West Seattle politics 2072 results

Expanded West Seattle SFD staffing reaffirmed, crime-fighting tech, and other notes from mayor’s budget announcement

(WSB photo – Ladder 13 on a call last January)

Last year, when the City Council finished its budget work, we noted that it included Councilmember Lisa Herbold‘s push to keep expanded Seattle Fire resources that were added during the bridge closure, Ladder 13 (added to Station 37 in Sunrise Heights) and Medic 26 (added to Station 26 in South Park). Mayor Bruce Harrell‘s original proposal then did not include them. But today, when the mayor unveiled his proposed budget adjustments for the coming year, it affirmed funding for the extra staffing – 24 full-time equivalents – required to keep those resources permanently. Here’s the mayor’s budget speech, given at “affordable high-rise” Blake House on First Hill (he starts speaking six minutes in):

You can read a summary of the budget toplines here. Several city departments have sent out their own lists of highlights. Regarding public safety, the mayor’s proposal notes:

With record-low numbers of police officers in 2023, the City must use technological support to boost the effectiveness of public safety strategies. Mayor Harrell is reinvesting $1.8 million of salary savings in the SPD into a new crime prevention pilot to implement automatic license plate readers, CCTV cameras, and acoustic gunshot locator systems to deter criminal behavior and hold offenders accountable. These technologies will be most successful when strategically integrated with SPD’s Real Time Crime Center to triage and coordinate patrol/emergency responses to crime events. These technologies will require an assessment to comply with the City’s surveillance ordinance and approval by the City Council.

There’s some hope for increasing those “record-low numbers” – the mayor said in his speech that applications for open police-officer jobs are at a two-year high, averaging 150 to 200 a month. Meantime, for housing and homelessness, the overview says you have a role to play:

2023 is the final year of the 2017 Housing Levy. The 2023-2024 Proposed Mid-Biennial Budget Adjustments assume passage of the proposed 2023 Housing Levy by Seattle voters in November 2023. Passage of the new levy would generate an estimated $88 million for affordable housing in 2024. When added to other funding sources, including $137 million from the Payroll Expense Tax, the proposed budget adjustments include $334 million for affordable housing in 2024, a 32% increase from the 2023 Adopted Budget.

And on transportation SDOT, meantime, would get $1.5 million more to fill potholes. But, according to this excerpt from the overview, some bridge maintenance would be deferred:

Facing reductions in bridge maintenance funding in the Real Estate Excise Tax (REET) Fund, SDOT is prioritizing staffing investments now that can build SDOT’s capacity to implement complex bridge maintenance activities on improved timelines and realigning planned spending accordingly. REET budget and planning assumptions for the Bridge Painting and Structures Major Maintenance capital projects are reduced by $2 million in 2024 and $1.8 million in 2026, deferring some maintenance work in these projects. Even with these reductions, SDOT will meet maintenance work planning expectations without impacting service levels or commitments relating to any grant awards.

There’s a lot more in the mayor’s proposal, and City Councilmembers start digging into it when they meet as the Select Budget Committee tomorrow morning, 9:30 am – the agenda is here, including the slide decks that will be used for the overviews to be presented during this first of many budget meetings over the next month and a half.

VIDEO: With 5 weeks left to campaign, Seattle City Council District 1 candidates meet again @ WSB forum

As promised, we’ve uploaded video from our Seattle City Council District 1 candidates’ forum as fast as we could. Thanks to the ~40 people who braved the intense rain tonight to come see Maren Costa and Rob Saka respond to questions for an hour at the Senior Center of West Seattle. Most of the questions we asked were sent to us by WSB readers; thanks again to everyone who suggested questions. We’ll add written summaries of the Q&A sometime soon. Upcoming forums in West Seattle include:

OCTOBER 3: Seattle CityClub and GSBA will present a District 1 debate in the Brockey Center at South Seattle College (6000 16th SW; WSB sponsor), 7 pm, in-person and livestreamed. More info here, as well as a registration link which the sponsors say offers a chance to suggest a question.

OCTOBER 5: The Harbor-Alki Neighbors’ Group has announced an in-person “town hall Q&A” with the candidates at 7 pm Thursday, October 5th. The venue will be Admiral Church (4320 SW Hill).

OCTOBER 10: Westside Interfaith Network and the League of Women Voters co-sponsor an in-person form at Our Lady of Guadalupe (35th/Myrtle), 7 pm.

OCTOBER 23: Age-Friendly Seattle forum at the Senior Center (4217 SW Oregon), 3 pm. Go here to register and suggest a question.

LAST CALL: WSB forum with City Council, County Council candidates is Monday. Got questions?

10:47 AM: Tomorrow night – Monday, September 25 – we’re presenting your next chance to see the candidates in two major races that’ll be decided in the general election. Voting starts in mid-October, so if you haven’t decided yet, it’s a good time to see the contenders side by side. At 6:30 pm, we’ll talk with County Council District 8 (West Seattle, White Center, Vashon/Maury Islands, Burien) candidates Teresa Mosqueda (current Seattle City Council citywide rep) and Sofia Aragon (current Burien Mayor). After a short break at 7, City Council District 1 (West Seattle, South Park, Georgetown, part of south downtown) candidates Rob Saka and Maren Costa (neither of whom has previously held elected office) are in the spotlight. This is at the Senior Center of West Seattle in The Junction (4217 SW Oregon), and you are welcome to be there in person. We’re planning questions in advance, so if there’s something you’d like us to ask, please email it by tonight – westseattleblog@gmail.com – thank you!

7:06 PM: We just got word that one of the COUNTY Council candidates will be unable to attend in person, due to illness, so the first part of the night will have to be postponed to a TBA date. However, the CITY Council candidates are still a go – we’ll start their forum at 7 pm Monday.

Four days until our forum with City Council, County Council candidates. Questions for them?

Quick reminder that we’re presenting a forum with our area’s Seattle City Council and King County Council candidates on Monday night (September 25th) at the Senior Center of West Seattle (4217 SW Oregon). The night starts with County Council District 8 candidates Sofia Aragon and Teresa Mosqueda at 6:30 pm, and after a short break at 7 pm, City Council District 1 candidates Maren Costa and Rob Saka. All are welcome to attend; we will be recording video to publish as soon as possible afterward. As with our primary forum, we’re collecting questions by email – thanks to everyone who’s sent suggestions so far! Please send yours – the more concise, the better to westseattleblog@gmail.com.

FOLLOWUP: City Council approves public-drug-use bill, 6-3

5:35 PM: In the fourth hour of today’s City Council meeting, councilmembers have just approved the bill that brings city law in line with state law, making public drug use potentially prosecutable. As reported last week, the bill co-sponsored by Councilmembers Lisa Herbold and Andrew Lewis states that diversion is preferable to prosecution. Supporters say that’s an improvement on state law. But opponents say this criminalizes a health problem and that the diversion preference is meaningless because the city is not spending the money it wil take to make treatment and services available. The three “no” votes were Councilmembers Teresa Mosqueda, Tammy Morales, and Kshama Sawant.

7:15 PM: If you want to see what city reps are saying about the vote, here are links to the news releases:
What the mayor says
What Councilmember Herbold (a yes vote and co-sponsor) says
What Councilmember Mosqueda (citywide rep, a no vote) says
What Councilmember Sara Nelson (citywide rep, a yes vote) says

ELECTION 2023: Questions for our City Council forum? P.S. We’ve added County Council candidates too

Both City Council District 1 candidates campaigned over the weekend, walking in South Park’s Fiesta Patrias parade, as our photos show. One week from tonight, Rob Saka and Maren Costa will be at the next WSB-presented candidate forum, Monday, September 25th, at the Senior Center of West Seattle (4217 SW Oregon). Starting tonight, we invite you to email questions – the candidates will have more time to answer than during our primary forum with eight candidates, but we still appreciate very specific questions. If you have a question to suggest, please email westseattleblog@gmail.com.

Same goes if you have any suggested questions for the candidates we’ve just added to the forum – we’ll open the night by talking with the two candidates for King County Council District 8, which includes West Seattle, White Center, Vashon and Maury Islands, and Burien. We haven’t seen many planned forums in this race, so we decided to add one to our event. We will talk with candidates Sofia Aragon and Teresa Mosqueda at 6:30 pm, and will switch to the City Council candidates at 7:15 pm. Again, this is all happening next Monday night, September 25th, at the Senior Center – you’re welcome to come watch either or both. And if you can’t get there in person, we’ll be recording and publishing video of both shortly after the event.

ELECTION 2023: City Council Candidate Chats, round 2 – Rob Saka

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

King County Elections will send out ballots for this fall’s general election a little more than a month from now, so voting time is fast approaching.

Voters in West Seattle and vicinity will elect a new City Council District 1 representative; after eight years, Lisa Herbold, the first and only person to hold the seat since seven of the nine councilmembers started being elected by district, decided not to run again. The top finishers in an eight-candidate primary to succeed her are Maren Costa, who received 33 percent of the August vote, and Rob Saka, who got 24 percent.

As we did before the primary, we sat down with them for half-hour-ish interviews, recorded on video. We recorded each conversation at Fauntleroy Schoolhouse. Saka talked with us on Thursday, September 7th. The main topic for both conversations was public safety, and that’s where we began:

If you can’t or don’t want to watch the video, here’s our summary of the conversation:

Read More

ELECTION 2023: City Council Candidate Chats, round 2 – Maren Costa

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

Less than five weeks remain until King County Elections mails ballots for this fall’s general election.

This time, top of the ticket for West Seattle and vicinity is electing a new City Council District 1 representative. Lisa Herbold has held the job for the eight years since the city started electing seven of the nine councilmembers by district, and she decided not to run for a third term. After an eight-candidate primary, two finalists remain in the running to succeed her: Maren Costa, who received 33 percent of the August vote, and Rob Saka, who got 24 percent.

Before the primary, we sat down with them and four other candidates for half-hour interviews, recorded on video. With the election approaching, and in advance of an intense schedule of forums and debates – including one we’re presenting on September 25th – we asked them to talk with us again. We recorded each conversation at Fauntleroy Schoolhouse. Costa talked with us this past Monday, September 11th. The main topic for both conversations was public safety, so that’s where we began:

If you can’t or don’t want to watch the video, here’s how the interview went:

Read More

ELECTION 2023: Five chances to see/hear Seattle City Council District 1 candidates

More opportunities to see and hear Seattle City Council District 1 candidates Maren Costa and Rob Saka before ballots arrive in mid-October:

FRIDAY AND BEYOND: We mentioned earlier this week that we have recorded new half-hour individual interviews with the candidates. We plan to publish them, with video and with written summaries, tomorrow (Friday) night, realizing that many may not have time until the weekend to watch half-hour interviews. Public safety was the major topic.

MONDAY: Morgan Community Association is part of a coalition sponsoring Seattle Fair Growth‘s forum for candidates from all districts, online Monday night (September 18th). The announcement says, “The questions will concern density, affordable housing, our tree canopy and how they fit in our Comprehensive Plan.” District 1, 2, 3, and 7 candidates will be questioned starting at 7 pm. The viewing link and other details can be found here.

SEPTEMBER 25: We’ll be presenting a West Seattle-focused in-person forum at the Senior Center of West Seattle (4217 SW Oregon) the night of Monday, September 25th. (Start time TBA – we’ll have logistics finalized shortly.) We’ll solicit questions from readers in the preceding week.

OCTOBER 3: Seattle CityClub and GSBA will present a District 1 debate in the Brockey Center at South Seattle College (6000 16th SW; WSB sponsor), 7 pm on Tuesday, October 5, in-person and livestreamed. More info here, as well as a registration link which the sponsors say offers a chance to suggest a question.

OCTOBER 5: The Harbor-Alki Neighbors’ Group has announced an in-person “town hall Q&A” with the candidates at 7 pm Thursday, October 5th. The venue will be Admiral Church (4320 SW Hill).

If your organization is presenting an event with both candidates, open to the community and/or viewable via livestream, please let us know so we can add it to the list – thank you!

ELECTION 2023: Still deciding on Seattle City Council District 1? Forums ahead

The general election is eight weeks away, and you’ll be able to vote when your ballot arrives two-plus weeks before that. So if you haven’t already made your decision on the biggest local race – Seattle City Council District 1 – you might be wondering about chances to get another look at the candidates who made it out of the primary, Maren Costa and Rob Saka. We’ve recorded half-hour interviews with both in the past several days and will publish them later this week. And the candidate-forum schedule is taking shape – we’ll be presenting a forum with Saka and Costa the evening of Monday, September 25th, at the Senior Center of West Seattle, start time to be finalized soon. If you can’t make it to that one, we’ve heard of at least two others in West Seattle the first week of October (and if you’re involved with an organization that’s presenting one, please be sure to send us the announcement so we can include it on the WSB West Seattle Event Calendar).

VIDEO: City Council committee passes public-drug-use law, with changes

6:04 PM: 1 hour and 13 minutes into that video, you’ll see the discussion that ended with the City Council’s Public Safety and Human Services Committee approving a much-amended version of the public-drug-use law. The vote was 4-1; the yes votes were Councilmembers Lisa Herbold and Andrew Lewis, the two sponsors of the proposal, and Councilmembers Sara Nelson and Alex Pedersen; the lone no vote was Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda. Final approval will be up to the full Council, likely at its meeting on September 26th. The basic intent of the bill was to bring city code into line with the new state law making public drug use a gross misdemeanor, but with qualifiers, primarily a declaration that Seattle’s preferred outcome is diversion to treatment and services, in some cases without arrest. One of the approved amendments, sponsored by Herbold and Mosqueda, spotlighted the need for continued funding for the diversion program LEAD to make that possible, though no actual funding was attached – that has to come in the budgeting process this fall. Another amendment that passed, sponsored by Pedersen, called for collecting data on the results of the new law between 2025 and 2030, and ensuring that the council would get updates. (You can see the various documents from the meeting by going here.)

9:54 PM: We asked City Attorney Ann Davison for comment at tonight’s Admiral Neighborhood Association gathering (full meeting report tomorrow). She didn’t have much to say other than she’s glad something is getting done.

ELECTION 2023: Final primary numbers

King County Elections has certified the final numbers from the August 1st primary vote. Now it’s on to the November 7th general election for the top two finishers in these races that were on your ballot:

SEATTLE CITY COUNCIL DISTRICT 1 (West Seattle, South Park, SODO, Georgetown, Pioneer Square), 36.8% turnout

Maren Costa 8,787 33.13 %
Rob Saka 6,397 24.12 %
Phil Tavel 5,324 20.07 %
Preston Anderson 2,222 8.38 %
Stephen Brown 1,659 6.26 %
Jean Iannelli Craciun 838 3.16 %
Lucy Barefoot 767 2.89 %
Mia Jacobson 472 1.78 %
Write-in 55 0.21 %

KING COUNTY COUNCIL DISTRICT 8 (including West Seattle, White Center, Vashon/Maury Islands, Burien), 33.7% turnout

Teresa Mosqueda 28,966 57.57 %
Sofia Aragon 18,900 37.56 %
GoodSpaceGuy 2,216 4.40 %
Write-in 234 0.47 %

SEATTLE PUBLIC SCHOOLS BOARD OF DIRECTORS DISTRICT 6 (West Seattle/most of South Park), 36.3% turnout

Gina Topp 19,845 79.70 %
Maryanne Wood 3,546 14.24 %
Rosie McCarter 1,386 5.57 %
Write-in 123 0.49 %

SEATTLE PORT COMMISSION POSITION 5 (countywide vote), 30.2% turnout

Fred Felleman* 215,148 56.52 %
Jesse Tam 97,548 25.63 %
Todd Curtis 65,935 17.32 %
Write-in 2,006 0.53 %

KC Elections will release the final precinct-by-precinct breakouts here later today.

ELECTION 2023: Five of the six Seattle City Council District 1 candidates who didn’t make the cut endorse one of the two who did

5:48 PM: Tomorrow, King County Elections certifies results of the August 1st primary. The two candidates advancing to the November 7th general in the Seattle City Council District 1 race will be Maren Costa and Rob Saka. Just out of the WSB inbox, five of the six candidates who aren’t advancing have sent an “open letter” saying they all are endorsing Costa:

An Open Letter to Seattle’s District One Residents,

We, the undersigned, Seattle City Council District One candidates, proud residents of West Seattle, passionate believers in the future of our great city, hereby endorse our one-time opponent Maren Costa to be the next Seattle City Council member representing District One.

We endorse Maren for the same reason we sought the office; we love Seattle and we want to see it thrive.

Over these intense past five months of campaigning, Maren has shown herself to be a serious, caring, quick study. Her growth on the campaign trail was evident to all of us. She found her voice in the truest sense. She learned how to be real in public, and we can attest, that is no small feat. At every forum, debate or community event, Maren was there – showing up with authenticity, humor and self-effacing charm. What you see is what you get; no “consultancy speak” – just Maren.

She has experience fighting for justice and a better world. She has management skills and a healthy dollop of guile gleaned in the cutthroat grind of high tech. She has the persistence and patience of a parent and a partner.

This group endorsement is more notable because some of us have non-trivial policy differences with Maren on some of the issues that dominated this campaign season. But, in spite of those differences, we believe Maren’s openness, transparency and candor make her more likely than her general election opponent to be a successful collaborator on the Seattle City Council.


Phillip Tavel
Administrative Law Judge

Preston Anderson

Stephen Brown
President, Eltana Bagels

Lucy Barefoot
Outreach Specialist, Office of the Secretary of State of Washington

Mia Jacobson

We received the letter from Tavel, who says he is the group’s spokesperson (and we’re asking him a few followup questions). The only primary candidate not on the list is Jean Iannelli Craciun.

8:46 PM: First a note – we’ve corrected Tavel’s profession and first-name spelling, which were erroneous in what was originally sent to us. Meantime, we asked Tavel for a little more on how the group endorsement came about; he said he, Anderson, and Brown were talking post-election and agreed that they felt “District 1 would be in considerably better hands with Maren”; they invited the others to join them, including Craciun, who did not sign the letter, Tavel says, because “she had already endorsed Maren and… was the first to do so.” (Costa also says Craciun had previously endorsed her.) Meantime, Saka’s campaign has sent a news release reacting to the group endorsement, saying he “expressed his deep shock and dismay with the decision of his former opponents to endorse Costa, a move he believes contradicts the spirit of change and progress that their campaigns initially advocated for” and quoting him as calling the group endorsement a “political stunt.” … (added) Costa, meantime, told us when we asked for comment on the group endorsement, “I was quite surprised and thankful for my fellow candidates’ support. We all got to know each other quite well on the campaign trail. Good group.”

ELECTION 2023: Seattle City Council District 1 vote update

One more week until the primary vote is finalized and certified, but from here on out it’s down to a daily trickle of ballots, if that. So with today’s update in, adding just a few more votes, we’re going to take one more look at how Seattle City Council District 1 shook out:

Maren Costa 8,760 33.15 %
Rob Saka 6,360 24.07 %
Phil Tavel 5,311 20.10 %
Preston Anderson 2,213 8.38 %
Stephen Brown 1,650 6.24 %
Jean Iannelli Craciun 836 3.16 %
Lucy Barefoot 766 2.90 %
Mia Jacobson 472 1.79 %

Turnout in this district is at 36.7 percent and not likely to move much beyond that. Top two finishers advance to the November 7th general election, for which voting will begin in mid-October.

ELECTION 2023: Fourth round of primary results

The ballot-counting has almost caught up with the ballot-receiving at King County Elections, so today’s update of results from Tuesday’s election doesn’t include that many more votes. First, here’s where the top three stand in Seattle City Council District 1:

Maren Costa 8,714 33.15 %
Rob Saka 6,343 24.13 %
Phil Tavel 5,276 20.07 %

That’s with 36 percent of ballots counted, only one-half percent less than the percentage received. Next, here’s how King County Council District 8‘s top two have shaken out, with 33 percent of ballots received and counted:

Teresa Mosqueda 28,646 57.56 %
Sofia Aragon 18,691 37.56 %

(Since Mosqueda is an at-large Seattle City Councilmember, if she goes on to victory in November, that means the City Council will have a majority of new members – five of nine – as four district-seat incumbents already aren’t running for re-election; the council would appoint an interim person for her seat.) Here’s the top two in Seattle School Board District 6, with 36 percent of ballots received and counted:

Gina Topp 19,672 79.70 %
Maryanne Wood 3,515 14.24 %

The top two in the Seattle Port Commission Position 5 race, s countywide vote, with just under 30 percent of ballots counted:

Fred Felleman* 212,442 56.50 %
Jesse Tam 96,449 25.65 %

And the Veterans, Seniors, and Human Services countywide levy, also with just under 30 percent of ballots counted, is passing with 71.5 percent approval.

ELECTION 2023: Third round of Seattle City Council District 1 results

The newest numbers from Tuesday’s election are just out. Here’s how the top three contenders for Seattle City Council District 1 are doing now:

Maren Costa 8,363 32.95 %
Rob Saka 6,143 24.20 %
Phil Tavel 5,130 20.21 %

In short – Costa’s percentage has risen, while Saka’s and Tavel’s have fallen. This is with (corrected) 34.8 percent of D-1 voters’ ballots counted, up from 25 percent yesterday; as of mid-afternoon today, King County Elections says it’s received 36.4 percent of D-1 voters’ ballots. (That’s just a fraction of a percentage more than yesterday, so from hereon out it’s a daily trickle of new ballots.) Next update, Friday afternoon.

ELECTION 2023: Second-day results for Seattle City Council District 1

3:37 PM: King County Elections’ second round of results is out. For Seattle City Council District 1, the results are the same as day 1, Maren Costa first (30%), Rob Saka second (25%), Phil Tavel third (21%). Still many ballots to count – this represents 25 percent of D-1 ballots, while the county has received 36 percent so far.

4:38 PM: We were away from the desk when the update came in, so the first mention was brief, but here’s a bit more info: First, the full results update is here. Second, for the record, here’s the full D-1 lineup after today’s count:

Maren Costa 5,625 30.34 %
Rob Saka 4,678 25.23 %
Phil Tavel 3,941 21.26 %
Preston Anderson 1,545 8.33 %
Stephen Brown 1,185 6.39 %
Jean Iannelli Craciun 596 3.21 %
Lucy Barefoot 571 3.08 %
Mia Jacobson 358 1.93 %

Next results update will be tomorrow in the 3:30-4 pm vicinity. Counting will continue until final results are certified August 15th.

ELECTION 2023: Here are the first City Council District 1 results

8:13 PM: Tonight’s first and only round of election-night results is in. Here’s how the City Council District 1 race is looking for starters – remember, no incumbent because Councilmember Lisa Herbold is leaving after two terms:

Maren Costa 4,283 29.05 %
Rob Saka 3,745 25.40 %
Phil Tavel 3,154 21.39 %
Preston Anderson 1,252 8.49 %
Stephen Brown 955 6.48 %
Jean Iannelli Craciun 499 3.38 %
Lucy Barefoot 495 3.36 %
Mia Jacobson 319 2.16 %

This is one of seven by-district races on ballots around the city tonight – we’ll take a look at the others a bit later. Next vote count will be Wednesday afternoon; tonight’s count represents only 20.26 percent of the D-1 voters, the county had received more than 26.6 percent of ballots before the big deadline rush, so many votes remain to be counted.

10:48 PM: Some notes: In the other six city-council races – three with incumbents, three without – the incumbents are all leading. The one with the closest challenger is District 2’s Tammy Morales, who had 48 percent of the first-night count, with challenger Tanya Woo at 45 percent. … Looking at the 2019 D-1 primary, results didn’t change much between the first count (Herbold 48%/Tavel 34%/Kolding 18%) and the final count (Herbold 50%/Tavel 32%/Kolding 16%), but much has changed in the past four years … We caught up with the first-night vote leader Maren Costa after tonight’s results were released. She was hosting a “volunteer appreciation” party. We asked for her thoughts on the initial results:

Ballots will be counted for two weeks – then the election will be certified August 15th, and the top two finishers advance to the November 7th general election.

ELECTION 2023: County Council, School Board, Port, levy results

Here’s how the election-night count went in the other four decisions that faced West Seattle voters this time:

Teresa Mosqueda 16,016 54.75 %
Sofia Aragon 11,636 39.77 %
GoodSpaceGuy 1,438 4.92 %

Gina Topp 10,792 77.40 %
Maryanne Wood 2,207 15.83 %
Rosie McCarter 860 6.17 %

Fred Felleman 128,620 53.42 %
Jesse Tam 66,412 27.58 %
Todd Curtis 44,129 18.33 %

Approved 179,624 69.51 %
Rejected 78,775 30.49 %

ELECTION 2023: Turnout still small with one day left for primary voting

12:16 PM: Waiting till the last minute to vote? It’s not just you. The week’s first updates on ballot returns for tomorrow’s primary election are in, and turnout remains small – here in City Council District 1, 16.5 percent of ballots have been received as of this morning, just a sliver over the countywide turnout of 16.3 percent. It’s a short ballot – just five decisions to make:

City Council District 1, eight candidates (no incumbent)
County Council District 8, three candidates (no incumbent)
School Board District 6, three candidates (no incumbent)
Port Commission Position 5, three candidates
King County Veterans, Seniors, Human Services Levy

The optimal way to turn in your ballot is via a KC Elections dropbox, with three in West Seattle (plus one in White Center, one in South Park, and others around the county – here’s the list/map), which you can do up until 8 pm Tuesday night; if you’re sending it via USPS mail, do it early enough tomorrow (if not today) to assure it’ll have an August 1st postmark. If you’re still looking for info, our overview is here (and there’s been another City Council candidates’ forum since then – our coverage is here). If you’ve just arrived, you can still register to vote – here’s how.

2:49 PM: KCE is updating the received-ballot numbers every two hours (here). D-1 is now up to almost 18 percent.

CITY COUNCIL NOTES: How much would that ‘racing camera’ ticket cost? Plus, West Seattle’s placement in ‘retail crime’ rankings

Two City Council notes:

PRICE TAG FOR RACING TICKET: After last week’s much-reported full-council vote authorizing speed-enforcement cameras in designated “racing zones,” including Alki and Harbor Avenues and West Marginal Way, enforcement cameras will be discussed by the Transportation and Public Utilities Committee this Tuesday. The major topic is a discussion of potentially doubling the number of school-zone speed-enforcement cameras around the city, though new locations aren’t mentioned. In the slide deck prepared for the discussion, SDOT says school-zone cameras have improved safety, with stats on page 6 saying average speeds in the zones have declined slightly, and collisions have declined dramatically. Then the committee moves on to consider legislation allowing even more uses for enforcement cameras. From the staff summary:

This legislation amends SMC provisions regarding use of automated traffic safety cameras to implement several new provisions authorized by the state legislature in 2022 with passage of the Move Ahead Washington transportation package. These provisions allow for 24/7 speed limit enforcement in school walk areas, park and hospital zones, and on additional streets – up to 1 camera per 10,000 population – that have either 1) been identified as a priority location in a local road safety plan that a city has submitted to WSDOT and where other speed reduction measures are not feasible or have not been sufficiently effective at reducing travel speed; 2) have a significantly higher rate of collisions than the city average in a period of at least 3 years and other speed reduction measures are not feasible or have not been sufficiently effective at reducing travel speed; or 3) is in an area designated by ordinance as a street racing zone.

The legislation also sets the fees/fines for the various types of enforcement – $75 for block-the-box or restricted-lane violations, and $139 for speed enforcement including “racing zone” cameras (same as the current red-light-camera fee). This does not affect or change the amount charged for school-zone speed violations, currently $237. The committee’s meeting is at 9;30 am Tuesday (August 1st) and the agenda explains how to watch/comment.

ORGANIZED RETAIL CRIME: That’s the umbrella term for organized shoplifting and fencing, discussed in the council’s Public Safety and Human Services Committee this past Tuesday. The occasion: A City Auditor report, requested by Councilmembers Lisa Herbold and Andrew Lewis, reviewing the state of the problem and how the city handles it. Here’s the report; here’s the meeting video:

Of local interest, note this table of Seattle locations that generate the most calls to police for shoplifting:

Westwood Village is number two, and Westwood Target (technically not part of the shopping center) is number five. The problem overall is estimated at $2.7 billion statewide in the past year. Here’s what the City Auditor’s Office says could be done to try to reduce it:

1. Support City participation in collaborative efforts among agencies, including collaboration with the new Organized Retail Crime Unit in the Washington State Attorney General’s Office.
2. Leverage federal and state crime analysis resources.
3. Use in-custody interviews of “boosters” — people who steal on behalf of fencing operations — to gather information on fencing operations.
4. Explore new uses of technology to address ORC.
5. Use place-based approaches to disrupt unregulated street markets.
6. Follow the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office “prosecution checklist” for ORC cases.
7. Consider City support of legislation that addresses ORC.

Tuesday’s meeting was just a discussion of the report and the problem; any action, on those seven points and/or others, would come later, and aren’t necessarily in the purview of the council. Participants in the discussion also included SPD, the City Attorney’s Office, and King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office.

ELECTION 2023: Access to South Seattle College ballot dropbox restored

11:51 AM: If you need to drive or ride to a King County Elections dropbox to deliver your ballot – note that right now the driveway that leads to the South Seattle College (6000 16th SW; WSB sponsor) dropbox is blocked by a locked gate, so you can only get to it on foot (there’s a stairway up from 16th). Daniel, who emailed us about the problem (and sent the photo), has reported to KCE at 206-296-VOTE – that’s the number to call about other voting concerns and problems too (overflowing dropboxes, for example). West Seattle’s other dropboxes are in The Junction (south side of SW Alaska between California and 44th) and High Point (north side of the library at 3411 SW Raymond); putting yours in a USPS box today is also plenty of time to get it postmarked before Election Day on Tuesday (when KCE dropboxes close at 8 pm). Fewer than 15 percent of Seattle City Council District 1 voters’ ballots had been received by last night.

5:15 PM: Gate at SSC is still closed.

7 PM: KCE says it’s open now.

VIDEO: Another chance to see most of the Seattle City Council District 1 candidates side-by-side

As promised, we recorded this afternoon’s City Council District 1 candidate forum at the Senior Center of West Seattle, organized by a member. Though the organizer had hoped for all eight candidates, the turnout was six plus a representative – here’s how they were seated at the table, left to right: Maren Costa, Stephen Brown, Jean Iannelli Craciun, Rob Saka, Preston Anderson, Jules Williams from Phil Tavel‘s campaign (the candidate was at a memorial), and Lucy Barefoot. Moderator was Paula Barnes from the League of Women Voters; questions were asked by attendees. For those without the time and/or interest in watching video, we’ll add text summaries of their replies in about an hour. P.S. There’s another forum tomorrow night at the West Seattle Democratic Women‘s meeting – info in our calendar listing.

ADDED 11:11 PM: The summaries are below, after our photo of moderator Paula and organizer Erica:

What you see below are our summaries/paraphrasings of what the candidates said, not direct quotes aside from any word, phrase, or sentence inside quotation marks.

First, self-introductions in which they were asked to list the big issues they want to work on:

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