By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
Mayor Jenny Durkan walked around the West Seattle Junction this afternoon for the fourth time since taking office two years ago.
And there was some sitting involved, too.
“I’m happy that you take a substantial interest in West Seattle,” Jack Menashe told her as they chatted for a few minutes on the couch in his family’s shop Menashe and Sons Jewelers (WSB sponsor). He wanted to discuss the future of Junction parking, and the mayor suggested they arrange some time to talk. He also invited her to visit the legendary Christmas-lights display at his Beach Drive home; Durkan joked that he might merit a discount from Seattle City Light.
The tour was full of that kind of warmth as well as some serious discussions. It began at Husky Deli, where proprietor Jack Miller greeted Durkan with a hug:
Inside, he scooped a small cone of Husky Flake for the mayor and she nibbled at it while mingling with the seating area in the shop. She was accompanied by a crowd at the start – TV crews as well as city personnel, including Fire Chief Harold Scoggins and SPD Assistant Chief Deanna Nollette, plus Southwest Precinct leaders Capt. Pierre Davis and Lt. Steve Strand.
The TV turnout thinned after a group interview stop outside Easy Street Records. “This is a great store!” the mayor enthused. The TV people wanted to know whether, for example, things were better than her last visit. Yes, she believed, but they could always be better, so she hit her budget talking points including police hiring.
Inside West 5, proprietor Dave Montoure had a different view. He shared concerns about crime and disorder and the uneasiness that can result. “When our door opens at 11 am on weekends, we don’t know what’s going to come in.”
The mayor spoke of not just policing but also alternative tools for dealing with street disorder, including the new Health One program that SFD will be launching. Nollette also mentioned the long-awaited return of Community Service Officers.
Among a group of other local entrepreneurs who gathered at West 5 was Dan Austin of Morgan Junction’s Peel and Press. He voiced concerns about police staffing and retention; the mayor said she believed police morale “is returning.” (She announced initiatives in that area during a Delridge visit last month.)
From there, the tour crossed California to Menashe and Sons. Along with Jack Menashe, others there to greet the mayor included City Council candidate Phil Tavel and signal-box-muralist Desmond Hansen. And then the group headed back southbound toward the final scheduled destination, Cupcake Royale.
After offering to treat anyone interested to cupcakes, the mayor sat down for a roundtable of sorts with some of the businesspeople who had met with her at West 5, as well as Lora Radford of the West Seattle Junction Association.
Topics included business regulation – – the mayor agreed more could be done to reduce the burden on small businesses – but came around again fairly quickly to public safety. The mayor stressed that it wasn’t just a matter of “throwing everyone in jail,” but providing shelter and services for those who need them.
The businesses need services too, Radford noted at one point – describing it as “inhumane” for small-business owners to have to continually deal with crime problems such as repeat break-ins. But with a few more beat cops, and outreach services, “we can take care of it,” she said. However, they need to know who they can call, who they can count on.
Durkan agreed. The answer to “who do I call?” is not always 911, she observed.
Having to navigate the system while also trying to run a business can be daunting, Austin added.
Shortly thereafter, the mayor’s assistants said time had run out. And after a few more conversations, her 23rd neighborhood tour was over.
WHAT’S NEXT? The City Council continues reviewing the mayor’s budget plan – next scheduled meeting Tuesday morning.
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