West Seattle, Washington
For the first time since the first day after The Storm To Be Named Later, West Seattle’s Most Famous Politician turned up on weather watch today, musing about mud. Even though the latest forecast doesn’t look so dire, we’ll give him props for calling out the cavalry just in case.
There’s a lot at stake for West Seattle in the school vote coming up five weeks from today. The measures are mentioned as part of this “year ahead for Seattle Public Schools” story in today’s Times. To find specifics, you have to scavenge through the SPS site; a no-frills doc outlines the half-billion dollar bond measure that we’ll be voting on, a large chunk of which would go toward combining the Denny Middle School & Chief Sealth HS campuses on this side of WS (new turf for the Denny/Sealth field is in the bond plan too). But when you go vote, keep in mind the bond measure is separate from the $400 million levy the district needs just to keep running. And neither will pass, no matter how many “yes” votes, if not enough voters (at least 40% of the # who voted last November) show up.
As first mentioned here back in the thick of Outage #1, the city council’s making time this Wednesday night to listen to The Public regarding “Lessons from the Windstorm.” (Yes, a public hearing with a title. Maybe it even deserves a theme song.) 5:30 pm Wednesday, City Hall. If there’s a lesson you hope the city powers-that-be learned, it’s your big chance.
Just watched our recording of the Seattle City Council briefing with key bureaucratic types talking about the storm response. (We’re STILL waiting to hear … where is the mayor? He wasn’t even at this event; nor was the deputy mayor; a woman “from [his] office” was their delegate.) The P-I has posted its article but it doesn’t mention the most surprising thing we heard: City Light does NOT automatically know who’s got power and who doesn’t … its customers don’t have automated meters, hooked up straight to HQ, though City Light boss Jorge Carrasco mentioned a “pilot project” along those lines in High Point right now. The briefing also revealed the councilmembers got a surprise during the storm aftermath, finding out they could have been getting info for constituents by accessing some sort of web page on the city system listing all known outages. “I didn’t know you didn’t know about it,” Carrasco said, “but … you do now.” Nervous laughter ensued. One council member tried to ask why members of the public couldn’t have been allowed access to that page too, so at least they’d know their outage area was on “the list”; Carrasco’s answer seemed to boil down to, well, that page is MANUALLY updated, and maybe not entirely up to the minute, so putting it out there might have done more harm than good. (What do you think? When is more information worse than less? If you want to tell the council yourself, their public hearing on all this is 5:30 pm January 3rd.)
We were going to say that driving around WS tonight was “normal” — no major lights out, etc. — for the first time in more than a week, but the pre-Christmas craziness is making up for it. Crowds galore. Good for our local businesses, at least.
In post-storm notes … got e-mail from the office of local County Councilmember Dow Constantine (while Seattle City Councilmembers aren’t elected by district, King County Councilmembers are), saying he’s pushing for a “formal council review of the local response to (the) windstorm.” As for the city, haven’t seen anything yet about the outcome of today’s “briefing.” The video is now posted on the Seattle Channel site (with an ironic disclaimer about “diminished” audio quality because of an “unforeseen technical problem”).
Today’s storm-aftermath photo: proof some of the fallen trees in Lincoln Park are being cleared away; we spotted this pile in the central LP parking lot.
-The traffic light on Fauntleroy at the west edge of Gatewood Elementary is finally back on. Hope that’s good news for some of the pockets in that area.
-Lots of City Light crews on duty around WS today — could barely go half a mile without seeing more. Also interesting to pass City Light home base (on 4th just a bit north of Costco) and see the constant activity there.
-Update on the John’s Deli cow/bull/steer/bovine-whatever, courtesy of a comment on the original post: It did blow off during the storm but will be back. Hurray!
-Heard a good discussion on KUOW’s “Weekday” week-in-review hour while out and about (now available on the station’s site). One caller from the Eastside made the same point we and others had put forward: Yes, we know the mayor/governor/county exec can’t personally restore power, but having them out in the storm-disaster zones a lot sooner, doing the Clintonesque “I feel your pain” thing at the very least, would still have meant a lot. (The same caller also had the same observation about those leaders’ websites – not enough statements/info about the outages – suggesting their communications staffers might have been assuming, hey, if they’ve got no power, they’ve got no internet. We can testify to the fact that local coffeehouses were stuffed for days with folks who had no power at home but found a way to get online. Also keep in mind, those with power can call friends/relatives without power and tell them what they’re reading about what’s going on.)
Just checked the Seattle Channel site and indeed, they’ll be showing the special City Council storm/power briefing live at 10 am this morning (channel 21 on Comcast, at least in our neighborhood). Also looks like you should be able to watch it online; here’s the “watch live” link from the SC site. We can’t hang around to see it live but will set the recorder and watch for bloggable highlights later.
Pounding rain, dark sky. Hours after a sunshine break. Only quarter till 4 and it’s almost dark enough to get a status check on the remaining WS pockets. No update on the City Light site since this morning. But another gov’t agency, the National Weather Service, wants your help … choosing a name for the storm. (Wind Wallop? Holiday Hell?) And in government-leader news, heard a radio report that Gov. Gregoire and County Exec Sims toured powerless Eastside spots today. Her home page currently headlines a “weather update”; his home page has one high up (but the headline story is still him getting an award); still waiting for word on the status of our mayor, whose page is topped with “emergency preparedness tips.”
The rain stopped. The voting’s over. I waited all the way up till what looks to be the very last vote-count update of the
night morning, for one last pounding of proof that I voted out of the mainstream. (Go enjoy your lap dances with abandon, kids.) So now let’s talk about something cheerier. Thanksgiving is two weeks from tomorrow. If you can spare a turkey or two, the White Center Food Bank needs 1,500 of ’em. (We found this out at the Gathering of Neighbors last weekend; a nice lady from the 34th District Dems told a friend of ours that she volunteers at the WCFB and was sad to see last year that they only had turkey “quarters” to hand out to families in need.) Also, you can get some immediate return on your generosity at Southwest Pool tonight and tomorrow night, when Public Swim admission is only two bucks if you bring at least one can o’food for their food drive.
Once you’ve voted – in person till 8 pm (and don’t forget to bring ID), or if you haven’t mailed your “absentee” ballot, it’s gotta be postmarked today! – here’s where you can watch results update as the county election dept. posts ’em:
King County Prop 2 (“Transit Now”)
Seattle Ref. 1 (strip clubs) and Prop 1 (“Bridging the Gap”)
Seattle City Council #9, and Initiative 91 (sports stadium deals)
West Seattle’s state legislators (District 34)
Hours till the voting begins — at least, for those of us who still vote the old-school way. If you do that too, don’t let the weather keep you away — this West Seattleite is offering free rides, no matter who you’re voting for. (For real; we didn’t just pluck that out of Craigslist — the “advertiser” e-mailed us herself to get the word out about her offer.) Also going the extra mile to encouraging voting, the proprietress of Bird on a Wire, who sent the whole BoaW mailing list this handy link where you can create a personalized voting guide, among other things. Happy (we hope!) Election Day!
We love voting. Haven’t missed an even remotely noteworthy election in my (cough, mumble) years of voting. But it’s unfortunate that, when we vote, we don’t get to explain WHY we vote. So since we have the luxury of this here blog – on the offhand chance any decisionmakers might stumble onto it, we’re going to take some pixels to explain why we plan to break with the 34th District Dems’ recommendations on three local issues. (And if anyone cares to explain why you think we’re wrong, wrong, wrong, the comment section is all yours. We vote in person, so it’s not too late to win us back.)Read More
-The Seattle Weekly has two tales of West Seattle nightlife in its latest edition. One is a straightforward “Club Pick” piece about Skylark; the other is a fantastical journey into an alleged Beach Drive scene that you might actually start to believe, until the later paragraphs. (Kudos to the writer for quite an imagination. Best civically minded satire since Exit133.com took on Carl’s Jr.)
-Wonder if the rain will keep the Initiative 937 campaigners off the Fauntleroy walkover today. They’ve been up there sign-waving for two recent commutes … immediately causing me to feel excruciating guilt for being alone in my car (at least it’s a gas-thrifty little-bitty car, honest). But at least we’re not driving a big yellow truck like the McG crew (it was back in Yasuko’s north lot yesterday morning, with the addition of a guy having his own tailgating party outside it).
-Have you seen the bear under The Bridge yet?
Somebody at the pro-Seattle Prop 1 HQ must have thought it would impress us in West Seattle if they mailed us a big glossy color pamphlet telling us where in WS we might see benefits if the Prop 1 property tax passes. Just one little problem. If you got this pamphlet, take a look at the left side of the map inside — it suggests that Prop 1 will provide $ to “repaint crosswalks at the California/Alaskan Way Junction.” Hellooooooo? Alaskan Way is the street that runs along the foot of that viaduct thingy that is NOT included in Prop 1 (as the back of the flyer seeks to reassure us); at The Junction, Cali intersects with ALASKA STREET. The pro-Prop 1 website is a little odd too. Check out this page … did they simply run out of space at the bottom when it came time to talk about trees?
If you want a chance to decide on all the hot topics and hot races on the fall ballot — have a say on strip-club rules (Seattle Ref 1), special deals for sports stadiums (Seattle I-91), Hizzoner’s road tax (Seattle Prop 1), The Exec’s bus tax (King Co. Prop 2), etc. — today’s your last chance to register to vote, if you’re not registered already. But you gotta do it in person.
Yet more of those Seattle Prop 1 signs are up, many more captioned “Fix This Street!” than “More Bike Trails!”, and now that’s really starting to ring like a false promise — we’ve looked at the collateral (starts on page 33 of this City Voters’ Guide; the ordinance placing it on the ballot can be read in full here), and we’re just not seeing specifics on exactly which streets they’re promising these extra taxes will fix.
Meantime, on the state level, would you recognize your state legislators if you were standing next to them at the supermarket? Might as well have a look. All three of them have Republican opponents for this election — here’s the matchup for state senator, forÃ‚Â “position 1” state rep, and for “position 2” state rep. (Click the “statement” links on those pages, and you’ll see their photos.)
A new wave of campaign signs washed up along Beach Drive and other points in West Seattle today, this time plugging Seattle Proposition 1, aka Hizzoner’s “Bridging the Gap” transportation tax. (Along Me-Kwa-Mooks Park, a pro-Prop 1 sign promises “More Bike Trails”; closer to Alki Point, the signs exhort “Fix This Street” — hmm, I’m not so sure that Beach Drive-paving $ is in there.) These signs join a semi-early blitz of “No on Referendum 1” signs, and if you think there’s potential for confusion between Prop 1 and Ref 1, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet — throw in King County Props 1 and 2 (plus Seattle Initiative 91, Seattle Charter Amendments 6-16, three state initiatives and a state referendum), and you might think you’re looking at a math worksheet instead of a ballot.
In case you haven’t done your research yet, here’s a few bullet points:
–Seattle Prop 1 raises property taxes for a variety of transportation projects, NOT including the viaduct. About $12 extra per month if your house is worth $400K.
-Seattle Ref 1 asks if you approve of the city’s strip-club regulations (including the famous “four-foot rule”).
-King Co. Prop 1 asks if you’ll let county leaders sell off some real estate along Lake Union and the Duwamish (scroll down that page for the full list), which all dates back to a bond measure from almost a century ago.
-King Co. Prop 2 raises sales taxes a tenth of a percent to pay for more bus service (the list on this page mentions Delridge as a key corridor).
We’ll get to the double- and triple-digit ones later. No endorsements here at this point, though we have to say, we’re still a little consumed by bad feelings about the signature-gatherers for Ref 1, who stood outside the Westwood Village Target some months ago and tried to grab shoppers’ attention by barking, “DO YOU HATE STRIPPERS?”
A political editorial (pro-Initiative 920, which means anti-estate tax) in the Sunday Times/P-I describes Services Group of America, which moved from its Delridge HQ (the building with the huge flag) to AZ, as a “small business.” Hardly!
My condolences, by the way, to anyone who lost their job because they didn’t want to move from West Seattle to Arizona; been through the “no relo? no job” thing ourselves. But it’s “good riddance” to SGA’s boss, perhaps best remembered for getting ticked off that he couldn’t get a heliport on the Delridge building (convenient for his commute from Vashon), and had the gall to take the fight all the way to the state Supreme Court!
Four weeks till Election Day, maybe less time till “voting day” for you if you use absentee ballots, so it’s never too soon for a reminder that there’s a lot more at stake this time around than just the big statewide races. For one, there’s Seattle Proposition 1, a tax levy for various transportation projects (NOT including the viaduct). Here’s the official city page with the ballot language; here’s how the city council summarized it when they approved it for the ballot; to find some West Seattle specifics, you have to read this and skim ahead to page 5 and beyond. Worth a look before you make a gut decision on “$365 million in taxes, or not?”.
The governor gets the final say on tunnel vs. new viaduct vs. neither. Here’s a link to tell her what you think she should do. And if you are honked off about city leaders deciding we shouldn’t have a direct say in it, here’s how to e-mail Hizzoner; links to city council members’ e-mail addresses can be found here.
Ours is one of the last few counties where you can still vote in person as well as by mail. So if you haven’t voted yet — today’s the day, 7 am-8 pm. Remember that this is not “just” a primary, even though two of our 34th District state legislators don’t even have general-election opponents; some things WILL be settled today, such as a couple of the state Supreme Court races, and Seattle Initiative 88, the first half of the push to get more $ for city schools (the second half apparently is still caught up in court somewhere).
Second week of Hizzoner’s “We (Heart) Trees” campaign — seen any less cutting lately? Not me. I got spitting mad traveling the switchbacks over Lincoln Park on Friday, watching tree “service” crews kill two big beautiful trees that had been among the few surviving the onslaught of oversized houses suddenly “infilling” the formerly green area. All of which led me to laugh semi-ruefully at this odd little piece from the P-I today.
The two most powerful West Seattleites in city government — the mayor and city attorney — have just won a round in their perplexing fight to keep citizens from taxing themselves to give more money to Seattle Public Schools.
I really don’t get it. Yeah, sure, I agree with Hizzoner’s contention that state legislators should allot more $ for education. But will they? Not in my lifetime, I’m afraid. So if they won’t do it, why can’t we? How come these guys want to hold our kids hostage? Let’s see if we can come up with some tortured analogy here. So there’s a starving kid on a streetcorner, and I want to give the poor kid some food. Oh no no, says Hizzoner, you can’t do that, it’s the parents’ responsibility to feed their kid. And while he saunters off to try to find said parents and make them feed the kid – the waif collapses from malnutrition. Listen, mal-education may be less visible than malnutrition, but it’s just as dangerous. And don’t give me the ol’ “Seattle Public Schools mismanages the $ it has now” song and dance … that’s no reason to say we’re going to starve the district and therefore our kids.
If you don’t have kids in local public schools, drop into one someday soon, and get a reality check. If you happen to see new desks or new books, chances are that came from a PTA fundraiser, not tax dollars. $ may not be the solution but it’s a hell of a start. What’s the real agenda behind the mayor’s push here? Does he want things to get worse so he can pull a stunt like LA’s mayor and ride in to try to “save” the district once it’s in flames?
Anyway, the I-87/88 folks say they won’t give up the fight. We gotta go figure out where to send them a check.