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ELECTION 2019: District 1 City Council candidates to debate on Tuesday night

(WSB photo, April 10th)

After two Q&A forums, District 1 City Council candidates will appear in the first debate-format event of the campaign tomorrow night. It’s the second event presented by the 34th District Democrats, but this time it’s not part of a regular meeting – it’s a standalone event – nor is it at the group’s usual event venue. All are invited to attend, 6:30 pm Tuesday (April 23rd) at Holy Family Bilingual Catholic School (9615 20th SW). Four of the five current candidates (the field’s not final until “filing week” in mid-May) are participating – Jesse Greene, incumbent Lisa Herbold, Brendan Kolding, and Phil Tavel – same as the 34th DD’s forum on April 10th (WSB coverage here).

Free Metro rides in snowstorms?

(Photo from February snow, courtesy Jeff B)

Should Metro be free when we have major snow, as was the case back in February? At least one King County Councilmember thinks so. Announced today:

Legislation is being filed this morning by King County Councilmember Jeanne Kohl-Welles that would allow for free Metro transit during snow emergencies. The measure comes in response to a massive storm that devastated roads and highways across the region earlier this year.

“This past winter our region was hammered with one of the worst snow storms the region has seen,” said Kohl-Welles. “Cars skidded out of control or got stuck, pedestrians struggled to gain footing and slipped on sidewalks, and too many of our most vulnerable citizens were left stranded. Free Metro fares will keep people safe and is the right thing to do.”

Here’s the proposed legislation (PDF); we’re checking with our area’s King County Councilmember Joe McDermott to see what he thinks of the proposal.

FOLLOWUP: King County Parks levy will be on your August ballot

(WSB February photo)

Two months after King County Executive Dow Constantine, County Councilmember Joe McDermott, and others came to Steve Cox Memorial Park in White Center to unveil the successor to the expiring county parks levy (WSB coverage here), it’s officially on its way to the ballot. The County Council voted 8-1 today to send it to voters in August. As noted in the announcement of today’s vote:

The proposed levy would generate an estimated $810 million over six years. It would cost the owner of a home that has an assessed property value of $500,000 about $7.70 per month.

King County Parks would use proceeds from the levy to:

*Build and design regional trails, including missing links and crossings over rivers and highways
*Acquire more open space lands that provide recreation opportunities for people and protect forest lands, water quality and habitat for fish and wildlife
*Improve trailheads by adding parking and signage
*Repair hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding trails
*Replace turf on 11 ballfields
*Rehabilitate play area equipment in six parks
*Maintain park infrastructure, such as pathways, roofs, fencing, and electrical systems

The full ordinance text is here. Though the levy is expected to generate more than double the $396 million of its expiring predecessor, the fine print shows property owners will be paying less per $1,000 – 16.8 cents is the starting rate in the new levy, compared to 18.7 cents in the old one.

HAPPENING NOW: All-day awareness event @ South Seattle College as part of funding fight

(WSB photos)

60 percent of our state’s college students, 40 percent of the funding. That’s one rallying point as educators and students fight for more funding of the state’s Community and Technical Colleges, including South Seattle College (WSB sponsor) on Puget Ridge, where an all-day awareness/advocacy event continues until about 3 pm at the Clock Tower Plaza. Participants have numerous options for sending messages to Olympia, where a bill to “Reinvest in Our Colleges” got stuck in committee:

Other messages are on display in signage reflecting SSC’s multicultural, multilingual student body:

Among the educators we found at the plaza, SSC president Dr. Rosie Rimando-Chareunsap:

Dealing with the budget was a major challenge she listed when we talked with her as her presidency began last fall. Meantime, the background for today’s event and others around the state is here.

EDUCATION FUNDING: ‘Week of action’ at community colleges

You’ve heard a lot in recent years about K-12 education funding. You haven’t heard as much about postsecondary-education funding. In particular, community and technical college staffers say they’re “frustrated with legislative inaction” and planning a “week of action.” That will include a rally on the South Seattle College (WSB sponsor) campus, near the clock tower at midday Tuesday. That’s one of three “walkout” rallies planned on all three Seattle Colleges campuses by AFT Local 1789, in addition to events including informational picketing at other college campuses around the state. From the announcement:

“We have been advocating all session for a robust investment in the community and technical colleges. Everyone recognizes the value the CTCs bring to individual lives, employers, and the economy,” said Karen Strickland, president of AFT Washington. “What has yet to be taken seriously is the dire need to support the human infrastructure that makes our colleges hum – the people who process financial aid, teach in the classroom, clean the buildings, provide counseling and more – and to make sure students succeed. The economy is strong and the need is great – now is the time to [Re]Invest in Our Colleges!”

At the start of the session, AFT Washington introduced a funding bill, HB 1300, that called for $500 million in permanent funding in the CTCs. That bill did not make it out of committee, but the need for increased funding remains, and faculty and staff are tired of being passed over by the legislature.

The goal of the Week of Action is to send a clear message to legislators: CTC faculty and staff are frustrated with the decade-plus of inaction on investment in the CTCs, and want legislators, as they finalize the budget for the 2019-2021 biennium, to invest in the Community and Technical Colleges.

The SSC organizer says 34th District legislators are “on board” but could still use messages of support as they work to convince their colleagues. Info on how to reach your legislators – about this issue or anything else – is here.

VIDEO: 4 candidates, 7 issues @ 34th District Democrats’ District 1 City Council forum

Story, photos, video by Tracy Record and Patrick Sand
West Seattle Blog co-publishers

Four of the five candidates who have registered campaigns for the District 1 (West Seattle/South Park) City Council seat appeared in the second forum of the season last night.

This one was presented by the 34th District Democrats, whose rules require that candidates contending for the group’s endorsement – the ultimate reason the group has forums – affirm they are Democrats. Isaiah Willoughby did not, the 34th DDs said, but the remaining four – Lisa Herbold, Phil Tavel, Brendan Kolding, Jesse Greene (that’s the L-R order in which they were seated) – did.

First, here’s our full unedited video of the forum, organized by legislative-action committee chair Jordan Crawley, with questions asked by first vice-chair Rachel Glass:

Crawley explained they had used results of their online survey to determine seven issues to focus on. If you don’t have time to watch/listen, we have toplines ahead – but please note, these are not anything close to full transcriptions; for the candidates’ full answers, see the video.

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ELECTION 2019: Next District 1 City Council candidates’ forum Wednesday

checkbox.jpgJust under four months until the primary election, and two days until the next forum featuring all five of the candidates running so far for the District 1 (West Seattle/South Park) City Council seat. Their first faceoff was back on March 21st (WSB coverage here); this Wednesday (April 10), they’ll be side by side for the second time during the 34th District Democrats‘ monthly meeting. All are welcome – nonmembers and members alike; the meeting starts at 7 pm Wednesday at The Hall at Fauntleroy (9131 California SW). It’s one of two events the 34th DDs are presenting this month featuring the D-1 council race; the other is billed as a debate, at 6:30 pm April 23rd at Holy Family Bilingual Catholic School (9615 20th SW). The 34 DDs, by the way, have an online survey going, inviting you to help shape the issues on which they’ll focus.

The candidates in the running so far are Isaiah Willoughby, Phil Tavel, Brendan Kolding, incumbent Lisa Herbold, and Jesse Greene; according to the city Ethics and Election Commission tracker, District 1’s five-candidate field is the smallest of any of the 7 districts, so far. But it’s not necessarily the final lineup – the official filing period isn’t until next month.

ELECTION 2019: Port Commissioner Courtney Gregoire won’t run again

Though the City Council races have dominated the discussion so far this election year, there are other races you’ll want to pay attention to – such as the Port of Seattle Commission. This year, two of its five seats will be on ballots in King County, and both incumbents have announced their plans. Today Courtney Gregoire announced that after six years on the commission, she is not running for re-election, and she is “looking for other options to continue to serve the public,” according to the emailed announcement. Fred Felleman has already announced he will run for a second 4-year term, promising in his February announcement that he will work to “continue to increase the Port’s economic impact while reducing its greenhouse gas footprint.” So far only one potential contender has registered with the state Public Disclosure Commission, Ali Scego, who has not yet specified which position is of interest.

VIDEO: Brendan Kolding’s official City Council District 1 campaign kickoff

When we interviewed City Council District 1 candidate Brendan Kolding back in February, he declared himself “all in” – though this isn’t the first time he’s run for office, he said he’d be actively campaigning this time. And tonight he took another step, with an official campaign kickoff at Ounces in North Delridge.

Kolding also noted that he’s so serious, he recently resigned his Seattle Police lieutenant job to focus full-time on his campaign. His 15-minute speech focused on themes of homelessness, crime/safety, and “rule of law” – he said once laws are enforced, other issues will fall in place. He did touch on a few other hot topics, including requiring developers to include parking in projects, because “people need their cars,” even those who use transit, as he said he had done while commuting from Delridge. Here’s our video of his speech:

After that, Kolding asked supporters to help him qualify for Democracy Vouchers, and then invited questions. One attendee asked where he stands on West Seattle light-rail routing. Though, he said, he recently had been quoted as saying he supported an elevated line, he said it’s clear that there’s more community support for a tunneled option, so that’s what he’s backing now, because his role is to represent the community.

PREVIOUS KICKOFF COVERAGE: We covered incumbent Councilmember Lisa Herbold‘s kickoff on March 24th; Phil Tavel‘s launch at Easy Street Records was part of our February 1st report; in late January, Jesse Greene held a kickoff event at Talarico’s in late January. Isaiah Willoughby hasn’t had a kickoff yet.

FORUMS AND WHAT ELSE IS NEXT: All five candidates were at the season’s first forum last month; here’s our coverage, with video. Next one scheduled is 7 pm April 10th at The Hall @ Fauntleroy during the monthly meeting of the 34th District Democrats, who told us all five candidates have confirmed plans to participate. The field won’t be finalized until the official filing period in May; the top two in the August 6th primary will advance to November.

VIDEO: Lisa Herbold’s official City Council District 1 re-election campaign kickoff

(WSB photos/video)

Almost two months after announcing she would run for re-election, City Councilmember Lisa Herbold became the third candidate in the race to hold a campaign-kickoff event.

Supporters gathered at Highland Park Improvement Club this afternoon to hear Herbold recap her first term and explain why she wants a second:

Herbold said she had kept promises to fight for renters’ and workers’ rights as well as for small-business protection. She also vowed to keep focusing on issues including transportation and displacement – reiterating that she sees the latter as continuing to contribute to homelessness, which she said can be “economic,” not just physical. She also described taking joy in “the constituent work that my team and I do … I work for you, and together we can get things done.”

She also spoke of working with other elected leaders; the 30 people listed on the event as co-hosts included Herbold’s colleague Councilmember Lorena González – a Junction resident – and State Senator Joe Nguyen:

They didn’t take the stage to speak but a few other co-hosts did, including West Seattle entrepreneur Tana Yasu:

She lauded Herbold for being “not pretentious” and for having “an ear and a heart to listen.”

PREVIOUS KICKOFF COVERAGE: Phil Tavel‘s launch at Easy Street Records is part of our February 1st report; Jesse Greene held a kickoff event at Talarico’s in late January. Brendan Kolding hasn’t announced a kickoff event yet; we interviewed him last month. Isaiah Willoughby hasn’t had a kickoff yet either and we’re still awaiting an acceptance of our repeated interview offer. All five candidates were at the season’s first forum last Thursday; here’s our coverage, with video. The field won’t be finalized until the official filing period in May; the top two in the August 6th primary will advance to November.

VIDEO: District 1 City Council candidates’ first side-by-side appearance

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

A standing-room-only crowd filled the American Legion Post 160 hall in The Triangle Thursday night for the first forum featuring all five candidates contending for the City Council District 1 seat representing West Seattle and South Park.

Four years ago, when 7 of the 9 councilmembers were elected by district for the first time, Lisa Herbold won the seat by 39 votes. Thursday night she shared the stage with four challengers: Jesse Greene, Brendan Kolding, Phil Tavel (who also ran in 2015, finishing third in the primary), and Isaiah Willoughby.

They answered questions for an hour and 20 minutes, frequently punctuated by applause, in the first of a series of forums planned by the advocacy group Speak Out Seattle. Instead of the originally announced moderator, radio host Mike Lewis asked the questions, some submitted in writing by attendees. Here’s our video:

If you don’t have time to watch, our toplines are ahead:

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VIDEO: HALA Mandatory Housing Affordability upzoning finalized by City Council. What happens now?

If you just looked at the unanimous final vote, you’d never guess that the Housing and Livability Agenda‘s Mandatory Housing Affordability upzoning had traveled a long and sometimes-bumpy path before final City Council approval late today. (The Seattle Channel video above shows the three-hour council meeting, including 46 minutes o public comment.)

It dates back to an advisory committee convened in 2014 that delivered its report to then-Mayor Ed Murray in 2015. What he announced at the time as Mandatory Inclusionary Housing with a promise of 20,000 “affordable homes” in 10 years morphed to Mandatory Housing Affordability with an expectation of 6,000 affordable units in 10 years. In exchange for the upzoning – which in most cases adds an extra floor – developers must create affordable units either as a specified percentage of what they build or by paying the city a fee to fund affordable-housing projects. Here’s how today’s post-vote city news release explains “affordability”:

People must income-qualify for affordable housing; for example, an individual earning less than $42,150 will pay no more than $1,128 for a one-bedroom unit, while a family of four earning less than $60,200 will pay no more than $1,353 for a two-bedroom unit.

The upzoning affects commercial and multifamily property citywide, and some single-family-zoned property in or adjacent to urban villages. You can look up how – or if – the changes would affect any specific part of the city by using this map (but be aware that it doesn’t reflect some changes that were made toward the end of the review).

Today’s votes followed speeches by most councilmembers; West Seattle/South Park’s Lisa Herbold said that while she supports MHA, she remains deeply concerned that it will cause displacement, and her separate proposal on that front is pending. Another who spoke at length was citywide Councilmember Lorena González, whose remarks included how much she enjoys living in The Junction as a dense neighborhood with good access to transit, businesses, and services.

Next step is for Mayor Jenny Durkan to sign the MHA legislation into law (the bills finalized today are linked in the council news release); she issued a statement late today saying she’ll do that before the week is out. The legislation would then become law a month later.

The citywide coalition of community groups (including five from West Seattle) that lost its appeal of MHA’s Final Environmental Impact Statement, SCALE, has issued a statement too. The group says it’s “considering appealing the inadequately considered impacts of the MHA legislation to the Growth Management Hearings Board.” (That state board is explained here.)

Presidential primary vs. caucus, plus other elections, @ 34th District Democrats

sealthabove1(WSB photo from Chief Sealth IHS during the 2016 Democratic caucusing)

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

Our area’s largest political organization is on the record as backing a primary election instead of caucuses for determining who to support in the 2020 presidential nomination process.

The resolution vote at last night’s monthly meeting of the 34th District Democrats was not without a bit of controversy. And it’s not the only opinion from our area that will be considered – if you’re a Democrat, the state party organization wants to hear from you too.

That was the spotlight topic at the meeting. The 34th DDs’ state committeewoman and committeeman, Ann Martin and Chris Porter, explained that the state party is currently in a 30-day comment period regarding whether to use the primary or caucus for determining the state’s delegation to the national convention. It’s been caucuses in the past; while the state has had a primary, the party hasn’t used its results.

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ELECTION 2019: Mayor unveils Seattle Public Library replacement-levy plan

checkbox.jpgThe seven-year maintenance and operations levy for the Seattle Public Library system is expiring – it was passed in August 2012. Today Mayor Durkan announced the plan for a replacement levy to go to voters this August. Here’s the official news release. Toplines, from the one-sheet:

Renewing the Library Levy while maintaining only current services would cost $167.4M. Under Mayor Durkan’s plan, making additional investments in equity and opportunity like expanding hours and eliminating fines would cost the average homeowner an additional $1.58 per month, for a total of approximately $7 per month. With the critical new investments, the total Levy cost would be $213.3M.

The 2012 levy totaled $123 million. More on two of the “new investments”: Three area libraries would be among those with increased hours – Delridge, High Point, South Park. The levy also would spend a little over $1 million a year to end the practice of overdue fines. Next step for the levy proposal: It goes to the SPL Board next week, and then to the City Council. That part of the process will determine when it goes to voters, the mayor’s office tells us.

West Seattle HS student serves as State Senate Page for a week

March 5, 2019 7:02 pm
|    Comments Off on West Seattle HS student serves as State Senate Page for a week
 |   West Seattle news | West Seattle people | West Seattle politics

The past few weekends, we have featured local students who spent a week serving as pages at the State Legislature. Just found out about another student who served last week in Olympia, West Seattle High School student Ellie Vann, shown with 34th District State Senator Joe Nguyen. You can find out more about the Page Program by going here.

ELECTION 2019: First District 1 City Council candidates’ forum announced

So far five people have registered campaigns for the District 1 (West Seattle/South Park) Seattle City Council seat in the August primary, and we’ve received the first announcement of a candidates’ forum at which you can see them side by side. SpeakOutSeattle says it’s presenting the forum 7-8:30 pm Thursday, March 21st, at American Legion Post 160 (3618 SW Alaska):

SpeakOutSeattle (SOS) is holding its first forum to hear from the candidates for Seattle District Council Position 1 for candidates to answer questions relating to public safety, homelessness and addiction/mental illness issues facing Seattle.

The event will be moderated by an independent moderator, Juan Cotto, and the candidates will stay after the event to talk to constituents and accept donations and/or vouchers.

Refreshments will be served for free. We hope to have a good turnout. This is a great opportunity to ask questions of candidates and see who is most responsive to the needs of our community.

Organizers say all five candidates who have registered campaigns so far have accepted the invitation:

Jesse Greene
Lisa Herbold
Brendan Kolding
Phil Tavel
Isaiah Willoughby

The formal filing period is in May, so the primary field won’t be finalized until then.

Madison MS student serves as State House page

March 3, 2019 10:33 am
|    Comments Off on Madison MS student serves as State House page
 |   West Seattle news | West Seattle politics

Another local student served as a legislative page in Olympia this week. The photo and announcement arrivd in the WSB inbox:

Lachlan Swanson, a student at Madison Middle School, served as a page this week in the Washington State House of Representatives. Sponsored by State Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon (D-West Seattle), Lachlan is the son of Emily and Keith Swanson of Seattle.

Pages assume a wide variety of responsibilities, from presenting the flags to distributing amendments on the House floor. Pages support the efficient operation of the Legislature while also receiving daily civics instruction, drafting their own bills, and participating in mock committee hearings.

Find out more about the House Page Program by going here.

VIDEO: HALA MHA upzoning amendment votes and how Councilmember Herbold’s proposals fared

For the second time in five days, the City Council had a four-hour-plus meeting on the HALA Mandatory Housing Affordability upzoning plan. Above is Seattle Channel video of the Monday afternoon/evening meeting, mostly devoted to considering dozens of potential amendments to the plan proposed by individual councilmembers. We were unable to monitor the entire hearing this time around so we checked with West Seattle/South Park Councilmember Lisa Herbold‘s office today to see how her proposed amendments fared. The ones that were approved, according to legislative assistant Alex Clardy, moving forward to the final HALA MHA vote next month, are, in brief:

*1-2, 1-3, 1-4, 1-5, 1-6 all relate to “reduc(ing) … proposed rezones from Single Family within the West Seattle Junction Urban Village to Residential Small Lot.”

*1-12 and 1-13 both involve removing the Pedestrian zone designation for two stretches of California SW in Morgan Junction

*B-4 – not West Seattle-specific:

The proposed amendment would allow off-site performance if a development to which MHA-R requirements apply is located in a lowrise zone, and the development containing the off-site performance housing a) is located in a lowrise zone, b) provides re-sale restricted, affordable homeownership opportunities for income-eligible buyers, and c) receives no public subsidy.

*B-6 – also not West Seattle-specific, meant in case someone sues over MHA once it’s passed:

This amendment would add a new section to CB 119444 expressing Council’s intent to take steps, if the imposition of requirements under MHA are determined to be unlawful, to prevent the continuance of the new zoning and increased development capacity in the absence of substantial affordable housing requirements.

*B-7, explained as:

This amendment would require that at least five percent of revenue from the Mandatory Housing Affordability – Commercial (MHA – C) and Mandatory Housing Affordability – Residential (MHA – R) programs be allocated for capital investment in homeownership projects.

Under the current framework cash contributions from the payment option may be used for either rental or ownership housing. However, the framework does not prescribe a minimum allocation for either type of project.

*Comprehensive Plan amendment D-2 – related to Morgan Junction – “encourage(s) a mix of housing stock” and:

MJ-P23.1 Use community engagement and neighborhood planning tools to identify potential solutions for land use and housing affordability issues when more than 25 percent of the urban village could be affected by proposed zoning changes. Consider community planning to address land use, housing and other issues if the growth rate in the urban village accelerates to become significantly higher than anticipated in the Comprehensive Plan.

The documents with full details are linked from Monday’s agenda. Nothing’s final until the full Council vote, currently scheduled during the council’s regular 2 pm meeting on (corrected) March 18 – you can watch this page for the agenda when it gets close.

ELECTION 2019: Brendan Kolding ‘all in,’ vying for City Council District 1

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

Brendan Kolding‘s bid for the Seattle City Council District 1 seat isn’t his first run for elective office.

But it is his first “all-in” campaign, he says.

Continuing our series of candidate interviews, we sat down with Kolding recently to find out more about why he wants this job and what he’ll do if he gets it.

First, what he means by “all in” – he’s “playing to win,” including fundraising. His campaign, announced last month, now has a website. He’s broadened his campaign focus, which in his two runs for the State Legislature were focused on education.

He believes his biggest qualification – and, it’s clear, his major motivation – is his profession: Law enforcement.

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Chief Sealth IHS student spends a week as State Senate Page

Did you know the State Senate has a Page program for youth? Here’s a news release we received about a Chief Sealth International High School student who just spent a week participating:

Luis Bravo Espinoza, 16, served as a page in the Washington State Senate during the week of February 18th.

Pages are sponsored by the Senator from their legislative district, or by another member in the legislature. 34th District Senator Joe Nguyen sponsored Bravo Espinoza’s week in the Legislature.

“We really enjoyed having Luis here with our team in the legislature this week” said Nguyen. “I hope that he had fun at the Capitol, and was able to learn plenty!”

The page program offers a hands-on opportunity for students to find out how state government works. The educational experience is furthered by guest speakers. It also includes classes with topics like budget writing and how a bill becomes a law, which culminates in pages creating their own bills in a mock committee setting.

“Seeing how everything works was one of my favorite parts of being a page,” said Bravo Espinoza. “I liked running errands and becoming familiar with the buildings and all of the people.”

Pages also have the opportunity to work on the Senate floor while the Senate is in session. Their maroon coats and credentials allow them access to all parts of the Capitol Campus.

“I just found it really interesting how everything works here – this program has absolutely led me to have more of an interest in politics,” added Bravo Espinoza.

Bravo Espinoza is in 11th grade at Chief Sealth International High School. In his free time, he volunteers at his local library and helps with different community-outreach events. He spent a few weeks last summer in Spain through the Washington Work Fellows Program, sponsored by Washington State Lieutenant Governor Cyrus Habib.

Want to know more about the Senate Page Program? SenatePageProgram@leg.wa.gov

HALA UPZONING: What’s next after 107-speaker hearing

February 22, 2019 6:44 pm
|    Comments Off on HALA UPZONING: What’s next after 107-speaker hearing
 |   West Seattle news | West Seattle politics

Last night – as we chronicled live for more than four hours – 107 people spoke at the City Council’s last major public hearing before they vote next month on the Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda’s Mandatory Housing Affordability upzoning plan. Before that final vote, councilmembers are set to debate and decide on myriad proposed changes next Monday. Here’s the agenda, with links to everything proposed so far. P.S. If you’re still catching up on what HALA MHA would do in your area, here’s the city’s interactive map.

VIDEO & AS-IT-HAPPENED COVERAGE: Last major hearing on HALA Mandatory Housing Affordability upzoning

(Substituted Friday morning: Seattle Channel video of Thursday night hearing)

5:38 PM: Click into that stream and you’ll be watching the event we’re at City Hall to cover – the City Council’s last big public hearing before its vote next month on HALA Mandatory Housing Affordability upzoning. (You can follow along with the agenda, and its relevant materials, here.) It’s been eight months since the council’s hearing in West Seattle; this one is for the entire city, and the chambers are full – with five of the 9 councilmembers here (Lorena González is chairing in the absence of vacationing committee chair Rob Johnson; also here are Lisa Herbold, Debora Juarez, Teresa Mosqueda, Kshama Sawant). We’ll be chronicling highlights as they happen.

First to speak is a representative from the SEIU. “Middle- and low-income workers will continue to be priced out of the city” if there’s not more housing stock, she says, expressing support for HALA MHA.

Second is also a HALA MHA supporter who says the process has taken too long. “Working families are struggling,” she says. “… More people need housing, and this is the chance to mitigate that need.”

Third and fourth are two members of 350 Seattle’s “housing team.” They say “housing is a climate issue” and express relief that “MHA is so close to the finish line.” They express opposition to some proposed amendments including the ones that would reduce the level of upzoning in some areas (including part of West Seattle).

Fifth is another MHA supporter who says, “We’ve been working on getting to the Grand Bargain [with developers] since the Nickels administration.” (That former mayor left office in 2009.)

Sixth, a representative of the city Planning Commission, in favor of MHA, who says they’re excited about its potential to “distribute more development capacity” to neighborhoods that could use it.

Seventh, the first opponent to speak, who says “tech bros” who are “strip-mining the city” and “venture capitalists” among others will continue to “pour in” and redevelop the city. She says that she and her husband feel they are being “pushed out of Seattle” so it’s “time to leave.” She draws a smattering of boos.

Eighth, an opponent who calls MHA “fundamentally flawed.” She also says she supports Councilmember Herbold’s anti-displacement proposal (announced yesterday). She wants to see neighborhood planning restored.

6 PM: Ninth, a speaker who says that MHA will lead to more displacement. So she wants the 23rd/Jackson urban village to not be upzoned. She specifically appeals to CM Sawant, saying her district, 3, has had “sacrificial lambs” already displaced. She draws strong applause (we should note that the pro-MHA speakers had drawn some applause too).


VIDEO: King County Parks Levy announcement at Steve Cox Memorial Park

10:07 AM: This August, you’ll be asked to approve a six-year replacement for the expiring King County Parks Levy. County Executive Dow Constantine is officially announcing it at an event under way right now at Steve Cox Memorial Park in White Center; we’re there and will add video and event details later. Here, for starters, is the news release:

Executive Dow Constantine today announced his proposal to renew the current King County Parks Levy, scheduled to expire at the end of the year. His proposal for the August ballot would generate an estimated $738 million over the next six years to expand and connect regional trails, improve access to green space and recreation, and keep the county’s parks and trails clean, safe, and open.

The current King County Parks levy – which voters approved in 2013 – will expire Dec. 31. On Feb. 21, Executive Constantine sent to the King County Council a proposal that will expand and improve access to the county’s 200 parks, 175 miles of regional trails, and 28,000 acres of open space.

“This proposal isn’t just about access to parks and recreation – although that is plenty. It is about a generational investment in our environment,” said Executive Constantine. “The levy is entirely consistent with my priorities to restore and protect our rivers, forests, and farms, while also doing our part to tackle climate pollution. Voters have approved the Parks Levy three times since 2003. No matter how much things grow and change around here, our values stay the same, guiding us to support investments that make stronger, healthier, and happier communities.”

Highlights of Executive Constantine’s plan include:

Building and designing regional trails, including missing links and crossings over rivers and highways
Improving trailheads by adding parking and signage
Repairing trails for hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding
Replacing 11 ballfields
Rehabilitating play area equipment in six parks
Maintaining park infrastructure, such as pathways, roofs, fencing, and electrical systems
The levy would cost 16.82 cents per $1000 of assessed property value, which would cost the owner of a home valued at $500,000 about $7 per month.

About 80 percent of King County Parks’ operational budget is funded by levy.

Under Executive Constantine’s proposal, about $60 million would be allocated to King County cities to support local parks and recreation; an additional $35 million would go for grants to cities to protect and acquire open space. It would provide Woodland Park Zoo with $36 million for conservation and environmental education programs for under-served youth. It would also provide $8 million to the Seattle Aquarium for construction of their new Ocean Pavilion.

Executive Constantine’s proposal would also provide continued funding for the Community Partnerships and Grants Program, which, over its 15-year existence, has created dozens of public amenities across King County with partners that contribute the necessary additional capital, in-kind resources, and volunteer time to develop new or enhanced facilities.

About $1 million per year would go toward equity-focused grants to increase access to and use of recreation facilities in communities that are currently underserved or face other barriers. …

The news release continues here. The levy would generate almost twice the $396 million the expiring levy was expected to bring in.

11:11 AM: The half-hour event (clips added above) also included this area’s County Councilmember Joe McDermott as well as other speakers including King County’s Department of Natural Resources and Parks director Christie True. While no White Center/West Seattle-specific projects were mentioned, it was noted that the current levy funded improvements at Steve Cox Park including the field that served as the event’s backdrop.