Southwest District Council tonight: Quick updates

conlin.jpgSat in on tonight’s monthly meeting of the Southwest District Council and brought back lots of quick updates on West Seattle goings-on plus heard new and interesting things from the group’s guest speaker, City Council President Richard Conlin (left), who also spoke to the Alki Community Council’s last meeting (WSB coverage here):

In bullet-point format:

BRIDGING THE GAP: Short presentation on what the city’s done as part of this voter-approved program last year — lots of numbers, this many miles of paving, this many miles of sidewalk — you can check out the official report here. Note that West Seattleite Ann Martin co-chairs the Bridging the Gap citizen oversight committee, and she noted that it’s meeting in West Seattle on April 15, 6:30 pm @ Youngstown Arts Center, public comment invited and encouraged.

WEST SEATTLE WALKING TRAILS MAP: If you missed our previous post on the draft version of this map and the request for your comments, check it out here; one of the key people making it happen, local activist/organizer Chas Redmond, said tonight that next Monday is the deadline for comments on this first draft version. (Our report explains how to have your say.)

SPRING CLEAN – HOW ABOUT CLEANING UP THE END OF THE BRIDGE FROM WALKING ON LOGS TO 35TH/FAUNTLEROY? This idea started to get serious traction toward the end of the meeting, as the group discussed the city’s upcoming Spring Clean campaign. If you’d be interested in joining an effort to clean up that section of the gateway to West Seattle, pipe up in comments here.

ZERO-WASTE CAMPAIGN FOR JUNCTION BUSINESSES: Dave Montoure of the West Seattle Junction Association (and West 5) mentioned that more than 30 businesses are kicking off this new strategy starting next month.

That dovetailed with one of the many topics touched on by Council President Conlin. Here are the highlights from what he told the Southwest District Council tonight:

ZERO-WASTE STRATEGY, CONTINUED: Conlin says details on this will come out soon and he thinks it will be “really exciting.” He also promised new proposals to keep “styrofoam and plastic bags” out of the waste stream.

DISASTER READINESS: Conlin mentioned a drill was under way today at the city’s new Emergency Operations Center, focusing on what might happen if — heaven forbid — a 7.0 quake struck. He said one of the scenarios included loss of the high bridge (someone sensibly said, OK, so what conclusions did you reach about how to get help to West Seattle if that happens? and Conlin replied somewhat sheepishly that the low bridge did NOT collapse in the scenario); he says one of the city’s big points to make in this arena is that it’s not just about how you get immediate help, it’s how communities will be able to help themselves — “building resilience in the community.” This, like many areas of emphasis he mentioned, has its own subtitle: the “Resilient City Strategy.”

SEATTLE’S URBAN FOREST: Funny this came up, considering we had been talking about this just hours earlier. Conlin says this will be a “major priority” — he says Seattle currently has 18 percent tree cover and should have 30%-40%, so he vows the city will take steps to “increase” tree cover, including “new regulations and incentives to protect trees on private property.” (We plan to contact him tomorrow for more details on what this might entail.)

MULTI-FAMILY ZONING REGULATIONS: This is something that’s had a lot of people up in arms, or at least deeply concerned, for months, and it’s not settled yet. (We reported on it here last October, with the help of JuNO president Erica Karlovits, who is on the Southwest District Council along with other neighborhood-group leaders.) Conlin acknowledged this one is a very sensitive issue — although he says he hasn’t “seen the legislation yet” — and says there’s no timetable yet for getting it before the council but that there’s a timetable to SET a timetable – and that will happen by the end of March.

NO MORE TOO-FAST ACTION: Conlin also said, along those lines, that he will no longer let resolutions be introduced and approved on the same day – they generally need more time for public scrutiny.

MEGAHOUSE LEGISLATION: He’s still working on this issue that he had talked about while visiting the Alki group earlier this year. It’s been “very frustrating,” though, he noted.

13 Replies to "Southwest District Council tonight: Quick updates"

  • Ken Davis March 6, 2008 (6:48 am)

    Is this the Southwest District Council mentioned above?
    Does anyone know how these people were chosen and where they come from?
    Is there any other info on the web concerning what decisions are being made by this group, if any?
    Given the make up listed at the bottom of the linked page, is it fair to assume this is another Seattle insular insiders club that actively shuns publicity?

    Or have I simply never heard of it because I don’t buy the west Seattle herald?

    The map indicates I am in the Delridge district as are most of us “poor” people on the wrong side of the tracks :)
    I guess I need to unsubscribe from this forum.

    I find it embarrassing that neither the SW district, nor Delridge district seems to have a web site. The number of webmasters per square mile is ridiculous in West Seattle.

  • EricaK March 6, 2008 (8:29 am)


    I am a member of the SW District Council, and I personally invite you to attend our meetings. They are open to the public. We meet on the 1st Wednesday of the Month at South Seattle Community College in the President’s Board Room from 7-9pm.

    We do not have a website for the council (great idea though), but I am sure Stan Lock from the Department of Neighborhoods would be willing to send you minutes from the SW meetings. We represent the various neighborhood organizatios, business associations and community groups. This is not an insiders group – it is a group of dedicated volunteers that are trying to make our neighborhoods even better. We would love new groups to form and apply to join – this was actually a topic we spoke about last night.

    We are thankful that the WS Blog and the Hearald attend meetings and share the information (the Herald is free online).

    I look forward to seeing you at the next meeting.

    Erica Karlovits
    JuNO President
    SW District Council member

  • WSB March 6, 2008 (8:35 am)

    Ken does have a point about the web presence – I was going to ask someone about that as soon as I got a chance – I wanted to link to a web site to explain more to people about the SWDC (because adding several lines to the post would have been too much of a sidetrack) and I couldn’t find one!!!

  • pause March 6, 2008 (1:12 pm)

    Many of the members of SW district council have been sitting in those same chairs for years and years and years. This is a valid and timely critique. It’s far far past time for the SW District Council to do some active outreach and marketing. Same goes for the parent group, I think it’s called the City Neighborhood Council.

  • WSB March 6, 2008 (1:24 pm)

    Pause, as you probably know, then, most of the members of the SWDC are representatives of neighborhood councils. In the past year-plus, I have covered almost every neighborhood council in the area, by going to meetings and/or talking (or exchanging e-mail) with their point people. Most if not all of them are DYING for new members and fresh infusions of ideas and energy. We have reported about this repeatedly on WSB. If you want to get involved (unless you are someone who was involved and became disillusioned for some reason), I would be shocked if your local neighborhood council didn’t welcome you with open arms. The committed, involved, hardworking people I’m seeing in these groups aren’t doing it to keep anyone else from jumping in to help – they’re doing it because SOMEBODY has to, and the load on their shoulders might be a little lighter if a few more somebodies would step forward. And I speak as someone who totally admits that she never got involved with community efforts before WSB, and now am trying to atone for lost time. But really – if you think it’s just the same ol’ people in the same ol’ chairs, Steve Sindiong of the Morgan Community Association was running last night’s meeting – I am sure he for one would be thrilled to hear from you (contact info should be at )

  • Pete March 6, 2008 (2:45 pm)

    As the chair of the Delridge Neighborhoods District Council (DNDC)and the vice-chair of the City Neighborhood Council (CNC) let me assure everyone that we are not a closed society. A little background here….the District Council and CNC system were established by a resolution of the Seattle City Council in 1987. We struggle constantly with trying to just get folks to come to most of our meetings. We hold forums in addition to our regular meetings. We also struggle with getting the word out about these meetings. You must remember that we have no budget to pay for anything. So anything that we do must be paid for somehow and most of us have doanted a lot of our own money to make some of these things happen. At times we are able to secure funds from one of the city sources but once again you have to have someone fill out the application and do all of the leg work to get this done.

    On the topic of web sites…The DNDC had a web site for a couple of years (which we had to figure out how to pay for) but we got so few hits that we decided that it was not worth the volunteer effort that was put into it.

    If you are not involved with your local neighborhood council and want to have a voice in what is happening in your neighborhood it is as simple as showing up for the next meeting and introducing yoruself as a neighbor. If you are not sure if your neighborhood has a council you can contact Stan Lock or Ron Angeles with the Department of Neighborhoods for the City of Seattle. So the upside to all of this is it is only a closed society of folks casue you haven’t found us yet….

    Pete Spalding
    Pigeon Point Neighbohood

  • WSB March 6, 2008 (9:52 pm)

    Which reminds me – immediately to the right of Pete’s comment is the WSB sidebar list of Neighborhood Groups. That’s all the ones in West Seattle that we know about (have said this before but we’ll say it again, if anyone knows of one we somehow missed, PLEASE let us know, we’d be embarrassed but also eager to add it)

  • Ken Davis March 7, 2008 (6:43 am)

    Well then.
    I am rebuilding a couple of ancient web servers and mail servers I just retrieved from my colo. I can set them up to host from my garage which should be enough bandwidth for neighborhood web sites.
    Let me check my current design and see what it would take to add a control panel so members of the councils can control the data and I will contact those who do not have a web presence.

    I have already added wordpress to my main server and I am going to get another server to rebuild today.

    I will also contact a top web designer today and see if they are willing to do some pro bono work in exchange for some excess esoteric hardware I have stacked in my garage.

  • chas redmond March 7, 2008 (12:40 pm)

    WSB, there is one more community group you could list which covers the community but isn’t a “neighborhood” organization in that strictest sense – that’s Sustainable West Seattle – at

  • Nancy38 March 27, 2008 (11:34 pm)

    The Fairmount Community Association FCA) represents the interests of residents living between 35th and Fauntleroy bounded by Alaska on the north and Findlay on the south end. We meet quarterly at Providence Mt. Saint Vincent’s. Our focus in the past year has been on neighborhood emergency preparedness and neighborhood safety issues. With the new developments happening in the next several years in the triangle area, we anticipate we will be focusing on how this development may affect our neighborhood. We invite any residents living within our boundaries (as well as any residents of the apartment complexes in the triangle area) who aren’t already involved with FCA to join us. We need new members! We will post info on upcoming meeting soon. We can be contacted at

  • WSB March 27, 2008 (11:48 pm)

    Is that separate from

  • Nancy38 March 28, 2008 (9:11 am)

    Fairmount Community Association is not connected with the Fairmount Springs organization.

  • WSB March 28, 2008 (9:20 am)

    If you have a website please send me the address so I can put it in the neighborhood groups sidebar on this page – I tried googling and couldn’t find a site (also please add us to your mailing list, we cover dozens of community group meetings and issues every month).


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