From policing to politics @ Delridge Neighborhoods District Council’s first 2019 meeting

February 23, 2019 9:14 pm
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 |   Delridge District Council | Neighborhoods | West Seattle news

This past week, the Delridge Neighborhoods District Council met for the first time this year. It was a chance to look ahead, in multiple ways.

POLICING PLANS: Taylor Lowery, this year’s Seattle University public-safety intern at the Southwest Precinct, said they’re now crunching the data and comments from the recent citywide Public Safety Survey. Related to that work the precinct’s operations commander Lt. Steve Strand said the precinct’s Microcommunity Policing Plan priorities for the year – three for each microneighborhood – is due March 6th, so starting next week they’ll be circulating drafts to the neighborhood groups with which police have partnered on those plans. Police capacity – response time, for example – so far is shaping up as a top concern.

Strand said one anomaly is that sometimes neighborhood concerns don’t dovetail with what the neighborhood is actually experiencing. DNDC member Pete Spalding from Pigeon Point, who’s long been a lead organizer with the Delridge Day community festival, said they’ll have the microcommunity-policing plans on site at this year’s festival in August (which will again include the Picnic at the Precinct event). … That led to DNDC memberDeborah Vandermar from the High Point Open Space Association mentioning that the West Seattle Bee Festival (which usually gets a visit from the SPD Mobile Precinct) is set for May 18th. Laura Love is booked as the spotlighted music artist. Booths at the festival are free.

DELRIDGE GROCERY: A decade in the making, the Delridge Grocery Cooperative‘s store is on target to open this year, said Doris Rahmig. She said they are negotiating the lease for the long-promised space at DESC’s Cottage Grove Commons, and talking with a contractor, with the buildout likely to start as soon as next month; Parie Hines from LD Arch Design (WSB sponsor) is the architect. They will be hiring a general manager and hope that person will come from the West Seattle community. Rahmig explained the years of work that it’s taken to get to the brink of opening:”It took so long to get the money.”

HALA MHA: With the public hearing hours later (WSB coverage here), a council meeting next Monday (previewed here), and a final council vote expected next month, concerns linger. City Councilmember Lisa Herbold‘s announcement earlier in the day of an anti-displacement proposal was discussed.

Speaking of the council …

PRIORITIES, INCLUDING CITY COUNCIL ELECTION: One question the meeting was intended to address – what should the DNDC focus on this year? First suggestion: The District 1 City Council election, and whether to sponsor a candidates’ forum, perhaps one to focus on neighborhood issues, maybe in conjunction with the Southwest District Council. High Point’s Vandermar said it would be crucial to make a forum accessible to marginalized communities, which would mean interpretation would be important – but, she noted, it’s expensive. Spalding said that some groups already are organizing forums and Vandermar said it would be important to find out who. Spalding suggested asking the campaigns who’s booked them. Would it be appropriate to look for community volunteers for translation? was one question discussed, along with concerns about reaching out to many groups that might be seeking ways to have their voices heard.

DISTRICT 1 COMMUNITY NETWORK: DNDC chair Mat McBride caught attendees up on this new group (we covered its most recent meeting here); he’s host for its next meeting, March 26, likely at the Duwamish Tribe Longhouse.

RESCHEDULED: Pigeon Point and Puget Ridge community councils both had to cancel meetings recently because of the snow. PP’s Spalding said his group hopes to reschedule for March 11th and will be focused on Sound Transit light rail – specifically, where things stand now, rather than an extensive recap of how they got to this point.

SPEAKING OF SOUND TRANSIT: “This is a generational decision we’re making,” said Spalding, who is involved with the West Seattle Chamber of Commerce and says it’s going to take a position requesting that the “purple option” – tunneling under Pigeon Point, currently off the table – be studied. ST cites the cost and Spalding aid that the agency doesn’t seem to have included the potential savings of not buying and demolishing residences in its path. “If it goes all the way to Avalon to make its turn, the guideway’s going to be about 160 feet in the air – that’s higher than the West Seattle Bridge.” He recapped that the Chamber board, which he chaired until recently, sent a letter to ST last year advocating for tunneling. He also said that local elected reps County Councilmember Joe McDermott and City Councilmember Herbold have formally voiced concerns that ST has not applied a race/social-justice lens to the potential effects on North Delridge. That area hasn’t gotten the attention that, for example, the Chinatown-International District has. He brought up an oft-cited point – in a time when the area has just celebrated “removing a wall” (the Alaskan Way Viaduct) and replacing it with a tunnel, why do the reverse here? Now is the time, whatever you want to advocate for, to have your voice heard. The West Seattle open house is next Wednesday, he reminded everyone.

The Delridge Neighborhoods District Council meets at 7 pm third Wednesdays most months, currently at Neighborhood House High Point.

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