West Seattle, Washington
From tonight’s Youth Violence Prevention Initiative community dialogue at Chief Sealth High School: Attendees of all ages talked about solutions as well as the problem. We visited during the breakout sessions midway through the two-hour-plus event, and noticed the theme was jobs – a young person with a job is a productive young person, learning life skills and staying out of trouble. With the youth-unemployment rate higher than the adult-unemployment rate, it was suggested that job creation could be an important piece in solving the youth-violence puzzle.
Another topic tonight – the fact West Seattle doesn’t have an agency dealing full-time with substance abuse. Violence and substance abuse are often connected, participants noted, so more attention on that problem could bring progress.
STOLEN VAN: Stephanie hopes you can help track down the van her husband needs for his blacksmith/metal-arts work: “Our 1986 Toyota van (silver with black steel racks with red tops on four corners) was stolen last night, 11/16. It’s a work van, really important. We live on 12th Avenue near Elmgrove [map]. Anyone who sees this van, please call it in. Thanks.”
NEWEST STATS: Just as Stephanie‘s note came in, a short meeting for the West Seattle Crime Prevention Council was wrapping up. The key information presented – the newest West Seattle crime stats:
Some interesting context to those trends – and some reasons for hope they might all be on the downside soon – read on for more details:Read More
Good crowd tonight at Alki Mail and Dispatch (WSB sponsor), which invited friends and neighbors to come help celebrate its 20th anniversary during a three-hour open house. The celebration actually continues all the way through Saturday – but the gift’s for you: 20 percent off everything – see the coupon on Alki Mail’s newly remodeled website (where you’ll find other cool links, including Alki Mail’s latest tweets – pretty sure they’re the only mailbox business in West Seattle where you can check via Twitter to see if the day’s mail is in!). Alki Mail’s at 47th & Admiral (map).
Since our update this afternoon looking ahead to tomorrow’s scheduled Seattle School Board vote on maps for the new Student Assignment Plan, including a letter with one proposal for amending them, we’ve received another suggested amendment. Janne Endreo and David Broadstone say they’ve sent the proposed “Equitable Enrollment Amendment for West Seattle” to all board members, explaining:
It is a proposal for boundary changes just for the middle and high school assignments (not elementary). As parents who have students at both Madison, Sealth and WSHS, we are well aware that any changes to a Student Assignment plan will affect our whole community. Our goal is that both “sets” of our secondary schools in West Seattle be the best schools possible, and that all kids will want to attend.
This proposal helps to balance some of the school-wide inequities which resulted from the most recent changes in the Student Assignment plan- most notably the 35% projected enrollment cuts at Madison & WSHS, as well as the diversity imbalance in all our secondary schools, and the issue of keeping as many kids as possible in a “walk zone” with their closest neighborhood school.
They say the amendment’s goals are:
1. To balance enrollment more equitably between the Denny/Sealth and Madison/WSHS secondary schools;
2. To keep as many students as possible in their neighborhood “walk zones”; and
3. To keep as much diversity as possible in all of our schools.
Re-assign the “No Walk” areas (as shown on the High School Walk Zone maps in the SPS Data Book) to the middle and high school secondary schools for:
1. Gatewood’s assignment area- The southern portion of Gatewood (which is south of WSHS’s red-lined “Walk Zone” area) to be assigned to the closer secondary schools of Denny and Sealth;
2. West Seattle Elementary’s assignment area- The northern portion of WS Elementary (which is north of Sealth’s red-lined “Walk Zone”) to be assigned to the closer Madison and WSHS schools.
You can see their proposed maps here (Chief Sealth/Denny) and here (WSHS/Madison). Again, tomorrow night’s board meeting is 6 pm at district HQ in SODO; West Seattle board rep Steve Sundquist has a community chat scheduled for 10 am tomorrow at Delridge Library; e-mail feedback on the maps, whether you love them/hate them/want to change them, is being accepted at email@example.com as well as in individual board members’ boxes (addresses all here).
The West Seattle Crime Prevention Council‘s monthly meeting is coming up shortly – 7 pm at the Southwest Precinct (Delridge/Webster) — so we’ll get the newest info there about local crime trends. But first – two quick reports about car and home break-ins – read on:Read More
A followup to our most recent item about citizens complaining to the city regarding backups at the Admiral/California intersection – Tim e-mailed SDOT and got this reply from engineer Chris Faulkner – same person whose responses were shared by commenters – indicating they’ve figured out the problem:
I stand behind my timing and believe that it is working well. Unfortunately, because of malfunctions, my timing has not always been running and the signal has been working erratically. Every time that I had been out to observe it everything was worked well, within the past 3 weeks I have spent three PM Peaks and two AM Peaks at this intersection, verifying that everything is working. On my last trip the signal began skipping phases and traffic backed up very badly, like the complaints that I have been receiving. Because I was at the intersection to observe it, I was finally able to diagnose the problem and we are working on a solution.
Currently, we believe the problem was an underlying problem with the electronics and when we installed the new timing it exasperated the problem. Since last Wednesday, the intersection has been placed in a different mode, kind of like a windows safe mode. In this mode the intersection cannot skip phases, but it also cannot run coordinated timing. The consequence of this mode was that the intersection is working tolerable well during off peaks, but horrible during AM and PM Peak times. I apologize for this and want you to know that we are doing everything that we can to correct these problems. We plan on changing out some of the electronics later today in an attempt to address the problem and hope to put it back into my timing after that and observe it over the next few days to see if we have corrected the malfunctioning equipment.
Admiral/California drivers, let us know if things do get better!
No wide-angle lens so we couldn’t get the full arc, but there’s most of it, looking northeast from Gatewood a few moments ago. As for the afternoon forecast – looks like the gusty wind, up to 40 mph, may return as soon as tomorrow afternoon.
Tomorrow night, the Seattle School Board‘s scheduled to vote on setting attendance-area maps for schools around the city, as part of the new Student Assignment Plan changing the district’s prevailing philosophy from “choose any school” to “attend your neighborhood school.” Anyone who wants to get the ear of West Seattle’s school-board rep hours before the vote is invited to Steve Sundquist‘s community chat tomorrow morning, 10-11:30 am, at Delridge Library; meantime, the online agenda for tomorrow night’s meeting includes one amendment that will be proposed to the West Seattle maps (current versions of which are linked here):
Make the boundary between the Alki and Lafayette attendance areas be a straight line on 47th Avenue Southwest from Southwest Admiral Way to Southwest Hanford Street, with both sides of 47th Avenue Southwest being in the Lafayette attendance area.
That would straighten out the “notch” in the current map, as shown below, changing the line instead to parallel where the blue and pink zones now are divided:
The three other amendments involve maps in other parts of the city. Other amendments are possible, but would have to be made by board members speaking at the meeting. This afternoon, we have some concrete suggestions proposed by three West Seattleites involved with local schools through the Chief Sealth International Baccalaureate Program and Gatewood Elementary – they’ve sent us an open letter with their suggestions for amendments to the boundaries – read on for the full text:Read More
That photo’s from last April, when City Councilmembers Sally Clark and Tim Burgess joined North Delridge neighbors in a tour organized by then-ND Neighborhood Council chair Mike Dady, looking at some of the problem properties around the area – some abandoned, some with criminal/suspicious activity and landlords who seemed to be turning a blind eye, some just plain falling apart (WSB coverage here). Afterward, Clark, Burgess and city department heads who joined the tour talked about possible legislation and rule changes to ease neighbors, law enforcers and others’ powerlessness in getting something done – and now, some of those proposals are closer to reality. This afternoon at 1:30 pm, the Public Safety, Human Services and Education Committee chaired by Burgess plans a hearing on the “chronic nuisance properties” bill beefing up penalties for landlords (see it here); then tomorrow at 9 am, the Planning, Land Use and Neighborhoods Committee chaired by Clark will take up the “Derelict Housing” bill (see it here), which would allow demolition of some properties even before a new plan is on the table for their sites. Both meetings are at City Hall downtown, open to the public, and will be televised on Seattle Channel (online at seattlechannel.org, or cable 21). 1:51 PM UPDATE: The Public Safety Committee hearing is under way now, with public comment from people including a West Seattle woman who says her neighborhood is a “war zone” because of problems a nearby landlord refuses to address.
Lots of school news today, and here’s more: Seattle Public Schools just announced a set of community meetings about its “curriculum alignment” plan, aimed at more consistency among schools (as explained here) – and one is in West Seattle, a week from tonight, Tuesday 11/24, 6:30 pm, West Seattle High School.
Courtesy of the project team at DKA, new photos taken just yesterday at the Denny/Sealth construction site in Westwood – where DKA says that as of the end of October, “60% of the structural steel needed for the construction of the new Galleria and Denny International Middle School had been delivered to the construction site. Footings for the new Galleria and Denny school are now 90% complete as are the underground utilities for the Galleria.” Here’s a view with more of the new Denny’s “skeleton” (left side):
For perspective – from an earlier story, here’s a rendering of the entire project site from the same direction – looking south – what you see above is roughly at the rear center of this (the galleria attaches the new Denny to the existing Sealth):
DKA’s update continues:
In the existing Chief Sealth High School building, the contractor completed framing walls on the first floor and is 70% complete with wall framing on the 2nd floor. The contractor continued work on the mechanical, electrical and plumbing rough-in in the Chief Sealth building.
This month, November, 2009, work will continue on the foundation and walls for the new Denny International Middle School. Deliveries of the structural steel for the new Denny School will continue as will the steel erection of the Commons area. The contractor will continue framing walls in Chief Sealth High School. Site work will continue on the south and west sides of the project.
More construction photos are online here. Sealth renovations are to be complete in time for classes to resume at the site this fall, after two years in temporary quarters at Boren; the new Denny is to be complete in early 2011. Work’s been under way at the site since July 2008.
Two weather notes. First, a note this morning from Kimber:
I am wondering if there have been other basements flooding in the area. I’ve been up all night trying to stay on top of the foot of water in my basement. Are others having the same problems? I live SW of the Junction on 38th south of the firehouse.
Second, the forecast – sun’s out now and today looks fairly calm, but more rain, with wind gusting up to 40 mph, is predicted by tomorrow night.
Quick reminder about some of tonight’s highlights from the WSB Events calendar — Fight crime in your neighborhood by showing up to represent, and to ask police questions if you so choose, at the West Seattle Crime Prevention Council‘s monthly meeting, 7 pm, Southwest Precinct; help support youth-violence prevention by participating in a community dialogue tonight at 6 at Chief Sealth High School; celebrate the 20th anniversary of new WSB sponsor Alki Mail and Dispatch, 5-8 pm, 4701 SW Admiral Way.
Music to money-free-shop by – that’s what you hear harpist Kathy Wilmering performing in our video from last night’s Sustainable West Seattle Money-Free Shopping Spree. So what kind of sustainable gifts did folks exchange? We asked Sarah and Kate to tell us what they were offering:
SWS’s event was held at the brand-new High Point Neighborhood Center. Meantime, a couple images from last weekend:
Lynn Ogdon shared Tom Wolken‘s photo of the Chief Sealth High School Jazz Band after their performance in the Mill Creek Jazz Festival on Saturday, celebrating “a job well done,” as Lynn puts it. And from Sunday, Dina Lydia Johnson shares more photos from the Highland Park Improvement Club‘s 90th birthday – first, HPIC trustees:
And West Seattle-residing City Councilmember Tom Rasmussen was there to present an official city proclamation:
Coming up at the HPIC building in just a few weeks, the Highland Park Action Committee will have a holiday potluck replacing its November/December meetings – 7 pm on Wednesday, Dec. 2.