day : 27/02/2008 12 results

Video wrap-up of Denny-Sealth vote: “It’s not over”

So said one Option 2 (shared campus) opponent, right after the school board vote. You’ll see that clip at the end of this post. First, let’s backtrack:

There, you see the opponents of the Denny-Sealth shared campus who stood silently throughout much of tonight’s Seattle School Board meeting (WSB liveblog archived here), until and during board members’ 5-2 vote in favor of the project — here’s the roll call:

Ahead: More clips including West Seattle’s board rep Steve Sundquist explaining his support for Option 2 and board member Harium Martin-Morris explaining why he opposed it, plus public comments before the vote (including one FOR the shared campus), and that “it’s not over” vow:Read More

Crime Watch reader report: Police chase burglar

Out of the WSB inbox, from Trissa:

Just wanted to let you know that someone tried to break into a house on the 4000 block of 23rd Ave SW tonight at 8:00 pm. There was a lot of police activity and they brought dogs to try and catch the person or persons. So a thank you to our police and hopefully they will catch the person(s)!

Side note, we were at the Southwest Precinct reviewing police reports, including last night’s pit-bull shooting incident, just before going to the school-board meeting, and will be writing that all up after the Denny-Sealth wrapup report.

ArtsWest announces lineup for next season

We’re monitoring other news while liveblogging the School Board meeting; ArtsWest (WSB sponsor) just sent the lineup for its next season:Read More

School-board vote on Denny-Sealth: Continuous meeting updates

9:50 PM: Back at WSB HQ now. Processing video for a separate wrap-up post on tonight’s School Board vote.

9:10 PM: Just back from wading into reaction interview central in the foyer outside the board room. Talked to Sealth staffers Delfino Munoz and John Wright, both of whom spoke against Option 2 tonight. Munoz quote: “It’s not over.” But what’s next – he says it’ll take some time to step back and reassess. (The board meeting continues, by the way; we will continue monitoring in case of anything WS-related.) P.S. The opponents were clearly disappointed as they cleared the chambers after the vote, but were classy about it – no loud boos or other disruptions – in case you were curious (and didn’t happen to be watching on TV). The board’s now discussing future transportation plans for students; high-school students are scheduled to stop getting “yellow bus” transportation as of next year, and are to be given Metro passes instead. WEST SEATTLE-SPECIFIC NOTE: District staff confirms this is the last year that Spectrum kids (one of the district’s gifted programs) from West Seattle who go to Washington Middle School will have the opportunity to ride regular school buses; that ends next year, though Metro passes would be made available for them too. (Meeting adjourned at 9:20 pm.)

9:05 PM – The vote is 5-2 for Option 2. The no votes are from Mary Bass and Harium Martin-Morris.

After the jump, the rest of our liveblogging of tonight’s meeting, in reverse chronological order, exactly as we filed it during the meeting:Read More

Crime Watch reader report: Kids shoot window

Steve lives in the 2400 block of 44th SW and just sent this (we’ll be looking for the official police report during our forthcoming trip to the Southwest Precinct):

Yesterday (Tuesday 2/26) we were disturbed to learn that our next-door neighbors’ house was shot at by a group of five young boys. There is a sizable bullet hole in their front picture window, and police who responded to the incident confirmed that the hole was made by something larger than a BB gun. According to our neighbor, she was returning home from walking their dog when she noticed the boys congregated on the landscaped parking strip in front of their house. The boys appeared to be of middle-school age. One of them was holding a gun pointed at the house. The gun holder tucked the weapon into the front of his pants took off running south down 44th Ave SW with the rest of the boys when she called out to them asking what they were doing. She began to pursue them but pulled up short when one of the boys called out to the others “She’s after us!” followed by something about using the gun.

When she returned to her house she noticed for the first time the large bullet hole in her front window and called the SPD. The bullet passed through the main living room where the family often spend time. Fortunately no one was home when the shooting occurred.

This happened around 9:30 am on Tuesday.

Real-estate updates, Beach Drive and beyond


That’s yet another new sign on the big lawn in front of the “Painted Lady,” SatterleeHouse2DON.jpgaka Satterlee House (inset right), in the 4800 block of Beach Drive, this time for Ewing and Clark, at least the third time it’s switched listing agents since we started watching it a year and a half ago. Current price, $2.2 million. As we reported earlier this month, the proposal to build three houses on that lawn is going before the city Hearing Examiner in a few weeks; the Landmarks Preservation Board has a say because the Satterlee House is an official landmark, and its ruling is what’s being appealed. One more Beach Drive real-estate note: The fourplex at 4131 Beach Drive is up for sale, $3,050,000, and the listing says it’s in the process of condo conversion. And regarding real-estate in general – it’s been reported that prices are falling more slowly in Seattle than the rest of the country; if you want to track West Seattle real estate, WS realtor (and WSB sponsor) Bill Barna is now offering a regularly e-mailed “market tracker” report. Click here to e-mail Bill for the Market Tracker; or you can see a sample version here. (He also has an automated “new listings e-mail” service that we find useful to monitor for local listings which might be worth noting here.)

“Viaduct Closed” lights surprise: It was a failure, after all

As reported here about this time yesterday, at least a few eastbound drivers heading out of West Seattle were startled to see those semi-new “Alaskan Way Viaduct Closed” viaductsign.jpglights flashing yesterday morning –considering The Viaduct was wide open at the time. We called the city Transportation Department and were told it was a test. Why no warning, then, some commenters sensibly asked. We had a followup question out and didn’t hear back till SDOT communications chief Rick Sheridan just called with new information: It was a system failure, after all. He says SDOT was confused when we first asked yesterday morning because some testing WAS actually happening elsewhere along the chain of warning lights — a crew was out in the north end along Aurora, where similar lights are set up for southbound drivers, testing individual lights; Sheridan says that was at the same time a “field communications device component” failed here in West Seattle, turning on the whole system. The faulty component has since been replaced. We asked why there was no advance public alert about the test that WAS going on; Sheridan says there wouldn’t be one for a “one light at a time, quickly off and on, with a crew standing there” test like the one on Aurora, but he promises there will be one for a systemwide test he says is planned in about three weeks. (Which would be right before the actual scheduled inspection closure of The Viaduct March 22-23.)

Midweek midday photo break

February 27, 2008 11:30 am
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 |   West Seattle parks | West Seattle weather | Wildlife

Especially for you if you work outside West Seattle and are in that “isn’t it Friday yet?” mode. First photo courtesy of Chas Redmond, taken by cameraphone looking at the Olympics from Anchor/Luna Park along Alki Ave (the clouds are clearing now); the other two, we took after spotting a heron in the trees at Camp Long late yesterday:




What really happened during the Starbucks shutdown

A reader suggests we ask how you survived those three hours of Starbuckslessness. That gives us an excuse to point you to a couple places with insight as to what went on: The Daily Weekly photographed a group of employees with a butcher-papered easel headed HOUSE RULES;, of course, has a massive comments thread; and the AP says there’s a new sign posted in SBUX stores.

Denny-Sealth vote tonight: New Sealth staff petition for Option 3

Tonight, the Seattle School Board is scheduled to make its decision on the Denny Middle School/Chief Sealth High School shared-campus proposal. (All WSB coverage is archived here.) What board members specifically are being asked to approve or reject is a resolution to move $10 million from elsewhere in the budget to support Option 2 (district rendering below), the option recommended by district administration — going ahead with building a new Denny on the Sealth campus, but adding money to the required renovations CSHS was already scheduled to get:


WSB will be there tonight with live online updates; as the day goes on, we’ll report any late pre-vote developments, starting with this: Sealth teacher John Wright forwarded a petition signed by staffers who support Option 3 (building a new Denny on its current site; renovating Sealth with the basic upgrades it is scheduled to get no matter what). Here’s the petition text; Wright says of the 93 CSHS staffers contacted yesterday, 83 signed it (they hadn’t yet reached 16 staffers):

We the undersigned staff at Chief Sealth High School strongly urge the School Board to vote for Option 3 to keep the campuses separate. We strongly urge all available funds be utilized to build the absolutely best possible Denny Middle School to support our entire community.

There have been multiple admissions of community and staff engagement flaws in this entire process, some accidental, some intentional. Ultimately, however, we request Option 3 be chosen as there has been no evidence towards academic benefit for any co-location campus model.

1. All or almost all of the existing 6-12 models in the country referred to by the school district are either private, charter or magnet schools with self-selecting application processes. The models of 6-12 schools which exist were pre-planned projects, not mergers of existing schools. Successful 6-12 models had staff heavily involved in every phase of the development of the school and, in many models, the schools were created gradually (ex. one grade level at a time).

2. There is no academic plan for a 6-12 co-location model. Vague affirmations from the district that it “could work” as well as the Facilities Department website’s Academic Benefits (actually just copied from the Denny principal’s letter) do not constitute an academic plan. An academic plan requires considerable deliberation and intensive wide-ranging input prior to construction according to best practices.

3. Any large-scale educational program change absolutely needs teacher support for it to be successful. Combining the campuses without an educational plan for shared programs, shared planning and collaboration time for teachers, will lead to a lack of support and poor implementation.

Ultimately the reason why Sealth staff cannot find a single research study to clearly refute the proposed 6-12 model for Sealth & Denny is because something like this appears to have never been tried before. Never before have two existing schools with a significant FRL rate and no self-selecting application process had a building built prior to the development of an educational plan with the expectation that it would somehow work out. There are no studies to support or refute this exact model because it is a massive experiment on our kids – it has not been tried elsewhere and we believe it has not been done because it is an inadequate model.

Wright says Sealth principal John Boyd (WSB interview from yesterday morning is here) was presented with this petition late yesterday afternoon, before it was sent to the School Board. He also notes “this is a staff petition because the district still maintains that all of the other ‘Sealth staff polls’ were unofficial. So to avoid charges of ballot stuffing or any other classic attempts to discredit the integrity of the staff’s position, the original petitions will be given to the Board along with the staff list so they can verify the accuracy by contacting anybody they want.” He says that will be done at tonight’s meeting.

U.S. Supreme Court to view West Seattle photographer’s work

fobesice.jpgHard to believe that the Exxon Valdez oil-spill case is not over yet, 19 years after the tanker catastrophe that soiled Alaska’s Prince William Sound and ravaged its wildlife. But today, U.S. Supreme Court justices hear oral arguments in one ongoing case — Exxon is arguing that it should not have to pay punitive damages to more than 30,000 people affected by the spill — and a West Seattle photojournalist’s work will be part of the plaintiffs’ exhibit. Natalie Fobes (shown left while on assignment in Siberia) was one of the first photojournalists on the scene; she got there the day after the spill. She says she “hitch-hiked her way around (Prince William) Sound on fishing boats and mail planes while many photographers and journalists were stuck in Valdez waiting for a plane or helicopter charter,” spending the next few months documenting the devastation as she lived with fishermen, Native Alaskan families, and cleanup workers. Fobes testified in person at some of the earlier trials. You can see some of her photos at Fobes’ website here. She says, “I got into photojournalism to make a difference. To have my photographs included in one of the largest environmental cases ever argued before the Supreme Court is amazing.”

Wildcats basketball: One loss, but one more chance

February 27, 2008 6:19 am
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 |   West Seattle news | West Seattle schools | WS & Sports

The West Seattle High boys lost yesterday’s basketball game to Rainier Beach, 68-45, according to a brief mention in this Times roundup, which notes they play Cleveland next in this double-elimination round, 6:30 pm Thursday, also at Bellevue Community College.