By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
With at least another month of staying home ahead, community groups are getting into the virtual groove.
The latest: The District 1 Community Network, which gathered 20 people by videoconferencing and phone this past Wednesday night.
They represented organizations including the Admiral Neighborhood Association, Fauntleroy Community Association, West Seattle Be Prepared, Morgan Community Association, Alki Community Council, West Seattle Transportation Coalition, Delridge Neighborhoods Development Association, Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Coalition, West Seattle Junction Association, HPAC, South Park Neighborhood Association, West Seattle Bike Connections, West Seattle Blockwatch Captains Network, and more.
Spotlight guest: City Councilmember Lisa Herbold.
This was her first visit to D1CN since her re-election, and she was asked to go over her accountabilities and roles in her second term. She started with a recap of what the council’s done since “going home” to work remotely like most of their constituents – five meetings by phone and video-conference. She noted that they passed an eviction moratorium, created a small-business-relief fund, approved utilities’ waiver of late fees and moratorium on shutoffs, passed funding for emergency food vouchers, and approved allowing the city to accept donations from private foundations. Her staff is answering a lot of questions from people in D-1 and all over the city.
In questions, Herbold was asked about traffic flows with the bridge-closure detours – with a suggestion that east-west flow has to be more closely monitored. “SDOT is going to be doing monitoring and traffic counts and providing us with that data every week,” she replied, though she didn’t yet have specifics on where they’re doing that monitoring. She said she is compiling constituent concerns/questions weekly to get more info from SDOT, and wants to know about additional bottlenecks or traffic chokepoints.
Also on the bridge-closure topic, WSJA’s Lora Radford asked about additional mitigation money for small businesses that will be further affected by the bridge closure. Herbold said the money that’s going to small businesses now is from a fund created pre-COVID-19 “for unanticipated events.” She added that she expects that fund will be maintained post-COVID-19 – but one question mark is the money that goes into that fund, Community Development Block Grants, which has a “high bar” for qualifying – such as businesses’ very small size, lower income. “It’s literally the only source of funds the city has available that doesn’t run afoul of the state constitutional prohibition on gifts to businesses.”
What’s the best way to reach her and staff? Email, Herbold replied. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Other topics: COVID-19 has set back police hiring because the academy is closed, and it’s pushed back the start of police contract talks to May … They’re continuing to work on the expansion of LEAD, Asked about the funding status by HPAC’s Gunner Scott, she said the additional funding “has (now) been contracted for” (after something of a standoff with the mayor). Other topics included planning for the Westwood-South Delridge youth safety initiative, which Herbold said is community-driven, with youth involved in planning.
Encampments no longer have a deadline for moving, Herbold confirmed, and that means Camp Second Chance on Myers Way is where it is indefinitely. What about the new shelter spots announced by the mayor? she was asked. Those are not really new spaces – they’re spaces opened so that those in existing shelters can have more room, by moving some to temporary expansion spots, like the Southwest Teen Life Center spaces.
WEST SEATTLE SUPPORT: Phil Tavel provided an update on this effort, which we reported a week and a half ago. They’ve been connecting people who need help with people who can provide it. More than 50 volunteers have signed up and they’re working hard on a variety of efforts. westseattlecovid.recovers.org is where to reach them.
COMMUNITY EVENTS: May 12 is the online,rescheduled Fauntleroy Community Association annual meeting (originally scheduled for March 17th) … ArtsWest has rescheduled its gala – Halloween … The West Seattle Junction Association‘s big annual Summer Fest may move to later in the summer; this month’s Art Walk, on April 9th, will be “virtual” … West Seattle Bike Connections’ website is full of resources for people contemplating bicycling because of the bridge closure; Bike Everywhere Day is likely to be pushed back to September … Morgan Community Association‘s Aprli 15th quarterly meeting will likely be virtual, and MoCA is deciding whether to reschedule its Community Festival to September … Summer Concerts at Hiawatha planning is “in a holding pattern” … Many other things remain tenuously scheduled since no one’s certain how the months ahead will play out.
D1CN meets first Wednesdays of the month and its next meeting is likely to be online too.