By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
The District 1 Community Network – a coalition of West Seattle and South Park groups and organizations – spent this month’s meeting on a collection of ongoing issues.
D1CN has no elected leadership, but rather rotates meeting facilitators month to month. For May’s meeting, held online this past Wednesday, Randy Wiger from South Park served in that role.
DUWAMISH TRIBE RECOGNITION: Jolene Haas, director of the Duwamish Longhouse and Cultural Center, asked D1CN for a letter of support in the tribe’s continuing quest for federal recognition. She recapped the history, including the brief granting of recognition in the waning days of the Clinton Administration, reversed 20 years ago by the Bush Administration. Now they’re trying to take it to federal courts, as Haas said some other tribes have done, successfully. Their lawyers are working on the case and are also working through the U.S. House.
Former 7th District Congressmember Jim McDermott had sponsored bills on behalf of the tribe; now they’re asking other congressmembers, Adam Smith, Marilyn Strickland (with whom they met earlier in the day), and Pramila Jayapal, to help, They’re also soliciting support from other tribes that have changed leadership. “We know we have opposition from a couple of tribes … but that has not stopped us from trying to do this on our own. … we don’t need their support (for) restoration of our treaty rights.” Haas mentioned the ongoing Change.org online petition, more than 35,000 signatures so far, aiming for 100,000. No deadline for letters of support but May or June is good.
POLICE UPDATE: Southwest Precinct Lt. Dorothy Kim brought the latest stats. She said the department lost its crime-analysis person to patrol redeployment and Lt. Kim is one of the people trying to work on data instead. Overall, crime is up eight percent. She said data shows The Junction remains the peninsula hot spot, especially for burglaries. Violent crime is up 29 percent, mostly domestic violence. Property crime is up 6 percent. Shots-fired incidents remain a high priority for the precinct as well as for SPD Chief Adrian Diaz; West Seattle and South Park have had seven in the preceding four weeks. Lt. Kim explained – as we often have here – that either a victim or evidence (shell casings or damage) is required to confirm a call as “shots fired.” Of the 7, she said, 2 were road-rage related, 3 were determined to involve gangs or drugs. Auto thefts are also a precinct priority; commander Capt. Kevin Grossman has pushed for 24/7 deployment of the cars that are equipped with automatic license-plate readers, and they’re continuing to track where stolen cars are recovered, for proactive patroling to look for more stolen cars. In Q&A, she was asked how SPD is dealing with traffic issues like speeding. “We don’t have a traffic unit any more” because of the patrol redeployment following officer departures, Lt. Kim noted, “aside from the two squads of motorcycle officers.” Then, she was asked on followup, does SPD talk with SDOT about issues such as speeding? SDOT’s Meghan Shepard noted that Reconnect West Seattle has been focused on traffic-calming measures.
LOW BRIDGE: Shepard was there for this briefing, along with an SDOT colleague introduced as the new low-bridge program manager, Maureen Sheehan Contractor selection for the high-bridge/low-bridge work is expected later this month. A separate contractor will be sought for an additional low-bridge project, focused on bridge controls; that work will include an underwater cable.
Shepard recapped the new access-authorization process, saying they had already received more than 600 applications. Common questions, she said, include “what types of businesses qualify?” Answer: Those with a city business license for restaurant or retail. Access applications received by May 15th will be reviewed for potential access starting June 1st, but the process is faster for those seeking access because they’re undergoing life-saving medical treatment. Shepard said the first 27 had access as of May 1st.
ELECTIONS: D1CN is still trying to figure out how to carry out its hopes of presenting candidates in the key races, originally discussed as prerecorded interviews that would be available online, but they’re short on people to help make that happen.
COMMUNITY ANNOUNCEMENTS: West Seattle Bike Connections is reviving its Bike Everywhere Day commute station under the bridge, teaming with Commute Seattle and local bike shops, May 21st, 6 am-9 am. … Highland Park Improvement Club presenting Highland Park Decanted 4-8 pm May 22nd, tours and pre-order wine sales, to show why HPIC needs community support more than ever … Cindi Barker from the Emergency Communication Hubs reported that the Good Samaritan Law expansion was signed by the governor and takes effect in July, She also said the city Office of Emergency Management plans five webinars on the city’s earthquake preparedness – find out about them here … Lora Radford from the West Seattle Junction Association outlined the virtual edition of West Seattle Summer Fest that’s planned this year, centered on a sidewalk sale like the olden days, July 9th and 10th … Deb Barker had notes from Save The Stone Cottage – though the historic stone-covered bungalow at 1123 Harbor SW was lifted up last month in preparation for moving, “we are still waiting for permits to move the Stone Cottage; we still do not have a date,” said Deb Barker; an auction will be announced ahead of time … High Point community builder Ella McRae said Bike Works is coming to HP every other week and accepting bicycle donations while they’re there.
NEXT MEETING: D1CN meets the first Wednesday of most months, 7 pm, online, so the next meeting is set for June 2nd.