West Seattle, Washington
The city’s HALA Mandatory Housing Affordability upzoning plan has yet to go before the City Council for a final vote because the neighborhood coalition appeal of its Environmental Impact Statement remains unresolved. Testimony was scheduled to resume this morning before city Hearing Examiner Ryan Vancil. This is the 11th day of testimony, but the 10 days so far have not been consecutive; it began with one week in late June (June 25-29) and continued with one week in late July (July 23-27). This entire week is also blocked for testimony, Monday-Friday, and four more days are on the HE calendar too – August 30th and 31st and September 4th and 7th. This week, the neighborhood coalition is scheduled to wrap up its case with witnesses today and Tuesday and in the first hour of Wednesday, before the city calls more of its witnesses. Those testifying this week, according to a document provided to the HE, will include West Seattleites Christy Tobin-Presser and Cindi Barker as part of the appeal case; city witnesses will include city employees and consultants including Geoff Wentlandt, the city Office of Planning and Community Development lead in preparing the EIS. The proceedings are in the Hearing Examiner’s chambers on the 40th floor of the city Municipal Tower downtown (700 5th Ave.), open to the public; audio of each day’s proceedings is posted in the online case file.
BACKSTORY: The proposal would upzone property in urban villages, as well as commercial/multifamily property everywhere in the city, while requiring developers to either build affordable housing in their projects or pay fees to fund it elsewhere. The appeal was announced in November, two weeks after the city released the EIS. Five West Seattle neighborhood groups are among the 31 organizations from around the city in the coalition – Alki Community Council, Fauntleroy Neighborhood Association, Morgan Community Association, West Seattle Junction Neighborhood Organization, and the Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Coalition. An appeal is not a lawsuit, though it could be a precursor to one; once the HE rules – usually within a few weeks of the end of testimony – that will be the city’s final decision in the matter, but the decision could be challenged in court. In city appeals, the burden is on the appellants to prove that a city decision should be overturned or amended. The City Council has continued to review the legislation that would implement HALA MHA, though its Select Committee on MHA has yet to schedule its next meeting.
The third vote count of the primary election is out, and in the 34th District State Senate race, Joe Nguyen‘s lead over Shannon Braddock has widened in a big way – now more than 1,400 votes. The vote counts won’t be final until August 21st; here’s how the full 11-candidate field stands:
Joe Nguyen 10,505 29.82%
Shannon Braddock 9,014 25.59%
Lois Schipper 3,408 9.68%
Sofia Aragon 3,109 8.83%
Darla Green 2,866 8.14%
Courtney Lyle 2,184 6.2%
Lisa Ryan Devereau 1,152 3.27%
Debi Wagner 1,128 3.2%
Annabel Quintero 911 2.59%
Hillary Shaw 585 1.66%
Lemuel W. Charleston 361 1.02%
In the just-released second count of primary-election results, Joe Nguyen has widened his lead in the no-incumbent 34th District State Senate race. On election night, he led Shannon Braddock by 199 votes; after today’s count, he is 461 votes ahead. As the top two by far in the 11-candidate field, the two West Seattle Democrats will advance to the November general election. (See the full updated results slate here.) The winner will succeed Sharon Nelson as state senator for the 34th Legislative District, which includes West Seattle, White Center and vicinity, Vashon and Maury Islands, and part of Burien.
8:10 PM: The first vote count is in. Here’s how the no-incumbent 34th District State Senate race stands (updated with all 11 candidates, then updated again with vote counts – percentages are rounded to the nearest tenth):
Joe Nguyen 6,769 27.7%
Shannon Braddock 6,570 26.9%
Lois Schipper 2,324 9.5%
Darla Green 2,158 8.8%
Sofia Aragon 2,025 8.3%
Courtney Lyle 1,669 6.8%
Lisa Ryan Devereau 850 3.5%
Debi Wagner 796 3.3%
Annabel Quintero 609 2.5%
Hillary Shaw 416 1.7%
Lem Charleston 264 1.1%
And this election’s one ballot measure, the King County Prop 1 replacement levy for automated fingerprint ID: 56% yes, 44% no.
ADDED 9:31 PM: Once the results were in (next count isn’t until Wednesday), we stopped by the top two candidates’ parties for photos and a quick comment on video. Joe Nguyen was at Ounces in North Delridge:
Shannon Braddock was at Pizzeria 22 in Admiral:
We asked them both the same question: How will you appeal to the people who didn’t vote for you on this ballot?
Both are West Seattle residents. The 34th District also includes White Center and vicinity, Vashon and Maury Islands, and part of Burien. Next results update is expected Wednesday afternoon.
Quick followup on the city’s planned purchase of a parcel expanding the Orchard Street Ravine “passive park” in Gatewood – the $235,000 purchase, to be funded by Park District levy money, just got unanimous final approval from the full Council. The 5600-square-foot parcel at 7137 38th SW, on a slope past a dead end (shown on this map), currently holds a dilapidated house that will be demolished, with an additional ~$125,000 to be spent on that and other costs. Full backstory is in our two previous reports – here and here.
If you haven’t already voted, dig up your ballot to get it done and send it out! Tuesday is your last chance to get it in either a dropbox or a mailbox. It’s not a long ballot (here’s what it looks like) but you have three major decisions:
–34th District State Senate: 11 people are running for this open seat. Which two will advance to November? Here’s the order in which they’re listed on the ballot, with party preference – the names link to their infopages on the state website (with everything from resumé toplines to links showing you who donated to their campaigns):
Joe Nguyen (Prefers Democratic Party)
Lois Schipper (Prefers Democratic Party)
Sofia Aragon (Prefers Democratic Party)
Courtney Lyle (Prefers Republican Party)
Hillary Shaw (States No Party Preference)
Annabel Quintero (Prefers Democratic Party)
Lemuel W. Charleston (Prefers Democrat Party)
Shannon Braddock (Prefers Democratic Party)
Darla Green (Prefers Republican Party)
Debi Wagner (Prefers Independent Party)
Lisa Ryan Devereau (Prefers Democratic Party)
We’ve covered four forums in this race, all with video: White Center Chamber of Commerce‘s forum, West Seattle Chamber of Commerce‘s forum, West Seattle Democratic Women‘s forum, 34th District Democrats‘ forum.
–U.S. Senate: Incumbent Maria Cantwell has 28 challengers. Which two of the 29 candidates (all listed here) will make it to the general election?
–King County Prop 1: Replacement levy for Automated Fingerprint Identification System Services
TO VOTE: This is the first election with prepaid postage, so if you send your ballot via US Postal Service mail, you do NOT need a stamp. You can also use a county dropbox – there’s one in West Seattle, alongside the High Point Library at 3411 SW Raymond, and you have until 8 pm Tuesday to drop off your ballot there. (The full countywide list is here.)
The Gatewood park known as Orchard Street Ravine might soon be a little bigger. Tomorrow, a City Council committee will consider the proposed purchase of a parcel adjacent to OSR, 7137 38th SW, a 5,600-square-foot parcel north of park boundaries (as shown on this map), currently holding the dilapidated century-plus-old house shown in the King County Assessor’s Office photo above. The purchase price would be $235,000, and it would come from Park District levy funds. Documents for tomorrow’s meeting of the Civic Development, Public Assets, and Native Communities Committee show the city expects to spend an additional $25,000 on “staff time, title insurance, and closing cost,” plus “up to $100,000 for demolition of the house.” We’re told that local residents plan to speak in favor of the purchase at tomorrow’s committee meeting, which includes a public-comment period. They will include members of the Friends of Orchard Street Ravine and Morgan Community Association, says MoCA president Deb Barker, who shared a letter that park steward Carol Schultz sent to the committee, saying in part:
We’re excited to hear that the proposal is coming before the committee for review tomorrow. I wanted to contact you and let you know that there are many supporters and users of Orchard Street Ravine. After many years of volunteer work it is now a beautiful green space with a stairway and trails connecting neighborhoods and nature.
With the increasing density of West Seattle the proposed park expansion will be a real benefit to the community and natural habitat. Orchard Street Ravine is an important green spaces connector as well as a beautiful natural area. A stairway built as part of the 2006 bond connects upper and lower parts of the neighborhood. It is a link in the Green Crescent or Morgan Junction Loop trail. The trail connects Morgan Junction, Orchard Street Ravine, Solstice Park, Lincoln Park, and Lowman Beach Park helping to create a total of a 2.5 mile walk. It is listed in the King County West Seattle Trails map.
The 2006 bond also set up a Vegetation Management Plan for reforestation with native plantings that we’ve been following since then. We’ve gradually reforesting what used to be a jungle of blackberries, ivy and clematis vine. We plant hundreds of new native plants every year and it’s now filled with NW native plants and wildlife and birds have returned. … Approving the proposed expansion would be a real benefit to the community and environment.
You can see the slide deck prepared for tomorrow’s meeting (2 pm Wednesday) here. If the committee approves the purchase, it would move on to a final vote by the full City Council.
If you haven’t seen the coverage we published this morning on partner site White Center Now: The White Center Chamber of Commerce hosted the last major pre-primary forum in the 34th District State Senate race. Six of the 11 candidates participated in last night’s forum in a forum presented by the White Center Chamber of Commerce, held outdoors at TommySound studios in South Delridge.
Aaron Garcia moderated; our video above includes the forum in its entirety. Participating, left to right, were:
Schipper lives in White Center; Aragon lives in Burien; the other four live in West Seattle. All are on your ballot as Democrats except for Shaw, who filed with “no preference” regarding party. They are running to succeed Sen. Sharon Nelson, the Maury Island-residing Democrat who decided not to seek re-election. If you don’t have time to watch the video, see our full report on WCN for toplines of their replies to the questions. And be sure to get your ballot into a mailbox (postage is now prepaid!) or dropbox by the evening of Tuesday, August 7th.
Two West Seattle events before week’s end will each offer a chance to talk with/hear from two city councilmembers:
THURSDAY: The West Seattle Transportation Coalition has just announced that its guests this Thursday night will be Councilmembers Lisa Herbold (WS/South Park District 1) and Teresa Mosqueda (citywide Position 8). (6:30 pm July 26th, Neighborhood House High Point, 6400 Sylvan Way SW)
FRIDAY: Councilmember Herbold’s periodic in-district office hours will include Councilmember Lorena González (citywide Position 9, and a WS resident) for the first hour and a half, according to her weekly update. (2-6:45 pm July 27th, with CM Gonzalez there until 3:30 pm, Southwest Neighborhood Service Center, 2801 SW Thistle)
Both are open to the public – just show up.
(Seattle Channel video of this afternoon’s council meeting; domestic-workers item is at one hour in)
Passed today by the City Council: What’s described as the nation’s first city laws “that specifically protect nannies, caretakers, house cleaners, gardeners, and other domestic workers,” according to the announcement from the bill’s sponsor, citywide Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda. Her announcement says the new protections for domestic workers include:
*Hiring entities must pay domestic workers the minimum hourly wage;
*Domestic workers must receive proper rest and meal breaks, including a 30-minute uninterrupted meal break if they work more than five consecutive hours for the same hiring entity, and a 10-minute rest break if they work more than four consecutive hours, or pay in lieu;
*A domestic worker who resides or sleeps at their place of employment will not be required to work more than six consecutive days without an unpaid 24-hour period of consecutive rest;
*Hiring entities will not be allowed to retain a domestic worker’s personal effects and documents; and,
*The legislation establishes a Domestic Workers Standards Board, which will be made up of workers, hiring entities, worker organizations and community members. The board will convene during the first quarter of 2019, and will be tasked with recommending how to implement new labor standards, such as retirement benefits, worker’s compensation and sick leave.
The ballots have been mailed and voting has begun for the August 7th primary election. The major local race in our area is for the 34th District State Senate seat. Last night at the DAV Hall in Delridge, five of the 11 candidates answered questions at a forum presented by the West Seattle Chamber of Commerce. Our video begins with introductions from the Chamber and DAV; if you want to jump ahead to the candidates, they start 4 minutes in:
The Chamber said it invited all 11 candidates, with repeated outreach to those who didn’t accept the invitation, and these are the ones who showed up: Joe Nguyen, Shannon Braddock, Sofia Aragon, Lois Schipper, and Lem Charleston. Among the highlights of the forum: State Senator Sharon Nelson, whose decision not to run for re-election set up this wide-open race, was invited to question her would-be successors.
P.S. You have at least one more chance to hear from candidates in this race – the White Center Chamber of Commerce has a forum scheduled for 6 pm next Tuesday (July 24) at Tommy Sound (9409 Delridge Way SW). They have not yet announced which candidates will participate. And remember to get your ballot in a mailbox – prepaid postage! – or dropbox by August 7th.
King County Elections is sending out the ballots for the August 7th primary election. What you’ll be deciding includes narrowing a field of 29 U.S. Senate candidates (including incumbent Sen. Maria Cantwell) down to 2 and narrowing the list of 11 34th District State Senate candidates (incumbent Sen. Sharon Nelson is not running for re-election) down to 2. There’s one ballot measure – King County Proposition 1 seeks to renew the property-tax levy for the Automated Fingerprint Identification Service, used in criminal investigations. Get your ballot in a dropbox (West Seattle has one at the High Point Library, 3411 SW Raymond) or mailbox – this is the first election for which ballots have prepaid postage if you use the U.S. Postal Service, so you can mail yours without paying for stamps.
Those are the four candidates for 34th District State Senator who participated in Thursday’s forum presented by the West Seattle Democratic Women – from left, Shannon Braddock, Joe Nguyen, Sofia Aragon, and Lem Charleston. Here’s our unedited video of the forum, held at the West Seattle YMCA (WSB sponsor) in The Triangle and moderated by WSDW’s Rachel Glass:
11 candidates in all (listed on this King County Elections page) are running for the seat that Sen. Sharon Nelson is giving up; the field will be narrowed to two by the August 7th primary, for which ballots will be mailed July 18th.
The next announced forum in West Seattle is planned by the WS Chamber of Commerce, 6:30 pm July 19th at the Disabled American Veterans hall (4857 Delridge Way SW), with a focus on transportation and business issues; all welcome.
Will a new standard for excessive vehicle noise – distance instead of decibels – eventually lead to more police enforcement and a quieter Alki (and elsewhere)? The changes proposed by West Seattle/South Park Councilmember Lisa Herbold – who explained them at length earlier this month – won final council approval this afternoon. Discussion and voting started 35 minutes into today’s Full Council meeting:
You can find the full legislation here, along with one approved amendment – sponsored by citywide Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda, asking for quarterly reports on how the law is being implemented, so they could track any concerns or “unintended consequences.” That passed unanimously; the bill itself had one “no” vote, Councilmember Kshama Sawant, who expressed concerns that the change to a subjective enforcement standard could take an unintended toll on people driving noisy old cars, for example, because that’s all they can afford, though she said she agrees that people have a “right to peace and quiet.” So how long until this facilitates enforcement? Herbold said SPD had committed to a “robust” outreach/information campaign before starting. If you have questions, your next chance to ask police will be at tomorrow (Tuesday) night’s West Seattle Crime Prevention Council meeting, 7 pm at the Southwest Precinct (2300 SW Webster).
An expanded version of two expiring Seattle levies will be on your ballot this November. From the announcement of today’s unanimous City Council vote:
The Seattle City Council voted 9-0 to approve Mayor Jenny Durkan’s Families, Education, Preschool, and Promise plan to significantly increase the children in preschool, increase investments in K-12, and expand access to college for Seattle public school graduates through the Seattle Promise College Tuition Program.
With both the 2011 Families & Education Levy and 2014 Seattle Preschool Program Levy set to expire this year, Mayor Durkan proposed that the City renew and combine them through a new Families, Education, Preschool and Promise plan. Homeowners of a median-assessed-value property ($665,000 in 2019) would pay approximately $20 each month. For the first time, qualified low-income seniors, people with disabilities, and veterans with a service-connected disability will be eligible for an exemption. Following Mayor Durkan’s signature, the plan will be placed on the ballot for Seattle voters’ consideration in November 2018. …
… As proposed by Mayor Durkan and amended by the City Council, Mayor Durkan’s plan would make seven years of investments to:
Continue the pilot of the Seattle Preschool program and substantially increase the number of children in quality preschool from 1,500 in 2018-19 to 2,500 in 2025-26;
Increase K-12 and community investments in closing the opportunity gap, increasing teacher diversity, providing support services for students experiencing homelessness, and helping students most at risk of dropping out of school;
Continue our strong support for school-based health programs; and
Expand access to college for Seattle public school graduates through support for the Seattle Promise College Tuition Program, which would serve approximately 1,350 high school students participating in college prep and 875 Seattle Promise college students each year.
As of this fall, pre-levy vote, West Seattle High School joins Chief Sealth International High School and four other schools in what started as the 13th Year Promise program, a free year at South Seattle College (WSB sponsor). If the levy passes, all graduating public-high-school seniors in Seattle would be eligible for two free years at any of the Seattle Colleges, not just SSC. Meantime, for a comparison of the levy cost to taxpayers vs. what they’re paying now, it’s $9.36 more a month for that “median homeowner,” according to Councilmember Lorena González.
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
The result, on a second ballot, was a dual endorsement of Shannon Braddock and Joe Nguyen, who tied at 62 votes each in the runoff; she had led the first round with 57 votes – not enough for a sole endorsement – and he was in second with 39 votes,
We’ll add video highlights later (10:38 pm update – first ones added below), but first, here’s how the nomination process – including more than an hour of vote-counting – unfolded:
There was anger, chanting, shouting … and public comment on both sides. After a two-plus-hour meeting, seven City Councilmembers voted this afternoon to repeal the head tax they had approved less than a month ago (the “no” votes were Teresa Mosqueda and Kshama Sawant). In case you missed it, the Seattle Channel video is now available. Once public comment ended at about 1:11 into the meeting, West Seattle/South Park Councilmember Lisa Herbold was the first to comment pre-vote, starting at 1:14 in and continuing for seven minutes of near-fury. She refuted the claims that no progress is being made against homelessness, but said that progress is limited because more affordable housing needs to be built. She said the repeal vote “runs counter to my values as a person” but she felt compelled to vote for it because a majority of Seattle citizens believe homelessness has resulted from “government inefficiency.” “People say we are bowing to political pressure, but nothing could be further from the truth,” she insisted, saying a ballot fight between now and November would do more damage. She said she hoped the repeal would be a “temporary setback.” Other councilmembers who commented at length included West Seattle-residing citywide Councilmember Lorena González, who with Herbold co-chaired the task force that came up with the head-tax; starting at 1:38 in the video, saying “all the solutions (to homelessness) require new and additional revenue.” She said, “It gives me no pleasure to have to repeal this law because I think this law was well done” and vowed to “fight for solutions that will not tear this city apart.” She added that this is “a defining moment in the city of Seattle … and not a good one.”
12:49 PM: Just in from the mayor’s office:
Seattle Mayor Jenny A. Durkan and members of the City Council including Council President Bruce A. Harrell, Councilmember Sally Bagshaw, Councilmember Lorena Gonzalez, Councilmember Lisa Herbold, Councilmember Rob Johnson, Councilmember Debora Juarez, and Councilmember Mike O’Brien released the following statement announcing the consideration of legislation to repeal a tax on large businesses to address the homelessness and housing crisis:
“We know that there are strong passions and genuine policy differences between neighbors, businesses, community leaders, and people across our City on how to best address our housing and homelessness crisis. This crisis has been years in the making and there are no easy solutions. The crisis is tied to a range of complex causes, including lack of affordable housing, unmet mental health and substance abuse issues, and systemic racial disparities in our foster care, criminal justice and educational systems.
“In recent months, we worked with a range of businesses, community groups, advocates, and working families to enact a bill that struck the right balance between meaningful progress on our affordability and homelessness crisis while protecting good, family-wage jobs. Over the last few weeks, these conversations and much public dialogue has continued. It is clear that the ordinance will lead to a prolonged, expensive political fight over the next five months that will do nothing to tackle our urgent housing and homelessness crisis. These challenges can only be addressed together as a city, and as importantly, as a state and a region.
“We heard you. This week, the City Council is moving forward with the consideration of legislation to repeal the current tax on large businesses to address the homelessness crisis.
“The City remains committed to building solutions that bring businesses, labor, philanthropy, neighborhoods and communities to the table. Now more than ever, we all must roll up our sleeves and tackle this crisis together. These shared solutions must include a continued focus on moving our most vulnerable from the streets, providing needed services and on building more housing as quickly as possible. The state and region must be full partners and contribute to the solutions, including working for progressive revenue sources. Seattle taxpayers cannot continue to shoulder the majority of costs, and impacts.”
The signature-gathering drive to put the head tax on the ballot had been widely reported to have already gathered more signatures than needed.
1:01 PM: Here’s the announcement of a special council meeting at noon tomorrow to consider the proposed repeal. Here’s the agenda; its accompanying “fiscal note” points out that “… King County Elections will bill the City some additional cost for having the repeal measure on the November 2018 ballot. If the City acts to repeal this legislation without the referendum, these additional election costs will be avoided.”
1:49 PM: Both of the two councilmembers who did not sign on to the repeal plan have commented via Twitter. Citywide Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda issued her statement here, saying she will not support the repeal. Councilmember Kshama Sawant calls the repeal move a “backroom betrayal.”
Last night, we chronicled the City Council’s HALA Mandatory Housing Affordability upzoning public hearing in West Seattle as it happened – you can read toplines from all of the more than 50 speakers in that report here. This morning, our video of the 2+-hour hearing is ready to go, and we’re publishing it separately here since an unfixable technical glitch has cut off commenting on last night’s story.
In the video, you’ll see and hear city staffer Sara Maxana‘s presentation on toplines of the upzoning proposal, followed by each speaker stepping up to the microphone. City Councilmembers did not speak or vote – this was a chance purely for the public to speak. Four were present – District 1’s Lisa Herbold, citywide reps Lorena González (also a West Seattle resident) and Teresa Mosqueda, and Rob Johnson, who chairs the council’s land-use-related committees this year. No date is set yet for the council’s vote; the appeal of the HALA MHA Environmental Impact Statement filed by a citywide coalition of neighborhood groups is scheduled for hearings starting later this month.
6:03 PM: The first big West Seattle meeting about HALA (Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda) MHA (Mandatory Housing Affordability) upzoning was December 2016, “open house” style, centered in a crowded Junction restaurant. Tonight, a year and a half later, as the proposal inches closer to a City Council vote, a public hearing is under way in the relatively cavernous Chief Sealth International High School auditorium. It’s starting with a short refresher on toplines for District 1 (also presented to councilmembers yesterday) – here’s the slide deck:
We’ll be updating as this unfolds, and we’re recording video, as is Seattle Channel.
6:07 PM: Three councilmembers are here as the hearing begins – West Seattleites Lorena González (who has citywide Position 9) and Lisa Herbold (District 1 rep) and committee chair Rob Johnson. City staffer Sara Maxana is giving the presentation that will be followed by public comment. The slides she’s going through are the ones in the deck – if you haven’t checked yet to see what changes are proposed for your neighborhood, you can use this online map. Even if you have been keeping up with the proposal, you might consider reviewing the deck “At the end of the day, what this program is about is trying to get new income- and rent-restricted housing” for the city, Maxana wraps up.
6:15 PM: Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda is here now too. A group from the MLK County Labor Council is speaking first as the public hearing begins; Councilmember Johnson says about 40 people are signed up to speak. The labor group’s members say they are for the proposal because the area needs more affordable housing and their members can’t afford to live in the city. Next is Matt Hutchins, a West Seattleite who says he is “lucky” because he can live here, but he is worried about others who can’t. He’s also worried about whether he will be able to age in place, and whether his daughter will be able to live in the area where she is growing up. “Building more homes for people who need them is a fundamental societal necessity,” he says. “I want to keep West Seattle livable, affordable, vibrant, growing.”
Next, Delridge resident Kirsten Smith is first to speak for a group of architects who support MHA. Another member says they feel “more affordable housing” is needed. Yet another member says the city’s in a crisis and has only a “finite amount of land … we believe density is the answer and change needs to begin now.”
They’re followed by Laura Loe, who identifies herself as a “renter in the U District.” She reads a statement from someone else saying that there need to be apartments in 90 percent of the city.
The next man says that he agrees Seattle needs more affordable housing. He is concerned about parking availability in neighborhoods like Fauntleroy, where people park and catch Rapid Ride C Line. He would like to see more of an investment in infrastructure. He said increased density in Ballard has not resulted in more affordable housing. He gets the first major applause of the night and Councilmember Johnson tries to dissuade it – “if we get 30 seconds of applause after every speaker, we’ll be here all night.” Reply some in the audience, “That’s OK!”
He’s followed by a speaker who said that even “affordable” housing won’t be affordable for many. Next, a man who says he’s a 30-year resident and lives near Jefferson Square. “I don’t believe anyone here is against affordable housing – the concern here is responsible growth.” That draws more applause. “I am not against growth – I would like to see the council take their time,” he says, after a brief riff of complaining about traffic.
Next, Jill Fleming from Alki, who says she has lived in West Seattle most of her adult life. It’s a place where “you don’t have to own a McMansion” to have a view. She is supporting MHA because she thinks that means more will be able to afford to live here. She’s followed by an 11-year-old Junction resident who says there are no kids in the area and families need houses to live in. After her, Christy Tobin-Presser, who is involved with the Junction Neighborhood Organization’s appeal of HALA MHA’s EIS, says she’s concerned that the proposal would not add new residents but would replace those who live there. She tells the council they have a responsibility to those who live here as well as those who want to.
After her, a man who voices concern about displacement of people in current affordable units. He’s worried that building out the affordable units promised by HALA MHA will take too long. He’s followed by a woman who recalls the “crazy meeting” in December 2016 that we mentioned above. “For people who are making the decision … think of how you would feel if you were vilified (as) a NIMBY …I don’t like the way this is coming in and sweeping as if some people count and others don’t.”
Former Junction Neighborhood Organization leader René Commons is at the microphone next, holding a green I LIVE in West Seattle sign that we’ve seen around the auditorium.
That’s the Seattle Channel video of this morning’s City Council meeting recapping the Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda (HALA) Mandatory Housing Affordability (MHA) toplines for District 1 – West Seattle and South Park – before tomorrow’s public hearing. No new info, but if you’ve lost track of where the plan stands, it might be a helpful refresher. Here’s the slide deck they used; here’s the online map that you can use to look up how your neighborhood might change under the proposal.
Basically, the plan would upzone all commercial/multifamily property in the city – and other types, within urban-village boundaries, while also expanding some of those boundaries – while requiring developers to either include a certain percentage of “affordable housing” or pay the city a fee in lieu of that. No date is set for the council’s vote on the plan yet, and the citywide appeal of the Environmental Impact Statement remains scheduled for hearings later this month. Tuesday night’s public hearing in West Seattle is at 6 pm (speaker signups start at 5:30) in the Chief Sealth International High School auditorium, 2600 SW Thistle, as previewed here last night.
Signature-gathering continues for the push to repeal the city “head tax” – we photographed petition circulators at the West Seattle Farmers Market on Sunday and have seen others at various locations. Tonight, perhaps the most unusual spot you’ll find signature-gathering: The weekly trivia game at Talarico’s in The Junction. From host Phil Tavel:
Tonight at Talarico’s trivia, due to popular demand, we will have the “Repeal the Head Tax” petition available for people to sign; even if you aren’t playing trivia … but really, why wouldn’t you come and play? Starts at 8:30, goes until 10. Prizes for top and bottom teams.
The repeal campaign has just over two weeks to gather enough signatures to send the referendum to voters, to ask if they want to keep or toss what the council and mayor approved two weeks ago. Its supporters, meantime, have a “decline to sign” campaign going.
Filing week is over. Here’s who you’ll see on the August primary ballot:
34TH DISTRICT STATE SENATOR – This is the position with no incumbent, since Sen. Sharon Nelson decided not to run again. 11 people have filed:
7 Democrats (Sofia Aragon, Shannon Braddock, Lem Charleston, Lisa Ryan Devereau, Joe Nguyen, Annabel Quintero, Lois Schipper)
2 Republicans (Darla Green, Courtney Lyle)
1 independent (Debi Wagner)
1 “no preference” (Hillary Shaw)
34TH DISTRICT STATE HOUSE – Incumbent Reps. Eileen Cody and Joe Fitzgibbon both filed to run again; neither has an opponent.
7TH DISTRICT U.S. HOUSE: This appears to be an all-West Seattle faceoff, with incumbent U.S. Rep. Pramila Jayapal the lone Democrat, repeat candidate and anti-immigration advocate Craig Keller the lone Republican, and nobody else filing.