day : 28/04/2014 11 results

Create a Park District to raise more money for Seattle Parks? Council approval today means you’ll vote in August

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

A month and a half after Mayor Murray came to Hiawatha Community Center to announce the proposal to create a Park District to raise extra money for Seattle Parks and Recreation in the years ahead, it’s ballot-bound.

That’s because, during their meeting this afternoon (archived Seattle Channel video above), the City Council voted unanimously (8-0, with West Seattle-residing Councilmember Tom Rasmussen absent) to send it to voters.

This will replace – now and into the future – the more-recent pattern of sending ballot measures to voters every few years, levy or bond, to raise extra money for Parks. Most recent one was the five-year Parks and Green Spaces Levy approved in 2008. It was set to raise $146 million over six years, ending this year. Before that, the Pro Parks Levy approved by voters in 2000 raised $198 million over eight years.

But this time around, city leaders decided to go for a permanent way to raise extra money, instead of a fixed-term levy. The Park District would be accountable to the City Council, sitting as its board, but would have its own taxing authority. As laid out in this memo, councilmembers want the Park District to raise about $48 million a year for the first six years, 11 percent less than the $54 million the mayor had suggested. So what about the money Parks gets from the city budget now? According to the mayor’s website: “The City will continue to use City revenues to fund Parks and will continue to allocate a minimum of $89 million per year of General Fund revenues (2014 level of funding) to support Parks’ services and facilities unless the City Council by a three-fourths vote determines that a natural disaster or exigent economic circumstances prevent the Council from maintaining this level of General Fund support.”

Meantime, here’s the bill councilmembers passed to ask voters whether they will approve creation of the Park District.

In public comment before the vote, they heard from several critics who expressed concerns about accountability and about the fact that unlike the levies, citizens won’t be voting on how much they will be taxed – they will be instead voting to give the Park District taxing authority. One critic suggested few citizens had heard about this and accused the council of being “in an insulated bubble.”

Councilmembers disagreed with that. They also said an “interlocal agreement” between the city and the proposed district – set up in a second bill they passed today – would increase accountability.

Councilmember Sally Bagshaw, who chairs the Parks and Neighborhoods Committee, said it would help solve the problem of Parks’ huge unfunded maintenance backlog, estimated at more than $260 million, because 60 percent of the money raised would be spent on that. She said that over three years of trying to figure out what’s next for Parks funding, she had looked at and listened to thousands of comments.

Councilmembers Nick Licata and Kshama Sawant both acknowledged the Park District proposal wasn’t perfect, but considered it to be acceptable.

Councilmember Sally Clark described it as a tool to be used “without the council going all evil and using it for unintended purposes.”

Mayor Murray said in his announcement last month that the Park District would be able to tax up to 75 cents per $1,000 assessed value. The slightly larger funding package he was supporting at the time would have used about 42 cents of that authority, so the one the council is supporting would be a few cents less than that. After today’s council vote, he issued a statement saying the principles of his proposal “remain intact.” The mayor’s website has Q/A with more details on how the district would work.

If you’re a Seattle voter, you will be part of the final decision in the August 5th election.

You can help! Sustainable West Seattle welcoming, celebrating volunteers next Saturday

(WSB photo from SWS picnic – including a celebration of volunteers – last August)
“Volunteers are the essential ingredient to make West Seattle more sustainable.” So says Sustainable West Seattle, inviting you to its first Volunteer Orientation and Appreciation Party next Saturday (May 3), 4-7 pm, at CrossFit West Seattle in The Admiral District (4200 SW Admiral Way). From the announcement:

… The orientation for prospective volunteers includes descriptions of what SWS volunteers do and the many opportunities offered. Volunteers work at the Tool Library, Community Orchard, Tox-Ick wastewater awareness program, multiple bicycle activities including WS Spokespeople, West Seattle Bike Connections and our newest project, DIY Bikes.

… The celebration includes a Volunteer Appreciation Party, with a potluck, music and green prizes. SWS will provide food and beverages and you’re welcome to bring a dish to share. For additional information, contact Kimberly Leeper at

West Seattle Community Garage Sale Day updates: 12 days away!

Twelve days away from Saturday, May 10th, the day West Seattle becomes the person-to-person recycling capital of the region for six hours – the 10th annual West Seattle Community Garage Sale Day. garagesaledaysmalllog5.jpgWe here at WSB are excited to be coordinating it for a seventh year, and thrilled that more than 270 sales are confirmed (with many more sellers than that, because of multi-seller sites, block sales, etc.). A sampling of what you’ll find on the map when it goes public this Saturday, along with 240+ individual sales all over the peninsula:

*Block sales in/near areas including Delridge, South Admiral, Hansen View, Sunrise Heights, Upper Fauntleroy, Genesee, Lincoln Park, Seacrest Park

*Benefit sales at sites including the Log House Museum, future Delridge Grocery, West Seattle Eagles’ Aerie, Alki Masonic Center, King County Veterans Center, Straight Blast Gym (WSB sponsor), Taproot School, West Seattle High School, Bella Mente’s new location

*Special ways to donate, with WestSide Baby’s shopping list, and collections at Hotwire/Ginomai for books to donate to schools and

*The multi-seller sites at Ginomai/Hotwire & C&P (both coffeehouses are WSB sponsors)

We always love hearing the stories about WSCGSD leading to neighbors meeting neighbors they hadn’t met before, because – as you’ll see when the map’s out – even if you just want to walk around the immediate neighborhood, there’s bound to be somebody participating.

NOTE FOR WSCGSD SELLERS: One more call – PLEASE check the e-mailbox for the address you used to register; we still have a dozen-plus sales that aren’t finalized because they only made it halfway through the registration process. Saturday night, we sent notes to everybody on that list, and if we don’t hear from them, we have to assume they quit halfway through because they changed their mind, or had a problem; in either case, we need to hear from you by tomorrow – – thank you!

More updates to come …

Update: Pickup goes sideways at West Seattle High School; no one hurt

(Thanks to Jessi for tweeting that photo)
12:15 PM: A police and fire response is en route to West Seattle High School for a reported vehicle rollover. We will be there shortly for updates.

12:22 PM: No serious injuries reported. Everyone got out of the car OK.

12:35 PM: Make that, truck. The rolled – more like, on its side – vehicle is a white Ford Ranger pickup.

17-year-old at the wheel, one passenger, both are unhurt, we were told at the scene – nobody else hurt either, which, observers say, is just sheer luck since this happened at lunchtime on a sunny day and many students were out and about.

New local restaurant: Opening day for Greenbridge Café

Just a block south of the West Seattle/White Center line, a brand-new restaurant opened today: Greenbridge Café. Its owner, Chef Blanca Rodriguez, e-mailed to let us – and you! – know about it. It’s been taking shape at the corner of 8th SW and SW 99th in recent months and is now open for breakfast and lunch (fresh-made sandwiches, salads, and soups), 8 am-4 pm. See the menu here. Chef Rodriguez also owns Pimientra Bistro and Bar in Federal Way.

Followup: Locations, dates announced for Metro-cuts meetings

April 28, 2014 11:23 am
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 |   Transportation | West Seattle news | West Seattle politics

Post-election last week, you’ll recall, King County leaders announced the official plan for Metro bus cuts to cover the money gap that the voted-down ballot measure Proposition 1 was intended to cover. At the time, they promised nighttime meetings to answer questions about the proposed cuts. Locations and dates have just been announced for three meetings – one in Seattle, one in Bellevue, one in Renton. According to the county announcement, “Each evening meeting will include an open house staffed by Metro to provide specific details about the changes and answer questions.” Here’s the schedule:

· Tuesday, May 13, Union Station, Ruth Fisher Boardroom, 401 South Jackson Street, Seattle
· Thursday, May 15, Bellevue City Hall, City Council Chambers , 450 110th Avenue NE, Bellevue
· Tuesday, May 20, Renton Pavilion Event Center, 233 Burnett Avenue South, Renton

5:30 p.m. sign in/open house; 6:00 p.m. public testimony

The county is not planning live streams from the meetings, but says video will be available online and via cable the day after each one. The cut plan is expected to be voted on by the County Council next month, and cuts/changes would be rolled out starting next September and continuing in phases through September 2015.

ADDED 12:56 PM: We doublechecked with Councilmember Joe McDermott‘s office to see if there would be any other hearings in Seattle. Response: “There will also a public hearing when the measure goes to the Full Council. Most likely, this will be on June 2nd at the regularly scheduled council meeting from 1:30-4pm. This meeting will be at the King County Courthouse.”

In the auto-repair biz? Get greener! Free workshop and Swedish Automotive tour May 8th

April 28, 2014 10:46 am
|    Comments Off on In the auto-repair biz? Get greener! Free workshop and Swedish Automotive tour May 8th
 |   West Seattle news

Just announced by Swedish Automotive (WSB sponsor) – a chance for other auto-repair shops to learn how to get greener:

On May 8th from 11:00 am – 1:30 pm, EnviroStars and ECOSS (Environmental Coalition of South Seattle) are hosting a free workshop for auto repair shops at Our Lady of Guadalupe and a tour of Swedish Automotive (a 5-star rated shop) on how auto repair shops can adopt practices that will help manage hazardous wastes, prevent pollution and protect our environment as well as reducing costs, liabilities and compliance with local regulations.

Ahead, details and the registration link:Read More

‘You’re only as old as you allow yourself to think you are’: Ultra-senior tennis stars in film co-produced by West Seattleite

Need some Monday inspiration? Check this out. West Seattle resident Heather P. Olson e-mailed to tell us about a documentary she’s co-producing called “Gold Balls” (with another area connection, editor and Vashon Island resident Eric Frith). The quote in our headline is from the trailer, narrated by Seattle actor Tom Skerritt. Info forwarded by Olson explains that it’s about “the world of ultra-senior tennis … where the players actually look forward to getting older, if only every 5 years when they age up into the next category and have relative youth on their side.” As with so many creative projects these days, they are crowdfunding, with less than a week left – their Kickstarter link is here. But even if you’re not interested in contributing, watch the trailer when you have a few moments. It gives a new meaning to “bucket list”!

West Seattle Crime Watch: Car theft; suspected gas theft

Two West Seattle Crime Watch notes this morning:

STOLEN CAR: Watch for Brian‘s car, a “light blue 91 Toyota Camry stolen last night from in front of my house on 60th and Admiral.” (map) As noted in the SPD @getyourcarback tweet (which includes the plate #), please call 911 if you see it.

STOLEN GAS? From Jon at 38th/Graham {map):

I want to report what seems to be a case of gas siphoning from my vehicle. This morning at 5:20 am, I came out to my truck to go to work. As I was waiting for it to warm up (it’s an older truck) I noticed the gas gauge dropping down to empty. I had just filled up last week and had only done 73 miles, so it should have been over 3/4 full. When the gauge hit zero, I turned the engine off and checked underneath for a fuel leak – nothing. I looked at the gas cap door and saw that it was bent and easily opened. I don’t have a locking gas cap, so I think someone has been siphoning off gas from my truck.

Jon’s household also has a car but he says it was not touched.

What’s ahead for your West Seattle (and beyond) Monday

April 28, 2014 9:04 am
|    Comments Off on What’s ahead for your West Seattle (and beyond) Monday
 |   West Seattle news | WS miscellaneous

(Sunday’s subtle rainbow; photo by Don Brubeck)
Brand-new week, during which we’ll start a brand-new month. But not quite yet. Here are highlights for today/tonight, the third-to-last day of April, from the WSB West Seattle Event Calendar:

PARKS DISTRICT TO THE BALLOT? The proposal to raise extra money for Seattle Parks by forming a Park District will go to voters in August, if the City Council finalizes that plan at its 2 pm meeting today. Public comment will be at the start of the meeting, which you can watch live via Seattle Channel, online or cable. (City Hall)

OPERA PREVIEW: “Multimedia lecture” at West Seattle (Admiral) Branch Library, 6:30 pm, previewing Seattle Opera‘s upcoming production “The Tales of Hoffmann.” Free. (2326 42nd SW)

FAMILY STORY TIME: 6:30 pm at High Point Branch Library. Free. (35th/Raymond)

COCKTAIL CINEMA: Feedback Lounge (WSB sponsor) – which just celebrated its fifth anniversary! – pairs movies and cocktails, and tonight it’s “The Jerk” (Steve Martin) with a cocktail creation titled the Soda Jerk, 7:30 pm on the big screen. (6451 California SW)

NEW MOON: From the most-recent edition of “Skies Over West Seattle,” that’s what you’ll find (or not find!) in our skies tonight.

LOOK INTO THE FUTURE! … check out our calendar to see what’s happening in the days and weeks ahead.

TRAFFIC/TRANSIT TODAY: Getting around on Monday

The “live” view above is the eastbound West Seattle Bridge (update: most local SDOT cams are out – the 35th/Fauntleroy bridge entrance is an exception, so we’ve substituted it); below, northbound 99 at the south end of the remaining elevated Alaskan Way Viaduct:

Any time of day/night, you can find more cameras (update: when they’re working!), and other info, on the WSB Traffic page. As we head for the heart of the morning commute, a crash just reported on northbound I-5 in the collector-distributor lanes approaching James, but the vehicles were quickly cleared to the shoulder. Everybody’s back from spring break now – parochial schools were out last week, public schools the week before that – so traffic is at as full volume as it gets.

7:47 AM NOTE: We just went out to doublecheck the traffic signals that were flashing for up to 6+ hours on Sunday; all appear to be working now. But in comments, “Trickycoolj” warns that 4th/East Marginal is flashing in the Georgetown area.

8:11 AM NOTE: Also in comments, “Azimuth” points out that most traffic cameras are out. Looking for relevant replacements and checking to see what’s up.