West Seattle, Washington
Two flags flew high Sunday afternoon over West Seattle’s Vietnamese Cultural Center (next to Tug Inn): The U.S. Stars and Stripes, and the Vietnamese Heritage and Freedom Flag. Until April 1975, it was the flag of South Vietnam, and while it is banned in modern-day Vietnam, it is cherished by those who left in search of freedom. Earlier this month, the 34th District Democrats passed a resolution recognizing the flag and urging the City of Seattle to do so; that resolution was read and applauded as part of Sunday’s New Year’s celebration at the center. Representing the 34th DDs, state committeewoman Marcee Stone, who also is now running for State House of Representatives:
The event also commemorated the Lunar New Year – with the GDPT Van Hanh Lion Dance Team and hundreds of firecrackers (which you will see and hear about halfway through this minute-and-a-half clip):
The crowd of about 100 also paid tribute to historic heroes:
That artwork commemorating one of the great battles against Chinese invaders was placed at the outdoor altar:
This group of women in traditional costume waited to place flowers at the altar:
Memories of more-recent battles remained fresh, as high-ranking veterans of the South Vietnam military were there, in uniform, as they have been at other events we have covered here:
The VIetnamese Cultural Center is the second-largest such center in our state – after its counterpart in Tacoma. As the 34th DDs’ resolution noted, about 50,000 people of Vietnamese descent live in King County. (We took a closer look at the center in this July 2008 story.) Its distinctive statue – visible to passersby along SW Orchard – pays tribute to the 13th-century hero, General Tran Hung Dao.
Or so we think, anyway. Here’s the latest – Chris D snapped it near Me-Kwa-Mooks this afternoon.
Nancy in Fairmount checked on a solicitor who came to her door last night – and the organization he mentioned says they’re not doing any soliciting. He was in the 4700 block of 38th SW (map), carrying brochures for the Department of Early Learning – which is a state agency, and therefore can’t and doesn’t solicit donations. The description from Nancy: “He was a black male who looked to be in his early 20’s and had a dark blue knitted cap on his head – he mentioned something to me about having his braids tucked under his cap.” She says he claimed to be affiliated with the UW; she checked directly with Early Learning today, and was told flat-out they don’t seek money that way.
Tonight’s e-mail update from the Orca Network confirms another baby for Puget Sound’s resident orcas: If you go here, you’ll see a photo of L114, seen with L77 in B.C. waters yesterday. That brings the resident population – J, K, L pods – up to 89. (That page also has photos of half a dozen other babies born to the local orcas since the start of 2009; and you can see yet more here.)
(Photo added 5:20 pm – those here for previous bills have left, public safety folks now seated for 1679)
3:47 PM, ORIGINAL NOTE: We are in Olympia for the State Senate Ways and Means Committee hearing that will include EHB 1679, to remedy the situation that has left former SPD Officer Jason McKissack and his family losing health coverage because a 2008 attack in West Seattle left him unable to work. Public testimony is expected. The state House already passed the bill, but the Senate is where it stalled last year.
4:43 PM: 1679 hasn’t come up yet – 6851, the Clean Water bill, was up first … 39 witnesses. (Added 5:25 pm – among them, speaking in the photo above, West Seattle resident Martha Kongsgaard, on behalf of the Puget Sound Partnership, one of the supporters.) It was preceded by testimony on a few others including one that Sen. Joe McDermott (who is on this committee and here at the hearing) tells us can affect financing for the Fauntleroy Community Services Agency and Fauntleroy Schoolhouse’s future.
5:27 PM: 1679 is up. Looks like they are running out of time and may not have any public testimony – Sen. McDermott tells us a Senate floor session is coming up at 5:45 to take up amendments to the bill that suspends I-960, a hot topic at the Town Hall in West Seattle last Saturday. The legislative staffer who is speaking about 1679 now says it would cost the state about $800,000.
5:48 PM: The committee meeting is adjourned. They did wind up hearing very quickly from six people – including Jason McKissack’s wife Kim McKissack, and two Seattle Police Guild leaders, Sgts. Rich O’Neill and Ty Elster. Sgt. Elster read a statement from Jason, who did not feel well enough to be here. Next up – this committee will decide whether to advance the bill to the full Senate.
9:31 PM: Adding video — first, Kim McKissack and Renee Maher, the law-enforcement advocate who is also the widow of Federal Way Officer Patrick Maher, killed in the line of duty in 2003:
And the Seattle Police Guild leaders who spoke before them – Sgt. O’Neill is first, with the “help the officer” message he also gave the House Ways and Means Committee; Sgt. Elster, second.
No one signed up to testify against 1679. If you want to contact Ways and Means members about the bill, their names and contact info can be found here.
Some days, the inbox overflows with news releases that we pass on so you can read for yourself … some days, it’s quiet. Today’s one of the overflowing days. Latest one of potential interest, the Seattle City Council announces its 2010 priorities – read on to see if they dovetail with yours:Read More
When we stopped by the Fauntleroy Church electronics/appliances recycling event at midday Sunday, the crew from Issaquah-based 1 Green Planet already had filled one truck with recyclables. We checked with Judy Pickens to see if they had received a grand-total report; here it is – four truckloads (24-foot, two 16-footers, and a 14-footer), totaling between 15 and 20 TONS of recyclables. Judy says they’re talking about doing it again this fall; in the meantime, you can use E-Cycle Washington to find out how to recycle these types of items.
From the inbox:
On Saturday, 3-6-10 from 9am to noon, the Friends of Lincoln Park will meet to continue our work restoring the forests of this West Seattle treasure. Join us! Meet at 9am in the north parking lot at the kiosk across from Rose St. Dress for weather and wear sturdy shoes. Bring sturdy gardening gloves and hand clippers, if you have them, or we have extras. Contact Sharon at firstname.lastname@example.org or (206) 464-1068.
Tonight’s the first of five public meetings (all listed here) the city’s holding to discuss the new Youth and Families Initiative. The fourth one is in West Seattle, 7 pm March 15 at Denny International Middle School, but in the meantime, Mayor Mike McGinn‘s staff has taken the unusual step of sending code for an embeddable form you can use RIGHT NOW to let them know what you think:
The information you submit, by the way, does NOT go to us – while we’re embedding the form, it’s hosted on another website, and everything goes straight to them (we just tested it to make sure it works).
Good crowds for the first two public meetings to help plan the new park at West Seattle (Westcrest) Reservoir; today’s there’s word from the city that the date’s been set for the next meeting, 10 am Saturday, April 24, again at Southwest Community Center. (Our reports on the first two: December meeting here; Feb. 6 meeting here.)
From SDOT: Crews are working today in the 6000 block of Beach Drive SW, where a slide last month has left the road restricted to one lane. SDOT’s Marybeth Turner tells us, “They are clearing away slide material and will set ecology blocks along the side of the street. The goal is to reopen the street to two lanes (one lane in each direction).” We are checking on the other questions that remained unanswered regarding the slide situation – including plans for permanent stabilization. 2:57 PM UPDATE: Bryan Stevens from DPD has some information on the latter issue. He says they’re working with a property owner in the 6000 block of Atlas Place, over the slide:
The city is working with Mr. Saladino to quickly review an option that stabilizes the slope and protects the public.
At this point, we have not received a permit application from Mr. Saladino to stabilize the property. Mr. Saladino has not yet provided the city with a geotechnical report that provides sufficient information to evaluate the options and the appropriate design. Our engineers need this information for their review to assess whether the proposed options do indeed stabilize the slope and protect the public.
At this time, we are waiting for Mr. Saladino to respond to our request for additional information.
SDOT is taking advantage of the unseasonably dry weather to remove slope debris from the Beach Drive right-of-way and place a temporary ecology block catchment wall in the parking lane on Beach Drive. This work is underway and should take one to two days. Upon completion, SDOT will reopen Beach Drive to two-way traffic at this location.
5:56 PM UPDATE: SDOT now says the work will continue tomorrow (Tuesday) instead of taking a break till Wednesday.
IN THE LEGISLATURE: At left, those are your 34th District state legislators – Sen. Joe McDermott, Rep. Sharon Nelson, Rep. Eileen Cody – during their Town Hall at High Point Community Center on Saturday. Today, they are back to work in Olympia – as they explained on Saturday, they’re now at the stage where more deadlines loom for bills to either advance or be declared officially dead for the year. Today the Senate Ways and Means Committee (of which McDermott’s a member) has a public hearing on one bill of particular West Seattle interest – HB 1679, to make sure catastrophically injured public safety personnel like former West Seattle police officer Jason McKissack don’t lose their medical benefits. Advocates are asking for a show of support like the one received in the House Ways and Means Committee last month (WSB coverage here); the hearing’s in Room 4 of the Cherberg Building on the Capitol campus, 3:30 pm.
ROAD CLOSURE REMINDER: East/southeast of Youngstown Arts Center in North Delridge, work is scheduled to start on the project that will close 23rd/22nd SW for up to six weeks – see our previous story for the latest.
WEST SEATTLE PRESCHOOL FAIR: School-choice season is now in full swing and more than a dozen of West Seattle’s preschools are hoping to meet prospective families and answer tonight at the first-ever West Seattle Preschool Fair, 5:30-8:30 pm at St. John the Baptist Church‘s community hall (3050 California SW).
SPEAKING OF SCHOOL: A reminder, midwinter break’s over and everybody’s back today.
PARKS AND GREEN SPACES LEVY OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE: Want to find out how the money you’re paying because of the 2008 levy is being spent? Got something to suggest to the citizen volunteers who are reviewing that spending? Be at the committee’s regular meeting, 7 tonight, Parks HQ downtown (100 Dexter Ave. N.). Among the agenda items – an overview of the letters of intent received so far.
EVEN MORE … like regular bingo and trivia events … on the WSB Events page. Have a great day (it’s off to a great start, as this sunrise photo from John LaSpina shows) …