West Seattle, Washington
5:21 PM: That’s the view from West Seattle as Election Day gives way to Election Night. Before the first local/state returns come in after 8 pm, we’ll have some running coverage of the final hours of voting … and campaigning.
We start with the lone local open seat on the ballot. Above, supporters of 34th District State Senate candidate Joe Nguyen were sign-waving on the Andover overpass before sunset; this morning, candidate Shannon Braddock‘s supporters, including (below left) Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon and County Executive Dow Constantine, were sign-waving a bit further west, at 35th/Fauntleroy:
As noted in our morning highlight list, the candidates are due at Election Night parties in a few hours. Meantime, you have a bit over two and a half hours to vote – here’s the info you need if you haven’t done that yet; we’ll be off to check the scene at the ballot dropboxes in a bit.
6:29 PM: First, a stop at Sound & Fog, which has long been planning an election-night watching event:
Proprietor Justin is projecting election coverage onto one of his shop’s walls, and as our photo shows, more than a few patrons have their own screens. You can stop in any time before 9 pm. Next, we hopped over to the new King County Elections ballot dropbox in The Junction:
An elections staffer who’s here to help said they’ve been getting a steady stream in the past hour or so. There are two special 5-minute parking spots in the lot (behind KeyBank on the south side of SW Alaska west of California) for voters, though some are hopping out of their cars on SW Alaska instead. You can drop your ballot in a county box until 8 pm (here’s the full countywide list – we’re headed next to West Seattle’s other dropbox, in High Point).
6:54 PM: At High Point with a little over an hour to go:
Here, a sheriff’s deputy as well as KC Elections workers. And portable lighting, which we noticed during an afternoon stop:
This box is next to the library (3411 SW Raymond) parking lot but you can also pull up curbside on eastbound Raymond. The full list of dropboxes countywide is here. After the voting ends at 8 pm, the county is expected to release its first and only round of election-night results around 8:15 pm, and we will have separate stories on those.
7:55 PM: Just awaiting the returns. One more ballot-box photo from about an hour ago:
The crew at High Point really wanted to be sure everyone was aware of the time!
Haven’t voted yet? You’re far from alone. Here are three things you might find helpful to know about last-minute … last-day! .. voting:
BY U.S. POSTAL SERVICE MAIL: We asked USPS regional spokesperson Ernie Swanson what voters need to know about :
If ballots are put into the mail early Tuesday (preferably by noon) they should get that day’s postmark. (Also), voters need to pay attention to the times on collection boxes for pick-ups. Ballots can be handed across the counter at postal retail units.
We drove up to the outdoor boxes at both West Seattle post offices to check the last pickup times. Junction (4410 California SW): 5 pm. Westwood Village (2721 SW Trenton): 6 pm.
BY KING COUNTY ELECTIONS DROPBOX: Remember, West Seattle has two now, and they’re ready for your ballot until 8 pm Tuesday. Sharp! They’re in The Junction (south side of SW Alaska between California and 44th) and in High Point (south side of SW Raymond, east of 35th, next to the library). Both have specially designated very-short-term parking for ballot dropoff. If you’re in south West Seattle, the dropbox on the east side of the White Center Library (1409 SW 107th) might be closer. If you are taking your ballot to work off-peninsula and want to know where to drop it off at lunchtime or at some other point before 8 pm, here’s the full countywide list.
CAN’T FIND YOUR BALLOT OR DIDN’T GET ONE? Here’s how to fix that!
P.S. Election Night parties will be part of our daily highlight list Tuesday morning – if your establishment or organization is having something public, please let us know ASAP!
While the City Council has been reviewing, and proposing changes to, the mayor’s budget plan, we’ve noted some West Seattle possibilities. Wednesday, we’ll know which if any of them made it into the council’s “balancing package” to be presented by Councilmember Sally Bagshaw, who’s leading the budget process this year. West Seattle/South Park Councilmember Lisa Herbold provided progress reports in her newest weekly update.
(Colman Pool, photographed last year by Long Bach Nguyen)
Among them are 10 she labels as District 1 priorities that were introduced last week, including a few we’ve mentioned here – such as 35th SW paving, the Highland Park Way/Holden roundabout, and extra operating days for Colman Pool (now proposed as 4 extra weekends). If you feel strongly about any of these proposals – or anything else that’s under consideration in the budget (or that you feel should be) – now’s a good time to send feedback via email@example.com. The budget changes in the next week-plus will be fast and furious, with a final vote the Monday before Thanksgiving.
After six months of campaigning, our area’s hottest race has less than two days to go. We caught up today with both candidates for the open 34th District State Senate seat.
We asked Braddock for her final pitch, in a minute or less, on why an undecided voter should choose her for the job:
Joining him in campaign canvassing today, 7th Congressional District U.S. Rep. Pramila Jayapal:
(She too is on Tuesday’s ballot, running for re-election vs. Republican Craig Keller.) And we also asked Nguyen for his final pitch:
You can browse our West Seattle Politics archive for past coverage, dating back to April, when both announced their candidacy for the 34th Legislative District State Senate seat from which Sen. Sharon Nelson is retiring. Nguyen and Braddock, both West Seattle residents, were the top two finishers in the August primary field of 11. The district includes White Center and other parts of unincorporated North Highline as well as Vashon and Maury Islands and part of Burien. 8 pm Tuesday (November 6th) is when the voting ends and the counting begins; here’s how to get your ballot in.
Two West Seattle Junction notes with just days to go until Tuesday’s voting deadline:
NEW BALLOT BOX REMINDER: We first told you two weeks ago about the new King County Elections dropbox on the south side of Alaska west of California. It’s open around the clock until 8 pm (sharp!) on Tuesday, and two parking spaces by the box are reserved for dropoff, as shown in our photo. West Seattle’s other KCE dropbox is on the south side of SW Raymond east of 35th SW, by High Point Library. And of course you no longer need a stamp to send your ballot in the USPS mail (but however/wherever you send it, you’ll want to verify that it’s going to get postmarked by Tuesday).
‘ELECTION DAY CAKE’: West Seattle-residing chef and cookbook author Kim O’Donnel tells WSB she will be at the West Seattle Farmers’ Market for about an hour Sunday morning (November 4, 10:30-11:30 am-ish) with samples of “Election Day Cake” as part of this fun and flavorful election-related project for which she runs an Instagram account:
The backstory is in our calendar listing, along with the recipe.
If you want to vote in the November 6th election but aren’t registered, today is your absolute last chance. You’ll have to go to the King County Elections Annex downtown or the King County Elections office in Renton to register in person. Both are open until 4:30 pm (the annex is closed 1-2 pm for a break).
In two sessions today, scheduled to start at 9:30 am and 2 pm, the City Council continues the “issue identification” phase of reviewing and potentially changing the mayor’s proposed budget. Today’s reviews include the SDOT and Parks budgets, as well as a discussion of issues that “cross-cut” across multiple departments. Reading the documents, we found some excerpts of interest for potential changes, mostly to be brought up by West Seattle/South Park Councilmember Lisa Herbold, though the first one is from north end Councilmember Rob Johnson. First ones are from the agenda documents for Parks, up first at 9:30 am.:
Funding for Daily Operation of Wading Pools (Councilmember Johnson) – This proposal would add $490,000 in ongoing funding to support the daily operation of 22 wading pools in the City. The Proposed 2019 and 2020 Budget includes funding for 15 pools to operate late June to early September, with four open daily (Green Lake, Lincoln, Van Asselt, and Volunteer Park) and 11 open between two and four days a week, for a total of 597 days of scheduled operation. Funding is not included in the Mayor’s Proposed 2019 and 2020 Budget to continue operation of seven wading pools funded by the Council in the 2018 budget. This proposal would restore funding to open the seven wading pools and provide funds for all 22 wading pools to open on a daily basis.
(WSB file photo)
This next proposed change to Parks’ budget is a followup to something we reported on recently:
Open Colman Pool for One Additional Month in Summertime (Councilmember Herbold) – This proposal would add $60,000 in ongoing funding to support opening Colman Pool for one more month in the summer. Currently the pool is budgeted to operate for approximately 14 weeks (between late May and early September).
The District 1 councilmember has two other proposed Parks changes involving West Seattle facilities:
Winterize Cabins at Camp Long (Councilmember Herbold) – This proposal would add one-time funding to winterize the cabins at Camp Long to facilitate year-round use. Central Staff will continue to work with CM Herbold to determine the level of resources required to implement this proposal.
Enhance Trail Access Points on SW Brandon Street (Councilmember Herbold) – This proposal would add $50,000 in one-time funding for a community planning process examining enhancements to trail access points along South West Brandon Street in West Seattle, as recommended in the North Delridge Action Plan. Central Staff will continue to work with CM Herbold to determine the level of resources required to implement this proposal.
After the Parks discussion, the council moves on to SDOT before the 9:30 am-starting session ends. Three pitches that Herbold will make:
Add the Highland Park Roundabout as a separate project in the 2019-2024 CIP (Councilmember Herbold) – This project was identified through the Neighborhood Street Fund process to enhance safety, improve traffic flow, and reduce cut through traffic. SDOT has allocated $200,000 for design of this project and is seeking a WSDOT’s City Safety Program grant to fully fund the project. SDOT’s financial plan reserves an additional $300,000 as a local match for the grant. This action would create a specific CIP project for this work.
Proviso the Arterial Asphalt and Concrete Program Phase II Project related to 35th Ave. SW (Councilmember Herbold) – As part of the Move Seattle reset, SDOT is proposing additions and deferrals of paving projects from the previous 2015 Arterial Asphalt & Concrete Paving Plan. Councilmember Herbold is considering a spending proviso on this program, or other budget actions related to this program, pending further review of SDOT’s paving plan proposal.
Add funding for Landslide Mitigation (Councilmember Herbold) – This action would add $1 million in 2019 and $1 million in 2020 to address high priority potential landslide locations identified in SDOT’s 2000 Landslide Risk Assessment Report. The 2018 Adopted Budget included $1 million of one-time funding for this work, above the baseline $400,000 for landslide response and remediation. This action = would restore funding for this program to 2018 levels.
And in the “cross-cutting” discussion, scheduled for today’s 2 pm session:
District 1 Community Planning (Councilmember Herbold) – This proposal would confirm that there is capacity within OPCD to begin planning with West Seattle communities in 2019. In July, OPCD published “Community Planning Practice + Prioritization,” its response to Statement of Legislative Intent (SLI) 135-1-A-1, which asked for a report on priorities for community planning. In that report, OPCD identified three areas where planning is starting in 2018: (1) Crown Hill in District 6; (2) the NE 130th/145th light rail station area in District 5; and (3) Imagine Downtown – a long-range urban design plan for the Center City. The next three community planning priorities are: (1) Westwood/Highland Park in District 1; (2) Aurora/Licton Springs in District 5; and (3) Columbia City, Hillman City and the future Graham Street light rail station area in District 2. According to the SLI response, future light rail station areas along the West Seattle to Ballard alignment are also intended to be an area of focus of community planning beginning in 2019. This action would ensure that there are resources to begin work with communities in Westwood/Highland Park and the Delridge and Avalon/West Seattle Junction station areas in the 2019-20 biennium through reporting requirements, a budget proviso, or additional staffing.
Increase Pet License Fees to Support an Animal Control Officer (Councilmember Herbold)—This budget action would amend budget legislation to raise the price of pet license fees to the level that would support the costs on an additional animal control officer. FAS is still determining the necessary increase in pet license fees to achieve this goal. Current pet license fees range from $20 to $200, and $120,000 was provided for a similar position in the 2017 Adopted Budget.
The full review documents are linked to the agenda for today’s sessions.
P.S. Just getting pitched in these sessions is no guarantee that these changes will be made – councilmembers have to get support from others on the council, and money has to be moved from somewhere else in the budget. If you support or oppose any of these – or anything else in the budget – you can e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org with feedback.
8:05 PM TUESDAY: We’ve been watching the city’s Ethics and Elections Commission website for first indication of who’ll be running next year in City Council District 1, West Seattle and South Park, and tonight the first name is on the Campaigns page: Phillip Tavel. He is a lawyer who finished third in the 2015 primary.
We have a request out to him for comment, as well as an inquiry to incumbent Councilmember Lisa Herbold as to whether she’s yet decided on running for re-election. (2015 WSB photo)
ADDED 9:39 AM WEDNESDAY: Councilmember Herbold’s response to our question: “I’ll be answering this question soon. In the meantime, because I sincerely enjoyed campaigning with Phillip in 2015, it’s fun to think about a campaign trail reunion in 2019.”
ADDED 4:44 PM WEDNESDAY: The newly announced candidate’s statement:
First of all, thanks to the West Seattle Blog for diligently looking out for the news impacting our District.
Secondly, everyone’s focus right now, should really be on the election in 2 weeks. Remember that every vote does matter. There is no better way to give power to your voice than casting your vote. Complete your ballot today and mail it or swing by a DropBox, but PLEASE make sure you vote.
Regarding my campaign, I will be having several kick-off events throughout District 1 in late January (stay tuned for that) and my website will launch in mid-November. In the interim, if you want to talk to me you can come find me before, during or after the Trivia Night that I’ve been hosting for the past 10 years at Talarico’s from 830 – 10:30 every Wednesday night.
After the election in two weeks, I will present a full vision for D1. Some key points are a focus on restoring trust and respect between the city and the people of Seattle, working with businesses (large and small) to cooperatively tackle our most significant issues, and ensuring accessibility to city government. It’s vital to have open and inclusive processes so D1 residents know their voice is truly being heard.
Got your ballot(s) yet? King County Elections mailed them Wednesday. Ours arrived on Friday. (If you don’t get yours by tomorrow, call KCE at 206-296-VOTE.) Meantime, we have one more look at the marquee race on ballots in this area – the 34th District State Senate race to fill the seat from which Sen. Sharon Nelson is retiring.
The Chamber billed this as a “modified Lincoln-Douglas format.” No audience questions. We did take topline notes (not full transcriptions nor direct quotes outside of anything in quotation marks), if you don’t have time to watch:
The ballots are in the mail. The ballot dropboxes (including the brand-new one in The Junction) open today. What you’ll see on your ballot includes only one contested, open local seat: 34th District State Senator. Last night was the second-to-last West Seattle forum for the two candidates who survived the 11-candidate primary. Above, our video of the entire forum, presented by the Delridge Neighborhoods District Council (in place of its regular monthly meeting), at and with South Seattle College (WSB sponsor) on Puget Ridge; below, our notes with key points – NOT full transcriptions – from the candidates’ replies to the 14 questions asked at the forum (including some “different ones!” as they observed with some measure of delight).
3 PM: Two years after getting its first permanent ballot dropbox from King County Elections, West Seattle is about to get a second one. Lora Radford of the West Seattle Junction Association has been working with KC Elections on a location for a dropbox in The Junction. She sends word that they expect “any day now” to install one on the south side of SW Alaska west of California SW: “I’m excited this box will be permanently located in the Junction.” The KCE website already shows it! West Seattle’s only dropbox until now has been along SW Raymond by the High Point Library, installed in 2016; that one will remain. General-election voting will start later this week, when ballots start showing up in voters’ mailboxes. If you’d rather drop your ballot in a mailbox, the new prepaid-postage program continues, too.
4:11 PM: Thanks to Angelo for noting in a comment that the box is now in place! Photo added above.
This past week, 34th District State Senate candidates Shannon Braddock and Joe Nguyen spoke with the Admiral Neighborhood Association at its regular every-other-month meeting. This time, the format wasn’t the usual side-by-side format; each candidate was given time to speak and to answer questions. Here’s our video – dimly lit because that’s the way it is at the venue, The Sanctuary at Admiral:
Before your ballot arrives in the mail around the end of this coming week, you have two more chances to see the candidates in West Seattle:
-Wednesday (October 17th), 7 pm Delridge Neighborhoods District Council forum in Olympic Hall at South Seattle College (6000 16th SW; WSB sponsor)
-Thursday (October 18th), 6:30 pm West Seattle Chamber of Commerce forum at the DAV Hall (4857 Delridge Way SW)
Both are open to all. Voting deadline is November 6th.
The 2020 Census is getting closer, and our state’s Complete Count Committee started its work today by having its kickoff meeting in West Seattle, at South Seattle College (WSB sponsor). The committee is described as “a group of 30 leaders (Gov. Jay Inslee) has appointed to support and advise state officials on how best to ensure an accurate count of all Washington residents,” chaired by Gary Locke, who has served as governor and as U.S. ambassador to China. Both Inslee and Locke were there for this afternoon’s meeting:
The visitors were welcomed by SSC’s new president Dr. Rosie Rimando-Chareunsap:
Gov. Inslee talked with the media after speaking to the committee.
The committee’s members are listed here.
They include Sili Savusa, executive director of the White Center Community Development Association.
Voting for the general election starts in less than 2 weeks. The most hotly contested race on local ballots is for 34th District State Senator, with Joe Nguyen and Shannon Braddock emerging from an 11-candidate primary. The latest major appearance by both was at this past Thursday night’s North Highline Unincorporated Area Council meeting in White Center; we recorded it on video and you can watch the unedited hour-and-a-half-long forum above. We’ve also noted key points in text below (after the jump if you are reading from the front page) – not full transcriptions, just excerpted points, but perhaps of interest if you don’t have time to watch the video or go see one of their upcoming appearances (listed below):
Missed the 34th District State Senate candidates at last night’s North Highline Unincorporated Area Council meeting? We’ll have video up this weekend – and also, we’ve just received word that candidates Shannon Braddock and Joe Nguyen are both expected at next Tuesday’s Admiral Neighborhood Association meeting, 6:30 pm at The Sanctuary at Admiral (42nd/Lander); details to come, says ANA president Larry Wymer. Voting starts when your ballot arrives in the mail in about two weeks.
The November election is just a month away, and voting starts in about two weeks. If you’re not registered yet, Monday is the deadline for registering online or by mail. You can do the former by going here; to print a form for mailing, go here – it’s available in 21 languages!
P.S. Here’s an incentive – the coffee shop Bird on a Wire (3509 SW Henderson) has voter-registration events both days this weekend, with forms printed and available: “Enjoy a free ‘bird drop’ cookie or small cup of joe with every filled-out application!” during these times – 9-11 am Saturday, 10 am-2 pm Sunday.
P.P.S. We are reminded that this is an important time to check to be sure your registration status is still active – that could have changed if, for example, you moved and ballots sent to your old address were returned as undeliverable. Go here to check your status.
As covered here this past week, the mayor’s budget plan is out and the City Council‘s review is on. One night before the first big public hearing next Thursday, West Seattle/South Park Councilmember Lisa Herbold will speak to the Southwest District Council. Besides discussing the budget process (which she is also updating on her website), she is also planning to talk about where the “vacant building” enforcement stands. She’s one of three guests on the agenda for Wednesday’s SWDC meeting, 6:30 pm at the Senior Center/Sisson Building (4217 SW Oregon, upstairs).
(SPD presentation starts 1:16 in)
In her Thursday afternoon appearance during the City Council’s first-round budget review, Police Chief Carmen Best revealed three goals for crime reduction in the year ahead: Cutting auto theft, residential burglary, and commercial robbery. She said that residential burglary had hit the Southwest and South Precinct areas particularly hard, so she wants to bring it down five percent in those areas, while reducing vehicle theft by five percent citywide, and reducing commercial robbery by two percent.
As noted when the citywide budget plan was rolled out by the mayor on Monday, the chief hopes to add 10 officers next year – beyond replacing those who leaving – and 30 in 2020. Councilmembers spent a significant amount of time grilling Best on staffing levels, saying they are hearing from constituents over and over again that the city doesn’t have enough police. The force currently numbers 1,457, she had said, “more deployable officers than it has ever had,” while acknowledging “we need more officers.” Recruiting, she said, is currently a big challenge.
Another number of note: The proposed SPD budget for next year is $363 million, a 10 percent increase, with most of the increase attributed to technology investments that have to be made next year.
SPD was the last department to present its budget overview in 2 days of presentations to the council. Councilmember Lisa Herbold‘s latest weekly update outlined where the process goes from here, including a public hearing at City Hall next Thursday (October 4th).
Mayor Jenny Durkan‘s visit to the Highland Park Action Committee finally happened last night – 7 months after she accepted the invitation extended by HPAC’s Gunner Scott during her February “town hall” at the Senior Center of West Seattle. We got it all on video – first, the mayor:
And in our second clip, the department heads who accompanied her, mostly to address homelessness-related issues such as the Myers Way east-side cleanup – interim Human Services Director Jason Johnson (a West Seattle resident), HSD’s Navigation Team manager Fred Podesta, as well as Seattle Parks and Recreation leadership, introduced by HPAC chair Charlie Omana:
Other top city staffers were there too, including new Department of Neighborhoods director Andrés Mantilla – a Highland Park resident – Seattle Public Utilities‘ Mami Hara, Parks interim superintendent Christopher Williams, and deputy SDOT director Elliott Helmbrecht.
If you don’t have time to watch the video and weren’t among the ~50 people at the Highland Park Improvement Club for last night’s event, here are the toplines:
She opened by talking about the budget proposal she unveiled on Monday (here’s our coverage, from attending a media briefing at the mayor’s office) and pitching for the Families/Education/Preschool/Promise Levy that’ll go to city voters in November.
Regarding homelessness, she touted her plan for hundreds of additional shelter beds and the need to close “gaps” in regional behavioral-care services. She said the city-sanctioned Camp Second Chance in southeast West Seattle “is being managed well.” And she said the Myers Way east-side cleanup had finished ahead of schedule.
Regarding police and crimefighting, she promised that she and SPD Chief Carmen Best would figure out how to “do better.”
In Q&A with the mayor, local community advocate Pete Spalding opened by mentioning how former Mayor Murray had cut ties with community groups such as neighborhood-district councils and asked Durkan about renewing a commitment to working with community groups. She declared that her presence last night was a “signal to you” that she has made that commitment, and she added that she believes in “community-based government,” that solutions come from communities. “You’ll see me back here,” she promised.
Another neighborhood advocate, Kay Kirkpatrick, brought up the Highland Park Way/Holden roundabout that neighbors have long been seeking. Is it in the city budget? Can money from other on-hold projects (such as Fauntleroy Boulevard) be diverted to it? The mayor’s answer (about 19 minutes into the video) was that “it’s clear that a roundabout is the best result” for the intersection, and that the city is planning in expectation that it’ll get a state grant to fund it – but if not, the city will find a “Plan B.” In the meantime, the mayor said they’re looking at “other ways to slow traffic down” there.
Another transportation issue brought up: Bus service to Highland Park, particularly Route 131. (While buses are managed by King County, the city has had an increasing role as it’s “bought” additional service hours on some routes, and more of that is proposed in Durkan’s new budget.)
In crime and safety, a neighbor from the 13th SW area shaken by home-invasion burglaries earlier this year said they still feel the response might have been better in a more-affluent area. “We want to feel safe in the area … and more has to be done for people to feel more trust in the Police Department.” The mayor acknowledged that she was aware of the community’s concerns and said she hopes that they are doing better now. “We know we can do better in parts of the city.” She again mentioned that her budget calls for more officers – 10 more citywide next year, 30 more the year after that, above attrition (though where they’ll be assigned isn’t clear, and the budget shows the Southwest Precinct overall staffing level not changing). Assistant Chief Adrian Diaz also addressed the concerns and mentioned safety/self-defense training to “empower” community members.
And one more question before the mayor left was from a South Delridge resident who spoke of the dozens of derelict/abandoned properties in the area, wondering why it takes so long to get them addressed. The mayor mentioned a South Park property that had been handled but invited the resident to get her more specifics so they could “work on (it).” (A p.s. on that, Councilmember Lisa Herbold‘s been working on the issue and is scheduled to talk about it at next week’s Southwest District Council meeting, 6:30 pm October 3rd at the Senior Center of West Seattle.)
We will add notes later this afternoon from the conversation with Human Services Department leaders that followed the mayor’s departure; you can watch the 30-minute video above in the meantime.
(Seattle Channel video of mayor’s budget speech)
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
Mayor Jenny Durkan is announcing her budget proposal for the next two years. (
Click the “play” button above for the live stream from Seattle Channel at Fire Station 10 downtown.) It’s almost $6 billion a year. Just before leaving City Hall to present the speech, she hosted reporters in the mayor’s office conference room to provide background on toplines. We were among those invited – so here are some notes of interest.
She was joined by the city’s budget director Ben Noble, who acknowledged that the budget includes a “significant increase,” but he and Durkan stressed that it is balanced and includes “sustainable” sources of funding for a variety of city programs as well as recognizing that revenue growth is slowing, while inflation is on the rise.
A few big-picture notes – close to half the budget, $2.6 billion, goes to utilities: Seattle City Light and Seattle Public Utilities. That’s separate from the city’s General Fund spending, which Noble said is proposed to go up six percent next year. The budget has a “focus on basic city services … that our taxpayers expect,” promised the mayor.
Some specific areas:
PUBLIC SAFETY: 40 new police officers – above attrition – are proposed, 10 next year and 30 in 2020. In the Fire Department, the mayor wants to add 120 new fire recruits. Noble said the added personnel are needed because maintaining required staffing levels is currently leading to lots of overtime. Durkan said that Chief Harold Scoggins found savings in other areas to cover the cost of adding personnel. We asked for specifics; fuel savings was mentioned, and they promised to provide details of others.
Back to police, the mayor does include money for 12 Community Service Officers – as originally called for by the City Council – and says they will be part of a new Collaborative Policing Bureau.
UTILITIES: 24 people will be added in the Customer Call Centers to reduce wait times. The mayor said City Light in particular needs a lot of “re-tuning” and she expects to spend a lot of time with new GM Debra Smith – assuming the council confirms her – doing that.
TRANSPORTATION: The city wants to pay the county to add yet more bus service – 100,000 more hours. In all, more than $600 million is budgeted for transit/transportation, including $101 million for “maintenance and replacement of key roads, trails, bike paths, bridges.” No specific projects mentioned for our area, but there was talk about dealing with the upcoming Period of Maximum Constraint downtown, including signal adjustments to keep transit and other traffic flowing. The mayor also mentioned going to Olympia to try to get approval for transit-lane-blocking enforcement cameras. (This would be a repeat try.) She promised they’ll be working “block by block” to figure out how to keep people moving.
HOMELESSNESS: Next year’s budget includes $89 million total in all areas in which the city deals with this, up a bit from this year’s $86 million. The spending includes “increased case management” for tiny-house villages (sanctioned encampments); we asked what that might mean for a specific encampment such as Camp Second Chance in West Seattle, and were promised details on that too. (Currently the city’s contracted camp operator. LIHI, provides a case manager, paid from what it gets annually to run the camp.)
The city’s going to try a “safe parking” program again for people who live in vehicles, with $250,000 allotted for that. No specifics of where/when, yet. And the Navigation Team will be increased.
NEIGHBORHOODS: $4 million is included to continue the Matching Fund program that funds many programs and projects around the city.
IF YOU REALLY LIKE NUMBERS: Noble explained that city revenues are “highly dependent on the local economy.” Sales, business/occupation, and utility taxes comprise more than 56 percent of what goes into the city’s General Fund. They’re continuing to grow but more slowly – this year sales tax was expected to go up 8.7%, but next year 3.5% and 2% in 2020; B&O is expected to grow 7.4% this year, 5.1% next year, 3.3% in 2020. The city expects construction activity to drop more than 10 percent over the next two years, while inflation is “creeping up,” in the three percent vicinity. But Noble stressed, “this is not a recession forecast – it’s a slowing of growth.” And new revenue streams are helping – $22 million a year from the “soda tax,” which at one point was expected to drop dramatically as the years went on, but, Noble said, other cities that have it are NOT seeing those drops so it “provides an opportunity to use these monies to fund more sustainable activities.”
THERE’S MORE: What’s above is just part of what was discussed at the briefing and a small part of what’s in the budget. The full document is due out now (update: find it here) and we’ll be reviewing it for other notes of interest that we’ll add to this report later.
WHAT HAPPENS FROM HERE: The City Council spends the next ~2 months reviewing the budget. District 1 Councilmember Lisa Herbold outlined the process – and how you can get involved – in her newest online update.
A mayoral visit that’s been months in the planning is now one week away – Mayor Jenny Durkan, hosted by the Highland Park Action Committee. You’re invited. HPAC chair Charlie Omana has just sent the agenda for the September 26th event, with word that the city’s Human Services Director will be there too:
6:15 Doors open
6:30 Calling meeting to order
6:35 Guest Speaker – Mayor Jenny Durkan
6:50 – 7:00 Q&A with Mayor
7:10 – Conversation with Randy Wiger, Recreation Program Coordinator, Parks Department, about programming in HP parks
7:30 Guest – Jason Johnson, Interim Director, Department of Human Services: Open conversation about City of Seattle policies on homelessness
8:00 close meeting
After four months as its interim director, Highland Park resident Andrés Mantilla is now officially in charge of the city Department of Neighborhoods, confirmed today by the City Council.
He succeeds Kathy Nyland, who led the department for three years following Bernie Matsuno‘s four-year tenure. Mantilla has worked for the city in a variety of roles for the past decade, detailed here with other info about his background. The announcement of his confirmation quotes him as saying, “I am deeply appreciative of the power that community engagement and inclusive outreach has in building a more equitable Seattle. I look forward to working with community and neighborhood groups as we continue this important work.” (Photo from seattle.gov)
Five weeks from tonight, you’ll likely have your ballot for the November election. The marquee local race is for State Senate in the 34th District, which includes West Seattle, White Center, Vashon and Maury Islands, and part of Burien. The two West Seattleites who finished the primary atop a field of 11 – Joe Nguyen and Shannon Braddock – went head to head last night at the monthly meeting of the 34th District Democrats, who endorsed both before the primary.
The format, billed as Lincoln-Douglas-style debating, meandered a bit, so you’re just going to have to watch. It started with a topic both tackled in the WSB interviews we published earlier this week (Braddock here, Nguyen here), taxes. Moderator Chris Porter also asked about gun laws and about the candidates’ respective 34th Districts-specific priorities, should they get sent to Olympia.
The debate had its moments. Before it was all over, each candidate had used the f-word once (no, it’s not bleeped out, we run event video unedited); and each had gotten in at least one direct dig at their opponent. Nguyen also complimented Braddock at one point for a “fantastic” answer to a particular question. If you missed this, there’ll be other opportunities to see the two side by side, including the October North Highline Unincorporated Area Council meeting and a date-TBA West Seattle Chamber of Commerce forum.
ALSO AT THE MEETING: A standing-room-only turnout had gathered by debate time. The 34th DDs voted to endorse three state initiatives – 940, 1631, and 1639 – plus the city Families, Education, Preschool and Promise Levy, though the latter was not without some pre-vote controversy, as Leslie Harris, the longtime local activist who currently leads the Seattle Public Schools Board, said Mayor Jenny Durkan had yet to respond to requests for information on whether any of that levy’s money would go to charter schools. … The 34th DDs also heard pitches for help with the November vote in swing areas outside the 34th.