day : 07/05/2009 14 results

Video: 4 of the 5 people who want your vote for County Executive

Here’s our second video report on the big candidates’ forum at Washington Athletic Club this morning, presented by the Greater Seattle Chamber of Commerce-affiliated Alki Foundation. In our first one (see it here), we brought you the one-minute pitches made by the four Seattle Mayor candidates present; this time, it’s the 2 1/2-minute pitches allowed from the four King County Executive candidates who were on hand. At top, it’s King County Council Chair Dow Constantine; below, State Rep. Ross Hunter, State Sen. Fred Jarrett, and King County Councilmember Larry Phillips (absent: former TV news anchor Susan Hutchison):

As with the mayoral candidates, the KCE candidates had a “lightning round” in which yes/no questions were asked by the audience and moderator, with the candidates holding up a paddle displaying either yes or no; several questions were relevant to White Center annexation, and we’ll write up a separate report for partner site White Center Now, but among the others, a highlight included the question of whether King County Metro Transit and Sound Transit should merge – all said “no” except Hunter. We’ll be covering other forums, and presenting more close-up looks at the candidates, as the August primary gets ever-closer. (Note – The 34th District Democrats plan a candidates’ forum, with mayoral, County Executive, and other candidates, coming up June 10.)

Video: 4 of the 5 men who want your vote for Seattle mayor

This morning, the campaign season kicked into a higher gear – with a little more than three months to go till the primary — as the first major campaign forum of the season, sponsored by the Greater Seattle Chamber of Commerce-affiliated Alki Foundation, brought movers and shakers from the worlds of business and politics to the Washington Athletic Club. We will be covering the major citywide/countywide races here in the months ahead, so we went for a closeup look at participating candidates, and video to share with you. We’re breaking this story into two parts, four clips each – in this one, the one-minute opening pitches each Seattle Mayor candidate made. Four of the five who are officially running participated (Joe Mallahan wasn’t there). The top clip is James Donaldson; the next three, in order, are Michael McGinn, incumbent Greg Nickels, and Norman Sigler:

Each candidate’s name above is linked to his campaign website. This morning’s event also included a “lightning round” in which a yes/no question was asked and each candidate had to hold up a paddle showing his answer – one notable question regarding West Seattle concerns, “Do you support building park-ride garages in Seattle?” – McGinn and Nickels said no, Donaldson and Sigler said yes. In a separate story later tonight, we’ll have our clips of the four County Executive candidates who appeared. The Seattle Chamber’s photos from this morning are posted on its Flickr site; for a different style of as-it-happened coverage, see what we wrote via Twitter on our @wsblive account (which we use to cover live events like this, so as not to clutter our other streams) – our main Twitter account is @westseattleblog, and our automated feed of links to WSB stories is @westseattlenews.

“National Day of Prayer” gathering tonight on Alki

Thanks to Alki’s David Hutchinson for sharing photos (top and bottom) of the National Day of Prayer gathering tonight at the Statue of Liberty Plaza — first time this event has been held since the plaza’s construction and dedication last year. (Following sentence and photo added 11:27 pm) Thanks to Sandi for sharing this photo of the Holy Rosary Children’s Choir singing at the Day of Prayer gathering:

Holy Rosary was among 10 local churches that participated in this event presented by the West Seattle Ministerial Association, and attendees weren’t deterred by the steadily gathering clouds:

Gatherings were held across the country – here’s the event’s official coast-to-coast website.

West Seattle Community Garage Sale Day is ALMOST here!

West Seattle Community Garage Sale Day, May 9, 2009Day after tomorrow, prepare for the peninsula to be swarmed by shoppers. 9 am to 3 pm this Saturday is the fabulous fifth annual West Seattle Community Garage Sale Day. Among the more than 180 sales you’ll find, from Alki Beach almost all the way to Seola Beach, are these alley/block sales (listed here with their official numbers on the map – which you can print from this downloadable 8-page PDF, or view in clickable Google Map format (NOT suitable for printing), where you can click on any number on the map – the order is roughly north to south, west to east – to see more about that sale):

#25 – Block sale: 47th between Stevens and Lander
#55 – Block sale: 4000 & 4100 Block of Fauntleroy Way SW
#83 – Alley sale between 37th/38th, Edmunds/Hudson
#90 – Alley sale: 36th-37th, Dawson to Hudson
#114 – Block sale: 6000 block 45th SW
#130 – Croft Place Townhomes Block Sale – 6701 21st SW
#174 – Block Sale – 9030 17th SW

Sellers are also invited to post extra info in the WSB Forums‘ Freebies/Deals/Sales section (where you are invited to post yard sales free, after this weekend, any time). And if you haven’t received your info/placard packet yet, check tomorrow’s mail – if it doesn’t arrive then, call us and we’ll deliver your placard ourselves. Sellers are invited to enter both the “most unusual item” and “most creative sign” contest; shoppers can enter the “most unusual item” contest too – we have restaurant gift certificates for the winners in both. Stay tuned for more here and at tonight and tomorrow, plus continuous coverage on sale day (we’ll be running around to take pictures but you’re invited to send us a photo of your sale too, even before 9 am as you set up –

New Pedestrian Master Plan hits the ground running (walking)

The mayor’s office just announced the draft Pedestrian Master Plan is officially available online — see it here. It includes various West Seattle projects such as the Alki Point sidewalk extension that’s being built right now, plus facts and figures (numbers on this page include: 2,256 miles of sidewalks in Seattle) and maps you can use to see how West Seattle stacks up (here’s the “potential pedestrian demand” map). You can give the city your comments (here’s how) through June 15, and a public hearing is planned June 21, before council action later in the year.

West Seattle Crime Watch: Another hit-and-run mystery

From just southwest of The Junction, Bill e-mailed in hopes that you might be able to help solve this crime:

I’d like to report a hit and run on the corner of Erskine Way SW and SW Dawson that happened (last night). The hit vehicle, a 2002 Saturn Vue, was parked in front of my house.

… My vehicle was hit from behind on the driver’s side. The bumper and tailgate was damaged and the tailpipe is broken. No paint was left but the damage to the other vehicle would have to have been to the front passenger side.

… Just one other note, a neighbor just told me that the hit and run occurred at 9:05 PM last night as he heard a “crash” but he was not able to get to his window in time to see the vehicle.

If anybody (else) saw or heard anything I’d sure appreciate it if they step forward.

He did call police, and reports a “cordial and professional” officer responded: “She collected evidence which included what looked like a signal light casing and it had a part number. She is going to try to trace the number.”

“Street vacation” action in progress for ex-Soundway property

When we hiked part of the West Duwamish Greenbelt last year with Nancy Whitlock of the Youngstown Arts Center-based Nature Consortium, we recorded that video as she explained what she jokingly called a “native street-pole” along the way, telling the story of how part of the greenbelt almost became a highway. It’s still technically city right of way, but a “street vacation petition” detailed in today’s Land Use Information Bulletin seeks to transfer it to the Parks Department to recognize the fact that it will never be used for that purpose. As the online notice explains:

The City purchased the Soundway property in the 1950s and 1960s for a bridge and roadway project linking Seattle to Vashon Island. The property was “laid off” for street purposes but the project was cancelled. Since then a number of options were considered for the use of the property and the City Council decided it should be converted to protected open space under the jurisdiction of Parks. Parks is seeking the vacation in order to manage the property as a part of the adjacent West Duwamish Greenbelt. The vacation will allow the department to provide management of the property consistent with Park policies and allow Parks to seek State grants from the Department of Community, Trade and Economic Development for open space preservation. There is no development project associated with this petition. The property will remain in a natural and undeveloped state and the land will be incorporated into the existing West Duwamish Greenbelt.

The city says you’re encouraged to comment on the “street vacation” petition; the online notice explains how.

Film festival in West Seattle: SIFF’s Admiral schedule goes public

May 7, 2009 12:08 pm
|    Comments Off on Film festival in West Seattle: SIFF’s Admiral schedule goes public
 |   Admiral Theater | West Seattle news | WS culture/arts

As we reported last month, the Seattle International Film Festival is coming to West Seattle for the first time, with films at the Admiral Theater June 5th-11th. The schedule’s been made public today; see it here — note that the list of 25 movies includes, appropriately enough, one called “The Admiral.” The SIFF citywide box office is now open; this page explains how to get tickets.

Happening now: SDOT changes announced

(Photo added 11:57 am – SDOT director Grace Crunican and Deputy Mayor Tim Ceis)
We’re in the briefing room on the 7th floor of City Hall, summoned along with the rest of the media for a “transportation personnel announcement” to be made any moment by Deputy Mayor Tim Ceis and Transportation Director Grace Crunican (both West Seattleites, incidentally). Stand by.

11:07 AM: The mayor himself popped in. He says changes are being made to fix an “unhealthy and divisive atmosphere” in SDOT’s street maintenance division. He mentioned last year’s snow woes, but this apparently goes beyond that. A new street maintenance director has been named, the mayor announced. Ceis and Crunican now are briefing us on details. Looking at some of the documentation that’s been distributed, it’s not just snow-related – the first documents say the city has investigated “15 charges of employment discrimination by SDOT employees over the past year.” Crunican says “there was a disproportionate amount of discipline affecting minorities,” uncovered by a report ordered from a law firm (long before the snowstorm, by the way – the investigation’s “letter of engagement” is dated June 2007). The employment discrimination claims appear to date back as far as 2005. Crunican says former street maintenance director Paul Jackson asked to be transferred, feeling he had “become a distraction” during the investigation, and Charlie Bookman is now its interim director. They also are bringing in a consultant to look at the organization “and see what other changes can be done,” she says.

Click ahead for continuing coverage from the briefing:Read More

Details: The new group focused on “our side” of The Viaduct

The tunnel may be a mostly done deal but that’s only part of the Alaskan Way Viaduct‘s future — even as some work is under way, like the 1st Avenue So. demolition in the photo above, a new round of talking about the Viaduct’s future has just begun. We brought you quick toplines yesterday afternoon about the new “working groups,” including the West Seattle-relevant South Portal group that has just convened – read on for details of who they are, what they heard about and saw, and what’s next:Read More

Southwest District Council #1: Junction Plaza Park update

First of our reports from last night’s meeting of the Southwest District Council (WSB sponsor) — more progress in the final stage of transforming the grassy site on the northwest corner of 42nd/Alaska into Junction Plaza Park. Erica Karlovits of the Junction Neighborhood Association and Susan Melrose of the West Seattle Junction Association had updates for the SWDC: First, Friends of Junction Plaza Park has applied for $98,000 in city matching-funds money, and has submitted commitments of $98,000 in donated money and time as the potential match, with more than 155 organizations and individuals represented among the pledges. The long-in-the-works park project needs $350,000 total for completion. It is one of two “large projects” submitted from the Southwest District for city grant consideration – the other is the Duwamish Longhouse Ecological Arts Project, seeking $100,000. If all the funding is secured, park construction could start this fall and be done by year’s end. There’s talk of a potential park-fundraiser beer garden in the park area during West Seattle Summer Fest, which is coming up July 10-12. If you want to help with the Junction Plaza Park effort, contact info is on the official website at (Previous coverage of the park-development effort is archived here, newest to oldest.)

Helicopter watch: Two overnight police searches in West Seattle

helicopterwatch.pngSorry we didn’t have information while it was happening, but we now have messages out to police to ask what was up – literally and figuratively – with the helicopter search that several people have reported hearing over eastern West Seattle in the 2-3 am vicinity this morning. Will add information here as soon as we have it. 7:20 AM UPDATE: Just spoke with Officer Renee Witt in the Seattle Police media unit. She says two calls brought significant officer response to West Seattle early this morning, though it looks like the second call is the one that brought out the helicopter. First, there was a business burglary in the 6000 block of 35th SW; Officer Witt says a door was kicked in, a K-9 team joined the search, and the report indicates that some suspects were arrested. (We hope to get more on that later.) Second, there was a call from the same address involved in the SWAT team response weekend before last; the caller reported seeing a suspicious vehicle in the area. That’s what Officer Witt says brought out Guardian 1 – the King County Sheriff’s Office helicopter that is also used to assist Seattle Police when necessary – though ultimately police believe the call may have been false. No arrests in that one, though there was an aid response to the same vicinity around 5 am today – no word yet if it was related. 9:58 AM UPDATE: And we have MORE information now – directly from the Southwest Precinct. Just spoke with Sgt. Jeff Durden, who says that Guardian One WAS deployed for the aforementioned business burglary, and here are more details on that: The business hit around 2 am was the convenience store in the 6300 block of 35th. According to Sgt. Durden, “three to four males were seen kicking in the door … and throwing items out of it.” Responding officers set up containment, called in K-9 and the helicopter, and eventually two suspects were arrested, a 17-year-old boy and a 20-year-old man, and officers “recovered bags full of merchandise from the store.”

Don’t just put your mail out Saturday – put food out too

(Photo courtesy the mayor’s office)
That’s Mayor Nickels meeting with local letter carriers in Wallingford to help get the word out about this Saturday’s annual Stamp Out Hunger food drive – the most convenient food drive of the year, since it comes right to your house. You may have gotten the special blue plastic bag with your mail already, but if you didn’t, you can use any sort of regular grocery bag too; just fill it with nonperishable food items and put it by your mailbox (or your door, if that’s where you get your mail) on Saturday morning, before your mail delivery, so your letter carrier can pick it up. Once the pickups have been happened and letter carriers have transported the food back to participating post-office sites, with volunteers’ help, Food Lifeline gets the donations and distributes them to local food banks – both food banks that serve our area, the West Seattle Food Bank and the White Center Food Bank, will benefit from what’s donated around here. So before you hit the road to shop during West Seattle Community Garage Sale Day (maps and updates here) – or if you’re selling, before your shoppers start arriving – put out something for this more-important-than-ever cause. Here’s more information about this nationwide food drive.