West Seattle, Washington
Another West Seattle superstar is about to make a “neighborhood” appearance. Barnes & Noble at Westwood Village promises a reading by mega-best-selling author Terry Brooks in a week and a half. We’re not much for fantasy novels but we do own one of Mr. Brooks’ books — his novelization of Star Wars Episode I (The Phantom Menace).
Steer clear of 35th & Morgan tomorrow, warns the city.
(And if you want to know more about the cool center that’s going up there, here’s info.)
The two most powerful West Seattleites in city government — the mayor and city attorney — have just won a round in their perplexing fight to keep citizens from taxing themselves to give more money to Seattle Public Schools.
I really don’t get it. Yeah, sure, I agree with Hizzoner’s contention that state legislators should allot more $ for education. But will they? Not in my lifetime, I’m afraid. So if they won’t do it, why can’t we? How come these guys want to hold our kids hostage? Let’s see if we can come up with some tortured analogy here. So there’s a starving kid on a streetcorner, and I want to give the poor kid some food. Oh no no, says Hizzoner, you can’t do that, it’s the parents’ responsibility to feed their kid. And while he saunters off to try to find said parents and make them feed the kid – the waif collapses from malnutrition. Listen, mal-education may be less visible than malnutrition, but it’s just as dangerous. And don’t give me the ol’ “Seattle Public Schools mismanages the $ it has now” song and dance … that’s no reason to say we’re going to starve the district and therefore our kids.
If you don’t have kids in local public schools, drop into one someday soon, and get a reality check. If you happen to see new desks or new books, chances are that came from a PTA fundraiser, not tax dollars. $ may not be the solution but it’s a hell of a start. What’s the real agenda behind the mayor’s push here? Does he want things to get worse so he can pull a stunt like LA’s mayor and ride in to try to “save” the district once it’s in flames?
Anyway, the I-87/88 folks say they won’t give up the fight. We gotta go figure out where to send them a check.
Wondering what’s going on with the former Remo Borracchini bakery space in The Junction? This recent permit application could be interpreted as a clue that its status as a bakery might not change.
Two Junction-bound stores that seem bound to be artsy/boutiquey, at the very least — Divina (north of Hotwire & its dentist neighbors) and Clementine (next to Pagliacci) — both have now taped hand-printed sheets of paper to their storefront glass, promising “OPEN IN SEPTEMBER.” I’m a little worried; if WS gets any trendier, you all are going to have to throw declasse ol’ me out.
A little more info on what’s up at the Morgan Junction Starbucks, which has applied for a “sidewalk cafe” permit … West Seattle Blogger Spouse says it’s posted as closing at 8 pm every night for the next few weeks (a couple hours earlier than usual for this time of year) for “remodeling.”
Trivia for newcomers: That Starbucks location used to be a drugstore. Overall, Morgan Junction was fairly lowkey for our first few years on this side of WS; then came the Great Thriftway Fire of 1997 (we were out of town on vacation; seeing the smoldering debris on our return was quite the shock). The wonderful rebuild turned the store to face California instead of Fauntleroy, and things in the neighborhood really started jumping.
HERE: As promised, Cactus on Alki just opened. Must have been a blitz of last-minute touches — the landscaping, the green neon sign, all up in the last week or so. We cruised by around sunset; looked like a lively crowd. We haven’t even been to Coyotes yet, so we might not make it to Cactus any time soon; please share reviews when you give it a try!
GONE: A little corner on Cali Ave at the bottom of Gatewood Hill is a lot less bright tonight. The found-items-turned-flowerpots, the stuffed-animal sentinels, the whimsical little signs, all gone from outside the funky old brick apartments (scroll down this page for photo) that are two buildings and one street south of Caffe Ladro. The corner unit is suddenly empty, bereft of the longtime tenant who clearly had a sense of humor, joie de vivre, and flair, at least so far as we passersby could tell. We walked past her/his displays dozens of times, almost always stopping to notice something new that had joined the eclectic collection of repurposed bric-a-brac arranged against walls and clumped on the parking strip. Wherever you went, whoever you were, hope your new neighbors and passersby are getting the same chance to harvest a smile from your sidewalk garden.
If you share my sadness at every fine old house that is swept away to clear space for condos, or twinge a little when a franchise moves into a business space once held by a local original … even while knowing deep inside, “the only thing constant is change” … check out the second half of this post on chasBlog. My hat’s off to him (and in this case, perhaps a Mariners trident logo hat would be appropriate).
Got out and about for the first time in a few days … First, a couple notes from the Junction: Though the space posted as the future “Divina Cantina” does not appear open yet, a new store in front of it called “Divina” appears to be almost set to go. Its doors are posted with an artsy flyer trumpeting simply “Divina/Objects Of Beauty.” Looks like said objects include clothes, dishes, and wall hangings, among other things we didn’t quite have time to catalog while peering through the window … Also, just noticed that the former “In-Out Espresso” south of Pagliacci has changed its name to “Red Cup Espresso.” Sorry if that’s old news — gotta wonder, though, did those California burger people come after them, or did they just get tired of saying “No relation”?
Now, from Beach Drive … the “For Sale” sign at the historic Satterlee House sprouted a “PRICE REDUCED” signlet sometime in the past week or so, so we checked the listing again … wow, down to $2.5 million, from the original $3,000,000. Gosh, maybe I should try the mortgage calculator again.
Last but not least, we returned home to find out in a roundabout way that one of our favorite non-amateur blogs has poked fun at us, sort of. Wow … when the venerable Dan Savage is aware of your existence, you know you’ve really arrived.
It’s been one of those weeks where offline life interfered with online life. Now, back to our regularly scheduled blogging …
-Just got a note from one of the owners of Cactus Restaurants — he confirms that the new Alki location is opening this Monday, and says they’ve deliberately held back on trumpeting a definite date, but now they’re ready to go:
It is very important to us that we do a great job with the first customer who walks in the door. Our goal is to make available the same quality food and service to the West Seattle community that we have been providing in Madison Park and Kirkland for over 15 years. At our core, we are a neighborhood restaurant and look forward to serving locals like yourself and those that read your blog. I suppose the truth is that after weeks of telling people I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t know when we are going to open, IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m excited and ready to spread the news.
-More food news: One of our most intrepid tipsters got to the latest liquor-application filings before we did, and discovered that Garlic Jim’s Pizza is apparently on its way to The Junction, in a near head-to-head with Pagliacci — the address on the app is for the former First Mutual Bank space on the east side of Cali Ave, near Quidnunc. (But will THEY deliver to my side of WS? Pagliacci still snubs us down here, grrrr …) Incidentally, this will be a return to WS, in a way, for the company’s prez, who according to this article from earlier this year was a founder of Jet City Pizza, which used to have an outlet in Morgan Junction.
-And speaking of tipsters, thanks again to everyone who’s been writing us with what they’re hearing and seeing around WS. It makes this little endeavor not only more informative, but also a lot more fun. (The e-mail link is on our “About WSB” page.)
-One more upcoming event to add to the by-no-means-all-inclusive listlet I featured below: an e-mail tipster suggests I mention the 34th District Dems’ annual Garden Party/Auction, tomorrow (Friday) night at West Seattle Nursery.
-Tomorrow’s P-I features columnist Susan Paynter investigating the Battle of the Gas Stations in the Admiral District. Brings back memories of the hue and cry when Barnecut’s finally swapped out its charming antique brick building for the current mega-station look. I agree with the person quoted in the Paynter column as suggesting Barnecut’s put up a visual reminder of its status as a longstanding family-run, “full-service” business — otherwise, if you haven’t been in WS a looooong time, you may not realize it’s something much more than “just another gas station.”
Two things on the radar so far:Ã‚Â
-Don’t forgetÃ‚Â the open house at High Point Community Center this Friday.
-The Arts in Nature Festival features events at two West Seattle venues this weekend.
Just read that the man who helped morph our state’s elections into California-style initiativefests is getting involved in the road tax vote this fall — even though he doesn’t live in Seattle. I personally am no fan of his. But I haven’t made up my mind about this tax yet and whether it seems like it will really help. If you haven’t looked too closely at it yet either, here’s a page that might help us both — although since it’s a city page, there’s no independent analysis.
According to the city’s latest semi-weekly Land Use Info Bulletin, there’s a permit request for a “sidewalk cafe” adjacent to Starbucks at Fauntleroy and California. Considering it’s got several outdoor tables now (and a few by the back door), wonder what that’s all about …
A tv news story says Bobby’s Hobbies at the north end of the Junction is running out of gas, so to speak. That would leave our area without a mini-car racetrack, as far as we know … if you’ve been in WS a while, you may remember the indoor “speedway” that used to be in the spot West 5 now inhabits so nicely. The times, they are a-changin’ … we think Them Young People are mostly home playing computer games these dayz. (Aside: The above-linked story, as of this writing, mentions people with the surname “Grieb.” Don’t they mean “Greive“?)
My gosh, we must have some lightning-fast construction crews on tap for Fauntleroy Place. This listing for a nearby condo says Whole Foods is opening this fall. And I haven’t even seen the groundbreaking announcement yet!
The latest in the what-will-replace-a-viaduct vying: The pro-tunnel drums grow louder (though this Times columnist manages to hear right through them). But there’s good news for us viaduct drivers: sixth line from the bottom in this story says it’s at least not in imminent danger of collapsing under its own weight! Whew!
But reading between the lines … it seems less likely by the second that if we do all vote this fall, we won’t even get the chance to voice our views on The Third Option. And that, according to an allegedly secret study we paid for, would be a mistake.
If you’ve ever wondered what it takes to go into the beer business, you’ll be fascinated by this ongoing tale told by West Seattleites getting ready to go public with their microbrew. (“Schooner Exact,” if it doesn’t ring a bell, is a WS-appropriate name, since that was the ship the Denny Party sailed to Alki.)
The Schmitz Park coyote flap seems to be raging on in the WS Herald letters to the editor. One letter today points readers to the Friends of Schmitz Park website, which we hadn’t been aware of before.
You may recall, this latest round was touched off when coyotes made off with a dog briefly left alone in a nearby yard. People whom we believe had a connection to the dog are leading a campaign to get rid of the coyotes and claiming that they will inevitably come after small humans in the area, once they are out of small animals.
First, we agree with them — no one should be leaving food out for the coyotes; feeding wild animals does them no favors. Two, we agree with one of this week’s Herald letter-writers; cats (and other pets) belong indoors, and not only if you live near a park or greenbelt. We’ve had cats all our life, they’ve always been indoor cats, and they’ve lived long, healthy, happy lives. If you still choose to let your cats roam outside, they face worse threats than coyotes (or other wildlife).
Three, get the facts about coyote-human attacks. Rare. As this site points out, hundreds of people are killed by so-called “domestic” dogs every year. Anybody calling to ban them? Didn’t think so. So here on our tiny corner of an online soapbox, we’re standing to say, it’s not easy or convenient or perfectly safe to live in an area where we are blessed with some of the last swaths of urban sort-of-semi-wilderness in America. But we can deal with it without exterminating/evicting everything that doesn’t happen to be a cute, tiny, theoretically harmless “wild” creature. The animals don’t have a choice of where to go or what to do. We do. To quote the state site we have linked above (which you can also find from the Friends of Schmitz Park site, which elsewhere displays one of the anti-coyote letters):
Coyote behavior is based on instinctual programming for survival that is centuries old. As intelligent beings, individual coyotes can learn new ways to obtain the food, water, and shelter they need to survive. But coyote needs aren’t going to change.
However, human “needs” to set garbage on the curb, leave dog food outside, or put the cat out at night, can and should be re-examined. If humans want to peacefully coexist with these fascinating wild animals, it’s up to humans to change.
If you are interested in more advice on how to do that, here’s excellent information from the Humane Society of the United States.
Another pet-related store is on its way to Cali Ave. The windows of the formerÃ‚Â “Adorn,” on the west side of the street just south of Admiral, now sport huge banners touting the impending arrival of a Mud Bay pet-food outlet. (Also on the Mud Bay site, a handy page with photo and map.) That makes four pet-related stores along Cali Ave — also including Next to Nature, Petco, and Pet Elements. (Though perhaps Petco is not long for this [WS] world?)
-The Cactus Restaurant webpage for under-construction Alki has mentioned only “August 2006” as its opening date. So now that August is half over, will that really happen? Just got e-mail from an Alki reader who said she called one of the other Cactus locations to ask and was told they’re “shooting for” August 28.
-Something’s in the works at the former Cat’s Eye Cafe just north of Lincoln Park. Construction permits are posted in its windows; the online info describes the work only as “rewire/remodel studio.”
Bad billboard placement:
Yet another one of those stupid double entendres on behalf of Las Vegas tourism, this one declaring “I JOINED A THREESOME.”
Location: Right over West Seattle Montessori School, right where families turning left into the drop-off alley can’t miss it. (“Mommy, what’s a …”) Nice.
The P-I takes on Alki’s summer of semi-discontent today. P.S., the “blogger who writes often about Alki” quoted at the very end is not me … took me a minute to figure out who it actually is.
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