10:54 PM: Closing time at Alki tonight looked a lot like last night in one way – quiet, no fires, not-so-summery weather. But in another way, it was different: No police. As reported here this morning, red tape strangled the plan for three officers on overtime to help Seattle Parks at closing time Thursdays-Fridays-Saturdays, with Parks covering the cost, after just one night (here’s our Thursday night coverage). Southwest Precinct commander Capt. Kevin Grossman said today, “I learned yesterday that any movement of funds from one city agency (e.g., Parks) to another (e.g., SPD) requires city council approval. So until that issue is resolved, the dedicated Alki emphasis patrols will be paused. This is a disappointing development — both for my officers and for the neighborhood.” So what happens now? We immediately inquired with both Councilmember Lisa Herbold‘s office and Parks. Herbold legislative assistant Newell Aldrich told us in the morning they were “looking into it” and then at day’s end sent this update: “We haven’t got answers from Parks to our questions; they’ve indicated the answers are more complicated than they anticipated. They are working on getting us answers.” So it appears the ball is in Parks’ court right now (we haven’t heard back from them yet at all). Meantime, Capt. Grossman added that he has “directed that our available on-duty resources conduct patrols on Alki when not otherwise committed”; no officers were in sight as we drove the length of Alki, including Don Armeni, before and after the 9:30 pm closing time tonight. There was a Parks vehicle on the promenade, headed west right at 9:30, but it then headed out of the park; by then, light rain was falling.
2:24 AM: Commenters say the fires started later in the night tonight. Here’s a photo sent by a reader: