West Seattle, Washington
For more than two years, we’ve covered the fight over whether the owner of the “Painted Lady of Beach Drive,” the city-landmarked Satterlee House (4866 Beach Drive), will be allowed to build 3 houses on its expansive front lawn – subdivided into buildable lots years ago. The longrunning fight began in December 2007, when the city Landmarks Board rejected the specific 3-house proposal that owner William Conner wants to build, saying the houses would overwhelm the Satterlee House itself and aspects of the site that made it a landmark (a designation sought by its previous owner in the ’80s). Conner appealed the decision to the city Hearing Examiner, who ruled against him in April 2008, then to King County Superior Court, where he lost, then to the 1st Division State Court of Appeals, same result last December, and then (as reported here in January) it’s before the state Supreme Court as a Petition for Review. We’re mentioning it tonight because tomorrow is the official date that Supreme Court Department 2 is scheduled to consider it – it’s one of two “motion days” in the court’s current session. The court may, or may not, agree to review the case; that decision is based only on written materials – no oral arguments are scheduled at this stage. The city has maintained all along that it has not prohibited Conner from building on the site – it has only rejected the particular proposal he brought forth and declined to change. We don’t have the actual petition – Supreme Court case documents are not filed online (though decisions are), and our request to get it from Conner’s lawyer went unanswered – but we do have the city’s 21-page answer, which they provided after it was filed in February (see it here).
(Photo courtesy Shaw Dixon)
More baked goods, anyone? First, Heavenly Pastry – now, meet Baked In Seattle. If you visit The Junction during the next West Seattle Art Walk – Thursday, June 10th – Shaw Dixon invites you to come in and help her celebrate the “grand opening” of Baked In Seattle, sharing “bake space” with Blue Willow Catering and Luncheonette in The Junction (4310 SW Oregon), as well as, Shaw tells WSB, “selling products at the gorgeous luncheonette (and) wholesaling to small, natural groceries around Seattle such as Ken’s and Ralph’s.” Between 6 and 9 the evening of June 10th, you can stop in for free appetizers, wine as well as her specialties – mini-cheesecakes and fruit-filled crumble pie. This is Shaw’s second career – she worked for FedEx for more than a decade, but after a bout with thyroid cancer, she decided to go into business doing something she loved – and that turned out to be dessert-making!
(Post 160 retiring the colors as the 40-minute service concluded)
Just an hour and a half after a ferocious rainshower, the sun finally made its West Seattle Memorial Day Weekend 2010 debut in time for the annual service at Dignity Memorial-Forest Lawn Cemetery and Funeral Home (WSB sponsor) honoring those who have served.
Seattle Opera mezzo-soprano Melissa Plagemann sang “The Star-Spangled Banner,” “America the Beautiful” and “God Bless America” (with attendees joining in the latter, as you can hear in our clip):
American Legion Post 160 Commander Chris Shea, a Navy veteran, reflected on the USA’s long history of fighting for our, and others’, rights: “We must remember, we are Americans. We do not give up – we value our freedom.” The dozens in attendance knew that firsthand – they included veterans as well as relatives of those who had served and are buried at Forest Lawn, crosses and flags marking their graves this weekend, like every Memorial Day. Shea acknowledged these are challenging times, but no challenge is insurmountable:
This was his fifth time speaking at the annual service. ADDED 6:39 PM: Kristen Rasmussen from the West Seattle Big Band (which you can see at the Fauntleroy Schoolhouse celebration next Thursday) played Taps:
That photo is courtesy of Jim Edwards (who has played it in previous years) and whose Life son Kyle Edwards from Scout Troop 284 was photographed by WSB as he walked up the knoll to place the wreath at the Forest Lawn Tomb of the Unknown Soldier:
(Almost 400 of the 1,300+ crosses that are up at Forest Lawn this weekend are brand-new, thanks to Kyle’s Eagle Scout project, his dad tells us.)
(July 2009 West Seattle Grand Parade photo by Patrick Sand)
That’s just one of many scenes from last year’s West Seattle American Legion Post 160 Grand Parade (its official name, not “Hi-Yu Parade” though the West Seattle Hi-Yu contingent is a popular participant!). This year’s edition is coming up July 24, from California/Lander to California/Edmunds as usual, and, also as usual, it’s a massive volunteer undertaking, as are most if not all of the other community parades around Seattle. And since it’s a free event, its organizers don’t exactly have a big pot of money on which to draw for expenses – which is why a recent announcement sparked so much concern: The city had recently started notifying parades that effective immediately, they would have to pick up the cost for no-parking signs and other standard trappings.
We heard about this from local organizers, and checked with SDOT. Communications director Rick Sheridan replied:
Based on the significant budget shortfall that the city is facing in this and future years, SDOT is reviewing all of its programs. In an era of tight budgets, SDOT believes it needs to carefully focus its limited resources. In previous years, the department placed traffic controls signs for community events and the city covered the expense. This year SDOT proposed that events needing these services should be responsible for covering the costs.
However, based on concerns raised by organizers of several community events about their ability to cover these costs on short notice, SDOT has reconsidered this decision for 2010. Program cuts for this year will not include reductions in event support and we will look for alternative midyear reductions.
But, Sheridan went on to say, this plan WILL be in next year’s budget. So here’s the challenge for the West Seattle parade and others: WS Parade Coordinator Jim Edwards explains they are stuck in a conundrum. Just charge entries a little more to cover the cost, you say? Problem is, they cannot charge for entries at all, without sharply raising their costs: Edwards explains that any parade charging for entries has to pay five times the permit fee of those that don’t.
The West Seattle parade usually gets a few monetary donations, which help cover costs, but otherwise, because of the permit prerequisite, everyone who enters the parade – and watches the parade – does so for free.
(July 2009 West Seattle Grand Parade photo by Christopher Boffoli)
Edwards says parade organizers would like to have the right to charge a fee to entries that use the parade as a marketing opportunity – commercial and political entries – without Post 160 having to pay for a costlier permit. If the rules were changed to allow that, it would help them cover what they expect will be at least a $1,500 added cost for the signage next year, if the new SDOT plan goes through.
It’s not that the parade’s been draining resources over the years without compensating the city at all; Edwards explains that the West Seattle parade already participates in the city’s “cost recovery” process, and has taken steps over the years to use fewer city resources: “Our original permit costs were upward of $1,500. But because we have a good community who cleans up the roadway at the end of the parade, our costs steadily decreased over the years. We reduced costs further by downsizing crowd estimates slightly as well. We further cut costs at the request of (police) by moving the parade south of Admiral Way.”
(Photo from July 2009 parade by Tracy Record)
The “cost recovery” process, he says, had been multidepartmental on the city side – but now with SDOT’s announcement, he wonders, “Are we now going to have each department instituting its own cost recovery process? Our parade is 1.5 miles. If you include assembly, dispersal, Metro bypasses, Emergency routes. We have signage on about 3.5 miles of roadway…. Our costs will be much higher than say the 2-block-long Magnolia parade.”
So for now, it’s on with this year’s parade as usual, but American Legion Post 160 and those who run Seattle’s other remaining community parades will be watching the city-budget process, to see how this shakes out.
“Knowing that this increased cost may be a possibility next year doesn’t make it any easier to pay, but at least we have time to figure out how,” Edwards says. “It would be our hope that the Special Events Committee makes changes to the rules and allows the community parades to charge a small fee to commercial and political entries in the parade, while still maintaining the free status to everyone else. … I would also hope that the portion of the permit that is (already) considered SDOT costs, (then) be removed from the permit fee. These fees were established under what the city called a cost-recovery program some 15 years ago or so. It was determined that we needed to pick up some of the costs that the city departments incurred from all these parades, hence the massive increase in permit costs.”
Hard to believe the school year only has three weeks to go (June 22 is Seattle Public Schools‘ official last day) – lots of school events happening as the year wraps up; we have two reports to share today, sent along with photos recently by Jeanne Merritt of Madison Middle School:
On May 21 Madison Middle School had its annual May Day Bash. The evening included a spaghetti dinner, a sundae bar, a cake walk, and a silent auction. Funds raised will help support the school library, plus school and classroom activities.
Silent auction items included some truly fine art and craft items that were donated, classroom baskets (e.g. a gardener’s basket, a dog lover’s basket, etc.) and more. [Photo below] Ms. Myers’ math students did an artistic rendering of their name by using reflectional and rotational symmetry. Then the names were put together into a large work of art for another auction item. (If you don’t know what reflectional and rotational symmetry are, you will need to ask a Madison sixth grader!)
Madison staff are very appreciative of their PTSA for all their hard work putting together this fun event.
Madison also celebrated its Super Science Night this month – click ahead to see that report, and photos, plus the answer to an unusual question:Read More
WHAT’S OPERATING DIFFERENTLY TODAY? No school, no mail, no government offices (with a few exceptions), no banks, Metro on a Sunday schedule, Sound Transit Express buses on a Sunday schedule, most city-run community center/park facilities (including Southwest Pool) and libraries closed; if you go to a Seattle neighborhood with parking pay stations/meters, note that there’s no charge today (“parking holiday”)
WHAT’S OPERATING AS USUAL TODAY? Trash/recycling/yard waste pickup is normal, King County Water Taxi runs a regular weekday schedule (as do its shuttle buses), Fauntleroy-Vashon-Southworth state ferries running regular schedule, state liquor stores are open, as is Colman Pool
OTHER NOTES We don’t usually compile a coffee/restaurant list for this holiday – Thanksgiving and Christmas are the big ones for that – but we do know our coffee-shop sponsors, Hotwire Coffee and Cupcake Royale, are both open today. From our restaurant-sponsor ranks, Feedback Lounge is open and offering their new $5 Lunch and $1 Munchie Monday specials. And from the WSB inbox, West 5 sent word they “will be open (today), and we’ll have our delightful Weekend Fare menu available from 11:00 to 4:00.” Wondering about other West Seattle businesses? More than 120 are on the WSB West Seattle Businesses Twitter list – if you use Twitter, look to see if they’re tweeting today.
David Hutchinson shares that photo of a crow at Don Armeni while wondering if it too is grumpy about the gray/wet weather. On the semi-bright side, the forecast as of this hour suggests a rainy morning lifting to a chance-of-showers afternoon.