West Seattle, Washington
(12:42 am note: Video clips have been added to the coverage below, at the spots relevant to when they were shot. Also: Here’s the official district news release)
8:34 PM UPDATE: It’s all over – including the shouting. Just small groups talking, hugging in the hallway (video clip above, added 8:47). Topline to everything below: The closure plan passes largely as-is, with Cooper Elementary‘s program to close, Cooper’s building to become the new home of Pathfinder K-8, the once-closed building that has housed Pathfinder for more than a decade – Genesee Hill – to be shuttered. All this takes effect as of the next school year, and planning/transitioning/communicating is to begin immediately.
8:02 PM UPDATE: Bass has said she wishes there were more time, to work out a better plan. The final vote is getting closer. Bass says after this, she wants to speak with anyone and everyone about the assignment plan. She says it’s leadership to stand alone sometimes. She says she wanted to give money to Pathfinder over Sealth (and other things), but “it wasn’t popular.” Final closure vote (with no changes to buildings/programs that were to be changed/closed): 2 no 5 yes. Most of the crowd is leaving and heading out into the hallway, chanting – there was some yelling here in the main room too. Police are hovering. People are shouting hey hey, ho ho, school board members have got to go. You will be able to see that part on the TV newscasts – we’re staying put in case something actually happens in here informationally. (Added 9:15 pm – our clip from the departure of most of the crowd members, before those last pieces of the proposal were voted on)
The voting isn’t over yet – there are policy votes that have to be made in order to facilitate the main motion. There are people in the audience in here saying “Honor the 2006 Board member to the SBOC” (photo added above); now cheering in the hallway. Police and security have not all left the main area here. The chanting in the foyer has moved on to “these closures are racist.” The first of the accompanying motions has passed. Now, the motion that merges what will be the former Cooper reference area into the Sanislo reference area. (“Sanislo is full!” came a shout from the audience, which is true.) Motion passes. Meeting over.
7:51 PM UPDATE: Now, to the final vote on the official plan, which, for West Seattle, now remains: Cooper Elementary program closes (autism programs stay in the building), Pathfinder K-8 moves into Cooper’s building, Genesee Hill building closes. West Seattle APP elementary students would be reassigned to Thurgood Marshall, where approximately half the current APP elementary population will move (the other half remaining at Lowell). The board members are now making their final statements, Chow first, “now is the time” for action; must deal with “brutal facts.” Crowd now shouting. Chow is shouting to some degree, too, particularly the phrase “25-million-dollar deficit.” It’s clear she will vote yes. Sundquist has just made a speech, saying he too isn’t happy about Cooper, but that it’s time to finally move on with getting Pathfinder into another building. (here’s the clip – with heckling throughout)
Now Mary Bass is crying – she says she tried not to lose her composure.
7:41 PM UPDATE: Final amendment of the night before the final vote – Maier proposes granting “priority assignment” to students who, because of the eventual vote, will not be able to attend their current schools next year. By the way, if you’re having trouble keeping score, so far the “final recommendations” have not been altered – the only amendments that have passed affect some of the side effects of the potential eventual vote. And again, Martin-Morris and Bass vote no on this. It’s been a 5-2 split on everything.
7:32 PM UPDATE: Martin-Morris reads his amendment to keep Genesee Hill open and cancel closing Cooper. He says “it’s the right thing to do” and says closing it sends the wrong message: (video added 10:19 pm)
Mary Bass seconds. Sundquist says he won’t support it. Amendment fails, again only with Martin-Morris and Bass voting yes. Sundquist now reading his “reassign Cooper” amendment. “TO WORSE SCHOOLS!” shouted from the audience; Sundquist is called “a patronizing S.O.B.” Audience unruly again. People yelling, “Racist!” DeBell trying to quiet them down. Carr says the decision about Cooper was “the hardest” one to make but thinks Sundquist’s amendment will at least keep some of the students together. Vote on the amendment: everyone yes except Martin-Morris and Bass.
7:24 PM UPDATE: Martin-Morris’s update that would break Summit (which otherwise is closing) into K-8 and 9-12 at other sites, is now being considered. Summit families yell “We don’t want it!” It almost went without a second, then Bass seconded it. Martin-Morris’s update to cancel the Cooper program closure will be next (technically it would cancel the Genesee Hill building closure, which then would keep Pathfinder there, and Cooper in its building). By the way, besides us, several others are covering this meeting live via Twitter – twitter.com/phylfletch and twitter.com/sableverity among them. DeBell says he has been sorely frustrated by his inability to “find Summit a home.” From the audience: “Find us a home.” DeBell says Summit is “caring” and has been “pushed out to the edge of the district” but “some of the tough facts we are facing in the district right now fall heavily on Summit K-12 .. the K-12 model is very difficult to fit into a building unless it is a secondary school, and we have very few (of those) now.” He also says the transportation costs are challenging. Summit vote: Martin-Morris and Bass are again the only yes votes, it fails.
7:15 PM UPDATE: Vote on Mary Bass’s amendment for Central Cluster changes to the closure proposal is coming up. Sundquist says he will not support it. Martin-Morris says he will. DeBell says he will not. Shouts from the crowd. DeBell: “There is too much capacity in the Central Cluster.” Bass, Martin-Morris are the only yes votes; amendment fails. Boos from the crowd. This means among other things APP at Lowell will NOT be kept together – West Seattle APP students will be going to Thurgood Marshall (unless the final motion fails). The amendments failure triggers a Carr amendment regarding letting students who live in the Lowell walk zone to attend APP at Lowell. That amendment passes with all yes votes except Martin-Morris and Bass.
7:00 PM UPDATE: Now they are moving to the vote. Sundquist is reading motions. Then each member gets to read his/her amendment. Mary Bass reads hers first and is explaining at length why she proposed changes to the Central Cluster plan. If it goes the way that we’ve been told, each amendment will be voted on individually before a final vote – anything that is approved, becomes a change to the plan in the final vote. Now Cheryl Chow is recounting the history of the African American Academy, which is proposed for closure. “Unfortunately,” she says, “the program is and has been underenrolled .. and the school is not succeeding as all would want. Even if (it is closed),” she says, she believes the “Afrocentric” culture will continue in the building. Chow says the building will still be called the African American Academy unless the board votes to change it; much shouting ensues from the crowd. DeBell now says, please stop interrupting the meeting.
READ THE REST OF OUR AS-IT-HAPPENED COVERAGERead More
(October 2008 photo by WSB contributing photojournalist Christopher Boffoli)
We’ve now heard back from both Seattle Capital, which owns the Fauntleroy Place (Whole Foods project) site, and BlueStar, which has been its developer, so we have new information following up on today’s report that the project’s been sold – including how long the site is likely to stay idle, and what this all means for BlueStar’s other West Seattle projects – read on:Read More
Photo by WSB contributing photojournalist Christopher Boffoli; also on the scene, WSB co-publisher Patrick Sand, who says fire crews have now traced the smoke (earlier report here) to an area around the electrical panel by the back door of Poggie Tavern (on the alley, as you can see in Christopher’s photo). They’re using a chainsaw to get close enough to put it out. As mentioned earlier, the fire units are taking up a lane on California between Alaska and Edmunds, meaning one lane remains, so avoid that block for now if you can. Also, City Light has turned off the Poggie’s power, so it’s closed for now; Patrick checked on neighboring businesses and they are NOT affected. ADDED 5:01 PM: Patrick reports that firefighters had to cut a hole in the roof too. He’ll be adding video of the chainsaw work that was required to try to reach the source of the smoke trouble. ADDED 6:14 PM: Fire investigators say preliminary indication is that an improperly discarded cigarette is to blame for what happened. The damage was confined largely to the rear facade; the tavern may be closed a few days, it’s estimated (we will check again tomorrow with any ownership/management reps we can find). Here’s our video from the scene:
ADDED 10:14 PM: Went by Poggie on the way back from school-district HQ … already reopened for business.
That’s per Rebekah Denn in Devouring Seattle at seattlepi.com – she mentioned this morning that chef Johnny Zhu had just taken a new job as executive chef at Monsoon East in Bellevue, and also noted our earlier report that he was believed to be the prospective buyer of the Alki Homestead. She updated at mid-afternoon after talking with him, writing: “He and Rose are indeed still interested in Alki Homestead, but the fire there has set their timeline back. They’re pursuing it — and looking for investors, btw — but it’s not a done deal.” (As we reported 1/19, owner Tom Lin believes it’ll take at least six months to fix and reopen the Homestead.)
FIRE CALL: Address is 4719 California SW, which checks to Taqueria Guaymas but we’re hearing scanner traffic also discussing Husky Deli. En route to check it out. Traffic note – There’s only one lane open in that block of California, between Alaska and Edmunds. Avoid TFN. ADDED 4:12 PM: Apparently it’s a possible heater fire in Poggie Tavern, maybe on the roof. We’re checking on how, if, adjacent businesses are affected. (Just heard fire crews on the scanner say they’ve made it into the attic and can’t find signs of fire/smoke yet.) ADDED 4:19 PM: Poggie patrons tell co-publisher Patrick that it started with a smell of smoke detected in the tavern and in Guaymas – someone called the Fire Department, which continues to try to figure out where that’s coming from, but no one seems to have been evacuated, the businesses remain open.
TRAFFIC ALERT: Thanks to Bogie for texting to warn “people heading home” about a precariously positioned tree on Delridge near Dawson (map), “looks like a car may have hit it” … We’ll be checking that out too.
OPENING NIGHT: Thanks to those who’ve e-mailed us to say tonight’s opening night for the three-night run of West Seattle High School‘s student-directed plays “Reverse Transcription” and “No Exit,” 7:30 pm tonight, Friday, and Saturday in the WSHS Theater (tickets $5 at the door).
5/31 RUN – AND MORE? Checking the WSHS website, we noticed something that’s interesting for more than 1 reason:
Save the Date! WSHS PTSA 5K Fun Run/Walk on May 31, 2009
This fun community event will be held in partnership with the City of Seattle and their “Summer Streets” (car-free) day on Alki. Mark your calendars, tell your family and friends, and get ready for a healthy start to summer at Seattle’s most beautiful park, West Seattle’s own Alki Beach. Watch Westside Notes and this website [WSHS site] for more information about how to sign up!
First we’d heard of a date being set for a Car-Free Day this year (here’s our coverage of last September’s Alki Car-Free Day). Will be pursuing more information from the city; we had noted that a “Summer Streets” briefing was on the agenda for the February 12th Parks Board meeting. Meantime, discovered something ELSE – till February 6, you can take this online survey to tell the city what you thought of the 2008 Car-Free Days. THURSDAY NIGHT UPDATE: The mayor’s office confirms there is a “Celebrate Seattle Streets” event in West Seattle on May 31st. More details to come.
Today we’re welcoming one of our newest sponsors: Snap Fitness, which recently opened in Jefferson Square. Owners Jim Flynn and MJ Benavente (left) – who live in Gatewood – say there’s lots of gyms out there you could join, but they think Snap is the best because of their philosophy that exercise should complement your health. MJ says her background in medicine taught her one thing – fitness is preventive medicine. She says a regular exercise routine is a proactive way to keep yourself in good health. That’s why she and Jim say that Snap Fitness has a numbers of ways to help you stay fit no matter how busy you are. Snap is a no-contract club, offering 24/7 access to the equipment. Snap also believes in reaching out to its members before they get to the gym. Free fitness assessments with a personal trainer are part of your membership package, along with online tips about keeping up good nutrition habits to go along with your workout. Also, Jim says you can get up to speed fast: Snap has trainers who can show you easy routines that you can do on day one. They also offer a 30-day money-back guarantee, and your West Seattle Snap membership lets you use any Snap Fitness center in the US. (Here’s where to look up its other locations.) Not only do Jim and MJ live in West Seattle, they also are members of the West Seattle Junction Association, they’ve volunteered for Community Harvest of Southwest Seattle, and they belong to the Seattle Audubon Society. Snap Fitness is in lower Jefferson Square (map), online at snapfitness.com/seattlewest, or you can call 206-299-1597. Thanks to Snap Fitness for joining the WSB sponsor team; see the full lineup here, same place to find information on becoming part of it.
If you can’t make it to Seattle Public Schools HQ for tonight’s special school board meeting to vote on the closures/changes plans (and the amendments announced yesterday), district spokesperson Patti Spencer just confirmed it WILL be live on cable channel 26 (no live online stream, though; archived video is posted here later). Live broadcasts are not always availabe for meetings held outside the regular first/third Wednesday framework, so we checked. This meeting will NOT include public comment – the board will consider the amendments, then the plan (whether amended or not) and associated policy changes that would be required for certain proposals to be allowed. The meeting starts at 6 pm; we’ll be posting updates live from district HQ (covering the entire plan, not just the WS aspects, since WS families are involved in other elements such as the APP split too).
Thanks to Robert for the link – Times reports Fauntleroy Place project is being sold. May explain why BlueStar hadn’t been returning our phone calls/e-mails (though a rep replied Tuesday he’d call Wednesday, and didn’t). Will add any additional details we find; we have a call out to Seattle Capital (described as one of the current co-owners, though county records still list Fauntleroy Place LLC, with BlueStar‘s address, as site owner). As we reported Tuesday, Whole Foods reiterated its commitment to the West Seattle project (but of course that didn’t necessarily imply the developer would remain the same). ADDED 12:51 PM: King County online records show 8 liens related to the property filed in the past month and a half, with parties including construction and engineering firms. Details of the liens are not available online, just the names and dates. ADDED 1:12 PM: For document-reading fans, here’s a copy of the 10-page lease agreement filed last March, between Whole Foods and Fauntleroy Place LLC. ADDED 1:46 PM: Here’s a document that shows FP transferred the Deed of Trust and other key interests to Seattle Capital last June. 3:49 PM UPDATE: Have just heard back both from Seattle Capital via e-mail and BlueStar by phone, writing a separate update, will post the link in this report when it’s done.
Last November, alerted by a hovering helicopter, we reported on the search for, and arrest of, a man who had broken into a Lincoln Park-area home — where a woman and her two children were asleep — shortly after trying to break into the Colman Pool complex in the park. He turned out to be 41-year-old Richard Lovejoy, a registered sex offender (for rape convictions; photo at left was from his page on the sex-offender-search website) from Arbor Heights who also had been convicted previously of burglary, harassment, and drug possession. After covering the original court action in the case in November (WSB report here), we hadn’t followed up till now — and discovered that Lovejoy pleaded guilty to 1 count of burglary (the second was dropped) on December 31st and was sentenced last Friday. Court documents confirm that Lovejoy was sent immediately to prison to begin a sentence of 5 years, 3 months (the lower end of the “standard range” for the crime, 63 to 84 months, per court documents).
Thanks to Trick for pointing out this Times article about prostitution-related arrests in West Seattle earlier this month. Here’s additional information we’ve found on the case: We checked the jail register, and the 33-year-old man arrested for trying to pimp two 15-year-old girls at Seattle West Inn and Suites in the Triangle (West Seattle’s only motel, aka the former Travelodge), Toda M. Robinson, is still behind bars, with bail set at $100,000. We also downloaded the court documents for more details; he is charged with two counts of promoting sexual abuse of a minor, and the documents note that Robinson has an “extensive criminal history” including “at least six crimes of violence.” (The state court-system search engine has 110 results for his name, dating back to 1991, when he would have been as young as the two girls involved in this case.) The court documents say police arranged the location for the sting, booking a room at the motel after answering a CL ad, and made the arrests after Robinson dropped the girls off – they tracked him down in the parking lot of the 35th/Avalon KFC with a 16-year-old girl in the car, which was described as emanating “a strong odor of marijuana.” One of the girls told police that he usually gets half their money and has at least 3 other teenagers and 10 adult prostitutes working for him.
So far it’s not looking too likely that Congress will go ahead with suggestions to push back the “digital TV transition” date currently set for Feb. 17th. If you still need help sorting out whether you’re ready for that transition, West Seattle help is available – check out this list of locations and times. (Left side of that page has answers to frequently asked questions, too.)
It’s that thrilling time of winter – halfway between last summer’s big events and NEXT summer’s big events. And it’s never too soon to start planning the latter – in fact, it’s sponsor-search time for the West Seattle Garden Tour (photo above is from one of last year’s stops), coming up July 19:
We are actively seeking sponsors for this year’s tour, which will be the 15th Annual Tour, featuring Ciscoe Morris as the guest lecturer. The success of the tour is dependent upon the financial aid and in-kind donations from all of the sponsors, and we hope to make the 15th Annual Tour the most successful yet.
Begun in 1995 as a fundraising event for ArtsWest, the West Seattle Garden Tour has evolved into an annual fundraising event for a variety of non-profit and educational organizations in West Seattle and surrounding communities. The 2008 edition of the West Seattle Garden Tour was one of our most successful, attracting more than 650 tour-goers as well as raising $21,000 for ArtsWest and our specially selected beneficiaries, Multifaith Works, Ethel Dupar Fragrant Garden, Lighthouse for the Blind, Seattle Chinese Garden, and Elisabeth C. Miller Library University of Washington Botanic Gardens.
This year we are offering a variety of levels of sponsorship ranging from $50 to $2500 (event sponsor), details for each of the sponsorship levels can be found on the WSGT website (see those details here).
We hope to secure our major sponsors by March 10, 2009.
The “sponsorship commitment form” can be found here.
Last fall, we reported on CityDog Magazine‘s Cover Dog vote – then in November, word that West Seattle’s own Cohen, a former shelter pup who found his “forever home” with Ray Clemens, was the winner. Now, CityDog founder and West Seattle resident Brandie Ahlgren has e-mailed to let us know that the issue with Cohen’s cover (shown above) is on the stands.
We’re at the Morgan Community Association quarterly meeting, and it kicked off with a short presentation by a rep from Big Brothers Big Sisters of Puget Sound — Bottom line: 100 kids, 7 to 17, are on a waiting list in the West Seattle area, awaiting more potential mentors to join BBBSPS. Commitment can be as little as an hour a week. More info: www.bbbsps.org or 877-700-BIGS. (More from MoCA later.)
In March 2006, we reported on Holy Rosary‘s announcement that Father Jeffrey Sarkies had resigned amid allegations of “improprieties.” No details were revealed, and Sarkies eventually moved out of state (after a going-away party mentioned on a site set up by supporters; we later mentioned this website where he still writes weekly). Tonight, the P-I reports the Seattle Archdiocese is being sued by a 28-year-old man who claims the priest “took sexual advantage of him” (the P-I story’s phrase) in 2004. ADDED THURSDAY MIDDAY: Since this has generated discussion and questions, we found the court documents online and are linking to them here. No confidential information appears to be included, nor anything very detailed, but just so anyone interested can see how the lawsuit is written, if you are interested in information beyond the article to which we linked above. The suit is against Fr. Sarkies as well as the Archdiocese.
Just couldn’t resist.
Just back from City Hall, where we tried our best to represent Seattle’s growing online-neighborhood-news industry on a City Council panel discussion (not archived on SeattleChannel.org yet but should be soon), and there’s more post-storm council action to relay: Tomorrow at 2 pm, the Energy and Technology Committee will focus on this aspect of snowstorm response past and future:
Winter Storm Response — Discussion of City Light’s participation in the winter storm response and purchase of snowplow equipment for mounting on existing Seattle City Light trucks. It is in the interest of public safety to improve the City’s ability to clear city streets of snow so that City Light vehicles, fire apparatus, emergency medical units, police cars, ambulances, and other emergency vehicles are able to navigate city streets.
Here’s the full agenda; some interesting technology items too, led by the city’s tech boss Bill Schrier (a West Seattleite). Meantime, Seattle Channel sends an alert that three councilmembers can be seen criticizing the city’s response to last month’s Snowmare during a show that’s available online now or premiering on Cable Channel 21 tonight at 7.
As first reported during the School Board meeting a week ago, board president Michael DeBell asked his fellow members this: If you’re going to propose any changes to the “final recommendation” for school closure/changes, get them in by yesterday, so they can be made public today (and voted on during the special board meeting tomorrow night). Caveat, board members still COULD propose amendments during tomorrow morning’s meeting, but for now, here are the ones just revealed. They include a proposal to take Genesee Hill off the recommendations, keeping Pathfinder K-8 there, and leaving Cooper Elementary as is; that proposal, included in this document, comes from board member Harium Martin-Morris. West Seattle board member Steve Sundquist has an amendment on the agenda too; it would continue with the move-Pathfinder-to-Cooper plan in the original “final recommendations,” but would set conditions on where the majority of current Cooper students would be reassigned – he proposes splitting them among Gatewood, Highland Park, and Arbor Heights. Of interest to APP families citywide, board member Mary Bass proposes keeping the elementary-level program at Lowell, instead of splitting half (including West Seattle APP elementary students) to another school. The amendments will all be voted on during tomorrow night’s special board meeting, 6 pm, district HQ in Sodo. (In addition to discussion here, there’ll be citywide comment ongoing at saveseattleschools.blogspot.com.)
Three months ago, former City Councilmember Jeanette Williams (seen at left in a city archives photo from 1973) was remembered for accomplishments including fighting to secure federal money to building the high-rise West Seattle Bridge. Now, there’s a campaign to name the bridge in her honor as the Jeanette Williams Memorial Bridge; a resolution supporting the proposal was adopted unanimously at last week’s Seattle Community Council Federation meeting and is circulating among other councils in the city as well (here’s the wording as also recently endorsed in View Ridge, according to SCCF chair Jeannie Hale). City Council approval would be required; no word yet of a timetable for a formal proposal coming before the council, but we asked Councilmember Tom Rasmussen – who got his political start working with Ms. Williams – and he told WSB he’s all for it. We’ll keep you posted. (Maybe it’ll happen in time for the bridge’s 25th anniversary this summer?)
For those waiting to find out if Seattle School Board members proposed any amendments to the closure/change plan that will be voted on tomorrow night – while the district had been expected to post amendments to its website by noon today, a notice is now posted on the board page saying they’ll be up at 1. We’ll bring them to you as soon as we get them.
We showed you that photo Monday, while reporting that West Seattle firefighters helped clean up and secure the area around a big broken window on the west side of a former Huling/Gee storefront on SW Alaska east of Fauntleroy Way. We subsequently checked to see if it was a case of burglary or “just” vandalism; this morning, we have followup information from Southwest Precinct Sgt. Mike Teeter, who summarizes that “a large rock was thrown through the window, but no entry was made.”
Meantime, a new Crime Watch report this morning, from Amy in Gatewood:
My car was stolen from my driveway yesterday sometime between 10 pm Monday evening and 6 am Tuesday morning. I live on the corner of SW Myrtle street and 36th Ave SW [map]. I filed a police report and thankfully my car was found yesterday around 5 pm by the King County Sheriff’s (Office). It was recovered in the South Park area and towed to a Burien lot. They said they had just recovered a similar Honda Accord like mine stolen from the same area. This is the second time my car has been targeted in my neighborhood. Two years ago my stereo was stolen. I think it’s a group of punk kids going for a joy ride. They didn’t take any car parts, just valuables that were in the car, punched out the ignition, stole my stereo again (luckily I carry the face plate with me so it’s useless to them now), and trashed the inside of the car. Just thought people should know about this in case there is anyone else out there who has had the same thing happen around the area.
We’ve received reports both official and unofficial of more than a few car thefts lately, including a “huge spike” in the unincorporated area south of WS, as described by King County Sheriff’s Deputy Jeff Hancock at last week’s White Center Crime Prevention Coalition meeting, but the Southwest Precinct says numbers on this side of the line are not currently higher than usual.