CITY COUNCIL: ‘Street racing’ bill this morning with proposed penalty additions; transportation levy this afternoon; new Saka staffer

Three City Council notes:

‘STREET-RACING’ BILL: This morning at 9:30 am, the council’s Public Safety Committee takes this up again, this time likely for a vote, along with two proposed amendments from District 1 City Councilmember Rob Saka (who is the committee’s vice chair). First, he is proposing that in addition to the $500 fine that would be faced by the owner of a car participating in racing or related activities, a second violation would carry an $800 fine, third a $1,500 fine. See that amendment here. Second, he proposes a $100 citation that could be given to anyone attending an “unlawful race event.” See that amendment here. The full meeting agenda (which also explains how to comment, and links to the full bill under consideration) is here. (You can watch via Seattle Channel.)

TRANSPORTATION LEVY: At this afternoon’s meeting, councilmembers will take their final vote on the $1.55 billion, eight-year transportation levy renewal/expansion that will go to voters in November. The version they’re voting on and the companion amendment are linked in the agenda; assuming they’ll pass it (since it was approved by the levy committee comprised of all councilmembers, chaired by Saka), the mayor is expected to sign it tomorrow. A council spokesperson notes in a memo to media: “The current transportation levy was passed in 2015 and is set to expire this year. It accounts for roughly 30 percent of the Seattle Department of Transportation’s budget for core services and new projects. Under this levy proposal, the estimated property tax bill for the median assessed value home would be $499 per year. That’s $16.58 per month more than the expiring levy.” If you have any final words about it, the agenda for today’s 2 pm meeting explains how to participate in the public-comment period.

NEW SAKA STAFFER: Saka’s staff has been particularly visible in the community so far, so changes/additions are noteworthy, and the councilmember has just announced one. During Monday afternoon’s “briefing meeting” – when councilmembers provide miscellaneous updates – Saka mentioned he’s just hired Ian Griswold as legislative director, joining chief of staff Elaine Ikoma Ko and district director Leyla Gheisar. We asked Ko for more details and she forwarded Saka’s announcement:

Ian is a home-grown Seattleite and grew up in West Seattle. He brings a diverse professional experience, having worked with the Washington Technology Industry Association and Seattle Police Foundation. He is a graduate of UW’s Evans School of Public Policy & Governance and earned his law degree from Gonzaga University School of Law. He looks forward to providing strong legislative and policy support work for the office.

Saka’s staff had had an opening since Heather Marx departed as policy adviser in May.

43 Replies to "CITY COUNCIL: 'Street racing' bill this morning with proposed penalty additions; transportation levy this afternoon; new Saka staffer"

  • Alki Jack July 9, 2024 (9:31 am)

    Perhaps requiring the violator to have the vehicles emission system tested within a couple of days. As most have tampered with timing to make the loud bangs. No catalytic converters and illegal mufflers under Washington State Law. It would cost them a lot more than $1500 to bring the vehicle inline requirements and we would all be able to get a good nights sleep without all the noise.

    • k July 9, 2024 (10:37 am)

      Police can ticket for noise ordinance violations and modified exhaust systems without an emissions inspection.  Any issues that require an emissions inspection to notice likely don’t meet the legal threshold of danger to the operator or public that is required for a ticket under the law.  We don’t need additional regulations, we need police to do their jobs.

    • Brian July 9, 2024 (10:42 am)

      Washington state doesn’t do emissions testing anymore. 

      • bill July 9, 2024 (11:30 pm)

        But is it illegal to tamper with emissions control equipment? Should not need a tailpipe test to determine if the engine and exhaust are not factory spec.

        • K July 10, 2024 (1:03 pm)

          Modifications to exhaust are allowed, and lots of people do them legally.  What’s not allowed are modifications that make them louder or dangerous.

  • lucy July 9, 2024 (9:40 am)

    Impound the vehicles involved until the fines are paid in full.  And charge a daily impound fee.  After 10 days, crush the vehicle.  

    • Seattlite July 9, 2024 (12:00 pm)

      Yes!   Take away their wheels.  No wheels until the fine and impound fee is paid.  I would actually raise the fines as follows:  first offense $1,000; second offense $2,000; third offense $3,000.

    • Ivan Weiss July 9, 2024 (3:59 pm)

      Crush the vehicle, is it? If the vehicle has been stolen from an unsuspecting owner, and is then crushed, and the owner sues the city and collects a fat settlement, would you be OK with that? Would you be OK with having YOUR car crushed if some yahoo stole it for street tracing? I sure wouldn’t. Think.

      • Resident July 9, 2024 (4:54 pm)

        Street racing is not being done with stolen cars the majority of the time if at all. It is to show off your car and how awesome it is. I think we can determine if the car is stolen from a simple lookup of the vin. You are harping on an incredibly edge case.

  • confused July 9, 2024 (9:58 am)

    Reading over Amendment 2 to CB 120806. and I’m a little confused by how attendance at an unlawful racing event is defined in 12A.12.050. Do all four points have to be fulfilled, or just any of them?

    • neighbor July 9, 2024 (1:10 pm)

      Based on the use of the word “and” after point 3 it seems that the intent is that all four points must be fulfilled.

      • SMGC July 10, 2024 (5:47 am)

        This ordinance is just a waste of time and more performative fluff with no substance from the king of pot holes. This would be a law on the books that will never be violated. To violate the spectator portion, a police office has to tell you to leave the unlawful street race. Assuming the police officer has already broken up the unlawful street race, the spectator is no longer at an unlawful street race. I doubt an officer would allow an unlawful street race to continue while first asking observers to leave. I assume the law was written this way because any other format would be unconstitutional. But it is probably unconstitutional in its current state anyway. For example, WSB would violate the proposed ordinance by being in attendance at an unlawful street race to observe it for the purpose of reporting it as news. If an officer asked WSB to leave and WSB refused, it would be a violation of the proposed ordinance, even though WSB is there to observe and report on the event. This is just one of many examples I can think of to show this proposed ordinance is constitutionally problematic. It is hard to believe a lawyer would have written this proposed ordinance, unless they just wanted to say that they did something instead of actually doing something. West Seattle’s representation on the city council is embarrassing, especially considering the excellent alternative candidate who ran. 

  • Mel July 9, 2024 (10:44 am)

    This transportation levy…yikes. It’s getting painful to be a homeowner. The government never has enough money yet there’s no accountability for the management and spending of tax payer dollars. Super frustrating.

    • Alice July 9, 2024 (12:03 pm)

      Without the additional proposed hit of homeowners we are getting ready to move our senior mom out of Seattle she just can’t afford to live in west Seattle anymore, where she raised my sister and metaxes have driven her out, something politicians don’t think of and to make matters worse they aren’t accountable for the money they have already tax folks, sorry state

      • bolo July 9, 2024 (3:35 pm)

        Did your senior mom apply for the senior homeowners property tax exemption? It has been a lifesaver for many.

      • bill July 9, 2024 (11:56 pm)

        Alice: What should politicians think of if not how to pay the cops, pay the firefighters, pay the teachers, repair the roads, ensure the water and electricity flow and the sewage gets treated, keep the libraries open etc?  I’m sorry about your mom’s predicament but as happens to a lot of people I suspect she did not plan, failed to notice throughout her lifetime one of the great truths about the economy: costs increase.

        • Mike July 10, 2024 (6:04 am)

          Gross negligence in managing public funds should be a criminal offense.  They don’t need more money.

        • Whisky Woods July 10, 2024 (7:04 am)

          Bill, how RUDE!

        • waikikigirl July 10, 2024 (7:12 am)

          Bill: That was a very rude comment you said to Alice and beginning it with “I’m sorry” doesn’t make it acceptable. I’m sorry about your mom’s predicament but as happens to a lot of people I suspect she did not plan, failed to notice throughout her lifetime one of the great truths about the economy: costs increase.”       You have no idea what her family has done or not done been thru or not been thru. 

  • onion July 9, 2024 (10:52 am)

    It occurs to me that the fine should be levied against the owner and/or driver of the car, in case the car is “borrowed” or stolen, and that street racing fines would be in addition to speeding and reckless endangerment and disturbing the peace.

  • Potato July 9, 2024 (11:47 am)

    The bill may be good and all, but how is SPD going to enforce it? The amount of people racing on harbor and alki ave alone seem to outnumber the entirety of SPD, let alone other parts of west seattle and seattle.

  • Seeking Saka July 9, 2024 (11:51 am)

    Do you know if Saka holds regular office hours in West Seattle and, if so, how to sign up for an appointment?  In the last two weeks I sent him an email about school shootings and then sent another request asking about his office hours.  No reply to either.  Does the WSB know about his office hours?  

    • Tracy July 9, 2024 (12:18 pm)

      Councilmember Rob Saka, District 1 (office365.com)There is a link to sign up for a meeting with him or someone from his staff.

      • Seeking Saka July 9, 2024 (7:06 pm)

        Thanks, WSB,I am now signed up for an in person meeting at the end of the month. Much appreciated.

        • WSB July 9, 2024 (8:00 pm)

          Credit where credit’s due, that was a different Tracy kindly providing the link you used! I’ve been behind on trying to at least provide helpful info in the comments lately …working on the news stream itself has been overwhelming enough. Thanks to everyone who provides helpful info to other readers/commenters!

  • A boy July 9, 2024 (12:04 pm)

    The irony of politicians constantly spewing the lack of affordable housing in Seattle but then propose a $1.55B transportation levy knowing damn right well that it will increase property taxes … which will increase rents & mortgages … thus CONTINUING to make Seattle more expensive to live in. 

    Unfortunately, the majority of the voting public will continue to fall for this perpetual grift. 

    For once I would like to see a politician run on the promise of, “no new property taxes for the next 3 years”.   Yeah I know, a boy can dream.

    • k July 9, 2024 (1:12 pm)

      Additional housing supply lowers taxes.  That levy is already not that expensive, in the grand scheme of things (although the landlords will, I’m sure, use the extra $17 a month to justify raising the rent $200 a month), but the more taxable property value is out there, the smaller slice of the pie is for everyone.  Please check out the county assessor’s website some time to learn how taxes are calculated.  The answer to stabilizing property tax bills and housing costs is to increase the amount of housing, not to take away funding from critical infrastructure.

      • Brandon July 9, 2024 (2:17 pm)

        Additional housing supply lowers taxes only if its market driven, not if it’s via subsidized affordable housing and control. The costs to make housing “affordable” for some, has to come from somewhere you know. That somewhere is through other avenues in the economy, whether it be our property taxes or the hidden tax, otherwise known as inflation. Ironically both make things less affordable and makes matters worse for the very people subsidizing housing for others. It’s a cycle nobody seems to understand, which you’d think many would because they say they actually care about the problems. So instead of making landlords out to be the villains we should actually give them and property owners reason to want to build and expand and lift everyone from the bottom up. Evidently we’re doing the opposite in this city far too long and doubling down too. It’s laughable if it weren’t so depressingly short sighted.

      • A Boy July 9, 2024 (2:19 pm)

        I’m familiar with every square inch of the county assessor’s website. As a former CFO & financial analyst, I understand numbers very well. 

        This is our 4th primary residence that we have owned in the past 30 years so please don’t (attempt to) school me on home ownership or property taxes (or taxes in general). 

        Increasing the supply of housing WILL NOT reduce anyone’s property taxes. Full stop! 

        You may be convinced by the supposed calculations on the assessor’s website but I can assure you & everyone else, that when it comes time to balancing a budget & “finding” the additional tax revenue, your property taxes will increase not decrease despite an increase in available housing.

      • None July 9, 2024 (3:17 pm)

        $17 today adjusted for inflation from 2015: $12.88, so a $4-5 increase from the original amount.  

      • Anne July 9, 2024 (3:54 pm)

        Are you serious??? Not that expensive ?? & where the heck do you come up with it’s just $17 more per month??!

        • bill July 9, 2024 (11:45 pm)

          Anne: You get $17 more per month by reading the article: “… the estimated property tax bill … would be $499 per year. That’s $16.58 per month more than the expiring levy.” 

    • TiredofTaxes July 9, 2024 (1:30 pm)

      I’m so sick and tired of it, I’ve voted “No” on every levy citing an increase in property taxes for the last 5 years but it doesn’t matter, the rest of Seattle just blindly votes yes because it benefits this, benefits that…but then everyone wants to complain about how expensive it is to live here..WAKE UP people and read, I’m done supporting tax increases, done. 

      • Jon Wright July 9, 2024 (3:31 pm)

        Sorry to disappoint you but we vote yes very intentionally.

      • Mel July 9, 2024 (5:07 pm)

        Yep I keep voting no too and it doesn’t matter it always passes. I’m convinced your average Seattleite is so out of touch with what’s happening (politically) within this region. It’s mind boggling when I talk to people. But it makes me realize why levy’s pass. 

        • WS Res July 10, 2024 (1:27 pm)

          Some of us recognize that taxes are what fund society and we vote in favor of them. 

    • Anne July 9, 2024 (3:51 pm)

      Oh my goodness-thank you- finally someone pointing out the correlation between higher property taxes & higher rents & mortgages that most here continue to whine about. Have never been able to understand how folks can’t see this. 

  • wetone July 9, 2024 (4:55 pm)

    Looks like a lot of governor Jay Inslee math……to me.   A boy I agree 100%….. 

  • Johnny Stulic July 9, 2024 (11:11 pm)

    “$100 citation that could be given to anyone attending an unlawful race event”.
    LOL, do these bureaucrats ever stop to hear themselves? How will this citation be enforced, an honor system? A single police car shows up at these street races to watch helplessly while being surrounded and openly taunted by dozens, if not hundreds of people, and somehow they’ll all get citations? By whom, a citation fairy?
    Thanks for a laugh, though.

  • Scarlett July 10, 2024 (10:05 am)

    One of the things I’ve learned about people during my years on this earth?  Those complaining about being poor – and taxes – usually aren’t the poor and over-taxed, they are usually the well-off, the upper-middle class.  But sure, I know none of you fit in that category, right, with your ballooning stock porfolio’s and home values?  Poor as church mice, I’m sure.   

    • O'Hara July 10, 2024 (1:26 pm)

      Scarlett, the middle-class and working poor get hit with Seattle’s and Washington’s high, regressive taxation the hardest, by far. That’s the MAJORITY of people in West Seattle. Very few have “portfolios”.

  • wetone July 10, 2024 (8:44 pm)

    Curious why council feels we need new laws when they don’t use or enforce existing ?  We have speeding, negligent and reckless driving to name a few that used to be some of the common ones drivers received, that were doing just what ticket was issued for. There are many others also when dealing with crowds and criminal behavior…..In the 70’s 80’s 90’s growing up at Alki and visiting Golden Gardens, Renton loop, South Park, West Marginal there was always some type of motor vehicle activity that local police would issue tickets listed above. They carried large fines and could lead to possible loss of license or car……. What happened ? and again why do we need more laws …. Just another bandaid from Seattle government that will have Zero effect…

  • Molly July 11, 2024 (2:19 am)

    I was almost ran off the highway by racers and this was a luxury cars crew. Theres no use calling these guys in they’re already on top of it with their police scanners and radios, and who knows what other technology vices. The streets have gotten dangerous for transportation I’m glad to see more serious fines. 

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