West Seattle politics 2166 results

ELECTION 2024: Almost time for primary voting

(WSB photo, May)

When you’re ready to put your primary-election ballot in a King County Elections dropbox, remember that we now have four in West Seattle, with the addition of that one by Morgan Junction Park. First, of course, you’ll have to get your ballot, and that could happen as soon as Thursday, because they’re set to be mailed out tomorrow (Wednesday, July 17). If you want to preview what’s on yours, go here. You’ll see 14 races – U.S. Senate, U.S. House District 7, Governor (28 candidates!), Lt. Governor, Secretary of State, State Treasurer, State Auditor, State Attorney General, State Commissioner of Public Lands, State Superintendent of Public Instruction, State Insurance Commissioner, State House Representative Positions 1 and 2, State Supreme Court Justice Position 2, Seattle City Council citywide Position 8. Once you get your ballot, you have until 8 pm August 6 to get it in a dropbox; if you’re using postal mail, you just have to be sure it’ll be postmarked by that date.

‘STREET RACING’ CRACKDOWN: Here’s what the bill passed by City Councilmembers is meant to do

At the City Council‘s weekly meeting today, councilmembers voted 8-1 (Tammy Morales was the lone “no”) to approve the bill intended to crack down on stunt driving categorized under the description “street racing” (read it here). The vote followed public comment that featured Alki community leaders, starting about 4:40 into the video.

What councilmembers approved included amendments by District 1 Councilmember Rob Saka to add penalties, including higher fines for second (or beyond) violations. You can read the whole bill here; here’s the council announcement’s summary of what it will do, assuming Mayor Bruce Harrell signs it:

*The new ordinance amends the city code on illegal racing by creating a new traffic infraction penalizing the registered owner of a vehicle involved in racing and by adopting the state law changes.

*Adoption of the state law now gives the City Attorney’s Office the statutory authority to now prosecute illegal racing as misdemeanor and gross misdemeanors crimes.

*Vehicle owners and participants are subject to a $500 non-criminal traffic infraction. Adopted amendments by Councilmember Rob Saka (District 1) increase the fine to $800 for a second infraction, and $1,500 for third and subsequent infractions.

*Any person knowingly attending an unlawful race event with the intent to observe, support, or encourage the event may face a civil infraction base fine of $100 if they fail to leave the event if instructed to do so by officers.

If you’re wondering exactly what the bill covers, here’s part of the language:

… “unlawful race event” means an event on a street, alley, way open to the public, or off-street facility wherein persons willfully: (1) compare or contest relative speeds by operation of one or more motor vehicles, or (2) demonstrate, exhibit, or compare speed, maneuverability, or the power of one or more motor vehicles, in a straight or curved direction, in a circular direction, around corners, or in circles in an activity commonly referred to as “drifting,” or by breaking traction.

(corrected attribution) Councilmember Tanya Woo, co-sponsor of the bill, said the place for that kind of driving is at race tracks and other venues where drivers can safely pursue “their passion.” But as Pumphrey pointed out in his comments, legislation alone doesn’t accomplish anything – he spoke to the last council a year ago before they passed the “racing zone” bill authorizing cameras (which have yet to be installed) – enforcement will be key. Since this was an “emergency” bill, if and when the mayor signs it, the law changes immediately.

VIDEO: Mayor signs transportation levy; Seattle voters will decide what happens next

One day after the City Council finalized it, the transportation-levy renewal/expansion got Mayor Bruce Harrell‘s signature in a City Hall ceremony this morning. With speeches from the mayor, District 1 City Councilmember Rob Saka, business and labor leaders, and others, the levy started its road to the November ballot. It does not have a catchy name (yet), unlike its predecessor Levy to Move Seattle – expiring at the end of this year after its nine-year run – or the one before that, Bridging the Gap, which covered 2006-2015.

You’ve likely already heard that the levy would raise $1.55 billion over eight years. The mayor noted that’s “$21 per month more than the current levy” if you have a median-value house (he didn’t cite a number but it’s supposedly in the $800,000 vicinity). The total is said to represent almost a third of the budget for SDOT, whose director Greg Spotts spoke today too. He declared the levy “balanced and practical … data-driven, community-informed.” Much was made in other speeches of consensus and collaboration; Saka was lauded for leading the full-council committee that reviewed and amended the original slightly-less-costly proposal originally sent by Harrell. Saka declared the levy “a victory for the people of Seattle” and concluded his speech with this quote from President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

The website for the levy promises updated documents are in the works, so we don’t have the exact text yet (but here’s the council’s most recent spending-breakdown document). And much of what it will fund will not initially be spelled out location by location, but as we’ve noted in coverage over the past few months, there are several planned West Seattle projects specifically identified – repaving and other changes for 35th SW between Alaska and Morgan, pavement repairs to Fauntleroy Way SW between 35th and Alaska to get it through the years of nearby light-rail construction, safety improvements at the east end of the Roxbury corridor, a sidewalk along part of SW Brandon in North Delridge. Saka also spoke of one of his late additions, a future West Seattle protected-bike-lane project to be named for Steve Hulsman, the rider killed on Marine View Drive last year, whose widow Rita Hulsman was in attendance at the ceremony. The levy projects listed by name in the “spending breakdown” also mention a protected bike lane for Highland Park Way SW, ostensibly a reference to the proposal to replace a downhill driving lane with either a PBL or a multi-use path.

You can read the city’s overview of the levy here. General-election voting will end November 5.

CITY COUNCIL: ‘Street racing’ bill this morning with proposed penalty additions; transportation levy this afternoon; new Saka staffer

Three City Council notes:

‘STREET-RACING’ BILL: This morning at 9:30 am, the council’s Public Safety Committee takes this up again, this time likely for a vote, along with two proposed amendments from District 1 City Councilmember Rob Saka (who is the committee’s vice chair). First, he is proposing that in addition to the $500 fine that would be faced by the owner of a car participating in racing or related activities, a second violation would carry an $800 fine, third a $1,500 fine. See that amendment here. Second, he proposes a $100 citation that could be given to anyone attending an “unlawful race event.” See that amendment here. The full meeting agenda (which also explains how to comment, and links to the full bill under consideration) is here. (You can watch via Seattle Channel.)

TRANSPORTATION LEVY: At this afternoon’s meeting, councilmembers will take their final vote on the $1.55 billion, eight-year transportation levy renewal/expansion that will go to voters in November. The version they’re voting on and the companion amendment are linked in the agenda; assuming they’ll pass it (since it was approved by the levy committee comprised of all councilmembers, chaired by Saka), the mayor is expected to sign it tomorrow. A council spokesperson notes in a memo to media: “The current transportation levy was passed in 2015 and is set to expire this year. It accounts for roughly 30 percent of the Seattle Department of Transportation’s budget for core services and new projects. Under this levy proposal, the estimated property tax bill for the median assessed value home would be $499 per year. That’s $16.58 per month more than the expiring levy.” If you have any final words about it, the agenda for today’s 2 pm meeting explains how to participate in the public-comment period.

NEW SAKA STAFFER: Saka’s staff has been particularly visible in the community so far, so changes/additions are noteworthy, and the councilmember has just announced one. During Monday afternoon’s “briefing meeting” – when councilmembers provide miscellaneous updates – Saka mentioned he’s just hired Ian Griswold as legislative director, joining chief of staff Elaine Ikoma Ko and district director Leyla Gheisar. We asked Ko for more details and she forwarded Saka’s announcement:

Ian is a home-grown Seattleite and grew up in West Seattle. He brings a diverse professional experience, having worked with the Washington Technology Industry Association and Seattle Police Foundation. He is a graduate of UW’s Evans School of Public Policy & Governance and earned his law degree from Gonzaga University School of Law. He looks forward to providing strong legislative and policy support work for the office.

Saka’s staff had had an opening since Heather Marx departed as policy adviser in May.

VIDEO: From climate to crime to closing schools – with the Blue Angels along the way – here’s what State Senator Joe Nguyễn was asked @ West Seattle town hall

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

Some of the questions posed to State Sen. Joe Nguyễn during his Saturday morning Town Hall were about the biggest issues faced by state government – like school funding, public safety, and climate response.

Then, there was the attendee who wanted to know who had the power to keep the Blue Angels away.

Sen. Nguyễn, a West Seattle-residing Democrat in his second term as senator for the 34th Legislative District, spoke to and with more than two dozen people scattered around the back garden at C & P Coffee Company (WSB sponsor). As announced, the Town Hall lasted an hour – we recorded it on video:

Many of the questions were about climate/sustainability, not surprising considering that Nguyễn chairs the State Senate’s Environment, Energy, and Technology Committee. But school funding carried the most immediacy, given that Seattle Public Schools‘ superintendent Dr. Brent Jones has cited inadequate state funding as a reason he’s considering closing ~20 schools.

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TRANSPORTATION LEVY: Proposed additions before Tuesday vote include a West Seattle memorial

On Tuesday (July 2), city councilmembers are expected to vote on one last round of potential changes to the transportation levy intended to go to voters in November. The council committee reviewing and refining the levy is chaired by District 1 Councilmember Rob Saka, who announced his latest proposed revisions today. Checking the detailed documents for West Seattle specifics, you’ll see one addition: A tribute to Steve Hulsman, the 66-year-old West Seattle man killed in a collision with a driver on Marine View Drive last December. Mr. Hulsman’s brother-in-law John Good had been talking to the city about ceremonially renaming the section of street where he died; instead, he told us this morning, Councilmember Saka decided to propose, as spelled out in the amendment document, a “Protected Bike Lane project in West Seattle to be named in honor of Steve Hulsman.” The document does not specify a location; the only potential PBL project for West Seattle named in the levy is Highland Park Way SW, but the levy calls for many other to-be-identified-later safety projects around the city. Good showed us email from Councilmember Saka offering also to sponsor a proposal for a “secondary street naming” in memory of Mr. Hulsman, while saying that would take more time.

As for the rest of Saka’s latest levy revision, it still contains the West Seattle specifics we’ve previously mentioned – projects for 35th SW between Alaska and Morgan, Fauntleroy Way between 35th and Alaska, Olson/1st/2nd, plus sidewalks for SW Brandon between 26th SW and 30th SW, and transit-corridor work for sections of SW Oregon and SW Alaska in The Junction. Saka says his final proposal would result in a $1.55 billion levy, same as his previous proposal. Here are the categories into which that would break out:

i. $160.5 million for Vision Zero, School and Neighborhood Safety;
ii. $423 million for Street Maintenance and Modernization, including no less than $350 million for Arterial Roadway Maintenance;
iii. $221 million for Bridges and Structures;
iv. $151 million for Transit Corridors and Connections;
v. $193 million for Pedestrian Safety, including no less than $111 million for New Sidewalks and Sidewalk Alternatives and no less than $34 million for Sidewalk Safety Repair;
vi. $100 million for Signals and Operations;
vii. $113.5 million for Bicycle Safety;
viii. $66.5 million for People Streets and Public Spaces;
ix. $69 million for Climate and Resiliency, including no less than $32 million for
electric vehicle charging infrastructure;
x. $45 million for Freight and Goods Movement; and
xi. $7.5 million for Good Governance & Equitable Implementation Initiative

In the first year, council documents say, Saka’s version would cost the owner of a “median assessed value” home $499, compared to $467 for the mayor’s original $1.45 billion version. Other councilmembers’ amendments include a counterproposal from Councilmember Tammy Morales, totaling $1.7 billion, which would equal $546 in the first year for that “median value” homeowner. (The city says that’s an $804,000 assessed value, and that the expiring levy is costing a median-value homeowner $288 this year.) The meeting at which the final amendments will be discussed, and votes taken, is Tuesday at 9:30 am, and includes a public-comment period, as noted on the agenda (where all the proposed amendments are linked, too). Other ways to get comments to the council are listed here.

Question for your state senator? West Seattle Town Hall on Saturday for Sen. Joe Nguyễn

While local officials are often in the hot seat on issues such as public safety, they sometimes point out that their powers have been to some degree superseded by state law. So – as one speaker at this meeting last night put it – it’s important to pay attention to the Legislature. Here’s an opportunity: One of our area’s three state legislators is having a Town Hall meeting this Saturday morning, and you’re invited, to come listen and/or ask a question. State Senator Joe Nguyễn will be at C & P Coffee Company (5612 California SW; WSB sponsor) 9 am to 10 am this Saturday, June 29. Sen. Nguyễn chairs the Environment, Energy & Technology Committee and also serves on the Human Services and Ways & Means Committees – the latter is particularly notable, as it oversees budgeting. No RSVP needed for the Town Hall – just show up.

VIDEO: Waterway safety, ‘street racing’ proposals @ City Council’s Public Safety Committee

Twp items of extra local interest were on the agenda Tuesday for the City Council’s Public Safety Committee, for which District 1 Councilmember Rob Saka serves as vice chair.

First – starting at 20 minutes into the meeting video above – a consulting firm presented results of their commissioned study on waterway safety in Seattle, “a year in the making,” according to Councilmember Dan Strauss, who had advocated for it. You can read the full report here, and see their slide deck here. One major recommendation: More safety education for recreational boaters, who often aren’t aware of rules, laws, and best safety practices. More signage might help, they suggested. The consultants also recommended more synching between Seattle Police and Fire marine resources – they already cooperate and collaborate, but it should be more formalized. Their data could be better utilized, too.

They also noted the need for more marine-focused resources – SFD, for example, wants to build a new fire station on South Lake Union; SPD Harbor Patrol could use more staffing. And they could leverage other city personnel – perhaps the expanded Park Rangers team could help with noise enforcement, they suggested.

While the briefing didn’t touch on any West Seattle waterway-safety specifics, we noted while searching the full report that there are some local mentions – for example, on page 43, “SPD is developing a new map drawn to identify more specific Harbor Patrol ‘beat’ areas, such as Elliott Bay, Lake Union, Duwamish, Alki, and Fauntleroy.” Also mentioned (page 16), Fire Station 36 under the West Seattle Bridge at the north end of Delridge, because it “has the Marine 1 Unit, which provides landside firefighting response for fires on or near the water.”

No action was taken or proposed – the recommendations aren’t at the level of proposed policies or budget items, yet. A slightly different situation for the meeting’s second briefing, billed as the first look at “an ordinance relating to street racing; adding the crime of racing; adding the traffic infraction of vehicle participation in unlawful racing …” What City Attorney Ann Davison (who was at the meeting) announced last week, a new $500 fine for registered owners of participating vehicles, was just part of it. They’re also aligning with some new state laws, as noted in the rather sparse slide deck. Watch the briefing (which starts 54 minutes into the meeting video) for much more elaboration, including SPD Assistant Chief Dan Nelson recounting multiple “takeover” events this past Saturday night around the city, including the one on which we reported, at 2nd/Michigan/West Marginal. This recounting featured a video compilation. Nelson said it was important for SPD to use “targeted enforcement” to keep tracking and breaking up those gatherings, because some result in crime and collisions (shootings were associated with a takeover on MLK Way that same night, he said).

Saka asked why automated cameras couldn’t be more extensively used; a City Attorney’s Office rep explained that technologically, cameras could be used for much more, but state law limits their use, so it would have to change. Councilmember Joy Hollingsworth asked how people participating in driving stunts such as donuts would get ticketed; Nelson said officers would first move in to “triage” life-safety dangers, and then would start gathering plate numbers. Saka wondered where the $500 fine came from. Davison said they felt it would be “meaningful” but not “excessive.”

Before the proposed new laws can take effect, they’ll have to come back to the committee for a vote, and then go to the full council.

VIDEO: Four City Council Position 8 candidates answer questions from West Seattle Democratic Women

(WSB photo: L-R, Alexis Mercedes Rinck, Tanya Woo, Tariq Yusuf, Saunatina Sanchez)

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

In a little over three weeks, King County Elections will mail ballots for the August 6 primary. Among the positions for which you’ll be narrowing the fields is Seattle City Council Position 8, one of the council’s two citywide positions. It’s on the ballot because of the complex situation resulting from Teresa Mosqueda moving to the King County Council midway through her term – under city rules, first the council had to appoint a replacement to serve until the next general election, and now someone will be elected to serve the final year of the unexpired term.

Four candidates filed to run for that remaining year – Alexis Mercedes Rinck, Saunatina Sanchez, Tanya Woo (who was appointed to serve until the fall election), and Tariq Yusuf. The only West Seattle forum for the race so far – perhaps the only one pre-primary – was held during last Thursday’s West Seattle Democratic Women dinner meeting at West Seattle Golf Course.

WSDW’s Ann Martin moderated. We recorded it on video – the acoustics were a bit challenged because of the fan running in the room on a very warm night, but our summaries of each answer are below the video so you can read them too.

FIRST: Opening statements:

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VIDEO: Krist Novoselić brings his new music-and-politics mix to Easy Street Records’ stage

30 years post-Nirvana, one of the superstar grunge band’s surviving members has a new band and a new cause. Krist Novoselić brought his new Bona Fide Band to Easy Street Records in The Junction tonight. Most bands who take the Easy Street stage are there to sell records; Novoselić was there to sell his new political party to a full house on a hot night.

Outside, signatures were solicited to support establishment of Novoselić’s new Cascade Party of Washington. He talked about it briefly after taking the stage – urging people to “raise hell” – but then quickly moved on to the music.

His bandmates include Mark Pickerel from Screaming Trees, singers Jillian Weiss and Jennifer Johnson from 3rd Secret (another Novoselić collaboration), and Kathy Moore (from Brad). The Easy Street show started a tour that also includes appearances in Aberdeen, Ellensburg, Bremerton, and Tacoma, over the next month.

WEEK AHEAD: City Council to consider transportation-levy changes, including Councilmember Saka’s proposal to restore 35th, Fauntleroy repaving plans

Tuesday morning, the City Council meets again as the Select Committee on the 2024 Transportation Levy, still working to finalize a package to send to voters this November. At this meeting, councilmembers will consider amendments to the mayor’s proposal. District 1 Councilmember Rob Saka, who chairs this committee as well as the regular Transportation Committee, has already announced his “chair’s amendment,” which would increase the levy’s cost by $100 million, to $1.55 billion; how it does that is detailed in this council-staff memo. Saka is now also proposing his own amendment that would restore the 35th SW and Fauntleroy Way repaving projects that were in the mayor’s draft levy proposal (which we reported here in April), then were scaled back or removed in the mayor’s final proposal (as we reported here in May).

Saka’s amendment would restore the full 35th SW Alaska-to-Morgan repaving project (much of 35th south of that was repaved last decade), and Fauntleroy Way repaving between 35th and Alaska “to keep roadway functional during light rail station construction.” We asked Councilmember Saka about this at Saturday’s Morgan Junction Community Festival; he said that while the mayor had made an “executive” decision to scale back 35th, community feedback led Saka to propose “legislatively” restoring it to the levy plan. He’ll need the support of a majority of his council colleagues, as is the case with the other amendments proposed – so far the agenda for Tuesday morning’s meeting also includes links to amendments from Councilmembers Tammy Morales, Sara Nelson, and Dan Strauss, plus a vice-chair’s amendment from Councilmember Joy Hollingsworth. The meeting includes a public-comment period (as do most council meetings); the agenda explains how to participate, either remotely or in-person at City Hall (you can also email the council any time – that info is here). This is the committee’s second-to-last scheduled meeting; they’re due to finalize the levy plan next month.

ELECTION 2024: 34th District Democrats’ endorsement meeting

Not much drama in Wednesday night’s 34th District Democrats‘ endorsements-focused meeting, with five weeks to go until ballots are mailed for the August 6 primary, Someone observed toward the meeting’s end that it was likely one of the shortest ever, less than two hours. Holding it online no doubt increased the efficiency, compared to paper ballots and counting tables. Also, endorsements for some key state/federal offices – most notably governor (they’re supporting Bob Ferguson) – were made in a block vote at a meeting earlier this spring.

Last night’s meeting also featured a block vote, in which the organization endorsed candidates including the incumbents for lieutenant governor, secretary of state, and superintendent of public instruction.

Two votes were contested – City Council citywide Position 8 and state Attorney General. The council race is for the final year of the unexpired term to which Teresa Mosqueda was elected (she decided to leave the city council to run for County Council, successfully). Councilmembers appointed Tanya Woo to fill the seat until the upcoming election. She is one of four people who filed to run for the unexpired year (after which the position will go back to voters for a full four-year term). All four candidates – Alexis Mercedes Rinck, Saunatina Sanchez, Tariq Yusuf, and Woo – were nominated for consideration, and all four made short pitches to the group. None is a West Seattleite, though Woo said she had attended Schmitz Park Elementary. The 34th DDs’ rules require 60 percent support for an endorsement; no one got that on the first ballot, which was split 32 for Mercedes Rinck, 21 for Woo, 9 for Sanchez, 3 for “no endorsement,” 1 for Yusuf. That sent Mercedes Rinck and Woo to a second ballot, from which Mercedes Rinck won the endorsement, 43 to 25 over Woo.

The other contested endorsement was for state Attorney General, with West Seattle resident and former regional U.S. Attorney Nick Brown vs. State Sen. Manka Dhingra, a King County senior deputy prosecutor. In speeches by those who nominated them, both were hailed as fighters who were ready to defend the people of Washington against whatever the future might bring. After two votes that were near-ties – with Brown a couple votes ahead of Dhingra both times – the group decided on a dual endorsement.

The third position that was the subject of a standalone vote was state Public Lands Commissioner, which Hilary Franz is leaving after two terms to run for Congress. Though he’s not the only Democrat in the race, King County Council chair Dave Upthegrove was the only candidate nominated for 34th DD endorsement consideration. He was the only candidate of the night to have anyone speak in opposition to him, a person who seemed to be blaming him for non-inclusive politics in Burien. Longtime 34th DDs member Chris Porter took issue with that, saying Upthegrove had long been intent on bringing more voices to the table. Ultimately, 67 voters supported endorsing Upthegrove, 10 voted for no endorsement.

WHAT’S NEXT: The West Seattle Democratic Women are having a forum with the four City Council Position 8 candidates at their meeting next Thursday. We haven’t heard of any other local forums yet.

PHOTOS, VIDEO: Vice President Kamala Harris visits West Seattle for an hour

3 PM: As we first reported Friday, Vice President Kamala Harris is visiting Seattle for two campaign fundraisers today, and one is expected to be in West Seattle, at a house on the west end of Genesee Hill. Officers, valet parkers, and other signs of a big event are in view there:

She left Los Angeles aboard Air Force Two earlier this afternoon and is due to land at Boeing Field around 3:30 pm. We don’t have official route information but if you’ll be on the road over the next few hours – including the high bridge – be mindful of possible traffic holds when the motorcade is in transit. Updates to come.

3:16 PM: The high-bridge camera has been turned off (traffic cameras along motorcade routes usually are) as of about a minute ago, indicating a traffic closure. … Other cameras have been deactivated too, including through The Junction. … Planes like Air Force Two won’t generally show on flight trackers, but the law-enforcement helicopter Guardian One is in the air near Boeing Field.

3:36 PM: Our crew in the fundraiser-site neighborhood says SWAT units, a K-9, and WSDOT incident-team vehicles have all arrived.

3:43 PM: Bridge camera’s back on but the westbound side is still devoid of traffic.

(Screengrab from SDOT camera)

(Added: Photo by Kevin Freitas)

3:56 PM: Motorcade just crossed the West Seattle Bridge. … It’s reopening to regular traffic. Note that Vice President Harris is scheduled to be at another fundraiser elsewhere in the city/region by 6 pm, so look for more traffic closures (including the bridge) on the return route. Her official schedule said her remarks here are planned for 4:35 pm. (Added) Thanks to Mark Verschell for video of the motorcade passing 44th/Alaska in The Junction:

Here’s our photographer’s view as they passed Genesee Hill Elementary:

Motorcycle officers conferred upon arrival:

(WSB photo)

4:36 PM: We’re still in the area and there are signs her departure is imminent – the bridge will be closing again too.

4:44 PM: Eastbound bridge now shut down per SDOT.

4:56 PM: Our crew says she hasn’t left yet.

5:03 PM: She just left, and the motorcade is headed for the bridge. Traffic has been stopped at California/Alaska waiting for them to pass.

5:12 PM: Police have just given the all-clear to fully reopen the West Seattle Bridge.

ADDED: Thanks to Jamie Kinney for video of the vice president waving through the window as her motorcade departed:

More of the sights outside the event – Jamie also caught U.S. Rep. Pramila Jayapal and Sen. Maria Cantwell arriving:

We spotted one local politician who wasn’t going to the event – she was just hanging out with the gawkers (and her kids), State Rep. Emily Alvarado:

And Ryan Levinsohn sent this view of Zoe and Arwyn waving as the motorcade passed:

Thanks again to everyone who sent photos and video!

UPDATE: Signs point to Vice President Kamala Harris visiting West Seattle on Saturday

12:16 PM: Thanks for the tips! All signs point to Vice President Kamala Harris including a West Seattle stop when she visits the area Saturday.

First we got reader reports about a block of NO PARKING signs along 55th SW on Genesee Hill for unspecified “special events” on Saturday. This is a block east of a residence owned by the listed hosts of a reception for Vice President Harris, as published by the Northwest Progressive Institute. While out sleuthing this, we happened onto a group of State Patrol motorcycles in The Junction …

and followed them all the way to the listed fundraiser hosts’ neighborhood, where they were talking with neighbors.

What we don’t know yet is what time on Saturday the vice president is expected to visit; she’s in San Diego today. The airspace notice for Seattle is from 1:15 pm tomorrow to 8:30 pm tomorrow. As is standard with presidential/vice presidential visits, watch for short-term road closures.

9:09 PM: Her official schedule is out now. She’s due to leave LA at 1:15 pm, arrive at Boeing Field at 3:30 pm, speak at her first stop at 4:35 pm (we believe that’s the one in WS) and at a second event at 6 pm, flying back to LA at 7:05 pm.

FOLLOWUP: Here’s how Councilmember Saka’s survey about transportation-levy priorities turned out

ORIGINAL THURSDAY NIGHT REPORT: As a City Council committee led by District 1 Councilmember Rob Saka continues reviewing the proposed transportation-levy renewal/expansion, Saka has released results of his survey about levy priorities. We published the participation link back in early April. He told his email-newsletter list today that more than 1,800 people took the survey; here’s how that broke out geographically:

Here’s how he wrote about and showed the results:

Of the high-level survey responses, the categories of “Street Repaving” (including filling potholes!), “Bridge Maintenance and Repair” (not surprising given the extended closure of the West Seattle bridge!) and “Safe Crossings, More and Accessible Pedestrian Signals, Better Lighting, Safe Routes to Schools” tied for the top combined first, second, and third choices of respondents.

I do understand that the categories of Personal Safety, Pedestrian Lighting at Stops, and, More Transit Routes & Stops, and New Sidewalks also ranked high and is strongly corroborated by the many qualitative comments.

And while other categories may not have ranked as high, they will likely be included in the final proposed Transportation Levy package – all which will be ultimately for the voters to decide on this Fall’s ballot.

The graph below shows the categorization of some of the major qualitative comments received. I read the many comments which, together with the quantitative survey results, will help inform my Office and guide my decisionmaking as we move forward together.

Soon, I will be sharing my draft “Chair’s Amendment” to the Mayor’s proposed Transportation Levy renewal package and this information will be available on Council’s website.

In the meantime, Councilmember Saka notes that one public hearing and four other meetings – all of which also include public-comment periods – remain for levy consideration:

June 4, 9:30 AM | Committee Meeting

June 4, 4:30 PM | Second Public Hearing

June 18, 9:30 AM | Committee Meeting

July 2, 9:30 AM | Committee Meeting

July 9, 2:00 PM | Full Council Meeting – Final Adoption of Proposed Levy Package to go before Voters in November 2024 General Election

Agendas explain how to comment, and will appear on this page when posted.

ADDED FRIDAY AFTERNOON: A new council memo details key points of Saka’s aforementioned levy amendment, though the specific text is not yet available.

ELECTION 2024: New ballot dropbox in West Seattle

Thanks to Conrad Cipoletti, vice president of the Morgan Community Association, for the tip! For the first time in four years, West Seattle has a new King County Elections ballot dropbox – the fourth one on the peninsula, after High Point Library, The Junction, and South Seattle College (WSB sponsor). This one has popped up on the sidewalk in front of the north end of Morgan Junction Park, in the 6400 block of California SW. We have an inquiry out to KC Elections; next election will be the August 6 primary. (And you’ll be able to see the new ballot box up close and personal during the Morgan Junction. Community Festival, which MoCA is presenting in and around the park 10 am-2 pm Saturday, June 15.)

Something to say about transportation levy? First of two public hearings Tuesday

May 20, 2024 4:33 pm
|    Comments Off on Something to say about transportation levy? First of two public hearings Tuesday
 |   Transportation | West Seattle news | West Seattle politics

The City Council has begun its two-month review of the proposed eight-year, $1.45 billion transportation levy, led by District 1 Councilmember Rob Saka, and tomorrow (Tuesday, May 21) brings the first of two public hearings. Here’s our most-recent report on the levy proposal and its possible West Seattle projects. Tomorrow’s hearing is at 4:30 pm at City Hall downtown (500 4th), but you also can comment remotely – this page explains how to sign up for that. (The second and final hearing will be on June 4.)

Former high-level SDOT manager departs Councilmember Rob Saka’s staff

After less than four months, former high-level SDOT manager Heather Marx is no longer working in District 1 City Councilmember Rob Saka‘s office. This was revealed by an auto-response message local community leaders received earlier this week after CC’ing Marx on email to Saka. We asked him about it at Tuesday night’s public-safety forum in South Park; he would only say, “Not going to comment on personnel matters.” That’s similar to a response we received from a council-staff spokesperson at day’s end, that “Heather Marx is no longer employed with the Seattle City Council. We can’t comment further on personnel matters at this time, though.” Marx, a West Seattle resident, had been serving as policy adviser, a role in which her SDOT background had been considered important, since Saka chairs the council’s Transportation Committee and is also leading the full-council Select Committee vetting the transportation levy. Marx led the West Seattle Bridge repair project 2020-2022 and then worked for SPD for a year and a half before joining Saka’s staff. Her online resume now describes her as self-employed.

Light turnout for city’s West Seattle/South Park public-safety forum

By Sean Golonka
Reporting for West Seattle Blog

Residents from across West Seattle and South Park expressed concerns about community safety and a desire to see more alternatives to policing at a city-convened public forum tonight, but most people in attendance described feeling at least somewhat safe in their neighborhood.

Among the few dozen attendees — who reported hailing from all over the area, South Park to Alki — 32 people responded to a poll at the event asking how safe they feel in their neighborhood, with 12% selecting “very safe,” 51% “somewhat safe,” 15% “somewhat unsafe,” and 6% “very unsafe.”

The forum held at Concord International Elementary in South Park was one of four community-safety forums held by the mayor’s office, with a fifth and final forum scheduled in Queen Anne later this week.

The Tuesday forum offered local residents a chance to speak with staff from about a dozen city agencies, including Seattle Police Department (SPD) and Seattle Department of Transportation, and was designed for local government officials to collect feedback meant to shape the One Seattle Safety Framework.

The framework, which has not yet been released, will guide the city’s strategic approach to public safety, and includes six key goals:

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UPDATE: City Council approves police officers’ contract; ‘good first step,’ says Saka

4:16 PM: District 1 City Councilmember Rob Saka was one of eight “yes” votes on the years-in-the-works Seattle Police officers contract approved during today’s just-concluded council meeting. The only “no” vote was Councilmember Tammy Morales, who wanted to delay the vote, saying the public hadn’t had enough time to hear about and comment on the agreement. But no other councilmember supported that idea. Saka said that, like Morales, he is also concerned about officer accountability and civilian oversight, and hopes to find “other ways” to “strengthen” them. Saka, vice chair of the Public Safety Committee, said he believes the pay increases in the new contract will bring SPD closer to “competitive pay,” which he sees as a “central component” in retention as well as hiring. It’s been two weeks since the mayor announced the tentative agreement, which covers contractless years through the end of 2023 (by which point the wage increases total 23%); read the full agreement here.

P.S. This is likely to be a topic at the mayoral public-safety forum for West Seattle/South Park tonight – 6 pm at Concord International Elementary (723 S. Concord) – the online RSVPs have closed but you can still attend if you didn’t sign up in advance, that page says.

6:05 PM: Shortly after the council vote, Mayor Harrell signed it.

Concerned about crime and other safety issues? Mayor’s regional forum Tuesday for West Seattle/South Park

If you want to hear what the city is doing about crime and/or other public-safety issues – and share your thoughts about what you’d like to see done – here’s another reminder: Tomorrow (Tuesday, May 14) brings Mayor Harrell‘s regional public-safety forum. It’s happening at 6 pm at Concord International Elementary School, 723 S. Concord in South Park (here’s a map). This is the third in a series of five, one in each of the city’s SPD-precinct areas (the Southwest Precinct serves both West Seattle and South Park). Here’s how the format’s been described in media advisories:

The public forum is part of a series of forums held in neighborhoods with community members across Seattle over the next month to share more about Mayor Harrell’s public safety framework and to receive input and feedback on safety priorities, allowing neighbors to engage in direct conversation with City leaders and representatives on public safety ideas and solutions.

Mayor Harrell and City leaders will make opening remarks, followed by interactive input sessions for participants. Community members will rotate in small groups to engage directly with City leaders and provide input informing action and policy priorities.

According to an SPD event announcement, these are the city departments expected to be represented:

Seattle Police Department
Seattle Fire Department
CARE (Community Assisted Response & Engagement Team)
Seattle Police Department Alternative Response Team
PARKS – Park Rangers
Seattle Police Department Youth Liaison
Department of Education and Early Learning
Seattle Department of Transportation
King County Metro
Department of Neighborhood
Office of Economic Development
(corrected) Human Services Department
Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs

They’re asking for attendees to RSVP – you can do that here.

ELECTION 2024: Here’s who’s running locally

checkbox.jpgNow that Filing Week is over, the ballot lineups are set for local offices – here’s who you’ll see on the August primary ballot (unless they withdraw by the deadline later today):

*34th District State Representative, Position 1 – incumbent Rep. Emily Alvarado (D) vs. Kimberly Cloud (R)

*34th District State Representative, Position 2 – incumbent Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon (D) vs. Jolie Lansdowne (R), who ran for Position 1 two years ago

*City Council citywide Position 8 – Councilmember Tanya Woo‘s appointment to this nonpartisan position runs through fall, so there’s an election for one more year of this position’s unexpired term; Woo has filed, as have Saul Patu, Alexis Mercedes Rinck, Saunatina Sanchez, and Tariq Yusuf

*King County Superior Court – 54 judicial positions are open; not a single one has drawn multiple candidates

You can see the lineups – with links to the candidates’ websites, if any – including statewide, U.S. House, and U.S. Senate races, by going here. Primary Election Day is August 6.

P.S. For those who asked about perennial candidate Goodspaceguy – he’s filed for U.S. Senate.

New public-safety director for mayor’s office: West Seattleite Natalie Walton-Anderson

At the top of the list of mayor’s-office cabinet/staff changes announced today is a new role for a West Seattle resident: Natalie Walton-Anderson is the new director of public-safety for Mayor Bruce Harrell. Until recently, Walton-Anderson led the criminal division in City Attorney Ann Davison‘s office, appointed by Davison in 2021. Today’s announcement also notes her background includes management roles in the U.S. Attorney’s Office and King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office. You can likely expect to see her at next Tuesday’s mayoral public-safety forum for District 1, 6 pm at Concord International Elementary in South Park (RSVP required – the link is in our calendar listing).