West Seattle politics 1953 results

MAYOR’S MONEY PLAN: Here are key points from Mayor Harrell’s first proposed budget

That’s the budget speech Mayor Bruce Harrell gave earlier this afternoon, with our area’s big shoutout coming when he talked about transportation spending and noted the reopening of the West Seattle Bridge. From the audience assembled at SDOT’s Charles Street yard, District 1 City Councilmember Lisa Herbold yelled out, “You can’t have One Seattle without West Seattle!” echoing what the mayor said a week and a half ago when politicians gathered for pre-reopening speeches.

But transportation was not at the top of the list in the mayor’s speech, marking his release of a budget proposal for 2023-2024. What was: Public safety, followed by homelessness. Those two topics took up a big chunk of the speech. He promised major investments in police and fire, as well as money toward “diversifying 911 response” and a third public-safety department aimed at that goal. He also announced he’d be undoing a controversial move made before he was elected – taking Parking Enforcement Officers out of SPD and moving them to SDOT. You might recall that the move was so bungled, millions of dollars in tickets had to be voided. As for SPD staffing, the budget summary expresses a hope that the trend of losing officers can be stopped and reversed, to post a net gain over the next two years.

One thing that’s not in the public-safety section of the proposal, according to a summary we received: Continued funding for SFD Ladder 13 and Medic 26, added in West Seattle/South Park for the bridge closure. We reported earlier this month on the fact they only had guaranteed funding through year’s end. So the only way to keep them now would be a council amendment to the budget; Herbold said in her most-recent weekly update that she’ll propose one if necessary.

Regarding tackling homelessness, the mayor declared: “Lack of housing is the source of homelessness.” He promised to get more housing built – saying he’s proposing an added quarter-billion dollars toward affordable housing – and to remove red tape that slows the construction-permitting process. He also said the city would increase its funding for the Regional Homelessness Authority by 13 percent, including more than $2 million for new tiny-house villages and $5 million for residential-vehicle “safe lots.” The Unified Care Team, a multidepartmental group that has worked on outreach, cleanup, and sweeps, will be turned into geographically based teams, Harrell said.

When he got to transportation, Harrell spoke about electrifying the city fleet and supporting the Vision Zero program (which new SDOT director Greg Spotts has said he’s thoroughly reviewing). Besides a mention of the bridge and the importance of infrastructure, he also said the city will step up its work related to the West Seattle-Ballard Link Extensions light-rail program, hiring “a team” including engineers. One note of interest for those who live in West Seattle’s two Residential Parking Zones:

The proposed budget is also making changes to the Restricted Parking Zone fees. The fees will increase from $65 per two years to $95 per two years, along with other fee changes for guest passes and temporary passes. Low-income passes will remain the same.

Other key budget points are in the news release from the mayor’s office, including links to “fact sheets” in areas of emphasis. A more detailed budget summary is here; the full “budget book” is here. Various city departments are all publishing their own takes on what’s in it for them; you can find those aggregated here.

WHAT HAPPENS NEXT? Starting tomorrow, the City Council reviews and amends the mayor’s plan over the next two months. Councilmember Herbold’s most-recent weekly update summarizes how that’ll work and how you can get involved, including key dates – scroll to the last section here.

Behavioral-health crisis care is hard to find. Can a levy solve that?

The behavioral-health system in our area is desperately short on capacity for crisis care, says King County Executive Dow Constantine. Example: The entire county has one 46-bed behavioral health crisis facility. To start fixing the problem, Constantine is proposing a property-tax levy. He announced the nine-year proposal today, saying that between 2024 and 2032 it would generate $1.25 billion “to stabilize and strengthen King County’s behavioral health crisis care system.” Here’s the announcement; here are the four things the levy would be aimed at accomplishing:

1. Create five new regional crisis care centers: Distributed geographically across the county, the centers will provide walk-in access and the potential for short-term stays to help people stabilize, depending on needs, with one center specifically serving youth.

2. Preserve and restore the dramatic loss of residential treatment beds: In 2018, 355 beds providing community-based residential care for people with mental health residential needs existed in King County. Today, only 244 of these beds are available.

3. Grow the behavioral health workforce pipeline: The proposal will create career pathways through apprenticeship programming and access to higher education, credentialing, training, and wrap-around supports. It will also invest in equitable wages for the workforce at crisis care centers.

4. Provide immediate services while centers are being constructed: The proposal will also use initial proceeds to quickly create mobile or site-based crisis behavioral health services that can operate until the first crisis care centers open. This bridge strategy will complement recent state and federally-funded-mobile crisis teams.

This would cost the current “median-price” homeowner $121 a year in the levy’s first year. If the County Council approves sending this to voters, it’s likely to be on a special-election ballot in April of 2023.

Second off-leash area for West Seattle dogs? Money’s in the new Park District proposal

Next week the City Council, meeting as the Seattle Park District Governing Board, will consider finalizing the district’s 2023-2028 funding plan. The district provides supplemental funding to the Parks and Recreation department (SPR). This week Councilmember Andrew Lewis, as governing board president, presented his version of the budget proposal, which adds more money and projects to what Mayor Bruce Harrell already had proposed. One of those added projects would be a second off-leash area (dog park) for West Seattle. Note the second-to-last line on this slide from a meeting earlier this week:

This was called to our attention by Alec Rodenhauser, who’s taken over the group that’s been lobbying for an added dog park for West Seattle, which currently only has the Westcrest Park Off-Leash Area. Where the new West Seattle off-leash area would be has yet to be determined – as we reported in February, the West Seattle Dog Park Coalition studied and proposed five sites – at four SPR locations, the West Seattle Golf Course, Hamilton Viewpoint, Lincoln Park, and inland Duwamish Head, and port-owned Jack Block Park. Rodenhauser says they’re still awaiting word from SPR on the feasibility of those possible sites.

Meantime, Lewis’s Park District counterproposal also adds funding for High Point Community Center and eight other community centers around the city, described as renovating and/or making the buildings “climate-conscious.” Here’s that slide from the presentation earlier this week:

Another key point from Lewis’s proposal – by the end of the funding cycle in 2028, all 129 city-park restrooms would be open year-round, while currently fewer than half are. His proposal also contains what the mayor had proposed, which includes funding to develop West Seattle’s three long-“landbanked” park sites, West Seattle Junction (40th SW), Morgan Junction Park Addition, and 48th/Charlestown. Like the mayor’s proposal, this plan would more than double what the Park District is costing property-tax payers and add a few dollars more beyond the mayor’s plan – the annual cost for the “median-value home” would range from $339 a year in 2023 to $446 in 2028. While the City Council/Park District Board has to approve the plan, there’s no further voter approval needed as this is within the range in what voters originally approved. Currently Park District funding covers about a third of the SPR budget.

VIDEO: Council committee recommends confirming Greg Spotts as SDOT director

After less than an hour of Q&A this morning, SDOT director nominee Greg Spotts won unanimous support from the City Council’s Transportation and Public Utilities Committee. His nomination now goes to the full council for a final vote, likely one week from today (September 13th). The council asked most of its questions in writing (as reported here over the weekend, here’s the document with the answers), but there were a few during the meeting,

West Seattle/South Park Councilmember Lisa Herbold had two questions, including one she attributed to a constituent – how he would do the job without an engineering background. Spotts replied that he would rely on the professionals in that area and others, and that he sees his role as “shaping” their work, comparing that role to an orchestra conductor. He talked about his background overseeing a portfolio of $10 billion in megaprojects in the Los Angeles mayor’s office, and added that more recently, he had overseen the StreetsLA engineering division for eight nonths, during a transition time. But, he added, he’s not planning to micromanage “individual details of individual projects.” Herbold also asked if Spotts had yet familiarized himself with Seattle’s sidewalk problems, both neighborhoods without them and the many areas where they’re in poor condition. He said he’d been reading reports/audits on the situation and that he’s heartened that the city has mapped its sidewalk conditions, as the first step toward fixing a problem is understanding its extent. In his opening remarks, Spotts noted that he has already received more than 40 invitations for “listening tours.” He also said that if Seattle Public Schools start as scheduled tomorrow, he’s planning to join Mayor Harrell in walking students to school in West Seattle. (We’re awaiting details on where that would be happening.) Tomorrow is also his first day as interim SDOT director, pending final confirmation. ADDED: Here’s video of the meeting:

SDOT DIRECTOR NOMINEE: ‘One of my first areas of focus will be bridges’

When the City Council reconvenes the day after Labor Day, their first meeting could see the Transportation and Public Utilities Committee voting on the mayor’s nominee for SDOT director, Greg Spotts. He appeared briefly before the committee last month with introductory remarks (see that here, 12 minutes in) but this time will answer questions before the committee votes on whether to advance his nomination to the full council. He’s already provided written answers to questions from councilmembers, collected in this document. We thought you might be interested in what he had to say abut bridges – here’s that excerpt:

BRIDGES: Seattle is a city connected by bridges and the city has suffered from the closure of the West Seattle Bridge during the past two years. How will you apply in Seattle your experience upgrading or building bridges in LA?

a. Before voters consider a renewal of the multi-year property tax levy called “Move Seattle” in 2024, how do you plan to expedite repairs to many of Seattle’s bridges, especially those ranking ‘poor’ by the audit conducted in 2020 and those originally promised for seismic upgrades from the 2015 levy?

(SPOTTS REPLY) As I said in my remarks to the Transportation and Seattle Public Utilities Committee, one of my first areas of focus will be on bridges. I want to make sure that we are using best practices in asset management to maintain, repair, retrofit, and, when necessary, replace our bridge assets. I appreciated the opportunity to tour the University Bridge with Councilmember Pedersen on the day I was announced as Mayor Harrell’s nominee. I’ve already begun familiarizing myself with the work being done to improve Seattle’s bridges and I’ve been researching best practices across west coast cities.

I think it is essential that we accelerate SDOT’s work on bridge repair, seismic reinforcement and maintenance of structural and mechanical systems. We need to build confidence among the residents of Seattle that SDOT is embarked on a strategic and sequenced plan that takes care of our bridge assets in a proactive manner, ensuring the safety of the traveling public and the resiliency of our transportation network for people and goods. I have seen the beginnings of that good work and am committed to analyze, systematize, and accelerate these efforts, including the completion of the bridge audit recommendations. I plan to communicate frequently to you and the public on this topic. On a case-by-case basis, I am willing to involve outside subject matter experts if I determine that such input is needed to further strengthen our people, systems and technology across the full spectrum of bridge activities.

Regarding outside funding, I will be working with SDOT staff to strategically and aggressively pursue grant opportunities for bridges. I will also be ensuring that we are fully expending available budget for bridge maintenance, supporting the acceleration of work on grant funds recently received, and assessing the Move Seattle Levy bridge commitments to finish strong on the Levy.

Spotts’ appearance before the Transportation and Public Utilities Committee will be Tuesday at 9:30 am. If you’re interested in commenting, either during the meeting or in advance in writing, the agenda explains how.

ELECTION 2022: Here’s the last word on how the primary went

checkbox.jpgTwo weeks after the primary election, King County certified the final results this afternoon. No changes in the way these six races turned out, but for the record, here are the final percentages (rounded) for the top two in each race – click the race titles to see the full results:

Emily Alvarado (D) – 54%
Leah Griffin (D) – 31%

Joe Fitzgibbon* (D) – 84%
Andrew Pilloud (R) – 16%

Joe Nguyen* (D) – 83%
John Potter (R) – 10%

Pramila Jayapal* (D) – 85%
Cliff Moon (R) – 8%

U.S. SENATOR (statewide)
Patty Murray* (D) – 52%
Tiffany Smiley (R) – 34%

WASHINGTON SECRETARY OF STATE (statewide; no incumbent)
Steve Hobbs (D) – 40%
Julie Anderson (NP) – 13%

Turnout in our area’s legislative district – the closest gauge of West Seattle turnout (the district also includes some surrounding areas such as Vashon/Maury Islands and White Center – was 41 percent. Countywide, it was 39 percent. (Here’s the KC Elections overview.) The races above are just part of what you’ll find on the November 8th ballot – here’s an unofficial preview of ballot measures (both the city and county have proposals on election changes); candidate lineups are yet to come.

TUESDAY: Confirmation process begins for new SDOT director Greg Spotts

August 15, 2022 3:13 pm
|    Comments Off on TUESDAY: Confirmation process begins for new SDOT director Greg Spotts
 |   Transportation | West Seattle news | West Seattle politics

(WSB photo, July 27)

Tomorrow morning’s City Council Transportation and Public Utilities Committee meeting begins with the formal introduction of Mayor Bruce Harrell‘s nominee for SDOT director, Greg Spotts. We covered the announcement three weeks ago. This is only the first discussion, with other meetings/hearings leading up to an expected confirmation vote in early September, around the time he is expected to start the job. The packet attached to the agenda for tomorrow’s meeting includes more information about Spotts, who’s been working in the Los Angeles Bureau of Street Services. His resume says he’s been in that department for almost 10 years, after three years in the L.A. Mayor’s Office, two years with the consulting firm McKinsey & Company, and 17 years as founder and president of what his resumé describes as an “entertainment company managing the careers of record producers and engineers.” In his past 10 years at the city, his projects are listed as:

• Founding member of citywide Vision Zero Executive Steering Committee. Launched pedestrian refuge island program constructing 10-20 islands per year
• Launched Great Streets, Biodiversity Medians + Streets Along Park Edges programs
• Launched bikeway inspection, cleaning, maintenance and repaving program
• Launched Street Tree Inventory project including public-facing online tree map
• Launched Cool Pavement initiative + obtained $30M Cooling and Mobility Grant
• Tech & Innovation:
o Purchased agency’s first Plug-In Vehicles including an all-electric sweeper for zero-carbon sweeping of downtown’s protected bike lanes. Led agency’s deployment of GPS vehicle locators and GIS mapping of sweeping routes.
o Optimized completion times for pothole repairs and tree emergencies by deploying tablets to crews and supervisors. Member of winning team for 2015 GovTech.com “Outstanding IT Project” award (for MyLA311 launch)

The packet notes that his starting salary will be $252,000. Tomorrow’s meeting is at 9:30 am; the agenda explains how to attend/comment, online or in-person.

SEATTLE POLICE STAFFING: ‘Unprecedented separation numbers’ continue, though Southwest Precinct rebounds

Tomorrow at 9:30 am, the City Council’s Public Safety and Human Services Committee, chaired by West Seattle/South Park Councilmember Lisa Herbold, gets its quarterly report on Seattle Police staffing. “Unprecedented separation numbers have continued into 2022,” the presentation prepared for the meeting notes. Through the first half of the year, SPD had lost 109 more officers, and hired 30. The number of departures is close to the 125 originally projected for the entire year.

When the first-quarter report was presented in April, we reported here that Southwest Precinct sworn-staffing numbers had dropped more than any other precinct. The second-quarter report shows the precinct – which covers West Seattle and South Park – has regained what it had lost since last year.

As of the end of June, the new report shows, SW officers and sergeants totaled 65 sworn staff, up from 58 at the end of the first quarter. 65 is the number the precinct had at the end of 2021’s first quarter. Citywide, though, precincts’ total staff has dropped again, from 545 citywide at the end of the first quarter to 539 at the end of the second quarter. That’s more than 20 percent down from two years ago, when precinct staffing citywide totaled 677.

Departures have cost the department monetarily too – the documents for tomorrow’s briefing say that halfway through the year, SPD had spent two-thirds of the year’s budget for separation pay.

The meeting documents also cover some other SPD stats, such as response times dating back to 2019. The presentation notes that “median values [half sooner, half later] are the same or better everywhere except the Southwest Precinct.” One example – median response teams for Priority 1 calls – the most serious crime/life-safety issues – have gone up here from six and a half minutes in 2019 to eight and a half minutes now. (Seven minutes is what SPD is supposed to be aiming for.)

You can watch the presentation/discussion – and/or comment on the meeting – at 9:30 am tomorrow, The agenda explains how; the livestream will be on Seattle Channel.

ELECTION 2022: Second round of primary results

checkbox.jpgNo changes in who’s leading the six races in which our area voted this primary. King County Elections is out with the second round of results. First four races below are from the full King County result list, last two are from the statewide results linked to the race tutle, all percentages rounded:

Emily Alvarado (D) – 52%
Leah Griffin (D) – 32%

Joe Fitzgibbon* (D) – 83%
Andrew Pilloud (R) – 17%

Joe Nguyen* (D) – 83%
John Potter (R) – 10%

Pramila Jayapal* (D) – 84%
Cliff Moon (R) – 8%

Patty Murray* (D) – 54%
Tiffany Smiley (R) – 33%

Steve Hobbs (D) – 41%
Julie Anderson (NP) – 13%

As of tonight, the county has received almost 38 percent of West Seattle/South Park ballots; countywide, almost 37 percent, with more than a third of those still to be counted, along with whatever’s received by mail in the days before the election is certified.

ELECTION 2022: Here’s who’s leading after first round of primary results

checkbox.jpg8:12 PM: King County Elections is out with tonight’s first and only round of results in the primary election. As we mentioned in previews, local ballots had only six races – three for the state Legislature, two for federal office, one for statewide office. Top two advance to the November 8th general election. Here’s the full King County result list; here’s who’s leading:

Emily Alvarado (D) – 52%
Leah Griffin (D) – 33%

Joe Fitzgibbon* (D) – 83%
Andrew Pilloud (R) – 17%

Joe Nguyen* (D) – 83%
John Potter (R) – 11%

Pramila Jayapal* (D) – 84%
Cliff Moon (R) – 8%

ADDED 8:23 PM – these two races’ results are from the statewide list and may change during the night (we’ll update periodically; we’re listing three in the SoS race because the contest for 2nd place is so close):

U.S. SENATOR (updated 8:59 pm)
Patty Murray* (D) – 54%
Tiffany Smiley (R) – 32%

WASHINGTON SECRETARY OF STATE (no incumbent; updated 8:59 pm)
Steve Hobbs (D) – 41%
Julie Anderson (NP) – 13%

Seattle Department. of Neighborhoods needs a new director, again

Six months to the day after Mayor Bruce Harrell announced Greg Wong as his choice to lead the Department of Neighborhoods, he’s made another announcement about Wong … bumping him up to Deputy Mayor. The announcement says Wong’s appointment follows the resignation of Kendee Yamaguchi, who had been a deputy mayor for seven months.. Department of Neighborhoods deputy director Sarah Morningstar will lead DoN while a new permanent director is sought; she’s been with the department for four years, after 16 years as an educator. Wong had spoken to the District 1 Community Network about his DoN plans just last month.

ELECTION 2022: Two days left to vote in six primary races

With two days left to vote, only 17.3 percent of ballots sent out to West Seattle/South Park have been received by King County Elections. Don’t let the turnout stay anemic; take a few minutes to vote. The primary ballot is short in our area: two federal races, one statewide race, three state-legislative races. Here’s who’s on your ballot, in order of how they appear on the ballot, and with the party preference that’s listed on the ballot (incumbents are marked with asterisks):

Leah Griffin (Prefers Democratic Party)
Emily Alvarado (Prefers Democratic Party)
Jolie Lansdowne (Prefers Republican Party)

Joe Fitzgibbon* (Prefers Democratic Party)
Andrew Pilloud (Prefers Republican Party)

Tony Mitchum (States No Party Preference)
Joe Nguyen* (Prefers Democratic Party)
John Potter (Prefers Republican Party)
Amber Bennett (Prefers Independent Party)
Goodspaceguy (Prefers Republican Party)

Bob Hagglund (Prefers Republican Party)
Kurtis Engle (Prefers Union Party)
Marquez Tiggs (Prefers Democratic Party)
Tamborine Borrelli (Prefers America First (R) Party)
Steve Hobbs (Prefers Democratic Party)
Keith L. Wagoner (Prefers Republican Party)
Mark Miloscia (Prefers Republican Party)
Julie Anderson (Prefers Nonpartisan Party)

Cliff Moon (Prefers Republican Party)
Pramila Jayapal* (Prefers Democratic Party)
Jesse A James (Prefers Independent Party)
Paul Glumaz (Prefers Republican Party)

Henry Clay Dennison (Prefers Socialist Workers Party)
Mohammad Hassan Said (Prefers Democratic Party)
John Guenther (Prefers Republican Party)
Tiffany Smiley (Prefers Republican Party)
Dan Phan Doan (States No Party Preference)
Dr Pano Churchill (Prefers Democratic Party)
Dave Saulibio (Prefers JFK Republican Party)
Sam Cusmir (Prefers Democratic Party)
Bill Hirt (Prefers Republican Party)
Jon Butler (Prefers Independent Party)
Bryan Solstin (Prefers Democratic Party)
Martin D. Hash (States No Party Preference)
Patty Murray* (Prefers Democratic Party)
Thor Amundson (Prefers Independent Party)
Charlie (Chuck) Jackson (Prefers Independent Party)
Naz Paul (Prefers Independent Party)
Ravin Pierre (Prefers Democratic Party)
Leon Lawson (Prefers Trump Republican Party)

This page has links to more information about the candidates; the voters’ guide is here.

WHERE TO VOTE: You can send your ballot in via U.S. Mail, no stamp needed, as long as it’s postmarked by Tuesday, or you can put it in a King County Elections dropbox as long as it’s there by 8 pm Tuesday. Here are the West Seattle dropboxes
-South side of SW Alaska between California and 44th (top photo, with the 5-minute parking spots)
-SW Raymond by High Point Library, between 34th and 35th
South Seattle College (WSB sponsor), 6000 16th SW (along the driveway in front of the administration building)

You might also find the White Center and South Park dropboxes convenient. All dropboxes countywide are mapped/listed here. Once you’ve voted, you can check here (wait at least a day) to see if your ballot’s been received/counted. For other voting options, go here.

P.S. Just moved here, or just turned old enough to vote (as long as you’ll be 18 by the general election on November 8th, you can vote in the primary)? You can register right up through the close of voting Tuesday night – here’s how.

THURSDAY: Your chance to comment on next six years of Seattle Park District spending

One-fifth of Seattle Parks‘ funding comes from a supplementary source – the property-tax-levy-funded Seattle Park District, created with voter approval in 2014. Tomorrow at 5:30 pm (Thursday, July 14th), the City Council, meeting as the Park District Board, will have a public hearing on a spending proposal for the district’s next six-year funding cycle. With so much park space in West Seattle, you might consider commenting, so we want to be sure you’ve heard about it. The proposal includes “pre-committed” spending for so-called landbanked parks including the three in West Seattle (The Junction, Morgan Junction, 48th/Charlestown) – here’s the high-level breakdown; the proposal results from work by the Board of Park Commissioners, as detailed here. Tomorrow’s public hearing comes before elected officials propose potential changes, as outlined in this post by Councilmember Lisa Herbold last month. It’s a hybrid meeting, at City Hall and online, and you can comment either way – the agenda explains how.

ELECTION 2022: Your primary ballot is on the way

King County Elections just announced that the ballots for the August 2nd primary are in the mail – so voting is about to begin. No ballot measures for our area, but there are races to narrow down – including U.S. Senate, U.S. House District 7, Secretary of State, 34th District State Senator and 34th District State House Position 1, which has no incumbent as longtime State Rep. Eileen Cody is retiring. You can see all the candidates listed, with links to their websites, here. You can send your ballot back by postal mail, as long as it’s postmarked by August 2nd, or take it to an official dropbox (here’s where to find them). Not registered? It’s not too late – go here.

WEST SEATTLE LIGHT RAIL: City Council finalizes recommendations – and, for Delridge, non-recommendation

As of minutes ago, the City Council is now officially on the record as supporting a West Seattle Junction tunnel station for Sound Transit light rail, and taking no position on a Delridge station/routing option. The unanimous vote was for the same resolution amended and passed by the Transportation and Utilities Committee last week (WSB coverage here). From the resolution as passed today, here’s what the city goes on record as saying about the West Seattle segment:

A. West Seattle Junction Segment (Avalon and Alaska Junction stations): Preference for WSJ-5, medium tunnel to Alaska Junction station at 41st Street SW with retained cut Avalon station.

B. Delridge Segment (Delridge station): The City is not able to state a preference given the inadequate DEIS analysis of impacted social resources in this segment. The DEIS did not identify the Alki Beach Academy as a potentially impacted social resource, and therefore did not fully analyze the project’s impact on child-care services. The DEIS identified potential impacts to Transitional Resources, which relies on co-located services and housing to provide comprehensive transitional housing services. The City’s future support for DEL-6 is conditioned on avoidance or mitigation of impacts, or relocation, of impacted child-care and transitional housing service providers. The City encourages additional refinements to optimize transit integration and user experience for commuters arriving from Racial Equity Toolkit (RET)-identified communities including South Delridge and White Center. The additional refinements should include the creation of a transit access study for areas further south in the corridor that will access the new station by bus, include protections for Longfellow Creek, and minimize potential conflicts between pedestrians and freight movements.

C. Duwamish Crossing Segment: Preference for DUW-1a, South crossing, conditioned on adequate mitigation of impacts to parks, recreational areas, and natural habitat at Pigeon Point and the West Duwamish Greenbelt.

The next step for the Sound Transit Board is its System Expansion Committee meeting this Thursday (July 14th) at 1:30 pm – here’s the agenda. Last week, ST staff presented a board committee with an “example” to start discussing (WSB coverage here); it too has the tunneled Junction but also proposes the DEL-6 “lower height Andover” station alternative.

READER REPORT: West Seattle Action Activism Fair @ C & P Coffee

Thanks to Kathy Rawle for sending the photo and note about yet another of the two-dozen-plus events that were on our Saturday list:

(Photo by Jonathan Rawle)

At C&P Coffee today. More than a dozen action groups, and lots of people and energy.

The participating groups are on the flyer shown in our calendar listing.

ELECTION 2022: You might vote in November on a big change in local voting

checkbox.jpgRight now, many local positions are on the ballot in odd years. That could change for some King County positions, under a county-charter amendment that got county council committee approval today. The amendment would move elections for county executive, county assessor, county director of elections, and county councilmembers to even-numbered years. Supporters say that would mean higher voter turnout for those races, since even-numbered years tend to draw more voters because of higher-profile races. Opponents say this could mean the local races would get lost in the clamor over those higher-profile races. The next step for the proposal is a vote by the full County Council on June 28th; if they approve the amendment, final say would be up to King County voters this November.

ELECTION 2022: 34th District Democrats’ endorsement decisions

checkbox.jpgOur area’s largest political group finished its pre-primary endorsements last night, but voting members didn’t have a clear choice in this year’s biggest local race, so that wound up with a dual endorsement: Two Democrats are among the three candidates seeking to succeed State House Rep. Eileen Cody, and after three rounds of voting last night, the 34th DDs had endorsed both of them, Emily Alvarado and Leah Griffin. The group’s rules reauire 60 percent approval for an endorsement, and while Griffin came close — 58% on the first ballot – that wasn’t enough. Two other contested races went to multiple ballots, both Seattle Municipal Court judgeships; Position #7 resulted in a sole endorsement for incumbent Judge Damon Shadid, while Position #3 ended up in a dual endorsement. The 34th DDs also endorsed a slate of candidates on a unanimous vote, pulling out one of those candidates – Leesa Manion, the West Seattleite running for King County Prosecutor – for a standalone vote, also a unanimous endorsement. The online meeting was attended by more than 100 people, with just under 90 voting. The primary election is Tuesday, August 2nd.

Mayor Harrell’s Q&A with District 1 Community Network set for Wednesday

The District 1 Community Network – a coalition of West Seattle/South Park advocates – finally gets its long-planned visit from Mayor Bruce Harrell this Wednesday (June 1st). It’s an online meeting, all welcome; the group has questions lined up, but only gets half an hour with the mayor, so there won’t be much if any time for open Q&A, but the group has been discussing questions spanning a variety of topics, from public safety to transportation to land use to homelessness. (On that last topic, this appearance will be on the day after Harrell’s scheduled Tuesday announcement of his long-awaited plan to deal with the crisis.) The meeting is at 7 pm Wednesday; viewing and call-in information is in our calendar listing for the meeting.

ELECTION 2022: First debate Thursday for 34th District State House Position 1 Democratic candidates

Now that the withdrawal deadline has passed, the fields are set for the August primary (same as what we reported Friday, except for one State Senate withdrawal – see the official lists here). The marquee local race in our area this time around will be for 34th District State House Position 1, from which Rep. Eileen Cody is retiring after more than a quarter-century. The first debate/forum in the race is Thursday night (May 26th), 6:30 pm online, with the 34th District Democrats and West Seattle Democratic Women hosting the two Democrats who are running, Emily Alvarado (left) and Leah Griffin (right). 34th DDs chair Carla Rogers says All are welcome to attend; register here to get the link. In addition to being a public forum, this also is a prelude to the 34th DDs’ endorsement meeting, which Rogers says is set for June 8th.

ELECTION 2022: Filing Week is over – here’s who filed to run for local Legislature seats

checkbox.jpgFiling Week is over and pending the withdrawal deadline on Monday, the fields are tentatively finalized for positions up for election this year. The only West Seattle (and vicinity)-specific positions on which you’ll be voting this year are in the 34th Legislative District – State Senator and two State House Representatives. Here’s who has filed:

34TH DISTRICT STATE SENATOR (no links because the incumbent is the only one with a functioning website listed)
Joe Nguyen (D, incumbent)
Amber Bennett (I)
Goodspaceguy (R)
Larry Hussey (no party preference)
Tony Mitchum (no party preference)
John Potter (R)

34TH DISTRICT STATE HOUSE POSITION 1 (no incumbent – Rep. Eileen Cody is retiring)
Emily Alvarado (D)
Leah Griffin (D)
Jolie Lansdowne (R)

Joe Fitzgibbon (D, incumbent)
Andrew Pilloud (R)

You’ll also be voting on King County Prosecuting Attorney (for which West Seattleite Leesa Manion and Federal Way Mayor Jim Ferrell remain the only candidates), U.S. Senate, U.S. House District 7, Secretary of State, and a variety of city, county, and state judgeships. Here’s the full list of who’s filed for everything. After the withdrawal deadline passes on Monday afternoon, the fields will be finalized for the August 2nd primary. First local debate/forum of the season is planned by the 34th District Democrats for State House Position 1, next Thursday (May 26th) – details to come.

VIDEO: King County Executive asks voters to chip in to save more green spaces

(WSB/WCN photo)

$1.81 a month to raise more money to save the “last, best” green spaces from disappearing.

That’s what King County Executive Dow Constantine is proposing charging property owners in a ballot measure he announced today at White Center Heights Park.

The cost, Constantine says, is what the owner of a “median-priced” home in King County would pay if voters approve the measure, which he is asking the County Council to place on the November general-election ballot.

Even at that, he says, it’s not an entirely new tax – he says it would bring back what property owners used to pay for the half-century-old Conservation Futures Program. The announcement explains:

Land conservation in King County – and 13 other counties – is largely funded by the Conservation Futures program that the state created 50 years ago. A series of actions by the state has dramatically reduced the amount of revenue that the program can generate for counties. Voters have the option to restore the local program to its original rate of 6.25 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value from its current rate of 3.12 cents. That would cost the owner of a median-value home about $21.75 more per year.

Constantine was joined at the park – setting of other media events for environmental programs – by De’Sean Quinn, the Tukwila City Councilmember who co-chairs the Land Conservation Advisory Committee, as well as Open Space Equity Cabinet co-chair Michelle Benetua, Trust for Public Land’s Northwest director David Patton, and King County Councilmember Rod Dembowski. Here’s our video of what they said:

The money raised by this would, according to the announcement, “accelerate the Land Conservation Initiative, a regional partnership of communities, cities, farmers, businesses, and environmental leaders to protect 65,000 acres of the highest conservation-value open space.” Constantine launched the initiative three years ago. The land it’s saved includes a five-acre site in North Highline. That’s one of the sites intended to bring public green space closer to more people; Constantine said that 20 percent of the people in King County don’t live close to any. It’s about equitable access, climate change, wildlife protection, and more, he said while making the case. Quinn lauded him for the “political will” to push for this “to meet the urgency of now.”

WHAT’S NEXT: Dembowski, who chairs the Transportation, Economy, and Environment Committee, will sponsor the proposal. Councilmembers have until late July to approve sending it to the November ballot. Meantime, the Land Conservation Initiative continues working on potential sites to protect – not only via buying them; sometimes other tools are used, such as conservation easements, or the purchase of development rights, to take the pressure off property owners. Constantine said they can’t comment on what’s in negotiations or under consideration, for obvious reasons.

ELECTION 2022: Two days into Filing Week, here’s who’s running locally so far

checkbox.jpgIf you’re interested in running for office this year, this is the week to officially file to get onto the August primary ballot in King County. The only offices specific to West Seattle (and vicinity) this year are the three state-legislative positions for the 34th District. Two days in, here’s who has filed:

State Senate – incumbent Sen. Joe Nguyen (D)

State House Position 1 (from which Rep. Eileen Cody is retiring) – Democrats Emily Alvarado and Leah Griffin, Republican Jolie Lansdowne

State House Position 2 – incumbent Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon (D)

You’ll also be voting for the open King County Prosecuting Attorney seat (West Seattleite Leesa Manion and Federal Way Mayor Jim Ferrell have filed so far), U.S. Senate and U.S. House positions, Secretary of State, and a long list of city, county, and state judgeships – none of which has more than one filer so far.

Here’s the full list of who’s filed through the end of today; anyone else interested in filing has until end of day Friday (May 20th). Want to run for something? Here’s how.