West Seattle, Washington
From Wallingford’s neighborhood-news site Wallyhood comes the story behind yellow ribbons and peals of laughter at Lowman Beach over the weekend: The replacement swingset installed last fall was dedicated in memory of Emma Kowalczyk, a Wallingford baby who died one year ago today. (More photos here.)
By Keri DeTore
Reporting for West Seattle Blog
Meet Presta and Schrader at Aaron’s Bicycle Repair – the award-winning cats:
Look in the picture windows filled with bicycles at Aaron’s shop in Morgan Junction and you may find a pair of bright green eyes looking back at you. Presta and Schrader, the feline brothers who live at the shop, regularly perch themselves on a bike saddle in the front window to take the measure of the world outside.
One more photo from our 8:50 am King County Water Taxi (WSB sponsor) run downtown this morning … looks like tomorrow will be conducive to commuting via water, too.
3 weeks after we brought you first word of lawsuits filed over the stalled Fauntleroy Place project (Fauntleroy/Alaska/39th, future Whole Foods), the site’s owners have filed their response to one of the suits, the one filed by Christopher NeVan‘s BAJ Capital against Fauntleroy Place LLC and stakeholder Seattle Capital (read the suit here). Without much elaboration, the response denies most of the allegations/statements in the lawsuit; the most words of denial come in this passage toward the end of the six-page response:
… Defendants hereby allege the following affirmative defenses:
1. Plaintiff has failed to state a claim upon which relief can be granted
2. Plaintiff has unclean hands
3. Defendants have fully performed all contractual obligations
4. Plaintiff’s alleged damages are the result of actions by third parties
5. Complete relief cannot be granted without joining at least one additional party
6. Plaintiff’s claims are barred by the doctrines of waiver and estoppel
7. Plaintiff’s claims are barred by the doctrine of laches
8. Plaintiff has failed to mitigate its damages
9. Defendant had business justifications for the alleged actions
And with that, the defendants ask for dismissal. (Wondering about some of those legal terms? We were. Here’s an explanation for “unclean hands”; here’s one for estoppel; here’s one for laches.) Meantime, you can read the entire six-page document here. We checked, but there’s no similar document available online yet in connection with the other lawsuit, which BlueStar filed against Fauntleroy Place and Seattle Capital. Meantime, one other development: Today’s Land Use Information Bulletin includes the decision officially finalizing design-review approval for the project, following design changes last summer (here’s our coverage of the final Design Review meeting last August). You can read the decision linked from this page, which also explains any appeals must be filed by April 19th. (Still no official word on the site sale reportedly in the works as of two months ago.)
That’s Sophia the Italian greyhound, aka the current CityDog Magazine cover dog, companion to Wendy and Stephen Hughes-Jelen. Wendy’s High Point K9 Club has a new mission = a second off-leash area for West Seattle (the only one right now is at Westcrest Park). She explains: “The High Point K9 Club is refocusing its mission to concentrate exclusively on the creation of an off-leash exercise area for dogs in the community. The meetup group that was founded in August of 2007 will be purging inactive members so that all current active participants in the off-leash area project are plugged in and receiving communications as we go through the steps of this large project. You do not have to live within the borders of the redeveloped High Point to participate or use the off-leash area. People and their social dogs living in the surrounding communities are welcome to join and participate in the creation process and use of the park after it is done. If you have always wanted to design and build a dog park, we need you!” Just sign up for the group by going here.
Thanks to Keith for sending us the view from Alki – we drove by about an hour ago after taking the King County Water Taxi (WSB sponsor) back from downtown, and can confirm this has all the earmarks of a summer day, except for the date on the calendar.
King County Executive Ron Sims‘ federal appointment isn’t final yet, so technically his job here isn’t open, but the County Council’s been working on what to do if/when that happens — a new development today, a “blue-ribbon committee” has been created – read on for the official announcement:Read More
Over the weekend we told you about Pilates Westside coming to Morgan Junction, thanks to Mike’s tip; now we have a second tip from Michelle south of Admiral — she spotted the Cometa Playschool sign in former Prudential space on the east side of California (here’s our Friday report on that), and now tells us some of the ex-Prudential west-side space — near where small clothes is moving — has just been claimed by Arcane Comics, which is based in Ballard. Here’s a map. Since her note, we’ve been by to chat with them, and also just caught that shot of their facade wrap going up; they’re technically open but they’re still working to assemble the store, with a lot of work to be done when we dropped by. Their intent is to be “West Seattle’s comics authority,” and they’ll have some gaming supplies too. They expect to be fully up and running within a few days.
Chas Redmond sends word that the prototype for the West Seattle Walking Trails kiosks – many more to be seen soon around West Seattle, as we’ve been reporting for more than a year – is now complete, in its showcase spot right outside the Delridge Library. See the Flickr gallery here. (Great day for a walk!) It was just last June that the first phase of the project was recommended for almost $100,000 in Neighborhood Matching Fund money, as reported here; the next few will be placed in the Fauntleroy area, following a round of public meetings including this one.
A West Seattle note from the Budget Committee meeting: In the public-comment period that’s under way now, following the revenue-forecast presentation (docs now online here) we covered earlier, a petition has just been presented to council members, with signatures gathered at this weekend’s Gathering of Neighbors, urging continued support for library $ – saying these services are needed more than ever.
(WSB photo from 8:50 am run this morning, looking back toward West Seattle)
3,429 riders yesterday, is the word we just got — “a new record,” per the Water Taxi’s announcement on Twitter. (Our coverage from Sunday, with photos and video, can be found here.)
We’re in the 7th floor briefing room at City Hall, where media reps are about to get details on the city’s revenue forecast for the year. General Fund revenue looking $29.5 million short, according to the official news release. What that will mean for the city’s budget won’t be announced today, but this is a prelude. In addition, the Real Estate Excise Tax is projected to be down $11 million (different funds pay for different programs). They’re NOT expecting this recession ultimately to be as bad locally as 2001-2003, though. A few other factors they’re noting: A bit of deflation is more likely than inflation; the forecast personal savings rate is up, which may sound good but it means less sales-tax revenue in the short run.
10:15 AM UPDATE: Whole lot of numbers here but the bottom line is that they have more than $40 million in budget balancing to do, according to city finance director Dwight Dively (photo above), who will brief the City Council on all this within the hour. Some of it may be covered with the city’s rainy-day fund (explained in this city ordinance), but there’s no question that more cuts are to come (as had been warned for quite some time). He says the city is still in better shape than the county and state, regarding how badly it’s been affected and how much it will have to adjust. All this will be presented to the council Budget Committee at 10:30, if you’re interested in watching online or via cable (seattlechannel.org) – we’ll be heading down to see how it’s framed (and inquired about) there.
10:54 AM UPDATE: City Council Budget Committee is now getting briefed on this. Starts with “how did we get to this place” (national recession). Don’t worry, we’ll boil this all down later, but in case you are a numbers fan, we’ll do some play-by-play. The committee’s chair, Councilmember Jean Godden, has reminded those on hand that the budget-cut proposals will come from the mayor, but the council will not be rubber-stamping anything.
11:38 AM UPDATE: The handouts we got at the earlier briefing aren’t online so far but there is one list we thought you’d be interested in – some reasons for optimism, as the city sees it:
*Stock market up more than 20% from early March low
Home sales rose in February: new 4.7%, existing 5.1%
Single-family permits rose 11% in February
US retail sales rose in January and February (measured on month-to-month basis)
Orders for manufactured goods rose 1.8% in February
*Shipping volumes are showing signs of stabilizing (rail, truck, container, air freight)
11:42 AM UPDATE: The city has JUST posted the forecast docs online, same ones being presented to the council now, and seen in the media briefing we attended earlier. See them here. Wondering what this all may mean to you? We won’t have specifics till the mayor recommends budget cuts (likely to be made public within a few weeks), but for example: Capital projects, such as construction — roads, parks — paid for by the Real Estate Excise Tax, which is hurting big time, may have to be scaled back. Not the ones for which contracts already have been awarded, Dively clarified, but if there are proposals that haven’t gone out to bid yet – they could face the ax. Council President Richard Conlin is noting during the meeting right now, the drop in REET could mean a FIFTY PERCENT cut in those “capital projects.” (Not all road projects come from this, though – Dively said the ones paid for by Bridging the Gap, approved by voters a few years back, will not be affected.)
NOON: The first proposed cuts may be made public as soon as next week, according to the final words before the end of the official briefing (which has now segued into general public comment) – those would involve the Real Estate Excise Tax (1 1/2 percent)-funded projects.
We’ve mentioned it before, it’s on the WSB Events calendar, and now it’s just two days away, so it’s reminder time – this Wednesday night, local Kiwanians will be at the White Center Food Bank to receive your donations. Not only does the WCFB help fight hunger in WC, it’s also accountable for assisting everyone in West Seattle south of SW Myrtle who needs food-bank help:
Members of the Division 26 Kiwanis in Seattle would like to invite you to bring non-perishable foods to the White Center Food Bank on Wednesday evening, April 8, 2009 from 5:30 to 8:00 pm. Members of the Kiwanis will be stationed outside the food bank at 10829 8th Avenue SW [map] under a canopy to collect your donations.
Kiwanis International is a global organization of volunteers dedicated to changing the world one child and one community at a time.
The White Center Food Bank says the most needed foods are Hamburger Helper and Rice-a-Roni type products as well as canned meat (not tuna), canned fruit, cereal, and jelly. The White Center Food Bank serves a diverse ethnic population so ethnic foods are always welcome. The food bank also accepts $5 and $10 gift cards from Safeway, QFC or Albertsons. Cash donations can be sent to the White Center Food Bank at 10829 8th Avenue SW, Seattle, WA 98146. To donate online, go to www.whitecenterfoodbank.org.
Kiwanis Club of West Seattle president Michael LaFranchi stopped by our table at the Gathering of Neighbors on Saturday and mentioned that club members also were at two local grocery stores that day, collecting food. Donations to the WCFB and West Seattle Food Bank count extra through the end of this month because of the Feinstein Challenge, so everything you give includes a built-in bonus.
(Video no longer available due to blip.tv shutdown)
That clip from Friday’s tour of Delridge-area problem properties (previous coverage here) starts with resident Lisa Keith explaining how she’d hit a brick wall with the city rules that prohibit police from going into even a known vacant home without the owner’s permission; she is followed by Skylark Cafe and Club (WSB sponsor) owner Jessie Summa-Kusiak, whose popular venue is across Delridge from a squatter-ravaged vacant home; and finally, a few words from Tim Burgess, who along with fellow councilmember Sally Clark also joined the tour.
The question for Lisa, Jessie, and North Delridge Neighborhood Council co-chair Mike Dady, who organized the tour after years of trying to get something done about the problem, is – what happens now? Getting the attention and presence of two councilmembers, two city department heads (Diane Sugimura from Planning and Development and Stella Chao from Neighborhoods), the mayor’s public-safety liaison Julien Loh, and city council candidate David Bloom is a big first step, but it would be all too easy for status quo to reign in its wake. Read on for more details, including a post-tour exchange:Read More