West Seattle politics 2125 results

ELECTION 2024: Your ballot’s on the way. But maybe not the one you got email about

A reader texted us this morning to report getting email saying their ballot had been sent – for the “February 13 special election.”

Aside from the fact that February 13 was nine days ago, our area wasn’t involved in the special election. So we checked with King County Elections, to see if perhaps that was meant to be an alert of ballot-mailing for the upcoming March 12 presidential primary. KCE spokesperson Courtney Hudak confirmed that: “We’ve heard from voters who received email alerts that erroneously included information from the February Election. The team has since sent an updated email alert with the correct date, which, as you say, was supposed to be for the March Presidential Primary! Ballots have been mailed for (that)! Voters should receive their ballots by Monday. If they have not received their ballot by then, they should give us a call at 206.296.8683.”

Also of note – your ballot will include some candidates who have withdrawn from the race since qualifying for the ballot. The KCE website explains why: “The list of eligible candidates was provided by the State Democratic and Republican Parties on January 9. After that date, there was no opportunity to withdraw a name from the ballot.”

34th District Democrats hear from statewide candidates, advocates for Gazans @ February 2024 meeting

By Sean Golonka
Reporting for West Seattle Blog

Local members with the 34th District Democrats, the West Seattle area’s largest political organization, received a wide-ranging presentation on Gaza during the group’s online-only monthly meeting on Wednesday night, through a conversation that focused heavily on the Israel-Hamas conflict’s effects on families in Gaza.

Several candidates for statewide office — including Superintendent of Public Instruction Chris Reykdal and Treasurer Mike Pellicciotti, Democrats who are both seeking re-election — also made appearances at the meeting, a sign the election season is getting underway, with the primary election set for August 6.

Focus on Gaza

Rachel Glass, the 34th DDs’ first vice-chair, said the conversation was motivated by an “urgent need for dialogue and education” to understand the complexities of the ongoing conflict, and the pre-meeting program featured two local community activists with longtime ties to Palestinians.

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VIDEO: City Councilmember Rob Saka puts his ‘King of Potholes’ nickname into action

(WSB photos/video)

If you’re going to be The King of Potholes, you might as well go get a firsthand look at your kingdom. That’s what District 1 City Councilmember Rob Saka did this morning, joining an SDOT “Pothole Rangers crew at work in South Park and West Seattle. We heard him mention the plan during yesterday’s meeting of the Transportation Committee, which he chairs, so we contacted his staff and arranged to meet up at his first stop.

In this case, the Pothole Rangers had a fairly deep rut to deal with immediately south of the city transfer station in west South Park – an industrial area heavily traveled by trucks. Saka put on a hard hat and vest and joined the crew.

The rain stopped just in time, but SDOT’s crew told us they work in every kind of weather except snow/ice. So first task was to dry out this pothole best as they could.

Then came the application of “tack,” to which the asphalt fill would adhere. And finally the asphalt itself, with which the councilmember assisted:

Here’s the “after” view, and how the process concluded:

As recently noted here, SDOT crews – which are based regionally, including one assigned to West Seattle – filled more than 25,000 potholes around the city last year. And there’s always more waiting to be filled – here’s a screengrab from the map of reported-and-waiting potholes:

(Go here for options on how to report one.) Saka told us this is just the first visit he plans to make to a variety of frontline crews – he’ll be visiting bridge-maintenance workers too. He also reiterated that he’s well aware the underlying cause of potholes needs to be addressed too – streets in desperate need of repaving. The next transportation levy is expected to address that, though Saka said he hasn’t been involved yet in specific project lists, so he doesn’t know whether, for example, SW Roxbury (which was supposed to be repaved with Levy to Move Seattle money, then got shelved) will be addressed.

VIDEO: Mayor Harrell’s third State of the City speech

Just one scripted shoutout to West Seattle in Mayor Bruce Harrell‘s State of the City speech today – in the context of the planned Sound Transit light-rail extension. Other topics in his speech, delivered at the Museum of History and Industry in South Lake Union, were familiar and timeless, public safety chief among them – he hailed some ongoing changes, like the creation of the CARE Department (with 911 and a crisis-response team), and said – as we’d heard last week – that Seattle’s Park Rangers will soon be working citywide. He also promised to convene a public-safety forum next month to hear from community members. And he said that when he proposes the next transportation levy, it will focus on “the basics” – repaving, bridge maintenance, signage and striping, potholes (District 1 City Councilmember Rob Saka got a shoutout there), etc. And he acknowledged that the pressure is on, since he can pretty much count on support from the mostly-new City Council: “There is a new level of expectations.” On homelessness, he hit the points made in the media briefing we covered last week. Read the speech here (or watch the video above).

P.S. Set your calendar – the mayor said the next citywide Day of Service is set for May 18th.

About the Trump-merch tent in The Triangle

Several readers texted Sunday to ask about the story behind that tent set up in the triangle at Fauntleroy/Oregon known as Fauntleroy Place Park. We weren’t able to go over and talk with its operators yesterday, so we looked late this morning to see if they were back. The park was empty when we went by just after 11 am, but then a reader texted just before sunset that it was there, so we went back. There we found Ben, who told us he’s the “helper” – that the owner was off taking a break. Ben said they are here because it’s a “liberal area” – that they travel up and down the West Coast setting up their tent in liberal areas because that’s where they feel their message, support for former President Donald Trump, needs to get out. He wasn’t sure how long they planned to stay – they might be back tomorrow, or might not. He also said they didn’t have a vendor permit, which is generally required for selling in parks.

Talk with your city councilmember: District 1’s Rob Saka launching ‘office hours’

(WSB photo, City Council chambers, last month)

When we talked with District 1 City Councilmember Rob Saka the day he was sworn in, he promised to open a district office. No word of the location for that yet, but he’s launching “office hours” next week – regular times where constituents can make appointments to talk with him in the district, rather than having to go downtown. According to Saka’s weekly newsletter, his first office-hours dates are February 23 and March 6, at the Southwest Customer Service Center (same building as the pool and Teen Life Center, 2801 SW Thistle). According to the signup form for the first date, hours will be 11 am-1 pm, at least for starters, and he’s booking 20-minute windows, either in person or via videoconferencing. He’s also planning South Park office hours, starting March 23 at the Duwamish River Community Hub.

Fewer tents, faster responses, and what else the city says its homelessness response is accomplishing

(WSB photo: Deputy Mayor Tiffany Washington, right, with Office of Housing director Maiko Winkler-Chin)

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

In advance of Mayor Bruce Harrell‘s mid-term State of the City address next week, his administration says its homelessness response is making progress.

To elaborate on that, the mayor’s office invited reporters to a City Hall briefing today. The mayor wasn’t there – he was out planting trees – but Deputy Mayor Tiffany Washington, whose portfolio includes the homelessness response, presented updates and answered questions. Video recording wasn’t allowed. We were there; here’s what we heard.

A key point: The city has developed a database that allows them to track actions, statuses, and results. Before the database, Washington said, it was all tracked by hand, and not very well at that. Building the database took up much of this administration’s first year, she added. Among the toplines they’re touting are these stats from the Unified Care Team, the multi-department city task force that handles encampments (not to be confused with the crisis-response CARE Team):

Another major change: Washington says they no longer remove encampments based on who’s complaining the loudest. That wasn’t fair, she said, since the loudest usually meant those who had the luxury of the most time on their hands to complain. Now they have criteria. That was part of the briefing, to review how they evaluate encampments for removal, or at least cleaning. For one, the assignation of points:

But, she said, it’s not just a scoring system:

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ELECTION 2024: Here’s how the King Conservation District Supervisor vote turned out

We reported multiple times in recent weeks on the King Conservation District Supervisor vote, an almost-countywide election that’s conducted mostly online for an agency that doesn’t get a ton of attention. Voting ended last night and preliminary results are out: Incumbent Brittney Bush Bollay has 4,187 votes, 44 percent; Erik Goheen has 3,676 votes, 39 percent; Aaron Ellig has 1,564 votes, 17 percent. But even compared to the low turnout in our recent local elections, this turnout remains tiny: Those votes add up to three-quarters of a percentage point of the 1.3 million registered voters eligible to participate. This isn’t the final count; voters had the option to print and mail paper ballots, and those will be counted and added as long as they’re received by February 22nd.

P.S. Next election is the statewide presidential primary on March 12.

ELECTION 2024: King Conservation District Supervisor online voting ends tonight

One last reminder about the election for King Conservation District Supervisor – a position you’ve probably heard little, if anything, about, but which helps decide how millions of public dollars are spent. Voting is all done online and ends at 8 pm tonight. As explained in last month’s election announcement:

KCD is a special-purpose district committed to helping people engage in stewardship and conservation of natural resources, serving over two million people in 34 cities and unincorporated King County (excluding the cities of Enumclaw, Federal Way, Milton, Pacific, and Skykomish that are not member jurisdictions). KCD assists private residents with forestry management, streamside and shoreline enhancement, farm conservation planning, and other environmental efforts. It works with cities and community organizations to support community gardens, urban forest canopy, and local food systems. KCD is funded primarily by a per-parcel rates and charges fee paid by residents of the district.

An all-volunteer, five-member Board of Supervisors is responsible for overseeing KCD operations, budget, and policy. Voters elect three supervisors and the Washington State Conservation Commission appoints two supervisors. Supervisors serve three-year terms.

Three candidates are contending for the one seat on this ballot – Brittney Bush Bollay, Aaron Ellig, and Erik Goheen. Last week we published their responses to eight questions posed via email by the Duwamish Alive! Coalition. Again, you have until 8 tonight to vote.

VIDEO: Conversation with Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda, after her city-to-county move

After six years on the Seattle City Council, North Delridge resident Teresa Mosqueda moved to the King County Council last month. Following her November election win with 55 percent of the vote, she took office last month in the District 8 seat vacated by Joe McDermott after 13 years. As shown on this map, her district stretches far beyond West Seattle, also encompassing much of downtown, as well as Georgetown, South Park, Tukwila, Burien, White Center and the rest of unincorporated North Highline, plus Vashon and Maury Islands. As she had said during the campaign – announced almost exactly a year ago – her big focuses are on health and housing, but there’s a lot more to pay attention to. We sat down with Councilmember Mosqueda for a half-hour video-recorded chat at the Fauntleroy Schoolhouse this past Thursday. The unedited video is above; below, key points from our conversation.

We asked what the transition’s been like. She had words of praise for the county staff having to bridge such geographic and political diversity. She’s already been back to a variety of places around the district and is scheduling community meetings. “What I’m hearing in these meetings is what I heard in the campaign,” she says – concerns related to her signature issues. But economic challenges are a major concern, and she says she’s talking with businesses and workers about how to support what they’re doing. The county itself is facing a budget crunch, which Mosqueda points out could shut down public-health clinics on which tens of thousands of people rely for health care, she says, so she’s been lobbying for state action that would enable a tax-collecting boost by the county (but this Seattle Times story the day after our chat suggests it’s not happening), and talking to the feds too.

Also on the topic of health, she’s been elected as chair of the Seattle-King County Board of Health, and says a current priority is addressing the “shadow pandemic – isolation, depression, behavioral health, substance-use issues.” She also chairs the council’s Health and Human Services Committee. One major task ahead is the implementation plan for the Crisis Care Centers Levy that voters approved last year, meant to combat the lack of places to take people to get the care they need. Before the brick-and-mortar facilities are opened, she said, there’ll be a “mobile response.” The levy also funds “workforce training … so that [more] people are able to provide services” early on. She says the implementation plan should be complete by the end of the second quarter.

On housing, a major topic we tackled was the King County Comprehensive Plan update, which is currently before the council – “really important decisions that will be made for the unincorporated areas … more walkable, livable neighborhoods,” Mosqueda summarized it. She says it could lead to more affordability and, just to pick one unincorporated area of note, a “new vision” for downtown White Center; she recounted a conversation with a local doctor who hopes that’s what will happen. She says the review of the comprehensive plan has just begun, so she’s joining at an opportune time. She hopes to hear from community members about their thoughts about the next 10 years, too (the period the plan update is to cover).

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CITY COUNCIL: Here’s what we learned at first Transportation Committee meeting chaired by D-1 Councilmember Rob Saka

The new-era City Council‘s first committee meeting happened this past week, when the Transportation Committee – chaired by District 1 Councilmember Rob Saka – convened on Tuesday morning. Before the meeting moved into public comment and presentations, Saka said his focuses will be on “preserving and maintaining our infrastructure, with a heavy focus on bridges and streets, in hopes, he said, no other community has to go through anything like the 2 1/2-year West Seattle Bridge closure. He said his other priorities will be the “safety and comfort of pedestrians,” improved transit-rider experience, climate-related issues (particularly increased electrification of transportation), equity, and the size/scope of the next transportation-funding measure.

Of the two introductory presentations made by SDOT, the one of widest interest was an explanation of the department itself, led by director Greg Spotts, who noted he’s had the job for 17 months now. Spotts said he’d done some reorganizing of SDOT management to better handle priorities. For example, toward Saka’s top priority, Spotts said Elizabeth Sheldon serves as chief infrastructure engineer. Venu Nemani, previously chief traffic engineer, is chief transportation safety officer. Shortly after arriving, Spotts noted, he’d ordered a “top to bottom” review of Vision Zero – in light of the fact that traffic deaths and serious injuries were not declining – and he said there’ll be an implementation plan in the next several months. (As an aside, he said he does not own a car.) He talked about the Seattle Transportation Plan, pulling together many separate predecessors (bicycle plan, freight plan, transit plan, etc.), and said upcoming documents will include a Bridge Asset Management Plan. He briefly ran through some of what is on SDOT’s schedule for the year ahead, including bridge seismic upgrades (in West Seattle that includes the Delridge/Oregon overpass and the Admiral Way bridges over Fairmount Ravine).

His presentation included many stats – from 500 cameras in the traffic-control center downtown, to 14,000 openings per year for the city-owned movable bridges, including the West Seattle low bridge. (Spotts noted that shipments requiring those openings include a lot of food destined for Alaska.) Another stat of interest: There are about half a million street parking spaces in the city, but “we only charge for about 12,000 of them.”

One more note of West Seattle interest – Spotts briefly mentioned the city’s involvement with Sound Transit for the West Seattle and Ballard extensions. That group, he said, also reports to Sheldon, the chief infrastructure engineer.

The presentation also touched on the SDOT budget and the “83 sources of funding” that feed into it, “more than most city departments.”

Eventually Saka brought it back to his interest in pothole-filling as a symbol of what the city can do for its residents; not only does he want to be “the king of potholes,” but he also declared his fellow committee members “pothole royalty” too, though in a more serious vein, he suggested the “underlying causes” of potholes should be examined and addressed too.

You can watch the meeting in the Seattle Channel video above, and see the “introduction to SDOT” slides here. In addition to chairing the Transportation Committee, Councilmember Saka is vice chair of the Public Safety Committee, which will meet at 9:30 am Tuesday (February 13) for the first time this year; as we previously noted, all three of the city’s public-safety chiefs (CARE’s Amy Smith, SFD’s Harold Scoggins, SPD’s Adrian Diaz) are on the agenda to provide overviews of their departments.

ELECTION 2024: One more week to vote for King Conservation District Supervisor. Having trouble deciding? This might be help

One more week remains for voting in a one-race election that again this year is being conducted entirely online, for King Conservation District Supervisor. Three people are running for one position . The Duwamish Alive! Coalition, a community organization that works on activities such as habitat restoration, sent the candidates eight questions, and in partnership with Duwamish Alive! we are publishing their questions and the candidates’ replies. The candidates are Brittney Bush Bollay, Aaron Ellig, and Erik Goheen (each name is linked to their candidate statement on the KCD website, which is the source of the photos below).

What follows are the eight questions, each one followed by the candidates’ answers in rotating order (as we would do in a “live” candidate forum), unedited, and then a reminder of how to vote:

1. Why do you want to be a KCD board member?

BUSH BOLLAY: I was elected to King Conservation District in 2021, and my love for the organization and the work have only grown over the past three years. I’m excited to serve another term on the Board, helping to support and grow the District. Environmental action and local government both impact every person, every day, and that’s why they’re my twin passions.

ELLIG: My purpose for running for this seat is not politically motivated and I have no financial incentives to gain from any of the programs offered. I enjoy the programs the King Conservation District offers and regularly volunteer at restoration events they offer. I fully believe in improving and advancing existing programs that align with KCD core values of supporting local food, clean water, healthy forests, better soil, and accessible open spaces. My combination of education and practical experience planning and implementing a wide range of environmental restoration projects makes me an ideal candidate to supplement the existing board. I am uniquely qualified to provide science-based solutions for complex issues around conservation of natural resources, sustainable food production, and long-term planning.

GOHEEN: At the request of the farming community. Dairyman Bill Knutsen is retiring and we need farmers on the board. To help build a local, institutional food supply where local food is served in our schools and cafeterias. To help prevent a big fire in King County. Smoke season isn’t normal. We can do better to restore the salmon run here with infrastructure jobs, I’d like to see more of that work getting done. I want to empower local champions of the environment to succeed at their goals and I can make a leadership improvement with regards to the board.

2. What are your qualifications for this position?

ELLIG: I have a master’s degree in environmental science and am a certified professional wetland scientist (PWS) that specializes in ecological restoration of riparian and aquatic habitats. For the past 10 years, I have worked as a private consultant and public sector biologist as a subject matter expert for wetland and stream restoration. I have been involved in projects big and small and understand the actual effort and costs associated with getting things off the ground. We need a candidate that understands the process of starting with a conceptual idea, permitting, design, and project development. I have proven experience working effectively with local cities and counties as a third-party consultant to ensure projects are code compliant and conducted in environmentally responsible ways. My current position with Sound Transit focuses on environmental mitigation that aims to maximize environmental benefits for communities we operate in.

GOHEEN: B.A. Political Science, Western Washington University. Farm owner/operator the last 7 years. I am a user of KCD services: plant sale customer, conservation planned, conference presenting, riparian planting, pea-patch volunteering, habitat building participant in the programs. Former site and stormwater researcher with Building Code Innovations database. Trained Firefighter Type 2 (wildland) and Eagle Scout, former IAMAW machinist in Alaska salmon industry. My background spans a wide breadth of KCD’s suite of services, programs and policy areas.

BUSH BOLLAY: In addition to my three years of on-the-job experience, including serving as Board Vice Chair and Auditor this year, I have nearly a decade of local and state environmental work to my name. I understand not only the science of conservation and climate change, but the political and economic forces that influence our environmental work in King County. I’ve also spent these years carefully listening to and developing relationships with community members, elected officials, and other conservation partners, which strengthens my work on the Board.

3. What are your priorities if you are elected?

GOHEEN: Vote NO, big westside fire. There are simple and holistic remedies to prevent fires, good science. Smoke season isn’t normal. King County should lead on this work.

Support a local food system. Farms have been swept aside by the KCD at the exact wrong moment. A workforce of young and aspiring farmers, but grants designed to support them aren’t moving the needle.

Clean Water Now. I like the Duwamish River’s wet weather treatment station and there are jobs to be had boosting salmon success in this field. The Duwamish river and the ship canal should be viable habitat, too.

BUSH BOLLAY: My top priorities are:
-Fixing our election process to make it easier for people to vote and to run
-Removing barriers that make it harder for small organizations, new organizations, and people not fluent in English to use our programs
-Finding new partnerships and funding opportunities and cutting red tape so we can do more conservation work, faster
-Protecting farmland by fighting climate change and our farms’ number one enemy, urban sprawl

ELLIG: As a certified professional wetland scientist (PWS), my priorities are supporting and advancing programs that focus on riparian restorations, wetland enhancement, and stream buffer enhancement across the county. The benefits gained from the relatively small investment are huge. This will involve partnering with local agencies, local community organizations, and private land owners through voluntary or subsidized conservation and restoration. Some projects will come to the board through grant applications, but others require outreach and partnership.

4. What would you like to accomplish?

BUSH BOLLAY: In my successful second term I’ll bring more cities into the Conservation District, so we can help more people in a wider area. I’ll bring our farmers and local food vendors a fairer, more effective grant process and greater economic growth. I’ll double and triple down on outreach so more King County residents will be familiar with the Conservation District and our work and will participate in our elections by either running or voting. Finally, I’ll address the number one concern of my constituents and bring our elections to the modern era — first by moving our three elected positions to districts, then to a paper ballot like every other election in Washington State.

ELLIG: The King Conservation District has many wonderful programs and services designed to benefit people and the environment, but many of these are underutilized. Raising awareness of KCD programs by providing public education and technical assistance will be a primary goal of mine. The election should also be more recognized by being on the standard election ballot held in November. This has been an ongoing objective many KCD board members have tried to initiate, and I intend to fully support that effort to receive legislative approval.

GOHEEN: Empower emerging leaders. Building trust with the non-regulatory, voluntary services offered for more meaningful projects. Speeding up Seattle’s clean water plan and infrastructure. Lots of jobs to be had in Clean Water Now. Seeing the local farmers scale up to send fresh food home with 10,000+ food-insecure kids in Seattle Public Schools every week. There are many aspiring farmers, and land to be worked sustainably.

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TUESDAY: New D-1 City Councilmember Rob Saka chairs first Transportation Committee meeting

The new City Council starts committee meetings tomorrow (Tuesday, February 6). First up: The Transportation Committee, chaired by District 1 Councilmember Rob Saka of West Seattle. When his committee meets at 9:30 am, the agenda includes public comment, an “Introduction to SDOT” (here’s the slide deck), and an “Introduction to Term Permits and Street Vacations” (here’s that slide deck). See the agenda for information on how to participate in the public-comment period, in person at City Hall or via phone; if you just want to watch the meeting, it’ll be live via Seattle Channel. You can look ahead to other council-committee meetings by checking this page, which links agendas once they’re available.

YOU’RE INVITED: Hear from West Seattle’s new city councilmember at Kiwanis Club of West Seattle meeting

(WSB photo: Councilmember Rob Saka at Monday’s protest rally outside Chief Sealth IHS)

One month after District 1 City Councilmember Rob Saka took office, what are his plans, and how is he responding to community issues? The Kiwanis Club of West Seattle invites you to hear firsthand this Wednesday (February 7), 6 pm, during their meeting at Great American Diner & Bar in The Junction (4752 California SW). Just RSVP by Tuesday to president Denis Sapiro, via email at sapirodenis@hotmail.com or by calling 206-601-4136. He adds, “Please give your name and number attending. Guests are expected to order off the menu prior to 6 pm” (that night).

Our area’s new City Councilmember Rob Saka hires former SDOT West Seattle Bridge boss

As announced last month, District 1 City Councilmember Rob Saka is chairing the Transportation Committee – so you might not be surprised to hear he’s just hired a former top-level SDOT manager to join his staff. You might even recognize her: Heather Marx was the most visible SDOT manager during the 2020-2022 West Seattle Bridge closure, as the head of the bridge-stabilization-and-repair program. So visible, that her name appears in WSB archives 105 times – although the first few mentions are from her pre-bridge role as Downtown Mobility Director during the Highway 99 viaduct-to-tunnel project. Most recently, Marx has been working at the Seattle Police Department. And now she’s Policy Adviser for Councilmember Saka, who announced this in his latest newsletter, sent this afternoon. From the announcement:

Heather brings 25 years of city policy experience to the role, with a particular focus on transportation. Before joining our team, Heather served as Strategic Initiatives Director at the Seattle Police Department, and as the Program Director for Seattle Department of Transportation’s West Seattle Bridge Safety Program. While at SDOT, she led the Department’s efforts to successfully reopen the West Seattle Bridge. She brings a wealth of policy expertise in the critically important issue areas of public safety and transportation. Heather is a long-time resident of District 1 where she raised two children in Seattle Public Schools and lives in the Fauntleroy neighborhood with her husband.

Marx joins Councilmember Saka’s two previously announced staffers, Chief of Staff Elaine Ikoma Ko and District Relations Director/Scheduler Leyla Gheisar. You can see Saka’s full newsletter here.

VIDEO: U.S. Rep. Pramila Jayapal’s close-to-home town hall

(WSB photos, video)

Our area’s U.S. House Rep. Pramila Jayapal, a West Seattle resident when not in D.C., held a town hall meeting Wednesday night in her home neighborhood. She and her constituents brought up a wide range of issues, from the Israel/Hamas war to college costs to health care to UAPs (aka UFOs).

Rep. Jayapal said the community meeting at The Hall at Fauntleroy was one of more than 100 town halls she’s had since taking office seven years ago. “We may not agree … but whatever it is, I want to talk about it.” We recorded the town hall in two parts – first, her half-hour introductory remarks:

For those who don’t have time to watch, here are our notes:

She said “funding for community-based projects” is part of the job – and that she has helped secure $50 million, with $17 million to come “as soon as we pass the government funding (legislation).” She mentioned food-bank funding and emergency housing as some of what that money goes toward. Other funding on which she’s worked included something showcased at a port event earlier in the day, %18 million toward truck electrification.

If you are associated with a nonprofit, she said, her office can help you look for federal grant money. And for individuals, they can help you navigate federal agencies. “Our job is to try to help you navigate what is sometimes just crazy bureaucracy,” or inaccessibility. They won’t necessarily be able to solve every problem for you but they can at least help you get an answer. This includes Social Security, Medicare, and immigration issues, she added. She hailed her staff’s tenacity in pursuing solutions for constituents. Specifically, she said, she’s hearing from constituents who have felt strong-armed into Medicare Advantage plans – or are having a tough time getting back onto traditional Medicare. She says she’s been pushing to get the federal government to crack down on Medicare Advantage-related fraud – she thinks those offerings shouldn’t even have Medicare in their name.

On other matters, she said this has been the least productive Congress ever – barely 20 bills passed by both houses and signed into law in 2023. Funding to keep the government running is usually finalized by year’s end, but isn’t yet – “this is the craziness we’re dealing with, we still have not funded the government.”

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ELECTION 2024: You can vote for King Conservation District Supervisor right now – online

King County’s lowest-profile – but not lowest-impact – election is happening now. You might already have seen the postcard inviting you to vote for a King Conservation District Supervisor position, which you can do online. Here’s the KCD announcement of what it’s about:

King Conservation District (KCD) is holding its annual Board of Supervisors Election. The election will use online ballot access for the 5th year. This is a mostly county-wide election that does not appear on the standard special elections ballot. The KCD Board of Supervisors oversees a roughly $8 million dollar budget paid by residents of King County through rates and charges.

KCD is a special-purpose district committed to helping people engage in stewardship and conservation of natural resources, serving over two million people in 34 cities and unincorporated King County (excluding the cities of Enumclaw, Federal Way, Milton, Pacific, and Skykomish that are not member jurisdictions). KCD assists private residents with forestry management, streamside and shoreline enhancement, farm conservation planning, and other environmental efforts. It works with cities and community organizations to support community gardens, urban forest canopy, and local food systems. KCD is funded primarily by a per-parcel rates and charges fee paid by residents of the district.

An all-volunteer, five-member Board of Supervisors is responsible for overseeing KCD operations, budget, and policy. Voters elect three supervisors and the Washington State Conservation Commission appoints two supervisors. Supervisors serve three-year terms.

Voting started Tuesday and continues through 8 pm February 13, with online ballot acccess at kingcd.org/elections for all King County registered voters (except residents within the city limits of the five cities mentioned above that are not member jurisdictions of the district).

The 2024 election has three candidates running for the position. Brittney Bush Bollay, Aaron Ellig, and Erik Goheen are competing for one seat. Candidate statements can be found at kingcd.org/elections.

For the fifth year, the King Conservation District election will primarily rely on electronic ballot access. Voters may return ballots electronically through the online ballot access system or reach out to KCD for assistance. Democracy Live operates the online ballot access portal and King County Elections will tabulate all ballots and report all results. To increase awareness of the election, for the fourth year, KCD has mailed out roughly 750,000 postcards to registered voter households in the district with information on how to vote in the board election.

For more information and to cast your ballot, visit kingcd.org

FOLLOWUP: Will the lone City Council appointment finalist from West Seattle run next year?

One day after City Councilmembers chose Tanya Woo to fill the citywide Position 8 vacancy until November, we heard from the lone West Seattleite among the other seven finalists. Steve Strand, who is commander of the West Seattle VFW Post as well as a Seattle Police captain, told WSB, “I would like to send out a big thank you to the outpouring of support I received from the West Seattle community. I will continue to work hard to make Seattle safe as a captain on the Seattle police department. It was just gratifying to hear the lives I’ve touched throughout West Seattle.” When each councilmember nominated a finalist from among the 72 “qualified applicants” on January 12th, Strand was nominated by Council President Sara Nelson, but on Tuesday, she was one of the five councilmembers who voted to appoint Woo (as was D-1 Councilmember Rob Saka). The appointment only lasts until someone is elected this fall, so will Strand file to run for the job? His reply: “I haven’t decided yet. We’ll see what kind of feedback I get.”

Seattle City Councilmembers choose Tanya Woo to join them

(Seattle Channel image)

4:17 PM: Tanya Woo has joined the Seattle City Council as holder of citywide Position 8, at least until the November election. She was sworn in immediately after her appointment to the council on a 5-3 vote. Woo was the choice of Council President Sara Nelson and Councilmembers Bob Kettle, Cathy Moore, Maritza Rivera, and Rob Saka; Councilmember Joy Hollingsworth voted for Linh Thai, Councilmember Tammy Morales for Mari Sugiyama, and Councilmember Dan Strauss for Vivian Song. Woo will serve until the November election, in which whomever the voters choose – whether Woo or someone else – will serve the final year of what was Teresa Mosqueda‘s term before she was elected to the King County Council.

4:49 PM: As noted in the official announcement of the voting results, Woo “will chair the Sustainability, City Light, Arts, and Culture committee. She will also serve as the Vice Chair of the Libraries, Education, and Neighborhoods Committee and as a member of the Housing and Human Services, Land Use, and Transportation Committees.” Council President Nelson had said committees – where much council business gets done before reaching the full council for votes – would not start meeting until after the new councilmember was appointed.

Meantime, it should be noted that before this afternoon’s vote, councilmembers got one last chance to speak, offering general praise for all eight finalists. D-1 Councilmember Saka called it a “very, very tough decision.” He said the process is admittedly “imperfect” but the voters will have an “immediate” chance in November to have a say on who holds the job from that point on. He said he’d received “hundreds of emails” and also said “we need to move beyond over-politicizing the process” despite these “hyper-politicized times.” He added that “no one’s beating down my door for endorsements … I’m just a dad from Delridge” but said decisions like this are what he and his colleagues were elected to make.

VIDEO: Last look at Seattle City Council Position 8 finalists before appointment Tuesday

By this time tomorrow, we’ll know who the City Council has chosen to fill out its ranks until the November election. Tomorrow afternoon, they’ll appoint someone to take over citywide Position 8 until then; today, in a 3 1/2-hour special meeting, they listened to more than 60 people voice their choices (and other comments) before each councilmember got 10 minutes to ask questions. (The Seattle Channel‘s full meeting video is above.)

During the public-comment period, we counted 18 speaking in support of Tanya Woo, 12 for Vivian Song, 9 for Neha Nariya (including her parents), 6 each for Mari Sugiyama and Steve Strand (the lone West Seattle-residing finalist), 3 for Mark Solomon, and one for Linh Thai. (Unless it was the one speaker we missed, no one spoke in support of Juan Cotto.) The other commenters didn’t mention a candidate – at least not before their one minute of speaking time ran out.

When the councilmembers got their turns, a few asked multiple questions in lightning-round format. District 1 Councilmember Rob Saka of West Seattle just asked one question, about the finalists’ public-safety priorities. Thai promised to “engage the public and the 911 center” on issues. Sugiyama said she would focus on “accountability.” Strand said it’s all about staffing, and said that appointing a police captain to the council would send a message conducive to SPD’s hiring and retention efforts. Solomon, an SPD crime-prevention coordinator, agreed that more officers are needed and also said it’s important to get people to report all crimes. Neriya said restoring trust and “community policing” are vital. Cotto also focused on building trust. Song said she would be “data-driven” – looking at where crimes are happening and which (repeat offenders) are committing. Woo said improving public safety isn’t just an SPD job, but that every city department has a role to play.

The City Council’s decision is due during its 2 pm meeting Tuesday; here’s the agenda. If you have any last-minute message to send, council@seattle.gov is the address to reach them all.

WEDNESDAY: West Seattle town hall with U.S. Rep. Pramila Jayapal

(WSB photo, Rep. Jayapal at West Seattle town hall in 2018)

U.S. Rep. Pramila Jayapal‘s first town-hall meeting of 2024 will be in her home neighborhood – West Seattle. It’s planned for 5:30 pm Wednesday (January 24th) and her office is asking for RSVPs as they finalize the location; if you’re interested in attending, here’s the form to use to RSVP. Rep. Jayapal represents the 7th District, which stretches far to the north and south – see the map here.

WEEK AHEAD: City Council vacancy finalists’ final pitches Monday

If you want to tell the City Council who you think they should appoint to the 10-month vacancy for citywide Position 8, time is running out. Tomorrow (Monday, January 22) the eight finalists make their final pitches to the councilmembers, who are expected to make their decision Tuesday. You can comment either during tomorrow’s meeting at 9:30 am – in person at City Hall or remotely (the agenda explains how) – or by email (council@seattle.gov or individually). The finalists answered questions in a public forum last Thursday night, and tomorrow morning they’ll answer councilmembers’ questions. As with all City Council meetings, this one will be streamed live at SeattleChannel.org.

VIDEO: See and hear the 8 finalists for vacant Seattle City Council Position 8

If you didn’t get to watch tonight’s public forum with the eight finalists for the 10-month appointment to Seattle City Council citywide Position 8, the Seattle Channel video is already available, and you can watch it above. They were chosen from 72 “qualified applicants” who applied for the job; last Friday, each current councilmember nominated one finalist. The contenders include one West Seattleite, Steve Strand, a Seattle Police captain who was nominated by Council President Sara Nelson; District 1 Councilmember Rob Saka nominated Mark Solomon, a Seattle Police crime-prevention coordinator. The other six finalists are Juan J. Cotto, Neha Nariya, Vivian Song, Mari Sugiyama, Linh Thai, and Tanya Woo. While you don’t get to vote on the appointment – the councilmembers will do that next Tuesday – you do get to tell them who you think they should choose; they’ll take public comment at a special council meeting at 9:30 am Monday (the agenda explains how to participate) and here’s how else to contact them, about this or anything else. You will get to vote on who holds the job next year – the chosen appointee is not obligated to run, but there will be an election this fall, for the last year of what was Teresa Mosqueda‘s term before she moved to the King County Council, and then another election next year for a full 4-year term.