and council. It circulated a reminder tonight about ways you can have a say:

RIGHT NOW: Online survey – take it here

IN PERSON, IN WEST SEATTLE: SDOT director Scott Kubly will be at next Wednesday’s Delridge District Council meeting, 7 pm April 15th at Youngstown Cultural Arts Center; SDOT reps will be at the West Seattle Farmers’ Market on April 19 and 26, 10 am-2 pm at 44th/Alaska

ONLINE MEETING: Can’t get out to an in-person meeting? SDOT’s trying an online meeting at 6 pm April 20th (sign up right now, here)

VIDEO: City Council District 1 candidates’ forum @ 34th District Democrats, and more

April 9, 2015 at 1:09 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle politics | 10 Comments

(Photos/video by WSB co-publisher Patrick Sand)

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog co-publisher

“I think we’re very lucky … to have people like this running to represent us,” 34th District Democrats chair Marcee Stone-Vekich observed after her group’s City Council District 1 candidates’ forum last night.

As we reported right after the meeting, which had standing-room-only turnout at The Hall at Fauntleroy, the 34th DDs took an informal straw poll afterward (see the results here). Their formal endorsement meeting is set for May 20th – five days after filings close, but still two and a half months before the primary that will narrow the field to two.

This was the third major forum of the campaign season (after ours in February and the VIEWS forum in March). Six of the 10 current District 1 candidates were there – Brianna Thomas, Chas Redmond, Lisa Herbold, Phillip Tavel, Shannon Braddock, Tom Koch. The organization extended invitations to all 10. One of the four who did not participate, Amanda Kay Helmick, has said that she chose not to because the 34th DDs asked participants if they were Democrats, but she is running for the non-partisan position as an independent. The other three – David Ishii, George Capestany, Pavel Goberman – have not said why they weren’t there.

Here’s our video of the entire hourlong forum:

Ahead, our notes on most of the Q/A, plus other toplines from the meeting:

Click to read the rest of VIDEO: City Council District 1 candidates’ forum @ 34th District Democrats, and more…

Election 2015: 34th Democrats’ City Council District 1 forum followed by straw vote won by Shannon Braddock

April 8, 2015 at 9:10 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle politics | 9 Comments


The 34th District Democrats‘ meeting is wrapping up, with more than half the time devoted to a candidates’ forum in the City Council District 1 race. Six of the 10 current candidates participated. We recorded it all on video and will add it along with notes later. But first: It was followed by a secret-ballot straw poll, won by Shannon Braddock with 31 cards, followed by Lisa Herbold with 17, Chas Redmond with 10, Tom Koch with 9, Brianna Thomas with 8, Phillip Tavel with 3. That is just an unofficial temperature-taking, though – the 34th DDs’ official endorsement meeting is May 20th, after filing closes.

Election 2015: Leslie Harris is first to announce a challenge to West Seattle/South Park School Board director Marty McLaren

April 7, 2015 at 6:02 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle politics | 4 Comments

Though the local political discussion has been dominated by the City Council District 1 race for months, you’ll be voting in many other races this summer/fall – among them, Seattle Public Schools Board of Directors Position 6, representing West Seattle and South Park. Marty McLaren, the Puget Ridge resident first elected four years ago, confirms to WSB that she plans to run for re-election. And her first challenger has come forward today: Leslie Harris, a native West Seattleite and longtime local political activist, who announced via her personal Facebook page, from which we quote with her permission:

My reasons are that we can do so much better for our kids and families and communities.

We need to put more dollars in the classrooms. We need to address the cycles of high stakes testing. We need to address the current and looming capacity crisis. We need to address the decades of maintenance backlogs. We need more transparency and more follow-up to unanswered questions. We need to replicate what is working and move away from failures. We need accountability and leadership. I have attended board and committee meetings at the central office for over 10 years, worked on other Directors’ campaigns and do understand the commitment for what is essentially a volunteer position.

With 30 years active in the Democratic Party, as a District Chair and several years service on the State Democratic Central Committee, State President of my professional association and two terms on its national board, and 13 years of PTSA, several years on a school building leadership team, recent lengthy service on a local contemporary dance company board, over 20 years on community college advisory boards — I understand board policy making functions and fiduciary duty. I know how to read budgets and ask questions and drill down to the critical facts.

Harris, who is a veteran litigation paralegal, says her website will be live by week’s end at harrisforschoolboard.com.

Something missing in ‘Transportation Levy to Move Seattle,’ say West Seattle advocates: Stairways

April 5, 2015 at 11:59 am | In Safety, Transportation, West Seattle news, West Seattle politics | 4 Comments

After we reported Friday night on SDOT‘s plan to use goats to clear weeds/brush from the SW Holden stairway between 20th and Delridge, our area’s best-known stairway users/advocates pointed out two things: For one, this isn’t the only stairway that needs TLC, note Jake and Cathy Jaramillo, the West Seattleites who wrote “Seattle Stairway Walks.” For two, a stairway plan is missing in the draft Transportation Levy to Move Seattle. With a city survey about the levy open right now, they say it’s an opportunity to fix that:

An Open Letter To Our Stairway Friends:

The mayor’s proposed Transportation Levy has a lot of things going for it, but it completely misses one of Seattle’s most important everyday modes of transportation: our stairway network.

West Seattle is particularly blessed with numerous stairways that play an important role in the everyday life of our community. Some of them are sadly deteriorating, and all of them need ongoing TLC!

Seattle possesses a historic built legacy of more than 650 publicly accessible stairways. Many of them are more than one hundred years old, yet even today they still connect our citizens to transit, parks and everyday neighborhood businesses.

Stairways provide scenic byways in the city for exploration and outdoor exercise. They’re a “third place” for neighbors to meet casually. In short, our stairway network remains incredibly relevant to our city’s function and quality of life.

Back in 2011 the city’s budget for stairway maintenance was only about $1.1 million. This inadequate level of funding shows, despite the hard work done by SDOT rehab and replacement crews (see picture below).

Roughly forty percent of this amount will be lost when the current Bridging the Gap levy expires, leaving a yawning gap in the funds needed to keep up our stairway network.

We’re appealing for concerned residents to do two simple things, right away:

1) Please take a moment to give your feedback to Mayor Murray and the city, using the brief SDOT online survey, at moveseattlesurvey.com.

There’s a key juncture where the survey asks: “Are there other transportation investments you feel should be a top priority for funding through this levy?” Adding a quick note here, such as “To make walking easier and safer, the levy must add specific funding for our deteriorating public stairways” can go a long way to putting stairways on the city’s radar – provided enough of us speak up.

2) Please forward this message to your own networks, to get others to amplify your voice!

See you on the stairs,

Jake and Cathy Jaramillo
Seattle Stairway Walks: An Up-and-Down Guide to City Neighborhoods

While stairways were mentioned when Mayor Murray announced his overall transportation vision in early March, they did not get a specific shoutout when the draft levy to fund part of that plan was made public a few weeks later.

Sally Clark leaving City Council early after getting UW job

April 2, 2015 at 12:01 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle politics | 15 Comments

(CM Clark in West Seattle last month, speaking to Southwest District Council)
12:01 PM: City Councilmember Sally Clark already had announced she wouldn’t run for re-election – and now, she’s leaving early. She’s resigning in two weeks to take a new job with the University of Washington, described here by the UW. Council President Tim Burgess is expected to talk later today about the process of appointing someone to fill the remaining months of Clark’s term.

2:16 PM UPDATE: The timeline and details of that process have now been announced – from an open application period starting tomorrow, to an appointment on April 27th. Read about it here.

AS-IT-HAPPENED: Find out about proposed ‘Transportation Levy to Move Seattle’ @ WSHS

March 31, 2015 at 6:18 pm | In Transportation, West Seattle news, West Seattle politics | 4 Comments

6:18 PM: We’re in the commons at >West Seattle High School tonight, for the first official West Seattle meeting on the “Transportation Levy to Move Seattle,” proposed as a successor to the expiring Bridging The Gap levy. The presentation is scheduled to start around 6:30, so you have time to get here if you’re interested; until then, people are circulating around info-boards, writing sticky notes with ideas and comments, etc. You can even set up your idea of an ideal road:

More to come.

6:39 PM: After a 4-minute introductory video, Councilmember Tom Rasmussen stepped to the microphone.

He says the council will have “our own meetings and public hearings” after the mayor sends them his final proposed levy. Estimating about 40 people here. Rasmussen hands the microphone to SDOT director Scott Kubly, who says they want to hear what’s “missing” in the levy, “anything you’d like to see less of, anything you’d like to see more of.” He says city staffers are here to circulate to ask people if they have questions or comments, and he talks about the boards around the room.

Kubly mentions that the mayor announced the “Move Seattle” overview before the draft levy. He then describes this as a “renewal” though it’s $900 million over 9 years compared to BTG’s $365 million in the same period. The slide deck behind him notes that “safe, affordable, interconnected, vibrant” are the values around which this is organized. Toward the first value, he mentions the new “Vision Zero” plan, which among other things will cut speed limits on many streets, including some of West Seattle’s arterials (shoutout from Kubly to 35th and Roxbury – the plan for the latter will be unveiled at next Tuesday’s Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council meeting). Toward the second value, he mentions road maintenance – it’s cheaper to fix it than to rebuild it, so this plans to “maintain and modernize 250 lane miles” of arterials. For “interconnected,” he mentions better connections to light rail (none of which is in West Seattle yet), and “we’re going to make it a lot easier to walk and bike in the city.” And under “vibrant,” there’s a promise of improving “mobility for freight and delivery vehicles,” and investment in Neighborhood Street Fund projects.

Here he brings up the Lander Street Overpass, mentioning coal and oil trains on the rise, and the need to get buses up over those tracks in SODO, plus South Park drainage improvements in partnership with Seattle Public Utilities.

Now before sending people off to look at the boards and write down comments and notes, he says they’ll also be having coffees around the city. Here’s the timeline:

*End of May – Mayor submits proposal to Council
*’Possible City Council action’ from mid-July to mid-August
*Send measure to King County in August, for November ballot

6:55 PM: This has broken back up into an open house after word that a mural artist is standing by on the side of the room. If people have questions, Kubly says, they can talk to him one on one, or anybody else around the room. There was no call for general Q/A while attendees remained seated as an audience, but this is supposed to continue until 8 pm if you’re interested in stopping by with something to say and/or ask. We’re going to circulate and see what people are asking/saying.

9:22 PM: Photos added above and below. We spotted three City Council District 1 candidates at the meeting:

From left, Tom Koch, Amanda Kay Helmick, Chas Redmond. Taking a look at the sticky-notes and other written comments left on boards and the future mural, we noted the prevalence of requests for light rail, and even a wistful wish for a monorail:

Missed tonight? Bring comments and questions to tomorrow night’s Southwest District Council meeting (6:30 pm, Senior Center of West Seattle, Wednesday, April 1st). And remember the online survey.

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