Annexation tax credit expiring – will another tax emerge? – and other North Highline Unincorporated Area Council topics

October 2nd, 2014 Tracy Posted in North Highline UAC, White Center news 1 Comment »

By Tracy Record
White Center Now editor

Issues from annexation to homelessness, with many more along the way, were part of the discussion tonight at the North Highline Unincorporated Area Council‘s October meeting:

STATE REP. JOE FITZGIBBON: He came with an update on the legislative session, starting with a status report on the annexation sales-tax credit, a key tool if the remaining North Highline area is ever to be annexed to a city. The tax credit expires December 31st of this year; Fitzgibbon sponsored legislation to renew it last session, but wasn’t successful – he said the overall state budget concerns made it an “uphill battle” for any sort of tax credit. This doesn’t mean “the tax credit can’t come back,” he said, but doesn’t expect any sort of incentive to be in the same format – maybe “a medium-term funding solution can be found.” He said that the city of Seattle had told legislators that they couldn’t make annexation pencil out “even WITH the tax credit,” saying they’d want a higher credit – doubled, in fact. “We were not able to offer that,” he said dryly. In response to a question, he said he did not envision support for annexation without a public vote. “One of the ideas that’s been floated is that you could create a special taxing district in this area to fund public safety needs” but not indefinitely, “that can work for the time being until such time as Burien or Seattle decides to offer annexation again.”

The McCleary decision, requiring the state to fully fund education, will mean up to $3 billion more is needed – “almost 10 percent of our state budget” – and legislators are trying to figure out how to get that money. Fitzgibbon says he thinks it has to be raised via an additional revenue source. “We’ll probably be working on that for many months in the 2015 session.”

On transportation, he believes there is a “continuing need” for the Legislature to provide “local funding options” for transit and roads, among other things.

An income tax would be good, multiple attendees tell Fitzgibbon, who noted that it was shot down last time it was on a statewide ballot. He says he supported it and would also support a capital-gains tax, which he expects will be discussed in the coming year.

KING COUNTY CONSORTIUM CONSOLIDATED HOUSING AND COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT PLAN: Valerie Kendall came to presenthis is related to federal grant money, explained in handouts with lots of numbers, charts, and trends. One note of interest: Average rent in South King County is currently $988; in East King County, it’s $1,474; in North King County, $1,225. The county is working on a plan to end homelessness, the guest declared. She said they’re expecting to have to help many seniors – the “silver tsunami.” Overall, she said, her presentation was meant to “capture the pulse of the community” with where things stand and where they are going. You can take an online survey by going here. She heard concerns from NHUAC board members that some of the county’s policies have led to concentrations of poverty in the White Center area.

WELCOME TO WHITE CENTER: A family introduced themselves saying that they bought into Greenbridge, priced out of Seattle, and want to get involved with the community.

NO WORD YET ON A NEW STOREFRONT DEPUTY … according to president Dobkin. She suggests anyone and everyone with questions/concerns should contact Major Jerrell Wills and Sheriff John Urquhart.

BIKE CORRAL COMPROMISE? Bong Sto.Domingo from the county said he had been at a meeting prior to this one and a new plan is in the works.

NEW NHUAC BOARD MEMBER: Elizabeth Devine, a social worker with the Veterans Administration, said she has no political experience but admires neighborhood solidarity – “I’m one of your neighbors and I want to contribute.” She has lived in North Highline for five years. She lived in Capitol Hill before that, and says she “couldn’t have afforded a garage” there. She says she’s been burglarized twice and “I want to stand up for our neighborhood.” NHUAC members voted unanimously to appoint her to the board, and she took office immediately. President Dobkin explained that two board members had been lost recently because of factors in their lives. Anyone interested in joining NHUAC can e-mail her.

HIGHLINE PUBLIC SCHOOLS BOND OPPONENT: Karen Steele of Normandy Park spoke in opposition to the $385 million bond measure on the November ballot. She says the bonds approved in 2002 and 2006 are not yet paid off so it will be $1 billion worth of bonds that the district is paying off until 2035. She thinks that will be a tax burden rendering some residences unaffordable. “More money does not mean better schools,” she concluded. Here’s the text of the ballot measure. An attendee pointed out that these are bonds and the money only can be spent on buildings, not salaries, about which Steele had raised concerns. It was noted that Highline Public Schools has not reached out to NHUAC to see their support or at least make their pitch; someone else noted that citizens should attend school board meetings and get involved.

NEW LIBRARY: Questions are swirling around the project, including its status, word of a six-foot fence, and what the library system plans to do with the parcel it won’t be keeping.

BOARD ANNOUNCEMENTS: Council member Pat Price says discussions are under way about a possible tribute to Dick Thurnau, maybe even renaming the park to which he devoted so much time and care (Lakewood Park, home to Hicklin Lake), maybe a plaque honoring him. Some fundraising is expected. … Council member Liz Giba reminds everyone that the White Center Food Bank fundraising dinner is October 18th, the more there, the better.

INVITATION: Southwest Suburban Sewer District board commissioner Bill Tracy invited everyone to find out more about the district, including taking a look at its Salmon Creek treatment plant.

SERVICE AREA GRANT APPLICATION TIME: Interested in one of King County’s community-engagement grants? Apply by the December deadline – details here.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Rep. Fitzgibbon, ‘Consolidated Plan’ top the agenda for Thursday’s North Highline Unincorporated Area Council meeting

September 28th, 2014 Tracy Posted in North Highline UAC, White Center news 1 Comment »

At least two major reasons to be at Thursday’s meeting of the North Highline Unincorporated Area Council – explained in this agenda summary from NHUAC president Barbara Dobkin:

North Highline Unincorporated Area Council Meeting
WHEN: Thursday, ***October 2*** (corrected date) at 7 pm
WHERE: North Highline Fire Station – 1243 SW 112th Street

Mark your calendars and join NHUAC for a very informative community discussion with 34th District Legislative Representative, Joe Fitzgibbon. Find out what is happening in Olympia, and how it impacts us in North Highline, and more importantly, how we can impact legislative decisions.

We are also pleased to be hosting Valerie Kendall, King County Housing and Community Development Planner. Ms. Kendall will be providing important information regarding the “King County Consortium – Consolidated Plan”:

“The Consolidated Plan is the guide to the investment of approximately $6 million per year in federal housing and community development funds, and an additional $47 million per year in other federal or related state and local funds, to address housing, homelessness, and community development needs throughout the King County Consortium. The Consortium includes nearly all cities and towns in King County and the unincorporated areas of King County outside of the City of Seattle.”

This is an important opportunity to learn how we can have input on how this money will be spent in North Highline – funding can be allocated for sidewalks, park improvements, etc. – What would you like to see in our community? They want to hear from us –

We are also pleased to be interviewing North Highline resident, Elizabeth Devine, for an open seat on the NHUAC board –

See you there!

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Be there! King County Sheriff’s Office @ North Highline Unincorporated Area Council’s next meeting

August 28th, 2014 Tracy Posted in King County Sheriff's Office, North Highline UAC, White Center news Comments Off

Questions/concerns about crime/safety/policing in White Center and vicinity? Bring them to next week’s September meeting of the North Highline Unincorporated Area Council:

NHUAC Meeting
When: Thursday, Sept 4 at 7pm
Where: North Highline Fire Station (1243 SW 112st Street)

Please plan on joining us for an important community discussion with Major Jerrell Wills from the King County Sheriff’s Office. This is an opportunity to let your voice be heard about concerns in the North Highline Community, and importantly, learn what the Sheriff’s Office is doing to replace the currently vacant White Center Storefront deputy position.

Deputy BJ Myers, who served as the White Center Storefront Deputy for the past 3 years, and a regular at NHUAC meetings, providing updates on public safety issues, will also be in attendance – for the last time.

Hope to see you all there –

Barbara Dobkin
President, North Highline Unincorporated Area Council

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Video: Crime briefing begins North Highline UAC’s June 2014 meeting

June 9th, 2014 Tracy Posted in Crime, North Highline UAC, White Center news Comments Off

If you couldn’t make it to last Thursday’s June meeting of the North Highline Unincorporated Area Council – NHUAC’s last meeting until September – we have video highlights. First, tonight we bring you president Barbara Dobkin‘s introduction, followed by a crime/safety briefing and Q&A with King County Sheriff’s Office Deputy BJ Myers:

Toplines of what he said: Top Hat has been a trouble spot lately, and the recent deadly shooting is just one of the notable crimes. (Though some other media outlets keep referring to the location as “White Center” or “near White Center,” yes, it was Top Hat, and Deputy Myers referred to the location that way too.) No, he said, the gun used in the killing has not been found, but suspect Drurell J. Collier is jailed in lieu of $2 million bail and will be arraigned Wednesday. He also talked about the arrest in the 24th/Roxbury rape/assault case; suspect Christopher Anthony Brown was booked into jail here, after extradition, later Thursday night. And Deputy Myers talked about gunfire damaging a car and other property along 107th – people apparently didn’t call 911 when it happened, but he urges that everything be reported. He also mentioned possible cuts for KCSO again in the next budget cycle.

Wednesday: The centerpiece of the meeting, a discussion of the North Highline Fire District‘s status and upcoming ballot measure.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Fire district’s future in the spotlight @ North Highline Unincorporated Area Council next Thursday

May 30th, 2014 Tracy Posted in North Highline Fire District, North Highline UAC, White Center news 1 Comment »

As the flyer shows, the next North Highline Unincorporated Area Council meeting is less than a week away. And it’s a hot topic in more ways than one, as announced by NHUAC president Barbara Dobkin:

When: Thursday, June 5 – 7 pm
Where: North Highline Fire Station – 1243 112th Street SW

Please plan on joining us for an important community discussion regarding the future of our North Highline Fire District (NHFD). The residents of North Highline will have an opportunity to vote in August on a “Benefit Charge” to provide much needed support our NHFD. Fire Chief Mike Marrs will provide information on the past, present and future of fire district and what impact the Benefit Charge will have on property owners as well as the fire district.

We will also have our White Center Storefront Deputy BJ Myers on hand to provide updates on crime trends – this is a great time to share your concerns regarding community safety.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

North Highline Unincorporated Area Council meets Thursday: Here’s what you’ll hear about

April 27th, 2014 Tracy Posted in North Highline UAC, White Center news Comments Off

Next Thursday, May 1st, is the next meeting of the North Highline Unincorporated Area Council – all welcome – and here’s what’s on the agenda, as shared by president Barbara Dobkin:

We hope to see you at the next NHUAC meeting:

When: Thursday, May 1, 2014 at 7 pm
Where: North Highline Fire Station, 1243 112th Street SW

Please join us for a presentation from the Health Educator for the King County Dirt Alert Program, Denise Sharify as well as Diana Smith from the Dept of Ecology on the lingering effects from the Asarco Copper Smelter. Learn how you can test your soil and get assistance cleaning up contaminated areas.
For almost 100 years, the Asarco Company operated a copper smelter in Tacoma. Pollution blown from the smelter’s 571-foot smokestack settled on the surface soil over 1,000 square miles in Puget Sound. Arsenic, lead, and other heavy metals are still in the soil as a result of this pollution, and will continue to be a health risk for years to come.

The Tacoma Smelter Plume covers parts of King, Thurston, and Pierce counties. The three county health departments and the Department of Ecology are working to reduce harm from soil contaminated with lead and arsenic.

Also on the agenda – Updates regarding the planned Capital Improvements to the Boulevard Park Library. Denis Feil, Librarian Services Manager and Angelina Beneditti, Library Cluster Manager will be on hand to provide information and answer questions.
In 2004 the residents of King County approved a Library Bond Levy to rebuild and improve libraries in the King County Library System. While most of the work has been completed on libraries throughout the county, we are still waiting for the promise made to this community for a new White Center Library and capital improvements to the Boulevard Park Library.

BJ Myers, White Center Storefront Deputy will be available to provide community safety updates and crime trends.

Community Matters –
Be informed – Be Involved – Be Heard

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

‘Building Equity and Opportunity': North Highline Unincorporated Area Council forum Thursday

April 1st, 2014 Tracy Posted in North Highline UAC, White Center news Comments Off

Flyer says it all – be there Thursday night!

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

North Highline Unincorporated Area Council’s invitation for you: April forum on ‘Building Equity and Opportunity’

March 23rd, 2014 Tracy Posted in North Highline UAC, White Center news Comments Off

Less than two weeks until the North Highline Unincorporated Area Council presents a forum you won’t want to miss. The announcement shared by president Barbara Dobkin:

The North Highline Unincorporated Area Council invites you to a Community Forum:


What does it mean for North Highline and White Center? What is King County doing about it?

Please plan on joining us for this informative and important conversation with our guest speakers:

Matias Valenzuela:
Coordinator of King County’s Equity and Social Justice Initiative

Adrienne Quinn:
Director of King County’s Community and Human Services Department

Joe McDermott
King County Council District 8 Representative

White Center Storefront Deputy BJ Myers will also be on hand to discuss issues related to crime updates and trends in the community.

When: Thursday, April 3 at 7 pm
Where: North Highline Fire Station (1243 112th Street SW)


see our website:
like us on facebook: North Highline Unincorporated Area Council

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Property taxes, pot on North Highline Unincorporated Area Council’s Thursday agenda

March 3rd, 2014 Tracy Posted in North Highline UAC, White Center news Comments Off

The North Highline Unincorporated Area Council has two hot topics on the March agenda, this Thursday, March 6th, 7 pm at the North Highline Fire District HQ, 1243 SW 12th:

Wondering where your property tax dollars go – have questions about why your home value may have decreased, but taxes increased – curious about pending levies and how they may impact your tax bill – then plan on joining us and have your questions answered by King County Tax Assessor, Lloyd Hara.

We are also pleased to have Kari Boiter, who is active in the largest national medical marijuana advocacy group, “Americans for Safe Access”. Ms. Boiter is working with lawmakers to help them understand the concerns of medical marijuana patients, and how the new bills before the Washington State legislators may impact access for patients.


And here’s the agenda:

7:00 pm Call to Order – Flag Salute – Roll Call –
Approval of Agenda – Approval of Minutes

7:05 pm Public Announcements
7:10 pm Public Comment
3 minutes for Individuals
5 minutes for Groups

7:20 pm Deputy B.J. Myers – White Center Storefront
7:30 pm Lloyd Hara, King County Tax Assessor
7:50 pm Kari Boiter, Americans for Safe Access
8:10 pm Committee Reports
8:15 pm New/Old Business
• April Forum
• May Mtg
• June Mtg

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Video: Litter, weeds, crime briefing, more @ North Highline Unincorporated Area Council

February 11th, 2014 Tracy Posted in North Highline UAC, White Center news 5 Comments »

In case you couldn’t make it, we recorded video of the North Highline Unincorporated Area Council meeting last Thursday. Here’s what you’ll see:

*Discussion of litter problems by Marcia Wollam and Dick Thurnau

*(14 minutes in) King County Sheriff’s Deputy BJ Myers‘ briefing. Highlights:

*He says that auto theft has continued to be “high”; he said it’s vital to report the theft as soon as possible but that won’t help if you don’t know your license-plate number – that information not only helps them watch for the plate, but also tells them something very specific about the car, from the state-licensing system. If you don’t think you can remember it, take a cameraphone picture and save it so you can refer to it if you have to.

*He also mentioned a warrant and arrest related to mail theft that led to the recovery of “bags and bags and bags of stolen property.” He said it sent the message “mail theft is something we will kick in a door for.”

*He also mentioned multiple incidents while people were filling up their cars at Roxbury Safeway and called it “alarming” – anywhere you’re filling up, keep an eye on your car, because brazen criminals might come right up to it.

*Sustainable Seattle‘s Hannah Kett spoke about the “Greening the Grounds” project at Holy Family Parish and School, with raingardens and a food garden in the works. They’re seeking “Greening Committee” members,

*Weed Warriors – Grace Stiller from this nonprofit spoke about the noxious weeds that everyone should watch out for – for example, pretty as scotch-broom flowers are, their seeds are viable for 45 years!

*Board discussion of Seattle’s annexation intent for two areas of South Park, and the city’s stated intent to “discuss” the possibility of a North Highline annexation vote in the future

Coming up at future meetings: King County Assessor Lloyd Hara in March, when NHUAC also will (UPDATED – see comments) hear the latest on marijuana laws.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

North Highline Unincorporated Area Council to hear from Weed Warriors on Thursday (no, not THAT kind of ‘weed’)

February 3rd, 2014 Tracy Posted in Gardening, North Highline UAC, White Center news Comments Off

This Thursday, it’s time for the North Highline Unincorporated Area Council‘s next meeting. President Barbara Dobkin shares the preview:

North Highline Unincorporated Area Council Meeting
When: 7 pm Thursday, February 6
Where: North Highline Fire Station (1243 SW 112th)

We are pleased to be hosting Grace Stiller, President of the non-profit group “Weed Warriors.” Weed Warriors work with cities and communities to reduce the negative impact of invasive, noxious weeds in public places, like parks, trails, and open spaces. 
The program offers education about invasive weeds, methods for control or eradication, and provides opportunities where volunteers participate in “hands-on” restoration projects; thus improving the environmental health, and aesthetic and recreational qualities of our public places.

We are also pleased to have a presentation from Hannah Kett, Neighborhood Program Manager for Sustainable Seattle. Ms. Kett will be providing information on plans for the introduction of rain gardens and urban gardens at Holy Family School in White Center. She is also interested in ideas for where these types of projects could be located in the greater North Highline community.

White Center Storefront Deputy BJ Myers will be on hand to provide updates on crime trends.

Please plan on joining us for this informative community discussion – All are welcome –

Community Matters – Be Involved – Be Informed – Be Heard

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Metro-cuts update, crime report @ North Highline Unincorporated Area Council’s January 2014 meeting

January 12th, 2014 Tracy Posted in Metro, North Highline UAC, White Center news Comments Off

By Tracy Record and Patrick Sand
White Center Now co-publishers

With no money solution in sight yet, the first round of Metro service cuts is rolling forward, and it was the centerpiece topic at Thursday night’s meeting of the North Highline Unincorporated Area Council.

These are the changes that would take effect in June, when the county runs out of money from the state meant to mitigate effects of Highway 99 construction – even though that construction is far from over, and county leaders suggest that transportation in this area will be affected through at least 2019, between the tunnel, the Viaduct demolition, surface Alaskan Way construction, seawall work, and more.

The King County Council’s Transportation Committee will look at the proposed cuts Thursday afternoon at 1:30 pm, and will also be briefed on proposed creation of a “transportation benefit district” to raise money locally to make up for some of what is expiring.

The June service-change proposal (eliminated and reduced routes) for this area, still pending council approval, includes total elimination of Route 113, whose service area includes White Center:

As noted by Metro’s Doug Johnson and DeAnna Martin at the meeting, other effects in this area would include service reductions for routes 60, 120, 121, 122, 123, 131, and 132.

Also at the meeting, County Councilmember Joe McDermott, who said the “transportation benefit district” – authorizing a car-tab fee and sales-tax increase – could go to voters as soon as April, and isn’t just for Metro money, but would also raise $50 million for roads. There’s been no good news from Olympia regarding a transportation deal, and that’s why this all is moving forward.

In addition to the County Council committee meeting this week, there’s also a big event with the West Seattle Transportation Coalition which, as WSTC board member Amanda Kay Helmick told NHUAC on Thursday night, considers North Highline to be an integral part of the area too. At 6:30 pm Tuesday at Youngstown Cultural Arts Center (4408 Delridge Way SW), representatives from city, county, and state government will comprise a panel with Q/A about local transportation issues, and as WSTC has been noting, a big turnout will underscore local concerns.

Also during Thursday’s NHUAC meeting, the monthly crime/safety briefing with King County Sheriff’s Office Deputy BJ Myers. He mentioned an uptick in car thefts/prowls and auto-parts thefts around the Top Hat area in the past month, and said KCSO is targeting that with a special emphasis. But the heart of White Center itself does not have anything out of the ordinary going on, and December 2013 stats, Deputy Myers said, look a lot like December 2012. Several attendees asked him to check on graffiti-vandalism concerns.

For more information about NHUAC, check out its website at

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Metro’s potential cuts on the agenda at first 2014 meeting of North Highline Unincorporated Area Council

December 29th, 2013 Tracy Posted in Metro, North Highline UAC, White Center news Comments Off

Still no solution to the Metro money mess – with some White Center/West Seattle cuts looming even sooner than the rest of the region – so the centerpiece item on next month’s NHUAC agenda is all the more important. From president Barbara Dobkin:

Just a reminder – The North Highline Unincorporated Area Council (NHUAC) will be holding their January meeting on Thursday, January 9. We are pleased to be hosting representatives from King County Metro, who will provide information on potential service cuts. A total of 600,000 annual service hours, or 17% of the current Metro system could be eliminated. The impact from these cuts will be devastating to both drivers and Metro riders. It is important to let your voice be heard – so please join us for this important discussion.

Metro Representatives will be on hand starting at 6:30 – our regular meeting will begin at 7.

Stay tuned for more details.

NHUAC Meeting
When: Thursday, January 9, 6:30 pm
Where: North Highline Fire Station (1243 SW 112th)

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

North Highline Unincorporated Area Council: Legislators; encampments; more

December 7th, 2013 Tracy Posted in North Highline UAC, White Center news Comments Off

Toplines from Thursday night’s meeting of the North Highline Unincorporated Area Council:

LEGISLATIVE UPDATE: NHUAC heard from two of this area’s three state legislators – Sen. Sharon Nelson (D-Maury Island), recently elected Senate Democratic leader, and Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon, who succeeded her in the state House. Two key topics in their briefing: Transportation and annexation.

Sen. Nelson began by noting that for the first time in five years, the Legislature doesn’t have to focus on making budget cuts – while the state isn’t getting rich or amassing a major surplus, its economic health is stabilizing.

Rep. Fitzgibbon did most of the talking regarding whether progress is being made toward a transportation-funding package. Work is under way but nothing’s settled yet. Though Metro bus service faces “devastating” cuts in the North Highline area among others – with Route 113 facing elimination in the first round – it’s not all about transit; he reminded attendees about the dire straits of King County Roads, from unfunded maintenance to inability to get snowplows out if needed.

Even before anyone could ask about the state tax credit for annexation – a perk that will expire before too long – Sen. Nelson said that while the issue’s not dead, it would be difficult and contentious if brought back up in the near future.

In Q/A with attendees, Rep. Fitzgibbon said the building that is home to DSHS in White Center apparently has a buyer (we had reported the real-estate listing here last week). He didn’t identify the new owner but said they’ll be expected to take better care of the property and address issues such as its use by transients sleeping in the doorway and stairwell.

Speaking of which …

GREENBRIDGE CAMPERS: King County Sheriff’s Deputy B.J. Myers said he had just gone on a walkthrough at the Greenbridge-area greenbelt with King County Parks, and a general cleanup of the area is expected to start next week. He said campers had been provided with information about the impending cleanup and where they can go once it starts.

He also recapped the news conference on Wednesday with the family of the victim in the recent murder. (Our report now includes KCTV video of the entire event.)

EVERGREEN POOL MONEY WOES: NHUAC heard from a rep of Evergreen Pool, which is trying to raise $25,000 by mid-January (look for a separate story on that here this weekend). Most of it would go to Puget Sound Energy for overdue gas bills, which could lead to a shutoff by then, and a resulting shutdown of the pool, if the money’s not raised.

REMEMBERING STEVE COX: As the meeting began, president Barbara Dobkin led a moment of silence in memory of Deputy Steve Cox, killed seven years ago this week.

Watch for information on NHUAC’s next meeting on the council’s website at

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

North Highline Unincorporated Area Council hopes to see you Thursday

December 2nd, 2013 Tracy Posted in North Highline UAC, White Center news Comments Off

Your community council for White Center and vicinity, the North Highline Unincorporated Area Council, hopes to see you on Thursday, 7 pm at NH Fire District HQ (1243 SW 112th). Here’s the agenda:

7:00 pm Call to Order – Flag Salute – Roll Call –
Approval of Agenda – Approval of Minutes

7:05 pm Public Announcements

7:10 pm Public Comment
3minutes for Individuals
5 minutes for Groups

7:15 pm Richard Wells, Sustainable Works
7:35 pm Mark Cross, Director – Evergreen Athletic Dept.
7:45 pm Senator Sharon Nelson
Representative, Joe Fitzgibbon
8:10 pm Deputy BJ Myers (White Center Storefront)
8:30 pm Committee Reports

8:35 pm Old/New Business
• December 10 Board Meeting
• January meeting
• CSA Grant application

All welcome.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

North Highline Unincorporated Area Council: New member voted in; briefings on juvenile diversion, substance-abuse, arts/culture-support programs…

November 10th, 2013 Tracy Posted in North Highline UAC, White Center news Comments Off

By Tracy Record
White Center Now editor

For the second time this fall, the North Highline Unincorporated Area Council has welcomed a new member.

That’s part of what happened at Thursday night’s meeting. Meet Doreen Bomar:

Bomar explained that she is a financial consultant and mom, among other things and has wanted to get involved in the community since moving here. Why become a NHUAC board member? Her reply: “It would allow me to contribute some energy toward helping the community and maybe getting more people involved and finding more ways to reach out …”

The previous board joiner, Elizabeth Gordon, asked her about the hot topics facing the community – economy, local governance, etc. – and wondered what she’s interested in. She listed public safety and libraries, as well as working with the business community and encouraging more businesses to open here. Her financial-consulting business is currently home-based but she’s looking at area office space and future hires, she said.

She was elected unanimously and immediately moved up to a seat with the rest of the board at the front of the room, next to NHUAC president Barbara Dobkin, who smiled, “Welcome,” before moving on to the rest of the agenda.

KING COUNTY SUPERIOR COURT JUVENILE DIVERSION: Shirley Noble from the KCSC came to speak about the Juvenile Diversion Program:

“Every week we’re doing this in your community.” It’s a program offered to first-time juvenile offenders – who commit certain types of misdemeanor offenses – if they choose to go through the alternative process, she explained. If they go through this process, they will not have a record, but if they go to court, they will, so “most of the families will choose to go through diversion – we’re dealing with mostly teenagers here, it’s vital for their future that they don’t have a criminal record that counts against them, hinders them from moving up in life.”

Since the brain isn’t developed until mid-20s, some of these offenses are “a mistake,” she contended, saying most of the juveniles will not go on to reoffend. She says there’s a board of volunteers in West Seattle and one in Highline; their function is that, when diversion is chosen, the youth gets their case heard in the community where they live. They might hear two or three cases a week, in the evenings, “because we want parent participation.” A court adviser is always present, too. The volunteers talk to the youth about what they did and about their school and family life, and to the family. “We want to really be able to paint a picture of the youth – what’s going on in (her/his) life.” They look at “how can we help this kid so they don’t come back through this system again.” They sign an agreement to handle “whatever sanction is imposed that evening” by a certain date – she stressed “they are held accountable.”

The recidivism rate is less than 10 percent, she said. The program’s been around since 1959 and yet most people don’t know it exists.

Volunteer Rick came with her and offered some thoughts: “They get the message pretty clearly right up front that this is their best shot,” since the program is “kind of below the radar.” Once you’re in the criminal system, “you’re in it for your entire life.” With diversion, “it’s not about guilt or innocence, it’s about where they go from here.” He said the volunteerism is key to making the program work, as is talking with parents, who might be in denial, or “delusional,” or just don’t know what to do, “so we can ask, how can we help you?” He serves one night a month, “sometimes a little more.” Rather than just griping about problems -“did you see the graffiti, etc.” – he says, “it’s a chance to intervene and help that child get back into the community … sometimes joyous, sometimes painful, but so worth it.” His voice broke a bit about seeing kids with dreams have a lightbulb go on. They need more help – “we have lots of cases, unfortunately.”

Rick spoke of one such case, a teenage girl “who was beginning to show signs of some serious stuff … at one point, I said, ‘who all’s affected,’ and they don’t always get that I’m affected, I’m sitting here tonight because of something you’ve done. I said ‘I care,’ and she looked at me and said, ‘Why would YOU care?'” That bowled him over.

Volunteers have to have background checks, by the way, so if you have a history with a violent offense or an offense against a child, you wouldn’t be able to participate.

The program reduces court congestion, it was noted, so judges have more time to deal with more-serious cases.”Our typical case is shoplifting,” Noble said.

COALITION FOR DRUG-FREE YOUTH: Coordinator Rudy Garza spoke to the council about its work in White Center and Burien trying to reduce alcohol, tobacco, and drug use by youth. It’s a federally founded program administered by the state and county.

Higher percentages of 8th graders in this area, than the rest of the county, smoke cigarettes, drink alcohol, use marijuana, and/or abuse prescription drugs. 24 percent of the 8th graders in this area reported considering suicide in the past month, compared to 17 percent statewide. Right now, the agency is going into a strategic-planning process to figure out how to tackle this, and expects to finalize a plan next March, with implementation the following June, depending on what kind of funding they get.

The focus is “positive, healthy adulthood” as a result of the work.

The group so far has worked with Cascade and Evergreen schools, and the coalition will meet at Cascade next week. In Q/A with the board, Garza talked about the importance of reaching out to the area’s ethnic/immigrant communities regarding availing themselves of the resources that exist, something that might not be part of their culture otherwise.

4 CULTURE: Leader Jim Kelly talked to NHUAC about his organization, which funds art programs as a “county entity” but is not a “county department” but rather a “public development authority.” He talked about arts programs helping youth fill their lives – tying in with two of the previous presenters in spirit, if not officially. He ran through ways that the community can help arts programs for youth, such as getting instruments to students who need them. And his agency has a lot of resources available, but the community doesn’t always know about them, so he was hoping to fix that. He says they now have a program with no “annual application deadline,” to remove a barrier to some participation, and they are hopeful that more people in this area will participate in the programs – the ones that do have annual deadlines will soon have 2014 dates. In Q/A, he revealed that for example, because of how they are funded, they can’t pay for programs IN schools, but can pay for afterschool projects, through groups such as Arts Corps. “If you don’t give kids a creative outlet, they’re going to lapse into destructive,” he observed. Find out more about 4 Culture by going here.

AGENDA POSTPONEMENTS: Storefront deputy BJ Myers couldn’t be on hand because of a ridealong; Meagan Eliot was a no-show regarding the strategic plan.

ANNOUNCEMENTS: Councilmembers Liz Giba, Pat Price, and president Dobkin rptestified at the recent budget hearing at County Council Chambers downtown; Dobkin said they were the “only actual community members – from ANY community” to testify, but so many others were there from organizations, it ran three hours before they spoke, focusing on supporting passage of funding for the White Center storefront sheriff’s deputy and for more King County Sheriff’s Office resources – “we are very understaffed in this area,” she noted, with about half the staffing per capita in the unincorporated area as the “contract cities” in the county have. She quoted Sheriff John Urquhart as saying there are more fatalities in the unincorporated area – often, KCSO can’t get there fast enough. They submitted petition signatures and a letter in support of the resources, and, Dobkin noted, there’s still time for people to contact the Council to voice their support. You can send budget comments to the County Council by going here.

BUS CUTS: Dobkin said that NHUAC is working with the county on a community forum about the possible bus cuts announced earlier in the day (here’s the Metro website with details).

NEW LIBRARY: Price reminded everyone that (as published here on WCN) the next meeting for the new White Center Library project is at 6:30 November 19th at Mount View Elementary. Strong turnout is important, she said, to make sure King County Library System knows that people are interested and “watching.” Gordon recalled a NHUAC-meeting visit from KCLS head Bill Ptacek, who she noted seemed to have set ideas about the project and was even surprised at community questions/concerns, particularly regarding possible transient loitering in the facility, which is expecting heavy use by students from the nearby school.

LIBRARY BAZAAR: Price mentioned that this is coming up weekend after next. Here’s the flyer:

White Center Library Guild Holiday Bazaar flyer

Community advocate Gill Loring stressed that proceeds benefit youth programs.

UNIFORM FUNDRAISING: The Wolverines girls basketball team at Evergreen needs new uniforms – a community member say they’re working on fundraisers; they start practicing later this month. (More details if we get them!)

FUNDRAISING DINNER: White Center Kiwanis says their baked-potato-dinner fundraiser supporting the New Start High School Key Club is coming up – 6:30-8:30 pm Wednesday, December 4, at New Start, 614 SW 120th. $10 gets you a baked-potato bar, salad, rols, dessert, beverages, and entertainment by the student members of the club.

GRANT APPLICATION: NHUAC is talking about applying for the county’s semi-new grants available to groups in the unincorporated areas; next deadline is January 10th.

Keep track of NHUAC events and issues via its website at

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

North Highline Unincorporated Area Council: What you’ll see/hear at Thursday’s meeting

November 4th, 2013 Tracy Posted in North Highline UAC, White Center news Comments Off

Update on the North Highline Unincorporated Area Council meeting this Thursday:

North Highline Unincorporated Area Council (NHUAC) meeting:

When: Thursday, November 7 – 7pm
Where: North Highline Fire Station (1243 112th Street, SW)

Please plan on joining us for our next monthly meeting – NHUAC meetings are a great way to connect and network with other community members – and stay up to date on information about our community – We look forward to seeing you there!

Join us and learn how you can provide input for the King County Strategic Plan with our guest Meagan Eliot from the King County Office of Performance, Strategy and Budget.

We are also pleased to have Shirley Noble, Program Manager – King County Superior Court – who will discuss her work and volunteer opportunities with Partnership for Youth Justice.

Rudy Garza – Coalition Coordinator for the Coalition for Drug Free Youth – will discuss issues related to drug use and prevention among youth in the greater North Highline area.

Jim Kelly, Executive Director of 4Culture, will share information about their programs and available grant opportunities.

Our White Center Storefront Deputy BJ Myers will be on hand to provide information and answer questions regarding community safety.

We are also pleased to announce that we will be interviewing Doreen Bomar to fill an open seat on the council.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Board candidate to be interviewed by North Highline Unincorporated Area Council

October 17th, 2013 Tracy Posted in North Highline UAC, White Center news Comments Off

Announced by NHUAC president Barbara Dobkin:

At the November 7 North Highline Unincorporated Area Council meeting, the board will be interviewing Doreen Bomar to fill an open board position. The interview will be followed by our regular monthly meeting. All are welcome! Stay tuned for more information about the meeting – Thursday, November 7, 7 pm, North Highline Fire Station, 1243 112th Street SW.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Crime updates and sex offender info @ North Highline Unincorporated Area Council’s public-safety forum

October 7th, 2013 Tracy Posted in Crime, North Highline UAC, safety 3 Comments »

By Tracy Record
White Center Now editor

Another information-packed public-safety forum was presented by the North Highline Unincorporated Area Council last Thursday night at the NH Fire District HQ:

AREA CRIME UPDATE: Deputies BJ Myers and Mary Syson led the briefing. She works 2-10 pm and is usually one of two deputies in the area on swing shift, she said – “Write to your King County Councilmembers, we need more officers!” How many officers would be optimal? At least three at any given time, she said. There are always two on, though, any shift, around the clock. When she comes on shift, there are usually calls holding.

(Staffing concerns arose again when a transit deputy spoke saying that at times only six officers from that department are staffing the entire area served by Metro.)

Deputy Myers spoke of recent arrests involving burglary suspects on both sides of the city/county line – many charges filed, many more – detectives are bringing in victims to identify property and get it back to them. “It’s been great, we don’t always get to see the property returned to the people,” he said.

He then went on to show the September crime map. Nothing too much out of the ordinary, he said; crimes are coming down from a July peak, “pretty typical this time of the year as the weather gets cold, kids go back to school, fewer people out and about.”

Motor-vehicle thefts had something of a spike in July and August.

Theft trend that might surprise you: If you have an outdoor outlet in a publicly accessible place – you might consider finding a way to not have it accessible, because more and more such outlets are being used – to charge phones among other things – amounting to power theft that suddenly turns up on the victims’ bills.

“Have you seen a change (in crime, etc.) since Nickelsville moved out (of Highland Park)?” Deputy Myers was asked. His answer: “No.”

On the prevention front, advice from Deputy Syson: Home security is vital. Outdoor lighting, in particular – “criminals don’t like to be lit up.” Also, she echoed “follow your intuition – call us. Get a plate. Vehicle license plates are great – we can maybe figure out where they live. If you guys don’t call us, we don’t know there’s an issue going on in your neighborhood.”

SEX OFFENDERS: Detective Michael Luchau from the King County Sheriff’s Office Registered Sex Offender Unit – a subset of the Special Assault Unit – gave the featured presentation, which he said was basically what he presents to neighborhoods after Level 3 offenders move in – or used to; because of low attendance, they don’t always have meetings – they might just circulate the notice.

14 people are in the unit, including 9 detectives, and he’s one of them. He also went back to the offender-registration law’s roots – the 1988 Diane Ballasiotes case and the case of Helen Harlow‘s son, leading to the Community Protection Act. The national requirement dates back to 1996, following the kidnapping and killing of Megan Kanka in New Jersey two years earlier.

He also went through background of how long offenders are required to be registered – anywhere from 10 years to lifetime (the latter is mandatory for a Class A felony, which includes first- or second-degree rape and/or first-degree child molesting). Level one offenders are not required to register – unless they are “noncompliant” and that level usually means “no violent history, usually know their victims.” They are rated with various “tools” including police reports, court files, criminal history, pre-sentencing psychological reports.

What happens while they are in jail/prison can affect their classification too – Det. Luchau gave an example of someone “continuing to act out their deviancy.”

Notification about a homeless offender generally “depends on the risk level.”

*Almost 4000 sex offenders in King County right now, he said, and almost half are level 1 – the lowest risk level, while 323 are classified level 3, the highest.

There are 333 in this precinct, which also includes Burien, Vashon, and Skyway. 53 of them are in North Highline, 32 level 1, ten level 3.

20,315 sex offenders are in the state in all, and of them, the detective said, about 708 are in violation of the registration laws, and nobody knows where they are. But if they have registered and are following the rules, there are no other rules/guidelines they have to follow, at least one attendee was surprised to hear. But Det. Luchau stressed – you don’t need to be afraid of (most of) them, just be aware.

Being aware is vital – children are sexually assaulted in much higher numbers than you might expect, such as, one of every three girls has been assaulted by age 16. He also talked briefly about trusting instincts – don’t hesitate to report a suspicious person, maybe someone who seems to be at the park watching kids; be clear about your concerns so that police can at least check on them. Also – be sure you know a lot about anyone who would be caring for your child without supervision, and know a lot about the situation at a house your child is going to visit. “If you don’t feel comfortable with the situation, don’t send them (there)!” said the detective.

Are there halfway houses? asked NHUAC council member Liz Giba, noting that notifications seemed to include the same addresses for multiple offenders. “There are some group homes,” acknowledged the detective. And, he said, there are some group homes that try to pretend they’re not – sometimes by claiming to be “clean and sober” houses.

To find out more about sex offenders in your area, has the listings of level 2 and level 3 everywhere in the county – look for the link on the left sidebar. The lookup tool also enables you to sign up for e-mail alerts if a “published offender registers in your area.” It’ll give you more information on the offender’s background.

For the entire state, you can go to – all registered sex offenders in the state, level two and three.

There’s also the National Sex Offender Public Website.

Don’t ever assume you know how a sex offender looks – they come in all sizes, shapes, etc., he said.

“Why aren’t these people locked up for good?” Some are locked up tfn.

But he also warned that people should use the knowledge responsibly – the notification act could be canceled if it leads to many incidences of harassment, vigilantism, etc. – and authorities do not want to lose it as a tool.

So what happens when an offender gets out of prison/jail? Nobody’s holding that offender’s hand, as Luchau put it. And, as an audience question pointed out, failure to register may just be a misdemeanor. But in other cases, it could be a Class B felony, sending the offender back to prison for longer than their original sentence.

What if you look someone up – is there any chance they might still be on the map even if they are no longer in that neighborhood? Maybe, said the detective, so you’ll want to try alternate lookups to check on that person’s status, as many public records as you can find.

WHAT’S NEXT: According to NHUAC president Barbara Dobkin, the next public-safety forum probably won’t be until March, but they will continue monthly NHUAC meetings on first Thursdays.

Two community announcements:

WHITE CENTER KIWANIS: They’re selling See’s Candy bars for $2/bar, with more than $1 funding their service projects.

COALITION FOR DRUG FREE YOUTH: NHUAC councilmember Elizabeth Gordon says the coalition is circulating a survey on alcohol/drug use, and provided copies; they’re accepting filled-out surveys at her family business, Uncle Mike’s Superlicious Barbecue. The survey will be linked on the NHUAC website.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Next NHUAC public-safety forum one week from tonight: Learn about registered sex offenders

September 26th, 2013 Tracy Posted in Crime, North Highline UAC, safety, White Center news Comments Off

One week from tonight – the North Highline Unincorporated Area Council hopes to see you at its next public-safety forum:

Save the Date

Thursday, Oct 3
North Highline Fire Station
1243 112th Street, SW
(entrance in the back)

The North Highline Unincorporated Area Council is pleased to be hosting a Public Safety Forum

Want to know more about the King County Sex Offender Registry and Community Notification Program? Then plan on joining us for an informative presentation and discussion with Detective Michael Luchau of the King County Sheriff’s Department Sex Offender Unit.

Share your concerns regarding community safety with White Center Storefront Deputy, BJ Myers and Deputy William Kennamer of Metro Transit Police.

All are welcome!



AddThis Social Bookmark Button