West Seattle politics 1972 results

FOLLOWUP: Added during West Seattle Bridge closure, SFD Ladder 13 and Medic 26 will stay here

(WSB photo: Ladder 13 at a West Seattle fire response in July)

The City Council took its final budget vote today, and money for added Seattle Fire resources in our area made the final cut. Shortly after the West Seattle Bridge closure in 2020, SFD took Ladder 13 and Medic 26 out of its reserves and stationed them – along with the personnel to staff them – in West Seattle and South Park, respectively. That doubled our area’s allocation of each of those types of units; previously, if a big call, or pverlapping calls, required more than 1 ladder truck or medic unit to respond to this area, the second one had to come from another part of the city. The council news release about today’s budget vote says the two units responded to more than 2,000 calls last year alone, The argument for keeping them beyond the reopening of the bridge was improving response times for the southernmost areas of the city – without the added medic unit based at Station 26 in South Park, medic response times could triple, and without the added ladder truck based at Station 37 in Sunrise Heights, response times to southernmost West Seattle could double.

Mayor Bruce Harrell‘s budget proposal did not include money for keeping the units here; West Seattle/South Park Councilmember Lisa Herbold pushed to add it, and got her amendment all the way through the budget review process. It allots $4.7 million in 2023 and $5.6 million in 2024 for the personnel and equipment costs. The documents say extra spending would be needed after that because Ladder 13 and Medic 26 were summoned into service “beyond their replacement age” – the medic unit will be replaced in late 2024, the truck a year later. The budget has one more step for final approval – the mayor can sign it, veto it, or let it become law without his signature. His post-vote statement suggests he’s OK with it.

MONDAY: One more chance to speak out about city spending plan

The City Council is now just a week away from finalizing the budget for the next two years. Tomorrow (Monday, November 21) morning at 9:30 am, their next meeting as the Budget Committee starts with one last chance for you to speak out. Then they embark on one more round of voting on proposed changes to the amended budget plan introduced last week by the budget chair, West Seattle-residing citywide Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda. Almost 200 amendments are on the list to be considered – you can see them all on the agenda, including the one (agenda item #128) that would add money to keep expanded Seattle Fire Department resources in West Seattle and South Park. If you’re interested in commenting tomorrow morning, you can do it remotely or in person at City Hall; the agenda explains how. You can also comment via email at council@seattle.gov.

ELECTION 2022: Ranked-choice voting now leading for Seattle

checkbox.jpgFor the first few vote counts post-Election Day, Seattle Question 1A/1B results had voters narrowly rejecting a change in city-election voting. Then in the past few days, that flipped, and as of tonight, “yes” to change is a full point ahead, 50.53% yes, 49.47% no, with the second part of the measure showing support for ranked-choice voting outstripping “approval” voting with 75% support. As for how many votes remain to be counted, the newest count represents 60.5% of all Seattle voters, while King County Elections says it’s received ballots from 69.6% of all Seattle voters. If ranked-choice voting goes on to win, here’s the explanation of how it would work:

… the Seattle City Council and Mayor have proposed Proposition 1B (Ordinance 126625), which would allow primary election voters for Mayor, City Attorney, and City Council to rank candidates by preference. In the first round of processing, each voter’s top preference would be counted. The candidate receiving the fewest would be eliminated. Successive rounds of counting would eliminate one candidate each round, counting each voter’s top preference among remaining candidates, until two candidates remain to proceed to the general election.

Vote-counting is scheduled to continue with daily updates until the results are certified November 29th.

CITY BUDGET: One West Seattle amendment makes the semifinal cut, another doesn’t

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

What you might call the second-to-last version of the next city-budget plan is out this morning – the “balancing package” presented by the City Council’s budget chair, West Seattle-residing citywide Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda (video above). This incorporates both the recent projection of reduced city revenues and her decisions on amendments proposed by her colleagues; here’s her overview.

Last week we spotlighted two West Seattle-specific amendments sponsored by West Seattle/South Park Councilmember Lisa Herbold. Reviewing the newly released “balancing package,” we note that one made it through, one did not. The one that didn’t was the re-allocation of money for the Fauntleroy Boulevard project. The one that did is funding for keeping expanded Seattle Fire Department resources in the area beyond the end of the year; after the bridge closed in 2020, Ladder 13 was added at Station 37 in Sunrise Heights and Medic 26 was added at Station 26 in South Park, both doubling the number of those specific types of SFD resources available in this area. (A recent Herbold post/newsletter explained how that affects emergency-response times.) Searching the “balancing package” by keyword, we noted a few other West Seattle-specific items:

-The Seattle Public Utilities budget proposal includes $1+ million needed as part of the Fauntleroy Creek Culvert Replacement funding.

-SDOT is asked to “work in coordination with the City Archivist to identify the historic street names for those Seattle neighborhoods that were once separately incorporated municipalities, which were subsequently annexed to the City of Seattle. Those former municipalities include old Ballard, Georgetown, Leschi, West Seattle, and Bryant. The report should include a cost estimate, by formerly incorporated municipality, for replacing current street signs with street signs that include historic street names using the green and brown street sign design.” The proposal does not mandate that, but requests only that the council get a report by 2023.

There’s of course much of non-neighborhood-specific interest in the budget proposal too – while grazing it, for example, we notice that proposed cuts to the mayor’s proposals include reducing his requested funding to clean up more graffiti vandalism and a reduction in the amount of money proposed for play-area renovations (specific projects are not listed, so we don’t know whether this would affect the ones awaiting renovation in West Seattle).

WHAT’S NEXT/HOW TO COMMENT: This proposal is still subject to change, and the council is asking for feedback. You can see the full “balancing package” here. The council starts reviewing it at 1 pm today; you can watch via Seattle Channel. Tomorrow (Tuesday, November 15th) at 5 pm, you can comment online or in person at the council’s final public hearing on the budget – the agenda explains how. Before/after that, you can comment via email at council@seattle.gov. The final vote on this two-year plan is planned the week after Thanksgiving.

ELECTION 2022: Here’s how key races and measures look after King County’s second round of results

checkbox.jpgThe second post-election vote count from King County Elections is in. Last night, 31.8% of ballots had been counted; for tonight’s update, the total counted is up to 35.8%. But many more ballots remain to be counted – so far KCE has received 51.3% of all ballots, and while drop boxes have been emptied, ballots mailed via USPS will keep coming in. Now, the latest results on the 10 races/measures we’re watching:

Jim Ferrell 44%
Leesa Manion 55%

U.S. SENATE (statewide count)
Patty Murray* (D) 57%
Tiffany Smiley (R) 43%

Pramila Jayapal* (D) 85%
Cliff Moon (R) 15%

Emily Alvarado (D) 69%
Leah Griffin (D) 29%

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

Joe Nguyen* (D) 85%
John Potter (R) 15%

SEATTLE PROPOSITIONS 1A/1B (city voting-method change)
Yes 49.2%
No 50.8%
Prefer 1A 26%
Prefer 1B 74%

KING COUNTY CHARTER AMENDMENT 1 (county election-date change)
Yes 69%
No 31%

KING COUNTY PROPOSITION 1 (Conservation Futures levy)
Approve 68%
Reject 32%

Steve Hobbs* (D) 50%
Julie Anderson (NP) 47%

All percentages above are rounded – .5 and up rounds up, .4 and down rounds down – except for the only close contest, the Seattle ranked-choice/approval voting measure.

-Full list of state and federal results here
-Full list of King County/Seattle results here

Next King County results will be out around 4 pm Thursday.

ELECTION 2022: First results for 10 key races and measures

checkbox.jpgThe night’s first (and only) round of King County election results is in – here are the 10 key local, state, and federal races/measures we’re following:

Jim Ferrell 44%
Leesa Manion 55%

U.S. SENATE (updated 8:47 pm)
Patty Murray* (D) 57%
Tiffany Smiley (R) 43%

Pramila Jayapal* (D) 84%
Cliff Moon (R) 15%

Emily Alvarado (D) 69%
Leah Griffin (D) 30%

Joe Fitzgibbon* (D) 82%
Andrew Pilloud (R) 18%

Joe Nguyen* (D) 85%
John Potter (R) 15%

SEATTLE PROPOSITIONS 1A/1B (city voting-method change)
Yes 49%
No 51%
Prefer 1A 26%
Prefer 1B 74%

KING COUNTY CHARTER AMENDMENT 1 (county election-date change)
Yes 69%
No 31%

KING COUNTY PROPOSITION 1 (Conservation Futures levy)
Approve 68%
Reject 32%

Steve Hobbs* (D) 50%
Julie Anderson (NP) 47%

Full list of state and federal results here
Full list of King County/Seattle results here

The U.S. Senate and Secretary of State race results will change because of later counts from other counties, so we’ll update those throughout the night. Otherwise, next round of King County results is expected tomorrow afternoon,

TUESDAY MORNING: Support/oppose these two West Seattle additions for the city budget? Time to speak up

Tomorrow morning is the last City Council public hearing on the city budget before councilmembers go into the final stretch of budget revisions for the next two years. As reported here last week, presentation of a “balancing plan” incorporating some of the council’s proposed changes was delayed a week after new revenue numbers came in lower than hoped. But tomorrow morning’s public hearing is still on, and now you can show support for, or opposition to, spending proposals before the “balancing plan” is finished. Here are West Seattle-specific amendments that have been proposed by City Councilmember Lisa Herbold:

FAUNTLEROY BOULEVARD: $15 million over the next two years to revive the Fauntleroy Way Boulevard Project (shelved until light rail’s likely route became clearer). Here’s how the amendment document describes it:

This Council Budget Action would add $7.5 million Transportation Fund in 2023 and $7.5 million Transportation Fund in 2024 (one-time) in the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) for the Fauntleroy Way SW Boulevard (MC-TR-C046) CIP project. This project was previously funded by the 2015 Move Seattle Levy. SDOT placed the project on hold in 2018 while the corridor was under consideration by Sound Transit for the West Seattle Link light rail extension. The Sound Transit Board has selected a tunnel to West Seattle [Junction] as the preferred alternative, which would no longer conflict with the Fauntleroy Way SW Boulevard project. The Fauntleroy Way SW Boulevard project completed final design in 2017 …

This project transforms Fauntleroy Way SW into a boulevard. The project elements include: a planted median, signature lighting fixtures, a protected bicycle facility, a pedestrian zone with sidewalks and planting areas including street trees, pedestrian lighting, potential stormwater infrastructure and art, as well as safety improvements for crossing movements for all modes. These safety improvements include bicycle and pedestrian crossings, signals, reconfigured intersections and bulbs, and pavement improvements

That’s part of a tall stack of transportation-related amendment proposals you can see here.

This one, we’ve mentioned before:

(WSB photo: Ladder 13 at a West Seattle fire response in July)

KEEPING LADDER 13 AND MEDIC 26: This would add about $6 million over the next two years to keep the Seattle Fire resources that were originally added to this area because of the bridge closure – Ladder 13 (now at Station 37 in Sunrise Heights) and Medic 26 (now at Station 26 in South Park). Previously our area had only one ladder truck and one medic unit, both based at Station 32 in The Junction. Here’s the explanation from the amendment document:

This Council Budget Action would add $439,000 GF in 2023 and $1.2 million GF in 2024 (one-time) to the Seattle Fire Department (SFD) to support the permanent operation of resources that were implemented temporarily during the closure of the West Seattle Bridge. These resources are a ladder truck at Fire Station 37 and a medic unit at Fire Station 26. To meet the temporary need, SFD kept in service vehicles that were past their replacement age, but the department would need to purchase new vehicles if the need for them were permanent. One-time funding would support (1) the maintenance\ costs of a ladder truck until its anticipated replacement in late 2025 and (2) the maintenance costs of a medic unit until its anticipated replacement in late 2024. One-time funding would also support the training of eight SFD firefighters as paramedics to staff the new medic unit.

In addition, this Council Budget Action would add $4.3 million GF in 2023 (ongoing) to support the staffing costs associated with both resources. The Council Budget Action would increase SFD’s minimum daily staffing level from 216 to 222, but no funding is added to train new SFD recruits because current SFD firefighters would staff the new ladder truck and medic shifts on an overtime basis. Ongoing funding is also added, beginning in late 2023, to support the pro-rated lease costs for the new medic unit. On an annual basis, these costs are $72,000 per year. There would be a 2025 one-time cost of $2 million, for a new ladder truck, associated with this Council Budget Action, and at the time of that vehicle’s delivery SFD would begin incurring a pro-rated annual lease cost of $164,000 per year. These costs would be included in the 2025 Proposed Budget.

The amendment document goes on to say that the two added units make a difference in response times:

SFD data suggest that removing the medic unit at Fire Station 26 would triple the department’s response time to Advanced Life Support calls in the area of the station, such that SFD response would be well outside the NFPA response standard. SFD data also suggest that removing the ladder truck at Fire Station 27 would double the department’s current response time to fire calls in the south part of West Seattle, although it would remain within the NFPA response standard.

You can read the full amendment in this document.

HOW TO SPEAK OUT AT TUESDAY HEARING, OR OTHERWISE: Since tomorrow’s hearing starts at 9:30 am, online registration begins at 7:30 am – it’s explained here. As the agenda explains, you can also speak in person at City Hall. The hearing will go until everyone signed up to speak has had their turn. Or if you’d rather just send email with your thoughts on these or other budget matters, council@seattle.gov is the address. There’ll be one more hearing just before the budget is finalized, but this one is at a pivotal moment.

VOTING: It’s Election Day Eve. Here’s where to drop off your ballot in West Seattle

We were in The Junction on Sunday morning when those election workers visited the King County Elections drop box to pick up ballots. As of this morning, KCE has only received 37 percent of the ballots sent out countywide; in West Seattle/South Park, the percentage is a bit higher, 38.6%. There are three drop boxes in West Seattle where you can take your ballot until 8 pm tomorrow (Tuesday, November 8):

Junction (the one shown above – south side of SW Alaska just east of 44th SW)
High Point Library (northeast side of the library, 3411 SW Raymond)
South Seattle College (in front of the admin building, 6000 16th SW)

There are also official drop boxes in White Center and South Park; here’s the full countywide list. You can also send your ballot via USPS mail – no stamp required – but it must be postmarked by tomorrow, so if you’re going to do that, do it today. USPS mailboxes are scattered around the area, but there are drive-up/ride-up boxes at both local post offices (4426 California SW in The Junction and 2721 SW Trenton on the north side of Westwood Village). Here’s our overview of what’s on your ballot.

ELECTION 2022: Last weekend to vote!

Tuesday (November 8) is the deadline for voting in the general election – 8 pm if you’re using a King County Elections drop box, sooner if you are using USPS mail and want to be certain your ballot is postmarked in time – but if you’re counting on some weekend downtime to vote, this is it. Through last night, county stats show, 31.1% of West Seattle/South Park voters’ ballots had been received. If you haven’t even opened yours yet, here’s a reprise (from a month ago) of our original reminder about what you’ll be deciding:

The most complicated issue is Seattle Proposition 1A-1B – alternatives for changing the way you vote in Seattle city primaries. Initiative-born 1A would enable voters to check off as many candidates “as they approve of” in races for Mayor, City Attorney, and City Council. The two top vote-getters for each office would advance to the general election. 1B is an elected-official-proposed alternative that would allow voters in those same city primary races to rank candidates by their preference, with a multi-round vote-counting process ensuing. You’ll have two votes on this two-part proposition – should either become law, and regardless of whether you said yes or no, which one would you rather see become law? The ballot also includes a King County charter amendment that would change elections, moving County Executive, County Councilmembers, County Assessor, and Elections Director to even-numbered years. Plus there’s a King County levy proposal, the Conservation Futures Levy.

Besides those issues, the ballot includes U.S. House, U.S. Senate, State Legislature (here are our interviews with the two candidates for our open State House seat), Secretary of State, King County Prosecutor, and 17 judicial positions, only two of which are contested. Two state advisory measures are on the ballot too. Not registered to vote but eligible? You can still do that in person Monday or Tuesday.

FOLLOWUP: City budget schedule changes after new prediction of lower revenue

On Tuesday we published an update on the city budget-review process, as it’s in the heart of public-feedback time right now, if you want to let city leaders know where you think money should be spent over the next two years. This afternoon, the City Council‘s budget chair, West Seattle-residing citywide Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda, announced a few schedule changes after a new revenue forecast showed the city will be taking in less money than expected. Instead of announcing her “balancing package” next Monday, it’ll be a week later. But the Tuesday morning (November 8th) public hearing is still on, and ongoing feedback can be sent any time to council@seattle.gov. Here’s more information on the new schedule and the revised income forecast.

YOUR MONEY, THEIR VOTE: Key time for your feedback on city spending

In the comment discussion below our coverage of the shooting that injured two people on Alki last night, some are talking about larger issues of public safety, police, and politics. One immediate matter in which you still have time to give feedback is the city budget for the next two years, which will be finalized before Thanksgiving. Last week, city councilmembers discussed their proposed changes to what Mayor Bruce Harrell presented, and next Monday, the council’s budget chair, West Seattle-residing citywide Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda, presents her version of an amended budget. If you feel strongly about what the city should focus on (or not), you’ll want to send a message now, and consider speaking at the next public hearing, which is one week from today – online and in-person. In the short run, you can find out about the proposed budget amendments by using this online tool developed by the council. Here’s council staffer Joseph Peha‘s overview:

It lays out all 100 amendments with detailed information about each one:

o The department it pertains to

o The amendment number

o A short summary of what it does

o The Councilmembers who originally sponsored it

o A link to read a memo from Council’s policy staff

o And a link to watch the Council’s discussion of the amendment – timestamped to go right to that specific part of the meeting

The tool is interactive. You can filter amendments by Councilmember or department. And the number of amendments for each department is listed in the dropdown. Everything is also mobile friendly, so the tool will work on phones, tablets, etc.

After Councilmember Mosqueda presents her “balancing package” on Monday, and the public hearing next Tuesday (9:30 am – the agenda explains how to participate), there’s another round of council amendment opportunities, followed by a November 22nd public hearing and final voting November 23rd. (Here’s the budget calendar.) And if you’re just catching up on the city budget – here’s our coverage of the mayor’s original announcement, and key points.

VIDEO: See and hear from the two West Seattle women contending for this election’s only open local office

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

checkbox.jpgYour ballot should have arrived by now, so you might take some time this weekend to fill it out and send it back. Whenever you do that, the choices you’ll be asked to make include only one open local office: 34th Legislative District State House Position 1, one of the three people who represent this area in the Washington State Legislature. The longtime holder of that position, State Rep. Eileen Cody, is retiring. Two other West Seattle women, Leah Griffin and Emily Alvarado, were the top two finishers in a three-candidate primary. Since this campaign has been light on local forums/debates (the 34th District Democrats held one in May), we decided to interview both candidates on video so you could see and hear them before you vote, if you haven’t already made up your mind.

We conducted these interviews over the past two days and present both unedited. Aside from starting with the question “Why do you want this job?” both conversations took slightly different turns, rather than covering a preset punchlist of questions. The candidates have a lot in common – both West Seattle residents, both Democrats, both first-time candidates. And when we got down to specifics, similar positions on hot issues, too. But they have traveled different paths to get to this campaign, and have different issues about which they’re most passionate, as you’ll hear.

EMILY ALVARADO: Alvarado is a former Seattle Office of Housing director, now employed with a national nonprofit that focuses on housing. She says her experience in the public and private sectors gives her experience that will translate to effective service as a legislator. Here’s her page on the King County Elections website with her candidate statement and background basics. We interviewed Alvarado on Thursday at Fauntleroy Schoolhouse:

LEAH GRIFFIN: Griffin is a school librarian who became an advocate for sexual-assault victims after she became one. She says her experience working with state and federal leaders to pass legislation is experience that will enable her to hit the ground running, and she promises to be the kind of elected official from whom she sought help – one that solves people’s problems. Here’s her page on the King County Elections website with her candidate statement and background basics. We interviewed Griffin today at Work and Play Lounge:

Whoever you’re voting for, your ballot has to be in a King County dropbox by 8 pm Tuesday, November 8th, or in a postal mailbox in time to be postmarked no later than November 8th. (Here’s our quick overview of what else is on it.)

FOLLOWUP: New ‘discussion maps’ for changing City Council district boundaries

After next year’s election, the seven district-elected City Councilmembers will be representing areas with new boundaries. What those district boundaries will be has yet to be finalized – and relatively late in the process – with less than two weeks until a final vote – there are new suggestions, with your feedback requested. Here’s the news release (and a reminder, District 1 is the one that includes West Seattle):

The Seattle Redistricting Commission continues its process of examining how to redraw the boundaries of Seattle’s seven City Council Districts and is inviting community members to offer feedback on four distinct maps. Members of the public can review and provide input on the maps at seattle.gov/redistricting/how-to-participate.

During the regularly scheduled Seattle Redistricting Commission meeting on October 25, the Commission discussed various revisions to the official Amended Draft Map that was adopted on October 18, 2022. These revisions are presented as Discussion Maps below.

Commissioner Nickels proposed a Discussion Map that:

Uses I-5 as the primary boundary for Districts 1 and 2.
Keeps Pioneer Square and West Seattle whole in District 1.
Keeps Chinatown International District and Beacon Hill whole in District 2.
Keeps Central District whole in District 3.
Uses I-5 as the boundary for Districts 5 and 6.
Keeps Magnolia whole and together with Queen Anne in District 7.
Keeps Eastlake and Fremont whole in District 4.
Keeps Lake City and Northgate whole in District 5.
Keeps Ballard whole in District 6.

Commissioner Juarez proposed a Discussion Map that:

Extends the south end of District 6 and District 7 boundary along 28th Ave W from W McGraw St to W Howe St. This removes the quickly turning boundary that followed W McGraw St, Condon Way W, and 30th Ave W before meeting with W Howe St.

Commissioner O’Sullivan is sponsoring a Discussion Map submitted by a community member that:

Moves the area of Magnolia west of 15th Ave W and down to the Magnolia Bridge to District 6.
Moves the area between Aurora Ave N and Stone Way N, between NE 50th St and Lake Union, to District 6.
Moves all of Eastlake to District 7.
Moves all the blocks in First Hill bounded by I-5, Boren Ave, and James St to District 7.
Moves the University of Washington to District 3.
Moves all Green Lake and Meridian east of Aurora Ave N, south of NE 85th St, west of I-5, and north of NE 50th St, to District 4.
Keeps Districts 1, 2, and 5 unchanged.

Members of the public are invited to submit public comment on these proposed adjustments. The Seattle Redistricting Commission plans to vote on a final map at their meeting on Tuesday, November 8. The public comment period will remain open until the Commission files the final district plan on or before November 15, 2022.

Make a public comment
-In-person or online at the Seattle Redistricting Commission special meeting on Monday, October 31 from 12:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. Meeting will be held at Seattle City Hall, Room L280, 600 4th Avenue. Public can also participate online.
-In writing using the Seattle Redistricting Commission’s public comment submission form.

Whichever maps are finalized, those will be the new district boundaries starting with the 2023 elections.

Also dumped in Delridge: 9 ballots

9:04 PM: Are you still waiting for your general-election ballot? Alfred discovered nine ballots in the bushes along 26th SW, near Delridge Playfield, and sent this photo:

He wrote, “I am guessing the best thing to do is to return them to the post office for re-delivery but found the situation disturbing. Notifying you in case this is happening in other areas of West Seattle. No other mail was found, just the November election ballots.” We advised him also to contact King County Elections, which mailed ballots last Wednesday. If you haven’t received your ballot yet, they want to hear from you at 206-296-VOTE (8683). (And a reminder that you can choose to get new alerts about your ballot’s status – start the sign-up process here.)

ADDED 9:29 PM: We asked Alfred if the ballots appeared to have adjacent addresses or common names. He replied that they’re all from “the same blocks of 25th and 26th.”

ELECTION 2022: Ballots arrive; senator campaigns in West Seattle

Two election notes:

BALLOTS ARRIVE: As noted here Wednesday, King County Elections has mailed the general-election ballots, and they’ve started arriving, so voting has begun. If you want to return your ballot via a county dropbox, West Seattle has three – the full countywide list is here. We recently previewed what’s on your ballot. You have until Tuesday night, November 8th, to vote, and you can choose a new way to track your ballot. Not registered to vote yet? Not too late to change that.

SENATOR CAMPAIGNS IN WEST SEATTLE: U.S. Senator Patty Murray just made a noontime campaign stop in West Seattle:

(WSB photo)

She spoke at C & P Coffee (WSB sponsor), accompanied by Mini Timmaraju, who is president of NARAL Pro-Choice America. Murray is a Democrat running for a sixth 6-year term in the U.S. Senate, challenged in this election by Republican Tiffany Smiley. Murray chairs the Senate’s Health, Education, Labor, & Pensions Committee. Her speech at C & P not only focused on reproductive rights but also touted, among other things, the federal funding that helped cover the cost of the West Seattle Bridge repairs. After the C & P event, she was off to campaign in other parts of the city, including the Rainier Valley and International District.

ELECTION 2022: Your ballot’s on the way, and you can sign up to get alerts about its status

October 19, 2022 9:11 pm
|    Comments Off on ELECTION 2022: Your ballot’s on the way, and you can sign up to get alerts about its status
 |   West Seattle news | West Seattle politics

checkbox.jpgKing County Elections has started mailing ballots for the November 8th election, and you can vote as soon as yours arrives – drop boxes open tomorrow (or just drop it into USPS mail, no stamps needed). Something new this time – the county has launched ballot alerts. From today’s announcement:

Voters can now opt in to receive text or email notifications as their ballot is processed, making it even easier to know that their vote counted. Ballot alerts will also let voters know if there is an issue with their signature that they need to resolve before their vote can be counted. Alerts are available in English, Chinese, Korean, Spanish, and Vietnamese.

You can sign up by going here (the option will come up on the second screen). Here’s our preview of what you’ll see on your ballot when it arrives. Election Night – when the voting ends and vote-counting begins – is Tuesday, November 8th,

VIDEO: The ballot measure seeking more green for greenspace

King County Elections will send your general-election ballot later this week. Though you’ve probably heard a lot about local and national Congressional races, as we noted here, your ballot will have a lot more to decide – including King County Proposition 1, which raises money for land conservation/acquisition by restoring an existing levy to the original rate that’s been reduced by various state actions. Five months after announcing it at White Center Heights Park, County Executive Dow Constantine returned there this morning with this area’s County Councilmember Joe McDermott (like Constantine, a West Seattleite) and other supporters from around the county to ask for a “yes” vote. Here’s our video:

In order, the speakers were:

-King County Councilmember Joe McDermott
Paul Winterstein from the Issaquah Alps Trails Club
-Executive Constantine, who stressed that the quest to preserve green space is “racing to keep up with population growth, racing to keep up with environmental changes”
-Sammamish Mayor & Former DNR wildland firefighter Kali Clark, whose observations about the relevance of land preservation to wildfire prevention were timely for obvious reasons
-King County Open Space Equity Cabinet member Sarneshea Evans, who observed that too many KC residents don’t live close to green space
-Zazueta Family Farm owner/farmer Guillermo Zazueta, who told the story of starting his organic permaculture farm earlier this year (Constantine had explained that the measure would preserve farmland as well as other types of green space)
-King County Councilmember Rod Dembowski, who declared that Prop 1 is “incredibly affordable (and) incredibly meaningful”

As noted when the ballot measure was announced in May, it would add about $2 per month to the taxes of a median-priced King County home. Supporters say tens of thousands of acres of land have been identified for potential acquisition/preservation; we asked what percentage are in urban areas – here’s the written response from the campaign:

Of the 45,000 acres targeted for acquisition as part of the Land Conservation Initiative, 10% are for urban open space and regional trails.

Since 2016, 30% of LCI acquisition dollars (all sources) have been spent on urban greenspaces and regional trails.

Since 2020, 25% of Conservation Futures funding has been awarded to match waiver projects in opportunity areas (those projects meeting specific criteria for need)

Read a summary and/or the full text of Prop 1, as well as statements for/against, by going here. Once you get your ballot, you’ll have until November 8th to vote and turn it in.

YOUR MONEY, THEIR VOTE: How to have your say during Tuesday’s City Council budget hearing

(WSB photo from September – Ladder 13 at Station 37 in Sunrise Heights)

Will SFD Ladder 13 and Medic 26 stay in West Seattle? City Councilmember Lisa Herbold says she’ll push for it as one of her top two budget priorities – but to win over her colleagues’ support to add funding to the city budget, it’ll take a public show of support. Your next major chance to show support for – or opposition to – that and/or other budgetary issues is tomorrow (Tuesday, October 11th), 5 pm. You can comment either in-person (City Hall, 600 4th Avenue) or online – signups start at 3 pm; here’s how that works. The hearing will last until everyone who’s signed up has spoken, no matter how long that takes. This is the first of three public hearings, but the only one at the start of the council’s discussions of how/whether to change the mayor’s budget proposal. Councilmember Herbold’s latest weekly newsletter details the process, with dates and topics. Here’s our coverage of the initial mayoral budget announcement two weeks ago; the detailed budget summary is here, and the even-more-detailed “budget book” is here.

ELECTION 2022: 5 weeks until vote-counting begins. Here’s the most complicated issue you’ll be asked to decide (and what else is on the ballot)

checkbox.jpgElection Day, November 8th, is exactly five weeks away. But you’ll be able to start voting a lot sooner – King County Elections plans to send out ballots on October 19th, and you can vote as soon as you get yours. Here’s KCE’s one-stop info page for the election, including a link you can use to preview the ballot you’ll get. Here’s the sample ballot we downloaded, which is what you’ll receive if you’re in the city and the 34th State Legislative District.

The most complicated issue is Seattle Proposition 1A-1B – alternatives for changing the way you vote in Seattle city primaries. Initiative-born 1A would enable voters to check off as many candidates “as they approve of” in races for Mayor, City Attorney, and City Council. The two top vote-getters for each office would advance to the general election. 1B is an elected-official-proposed alternative that would allow voters in those same primary races to rank candidates by their preference, with a multi-round vote-counting process ensuing. You’ll have two votes on this two-part proposition – should either become law, and regardless of whether you said yes or no, which one would you rather see become law? The ballot also includes a King County charter amendment that would change elections, moving County Executive, County Councilmembers, County Assessor, and Elections Director to even-numbered years. Plus there’s a King County levy proposal, the Conservation Futures Levy. Besides those issues, the ballot includes U.S. House, U.S. Senate, State Legislature, Secretary of State, King County Prosecutor, and 17 judicial positions, only two of which are contested. Two state advisory measures are on the ballot too. Not registered to vote but eligible? Go here.

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: