West Seattle, Washington
(King County video: Presentation begins 55 minutes in)
“This is a tension between public health and public safety.” That’s what King County Prosecuting Attorney Dan Satterberg told the County Council’s Law, Justice, Health, and Human Services Committee this morning. His presentation was related to a Department of Public Defense proposal to further restrict what kind of crimes can result in jail bookings. The proposal is rooted in pandemic-related concerns such as COVID-19 spread and staffing challenges at the jail, which has had booking restrictions since shortly after the pandemic began. Here’s the slide deck that Public Defense Director Anita Khandelwal presented to the committee today, also proposing that prosecutors cut back on filing charges:
The Prosecuting Attorney’s Office says this new proposal would mean no jail bookings for suspects “including repeat felony offenders, sex offenders, and felony home burglary suspects, among others accused of serious felony crimes,” as listed in the Public Defense slide deck. A KCPAO spokesperson says, “We believe that thoughtful, individualized case reviews are better to balance public safety and public health, and we have been doing those.” At today’s meeting, the KCPAO criminal-division chief Dan Clark said, “The problem with the blanket prohibition on certain felony crimes is that it is not a nuanced approach … if you have somebody who steals a catalytic converter every day or somebody who breaks into a home every day and the police finally catch them, if there’s these restrictions in place they can’t book them anymore. The better system is the one we have now that actually takes the opportunity for those high-impact offenders to be in front of a judge and then the judge makes a call.” The KCPAO prosecutes felonies and a handful of misdemeanors. Public Defense represents many of the suspects, and its members said at today’s hearing that their clients are not just at risk of COVID, but are being kept in inhumane conditions because of jail-staffing challenges.
Since the County Council spotlighted this issue, we asked West Seattle’s County Councilmember Joe McDermott via email where he stands. His reply:
Booking policy in the Department of Adult & Juvenile Detention within King County is an Executive Branch policy. The Council does not generally adopt or vote on the policies.
Through the pandemic, the County has intentionally decreased the number of people incarcerated from about 1900 to about 1350, and the January COVID spike is in deep decline already, with currently 61 incarcerated positive for COVID and 62 in quarantine, down from numbers approaching 200 and 250 respectively earlier this month.
Given the previous decrease in population and declining cases, I would not look favorably at a decision not to book further felonies at this point.
“Executive-branch policy” would ultimately be up to King County Executive Dow Constantine, who is quoted here as saying the county already has taken many steps to address concerns. Some councilmembers at today’s hearing said rather than change booking policy, they’d rather see steps taken to address some of the specific conditions cited as concerns.
Four reader reports about thefts:
STOLEN PICKUP: That’s Joanne‘s white 1999 Chevy Silverado pickup with white rack over the bed, “stolen between 5:07 pm January 31 and 7:00 am February 1 from in front of our house near Madison Middle School. WA plate C01899A. Let us know if you see it, please.” And call 911. (UPDATE: Found.)
STOLEN BICYCLE: The photo and report are from Jeffrey:
Between Saturday night and 10 am 1/29/22 Sunday my Gary Fischer “Marin” mountain bike was stolen from my back yard, then walked out thru my neighbor’s yard. It was a well-used, XL frame, and would be hard to ride for anyone less than 6′ tall. It is orange, with stickers on it, and a custom seat.
STOLEN CATALYTIC CONVERTER: Brittany reports, “On Friday at the old Roxhill elementary school building across from the 76 and the Safeway on Roxbury, my catalytic converter was stolen from my Kia Soul, right in the parking lot at my school I work at.”
STOLEN CLOTHING: Drew reports that a box of “inventory from my new business venture” was stolen in a car break-in outside his home in Gatewood last Friday – a box unintentionally left in the car. In the box, about $2,500 worth of apparel, which he describes as “beach volleyball clothing (that) we just recently started selling online, so no one in the Seattle area has the clothing except for me (yet!). … Every piece of clothing has a “V” (for Voller) logo … The V logo on the clothing is in gold.” You can see here what the clothing looks like – the stolen items were shorts and T-shirts.
4:59 PM: Thanks to Corey for the tip. A semitruck is having trouble at 35th and Alaska, blocking the eastbound and southbound lanes, but other traffic is getting around.
5:22 PM: Video feed on the SDOT info-map shows southbound traffic is being directed around the stuck truck, too, but avoid the area if you can. (added) Turning traffic from EB Alaska also is getting around the truck, gingerly.
6:15 PM: Still there.
6:49 PM: A tow truck is reported to be on scene now (the video feed shows several vehicles with flashing lights), so this is getting closer to resolution.
7:29 PM: Per texter, and confirmed by video feed, the intersection is now clear.
Another West Seattleite who led a city department under the former administration is out. Mayor Bruce Harrell announced today that Highland Park resident Andrés Mantilla is out as head of the Department of Neighborhoods – which he ran for most of the previous mayor’s term – and he’s appointed Southeast Seattle resident Greg Wong (right) as DoN director. The announcement says Wong will be tasked with “driving local engagement, coordinating neighborhood strategies citywide, and charting a future direction for a City full of unique, vibrant, and welcoming neighborhoods.” Wong is a lawyer and former teacher. The DoN announcement was one of three director changes announced by the mayor today, along with former mayoral candidate and ex-legislator Jessyn Farrell leading the Office of Sustainability and Environment and Markham McIntyre, formerly an executive with the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, to lead the Office of Economic Development. All three are serving as interim directors pending confirmation by the City Council; read more in the full announcement here.
Suddenly getting a flurry of questions about a big Seattle Fire presence at Constellation Park south of Alki Point. Thanks to the texter who sent these photos.
They report the crews there told them it was a drill – which is what we suspected since there’s nothing on the real-time incident log – and we’ve just confirmed that with SFD spokesperson Kristin Tinsley – diving drill, to be specific.
Two orca-related items:
WHALES’ MONDAY VISIT: We mentioned orcas were in the area again Monday. Today, two photos from Trileigh Tucker, who says, “There were about 4 adult orcas and one or maybe even two babies – waiting to hear back from Orca Network about the babies. ON identified them as T124s. The lighting was just gorgeous.”
RESEARCH BUOY: As mentioned in our daily preview list, a King County research boat was out this morning deploying a buoy to listen in on undersea noise, a major threat to orcas. Here’s the video recorded during the livestream and Q&A:
This isn’t off West Seattle – closer to Edmonds – but the research over the next three months will be of interest to orca-watchers all around Puget Sound. Full details from King County are here.
Almost four months after we reported the closure of Morning Star Mini-Mart at 8th/Henderson in Highland Park, we know what’s moving in. Greene Information Systems is moving its headquarters there, from Georgetown. The company won’t be a tenant – its ownership bought the 4.200-square-foot, 75-year-old building and the 13,000-square-foot site it’s on. We contacted the company after seeing it named on preliminary site-plan documents in city files. According to Christian Castro, who responded to our inquiry on behalf of the company, the owners and many of the employees live in West Seattle. Greene IS serves as “outsourced IT” for more than 100 clients and is a Microsoft consultant. They’re doing interior renovations on the building to turn it into office space for their U.S. staff, which he said currently numbers about 17. At some point years down the road, the site has redevelopment potential, since it’s zoned for mixed-use that could have commercial space on the ground floor and residential above, but there are no near-term plans for that, he said. As for how soon Greene IS expects to move in – Castro said they’re estimating three to seven months but that’s dependent on how the city permitting process goes.
This is an old photo of Jessie’s green 2000 Honda CR-V – it now has Washington plates, BFP5162, but still had the Virginia Tech Hokies tire cover when “stolen from 44th Ave SW between Dakota and Genesee … sometime between about 6-7 pm last night and 9 am this morning (2/1).” It’s been reported to police; call 911 if you see it.
RESEARCH LIVESTREAM: If you see this before 10 am, tune in here to see “a livestream aboard the SoundGuardian, King County’s research vessel, as marine mammal researchers deploy a buoy into Puget Sound that will measure underwater noise, which poses multiple risks to southern resident orcas.” It started at 9:30 am and is being followed by Q&A. (That same link should work for a replay afterward.)
TERMINAL 5 UPDATE: The quarterly update on Terminal 5 construction is set for 11 am, when “The Northwest Seaport Alliance Managing Members will receive a quarterly briefing on the Terminal 5 Modernization project. With the north berth operational, construction continues on the south berth in preparation for operations to commence in 2023. Staff will provide a status update on terminal construction, operations, and any changes to projected project milestones.” See the stream and agenda here.
(added) SCHOOL FUNDRAISER: Received today from the Alki Elementary PTA:
Alki School Night at Good Society Brewery and Public House
Today from 3-10 pm
Good Society is donating a portion of every purchase to Alki Elementary PTA. For your purchase to count, tell them you are there for Alki Elementary! 2701 California Ave SW
DEMONSTRATION FOR RACIAL JUSTICE: 4:30-6 pm at 16th/Holden, Scott leads the weekly demonstration for racial justice. Signs available if you don’t have your own.
WEST SEATTLE TAE KWON DO: 6 pm tonight, it’s the first February class for the West Seattle Tae Kwon Do Club at High Point Community Center (6920 34th SW) – details in our calendar listing.
BELLE OF THE BALLS BINGO: Play bingo with Cookie Couture at The Skylark (3803 Delridge Way SW), 8 pm. Free, all ages!
There’s more on our calendar – and if you have something to add for the future, email us the info at firstname.lastname@example.org – thank you!
Family and friends will gather Friday to remember Dr. Joseph P. Megale, and are sharing this remembrance with the community:
Heaven just got a whole lot better.
Dr. Joseph Patrick Megale [Dr. Joe] passed away on January 23, 2022, at the age of 94 among family in Palm Springs, CA. His passing was, believe it or not, a surprise to those who knew him closely. Dr. Joe, up until a couple weeks before his death was a vibrant, active, 94-year-old man. Anyone close to Joe new he was on the ball, both mentally and physically.
Joe was born on March 12, 1927, the third son to Giuseppe and Dominica [Pizzimenti] Megale in Coos Bay, Oregon. He and his mother Dominica moved back to Italy to care for her mother when Joe was 3 years old, his father staying in Coos Bay. Joe and his mother returned to Coos Bay before the War broke out when Joe was 7 years old. Joe attended high school in Coos Bay, where he was a standout football player. In 1944, he joined the Army, and was honorably discharged in 1946. He was quoted as saying “I went into the Army a boy and came back a Man.” He then attended undergrad studies at the University of Portland, followed by dental school at the University of Oregon. His senior year, he met the love of his life and future wife Mary “Diane” Kremmel [it did take an introduction from his sister Eleanor]. Joe and Diane were married on August 20th, 1955, Joe passed his boards [both Washington and Oregon] in June of 1956, their first child was born [Joseph] shortly after that, and they relocated to Washington to join his brother Dominic, who had an established dental practice in West Seattle (West Seattle Dental Center). Joe credited his brother Dominic for helping him get started in the dental field; he didn’t really know him growing up [Dominic was 14 years his senior] but he developed a great bond and friendship practicing together over the years.
Joe was truly committed to his practice; he believed in honesty, integrity, hard work and consistent support. His dream of providing exceptional dental care with compassion for his clientele all resulted in a successful practice which was supplemented beautifully by his sister, Paulina Beard, who practiced alongside her two brothers as a dental hygienist for the duration of Joe’s career. All his kids had a hand in the dental field and the daughters continued their work\careers with him for a number of years, some staying until his retirement, it was the true meaning of a “family practice.” Joe never wavered in his care for his patients they were first and they mattered. Joe retired in 1995 but continued to carry his dental license, volunteering at the Gospel Mission clinic in downtown Seattle and traveling to Moses Lake to provide pro bono care to people in need. A testament to his love of dentistry and way of giving back to a career that was good to him.
Joe was very active in his church, Our Lady of Guadalupe, where he received his CCD teaching certificate and was a founding parishioner.
6:03 AM Good morning! Welcome to February.
Today’s forecast features “a chance of rain or snow” this morning, but the temperature is eventually expected to get into the 40s.
BUSES, WATER TAXI, FERRIES
Metro is on the regular weekday schedule. Watch @kcmetrobus for word of trip cancellations.
West Seattle and Vashon Water Taxi routes are on regular schedules.
Ferries: WSF continues a two-boat schedule on the Fauntleroy-Vashon-Southworth run. Check here for alerts/updates.
BRIDGES AND DETOUR ROUTES
679th morning without the West Seattle Bridge.
Low Bridge: Automated enforcement cameras are still in use; restrictions are in effect 5 am-9 pm daily – except weekends; the bridge is open to all until 8 am Saturday and Sunday mornings. (Access applications are available here for some categories of drivers.)
The 1st Avenue South Bridge (map):
South Park Bridge:
West Marginal Way at Highland Park Way:
Highland Park Way/Holden:
The 5-way intersection (Spokane/West Marginal/Delridge/Chelan):
Trouble on the roads/paths/water? Text or call us (when you can do so safely) – 206-293-6302.