Alki Community Council celebrates cool people, spotlights safety @ February 2024 meeting

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

Public safety was first up at the second meeting of the new-era Alki Community Council this past Thursday.

For starters, ACC leaders are inviting you to a free personal-safety-training event the ACC is organizing with Seattle Police crime-prevention experts, 3:30 pm Wednesday, March 13, at West Seattle Library (2306 42nd SW) – here’s the registration link.

Guests from SPD were up first, including crime-prevention coordinator Mark Solomon, who brought trends and data: “2023 was a bad year”; though many categories of crime decreased slightly, all neighborhoods citywide saw a continued rise in auto theft. Alki had more homicides (two) and robberies (nine). Regarding specific recent crimes, the police delegation briefly addressed the one-night wave of Starbucks burglaries; we covered two, Admiral and Alki, but it turns out there was a third that night, 35th/Avalon. The burglars “knew enough to get in but didn’t know Starbucks doesn’t keep cash in the register,” they observed. Solomon said that while there were four assaults logged in Alki in recent weeks, they all involved people known to each other. And there was one “shot fired” incident (February 3rd).

Looking ahead to summer, there was some discussion of how disorder on the beach will be handled. Solomon said that park rangers will be deployed “in the neighborhoods” such as Alki, not just downtown as in years past. The SPD contingent explained that rangers – who will be uniformed in brown vests and brown pants – have powers of “citation and exclusion” but not arrest, and they’re unarmed. So, “if something bad happens, we will go onto the beach.”

One attendee asked about the carjackings in recent months.

It’s usually “young males in Hyundais and Kias (who will) bump a nice car to try to level their stolen car up.” If somebody bumps your car, you would do best to go someplace you feel comfortable to get out and exchange information. In all circumstances, Solomon added, “Pay attention to who’s around you, look around you, if something makes you feel uncomfortable – don’t ignore that feeling if your instinct tells you something’s not right.”

By the way, if you have a Hyundai or Kia and still don’t have a steering-wheel lock as at least low-level deterrence, contact Solomon because he still has some available. (The officer with him suggested that a brake-pedal lock would work even better.)

An attendee asked if it’s legal to carry a gun in parks. Depends on the signage, said the SPD contingent, adding that they can’t recall any signs in West Seattle saying “no guns allowed in this park.”

Last question: What’s going to happen this summer and beyond regarding proactive policing? Answer: The staffing shortage means they can’t “be as proactive as we used to be …” They’re continuing to mostly respond to 911 calls, and their staffing probably won’t be back to previous levels for more than a few years. As for how hiring’s going, we’re not sure how serious they were being, but they said SPD had even hired a 65-year-old recently. (We’re following up.)

(Photo courtesy Inner Alchemy)

CELEBRATING PEOPLE DOING COOL THINGS: That’s a big part of what the ACC’s new leadership wants to focus on. Toward that end, they heard briefly from artist Sonya Reasor, whose stylized map of West Seattle has drawn a lot of attention. She said she’s been a West Seattle resident for more than a decade, has found it to be a “most welcoming neighborhood,” and explained: “I always wanted to draw a map – why not WS because it’s so great? I had a great time drawing it.” (If you don’t have one yet, it’s available via her Etsy shop.)

PARKS DEPARTMENT: A delegation from Seattle Parks attended to answer questions about Alki Community Center and Alki Bathhouse. Regarding the latter, they’re revamping the pottery studio to make it available again later this year, and maybe some other “small programs” too. Regarding Alki CC – which was being operated as a child care/preschool center rather than a true community center before it closed for the anticipated rebuild of the school next door – many of its previous “vibrant programs” have been moved to Delridge, but once Alki reopens, they hope to consider how some of those programs might be brought back. (Child care and preschol will be staying, though, it was made clear.)

Also regarding the community center and school rebuild, Parks has a new project manager in charge of the playground rebuild. The design of the play area on the north side of the school, shared with Parks (as it will also be post-rebuild), remains a work in progress. They expect three community meetings before the end of this calendar year, all of which will be coordinated by Seattle Public Schools, starting in early summer.

A CLEANER ALKI’S ERIK BELL: ACC’s new community-cleanup committee will be chaired by this community hero, who’s been leading cleanups and spruce-ups all over the peninsula with his organization A Cleaner Alki. He told the meeting how it all got started a decade ago, when he would meet his brother for walks and chats and clean up while they walked/talked. As the years have gone by, more people have gotten involved, and this past year he’s been working more formally with SDOT. Bell also expressed appreciation for Seattle Parks and Seattle Police working on beach issues, which he aid has led to a reduction in the amount of trash they’ve found on Alki on weekend mornings. ACC president Charlotte Starck said they’re excited to work with Bell and hoping they might be able to follow some cleanups with “fun foodie events.”

ALKI BEACH PRIDE: Co-founder Stacy Bass-Walden was there along with Roger Starkweather. Bass-Walden says it’s been 10 years since she and her wife Jolie started ABP as an event with 80 people in their apartment and “did not know we were creating this event” – it’s just grown from there. August 31 is this year’s date, and they’re going to “duplicate what we did last year – close down a portion of the street, super important for safety,” 57th to 61st. It might go an hour later this year (noon-8), with two stages. They want to be clear that “it is a community event – we have lots of glitter but it’s community glitter, family glitter, it’s inclusive.” Last year 700 people attended – “it was a joyful day.” No beer garden and probably not going to be one. Starck asked what the ACC can do to help; Starkweather suggested they need someone for “volunteer management” – they have lots of volunteers but need someone to wrangle them. Contact ABP if you’re interested ( They can always use donations, too!

A few miscellaneous items toward the end of the meeting:

ANTI-GUN SIGNAGE? Springboarding off the earlier discussion of whether Alki Beach Park had any “no guns allowed” signage, one attendee suggested that the ACC advocate for such signage. The leadership will look into it.

MAYORAL CANDIDATE: At meeting’s end, the ACC heard briefly from Eric Kirkbride, who says he’s an Alki resident and an officer with the 34th District Republicans, and planning to run for mayor next year because he’s “tired of crime and the homeless situation.” He said he’ll have a website up within a month.

HOW YOU CAN HELP THE ACC: ACC needs some tech help – maybe an hour a month updating the website. And other roles, added vice president Lindsey Pearsall – “we’re trying to grow this so it’s a community based organization.”

NEXT MEETING: 7 pm March 21st, with guests including District 1 City Councilmember Rob Saka. If you have questions for him and/or concerns you want to see him address, the ACC invites you to send them in advance –

2 Replies to "Alki Community Council celebrates cool people, spotlights safety @ February 2024 meeting"

  • Pete February 19, 2024 (6:30 am)

    Imagine needing signs to tell people not to bring guns to the beach. Sigh.

  • Al King February 19, 2024 (6:51 am)

    Was any mention made of city/park rangers enforcing leash laws and no dogs on the beach? Pre pandemic enforcement was minimal but has been non existent since the start of the pandemic.

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