West Seattle, Washington
(WSB photo: Rep. Eileen Cody, Sen. Sharon Nelson, Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon)
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
It might have been the last time we’d talk to them as your 34th Legislative District trio: State Sen. Sharon Nelson and Reps. Eileen Cody and Joe Fitzgibbon sat down with us for a coffeehouse chat on how the session went, and what’s ahead next time.
We shared a table at C & P Coffee Company (WSB sponsor), where the two House reps had talked with us in January, shortly after the session had begun.
Otherwise, “we don’t get together that often!” they laughed – and certainly there had been big news in the meantime, with Nelson deciding to retire from the Legislature.
So, we asked, what did they see as the biggest successes of this year’s session?
From Jenny and Gordy Mandt:
A massive thank you to our wonderful West Seattle community! Ian Mandt’s Celebration of Life on Saturday, May 5th at the Hall at Fauntleroy was attended by over 520 people of all ages and walks of life! The Mandt family and relatives were overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and support. We had a clothing station where friends could take some of his clothes. All the remainder was donated to Denny Middle School. There were also stations to write or draw art, look at photo albums and a power point of pictures and videos of Ian’s life. The event couldn’t have happened without the many volunteers who showed up to help plus the incredible support from Tuxedos and Tennis Shoes Catering at the Hall. If you were unable to attend and would still like to donate, you can do so to the West Seattle/Fauntleroy YMCA, The Vera Project, or Youthcare Orion Center in memory of Ian.
Many thanks, Jenny and Gordy Mandt
Tomorrow afternoon, the Elected Leadership Group for Sound Transit‘s West Seattle/Ballard light-rail project meets for the second time, 4+ months after its first meeting. On the eve of that meeting, the West Seattle Chamber of Commerce and West Seattle Transportation Coalition have both gone public with where they stand right now. The Chamber’s letter to decisionmakers is just one page – you can read it here. It urges “in depth” study of what ST calls the “Pigeon Ridge” alternative, which would include two tunnels. Meantime, the WSTC comments run five pages – read them here – and address all five of the “concepts” shown so far, as well as the original “representative alignment.” WSTC suggests that the Oregon Street and Yancy concepts be dropped from further consideration and also lays out concerns about the process so far. The public is welcome at tomorrow’s meeting – 2-4 pm at the ST board room, 401 S. Jackson.
Here’s the fourth official announcement of candidacy we’ve received for the 34th District seat in the State Senate:
Today, Lem Charleston begins his campaign to bring years of community leadership, activism, involvement, and diversity to 34th Legislative District.
I am running to be your next State Senator because I am convinced we can do better. Senator Sharon Nelson did a great job with the tools she had available to her but we need to progressively move her legacy to the next level by doing more in and for our communities here in the 34th district.
I love having a family. I love being a devoted husband and father. I’m a proud union member, a community member, an associate chaplain with Seattle Police Department (SPD). I served my country in the United States Marine Corps. I don’t look like a regular politician because I am not a career politician. I have different experiences than some politicians. I have been working in aerospace for over 30 years. I worked in Everett for 25 years and I am now in Renton and a proud member of District 751 of the International Association of Machinists. I was a Union Steward in the International Association of Machinists for 20 years. I have been a minister since 1992 and was the Pastor at the United House of Prayer For All People, Seattle, WA until 2008. I had a pretty good career as a volunteer soccer coach in the West Seattle Soccer Club (WSSC) as well.
Right now there are ZERO African Americans in the State Senate and the 34th Legislative District has never elected a person of color. It’s time for realistic diversity. We have to work together and not just believe in the creed of this district, but bring that creed to fruition.
I’m running be your next State Senator because I believe we can do better because our community members and our city and State needs us to do better.
We have traffic problems, classroom overcrowding problems, bike lane sharing problems. We also have one of the highest homelessness rates in the nation. We have obscene housing prices, and the property taxes that go with them. There is gun violence that is leaving our communities with grief, anger, and fear like never before. We can’t remedy all these things in one day, but working together, looking at our problems and facing them one by one, for what they are, I am confident we will find a remedy to each and every one of them.
Housing: The 34th district is one that has millionaires on the beach on the west end, and people living on the streets on the east end of this district. We can do better. We need to find solutions that cure that disparity. Seattleites and many people throughout the region are working hard to solve this problem, and I’ll work hard at the state level to find solutions to these issues. Housing is becoming a state issue. The Stranger reported in 2017 that, ”The Seattle area is the ninth fastest-growing metro in the nation, gaining about 1,100 residents per week according to population estimates issued this morning by the U.S. Census Bureau.” It’s not my goal to simply have another food bank for the homeless but how about giving them the tools to start a business or get a job so they can get off the streets and be able to provide adequately for their families.
Education: Seattle needs stronger educational resources and we need our schools to be completely funded. The levy’s just don’t get the job done anymore. I’ll work to make sure they have the resources they need to serve all of our community members. A strong community that is built by the people who serve in it, live in it, and love it is bound to prosper. It is my goal to not only expose the achievement gap between white students and students of color as this is important, but to also partner with the appropriate people everywhere reasonable to remedy this problem.
Revenue: We need to stop giving tax breaks to huge corporations with no way to get that money back if they don’t follow through on the deal. And yes, we need to fix our broken and regressive tax system. Taxing big corporations in a fair and equitable manner in a way that will not cost the middle class living wage jobs. We all must research and study to find economic solutions to remedy our concerns so that we build a stable and collective balance, with these corporations and create income equality here in Seattle.
I believe we can do better because I have lived here in the 34th district for over twenty-one years. As a soccer coach, I watched the parents of kids playing soccer teach their kids how to win and how to lose, all with dignity and fairness. Those lessons we learn as children are the ones we need to apply as adults we need to understand our problems and wisely find remedies for them.
Lem Charleston was born in Seattle and has lived in West Seattle for over 21 years. He’s been a pastor and a minister in the community for sixteen years, a volunteer soccer coach for six years, and is currently serving as a volunteer assistant Seattle Police Department chaplain for the past twelve years. He’s been married for 21 years and he and his wife have two children attending West Seattle Schools.
The three candidates from whom we previously received announcements are Shannon Braddock, Joe Nguyen, and Lois Schipper. Official filing week is under way through Friday; here’s who’s turned in paperwork so far. The seat is open because Sen. Sharon Nelson has announced she is not running for re-election.
(WSB photo:Flower bouquets were left outside the house in the days since the fire)
We’ve been checking daily to see if the Medical Examiner had officially identified the man found dead in a house at 42nd/Findlay last Friday after it erupted in flames while King County Sheriff’s Office SWAT officers were trying to serve an eviction notice (WSB coverage here). This afternoon, an update from KCSO answers multiple questions in the case:
The King County Medical Examiner’s Office has identified the deceased as David M. Severtson, 51 and determined his death to be suicide from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Members of Tac-30, a Hostage Negotiator, and a Mental Health Professional spent considerable time attempting to establish contact with Severtson while outside the home on the morning of May 11, 2018.
When Severtson did not respond to multiple requests to exit voluntarily, a Tac-30 team approached the front door and noted that flames were spreading rapidly inside the home. No shots were fired by KCSO personnel.
A Seattle Fire Department investigator concluded Severtson started the fire, using gasoline, near the front door.
After the fire was out, and when it was safe for Tac-30 and KCSO Major Crimes detectives to enter the house, they discovered loaded rifles propped near several windows of the home. There were also numerous rounds of ammunition of various calibers. In all, nearly 20 rifles, ranging in caliber from .22 to .308, were recovered.
(WSB reader photo from Friday night, by Dan)
KCSO was aware of the possibility that a number of guns were inside the home, which factored in to the decision that Tac-30 (SWAT) would assist the KCSO Civil Detectives with the eviction. The operation followed repeated attempts, since January 2018, to reach Severtson about the court’s eviction order. Letters were sent to the home, notices were posted at the home, and Detectives made several personal visits. Severtson failed to respond to any of the attempts to reach him.
Severtson’s mother had owned the house until her death three years ago. Her estate originally filed the eviction action more than a year before the officers showed up Friday to serve it.
Thanks to Don Brubeck for the photo taken along West Seattle’s west-facing shore during this afternoon’s low-low tide! As we mentioned in the daily highlight list, it was out to 2.5 feet just afternoon. Tomorrow and Friday, even lower – -2.9 feet at 1 pm Thursday and 1:47 pm Friday. If you can’t go out and tidewalk until the weekend, no worries – Saturday’s low tide will still be good for (carefully) exploring, -2.4 feet at 2:38 pm. Next month, the low-low tides get even lower: -3 feet and further, June 13-16. (Here’s our favorite tide chart. We have one – better for short-term consultation – on the WSB West Seattle Weather page, too.)
State Attorney General Bob Ferguson was in West Seattle today as part of an event presented at South Seattle College (WSB sponsor) by a coalition led by the AARP. It was the first in a new series, “Taking Charge of Your Digital Identity,” with other events to be held around the state. AARP spokesperson Jason Erskine says consumer-fraud experts advise taking these “three key steps” to better protect your personal information:
1) Take Charge of Your Credit File
Getting a credit freeze is one of the three primary recommendations of security officials to help protect your identity. With a credit freeze in place, a criminal is unable to access your credit file or open new credit accounts. According to AARP’s report however, fewer than one-in-six Washington adults (14%) report having ever ordered a security freeze on their credit.
“Along with checking their credit reports regularly and reviewing bills promptly, many consumers find that freezing their credit is a simple thing they can do to protect themselves from crooks looking to set up phony credit accounts,” says Federal Trade Commission Regional Director Chuck Harwood. “A new Washington state law will soon let all consumers freeze their credit and lift the freeze at no cost.” AARP and the State Attorney General’s Office lobbied for the successful passage of the “Free Credit Freeze for All” law this year, offering free credit freezes and thaws for Washington consumers beginning in June of 2018. Prior to the laws’ passage, consumers had to pay around $10 to each of three credit reporting agencies to freeze their credit files, and another $10 per bureau to thaw their files.
2) Check Your Online Accounts
With the ever increasing number of data breaches, experts say almost all of us have had our personal information exposed to potential identity thieves. So it’s vital that consumers have online access to all of their important bank accounts, credit cards and retirement accounts and to check them frequently. According to AARP’s report however, only four-in-ten (38%) of Washington adults have set-up online accounts for all of their bank accounts, while one-in-five (21%) admit they have not set up online access to any of their bank accounts. Similarly, only half (50%) of Washington adults have set-up online access to all of their credit cards, while more than one-quarter (27%) haven’t set up access to any of their credit cards.
To make matters worse, some consumers who say they are staying offline are doing so for all the wrong reasons. Nearly half of respondents who have not set up online access to some or any of their bank or credit card accounts (45%) say they haven’t because they are afraid their personal information will get stolen; about four-in-ten (41%) say they feel safer without an online account; and over one-third (36%) say they don’t trust the internet. “It’s ironic and unfortunate that fear and mistrust of the internet is actually putting people in greater danger that their personal information will be stolen and used by ID thieves,” says AARP State Director Doug Shadel. “Crooks have told us that people without online accounts are the perfect targets. It allows the criminals to set up online access themselves, and to even set passwords and identifying information locking people out of their own accounts.”
3) Strengthen Your Passwords and Privacy Settings
The difference between secure computing and falling victim to online fraud or identity theft often comes down to a dozen or so keystrokes – your password. However, nearly half (45%) of Washington adults report using the same password for more than one online account. Younger adults are more likely to report doing this compared to older adults (18-49: 49%; 50-64: 46%; 65 and older: 33%). Using the same password across multiple accounts is a very risky practice. If hackers are able to break just one of your codes, they can now access each of your accounts . “Our members know we are very vigilant about protecting their data and often ask us what else they can do. We tell them to treat their passwords like toothbrushes,” says Kyle Welsh, BECU’s Chief Information Security Officer. “Change them frequently; don’t share them; don’t leave them lying around; and the longer you brush, the better.”
Privacy concerns over users personal information on Facebook has also been in the spotlight lately. AARP’s survey shows that among Washington Facebook users 18+, nearly three-quarters (72%) report having changed at least some of their privacy settings from the default settings. However, significantly fewer adults aged 65-and-older (33%) have done this. “Social media sites can be a great way to stay active and engaged, just be careful what you share,” says Jeff Lilleskare, Online Safety & Security Risk Management, Microsoft. “Check your settings to make sure only friends can see what you post, or at most friends of friends. Don’t post when you’re going to be traveling. Don’t share your address, and be careful about taking pictures with sensitive information in them,” he says.
Also at the SSC event, AARP released a new report surveying adult internet users in our state, “Up for Grabs”; Erskine says it revealed that “a lack of awareness and knowledge of online dangers may be contributing to increased dangers for Washington consumers” You can see the report here.
(WSDOT photo: Surface Alaskan Way under construction)
The Highway 99 Tunnel could be open – and The Viaduct permanently closed – in a matter of months. Then it’ll be teardown time, and WSDOT has announced its chosen contractor:
The demolition of Seattle’s aging Alaskan Way Viaduct is finally in view.
Today, May 16, the Washington State Department of Transportation selected Kiewit Infrastructure West Co. to demolish the viaduct, decommission the Battery Street Tunnel, and reconnect city surface streets just north of the nearly complete State Route 99 tunnel.
The design-build contract, which requires the contractor provide both design and construction services of the job, is valued at $93.7 million. Kiewit submitted the ‘apparent best value’ bid – a combination of points received for their technical proposal and their price.
“We are excited to be so close to removing the seismically vulnerable viaduct and ushering in a new era on Seattle’s waterfront,” said Brian Nielsen, WSDOT’s Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement Program Administrator. “It will be challenging to tear down a major highway in the heart of a booming city but we’re looking forward to getting it done safely and as quickly as possible.”
Timelines for the work will emerge after the contract is finalized and the contractor receives approval to begin design work. After that point, WSDOT will be able to share more specifics about how demolition and decommissioning will proceed.
What’s ahead this year:
· Based on the tunnel contractor’s current schedule, WSDOT anticipates the new SR 99 tunnel could open as soon as this fall.
· By then, the temporary Alaskan Way surface street will move west of the viaduct with two lanes open in each direction along Seattle’s waterfront.
· Before the tunnel opens, WSDOT must permanently close the Alaskan Way Viaduct to realign SR 99 and the ramps at the tunnel portals.
· After the viaduct permanently closes, contractors could begin limited demolition work in late 2018.
· The majority of viaduct demolition work will occur in 2019.
· It will take up to two years to remove equipment and fill in the Battery Street Tunnel. During this time, there will also be utility improvements made along Battery Street.
· Thomas and John streets will be reconnected over three blocks of a rebuilt Aurora Avenue North. This picture shows the final street grid.
Thanks to the readers who tipped us to a sign up at Seattle Yarn (5633 California SW), saying the shop’s in search of a new owner. We stopped by today to find out more, and talked with proprietor Ruth Bowen:
Ruth took over Seattle Yarn a few years back from mom Virginia Bowen; it’s been in the family for 20 years. Ruth says she simply realized that she wants to do something else with her life, so she is hoping to find someone to take over the store. She’s keeping it open for now while seeking a buyer but, she told us, she plans to close in August if someone isn’t found by then. Interested? E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. (In the meantime, if you haven’t heard, the shop’s added another alter-ego as an event venue – here’s what’s ahead.)
Just announced by the Admiral Neighborhood Association – the lineup for this year’s Summer Concerts at Hiawatha, six free outdoor concerts, 6:30-8 pm Thursday nights starting July 19th. From ANA’s concert coordinator Stephanie Jordan:
The Admiral Neighborhood Association is getting ready for summer with a fresh lineup of artists to play at Hiawatha. Save your Thursday evenings for some incredible music in the park, made possible through the generous support of community businesses, Seattle Parks, and the Associated Recreation Council. Here’s what’s ahead:
URAL THOMAS AND THE PAIN
Ural Thomas started singing beneath his mother’s knee in church at the age of 3. By high school he led the doo-wop group the Mono Rays. Ural’s voice and songwriting soon gained national attention and he found himself sharing the stage with the likes of James Brown, Otis Redding, Johnny Guitar Watson, and “Little” Stevie Wonder. He played the Apollo 44 times. He backed the Northwest’s biggest soul and garage outfits of the 1960s (The Kingsmen, Paul Revere and the Raiders, Cavaliers Unlimited) and he never for a moment stopped teaching, singing and loving soul music.
Good Quiver is a relatively new band, but the bandmates have a long and winding history playing music together, featuring high-school friends Ehssan Karimi on drums and West Seattle resident Martin Celt on bass. He and vocalist Katelyn Berreth have also been playing music together since high school. Their groovy, fresh sound is rooted in soul, jazz, funk, hip hop, and “everlasting friendship”!
Micaiah Sawyer is a prolific singer-songwriter from Olympia, playing a catchy blend of folk, blues and rock. Her relatable and wise-beyond-years lyrics quickly make an impression on the listener, connecting them with not just a piece of music, but with the artist herself. Armed with an accompaniment of energetic and talented musicians, Micaiah recently won the Sound Off 2018 competition hosted by Seattle’s Museum of Pop Culture and KEXP 90.3 FM. She will be releasing her first full-length album this summer.
General Mojo’s is a space-elevator ride of psychedelic pop, reminiscent of the past with all courses set for the distant future. Despite their light-hearted approach to stage presence and style, General Mojo’s provides a serious sound, collecting the hook-laden melodies and complex lucid solo sections evocative of Yes and Emerson Lake & Palmer. General Mojo’s plays both the loose and groovy rock you remember and a buttoned-down psychedelic sound you’ve never experienced before!
THE SERVICE PROVIDERS
Labeled a “Superband” by The Stranger, the Service Providers are as mysterious as they are deeply rooted in the northwest music scene: “Not all bands are good. These ones are.” The Service Providers is a new project of Mike Musburger, Arthur Roberts (formerly of The Posies), Dave Fox, and Brian Naubert.
Summer favorite Caspar Babypants will be back to sing songs for parents and kids ages 0-6 with a catchy simple sing-along good-time folk acoustic country rock-and-roll feel that will make you smile and dance at the same time.
The stage and lawn are on the east side of Hiawatha Community Center, along Walnut south of Lander. (WSB is a co-sponsor again this year, as we’ve proudly been each year since the concert series launched in 2009.)
(Bald eagle at low tide on Tuesday, photographed by Lynn Hall)
From the WSB West Seattle Event Calendar for the rest of your Wednesday:
LOW-LOW TIDE: Get out on the beach at noontime! The tide is out to -2.5 feet at 12:16 pm.
TRANSIT-ORIENTED DEVELOPMENT DISCUSSION: As previewed here, you’re invited to a 5:30 pm panel discussion about TOD and affordable housing at Southwest Youth and Family Services, presented by Welcoming West Seattle. (4555 Delridge Way SW)
WORDSWEST LITERARY SERIES: This month, WordsWest presents “Home Unsettled Home” with Rachel Kessler and Matthew Zapruder, 7 pm at C & P Coffee Company (WSB sponsor), with Mud Bay presenting the Favorite Poem. Free. (5612 California SW)
DENNY INTERNATIONAL MIDDLE SCHOOL PTSA: 7 pm at the school. Agenda items include a discussion of summer resources. (2701 SW Kenyon)
MADISON MIDDLE SCHOOL PTSA: 7 pm at the school – agenda items include an update from the principal and a discussion of last month’s “shelter in place” incident as well as the election of new officers. (3429 45th SW)
DELRIDGE NEIGHBORHOODS DISTRICT COUNCIL: 7 pm at Highland Park Improvement Club, with the agenda including a discussion of the changes at the city Department of Neighborhoods. All welcome. (1116 SW Holden)
34TH DISTRICT REPUBLICANS: 7 pm meeting at the West Seattle VFW. (3601 SW Alaska)
TRIANGULAR JAZZTET: Jazz at Whisky West (WSB sponsor), starting at 7 pm. No cover. 21+. Details here! (6451 California SW)
OPEN MICROPHONES: Signups start at 7 at Great American Diner and Bar (4752 California SW), signups start at 7:30 at The Skylark (3803 Delridge Way SW).
WONDERING WHAT ELSE IS GOING ON? See our complete calendar here.
(Photos displayed at West Seattle Rotary 70th anniversary lunch last November)
On Saturday, you’re invited to join the Rotary Club of West Seattle in a celebration that will cap the club’s 70th-anniversary festivities, a pop-up celebration of wine:
The Rotary Club of West Seattle will hold the culminating event of its 70th Anniversary Year Saturday, May 19th, at the Alki Masonic Center (4736 40th Ave SW) from 4 – 6:30 pm.
You’re invited for:
Wine tastings from local wineries.
Heavy appetizers served.
Wine & wine-related items for auction and for sale.
West Seattle Rotarians free admission; Guests $10 donation
WS Rotary 70th Anniversary Commemorative glasses will be given to the first 100 guests. Included in the auction/raffle are the following:
3L 2015 Doubleback Cabernet Sauvignon, etched and signed by winemaker and Drew Bledsoe (retail value w/o signatures: $540)
3L 2014 Fidelitas Cabernet Sauvignon, signed by owner/winemaker Charlie Hoppes
Wineries participating include Icy Road Vineyards, Bledsoe and DoubleBack Wineries (Walla Walla), Fidelitas Wines (Woodinville), and West Seattle’s Viscon Cellars.
The event will be an opportunity to taste numerous excellent Washington wines and to learn about the Rotary Club of West Seattle.
The celebrating began at a lunch last fall – here’s our coverage.
(SDOT MAP with travel times/video links; is the ‘low bridge’ closed? LOOK HERE)
7:01 AM: Good morning! No incidents or traffic alerts of note for West Seattle and vicinity so far.
LOOKING AHEAD: Now that we’re at midweek, two things of note – Friday is Bike Everywhere Day, and as usual there will be a “celebration station” where riders can stop under the bridge; Sunday is the West Seattle 5K, with Alki/Harbor closed during the race, roughly 8-11 am.
8:55 AM: Via scanner, we’ve just heard a dispatch for a collision at California/Edmunds. No SFD crew sent so far, so apparently no injuries.
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