West Seattle, Washington
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
“A lot of this is policy” – and not policy made by Seattle Police.
That was a caveat tonight from Southwest Precinct commander Capt. Joe Kessler, when asked about the “Nickelsville” encampment’s status, following Mayor McGinn‘s new directive for more patrols (WSB Monday report), in the wake of the encampment declaring itself “overrun” with “meth dealers and violent, barred former campers” (WSB Sunday report).
Capt. Kessler was at the West Seattle Block Watch Captains Network meeting primarily for a get-acquainted event; the group was created in the time between his unprecedented two tours of duty at one precinct, something he says no SPD commander has done before. But in light of our coverage the past few days, WSBWCN co-founder Deb Greer asked him what he could tell the group.
First, he noted that the encampment was founded at the same 7116 West Marginal Way SW site during his first year as precinct commander.
As for now – he says behind-the-scenes city leadership strategizing is going on as well as police action. He said he “was in a meeting with the mayor’s senior staff and (Deputy) Chief (Nick) Metz” on Monday afternoon, and that his second-in-command Lt. Pierre Davis had met with the Southwest/South Precincts’ city-attorney liaison Melissa Chin, and that “we’re working through this process right now,” though the “process,” he said, “isn’t necessarily right now within (police’s) bailiwick.”
What is, Kessler said, “is to enforce the laws and (promote) safety.” He refuted allegations that police had not adequately responded to calls from the encampment: “Every call that’s been made, from everyone (there), has been responded to by the Southwest Precinct.”
But again, he said, major decisions on next steps won’t be made at the precinct level: “We’re in active discussions right now with the mayor’s office and city attorney’s office to figure out where they want to go … our role will be as part of the team, but we’re not the decisionmakers.”
Officers are “patrolling around” the encampment, Capt. Kessler confirmed, adding that “the mayor is accurate in saying we are making it one of our priority spots to make sure we are having a visible presence as much as we can – but that doesn’t mean we’re not going to patrol the (other) areas where we have emerging crime problems.”
To the Nickelsville Central Committee open letter last weekend accusing police of thwarting camp attempts at self-policing by not supporting “eviction” decisions, as reported in our Sunday story: “That is public property; it’s owned by the City of Seattle. There is no legal ability for anyone who is staying there – they are not landlords, so there is no legal ability for their (people) or for my officers to go there and actually evict somebody from public property, it’s not the same as if someone is at your house – so whatever rules are in place (at the encampment) are not legal rules. We still operate under the rule of law and we still have all the things that officers are well versed in their legal responsibilities and what they can and can’t do. … In all our discussions with the mayor and the city attorney’s office, everyone is on the same page.”
Another trouble spot came up at tonight’s meeting – 15th and Holden in Highland Park. That report is coming up later. Meantime, Nickelsville is scheduled to be discussed during Wednesday night’s Highland Park Action Committee meeting (7 pm, HP Improvement Club, 12th/Holden); HPAC has previously told the city that other communities should take turns hosting the encampment, and also has surveyed community members for their thoughts.
(Gina Baleto-Ferguson and Sage Marts at Talaricoâs during past Dining Out For Life)
Want to help people have a good time for a good cause? Lifelong AIDS Alliance is recruiting restaurant ambassadors for the 20th year of Dining Out For Life on April 25th:
Dining Out For Life is an annual event in which more than 150 Seattle-area restaurants donate a portion of your bill to support Lifelong AIDS Alliance and the fight against illness and hunger in our community. Ambassadors welcome guests, answer questions about Dining Out For Life , and collect donations.
The top five reasons why you should volunteer are:
1. See your peeps. Packing the restaurant with friends, family, and co-workers is a great way to maximize your volunteer experience. Request that your shift is held at one of your favorite restaurants from the list of those participating (pending availability).
2. Be inspired. Often patrons will share touching stories as to why they chose to participate in Dining Out For Life. Learning about how HIV/AIDS has affected so many of us is powerful â and makes your volunteer experience that much more rewarding.
3. Giving back was never this easy (or fun). What other volunteer opportunity has you meeting new people, visiting with friends, and talking about a great cause all while hanging out in some of Seattleâs coolest restaurants and bars?
4. We could not do it without you. The ambassadorâs role is vital to the success of this event. One-third of the total dollars raised at Dining Out For Life come from additional cash donations resulting from conversations between patrons and their ambassadors.
5. Be a part of something big. The funds raised on April 25th support Lifelongâs work empowering people living with HIV/AIDS and other chronic conditions to lead healthier lives. As an ambassador at Dining Out For Life, you are helping save lives!
Breakfast, lunch, dinner, and late-night shifts are available in restaurants all over Seattle/King County. An average shift takes anywhere from 3-6 hours. Visit DiningOutForLife.com/Seattle for the list of participating restaurants.
**Register online at wllaa.org/DOFLvolunteer to fill out the volunteer ambassador application**
Are you a restaurant interested in participating? We need you, too!
Participating in Dining Out is more than just good philanthropy; itâs good business. Lifelong is committed to hosting a successful event, helping fill your restaurant with loyal patrons, and creating a mutually beneficial partnership. Contact Eleazar Juarez-Diaz for more information or sign-up online here.
So far, according to the DOFL website, four West Seattle/White Center restaurants are participating – Buddha Ruksa, Skylark CafĂŠ, Proletariat Pizza, and Talarico’s, all planning to participate during the dinner hour that night.
West Seattleite Marley Blonsky sends word of a big rally downtown tomorrow for which she is lead organizer – a rally supporting nationwide marriage equality, on the day the U.S. Supreme Court is hearing arguments in two cases. It’s at noon tomorrow (Wednesday, March 27) outside the federal courthouse at 700 Stewart Street (map) – here’s the Facebook event page with full details. (P.S. If Marley’s name sounds familiar – we published the announcement of her wedding last September, and then photographed her and wife Whitney Young in the marriage-license line at the King County Courthouse during that historic December night/morning.)
If you see/hear a helicopter in southeast West Seattle tonight – it’s probably just a drill. We have advance notice just in from Seattle Fire Department spokesperson Kyle Moore:
Tonight the Seattle Fire Department along with the King County Sheriffâs Office will be conducting a Night Time Hoist Helicopter Training Drill at the City of Seattle Joint Training Facility. The purpose of the exercise will be for firefighters to practice rescuing patients at night from a high rise building.
The drill is part of an All Hazards Regional Aviation Response Partnership which includes the King County Sheriffâs Office, Snohomish County Sheriffâs Office, the Seattle Fire Department and other regional agencies.
Beginning at 6 p.m. neighbors of the City of Seattle Joint Training Facility located at 9401 Myers Way South [map] will notice an increase in activity and noise until 9 p.m. The drill will involve the takeoff and landing of the King County Sheriffâs Guardian 2 Helicopter.
And our second West Seattle Food Bank update this afternoon:
That’s John Moore of Morgan Junction-headquartered Northwest Insurance Group (longtime WSB sponsor) in our photo with Fran Yeatts, executive director of the West Seattle Food Bank. John went to the food bank Monday afternoon with a check for $1,000 – explained in his latest newsletter:
It’s time to give back. I want to thank our wonderful clients and friends that have been so generous in their support of our business. Throughout the year, as we receive valuable referrals from our clients and friends, we will match the $10 referral-reward gift toward a contribution to a local charity. This year, the lucky gift of $1,000 goes to our own West Seattle Food Bank!
And in case you forgot – this month and next, gifts to local food banks are good for more than face value, because of the Feinstein Challenge – explained here by WS and White Center Food Bank – so if you can give, now’s a great time to do it.
Two West Seattle Food Bank updates to share this afternoon. This story is the first one:
(Photos courtesy King County Executive’s Office)
County Executive Dow Constantine visited the WS Food Bank this morning as part of his participation in the United Way of King County‘s Hunger Action Week, calling attention to the fact that 1 in 7 people in King County deal with hunger – 1 in 6, nationwide. Via his Facebook page, he wrote:
The helpful volunteers and staff showed me the real challenges people face to get access to nutritious food. Working families, kids, and seniors rely on this valuable community asset, and I am thankful for their good work.
Today’s breakfast as part of the Food Stamp Challenge – three meals on just $7/day:
1/2 cup cereal: 20Â˘
2 oz soy milk: 22Â˘
West Seattle Crime Watch (and related) reader reports to share:
STOLEN CAR: Pam reports her husband’s car was taken from outside their home in the 5600 block of 25th SW on Monday afternoon – green 1994 Nissan Altima, four-door, Washington plate AAJ8298. Just two weeks ago, she says, their cars were hit by prowling and siphoning. Speaking of car prowls …
CAR BREAK-INS: From a 31st SW resident:
Just wanted to let you know that on 31st Ave SW between Thistle and Elmgrove, we experienced 3 car prowls (Sunday) night. Two of the cars were locked and armed- those folks are thinking that somehow the thieves have keys to their cars. My car, stupidly, was unlocked. Thankfully nothing of HUGE value was taken, but I wanted to get this out there to remind people to take their valuables inside at night.
POSSIBLY DISCARDED LOOT: Received this note:
I found a guitar in the alley by my garage Sunday morning (March 24th) in the North Admiral area. I assume it was ditched by some car prowlers early that morning since the neighbors’ car was broken into. Call me to identify it. 206 935-4063
One more quick reminder of a crime-prevention, neighborhood-empowerment meeting TONIGHT – the West Seattle Block Watch Captains’ Network, 6:30 pm, SW Precinct – you don’t have to be a captain, or even a Block Watch participant, to come be part of it.
This week, the daily preview seems to be taking an unplanned brief break from bird photos. These pals turned up in the WSB inbox, courtesy of Eric Shalit from Box Turtle Design – that’s his little Piggy with poodle friend Django, who belongs to Eric’s friend, West Seattle author Conrad Wesselhoeft. Now on to the calendar highlights:
SANISLO ELEMENTARY PRINCIPAL SEARCH: As reported here Monday, a community meeting is planned after school today, 3:40-4:40 pm, so that parents and other interested parties can participate in the search for a principal to succeed Ernie Seevers (who is retiring after this year).
CAREGIVER FOR AGING FAMILY MEMBER? Come to Merrill Gardens-Admiral Heights (WSB sponsor) at 6 tonight for the next open forum on aging, caregiving, and family dynamics – get support and guidance, and share your story/advice if you choose to. 2326 California SW.
WEST SEATTLE BLOCK WATCH CAPTAINS NETWORK: 6:30 pm at the Southwest Precinct meeting room (Webster/Delridge), WSBWCN is scheduled to hear from precinct commander Capt. Joe Kessler, from Community Police Team Officer Jon Kiehn with CPTED (crime prevention through environmental design, around your home) advice, and a victims’-advocacy program rep.
DESC ADVISORY COMMITTEE: The community advisory committee focused on issues relating to the DESC Supportive Housing project under construction in North Delridge meets tonight at 6:30 pm, room 106 at Youngstown Cultural Arts Center (4408 Delridge Way SW). Site/vicinity issues including the alley and drainage are on the agenda.
WEST SEATTLE COMMUNITY ORCHESTRAS’ CONCERT: Rescheduled from last week, WSCO’s second spring concert, “Songs of America,” 7 pm at Chief Sealth International High School auditorium (2600 SW Thistle), free but donations appreciated.
Those are just a few highlights – find MANY more listings on our calendar!
If you didn’t stay up to watch national grocery-bagging champ Andrew Borracchini‘s appearance on “The Late Show With David Letterman” around 12:20 am, the video is now available courtesy of the CBS website (thanks to WSB contributing photojournalist Christopher Boffoli for spotting it first!). The appearance was rumored to be a possibility ever since Andrew, who has worked at Metropolitan Market-Admiral (WSB sponsor) for more than three years, won the title at the National Grocers Association‘s Las Vegas convention last month (by the way, video from the championship is now online too).
(Live view from the east-facing WS Bridge camera; see other cameras on the WSB Traffic page)
No traffic alerts as we start today – but there’s early warning of a possible downtown tie-up TOMORROW morning, because of the “We Day” event at KeyArena 9 am-2:30 pm Wednesday.
ADDED 11:55 AM: Another advisory for tomorrow, just in from SDOT:
In addition to potential traffic congestion associated with the We Day Seattle event at the Key Arena from 8:30 â 2:30 p.m. tomorrow, March 27, there will also be a funeral procession for a fallen Seattle Firefighter which could impact traffic. The procession, honoring Firefighter Jess Hernandez, will begin at 12:20 p.m. at the Fourth Avenue and Bell Street Fire Station and move west on Bell to Second Avenue; then south on Second to the Christ Our Hope Catholic Church at Stewart Street. The 500 participants will be escorted by Seattle Police. There will be a rolling slowdown as the procession makes its way to the church where they are expected to arrive at about 12:45 p.m. There will be no street closures, except along the route as the procession moves by. Motorists should allow extra time driving through Belltown during the noon hour or take an alternate route.
2:17 AM: Almost a year and a half after former West Seattleite Amanda Knox‘s return home – an Italian court has just revived the case, by throwing out the verdict. Here’s the latest from the AP via our partners at The Seattle Times. This all comes a month before her book “Waiting to be Heard” is due out, and with it at least one network TV interview.
3:08 AM: Knox has issued a statement, the AP reports (added to the same link as above), in which she declares this development “painful.” (added) ITV has published her statement in full.
A Monday win for the West Seattle High School boys-varsity baseball team – 3-2, reports parent Greg Slader, who also shared the photos:
Sam Hellinger pitched a complete game with 7 strikeouts, one walk, and only three hits. Tim Adams supplied the Big Blast with a two-out, two-RBI single ripped down the right-field line.
West Seattle is now 2-0 in League play and heads to Ingraham on Wednesday for a 4 pm game.
Monday’s game was played at Steve Cox Memorial Park in White Center.