West Seattle, Washington
Tomorrow (Thursday) is tipoff day for West Seattle YMCA (WSB sponsor) youth basketball signups for ages 4-11. Just got the reminder from sports director Matt Schlede, who says you can sign up by clicking “youth basketball” on this webpage listing Y activities – that’ll show you all the options. It’s basically a 7-game schedule with one practice during the week and one game on the weekend; practices start after Thanksgiving, and the first games are the weekend of December 11th. (You can also register in person at the West Seattle YMCA or Fauntleroy YMCA.)
(Video added after the hearing)
(Group of speakers asking the council to cancel cuts in a domestic-violence program)
ORIGINAL 6:31 PM REPORT: We are about 45 minutes into testimony at the City Council Budget Committee hearing in Brockey Center at South Seattle Community College in West Seattle. By our unofficial count, about 200 people are here; more than 70 have signed up to testify – though so far, we have seen some of the speakers bring up others to take part of their turn, so the eventual number may surpass that. West Seattleites who have spoken so far include Fran Yeatts, executive director of the West Seattle Food Bank, and a Senior Center of West Seattle volunteer. WS Food Bank’s Shannon Braddock spoke too:
It’s not too late to come to the hearing, which is likely to last several hours – signups are being taken at the north entrance of Brockey Center. Six councilmembers are here; Sally Clark has sent word she will be here after another commitment wraps up around 7 pm.
7:19 PM UPDATE: All councilmembers are here now – the last to arrive was Mike O’Brien, as of 6:53 pm.
West Seattleites who have spoken in the past 10 minutes or so include Katy Walum, president of the Admiral Neighborhood Association (above), and Mat McBride, chair of the Delridge District Council, both opposing the proposed Department of Neighborhoods cuts – specifically, the proposed cuts in district coordinators and in the Neighborhood Matching Fund. Two Highland Park residents, including City Council candidate (next year) Dorsol Plants, have spoken in favor of the Streets for All program – some of its objectives would be met by the increase in the commercial parking tax that Mayor McGinn is proposing. We are now on the 48th speaker, but the number of actual speakers will be longer than the number signed up, since some are bringing up associates to tag onto their time.
7:37 PM UPDATE: Lisa West from the Alki Elementary PTSA and two area kids (including her 7th-grader daughter) are testifying to keep Alki Community Center completely open:
She says that in 45 minutes today at school she collected more than 40 signatures from parents who want to keep the community center from reductions that are tantamount to a closure. “Alki Community Center is the one place I allow my children to go on their home,” she says. She also mentions that whether you live in an apartment or a house, few of the residences in the Alki area have yards for kids to play in – she is becoming emotional as she tries to read through a statement to the council. She says that the outdoor areas of the park are not an option because there are so many problems – caused largely by adults. And with maintenance cuts, she says through tears, how will they even use the outdoor basketball courts? The indoor courts, she says, are the main source of recreation during winter weather. “Our community is diverse and rich, and is just that – community,” and the area around the community center and school are a meeting place for parents, both before after school. (We have her testimony on video and will add it, along with several others’ clips, later.)
7:53 PM UPDATE: More West Seattle speakers – Patrick Dunn from Sustainable West Seattle, on behalf of keeping the Neighborhood Matching Fund whole – he mentions that it helped launch the successful and popular West Seattle Tool Library, and also is paving the way for the in-the-works Community Orchard of West Seattle.
After him, Tony Fragada of the Alki Community Council is up, mentioning yet more Neighborhood Matching Fund projects (including the money just given to Seal Sitters for education):
Then, mega-involved Chas Redmond, co-chair of the Southwest District Council (among other things), mentioning how the grant money has helped SWS with even more projects such as the Sustainable West Seattle Festival. (We interviewed Redmond and Dorsol Plants, mentioned earlier, on video before the hearing.)
“3 years after our 1st conversation with the Department of Neighborhoods, we have become an organization in West Seattle that has amazing capacity,” Redmond says, even able, now that it’s a 501(c)3, to help other groups. He says it’s a tool to allow the city to “amplify its neighborhoods.”
7:59 PM UPDATE: Rick Jump from the White Center Food Bank is testifying, not against a cut, but to ask the council to support the mayor’s request for $35,000 for WC Food Bank – which serves city residents but has never received city money. He also says the food bank has just started a new program for city residents, a mobile food bank that on Tuesday at Arrowhead Gardens served 80 senior citizens. (The orange scarf he wore was also worn by dozens of others to show support for human-services spending.)
8:27 PM UPDATE: 81st speaker now. 80th speaker was Alki’s Steve Cuddy, another voice opposing the “virtual closure of Alki Community Center.” A few speakers earlier, Fairmount Community Association’s Sharonn Meeks spoke, another voice in support of restoring Department of Neighborhoods cuts, speaking about how the Southwest Neighborhood District Coordinator in particular is so important for community connection and assistance – giving the example that was given at the recent Southwest District Council meeting, the huge Gateway cleanup two years ago, bringing together hundreds of volunteers – it couldn’t have happened without district coordinator Stan Lock‘s help. Now, Fauntleroy Community Association’s Vlad Oustimovitch, also on the DON cuts, saying that McGinn is “the second mayor in a row that’s tried to dismantle (the department)”:
9 PM UPDATE: The hearing is over, after 95 speakers. Probably the single most-testified-about topic was the cable public-access network SCAN, with multiple groups like this one taking their turn:
Before the hearing, musicians who perform on the cable channel serenaded people as they arrived:
There’s one more budget hearing coming up at City Hall later this month (October 26 – details here), and other meetings/hearings/chances to comment before the City Council approves a final version, which is expected on Nov. 22nd. We’re back to HQ with photos and video to add to our coverage.
Just received a note about an apparently thwarted case of animal cruelty involving beach birds known to many in the Fauntleroy area (featured on WSB back in August). The person who e-mailed us did not want to be publicly identified:
I called 911 on 3 youths today who were using a sling shot to sling rocks at the white geese that have taken up home near the front entry of Lincoln Park.
The youths were yelling, “kill them” when a lady stopped and asked them to leave the geese alone. I was walking my dog and told them to stop and leave them alone. At this point they had something in their hand and it looked like they were trying to put it around the geese’s neck. They yelled at me and asked what I was looking at. They made threatening remarks to me and the other lady. I called 911 and gave a detailed description to them. I couldn’t stay for the police to arrive as I had to leave to pick up my own son from after school care. This was about 4:30 today.
Description (I should have taken a picture with my phone, but was intimidated):
3 youth male between the age of 15-16
One Caucasian, very thin, dressed all in black with spiked blonde hair
2 others who looked like brothers, husky build, mixed race, definitely some islander, one was wearing a red t-shirt with jeans and the other a red hoodie with jeans. The one with the hoodie was yelling “kill them”. The one with the red t shirt was saying the threatening remarks.
I hated to see those innocent geese that are so beautiful tortured. Not sure if you want to post or not. The police dispatcher said a car would come patrol the area as soon as possible
As previously reported, there’ve been questions concerning the bidding process for Delridge Skatepark (to be built at the northeast corner of the park adjacent to Delridge Community Center), after the low bidder was reported to not have met an amendment to the qualifications requiring a certain number of skateparks of a certain size to have been built within a certain time – Parks was deciding whether to give the project to the second-lowest bidder, or to re-bid it. According to a note just received from project manager Kelly Davidson, they’ve made the latter decision:
After internal review and review with the City Attorney’s office, Parks is rejecting all bids for Delridge Skatepark. The project and qualifications will be reviewed and the project will be re-bid. I will follow up with more information on the re-bid process once we have determined the dates and revisions to the qualifications.
Just after we published the first version of this, another e-mail came in, this one from Kevin Stoops, a top manager in Parks, confirming this means a months-long delay in skatepark construction:
Earlier today we decided to reject all bids for the Delridge Skatepark and rebid this project later this year or early next year for mid-2011 construction.
This decision has been reached after a review of the very restrictive supplemental bidder qualifications that were issued by addendum to the original project requirements. These focused on volume of work rather than specific construction requirements to complete the work, and are unnecessarily restrictive. the project will be re-bid with clearer contractor qualification requirements outlined in the construction documents. The design of the skatepark will not be changed.
Further, issuance of a construction contract involving excavation and concrete work at this time of year will be problematic was we are now ready to enter a wet rainy period for some time. The construction window for such concrete work is already rapidly coming to an end for 2010 and an extremely wet winter is forecast. Starting construction in the face of such would likely lead to unintended site costs due to wet conditions.
Admiral Neighborhood Association president Katy Walum is among the neighborhood leaders you can expect to see at tonight’s City Council Budget Committee hearing at South Seattle Community College‘s Brockey Center (signups at 5, hearing at 5:30, more in this morning’s preview). ANA is the latest local group to voice concern about Mayor McGinn‘s proposed budget, particularly the cuts that would be made in the Department of Neighborhoods – closing the Neighborhood Service Center in The Junction and cutting the Neighborhood District Coordinator job that’s based there, as well as cutting the amount of money that would be available through the Neighborhood Matching Fund. Read on for more, as well as other toplines from last night’s meeting:Read More
Three updates from Patrick Dunn with the West Seattle Tool Library, entering its first winter since its creation as a Sustainable West Seattle project. For one, they’re about to hit a membership milestone – and that includes some prizes you might be eligible to win! Second, a free workshop is ahead, and third, the Tool Library’s hours are changing this weekend. Read on for details on all of the above: Read More
Two quick notes about spotlighted walking opportunities in the next two days:
Tomorrow night is the monthly West Seattle Art Walk, and since it’s the start of a new quarter, that means some new venues join the roster – the full list is on the walking map; you can also sample some of the participating artists by checking out the official West Seattle Art Walk website. Among the WSB sponsors who will be showing art tomorrow night are two with new locations – Click! Design That Fits (4540 California SW in The Junction) and M3 Bodyworks (5236 California SW). Official Art Walk hours tomorrow (Thursday) night – in 41 venues from Alki Bathhouse in the north to Barton Street Lofts (WSB sponsor) in the south – are 6-9 pm.
On Friday afternoon, the Nature Consortium would love to have you join them on their monthly eco-hike (more like a walk – it’s not terribly challenging, so no worries if you’re not a full-fledged hiker) through the West Duwamish Greenbelt. 1 pm Friday, meet at 14th SW and SW Holly. It’s free but they ask that you RSVP – email@example.com.
West Seattle Chamber of Commerce members heard from Duwamish Tribe chair Cecile Hansen during their lunch meeting today at the tribe’s Longhouse and Cultural Center in eastern West Seattle. She provided an update on the tribe’s fight for federal recognition, granted toward the end of the Clinton Administration, invalidated at the start of the Bush Administration: Hansen says the Duwamish have a new legal team in place to help them with their appeal of the latter decision, which they had been pursuing for years, along with new legislation. (She in fact left shortly after her speech for a meeting with the new team, which is why we don’t have a photo of her from today – we’d intended to take one with Chamber leaders as the lunch wrapped up.) According to Hansen, the tribe’s 600 current members are spread around the region, and their intent to seek recognition has no “ulterior motive.” She requested support in the form of letters to Congress, asking them to get the recognition process moving. Meantime, the Longhouse has presented a variety of fundraisers to help pay the legal bills, under the “Frybread for Justice” umbrella – there’s another one this Saturday; check the Longhouse website’s Calendar of Events for more on that and many other upcoming events.
OTHER NOTES FROM THE CHAMBER LUNCH: Local businesses are invited to join a Seattle Chamber event tonight that’s almost in West Seattle – a citywide mixer at Herban Feast’s Sodo Park, 5:30 pm … That’s also the site of next week’s Chamber fundraiser, Bordeaux, Bites, and Boogie, October 21st at 5 pm (more information here) … City Councilmember Sally Bagshaw will be the “Lunch with LEO” guest for the periodic brown-bag-with-an-elected-leader at WS Chamber offices, noon October 28th, RSVP required … And next month’s Chamber lunch will feature South Seattle Community College‘s new president Gary Oertli.
Two notes this afternoon: First, if you haven’t seen this already in the WSB Forums, Chris reports a lane revision on eastbound Andover at Delridge (map). Second: Another reminder that the Alaskan Way Viaduct‘s semiannual inspection is this weekend, so it’s scheduled to be closed 6 am-6 pm Saturday and the same time frame Sunday (sometimes it reopens earlier, and we will report it here if that happens, as well as on Twitter and Facebook). Also note that a bit later this month, the eastbound West Seattle Bridge ramp to 99 will be closed for two nights – 10 pm-5 am, October 20-21 – as part of the Viaduct earthquake-gating project.
ORIGINAL 10:33 AM REPORT: The mayor and city tech boss Bill Schrier (a West Seattleite) have just started a briefing on the new look of seattle.gov –
you can watch live above. Notes as we go. Key points: This is the result of a usability study; it streamlines “the interface to five portals instead of nine.” The search feature is stronger, Schrier explains. Also, the right-side links to elected officials, on the home page’s right side, will include their Facebook and Twitter links. There’s a dropdown toward the middle of the page to get you to the relatively new “My Neighborhood” maps, which include layers for 911 calls (not all “live” – there’s a few hours’ lag for police reports) and police reports.
(10:44 am) The mayor is noting that the new look does NOT run throughout all seattle.gov pages yet. Schrier says Knowledge As Power is the firm that has conducted a usability study that helped pave the way for some of the changes they made. He also notes there are 100,000 pages on the city website at the moment so “it will take a long time for us to circulate through (all the pages) to upgrade its look and feel.” The mayor says ask.seattle.gov will be launched in the future for people to post questions – and he says his office will monitor and forward questions to appropriate departments. He says he intends the web to be used more for engagement than to just “push information out to people.”
(10:49 am) Questions/answers now. We asked about personalization. Not yet, but my.seattle.gov is still in the works. Another question: Mobile “light” version of the site? Answer: Not yet. Question: Cost of this redesign? Answer: Less than $5,000 in outside resources (Knowledge As Power says their usability study cost the city less than $1K – their report’s been published online, reps from KAP just said).
(11:01 am) The mayoral media availability has now moved on to other Q/A which so far have included Fire Department staffing, the Viaduct questionnaire to be discussed by WSDOT this afternoon, and two City Council bills the mayor opposed.
(11:28 am) The briefing’s now completely concluded. When the video we streamed live earlier is available in archive, we’ll bring back the link. In the meantime, we had a few post-briefing chats: One reason the redesign didn’t include mobile is the cost, Schrier says – they’d made a budget request but it would have been more than $150,000.
Two West Seattle Crime Watch notes this morning. First, after a half-dozen notes/calls from concerned neighbors/passersby, we have a bit of information on the notable police presence near 50th/Stevens (map): Det. Mark Jamieson in the SPD media unit says it’s a search warrant, and that’s all he can say right now – not a currently active crime scene. We’ll be checking back later. (Added: Moments after we published this, another note came in from Laura, mentioning that the FBI is there too.) … Meantime, Jeff sends word of a stolen truck to watch for:
This weekend (Saturday) a friend of mine had his work truck stolen from his house near Genesee and 50th [map]. It is a large Chevy panel truck with “Express Cryogenics” painted on the outside, and is the only one of the same kind in the Seattle area. If anyone knows about this, or sees the truck driving around town, please call me (Jeff @ 206-933-6302) or (Paul @ 206-923-2699). It’s his work truck, and he can’t provide for his family without it. There is only one truck like this in Seattle.
9:30 AM UPDATE: Via Facebook, Julie says officers left the 50th/Stevens scene around 9 am. 5:55 PM UPDATE: Haven’t had a chance to mention this sooner – Jeff says they found the truck, in West Seattle, after getting a call less than an hour after this item was published this morning.
Our quick notes in the daily countdown to the November 2nd election is a few hours later than usual today because there are several things to preview: First, as we’ve been mentioning, King County expects to mail ballots today – so voting could start as soon as tomorrow … One of the two local races for open seats, 34th District House Position 2, will be showcased in West Seattle today – the weekly Kiwanis Club of West Seattle meeting includes a candidate forum with contenders Joe Fitzgibbon and Mike Heavey (more details in our original preview) … The 34th District Democrats‘ monthly meeting is tonight, 7 pm, The Hall at Fauntleroy; along with Get Out The Vote plans, their online agenda notes a guest appearance by King County Council chair Bob Ferguson for county-budget Q/A … And if you haven’t made up your mind in the 34th District House #2 and King County Council #8 races yet, remember to keep the calendar open for the North Highline Unincorporated Area Council‘s doubleheader forum at the Greenbridge YWCA (just over the Highland Park/White Center line) a week from tomorrow, 7 pm October 21st. … “Social media” watch: Only Twitter/Facebook update in those two races in the past day – Fitzgibbon tweeted yesterday. … Election news to share? Let us know. (No attack/counter-attack, though, thanks, plenty of that elsewhere.)
This will come up again later in our reports on last night’s Fauntleroy Community Association and Admiral Neighborhood Association meetings, both of which included discussions of the city budget proposal, but for now, here are the basics on tonight’s hearing, one of three the City Council Budget Committee – which includes all nine councilmembers – has scheduled: The official agenda is here, including links to related documents, and some guidelines for how the hearing will go; the hearing is not in a “listen to a presentation and then comment” format, but instead, almost entirely (you can expect some introductions and instructions) for public comment. They’ll take signups starting at 5 pm, and speakers will start at 5:30 pm. It’s in Brockey Center, the event venue on the south side of the South Seattle Community College campus; here’s a map to SSCC (6000 16th SW), and once you’re there, here’s a campus map. The Seattle Channel will likely webcast the hearing live as it did with the first one; if so, we’ll stream it here too. Previous WSB coverage of the budget’s potential West Seattle effects includes running coverage from the day it was announced, a closer look at the targeted-for-closure SPD Mounted Unit, and detailed discussion of the Department of Neighborhoods‘ potential cuts.