Alki Community Council: ‘Heavy hearts’; budget talk


Story and photo by Jason Grotelueschen
Reporting for West Seattle Blog

About 20 Alki neighbors gathered Thursday night for the monthly meeting of the Alki Community Council at Alki UCC Church, to talk about Seattle’s city budget and to move the council forward in honor of a dearly departed friend. 

The special guest for the evening was Seattle City Councilmember Tom Rasmussen (also an Alki-area resident, and pictured above), who led a discussion about local and regional impacts of Seattle’s proposed budget for 2011 and beyond (read WSB’s recent budget coverage). 

Rasmussen said it had been a “tough year” for the budget process, but noted that the Council has been able to scale back the extent of some of the previously proposed cuts to programs such as neighborhood community centers (local example: the Alki Community Center’s weekly hours will be reduced to 30, not 15). 

Rasmussen has also chaired the council’s Transportation Committee since January, which he said has kept him “amazingly busy” with projects like the Alaskan Way Viaduct Central Waterfront replacement project (WSB coverage archive here). He answered questions from ACC meeting attendees about the viaduct and other transportation projects. 

Following Rasmussen’s Q&A session (more notes about that will be added to this story later), the ACC elected new officers, which became especially necessary following the death of ACC President Jule Sugarman, who died in early November at age 83. 

alkiprez.jpgThere will be a memorial service for Mr. Sugarman tomorrow at Westside Unitarian Universalist Congregation at 2 pm. He was first elected as ACC president in March 2008; that’s when we took this photo (left). As described in this Washington Post obituary, Sugarman was instrumental in the creation of the nationwide Head Start program, and had a “distinguished career” at the national level. 

ACC Vice President Randie Stone said “we’re here with heavy hearts tonight,” but remembered Sugarman’s “good humor” and his dedication to the council. To reorganize the council board in his absence, the ACC proposed (and unanimously approved) a new slate of officers, which includes a number of longtime ACC leaders:  

President: Tony Fragada
Vice President: Randie Stone
Secretary: (vacant)
Treasurer: Terry Zerngast 

Laura Sue Hoover
Lee Johnson
Jim Borrow

UPDATE 8pm – A few additional notes from Tom Rasmussen’s Q&A session: 

Rasmussed noted that (as reported previously by WSB) the council had voted last week to cancel the closure of the West Seattle Junction’s Neighborhood Service Center, to give $300,000 back to the Neighborhood Matching Fund, and to only cut 3 of the Neighborhood District Coordinator positions instead of 7. 

Regarding the Alki Community Center, meeting attendees expressed concern that even though the center’s weekly hours will only be cut to 30 (not 15), there still would be a negative impact on the community because of the cuts. Some wondered if the cuts couldn’t be concentrated into the summer months (when community center usage city-wide is low), leaving more time for the centers to be open during the high-use winter months. Rasmussen said he was open to the idea, and had certainly observed those trends himself in other community centers. Later in the meeting, attendees approved a motion to have ACC President Tony Fragada work with Alki parent Lisa West to draft a letter to Rasmussen and City Parks, requesting “sensible hours” for the Alki Community Center.

The final 2011-2012 Seattle City budget is scheduled to be formally adopted on Monday November 22. More information is available at the Council’s budget website.

The Alki Community Council meets on the third Thursday of the month, 7 pm, at Alki UCC.  NOTE: There will be no December meeting; next meeting is January 20, 2011.  

1 Reply to "Alki Community Council: 'Heavy hearts'; budget talk"

  • sophista-tiki November 19, 2010 (4:04 pm)

    THAT COUCH! in the pic I think I have the matching side chairs.

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