Liquor-control officers visit White Center Community Safety Coalition
By Jonathan Stumpf
Reporting for White Center Now
Thursday night’s White Center-South Delridge Community Safety Coalition meeting at St. James Place was the first without group facilitator Kathy Kaminski, who left for Chicago — and it also was revealed that the lone full-time staffer with a role in assisting the group, Karen Greene, will be cut back to half-time this September, with the possibility of her position ending entirely by December due to budget cuts.
The group also was visited by two Washington State Liquor Control Board officers. Officer John Wilson and Lieutenant Susan Blaker (at right in top photo) were met with a flurry of questions, concerns and frustrations from the approximately 20 attendees.
King County Sheriff’s Deputy Jeff Hancock presented an unusually quiet crime round-up: No car thefts, two felony assaults, 15 misdemeanor assaults (13 reported as domestic-violence-related).
One incident he mentioned involved a heroin-overdose call in a homeless camp in the 10100 block of 12th Avenue SW. Upon arrival, the deputies found the victim blue, with no pulse or sign of breathing. They recognized the victim as a well-known arrestee in White Center. Beginning CPR, they managed to regain a pulse until medics arrived and he was transported to the hospital. Two days later, he was arrested for the 10th time. Commenting on Hancock’s story, one resident chimed in and said “they picked the wrong day to do successful CPR.”
Also, attendees voted unanimously to request an increased presence of bicycle officers in the White Center business district. Deputy Hancock will send in the request this week.
For the Seattle side of the coalition’s coverage area, Southwest Precinct Community Police Team Sergeant Jeff Durden reported ten burglaries — all residential — and emphasized to “even lock your house when you’re mowing the lawn.” Durden added, “If I lived in Highland Park, I would have an alarm.”
The situation with the abandoned, fire-damaged house in the 9000 block of 17th Avenue SW is moving forward, but the group of residents was told by the Sheriff’s Community Service Officer Vary Jackson to “have patience.”
The bulk of the meeting concerned liquor license renewals. Officer Wilson and Lieutenant Blaker — a former officer in the White Center neighborhood — fielded the questions and concerns from residents. The hotspot in discussion was the market on the corner of 16th SW and Henderson Street. One resident said, “I’m disappointed you’re here after the fact,” referring to the constant collection of bottles, cans and suspected illegal activity that residents say happens around the establishment. Additionally, the liquor license has changed hands and most residents consider it detrimental to the neighborhood.
The market in question has been a hotspot for four years and this is the first time any officer from the Liquor Control Board has visited the meeting in that period. Wilson, the new officer for the White Center area, told the meeting they are his eyes and ears for the neighborhood. He emphasized that in order for changes and reform to happen, residents must contact him with complaints. Call him, leave your name, number and complaint, and he will then open a formal investigation. “If you take away one thing from this meeting, take my card,” said Wilson.
The White Center-South Delridge Community Safety Coalition meets the fourth Thursday of every month from 6 – 8 pm at St. James Place (9421 18th Ave SW). Dinner is provided and all are welcome. For more information visit http://www.sngi.org/dfc/dfc.html.
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