From police to PFLAG, plus City Councilmember Rob Saka and more, @ Admiral Neighborhood Association’s March meeting

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

A wide-ranging Admiral Neighborhood Association agenda drew about 30 people to Admiral Church last night; the meeting was facilitated by ANA president Joanie Jacobs.

Here’s how it unfolded, in the order in which this all happened:

SEATTLE POLICE: The Southwest-area Community Liaison Officer German Barreto spoke first. Trends from the past month in the Admiral area: Burglaries are up, thefts are up “but not that much,” motor-vehicle thefts have gone down. Eight so far this year. The seven other types of thefts included mail and packages. Assaults included “a dispute between coworkers at McDonald’s.” Eight burglaries included businesses and homes. No catalytic-converter thefts lately, he said in response to a question – “those have been going down.” In Q&A, one attendee asked about number of officers on patrol at any given time. Second watch (11 am-9 pm) is the busiest, he said, with 10 to 12 officers, but overall it fluctuates, and they have to “augment” with other officers on OT to at least hit minimums. He said they “go from call to call to call” because of the staffing levels, rather than having time to proactively patrol. Another Q: What’s the current state of traffic enforcement? Barreto notes that since there’s really no Traffic Unit due to staffing levels, that doesn’t happen much. Q: Are any detectives located in West Seattle? Reply: No, they’re centralized on the other side of the bay, as are the remaining specialty units such as Homicide and Robbery. In response to a question from president Jacobs, Officer Barreto reiterated, don’t EVER bother calling the non-emergency line – whenever you have someting to report, just call 911.

CITY COUNCILMEMBER ROB SAKA: Two months into his term, District 1 Councilmember Rob Saka is making the rounds of community meetings, and this was his first appearance at ANA.

“I’m so grateful that the campaign is behind because this is the fun part!” he began. Seconds later, he invoked the “king of potholes” aspiration – elaborating that it is his reference to “not necessarily literally potholes, but transportation issues, public safety,” and more.

Councilmember Saka said his top two priorities in the “near term” are transportation – as he chairs that committee, and the SDOT levy renewal is coming up – and public safety (he is vice-chair of that committee). He noted that Tuesday morning’s two and a half hour meeting (WSB coverage here) was “really good … everyone learned a lot of eye-opening facts,” including the low level of deployable officers. “Huge call to action,” he said. He reiterated some of what he said during the morning meeting. Process and morale are two things he said jumped out at him; as he had said during the committee meeting, he considers SPD Chief Adrian Diaz “chief morale officer.” Saka noted he’s making the rounds of precinct roll-calls (here’s a photo published in his newsletter from his Southwest Precinct visit):

He’s also been to the West Precinct and plans to visit the South Precinct – which includes part of his district – soon. It’s important “to let our officers know they’re supported, from my standpoint,” he said. “I’m committed to doing what I can to bring about change.” Regarding transportation, he said he sees “a huge opportunity to focus on bridge maintenance … also road paving … potholes rise on roads that are bad, so let us go upstream … I want to (also) be the king of pothole prevention.” Sidewalk-building is high on his list too, especially in South Park and Arbor Heights. “Going to be looking to bring to life a once-in-a-generation investment in new sidewalks.” He said lack of sidewalks impedes some people from using transit. Overall, “the little nitty-gritty issues that affect people’s lives” are his focus.

Q&A: Not only are we missing sidewalks, we’re missing crosswalks, said an attendee, and need better lighting. Saka mentioned Vision Zero in his response, noting as he did last week that the redrawn District 1 is now #1 in traffic fatalities. He agreed that more lighting and more marked crosswalks are important. Another attendee brought up visibility of lane markings in the rain. Would the council be talking about road-maintenance points like that? Bottom line, Saka said, yes – again, “these little nitty-gritty details are super super important.” He said he’s been meeting not only with Seattle front-line workers but also with elected colleagues in other jurisdictions – like Kent (where he went to high school) – regarding strategies on transportation issues.

Is there enough city staff to handle all the potholes and other key work? another attendee asked. “We are unfortunately facing a $250 million and growing budget deficit,” Saka noted, so there’s a hiring freeze in place right now as “step one” and “We’re going to be looking at a number of other options.” Like looking at multi-departmental redundancies – instead of multiple city departments having arborists, for example, maybe there should be one central group of arborists, he suggested. He noted a report last year that mentioned some possible ways to raise revenue. But it turns out that many of the proposed options “are not even doable,” he said. Other attendees mentioned getting more people downtown, and Saka said he sympathizes with those who say working at home is more family-friendly, but even as a dad of three elementary-age kids, he’s in his downtown office daily, and feels that’s important. “You can’t replicate (collaboration with colleagues) via Zoom,” he insisted, though he said he doesn’t consider it his job to dictate what private-sector companies choose to do with scheduling their workforces.

ANA president Jacobs noted that the city does provide some funding to Metro, and the bus service has eliminated some West Seattle service. While they don’t have direct control, they “do have power of the purse-strings” by providing that funding, Saka agreed. He added, “Transit is ONE choice – it’s not the only choice – I support multimodal forms of transportation.” He said he takes transit ‘every day’ and plans to bike sometimes when the weather improves. Jacobs said that Admiral desperately needs “better, consistent” transit. Saka said he doesn’t think a serious conversation about expanding service can be held without improving “the safety experience” so that more people want to ride. He said boosting ridership is vital before they can talk about expanding service.

Admiral businessperson and transportation advocate Stu Hennessey brought up his proposal for a more walkable Admiral District (as reported here in January); Saka said he had read about it and appreciates “when community can brainstorm their own solutions.” An increased walkability score is important to him. Had Hennessey shared his proposal with SDOT yet? No, he wanted to present it to Saka first. And, Hennessey said, this isn’t likely to cost much.

Regarding proposals to increase density, one attendee wanted to know where the people would go if roads keep getting redesigned. That was a “good segue to the Comp Plan” – the Draft One Seattle Plan Update (which would expand what’s currently the Admiral Urban Village) – Saka replied, encouraging attendees to review it, ‘see the density impacts,’ check the proposed Neighborhood Centers, and more. “You all will have the opportunity to weigh in and see if it makes sense or not. … These transportation conversations need to take place in tandem with these land-use conversation.” He said “thoughtful growth and planning” means infrastructure like “grocery stores and pharmacies” as well as roads. He was enthusiastic about the ‘corner store’ idea but said “we’re not going to bodega our way out of this.”

The last question was about “daylighting” at intersections, from an attendee advocating doing more of that. Saka said he would “prioritize further exploring that.” He mentioned reading a story about how it’s worked in Hoboken, New Jersey. He added that “benchmarking is important to me,” and saying Seattle may not need to ‘recreate the wheel’ in everything – it may be able to take inspiration from other jurisdictions. He said he’d come back to ANA, but couldn’t say when – “just can’t commit on a specific date.” (Side notes – his officer’s policy adviser Heather Marx also was in attendance, not speaking but making note of the questions and issues that surfaced … Though it wasn’t mentioned at the ANA meeting, we learned later last night that Saka will be visiting some West Seattle businesses today as part of a “listening tour.”)

ANA’S SUMMER EVENTS: First, Megan Erb spoke about the 4th of July Kids’ Parade, which she is coordinating again this year, now under the wing of ANA. She needs volunteers. “What about student volunteers?” one attendee asked. Tends not to work with school being out for the summer and graduating seniors having fulfilled their requirements. Another attendee suggested working with the West Seattle Timebank. Second, the summer concert series – this year it can’t happen at Hiawatha because of the construction. They’ll take it on the road to “three smaller venues” – not yet settled – “three different park venues in the Admiral area, they’re parks you might not even have known are parks,” ANA communications leader Dan Jacobs said, and they’re starting to round up business sponsors. “Our goal is to start in the middle of July and go three weeks out from there.” Performances are not locked in yet. They’re rounding up a team to help with that too. Third, the Admiral Funktion street party – the second one last year, first one produced by ANA, was a “huge success,” working very hard to coordinate with local businesses. This year’s celebration is set for August 23. If you can help out with any or all of this, check the ANA website to find out how to connect.

Other announcements:

BUSINESS MEMBERSHIP: ANA is working hard to boost local businesses – memberships are only $50. They also offer individual and family memberships. Cool decal included! (Also see the website for info on this.)

UPCOMING EVENTS: West Seattle Art Walk is this Thursday, including many Admiral businesses participating – “a really fun night to be out,” and the weather is looking good this time around.

PFLAG: Rev. Andrew Conley-Holcom of Admiral Church explained that West Seattle has nevrer had a PFLAG meeting – the organization that began as Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays – so they’re launching one every third Tuesday, 7:30-9 pm, at the church (4320 SW Hill), first one in April, which he said will be a celebration to declare “that we are a queer-affirming community,” and after that it’ll be a support group. They also want to “start more public events about queer inclusion” – including gender identity and gender expression – because “at the end of the day, we want our kids to live, to survive and thrive.” He is partnering with Bebop Waffle Shop‘s Corina Luckenbach to launch this.

WELLS FARGO: As the Admiral branch prepares to close (first reported here in December), a broker told the meeting it will be going up for sale shortly. (We’re following up to find out more.)

PRIZE DRAWINGS: Here’s a reason to attend your neighborhood group meeting – prize drawings! This time around, it was two $25 gift certificates from Welcome Road Winery.

NEXT MEETING: ANA is gathering every two months these days, so watch for word of May’s meeting at

13 Replies to "From police to PFLAG, plus City Councilmember Rob Saka and more, @ Admiral Neighborhood Association's March meeting"

  • Jim P. March 13, 2024 (4:01 pm)

    “Officer Barreto reiterated, don’t EVER bother calling the non-emergency line”

    Well isn’t THAT just ducky.

    • WSB March 13, 2024 (9:06 pm)

      It’s what police have saying for at least the past couple years – I’ve mentioned it in countless reports on community meetings. They are NOT saying “don’t call” – just, call 911 and they’ll route you.

  • Daniel March 13, 2024 (4:09 pm)

    What is intersection daylighting?

    • WSB March 13, 2024 (4:26 pm)

      • Daniel March 13, 2024 (4:31 pm)

        Oh yea, that seems like a good plan. It’s already technically supposed to be 20-30 feet away from an intersection (1.5-2 car lengths), but that is rarely aheared to.  Makes it very frustrating both walking and driving, can’t see around the corners and have to slowly eek in to see when it’s safe to turn/proceed/walk/etc.

      • Chemist March 13, 2024 (5:11 pm)

        Interesting how NY has the same “no parking within 20 ft of crosswalks” law as WA, but localities are often marking parking spots closer.  In Seattle there’s rarely individual parking spots being marked close to intersections but no clear “no parking” markings helping to educate about the 20 ft setback from the unmarked crosswalks that exist at intersections.  The enforcement actions I’ve seen are usually tickets on cars that are within about 5 ft of unmarked crosswalks.

      • Pelicans March 13, 2024 (7:26 pm)

        WSB, thank you for the explanation, but Seattle already does this, right?  Don’t we get a ticket for parking too close to an intersection now? Why is this a new concept?

      • Pelicans March 13, 2024 (7:45 pm)

        WSB, ammendment to my last comment .  I understand the concept of curb bulbs, etc. Never heard it called “daylighting.”  But then, I may not have been paying attention to all these changes.  I get the feeling that common concepts and terms of speech are falling by the wayside now, and only those in the know will understand what our representatives in government are talking about.  If government keeps changing the conversation and inventing new buzz words, how are the rest of us going to keep up? If they keep us off-balance, we don’t understand what they’re saying.

        • WSB March 13, 2024 (7:56 pm)

          In this case, sorry my summary was rushed and I didn’t elaborate – it was brought up by an attendee, not Saka or any other official. But perhaps most of all in the transportation world, there’s an entire glossary full of terms … curb bulbs, wheel stops, roundabouts (which are NOT necessarily the same as traffic circles), PBLs, rechannelization, leading pedestrian indicator …

          • Pelicans March 14, 2024 (2:14 am)

            Thanks for the reply🙂

    • Pelicans March 13, 2024 (7:07 pm)

      What is “benchmarking and daylighting?”  Please, no more “city-speak/government-speak.”  Just use plain language that the average citizen understands. Stop putting everything into politically correct terms.
      And bravo to councilman Saka for his actions right out of the gate to meet with his constituents.  So refreshing!  Please keep it up!

      • Daniel March 14, 2024 (10:38 am)

        I suspect this isn’t politician terminology, but rather traffic engineering terminology.

  • 98126res March 14, 2024 (7:37 pm)

    Saka is a breath of fresh air!  I hope he continues attending community groups, with the good folks at the WS Blog reporting and taking some photos.  Always lively and informative.  Thank you!

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