West Seattle, Washington
(January 2012 photo of Rep. Jim McDermott and Councilmember Joe McDermott, by Dina Lydia)
You’ve probably heard by now that Seattle’s U.S. Rep. Jim McDermott has decided not to run for re-election, after almost 30 years. Might his successor be from West Seattle? King County Councilmember Joe McDermott (no relation) confirms he is thinking about it. In response to inquiries including ours, he e-mailed this:
“I have enormous respect for Jim McDermott, Whether it was tackling the HIV/AIDS crisis or Congressman McDermott’s long-term advocacy for health care reform, he has been a true champion for progressive causes. I was honored to receive a call from him yesterday so I could express my appreciation personally.
“Since his announcement, I have received dozens of calls from constituents and local and national leaders encouraging me to seek this office. I will not take this decision lightly and will be discussing it with my husband and family over the next few days.
“Seattle is the greatest city in the world. My regional experience, progressive values and proven ability to work across the aisle position me to advance the issues important to our city and tackle the obstructionism and dysfunction that have sadly become the hallmarks of Congress.
“My focus will remain tackling homelessness, ensuring an efficient transit system, and addressing the growing income inequality that threatens our middle class.”
Joe McDermott is a 48-year-old third-generation resident of West Seattle, where he lives with husband Michael. He spent 10 years in the State House and Senate before moving in 2010 to the King County Council, to which he was re-elected last November, unopposed.
IN THE RACE SO FAR: North Seattle State Rep. Brady Walkinshaw is already running, having announced four weeks before Jim McDermott went public with his decision.
Seattle Public Utilities crews are at 47th SW and Brace Point Drive right now, making emergency repairs after a water-line break. We contacted SPU and went to the scene for a look after two nearby residents contacted us wondering about a sudden drop in water pressure. The crew at the scene told us they hope to be done in half an hour or so. This could be affecting water pressure as far north as Willow and Fauntleroy, SPU says.
P.S. If you get discolored water because of, or after, this – here’s the SPU advice on that.
Six and a half feet and one more ring for the Highway 99 tunnel machine, WSDOT announced late today. That puts its cutterhead close to the north side of the access pit, where it will have to go through a 15-foot concrete wall: “Once beyond the wall, crews will begin tunneling through native soils that will serve as the next stage of STP’s testing process. This section of the tunnel route includes an underground wall that was built to protect the Alaskan Way Viaduct while crews continue to test the machine.” Read the rest of the update here, including details of how the removal of excavated material has resumed.
(WSB photos by Christopher Boffoli)
4:35 PM: A stretch of Bonair Drive SW is blocked just uphill from Alki right now because of a crash – a car that ended up on its side. Everyone got out OK, so what originally was a sizable “rescue” response was downsized, and only police are on the scene right now; Bonair is closed at Alki on the north end, for about 300 yards south/uphill.
4:51 PM: The car’s been righted, as you can see in the photo we just added atop the story. Also note the ice that’s still visible alongside the road.
5:48 PM: WSB’s Christopher Boffoli says police told him they didn’t think the ice had anything to do with the crash; they believe the driver lost control, over-corrected, and hit the embankment on the left side of the street’; her car stopped against a parked Corolla, which was damaged:
Police told Christopher they’d made contact with that car’s owner, who was headed to the scene.
(Added: Coyote photographed by Heidi near 37th/Hinds on Saturday)
4:25 PM: In recent days, we’ve published reports of coyote sightings in the greater Admiral area. Two more today, and they mention a coyote attacking a cat and possibly a chicken. One report is from 42nd/Bradford/Charlestown area, another from 44th and Spokane, no pictures with either so we don’t know if it’s the same one. One chicken is missing, possibly fleeing from the coyote – we’ll add the chicken’s photo shortly, as well as a photo of a coyote seen in the 37th/Hinds area on Saturday.
4:39 PM: Before we could even add the photo of “Big Mama” the chicken, we got another text saying she’s back and all the chickens are OK after all. Our coyote-sighting reports are archived here, newest-to-oldest.)
6:36 PM: A neighbor texted to say the coyote’s still in the area and headed toward California SW on Spokane at last report. If you still haven’t read this despite all the times we’ve linked it – scroll to the “Coyotes Too Close For Comfort?” advice. Trying to scare it away remains the best thing you can do for it as well as for potential prey in the area.
(UPDATED TUESDAY AFTERNOON with text of Councilmember Herbold’s speech)
3:43 PM: We’re at Seattle City Hall, where a hour and a half of oaths of office and speeches by the nine members of the City Council and their subsequent short business meeting have just concluded. Above, District 1 Councilmember Lisa Herbold was the first to take the oath, administered by former City Councilmember Nick Licata, for whom she worked for more than a decade and a half; her daughter, grandchildren, and husband joined her for the occasion, as shown in our video above; below, her subsequent four-minute speech, in which she vowed to ensure no one is “left behind”:
We’ll replace our phone video with better-quality versions of the clips, and more details, including key points of what was said by her new colleagues – including Councilmember Lorena González, a West Seattleite elected to citywide Position 9 – when we’re back at HQ a bit later.
5:01 PM: Here’s the archived Seattle Channel video of the entire event, all nine councilmembers (by district/position number, so Herbold was first, González last):
ADDED 7:38 PM: Photos – Councilmember Herbold’s mom Donna fastening the official city pin on her daughter:
Her grandchildren Jamaya and Jamil and husband Bob with her at the post-ceremony photo op:
And outside the post-meeting reception at the Bertha Knight Landes Room at City Hall, her entire group, also including daughter Megan at right:
In her speech, Councilmember Herbold spoke of income inequality, and the stark effect of housing unaffordability – the declining percentage of Seattle workers who are able to live in the city. Those who help make our region’s prosperity happen should have the chance to prosper too, she declared. She vowed “to pass laws to ensure that those who benefit most from the prosperity also invest in a fair deal for our city.” That includes impact fees and protection for renters “from some of the excesses of a very hot housing market,” she said. And on another money-related note, she thanked volunteers for helping her win “despite being outspent three to one.”
ADDED 8:05 PM: Councilmember González had been sworn in back in November, since her position was to succeed temporary appointee John Okamoto, so this was a second ceremony. City Clerk Monica Martinez Simmons led her through the oath, and partner Cameron was at her side:
You can see her speech at 1 hour, 10 minutes into the Seattle Channel clip above. “It’s my most sincere wish, hope, and resolution that this group of determined people will … put our heads together to solve Seattle’s most pressing issues” – gender and income inequality, homelessness, lack of affordable housing, “much more. … We must make this city a better place to live, work, and play. … We must be a voice for those so often forced into the shadows, only to be silenced. We must make this city the progressive beacon of our nation – where unfettered opportunity and shared prosperity for the working class, communities of color, immigrants, and refugees is the rule, not the exception.” 2015 was a year of change, she noted, but 2016 must be “a year of action.”
Councilmembers González and Herbold are two of the five women who make this a female-majority Seattle City Council for the first time in almost two decades. That, and the new makeup of the council – seven district representatives, two at-large, when all members had previously been at large for a century – are part of what the official news release trumpets. That and key points of other councilmembers’ speeches, ahead:
Before Seattle Police “cold case” Detective Michael Ciesynski retires soon, he’s making one more pitch to solve what’s believed to be our area’s coldest case of all: The September 1959 murder of 62-year-old widow Pearl Kongsle, outside her home near Lincoln Park. This is a bizarre case for many reasons. West Seattle videographer Mark Jaroslaw tells the story in five minutes, above, including interviews with Det. Ciesynski and writer Daryl McClary, who wrote about the case for HistoryLink.org. (We suggest, if you’re not familiar with the case, watch the video, then read the story – and read more about the detective here.)
Our coverage of November’s Fauntleroy Community Association meeting included a mention of upcoming work to replace “rotten pilings” at the state-ferry dock. FCA just got word today that the work will start tomorrow, with contractor mobilization and site preparation. Two piles will be driven through the deck on Wednesday; “deck repairs and other maintenance needs on the wingwalls and dolphins as required” would happen on Thursday; and it would all wrap up on Friday. We’re checking on any specific anticipated traffic effects, and will update this item as needed, as well as including the plan in our daily traffic/transit reports as the week continues.
(Click image for larger view)
Long before we get to that potential closure of the Alaskan Way Viaduct when the tunneling machine travels under it, Highway 99 has long-running lane closures coming up north of downtown – to build “four large sign foundations for the future tunnel” – and WSDOT really, really, really wants to make sure you know those closures are set to start two weeks from today, on Monday, January 18th. WSDOT spokesperson Laura Newborn emphasizes, “What’s most important for drivers and commuters to know is that while two lanes in each direction of SR 99 between Highland Drive and the Aurora Bridge will remain OPEN during peak commute hours, buses and vehicles will share the bus-only lane.” Read on for the full reminder from WSDOT:
(Thanks to Jim Spraker for the view of The Brothers on Sunday morning, just before the clouds moved in)
From the WSB West Seattle Event Calendar – where you can look days, weeks, months into the future any time – the highlights for today/tonight:
CITY COUNCIL INAUGURATION: The 2 pm City Council meeting today begins with the inauguration ceremonies for councilmembers, including District 1’s Lisa Herbold (as previewed here New Year’s Day). Public’s invited, though the chambers are expected to fill, so last-minute arrival is not recommended. Second floor of City Hall downtown. (4th/5th/James)
COUNCILMEMBER HERBOLD’S VICTORY PARTY: After the big meeting, the new D-1 councilmember is having a belated victory party at the Chelan Café, 5 pm, since the election wasn’t settled until more than a month after the voting ended. (3527 Chelan SW)
WEST SEATTLE HI-YU: The heart of winter is the time to plan for summer. The first meeting of the year is when West Seattle Hi-Yu members and participants listen to ideas for the year’s theme, which leads to development of the next version of the last West Seattle neighborhood-rooted float. All welcome, 7 pm, Admiral Congregational Church. (California SW & SW Hill)
NIGHTLIFE: Trivia and more – see the listings/venues on the calendar!
(Six WS-relevant views; more cams on the WSB Traffic page)
5:59 AM: Good morning! So far, the weather challenges are all OUTSIDE Seattle – just checked outside, and it’s a chilly, light rain, too warm for snow (if you see any in your neighborhood, let us know – 206-293-6302, voice or text). Be mindful of schools reopening today after two weeks’ vacation, so buses are back on the road, students are walking and riding, etc.
6:09 AM: If you use the 1st Avenue South Bridge – SFD and SPD units are headed to a reported crash on northbound Highway 509 just south of the bridge. “Minor injuries” per dispatch.
6:15 AM: It’s a one-car crash, on the bridge, according to the arriving SFD units, inside northbound lane.
6:27 AM: Two lanes are blocked while up to three people are checked for injuries, so it’s slow going. If this is your route, consider an alternative, or delay your departure.
6:43 AM: Another SFD unit’s been sent, so it doesn’t appear the 1st Avenue Bridge situation will be clearing any time soon. Still the only incident in routes through/from our area.
6:51 AM: 5-mile backup on northbound 509, per WSDOT.
7:06 AM: Crash scene now clear (see the “live” view a few lines up) after an hour – but the backup, of course, will take a while to dissipate. Meantime, SDOT says there’s a stalled vehicle on NB Highway 99 in the stadium zone. Only blocking the shoulder, but could be a distraction.
8:33 AM: Still no new incidents in/from West Seattle and vicinity. So here’s a reminder: Delridge-Highland Park Neighborhood Greenway work starts a new phase as soon as today, according to our most recent update from SDOT.