West Seattle politics 1948 results

ELECTION 2022: Emily Alvarado becomes 2nd candidate for open 34th District State House seat

A second West Seattle resident has declared her candidacy for the 34th District State House position that Rep. Eileen Cody is leaving at year’s end. Emily Alvarado spent five years with the City of Seattle Office of Housing, the last two as its director; she currently is a vice president with the housing nonprofit Enterprise Community Partners. She is quoted in the campaign announcement as saying, “For more than a decade, I have worked collaboratively to create affordable housing throughout our region, championing policies and investments that foster inclusive, healthy communities and reduce homelessness. … Everyone deserves quality, affordable housing, education and health care, in a safe, thriving community.” The announcement also describes Alvarado as “an attorney, coalition-builder and former community organizer” who “has fought for reproductive justice, equitable community development, and economic opportunity.” Alvarado’s announcement comes three weeks after the first candidate entered the race, Leah Griffin. The primary election is set for August 2nd.

ELECTION 2022: State Sen. Joe Nguyen running for second term

All three of our area’s State Legislature positions, representing the 34th District, are up for election this year. Of our area’s two State House representatives, one (Rep. Eileen Cody) has announced she’s retiring. Now, our area’s State Senator, Joe Nguyen, has announced he’s running for a second term. Last year, Nguyen attempted to oust King County Executive and fellow West Seattleite Dow Constantine, finishing with 44 percent of the vote, but continued in the State Senate, as his term doesn’t expire until the end of this year. Today’s announcement touts his most-recent achievement as “help(ing) pass a historic transportation package and direct(ing) significant investments for working families during this crucial period of pandemic recovery.” Sen. Nguyen was elected to a leadership post before the 2021 legislative session, assistant floor leader for the State Senate Democratic Caucus. Today’s announcement notes Nguyen will be running in a district that “has slightly changed with recent redistricting,” now including Georgetown as well as South Park and part of downtown, in addition to West Seattle, Burien, White Center, and Vashon/Maury Islands. He is the only candidate so far to file a campaign with the state Public Disclosure Commission.

About that other high-profile city job opening

Mayor Bruce Harrell‘s announcement today of the search process for a new police chief had one WSB commenter wondering what’s up with the search for a new SDOT director. So we asked mayoral spokesperson Jamie Housen. His reply tonight: “We should have some news to announce on the SDOT front soon around the search process, which will be a robust national search and include community input and stakeholder engagement.” When Harrell announced previous SDOT director Sam Zimbabwe‘s departure three and a half months ago, he elevated SDOT chief of staff Kristen Simpson to interim director, but said she wouldn’t be applying for the permanent job. We also asked Housen if the mayor had visited the West Seattle Bridge yet, since those weekly progress-report documents we’ve been getting (on a 4-week delay via public-disclosure request) mentioned it. Housen said, “The mayor’s schedule hasn’t aligned for a site visit to the bridge yet, but it is something we are hoping to get on the calendar, as the bridge’s repair and reopening remains one of the administration’s highest priorities.” P.S. Former SDOT director Zimbabwe, who lives in West Seattle, just started a new job in the private sector, with the design-consulting firm Kimley-Horn.

FOLLOWUP: New idea for averting future concrete crises – have public entities make their own

(WSB photo, February 9)

2:29 PM: It’s been six weeks since Mayor Bruce Harrell and County Executive Dow Constantine stood in front of media in White Center and warned that the concrete drivers’ strike was starting to seriously hinder major public projects. Despite Teamsters Local 174 offering to send some drivers back to work at some companies, that apparently hasn’t happened yet. Today Constantine went to the King County Council, in collaboration with other entities including the city, and put forth a new idea: He wants them to approve what a news release describes as “legislation that would study the feasibility of King County and other local entities developing their own concrete manufacturing facilities to ensure the future of critical infrastructure construction in our region.” The study wouldn’t be due until December 1st, so, the county acknowledges, it’s not going to help the current situation. Meantime, we’re checking on the status of the nearer-term idea Constantine announced at that White Center event back in February, seeking alternate suppliers. We’re also checking with SDOT for any update on concrete supplies for the West Seattle Bridge, which has been closed exactly two years ago as of tomorrow.

3:18 PM: KCE spokesperson Chase Gallagher says the Request for Qualifications for alternate concrete suppliers closed March 11th, “no bids received.”

First candidate for open 34th District State House seat: Leah Griffin

As reported here on Monday, 34th District State House Rep. Eileen Cody of West Seattle is retiring from the Legislature after 27+ years. Today, the first potential successor has announced her campaign: Leah Griffin, also a West Seattle resident (Highland Park). From her announcement:

Griffin is a certificated school librarian who works on sexual assault policy reform at the state and federal levels. After being raped by a man in her neighborhood in 2014 and seeing how broken the system is for survivors, Griffin knew she had to do something to make things better for other survivors. In 2015, she was appointed to the Sexual Assault Forensic Examination (SAFE) Task Force in the Washington legislature with the aim of solving the myriad of problems survivors encounter navigating the justice system in Washington State.

As a representative of survivors, Griffin significantly contributed to the passage of HB1068, to test new rape kits, HB1109 to increase trauma informed interviewing techniques for police, HB2530 to track rape kits through the system, SB1539 to prevent child sexual assault, SB5649 to increase the statute of limitations for rape, and HB1109 to fund and test all untested rape kits in Washington, HB2318 to store unreported kits, and amend the legal definition of rape kits, and SB6158 to create model sexual assault protocols for hospitals.

She also helped write and lobby for the Survivors’ Access to Supportive Care Act with Senator Murray and Representative Jayapal to increase access to Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners in hospitals. Leah connects her work to her community by working with the King County Sexual Assault Resource Center, Legal Voice, RISE, Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest, and the Washington Library Association. She sits on the board of the Sexual Violence Law Center.

“I took my rage, and I channeled it into reform. What I understand now is that sexual violence intersects with almost every other issue; healthcare, education, economic justice, law enforcement, homelessness. Trauma is at the root of our society’s problems, and it is past time that we talk about it. There is so much to do, and I look forward to making those changes together,” said Griffin.

The field of candidates for the seat won’t be finalized until after the formal filing period in May; this year’s primary election is on August 2nd.

POLITICS: Longtime State Rep. Eileen Cody of West Seattle retiring: ‘I had a good run’

4 PM: After more than 27 years of representing West Seattle and the rest of the 34th Legislative District, State Rep. Eileen Cody is retiring. That’s according to an announcement from the 34th District Democrats, which notes in part:

… Eileen has chaired the House Health Care and Wellness Committee and tirelessly worked for improved patient safety, mental health parity, public health services and to restore the universal purchase of vaccines. She led the effort to implement the Affordable Care Act at the state level. Largely due to her work, our system has been a model for the rest of the country. She leaves big shoes to fill. We thank her for her service and will be planning a special event in her honor after the term ends.

Rep. Cody’s interest in health care goes beyond her legislative work; as noted in her official biography, she worked as a nurse for more than 40 years, until retiring three years ago. She was first elected to the 34th District’s State House Position 1 in 1994 and last won re-election, unopposed, in November 2020; what is now her final term will end after the elections this fall. We are seeking comment from Rep. Cody and will update if and when we hear back.

4:30 PM: Just talked with Rep. Cody. She says, “It’s time … I had a good run.” She’s hoping to spend time traveling with her husband. But she’ll be on the job until her term ends when her successor takes office next January. She says she knows of multiple potential candidates – none are showing on the state Public Disclosure Commission website yet – so it’s likely to be an “active summer” of campaigning.

Another delay for city’s heating-oil tax?

Two and a half years ago, then-Mayor Jenny Durkan proposed taxing heating oil as a way to encourage people to phase it out. The City Council approved the 23-cents-a-gallon tax in September 2019. But it still hasn’t gone into effect, and it may not, until next year – if ever. The heating-oil tax originally was set to start in September 2020, a year after its passage, but by then, the pandemic response was at center stage. A start date of April 2022 was eventually decided. On Tuesday, the City Council will look at pushing that back further, to January 1st of next year. It’s estimated that 15,500 households still use oil heat, and that the tax will cost them about $120 a year. Most of the proceeds, according to this briefing paper, will be used to help low-income households cover that cost, and to fully pay for conversion to electric heat pumps. The briefing paper suggests the city’s Green New Deal Oversight Board might eventually recommend another source, like the JumpStart tax, to cover those costs instead. The tax-delay proposal is on the agenda for Tuesday’s 2 pm council meeting. If the council doesn’t take action in March, the tax will start in April.

CITY COUNCIL: Eviction moratorium won’t be extended; free street-café permits will

Two pandemic-related votes of note at this afternoon’s City Council meeting:

EVICTION-MORATORIUM EXTENSION FAILS: District 3 Councilmember Kshama Sawant proposed a resolution to extend the city eviction moratorium until the pandemic public-health emergency ends, countering Mayor Bruce Harrell‘s decision to end it on February 28th. The proposal was rejected, 3-5. Only West Seattle/South Park Councilmember Lisa Herbold and West Seattle-residing citywide Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda joined Sawant in voting for the extension. (Councilmember Tammy Morales did not attend the meeting.)

EXTENSION PASSES FOR FREE STREET-CAFE PERMITS: Councilmembers unanimously approved extending the pilot program that “enables restaurants and other retail storefronts to utilize streets outside of their businesses for outdoor dining or displays,” as described by its sponsor, District 6 Councilmember Dan Strauss. The program was previously set to expire at the end of May; now it will continue through January 31, 2023. In the meantime, the city is expected to develop the rules and fees for a permanent program.

Redrawing Seattle’s seven City Council districts: What do you think the maps should look like?

You’ve probably heard a lot about redistricting – drawing new boundaries for election districts – for the county, state, and federal governments. But you probably haven’t heard much about the fact the city has to do the same thing (we mentioned it back in October). Before the Seattle City Council‘s seven district seats are up for election again next year, new boundaries will be approved. An appointed commission (with two West Seattleites) is overseeing this process and has released four draft maps as potential starting points. Here’s how these drafts would reshape District 1, which currently encompasses West Seattle and South Park.

First, D-1 on draft map 1 (see this full citywide map here)

Next, D-1 on draft map 2 (see this full citywide map here):

Next, D-1 on draft map 3 (see this full citywide map here):

And finally, D-1 on draft map 4 (see this full citywide map here):

Follow the “full map” links to get a closer look; if you zoom in, you’ll see the current boundaries, for comparison. And keep in mind, these are proposed as starting points – this isn’t a contest between those four; the final map may be something completely different.

So what’s being taken into consideration here? you might wonder. The commission explains that it’s charged with following “City Charter-mandated criteria using geographic information system (GIS) expertise and the latest 2020 Census data to draw new boundaries and produce districts that are approximately equal in population. To the extent practical, the Commission must also consider additional factors, such as following existing district boundaries, recognizing waterways and geographic boundaries, and acknowledging Seattle’s communities and neighborhoods. The consideration of public input and a minimum of one public forum per Council District is required during this process.”

That input process just started this week, and will continue through the spring and summer. You have six ways to participate, all detailed on this webpage – you can attend a meeting at noon on upcoming Tuesdays, you can draw your own map, and you can watch for an upcoming survey, among other opportunities.

VIDEO: Mayor Bruce Harrell’s first State of the City speech

That’s Mayor Bruce Harrell‘s first State of the City speech, which lasted more than half an hour, presented at the start of this afternoon’s City Council meeting. No major announcements – his lone West Seattle-specific mention was a description of the 23-months-closed West Seattle Bridge as one of the city’s “most pressing priorities.” Recapping his announcement last week that the ongoing concrete-drivers strike may delay its reopening, he offered his City Hall conference room to the two sides if they need a place for talks. Earlier in the speech, he declared that “the status quo is unacceptable” and promised his administration will get “back to the basics.” He spent a major chunk of time on public safety, both embracing alternatives and declaring that the city needs more police on the streets. He said a promotional campaign will launch to encourage new officers to join – “the right number and the right kind” – and that the training academy will have a special Seattle-focused class of 36 in June. The city already has funding to hire 125 officers, he noted, budgeted even before he was elected. Regarding homelessness, he said a Unified Care Team would be created as the latest attempt to align resources, and that the city will simplify the process for members of the public to report issues of concern. On other issues, he voiced concern for struggling small businesses and promised to work with them. (Here’s the full transcript.)

Mayor announces plan to end Seattle eviction moratorium

On the second anniversary of the first King County COVID cases, Seattle’s pandemic-related eviction moratorium will expire. So says this announcement sent by the mayor’s office:

Today, Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell announced that residential and commercial eviction moratoria will expire at the end of the month of February. Mayor Harrell will issue an Executive Order extending the residential eviction moratorium from February 14 through February 28, after which the moratorium will not be renewed.

“With COVID cases steadily declining, the time has come for the City to move on from the broad approach of the eviction moratoria and instead drive more deliberate and focused efforts to support those most in need,” said Mayor Harrell. “In addition to distribution of all available emergency rental assistance, truly vulnerable tenants – those still suffering significant pandemic-related financial hardships – will continue to have enhanced eviction protections, while at the same time small landlords have needed clarity as they evaluate how to move forward.”

All residential tenants who demonstrate enduring financial hardship preventing them from paying rent will receive continued eviction protections for at least six months after the end of the moratorium, providing additional security for those most at risk through a specific legal defense created by ordinance. Seattle residents facing eviction are also afforded a right to legal counsel and additional eviction protections based on time of year. Landlords will be able to move forward with evictions proceedings for other purposes, such as those listed in the Just Cause Eviction Ordinance.

Mayor Harrell’s latest Executive Order comes after convening a work group of tenant advocates and small landlords, who through multiple meetings with Mayor Harrell provided input around impacts of the pandemic and the effects of the eviction moratorium informed by lived experience.

During the next two weeks, Mayor Harrell will review reports created by interdepartmental City teams defined in his previous Executive Order to evaluate data, improve existing efforts, and seek additional solutions.

As part of those efforts, Mayor Harrell has directed the Office of Housing to urgently distribute over $25 million in identified funding to support renters and small landlords, complementing funding being allocated by King County.

Mayor Harrell has also directed the City staff to develop a website to connect tenants and small landlords to available financial resources, information on rights and protections, and other critical updates needed as the moratoria ends.

“As we work together toward to a new normal, we know we’re not yet out of the woods of this pandemic,” said Mayor Harrell. “The City of Seattle will continue to take action to support those most in need – striving to protect the health and well-being of our residents, prevent homelessness and undue financial hardship, and build One Seattle with abundant opportunity for all and thriving, vibrant, connected communities.”

ELECTION 2022: Seattle Public School levies passing in first round of results

checkbox.jpgThe first round of Election Night results shows both Seattle Public Schools levies passing in a big way:

PROPOSITION 1 – Educational Programs and Operations Levy
Yes 76.3%
No 23.7%

PROPOSITION 2 – Buildings, Technology, Academics, Athletics Capital Levy
Yes 76.6%
No 23.4%

So far turnout is only 20 percent. Our story from last month includes a list of 10 West Seattle projects included in Prop 2 fundiing.

City Council to hear from business owners about crime, safety concerns

Tomorrow (Wednesday, February 9th) at 9:30 am, the City Council’s Economic Development, Technology, and City Light Committee, chaired by new Councilmember Sara Nelson, will devote its meeting to a roundtable of business owners and neighborhood leaders. The topic: Public-safety concerns and recommendations. Announced participants (as shown on the agenda) include two with businesses in West Seattle – Kamala Saxton of Marination and Dan Austin of Peel & Press – but the committee invites comment from others too. From the announcement circulated by business groups including the West Seattle Junction Association:

Councilmember Nelson has requested that business owners across the City take part in the public comment process to share their experiences as well. This is important as it has been far too long since a Councilmember has specifically asked to hear from businesses.

Provide public comment at the Wednesday, February 9th Meeting at 9:30 AM

Registration opens two hours prior to the meeting at 7:30 AM. Plan to go to the council website exactly two hours before the meeting to register online.

Send an Email:

Take a moment now and send an email to City Council and the Mayor.

Whether you are a business owner, property owner or an employee, it is more important than ever to share an experience you’ve had that articulates the need for an increased emphasis and new strategies to keep our city safe.

Contact your Councilmembers by emailing council@seattle.gov

Contact Mayor Bruce Harrell by emailing bruce.harrell@seattle.gov

Other members of the committee holding tomorrow’s roundtable include West Seattle/South Park Councilmember Lisa Herbold. Like all council meetings, this one will be streamed live via Seattle Channel, and available for viewing later.

ELECTION 2022: The one that’s not on the ballot you got in the mail

checkbox.jpgSeparate from the school-levies vote, there’s another election happening right now. Tuesday’s also the deadline for voting. And it’s even easier – for this one, you can vote online. It’s the King Conservation District‘s election for one of its three supervisor positions. From the most-recent reminder:

King Conservation District (KCD) is holding its annual Board Supervisor election through February 8, 2022. The 2022 election has attracted four candidates for the position. Kirstin Haugen, Barbara Roessler, Dominique Torgerson, and Tripp Williams are all vying for the seat. Candidate statements can be found at kingcd.org/elections. …

Ballots will be available to eligible voters online … through February 8, 2022, at 8:00 PM. Voters may return ballots electronically through the online ballot access system or print and mail ballots to King County Elections at 919 SW Grady Way, Suite 200, Renton, WA 98057. Mailed ballots must be postmarked by February 8, 2022, and received by February 17, 2022, to be counted. Ballots may also be dropped off at King County Elections at 919 SW Grady Way, Suite 200, Renton, WA 98057. King County Elections will tabulate all ballots and report all results.

KCD is a special purpose district committed to helping people engage in stewardship and conservation of natural resources, serving over two million people in 34 cities and unincorporated King County (excluding the cities of Enumclaw, Federal Way, Milton, Pacific, and Skykomish). KCD assists private residents with forestry management, streamside and shoreline restoration, farm conservation planning, and other environmental efforts. It works with cities and community organizations to support community gardens, urban forest canopy, and local food systems. KCD is funded primarily by a per-parcel assessment fee.

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

For more information about the election and candidates, please visit kingcd.org/elections.

The link for voting is at the bottom of that webpage. Considering very few have voted so far, your vote could count in an outsize way.

P.S. As far as we can tell, none of the four candidates for this position are West Seattle residents, but one of the other two elected KCD supervisors, whose position is not up for election this year, is – Chris Porter.

ELECTION 2022: Two more days to vote on school levies

checkbox.jpgAs of Friday, fewer than 18 percent of Seattle’s registered voters had turned in their ballots for Tuesday’s school-levy election. So here’s your reminder to vote. Two Seattle Public Schools levies are the only things on your ballot – three-year Proposition 1: Educational Programs & Operations, and six-year Proposition 2: Buildings, Technology, and Academics/Athletics. For details on both, here’s a story we published last month. 8 pm Tuesday (February 8th) is when the dropboxes close; if you plan to mail your ballot, be sure it’s postmarked no later than Tuesday.

VIDEO: One month in, Mayor Harrell says city is ‘working feverishly’ to stop crime from continuing to increase

One month after taking office, Mayor Bruce Harrell, his deputy mayors, and public-safety chiefs went before the media at midmorning today to promise action on violent crime that’s at its “highest level in 24 years.” You can watch the video above. For starters, Mayor Harrell said, he’s told Police Chief Adrian Diaz to “focus on those places where crime is concentrated, and on the relatively few individuals causing the most harm.” (He wouldn’t say exactly where “those places” are, at one point suggesting that locations could be deduced if you “read the blogs.”) He also acknowledged “inherit(ing) a depleted and demoralized police force,” now down 350 officers, and promised the remaining police he would support them providing they “perform (their) duties with honor and excellence.”

“We need more police,” declared Chief Diaz, also identifying gun violence as a particular problem. The mayor’s list of statistics included a 40 percent increase in shootings, with or without injuries. Chief Diaz said officers recovered 3,200+ shell casings recovered last year, in 600+ incidents.

That category of crime is affecting how firefighters do their work too, said Fire Chief Harold Scoggins. His department responded to more than 400 “scenes of violence” (weapon-involved injuries, not only guns) calls last year, up a third from 2020. They’ve had to change their policy on weapons incidents – now wearing “ballistic vests and helmets,” and staging 4 blocks away until assured the scene is secure. He also talked about the increase in SFD responses to encampments – this month averaging five fire responses and 33 medical responses a day. That’s in the context of an increased number of all service calls – 94,000+ last year, up from 80,000+ in 2020.

Public safety isn’t just about SPD and SFD, cautioned Senior Deputy Mayor Monisha Harrell, promising a “holistic” approach. She was followed by Tiffany Washington, Deputy Mayor for homelessness/housing issues, who also made the point that “the issues of homelessness and public safety are not one and the same.”

So what exactly are they doing? “We are building systems right now,” said Mayor Harrell, who said he and his team are working “feverishly” toward solutions. He promised more specifics to come. West Seattle/South Park City Councilmember Lisa Herbold, who chairs the Public Safety Committee, issued a statement of support afterward; you can see it here. In it, she also spotlights some of the public-safety alternatives the city is funding, which she detailed to the District 1 Community Network this week, as reported here.

CITY CHANGES: Mayor Harrell’s new Department of Neighborhoods director, and 2 other new department leaders

Another West Seattleite who led a city department under the former administration is out. Mayor Bruce Harrell announced today that Highland Park resident Andrés Mantilla is out as head of the Department of Neighborhoods – which he ran for most of the previous mayor’s term – and he’s appointed Southeast Seattle resident Greg Wong (right) as DoN director. The announcement says Wong will be tasked with “driving local engagement, coordinating neighborhood strategies citywide, and charting a future direction for a City full of unique, vibrant, and welcoming neighborhoods.” Wong is a lawyer and former teacher. The DoN announcement was one of three director changes announced by the mayor today, along with former mayoral candidate and ex-legislator Jessyn Farrell leading the Office of Sustainability and Environment and Markham McIntyre, formerly an executive with the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, to lead the Office of Economic Development. All three are serving as interim directors pending confirmation by the City Council; read more in the full announcement here.

ELECTION 2022: King County Prosecuting Attorney Dan Satterberg won’t run for fifth term; first candidate announces

(Photo courtesy King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office)

12:30 PM: Next year, that window will have someone else’s name on it. King County Prosecuting Attorney Dan Satterberg announced this morning that, after four terms, he will not seek re-election. He said, “I have 358 days left in my term. I am determined to finish well.” Satterberg has been with the office since joining as an intern in the mid-1980s. The KCPAO is responsible for prosecuting crimes defined in state law as felonies. From his announcement today:

When the pandemic started, we were the first in the state and one of the first offices in the nation to have a 100% remote domestic violence protection order service. That meant that people who were trapped at home with abusers no longer needed to physically come down to the courthouse to get court-ordered protection.

We were also one of the first in the state and one of the first in the nation to create a data dashboard – revealing in great detail our work, our priorities and the challenges that await. We make informed decisions based on this data. It’s right there on the front page of our office website for anyone to see.

We are also launching new and innovative community partnerships and diversion programs with trusted community non-profit organizations that are here to help victims of crime as well as the people who have caused the harm. I am encouraged by the support of the County Executive and County Council for our community-based diversion programs. We have the goals of interrupting violence, of decreasing crime, and creating community connections that are part of accountability.

We’ve done all of this while also filing roughly 25-30 cases felony every day. These are the most serious crimes that occur in King County – murders and assaults, armed robbery, residential burglaries, sexual assaults, child abuse, among many others. Most of our cases never make the news — but we’re in court every day, trying jury trials, filing serious violent cases and resolving cases. During the COVID period, things have slowed, but never stopped.

Satterberg was a Republican when elected in 2007 and announced in 2018 that he had changed parties. He has roots close to this area; he attended high school in Burien, and his father practiced law in White Center.

12:58 PM: The first candidate has just announced – Satterberg’s chief of staff, Leesa Manion, says she’s running.

City Attorney Ann Davison takes office, with supporter saying she’ll be ‘like no other’

Among the elected officials ceremonially sworn in today was the new Seattle City Attorney, Ann Davison. She too had a brief speech after her oath of office. She was introduced by Victoria Beach, longtime chair of the Seattle Police Department African American Community Advisory Council, who said that “Ann has given our city hope” and would be “a city attorney like no other.” Davison herself noted that she’s the first woman to hold the position, making this “a big day for women and girls in Seattle.” Even more than that, Davison said, “this election showed that people are powerful and they’re demanding that we enforce our laws,” after a time in which, she contended, many felt powerless, unsafe, and afraid. “Our legal system must be used as a tool to stand up for victims,” Davison said. She didn’t get into policy specifics but did talk about a duty to “take guns off the streets” so that “misdemeanor gun violations” aren’t followed by felony violent crimes. Davison succeeds Pete Holmes, who came in third in the primary

ALSO TONIGHT: Online town hall with four local elected officials

January 4, 2022 3:10 pm
|    Comments Off on ALSO TONIGHT: Online town hall with four local elected officials
 |   West Seattle news | West Seattle online | West Seattle politics

Lots of government-related news today. Just received one more announcement – an online event to which you’re invited tonight:

Your representatives in the State Senate, State House, and U.S. House of Representatives – all West Seattle residents – are inviting yo8u to a live online town hall at 6:30 tonight:

Join Sen. Joe Nguyen, Rep. Eileen Cody, and Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon, for a virtual town hall–featuring Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal!

The town hall will begin with an introduction by each participant, move into a conversation about the issues facing Washington in the build up to the 2022 Legislative Session, and end with questions from the audience.

The Legislators will also answer participant questions during the stream, but if you would like to submit a question ahead of time, please send an email to sdc.media@leg.wa.gov with the subject line “34th Town Hall.”

You can see the stream here.

VIDEO: Mayor Bruce Harrell’s first speech, envisioning ‘One Seattle’

(Seattle Channel recording of this morning’s event)

11:05 AM: Two months after Seattle voters elected him, Mayor Bruce Harrell is now in office, and right now you can see his first speech as it happens – following a ceremonial swearing-in – by clicking into the Seattle Channel stream above. We’ll be publishing topline notes below.

He opens by saying “2022 is not like past years”- it’s not a time to open with exuberance but to acknowledge it’s been a fearful time for people, including fear that “Seattle is going in the wrong direction.” He promises an “obsession” with competence and kindness. He says – in first mentioning the homelessness crisis – that the city will be intolerant “not of the people who are unhoused but of the conditions that caused them to become unhoused.” He says, “We’ll implement ideas that work.” He declares, “We are not afraid.” He discusses the diversity of his executive team, including “three deputy mayors who are women of color.”

Looking to the future – “Seattle will be thriving – no more of this ‘dying’ narrative,” Harrell insists. “Everyone will have an opportunity to help us.” His request for the cynical: “Give us a chance.” He wants the city to be “one Seattle.” He says it’s time to move toward “healing and reparation and restoration” and “a real dialogue.” He promises “health care for all … we’ll make sure every resident in our city not only has health care but is healthy.” This will involve partnership with providers and he says talks are under way. Also: He promises everyone will feel “safe and supportive,” from gun-violence prevention to police accountability. He says Seattle has the chance to set a national example. Then regarding homelessness, he says “One Seattle” doesn’t let people suffer on its streets and promises to publish a plan “within the first quarter,” with an accompanying executive order.He mentions another executive order to review processes to expedite “affordable housing” construction.

He also says the city will be hiring a new Parks director (if that means the current superintendent is leaving, that’s the first time it’s been mentioned). Also, a new mentorship program in which he says the city will partner with Seattle Public Schools. He says that also will address violence and protect young lives. “We must be all in for protecting our kids.”

He promises that these aren’t just empty promises – they’re policy commitments. “We’re not going to play small ball,” says the former athlete. He also notes that “One Seattle” doesn’t mean bragging that Seattle is “number one” but rather unity that includes humility. “We will replace fear with love,” he promises in closing.

11:28 AM: It’s on to media Q&A. First asks about his creation of a Chief Equity Officer position. That will include “new outreach strategies,” especially for “small BIPOC businesses,” and ensuring that good-paying jobs are accessible to all.

Will he keep Interim Police Chief Adrian Diaz? Harrell says that hasn’t been decided yet, but “discussions” are continuing.

Asked to elaborate on “health care for all,” the mayor says they’re starting with addressing those who don’t have health care – so they’ll start by formulating a plan for those people within a few months.

Asked about his political position, he refutes the suggestion that he’s not “progressive” – “I ran on a progressive agenda … This is what progressive policy looks like. … My plea to those who claim to be the progressives, give us a chance and let us work together.”

Asked about the shortage of COVID testing and parents’ anguish in deciding whether to send kids to school, he says the city is partnering with the state and county, but has no new specifics, promising an “inventory” of how things are working.

Will he extend the eviction moratorium? “We’ll announce that in due time” – within the next week – he says, noting that “small landlords” are at risk as well as tenants. The decisionmaking process will include looking at whether the moratorium “worked.”

When will people see a difference in addressing homelessness? He promises “real progress in a short time” as well as more clarity with existing data – so that it’s easier to understand where people live now, and what’s happening.

11:45 AM: The event wraps up. We’ll add the recorded video above when it’s available. (Note: Video added at 12:20 pm – if you can’t see the embedded version above, go to this Seattle Channel page.)

5 PM UPDATE: We asked the mayor’s office about the “parks director” reference. They replied that superintendent Jesús Aguirre is “retiring from the office later this month.”

Mayor-elect Harrell says SDOT director Sam Zimbabwe is out

4:17 PM: Second big announcement from Mayor-elect Bruce Harrell: Sam Zimbabwe is out as SDOT director. Just received:

Today, Seattle Mayor-elect Bruce Harrell released the following statement:

“Today, I am announcing that when I take office in January, I will be making a change in Seattle Department of Transportation leadership. We will embark on a robust national search for a new director who is aligned with my vision for this critical department. As we embark on that search, I will appoint SDOT Chief of Staff Kristen Simpson to serve as interim director. Kristen has let me know that she will not be applying for the permanent position.

“Going forward, my vision is for a Seattle Department of Transportation that centers equity throughout our transportation network across every street and sidewalk, in every neighborhood and community. We must create a balanced transportation ecosystem – increasing safety and decreasing travel times by bolstering transit, improving sidewalks, protecting bike lanes, and recognizing the role of cars and new electric vehicles.

“From Vision Zero to net zero, we will prioritize climate resilience and lead at the intersections of accessibility, reliability, safety, and sustainability.

“I want to thank Director Zimbabwe for his service and dedication to the City of Seattle. His leadership and quick action closing the West Seattle Bridge no doubt saved lives and has put the bridge on track to open in mid-2022. His response to the pandemic – thoughtful and meaningful efforts like Stay Healthy Streets and outdoor dining permits – should be celebrated. I wish him all the best in the future.”

Outgoing Mayor Jenny Durkan hired Zimbabwe three years ago, one year into her term. He had previously worked in Washington, D.C.

5:40 PM: Adding more backstory – The previous SDOT director, Scott Kubly, left a year before Durkan announced she was hiring Zimbabwe. Kubly, also from D.C., had the SDOT job for three and a half years. Between the two, Goran Sparrman served as interim director, a role he also filled before the arrival of Kubly, succeeding Peter Hahn, who left toward the end of the McGinn administration.

City Attorney-elect Ann Davison announces first major appointments

Another newly elected city leader has announced her first round of major appointments. City Attorney-elect Ann Davison has chosen Scott Lindsay as deputy city attorney. Lindsay was the 2017 general-election opponent of outgoing City Attorney Pete Holmes, who Davison defeated this year, and was a public-safety adviser to former Mayor Ed Murray. Davison also announced that her Criminal Chief will be Natalie Walton-Anderson, who spent 24 years in the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office before joining the U.S. Attorney’s Office earlier this year. The official announcement of both appointments is here.