day : 16/03/2013 9 results

Seattle Police surveillance cameras: Council meeting Monday; documents go public; online petition circulating

Three notes tonight on the Seattle Police surveillance-camera system that is being installed now and that the department hopes to activate this spring:

COUNCIL VOTE MONDAY ON SURVEILLANCE-SYSTEM OVERSIGHT: This Monday during the Seattle City Council‘s regular 2 pm meeting, they are scheduled to vote on the proposal to give the council a role in overseeing city-owned/operated surveillance systems from hereon out. It is not a vote specifically on the 30-camera system that Seattle Police wants to use in connection with a federally funded “wireless mesh” communications system, but rather a vote on a bill setting policies regarding surveillance systems. As reported in as-it-happened coverage here, the council’s Public Safety, Civil Rights, and Technology Committee discussed the bill on March 6, including amendments. Civil-liberties activist/writer Phil Mocek has compared an earlier version of the bill to the amended version that the council will consider Monday – showing and writing about the differences on his website here, including a side-by-side comparison. Along with other points, he notes that it speaks to concerns about communication – this system, you’ll recall, was being installed without any word to the public:

Instead of a description of the nature and extent of outreach performed, the bill now requires (in paragraph ‘H’) plans for public outreach for each community in which the surveillance equipment is intended to be used, including opportunity for public meetings, opportunity for comment periods, and written agency responses to public comments.

You can read the full bill here. The Monday afternoon council meetings do begin with a public-comment period; they’re in council chambers on the second floor of City Hall downtown.

PUBLIC-DISCLOSURE REQUEST: In late January (shortly after we first reported on the cameas), Mocek initiated public-disclosure actions seeking various types of documentation related to this system, and the resulting public release of documents is under way. Some have been made available on the website through which he filed the request, and others are in progress. Another local advocate, Andrew Pilloud, also filed for public release of documents and gave us the heads-up today that some are now available – he has written about it on his website, here. He says his concerns include the fact the city could vastly expand the camera network (as discussed in an online article we found in our early reporting on the system): “If the city was offered another grant, there is no technical reason not to add a camera to every other mesh node in the city for 180 in total.” He also says the cameras have capacities beyond what SPD originally sought – this came up briefly in Q/A at last Tuesday’s Alki Bathhouse meeting (WSB coverage, with video, here).

‘TAKE DOWN THE CAMERAS’ ONLINE PETITION: As mentioned previously in WSB comments and the WSB Forums, an online petition is circulating to ask the city to cancel the camera system. (At least twice in meetings we’ve covered, SPD leadership has said that could be done without affecting the “wireless-mesh” communications network.) The petition is here. It was created by Avrian Sellick, who tells WSB this is not only for those who are against the cameras: “The petition is also for those who are deeply concerned with the SPD’s handling of the public relations aspect of these cameras. … I really just want to give those people who are concerned about these cameras an organized avenue to communicate with the city and SPD.”

Side note: SPD plans another meeting about the surveillance cameras this Tuesday in Belltown, and has said there will be others, though no further dates have been announced. It’s at 7 pm Tuesday (March 19), Belltown Community Center.

West Seattle scene: Seafair Pirates’ post-parade Alki Tavern visit

After sailing their landlubbing vessel Moby Duck right behind the West Seattle High School Marching Band in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade downtown (as shown in our parade coverage), the Seafair Pirates brought it to this side of the bay for a visit to the Alki Tavern. Thanks to Don Brubeck for catching the scene as the Pirates reboarded and prepared to sail away before sunset. Tomorrow, as announced in January, is the tavern’s final day; the farewell festivities this past week have included a memorabilia auction Wednesday night (photos here) and the final Taco Thursday, motorcycle lineup and all (photos here). The site including the tavern and neighboring parcels has been sold and is expected to be redeveloped, though no formal proposal is filed with the city so far.

ADDED 9:32 PM: WSB contributing photojournalist Nick Adams was inside the tavern with the Pirates:

(added) … and outside:

(Pirates Lance English, left, and Shane Faucher)
Six more scenes of revelry – ahead:

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Photos: More West Seattle comet-watching tonight

(Photo by Paul, added 9:45 pm)
ORIGINAL REPORT, 7:38 PM: Last night, Comet PanSTARRS was briefly visible in a gap between the clouds – and that might be the case again tonight, reports Alice Enevoldsen of Alice’s Astro Info fame and author of “Skies Over West Seattle” updates on WSB – so she’s planning to be on the south end of Lincoln Park at 8 pm. We’ll update if there’s a sighting! (And if you can’t join Alice at the park, the graphic in her March SOWS report shows you where to look.)

9:48 PM UPDATE: Sightings reported! First photo in is courtesy of Paul – added atop this story.

ADDED SUNDAY MORNING: Two photos from Alice’s husband Jason Gift Enevoldsen:

Jason reports that Alice couldn’t get to the beach so he led the comet-viewing there instead:

I took a couple scopes and some binoculars and set up at the south end of the beach again. There was soon a small crowd and we all enjoyed the significantly-improved views tonight – fewer clouds and steadier air (despite the wind). … Many of us were even able to make out the comet without optical aid. The effect was very similar to the second photo below near the top-center, sort of like a tiny speck of dust stuck to your glasses – difficult to see at first and fuzzy, but once you’ve spotted it, it was hard to ignore. I think we probably had about 15-20 people total who stopped by, all ages, and took a chance to view it. We had fun while it lasted; the clouds came in quickly around 8:45 pm, only about 10 minutes before the comet would have set behind the mountains anyway.

What about Sunday night? We’ll see how things look when sunset approaches!

SUNDAY AFTERNOON UPDATE: If there’s a significant break in the clouds, Alice plans to be out at the south end of Lincoln Park beach around 7:45 tonight for comet- and Northern Lights-watching. You can also watch her Twitter account for updates.

Video: WSHS, Denny bands, other West Seattleites in St. Patrick’s Day parade downtown

Despite 22 years in Seattle, a lifelong love of parade, and a bit of Irish blood in the household, we’d never managed to make it downtown for the Seattle St. Patrick’s Day Parade until today. But when we heard two local bands would be marching, as well as other West Seattle participants, we couldn’t resist. Above, the West Seattle High School Marching Band – which was near the end of the parade lineup and right in front of the Seafair Pirates‘ cannon-detonating Moby Duck, so the students’ ears might be ringing a bit this afternoon. Next, the Denny International Middle School Marching Band:

Other West Seattleite sightings – the Seattle Police horses, who are based at Westcrest Park in Highland Park:

They were with a large SPD delegation – which also included the summertime-favorite Motorcycle Drill Team at the start of the parade, and, later, two SWAT vehicles:

Along with parade marchers, vehicles of all types were in the parade – even the West Coast Entertainment touring Segways from The Admiral District:

Other West Seattle sightings – County Councilmember Joe McDermott (waving) walked with the dignitaries toward the start of the parade:

Seafair Pirate Rusty Harper:

And the Comerford School of Irish Dance, which has classes at the VFW Hall in The Triangle, was there:

Who’d we miss? We did record the entire parade on video but at least where we were, a couple blocks north of the start, it was so stop-and-go that the video would require a lot of editing for continuous motion, but we can find other West Seattleites for a shout-out! We’ll probably add a few more photos later anyway. The parade, by the way, is sponsored by the Irish Heritage Club of Seattle.

Eight weeks till West Seattle Community Garage Sale Day 2013

March 16, 2013 2:30 pm
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 |   Community Garage Sale Day | West Seattle news

Eight weeks from today – on Saturday, May 11th – it’s the ninth annual West Seattle Community Garage Sale Day, coordinated/presented again this year by WSB. Whether you’ll be selling or shopping, it’s always a great day to meet your neighbors and engage in what we like to think of as person-to-person recycling – not one big sale, but hundreds of sales all over the peninsula, big, small, and inbetween (you can browse past years’ coverage at to see the highlights). Registration is NOT open yet – we plan to start on April 1st, and we’ll announce it here as well as in our other channels – the official WSCGSD website, the WSCGSD Facebook page (as well as the WSB FB page), and the WSB Twitter feed.. Don’t worry about missing your chance to register your sale, because we keep registration open for a couple weeks to make sure everybody gets the word. Sale day, again, is Saturday, May 11th, 9 am-3 pm – stay tuned for signup time!

Video: PBS features ‘Diver Laura’ and the fight against runoff pollution

(EDITOR’s NOTE: Embedded video window removed because of technical problem – please follow the first link in the story to see the video)

West Seattle’s own “Diver Laura” James shares the link to that report from PBS NewsHour earlier this week. Her work documenting underwater Puget Sound sights both beautiful and disturbing is featured along with something you might not have heard about the use of raingardens to intercept runoff pollution: The fact that techniques are being studied to find out more about how they work and how long they work. (Despite the labeling from PBS, the video clip is mostly about runoff, not raingardens.) Laura is now leading the program to educate people about reducing runoff, not only via stormwater interception but in so many other ways, and she’ll again be part of the team when local advocates join The Whale Trail‘s next presentation, coming up March 28th (look for more details on that from TWT later this weekend).

West Seattle Crime Watch: Gunfire hits house twice in one week

The house at 20th SW/SW Cloverdale hit by gunfire last Saturday night was shot at again last night, according to police. From SPD Blotter:

The Gang Unit is investigating the second shooting in a week at a West Seattle home. This morning at approximately 1:32 am, officers were dispatched to a drive-by shooting at a house in the 2000 block of SW Cloverdale St. Upon arrival, they located damage from small caliber rounds in the outer wall of the house.

One bullet fragment was removed from the wall and placed into evidence. The only two people home at the time of the shooting were the parents of the family. There is no suspect information and there were no witnesses to the shooting. The residents of the house claim they have no idea as to why anyone would target their home. This is the second drive-by shooting at this house in a week.

Everyone at the scene tonight denied any gang affiliation, but the stairs leading to the front door were tagged with gang graffiti. There were no reported injuries. The Gang Unit responded and processed the scene.

Besides the two incidents involving that house, there’s been at least one other confirmed gunfire case in West Seattle this past week – as we reported last Monday morning, casings were found near 10th SW and SW Elmgrove after people heard shots. No injuries have been reported in any of these incidents.

Sounders FC soccer camp coming to West Seattle for spring break

March 16, 2013 9:58 am
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 |   West Seattle news | WS & Sports

Four weeks till spring break for Seattle Public Schools and others that follow their schedule – and it’ll feature a weeklong Sounders FC youth camp based at Delridge Playfield. The organization e-mailed us to help get the word out, as well as news of their three summer-camp weeks. Spring-break camp is April 15-19; summer camps are July 15-19, August 5-9, and August 26-30, described as “week-long training courses that are designed for the beginner to intermediate level player ages 4 – 15 years old,” with half-day/full-day programs. Details and registration info are on the Sounders’ website.

West Seattle Saturday: St. Patrick’s Day weekend, day 1

March 16, 2013 7:02 am
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 |   West Seattle news | WS miscellaneous

Bald eagle

(Bald eagle amid the greenery; photo by Alki Pete, shared via WSB Flickr group)
A weekend full of greenery – in so many ways – begins. From (mostly) the WSB West Seattle Event Calendar:

FREE FAMILY BOOTCAMP: 8 am at Jack Block Park with Jill – details here.

SOCCER! Up early? West Seattle Sunday Soccer also plays Saturday pickup games around 8 am at Delridge Playfield (4458 Delridge Way SW).

SEATTLE TILTH SPRING EDIBLE PLANT SALE: Not in West Seattle but not far – it’s at the Pacific Market Center garage in SODO/Georgetown, 9 am-3 pm. Details here.

RECESS MONKEY! They’re performing at High Point Community Center in West Seattle this morning as part of the Fabulous Family Fun series – details here.

CELTIC SWELL ST. PATRICK’S DAY WEEKEND: Music at noon and the pet-costume contest 2-4 pm (here’s our preview from when it was announced) – just part of the Alki establishment’s big slate you can see here.

LOCAL BANDS IN ST. PATRICK’S DAY PARADE: Not in West Seattle, but the WSHS and Denny IMS Marching Bands are scheduled to join in, as is the Tony Comerford School of Irish Dance (which has classes in West Seattle) – the Seattle St. Patrick’s Day Parade, traveling northward on 4th Avenue South from Jefferson, 12:30 pm, map and details here, participants’ list here.

‘CIRQUE DU PATHFINDER’ AUCTION: 5 pm at South Seattle Community College (WSB sponsor)’s Brockey Center, the sold-out benefit for Pathfinder K-8 is happening tonight – here’s our preview story.

SHOREWOOD AUCTION: 5 pm at the school (10300 28th SW), tonight’s gala event – details here.

CORNED BEEF WITH THE EAGLES: It’s a St. Patrick’s Day weekend tradition and a benefit to fight MS – dinner with the West Seattle Eagles in The Junction, 5:30 pm, details here.

‘NEXT FALL’ AT ARTSWEST: It’s the first weekend for the Seattle premiere run of this Tony-nominated play continues tonight at 7:30 pm at ArtsWest in The Junction (4711 California SW). And it’s already gleaned a positive review from The Seattle Times (WSB partner).

NORTHWEST SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA: Performing at 8 pm at West Seattle’s Holy Rosary Church, the NWSO’s “Spotlight on the Orchestra” includes “Entry of the Gods into Valhalla,” from Das Rheingold, one of the four operas that comprise Richard Wagner’s “The Ring of the Nibelungen” cycle. More info here; ticket info here.

‘CROSSING DELANCEY’: 8 pm at Kenyon Hall; this show is a special benefit for West Seattle synagogue Kol HaNeshamah. Ticket info here.

BREAST CANCER FUNDRAISER, NIGHT 2: Again tonight, the slate at the Benbow Room in The Admiral District (4210 SW Admiral Way) is an all-female lineup with half the proceeds going to fight breast cancer, including local favorites Daughters of the Dead Sea. Music starts at 9 pm.

BEARD BROTHERS AT THE FEEDBACK: An amazing array of classic rock is promised for tonight’s show by the Beard Brothers at Feedback Lounge (6451 California SW; WSB sponsor), 9:30 pm.

Lots more on the calendar – for today/tonight and beyond …