Jail-sites fight: City forum today in North Seattle

July 12, 2008 6:52 pm
|    Comments Off on Jail-sites fight: City forum today in North Seattle
 |   Not WS but we're mentioning it anyway | West Seattle jail sites

The forum this morning at North Seattle Community College was intended to focus on the proposed Aurora site, though the city had said discussion of any of the 4 sites (including the two in West Seattle) would be welcome. nojaillogo.jpgWe’re expecting an update from Highland Park Action Committee reps in attendance, but in the meantime, the P-I has posted a story. 9:05 PM UPDATE: HPAC tells us members will be at Summer Fest in The Junction tomorrow gathering signatures, and they’ve sent a report from Ken Knoke, who attended today’s north-end forum:

Ken wrote:

“The Public Forum was the same format as ours, with the same facilitators. There was no open forum at the end, like our meeting. Once again, they painted the “good neighbor” picture and used the Kent Regional Justice Center as the model of prosperity

“One main focus of the caucus groups was the acquisition of Puetz Golf, and that Puetz has said that they will fight the city to the State Supreme Court, costing $$$$ to the city and its tax payers.

“The second issue was that this area is prone to flooding and is an issue that is almost not rectifiable. There were pictures on hand of where the jail site would be; a picture of a lake from the flooding that occurred last December and Puetz golf center under 6 feet of water.

“Issues such as our own were voiced: homelessness, proximity to schools, proximity to residential, drugs and prostitution on Aurora Ave, transportation, property values, proximity to courts, lack of social services, environmental impact, stigma of a jail in residential areas, inmate release times, senior housing, and so on. With the exception of the prostitution, these are all issues that would relate to any of the 4 sites selected.”

Dina Johnson from HPAC adds:

Ken also reported that the proceedings seemed much less passionate than the West Seattle sites meeting on June 26th. [WSB coverage here] His impression was that our group has been preparing ourselves better to combat this proposal. It seems the northend community groups are not working together or doing petitions, public outreach, meeting with elected officials, speaking to the media, and so forth.

Many people were happy that HPAC was represented at their meeting and exchanged contact info. Our position was that the jail shouldn’t go into any of the 4 sites, but downtown or expand existing sites.

Ken says that our Vice-Chair got some one-on-one time with the city reps and may have more to add.

Dina added her account of an HPAC meeting with City Council members:

Dan Mullins and I met with three City Council members yesterday for 15 minutes each.

I had prepared a green folder for each, emblazoned with our NO JAIL logo: Neighbors opposing Jail At Inappropriate Location (small web logo attached). Included were 1000+ petition signatures and comments we’ve gathered so far, a detailed map, fliers, letters to the city from HPAC, Dow Constantine, and Sharon Nelson, plus photos taken at several meetings.

We then presented statements of our neighbors’ main points of concern and protest.

The meetings with Tim Burgess and Nick Licata may have been useful; I felt they considered our statements carefully before telling us nothing has yet been decided. Mr. Licata seemed candid; he asked us many questions in response to our statements and speculated at length out loud. This is characteristic of him, in my experience.

As for the meeting with Jean Godden: all I can say is she smiled cheerfully and scribbled lots of notes, but had nothing to say except that she had never noticed a problem with homeless people downtown.

The next HPAC meeting is July 21, which Dina says city rep Doug Carey, who was on the hot seat in the July 26 South Park meeting as well as the very first HPAC meeting about the jail sites in May, is expected to attend; then July 26 is the city’s one-and-only forum that’s actually in West Seattle, @ South Seattle Community College.

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