West Seattle, Washington
Got a question or comment for City Councilmember Lisa Herbold? She’s still keeping monthly “office hours” – right now, online/by phone, because of the stay-home order. Lots of hot topics, too – the bridge, the pandemic response, public safety (since that’s the committee she chairs), more. Her next “office hours” are 3 pm-6 pm this Friday (May 29th); since “walk-in” doesn’t work online, you need to set an appointment via her staffer Alex Clardy – email firstname.lastname@example.org. Future dates are listed at the end of her latest weekly newsletter. (WSB photo: CM Herbold photographing bridge during April 14th tour)
With everything else that’s been going on, you might be forgiven for forgetting that this is a major election year, too. Last week was candidate-filing week in our state, and the list of who’ll be on the August primary ballot has just been finalized. We have heard from a West Seattle resident who is running for statewide office – Joshua Casey is one of two challengers running against first-term state auditor Pat McCarthy. Here’s his announcement:
Joshua Casey, a resident of Seattle, has made the decision to join the race for Washington’s State Auditor. He is challenging the incumbent who, according to Casey, potentially put lives at risk by not understanding the risks of poor planning for a pandemic or disaster.
When asked why he joined the race, Casey said, “It has become apparent through this pandemic that the incumbent auditor’s lack of technical expertise has indirectly hindered state and local government’s response to COVID-19. Routine audits employed in the private sector, like comprehensive pandemic and disaster planning assessments, have been passed over at the auditor’s office—even as the budget increased by almost 20% in two years. As a result, state and local government were forced to work through issues in real time that, with better planning provided through an audit, could have been avoided.” Casey then said, “In many states, to be the state auditor, a CPA (Certified Public Accountant) license is required, and when you see poor leadership like this, it is clear why this is the case. To become a CPA, a candidate usually must have an advanced degree, pass the CPA exam, have hands-on experience, and often pass an ethics exam. For this reason, in the private sector, a CPA license is required to sign audit reports—why should the public sector be held to a lower standard?”
Joshua Casey is the only CPA running for the office and is the only candidate with relevant financial and operational audit experience. He has a bachelor’s degree in accounting and a master’s degree in information systems and operations management from the University of Florida. Also, he has over a decade of accounting and auditing experience, including leading and managing teams for two top global audit firms, Deloitte and PwC.
“If elected, in my first few days of holding office, I would identify high-risk areas that are not currently being audited, like a comprehensive disaster preparedness assessment, and add them to the schedule, while also leaving flexibility in the process to address emerging risks,” Casey said. “Then, as I’ve done with many clients, I would review the existing audit processes and identify areas worth modernizing with cutting edge audit technology like Robotics Process Automation (RPA) — with the aim to streamline existing processes and better utilize the existing budget to perform more efficient and higher quality audits.”
Joshua Casey brings a combination of expertise and leadership to his campaign for Washington State Auditor. Further, as a CPA he is required to be independent and objective in his audits—unlike his opponents. Casey looks forward to applying his knowledge in office while prioritizing the safety of all Washingtonians.
Incumbent McCarthy, who like Casey is running as a Democrat, is a former Pierce County Executive; the state website says there’s also a Republican in the race, Chris Leyba of Tacoma. This year’s statewide primary is August 4th.
The State Legislature is done for the year, and Gov. Inslee continues to sign bills. Today, one of them included high-profile legislation by 34th District State Sen. Joe Nguyen of West Seattle. Here’s the announcement:
Gov. Jay Inslee today signed into law comprehensive regulations on the use of facial recognition technology in Washington.
Senate Bill 6280, sponsored by Sen. Joe Nguyen, prohibits the use of facial recognition technology for ongoing surveillance and limits its use to acquiring evidence of serious criminal offense following authorization of a search warrant.
“Right now, we have seen this technology already being used without much concern for the moral implications that are associated with it,” said Nguyen. “This bill will change that, and ensure that facial recognition isn’t being used unless there are regulatory checks and balances.”
Given reports of the technology’s bias against women, trans individuals, and people of color, SB 6280 establishes guidelines and oversight to protect against discriminatory applications.
“Now is the time to really work on this and find ways to root out the bias, so people across the country can be protected from unnecessary and intrusive surveillance,” Nguyen said.
The bill requires agencies using the technology to produce an accountability report outlining its intended use. Additionally, the use of facial recognition technology would be subject to formal review to ensure accurate representation.
“This bill begins the process of catching our laws up to where our technology is at,” said Nguyen. “I’m proud that Washington is the leader on this issue.”
As noted here earlier this month, though the Log House Museum is closed for now, the Southwest Seattle Historical Society is producing videos and other online info you can access at home. Checking the SWSHS website this morning, we found this video, published this week – the story of Katherine Smith, the Alki woman who helped lead the fight for women’s right to vote. Our state approved it in 1910, a decade before the 19th Amendment. (Read more about Ms. Smith here.)
P.S. Remember that you too are making history right now, and the SWSHS has a special way for you to share it.
(West Seattle Bridge cracks, from sdotblog.seattle.gov)
When the safety shutdown of the West Seattle Bridge was announced Monday, a City Council briefing was promised. As noted in our Wednesday followup, City Councilmember Lisa Herbold said it appeared that would happen next Monday (March 30th). Now the agenda is out and that’s confirmed – 9:30 am Monday, during the council’s regular “briefing” meeting, It’s billed as “Presentation on the Condition of the West Seattle Bridge,” with SDOT officials. The council meets by phone these days but it’ll still be live on Seattle Channel, online (we’ll carry the feed here too) or cable 21, or you can dial in to listen at 206-684-8566.
If not for COVID-19, tonight would bring the monthly West Seattle Crime Prevention Council community meeting at the Southwest Precinct, usually starting with a crime-trend briefing from local police leadership. Since that’s not happening, we asked them if they’d provide a briefing for us to publish. This is what operations commander Lt. Steve Strand sent:
The Seattle Police Department is making adjustments, during this unprecedented time, to provide public safety to our various communities. The Southwest Precinct is fully functional and our employees are healthy, as we manage our operations, and respond to calls for service. A few changes we have made:
Our Precinct Lobby is locked with a sign telling potential walk-ups how to contact us.
Our Precinct is not holding public meetings but will explore the possibility of alternative formats via email or internet.
Calls are being screened for online, or telephonic, reporting when feasible. Officers are still responding in-person and will take necessary precautions by wearing Personal Protective Equipment if recommended.
Emphasis Patrols have been modified, or canceled, due to the current lack of activity in most of the locations.
It will take some time to see how this will affect our crime trends but for now we are focused on life safety and getting safely through this precarious time.
The last part was in response to our question about how crimes like burglary and package theft have been trending, given that far fewer homes are unoccupied in the daytime (which is prime time for those crimes, contrary to popular belief). Leafing through the Southwest Precinct sectors’ Tweets by Beat (automated brief incident type/area mentions that are aggregated on the WSB Crime Watch page), we only see one residential burglary in the past three days, for example.
P.S. Regarding the “emphasis patrol” areas, those have included Westwood Village, The Junction, and South Park.
First numbers are in for the presidential primary. First, the STATEWIDE numbers (updated 9:52 pm):
Bernie Sanders – 335,498 – 32.71%
Joseph R. Biden – 333,414 – 32.51%
Elizabeth Warren – 126,093 – 12.29%
Michael Bloomberg – 113,422 – 11.06%
Pete Buttigieg – 59,868 – 5.84%
Amy Klobuchar – 31,425 – 3.06%
Tulsi Gabbard – 8,550 – 0.83%
Andrew Yang – 4,872 – 0.48%
Uncommitted Delegates – 4,828 – 0.47%
Tom Steyer – 3,098 – 0.3%
Michael Bennet – 1,561 0.15%
Write-in – 1,110 – 0.11%
Cory Booker – 1,054 – 0.1%
John Delaney – 461 – 0.04%
Deval Patrick – 393 – 0.04%
We will update those numbers as the evening goes on. Next, here are KING COUNTY numbers, and since the next release is not until tomorrow, these will NOT change tonight (10:03 pm, substituted ordered table for screengrab):
Bernie Sanders – 130,621 – 33.61%
Joseph R. Biden – 126,252 – 32.49%
Elizabeth Warren – 59,078 – 15.20%
Michael Bloomberg – 34,011 – 8.75%
Pete Buttigieg – 20,041 – 5.16%
Amy Klobuchar – 11,453 – 2.95%
Tulsi Gabbard 2,281 0.59%
Andrew Yang – 1,752 – 0.45%
Uncommitted Delegates – 1,121 – 0.29%
Tom Steyer – 729 – 0.19%
Michael Bennet – 394 – 0.10%
Cory Booker – 350 – 0.09%
Write-in – 339 – 0.09 %
Deval Patrick 112 0.03 %
John Delaney – 99 – 0.03%
The Republican primary was uncontested.
That’s the King County Elections ballot dropbox in The Junction, one of two in West Seattle. You can take your ballot to an official dropbox up until 8 pm sharp to vote in today’s presidential primary. The one in our photo is on the sidewalk alongside the parking lot on the southwest corner of 44th/Alaska. The other West Seattle box is by High Point Library on the southeast corner of 35th/Raymond. There are also boxes at the libraries in White Center (1409 SW 107th) and South Park (8604 8th Ave. S.) – the full countywide list/map is here. The slot is right on the front of the boxes – you should be able to get your ballot in without touching the box, if you’re worried about that. The county says it’s emptied the busiest boxes multiple times already today but if you see signs one is full – report it to 206-296-8683.
You of course can use the U.S. Postal Service too, but if you are going to do that, get to a post office ASAP, because it has to be postmarked today. West Seattle’s two post offices are in The Junction at 4426 California SW and at Westwood Village, 2721 SW Trenton. As usual, we expect to see one round of results shortly after 8 pm, and daily updates thereafter. Democrats will use the election results to allocate delegates, and the next step will be legislative-district caucuses like the one for our area, the 34th District, on April 26th – that process is explained on the 34th District Democrats‘ Election HQ page.
That’s video of last Wednesday’s City Council Transportation and Utilities Committee meeting, one of the last committee meetings before councilmembers’s decision to change their schedule because of the coronavirus outbreak – for at least the rest of this month, they’ll hold their weekly full-council meetings by phone, and they’re canceling committee meetings. One major West Seattle item was part of the T&UC’s meeting last week – action to finalize the alley vacation originally (and contentiously) approved in 2014 for The Whittaker (the two-building complex at 4755 Fauntleroy Way SW). We mentioned last month that the finalization was going to the City Council, after developers LMC paid $2.3 million for the city right-of-way property that now goes through and alongside their site. Committee members were briefed by Beverly Barnett, the longtime SDOT lead on alley and street vacations, and Brad Reisinger from LMC, who went through this slide deck recapping the project and the “public benefit” features they included as part of the deal:
But councilmembers had questions, primarlly District 1’s Lisa Herbold and (corrected) District 2’s Tammy Morales, and they decided to postpone a vote until there were answers. On Wednesday, that meant a delay until the committee’s March 18th meeting, but since all committee meetings were shelved two days later, now there’s no new date. One question Herbold wanted answered was raised during public comment earlier in the meeting by West Seattle community advocate Deb Barker – she noted that left turns onto Fauntleroy from The Whittaker’s center drive were supposed to be prohibited, but there’s no signage or striping indicating that.
The coronavirus concerns have NOT changed the timetable for our state’s presidential primary, so we’re reminding you again today: The King County Elections ballot dropboxes like that one in The Junction are open until 8 pm Tuesday (March 10th); locations around the county are on this list – West Seattle has two, SW Alaska west of California SW, and SW Raymond east of 35th SW. You can also send your ballot by postal mail, no stamp needed, but to be sure it’s postmarked by Tuesday, you’ll want to mail it by tomorrow. Need a ballot or envelope? Here’s what to do.
That’s the King County Elections ballot dropbox in The Junction – one of your options for getting your ballot in before the deadline for our state’s presidential primary. It’s just west of the bus stop on the south side of SW Alaska, west of California SW. West Seattle’s other dropbox is on the southeast side of the High Point Library, south side of SW Raymond east of 35th SW. Other not-too-distant dropboxes are at the White Center and South Park libraries; their locations and the others around the county are on this list. If you use a dropbox, you have until 8 pm Tuesday, March 10th, to drop off your ballot. You of course can send it by postal mail, too. no stamp needed, but you want to be sure it’s postmarked by March 10th, so mailing it by March 9th is a good idea.
Not registered? It’s not too late – tomorrow is the deadline for online registration, but you can register in person until 8 pm on Election Day – more info here.
Remember that as first discussed here, you have to make a party declaration (“my party preference is the Democratic Party” or “I am a Republican” ) on the envelope, along with signing.
Need a ballot or envelope? Here’s what to oo.
Five students from Explorer West Middle School (WSB sponsor) visited Olympia to make the case for a sustainability bill. EWMS’s Dawn Fornear sent the photo, report, and link to video of their testimony:
Every year, eighth graders at Explorer West Middle School, with Social Studies teacher Tim Owens, tackle their choice of social issues and complete group projects aptly named “Change The World.” They present their findings to all grades and to a panel of social advocates.
This year, one of our student groups is tackling the issue of sustainable packaging, and this group was invited by Senator Mona Das to attend a hearing in Olympia. Our students researched Bill 6213, which would expand the ban on polystyrene products. Primavera Faggella, Christoph Lawrence, Mac Peterson, Hans Rehkopf, and Maji Williams offered their well-researched testimony and opinions, which can be viewed here. We are so proud of their hard work!
The committee that heard the students’ testimony on Tuesday, Environment and Energy, is chaired by – as you might have noticed in the video – 34th District Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon of West Seattle. The bill currently is still before his committee for consideration.
(WSB file photos from 2014 council hearing)
Six years after a City Council vote closed a bitter political chapter in West Seattle development history, the current council will consider a coda of sorts. It’s the official finalization (PDF) of the alley vacation required by The Whittaker (4755 Fauntleroy Way SW). An item on the council’s Introduction and Referral Calendar for the week ahead finalizes the vacation – the city’s relinquishing of the alley, for which the development paid what was considered fair market value, noted in the new document as $2.3 million. The council in April 2014 gave its approval to the vacation despite active opposition from then-Mayor Mike McGinn, who primarily objected to the plan for non-union Whole Foods Market (WSB sponsor) to be part of the development (citing other reasons too). A union-led campaign rallied local opposition, and eventually there was a showdown at council chambers downtown. The vacation was approved, and the new document shows that $2.3 million purchase was finalized about a year and a half now. This action is basically a technicality but will go through a committee vote first. SIDE NOTE: (corrected) Only one of the councilmembers serving now was on the council then (Kshama Sawant took office in January 2014).
The otherwise-low-profile King Conservation District made history – and headlines – with its use of online voting for a Board of Supervisors seat, and now the results are in – Chris Porter of West Seattle won in a landslide, with 4,142 votes to his opponent Stephen Deutschman‘s 989. As explained here, three of the board’s five positions are elected, the other two appointed. Porter has been serving as an associate supervisor; read more about him here. Not familiar with the KCD? Its mission is explained here.
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
Our area’s City Councilmember Lisa Herbold is now the council’s lead on crime/safety issues, as new chair of the Public Safety and Human Services Committee, and that’s where West Seattle Chamber of Commerce members focused their questions following her presentation to their lunch meeting today..
It was her first WSCC appearance since she won re-election in November, and the two-dozen-plus in attendance included her general-election opponent Phil Tavel as well as local entrepreneurs who actively campaigned for him.
Asked during the campaign about criticism from local businesses, she told us businesses from other parts of the city had reached out for help more than those here, but she offered optimism today for a fresh start, telling the lunch attendees that she has championed neighborhood chambers around the city and “I always hoped I could work more with the West Seattle Chamber. … I will do everything I can to be your champion.” Then she launched into an explanation of her current focuses and how the council works, noting regarding councilmembers’ oversight of city departments – “we don’t tell (them) what to do.” We recorded her presentation and most of the Q&A (minus an added few at the meeting’s very end):
If you don’t have time/inclination to watch, here’s how it went:
With less than one month to go until our state’s presidential primary, and other elections later this year, it’s time for a registration reminder – especially first-time voters! Tthe announcement is from Bonnie Gilbert:
Hey Chief Sealth Students, are you registered to Vote?
Did you know that anyone 16 or older can pre-register? As long as you turn 18 before any upcoming election you can then vote in that election!
Stop by the registration table during lunch on Wednesday or Thursday. It’s quick and easy! Know the last four digits of your social security number or bring your license.
OR sign up online!
Signing up is SO EASY – go to this link to the voter registration website – https://olvr.votewa.gov – Make your voice heard!
See Ms. Whited if you have questions. email@example.com or email Bonnie Gilbert at firstname.lastname@example.org
Not a Chief Sealth student but want to register? Simply follow the link to the voter registration website above.
If you go to that site now and see a screen that says it’s too late to sign up for “the current election
– THAT’S NOT TRUE for our area; we’re not part of today’s special election. Our area’s next election is the March 10th presidential primary, and March 2 is the online registration deadline.
West Seattle’s next big transportation project is moving forward. That was noted during a Move Seattle levy update during today’s City Council Transportation and Utilities Committee meeting. The project is the conversion of Metro Route 120 to the RapidRide H Line, a joint project of SOOT and Metro with components including extensive repaving of Delridge Way (north of the section that was repaved in 2013). During the levy briefing, which started 38:17 into the meeting (video above), SDOT reps said they expect the project to go out to bid later this month. Before then, they’ll provide a project-specific briefing to the council on what’s happened between 90 percent and 100 percent design. (We reported on the 90-percent stage back in November.)
P.S. Back to the Move Seattle status – here’s the overview slide deck presented during the meeting:
One other note of local interest – on page 7, the Lander Street Overpass project in SODO is mentioned, with a projected opening in “late 2020,” though the project website still says “summer 2020.” (We’re asking about the discrepancy.)
West Seattle/South Park City Councilmember Lisa Herbold has agreed to pay $500 to settle an ethics complaint. It stems from last fall’s appearance of an unhitched trailer on the street outside her Highland Park home, shortly after a former council candidate had threatened to tow RVs to councilmembers’ homes. The night it turned up, Herbold texted Police Chief Carmen Best to ask what to do, and the Ethics and Elections Commission said she shouldn’t have done that. The backstory, allegation, and even the texts are all in the settlement document, which you can read here (PDF) or below:
The trailer was eventually found to have belonged to a woman who had it towed there, near her family’s house. The settlement is expected to be finalized at the commission’s meeting tomorrow (4 pm at the Municipal Tower downtown).
Though fireworks are illegal in Seattle, they’re rampant, particularly on the Fourth of July.
They’re particularly easy to get here, since West Seattle is next door to unincorporated King County, where they’re legal on the Fourth and sold for almost a week leading uo to the holiday.
Many on both sides of the line have long called for the county to join its biggest cities in banning fireworks too. The calls intensified after a deadly fire last year. King County Council Vice Chair Joe McDermott, whose district includes West Seattle and White Center, says he supports a ban. Today he told WSB that he’s been working on the ban proposal with both the county permitting division and King County Executive Dow Constantine, and that he expects Constantine to send the proposal to the council next week.
Even if a ban passed quickly, though, state law requires a year before it could take effect, so there would be at least one more year of legal fireworks. When this all came up for discussion last September at a North Highline Unincorporated Area Council meeting in White Center, 34th District Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon talked about legislation to change that.
Now, he’s introduced it – HB 2307, “to allow local governments to ban fireworks immediately” – and tells WSB it’s progressing in the House. Our area’s senior state Representative, Eileen Cody, is a co-sponsor. The Local Government Committee took action to advance it last Friday, two days after a hearing.
To comment on that bill, you can go here. As for the proposed county ban, we’ll publish a followup when it’s introduced.
In three weeks, ballots hit the mail for our state’s March 10th presidential primary, which, this time, counts. If you’re thinking about voting Democratic, the 34th District Democrats want you to know they have just added a section to their website with info about how the primary and caucuses will work this year. They’re not endorsing a candidate, so this isn’t info about candidates – just about the process, which starts with the March 10th primary and April 26th legislative-district-level caucus. The Secretary of State’s office also has an FAQ about the primary, plus the official list of who’ll be on the ballot.
“We used to have a 100-hour work week, 6 days a week. In 1940 the US made the ‘radical’ shift to a 40-hour week that we enjoy today. Now 80 years later we need to re-think that paradigm.” So tweeted 34th District State Sen. Joe Nguyen of West Seattle tonight, after introducing Senate Bill 6516, which would downsize the official workweek to 32 hours in our state. After that, qualifying workers would have to be paid time and a half. Here’s the full text of the bill, as introduced, which includes a variety of exceptions:
Lots of questions about the helicopter activity over The Junction. As we’ve answered everyone who messaged us, it’s just TV, checking out the anti-war demonstration (which we previewed here last night). So far not the size of last month’s pro-impeachment rally but participants are following the same pattern as that one, walking with the light in the Walk-All-Ways crosswalk at California/Alaska, so no traffic impacts.
“I take this oath in gratitude and service, inspired by the kind of city I want for my grandchildren,” declared District 1 (West Seattle/South Park) City Councilmember Lisa Herbold this afternoon, right after taking the oath to start her second term. Her grandchildren, Jamaya and Jamil, were right there with her – Jamaya administered the oath, and Jamil fastened the customary pin. You can see Herbold’s oath and speech starting at 10:45 into the official Seattle Channel video:
Councilmember Herbold said her priorities, as set by District 1 voters, include fighting homelessness by doubling the investment in permanent supportive housing, progressive taxation including the high-earners’ income tax “in order to make property taxes, sales taxes, and taxes on small businesses less regressive.” Since Herbold will be chairing the committee overseeing public safety, it’s also notable that she listed as a priority that “We’re going to get back in full compliance with, and out from under, the consent decree, ensure constitutional policing, while also meeting our goals for Seattle Police Department staffing.” She also vowed to “increase access to transit, make all transportation options safer, and work to deliver Sound Transit 3 on time, and to mitigate disruption of D-1 neighborhoods.” Supporting “truly transit-oriented development” in The Junction and Delridge was on her priority list too. She promised to continue “truly superior constituent services,” too. After listing priorities, she declared that her November victory was a result of “people power,” saying that, “If we continue to mobilize like we have, our voices will change the status quo, wherever and whenever change is most needed.”
Herbold will serve as acting council president for part of this month, once the new president, Councilmember Lorena González (a West Seattleite who holds citywide Position 9 and is midway through her 4-year term) goes on maternity leave; councilmembers serve monthly rotations as president pro tem, and this year, Herbold is up first. González’s unanimous election as council president makes her the first Latinx person to serve in that role (more on that here); she became the council’s first Latinx member in 2015.