West Seattle, Washington
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
Before Bill Bryant becomes a full-time candidate for governor, he had one last thing on his to-do list as a two-term Seattle Port Commissioner: A speech to the Rotary Club of West Seattle.
That speech today at Salty’s on Alki (WSB sponsor) brought him full circle, Bryant said, because he announced his Port Commission run at nearby Jack Block Park in 2006.
His run for governor, by contrast, was announced online. And here’s our video of what he told the Rotary Club today:
Bryant delivered more of a valedictory for his 8 years on the commission than a speech looking ahead to what he would hope to do as governor. He said he ran on a platform that eventually spanned four key points:
The two documents above (and here) comprise a county judge’s ruling today that the city is within its rights to tax guns and ammunition, despite what opponents argued three months ago. Here’s how the city announced today’s court decision:
The City of Seattle has the legal authority to enact a $25 per firearm tax on retailers to mitigate the costs of gun violence, King County Superior Court Judge Palmer Robinson ruled Tuesday.
“The tax imposed by the Ordinance under the City’s constitutional and legislative authority to impose taxes, which is separate from its regulatory authority under its police power, is not preempted by RCW 9.41.290,” Judge Robinson ruled, dashing the NRA’s attempt to overturn the law.
Her ruling aligns with the position argued by the City that “The Ordinance does not limit any person’s right to purchase, sell, acquire, transfer, discharge, or transport firearms or ammunition.”
“I’m gratified by Judge Robinson’s thorough analysis, and congratulate our team of attorneys who argued the case before her last Friday,” City Attorney Pete Holmes said Tuesday. “The NRA needs to butt out of Seattle’s efforts to enact sensible gun safety legislation.”
“The Court got the law absolutely right,” said William Abrams of Steptoe & Johnson, who led the litigation team and appeared for the City pro bono. “Seattle’s right to fund research and education on gun violence was upheld. This time the NRA was unsuccessful in trying to block research on gun violence. The real winners are the citizens of Seattle, whose government can move forward to fund important research on this public health epidemic that affects everyone.”
In a Seattle summer marred by random gunfire, the City Council unanimously approved, and Mayor Ed Murray signed, the ordinance that, come January, will levy a $25 tax on businesses for each firearm sold at retail within City limits to provide a sustained local revenue source for research and prevention programs. In addition, the City will impose a 2-cent tax for every round of .22 caliber ammunition sold and a 5-cent tax for every other round of ammunition sold. A companion ordinance mandates that lost or stolen firearms be reported to the Seattle Police Department.
Of the ruling, the ordinance’s sponsor, Councilmember Tim Burgess, said, “We established the gun violence tax as a legitimate and appropriate way to raise revenue for gun safety research and prevention programs. The NRA and its allies always oppose these common sense steps to shine light on the gun violence epidemic. They have blocked funding for basic gun safety research at the federal level for decades. But in Seattle it is different. Judge Robinson saw through the NRA’s distorted efforts to put gun industry profits ahead of public safety.”
Welcoming the ruling, Mayor Murray said, “Guns now kill more people in the United States than automobiles. Our community will not stand by as so many in our city, particularly young people of color, continue to pay the highest price for inaction on gun violence at the national and state level. For too long, we have had insufficient research and data on gun violence in Seattle to help guide our response. We will now have critical funding to advance our work on gun violence research and prevention.”
Go here to read what the city passed.
After a day with just two boats on the Fauntleroy-Vashon-Southworth run – leading to big backups at terminals – Washington State Ferries says M/V Cathlamet is fixed and about to go back into service, so the three-boat schedule is resuming, with its late departure on what would have been the 5:35 pm run from Vashon to Southworth.
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
A 67-year-old West Seattle woman is recovering from being attacked and robbed while walking back to her house after visiting her ailing husband.
We hadn’t heard about last Friday’s attack until a friend of the victim e-mailed us last night:
She was walking the few blocks home after visiting her husband at a care facility and she was attacked by a random perpetrator. He punched her in the face and knocked her to the ground. She suffered a black eye and had two teeth knocked out, as well as suffering other damage to her teeth. They caught the suspect, but she is now looking at a $3,000 dental bill, and she is retired on a fixed income. We wanted to get the word out and make sure everyone stays safe and is aware of their surroundings.
We’ve since obtained the report that includes details of the incident. Here’s what an officer reported finding after responding to the 911 call from 16th SW and SW Sullivan around 6 pm Friday:
(The victim) was holding her face and blood was coming out of her mouth. She stated that she thought her teeth were broken. (She) stated that she was walking down 16th Ave SW when she noticed a male following behind her. She stated that the unknown male charged at her and punched her in the face with a closed fist. (She) fell to the ground on her right knee and screamed for help. She stated that she had had a full knee replacement in her right knee.
She was now experiencing significant pain in her right knee. (She) stated that after she fell, the male came back at her and punched her a second time in the face. The male then ran northbound down the alley on the west side of 16 Ave SW. (The victim) advised that she was missing a pair of prescription glasses.
When the suspect was found nearby, he had her glasses – worth $500 – in his possession, according to the case paperwork, and that raised the crime level from assault to robbery.
Turned out that officers had found him even before they learned of the attack, because of a burglary attempt nearby – a resident in the 8400 block of 17th SW reported a man “banging and kicking at the back door,” according to the police report, which added that the man was reported to have appeared “extremely intoxicated.” The resident yelled at him to leave, which he did, briefly, returning to kick open the door to a shed behind the house, police say. Officers found the suspect at 17th and Cloverdale a short time later; they happened to be nearby, checking out a report of a hit-run crash that damaged a parked car.
The suspect is 19 years old. His record shows that he last spent time in jail this past March; documents in that case indicate that he was arrested for allegedly stealing a hotel van in SeaTac. He was charged with auto theft and DUI – with tests finding .20 blood alcohol – and then struck a plea bargain, pleading guilty to car prowl and DUI. In June, Judge Roger Rogoff sentenced him to two days in jail plus a one-year suspended sentence. While paperwork in this case doesn’t include a current address for him, he was living on Beacon Hill at the time of his arrest in March. Right now, he’s in the King County Jail, in lieu of $75,000 bail.
Meanwhile, the donation account set up by friends of the victim to pay for her estimated $3,000 in dental work is on this GoFundMe page.
8:08 PM NOTE: After reaching the goal, the donation page has been closed, we just noticed.
12:21 PM: Seattle Fire has sent a big response to a possible fire at Cottage Grove Commons, the DESC-owned supportive-housing building in the 5400 block of Delridge Way SW.
12:26 PM: SFD reports that two people are hurt and that the fire is under control.
12:35 PM: Because of the sizable response, Delridge Way is closed for at least a block, between Brandon and Findlay, as Andrew points out in comments and as confirmed by our crew at the scene.
12:50 PM: If you’re seeing/hearing a helicopter in the area, it’s just TV checking this out.
1:12 PM: SFD has just briefed the media on scene, saying one person has gone to Harborview with serious burns; the fire was limited to a mattress in that person’s apartment on the
top second floor and the building’s sprinkler system put it out.
The other injured person did not need hospitalization. The Fire Department also says one person was found dead in a nearby apartment, and apparently had died within the past few hours, but that is not believed to have been related to the fire.
2:10 PM: Delridge had reopened and SFD’s fire investigator was on scene when we passed through about 15 minutes ago. We’ll update when there’s official word on the fire’s cause. Though the flames hadn’t spread beyond the aforementioned mattress, SFD says three units had significant damage because of the water from the sprinkler system.
2:50 PM: We’ve added more photos as well as the unedited video of SFD Lt. Sue Stangl‘s earlier briefing.
4:43 PM: If you are in the area and wondering about a new multi-unit response at the building, the 911 log shows it’s an “automatic fire alarm” response.
ADDED EARLY THURSDAY: The Seattle Times reports that the man hospitalized after this fire has died. The County Medical Examiner’s daily media recording lists the death of the 39-year-old burn victim mentioned in the Times’ report but does not specify a location, so we’ll be verifying later this morning. We had checked with SFD on Wednesday to ask about any official ruling on the fire’s cause; not yet, they told us.
The Highway 99 tunneling machine is out of sight but by no means out of mind.
WSDOT announced this morning that the machine has started moving forward in the “access pit” where its cutterhead was accessed for repairs (now backfilled, as shown in the WSDOT time-lapse video above). Here’s the full text of its latest news release (and note the reminder of a Viaduct closure in a few months, if all stays on the current schedule):
The State Route 99 tunneling machine entered its next phase of testing early Tuesday, Dec. 22, near Pier 48, moving forward and installing a tunnel ring at the bottom of the 120-foot-deep pit crews built to access and repair the machine. Seattle Tunnel Partners, the Washington State Department of Transportation’s design-build contractor for the tunnel project, plans to tunnel a short distance further in the access pit tunnel before giving crews a break for the holidays.
“Testing the machine in the conditions it will face during the rest of the tunnel drive is a critical part of our work to resume full-production mining,” said Chris Dixon, Seattle Tunnel Partners project manager. “The next several hundred feet of excavation will give us the information we need to make final adjustments before we tunnel beneath the viaduct and downtown.”
After the new year, STP plans to mine out of the access pit toward a planned maintenance stop 450 feet to the north. Along the way crews will mine slowly while installing tunnel rings and continuing to run tests. When the machine reaches the maintenance stop – essentially an underground block of concrete just south of Colman Dock – crews will perform maintenance and make final adjustments before diving beneath the viaduct.
Tunneling under the viaduct will require a full closure of SR 99 through downtown for approximately two weeks. The contractor’s latest projections show that the closure will occur in March, but the actual closure date will depend on Bertha’s progress and the state cannot verify the contractor’s schedule.
STP and Bertha’s manufacturer, Hitachi Zosen, are responsible for the repair effort, including the schedule. While the machine was under repair, STP continued essential work at the future tunnel portals, including construction of ramp and highway connections, and the buildings that will house tunnel operations.
STP crews halted tunneling in December 2013 after the machine overheated. After an investigation, they discovered damage to the seal system and determined it needed to be replaced along with the main bearing. The cause of the damage has not been determined. Responsibility for costs associated with the delay will be determined through the process outlined in the tunnel contract.
“Moving the tunneling machine forward in the access pit is the next step in STP’s testing program,” said Todd Trepanier, WSDOT’s administrator for the viaduct program. “WSDOT will continue to protect taxpayers as we work with STP to complete the project.”
(Thanks for the tip! Brightly lit house on 50th SW north of Hudson, photographed last night, added to our Holiday Guide list)
Three days until Christmas! Lots of holiday info in our WSB West Seattle Holiday Guide – who still has trees, where to see the brightest lights, coffee/restaurant/grocery-store hours and church-service schedules for later this week – but some of this is from our regular year-round calendar, too:
MOVIE AT THE LIBRARY: 11:30 am, watch “The Lorax” at Southwest Library. Free! Snacks, too. (35th SW & SW Henderson)
MUSIC AT THRIFTWAY: Pianist Keith Terhune, 2-5 pm, and We Three Carolers, 5-7 pm, at WSB sponsor West Seattle Thriftway. (Fauntleroy/California/Morgan)
SANTA CLAUS: Two places to find Ol’ Saint Nick today – West Seattle Thriftway, 3-7 pm, and Westwood Village.
GIVING TREE DEADLINE: CAPERS in The Junction is hosting one for Hickman House again this year. Get a tag and return the gift, wrapped or unwrapped, by the end of the day today. And if you don’t have time to shop – give a gift card! (4525 California SW)
AFTER-HOURS WITH THE FAMILY EISENDRATH: 7:30 pm at ArtsWest, “After Hours” with Ann and Ian, as explained in our calendar listing. (4711 California SW)
Two reports of West Seattle mail theft – first, from Lori:
Just walked out [Monday afternoon] to get our mail (on Webster near Solstice Park) and our mailbox was stuffed with opened cards and mail from 2 other addresses. Not sure how it got into our box – perhaps it was on the ground and a passerby thought it was ours. We’ve called the post office and will also be contacting the 2 addresses. Just hope that nothing of value was in the cards.
We were also forwarded a report of someone breaking into three locked mailboxes along SW Thistle in Upper Fauntleroy. Here’s the US Postal Inspection Service‘s advice on preventing and reporting mail theft.
(Six WS-relevant views; more cams on the WSB Traffic page)
Heading for the heart of the commute, and it’s been quiet so far. One ongoing reminder:
TRANSIT CHANGES FOR CHRISTMAS EVE/DAY: Metro will run “reduced weekday” service on Thursday and a Sunday schedule on Friday; the Water Taxi won’t run on Friday; Sound Transit Route 560 will be on a weekend schedule Friday.
GREENWAY UPDATE: In case you missed it on Monday – here’s the latest on the Delridge-Highland Park Greenway project, four months after the work began.
9:01 AM: Trouble on the Fauntleroy-Vashon-Southworth state ferry run – just in from WSF via e-mail:
The 8:45 am sailing from Fauntleroy to Southworth, and the 9:20 am sailing from Southworth to Vashon have been cancelled due to necessary repairs on the Cathlamet.
We’ll update here when there’s new info.
9:55 AM: Update from WSF:
The following sailings will be cancelled due to necessary repairs on the Cathlamet: 9:40 am, 10:45 am, 11:30 am, 12:25 pm from Vashon; 10:20 am, 11:55 am, 12:55 pm from Fauntleroy; 11:10 am from Southworth. Updates will be provided when information is available regarding the sailing schedule for the afternoon commute.
5:23 PM: Still a two-boat schedule.
5:54 PM: And now – the Cathlamet and the three-boat schedule are back.
If you need to borrow something from the West Seattle Tool Library before Christmas – hurry! After today and tomorrow, the WSTL is taking a break until the New Year. Christina Hahs wants you to know the Tool Library will “be closed from Thursday, December 24th through Thursday, December 31st. We’ll be back up and running on Saturday, January 2nd. We are requesting that items due back during this time not be returned until we are open again. No late fees will accrue.” Haven’t been to the Tool Library? It’s on the northeast side of Youngstown Cultural Arts Center at 4408 Delridge Way SW – read all about it here, including inventory and regular hours.
Turns out another West Seattle Soccer Club team came home from the SYSA City Tournament last weekend as champions – thanks to Alex Fernandez for sharing the photo and report:
WS King Tigers BU11 won the city championship this weekend! Tremendous run and exciting final match.
Team: Coaches – Ben Palmer, Mark McDonough. Players – Dane Hansen, Declan Golan, Eli Palmer, Emmet McDonough, Henry Achak, Jack Henzke, Levi Hirose, Tavi Fernandez, Steele Guthrie, Taz Hanson, Tristan Buehring, Will Skibitzke
Proud of all the West Seattle Soccer Teams this year!
Per the tournament schedule, the King Tigers beat the LVR Strikers. Also home with a championship – the West Seattle Shock, as featured here Saturday.
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