VIDEO: North Highline Unincorporated Area Council talks with trio of elected officials, and more

December 7th, 2018 Tracy Posted in King County, North Highline UAC, Politics, White Center news 1 Comment »

By Tracy Record
White Center Now editor

Issues old and new were in the spotlight as December’s North Highline Unincorporated Area Council meeting put a trio of longtime local elected officials in the hot seat(s).

But first – NHUAC got a primer on a vote coming up in February.

WATER DISTRICT MERGER VOTE: Loretta Brittingham was here to talk about the merger that will go up for voter approval February 12th. Though she is a commissioner for Water District 45, which is proposed – in a February 12th vote – to merge with Water District 20, she made it clear she was there with an FYI, not an official presentation. We recorded what she had to say:

As you’ll hear in the discussion, this has been primarily publicized via water-bill inserts and public notices. There’s a bit more information on the District 45 website; here’s a map of the district’s coverage area.

ELECTED OFFICIALS: 34th District State Reps. Eileen Cody and Joe Fitzgibbon opened this segment of the meeting. President Liz Giba asked them first to share a bit of personal background. Fitzgibbon is a West Seattle resident and former Burien resident, and he spoke first. Cody, also a West Seattle resident, followed. We recorded it all:

Cody announced she’s retiring from her work as a nurse on January 9th. The reps answered questions starting with reports that the Legislature might revisit the Growth Management Act. Fitzgibbon said a “very conservative Eastern Washington” legislator is behind one idea to roll back certain parts of it, while another is from an Eastside Democrat who wants to “require minimum density.” Giba also brought up the recently opened development in Top Hat (1st/112th) and conflicting numbers regarding its potential maximum occupancy. Discussion ensued regarding notification requirements and potential ramifications of a higher resident count, such as an increased number of students at nearby schools.

A question from the gallery: What about health insurance? Cody chairs the House Health Care Committee, and noted that affordability “continues to be a big issue” so they’re trying to develop “a public option,” especially to help people with non-poverty “but not Bill Gates” income levels who don’t get tax credits. She also mentioned behavioral-health-care access and Western State’s difficulties. They’re working to find facilities around the state that can help handle some of the patient load. Cody mentioned substance abuse, too – “the opioid crisis is where we’re losing the most lives,” prescription recipients as well as heroin users, but, she said, meth is on the rise again, too.

That segued into a discussion of what your tax dollars are going for. Fitzgibbon noted that property tax bills will go down next year.

County Council Chair Joe McDermott arrived a little over an hour into the meeting. He’s finishing his third year as chair, eight years on the council, after 10 years in the Legislature. He too is a West Seattle resident.

NHUAC board member Barbara Dobkin asked about development regulation, or more like, the lack of it, especially multiple adjacent “small” redevelopments that together would have faced more scrutiny. McDermott, in his reply, noted that neighborhood planning will be happening in North Highline next year. Specifically – the county permitting department will be accountable for a Sub-Area Plan. And he reminded everyone that the new Department of Local Services is about to get going, as a “one-stop resource” to help people “better interact with the county.” That department will include “an economic development staffer that we have not had before” and McDermott says he will encourage that person to make White Center their first stop. McDermott also noted that the Local Services director nominee is up for confirmation shortly. “There are challenges in bringing urban-level services (here) but if we are your local government, we need to do a better job” in meeting those challenges, he said. Will the area’s unincorporated status change? McDermott said he’s not aware of any active conversations. That topic came up a second time, with an attendee asking if the county can get the conversation going (again). McDermott promised to at least ask; he also noted that he’ll be seeing Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan for a breakfast discussion about the county’s legislative agenda next week.

Other topics included marijuana and the North Highline concentration of stores. McDermott urged attendees to make this concern “very clear in the Sub-Area planning process” that’s coming up. Later, he was asked whether the North Highline planning process will dovetail with the city’s Highland Park-area process; McDermott said he’ll make sure they do, though he hadn’t previously heard of the latter. Tax reform came up too, with Fitzgibbon mentioning that passing a capital-gains tax is a priority for the coming session. “Do you really think (that) has a chance?” asked Giba. Fitzgibbon and Cody said yes.

Before their appearance wrapped up, they were asked what else will be going on. Fitzgibbon mentioned the Metro Route 120-to-RapidRide conversion planning; Cody mentioned several other health-care-related topics. McDermott mentioned that five gun-safety proposals he first brought up last summer have now all been passed: “That has been significant for me and included some significant accomplishments in the budget” to make them reality. He also brought up Evergreen Pool and some new county funding for it to help cover its ongoing operation-funding deficit, plus he had kudos for the nonprofit that’s managed to keep it open for almost a decade, after the county gave up operating it.

State Sen.-elect Joe Nguyen had also RSVP’d for the meeting, Giba said, but did not show up.

Also speaking at Thursday night’s meeting:

WHITE CENTER KIWANIS: Scott Davis began with a primer on Kiwanis – more than a century old – and what it does, including raising money for children’s health. In White Center, the club started as a spinoff from the Kiwanis Club of West Seattle in 2001. The club meets twice a month, first and third Wednesdays. “We’d love to have more members so we can do more things.” They sponsor Key Clubs to help local high school students (at Evergreen and New Start) develop their leadership skills – Key stands for “Kiwanis Educating Youth.” The Baked Potato and Taco Dinner is coming up on January 24th, 6:30 pm at New Start HS (ticket prices TBA); their fundraisers also include a midsummer Pancake Breakfast that coincides with Jubilee Days, and an annual nut sale that’s under way now. They support local charities including the White Center Food Bank and WestSide Baby. They also support local youth cleaning up local parks, and advocacy for drug- and alcohol-free youth campaigns.

REMEMBERING DEPUTY STEVE COX: President Giba took a moment at the start of the meeting to remember Deputy Steve Cox, who was a NHUAC president as well as law enforcer. As noted in our coverage of the tribute at last weekend’s Christmas tree lighting, he was killed in the line of duty 12 years ago.

NEXT NHUAC MEETING: They’re skipping January since it’s so close to New Year’s Day – next meeting February 7, 2019, 7 pm at NH Fire District HQ (1243 SW 112th)

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Celebration in White Center for Sen.-elect Joe Nguyen

December 2nd, 2018 Tracy Posted in People, Politics, White Center news No Comments »

Happening today (Sunday) in White Center:

Friends of Joe Nguyễn and Mỹ Linh Thái would like to invite our fellow community members to join us in celebrating the historic wins of Mỹ Linh Thái, 41st LD State Representative and Joe Nguyễn, 34th LD State Senator, as the first Vietnamese-American Legislators elected in Washington State history!

Please join us for live entertainment, complimentary hors d’oeuvres, and a no-host cash bar.

Sunday, 12/2/2018
2:30 pm – 6:30 pm

Diamond Hall & Events
9835 16th Avenue SW

RSVP via Eventbrite

Program:
•Vietnamese Cultural Dance
•Guest speakers on issues impacting Vietnamese-Americans in Washington State
•Guests of Honors: Joe Nguyễn and Mỹ Linh Thái
•Live Band Entertainment

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ELECTION: White Center-born Joe Nguyen leading 34th District State Senate race

November 6th, 2018 Tracy Posted in Election, Politics, White Center news Comments Off on ELECTION: White Center-born Joe Nguyen leading 34th District State Senate race

When tonight’s vote count was announced, Joe Nguyen was far in front for 34th District State Senator, and he almost couldn’t believe it:

Here’s the first round of results in the race:

Joe Nguyen – 27,440 – 57.4%
Shannon Braddock – 20,373 – 42.6%

Nguyen was in White Center tonight with his supporters, at Drunky’s Two Shoes BBQ, when the results went public.

He is the son of Vietnamese refugees, born in White Center, raised in Burien, now living in West Seattle. Assuming his lead holds as the remaining votes are counted in the weeks ahead, he will become the first person of color to represent the 34th District in Olympia, and the state’s first Vietnamese-American legislator. He also is a manager at Microsoft, father of two, and husband of a Highline Public Schools teacher.

Next vote count is expected Wednesday afternoon.

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ELECTION 2018: 34th District State Senate candidates @ October meeting of North Highline Unincorporated Area Council

September 22nd, 2018 Tracy Posted in Election, North Highline UAC, Politics, White Center news Comments Off on ELECTION 2018: 34th District State Senate candidates @ October meeting of North Highline Unincorporated Area Council

As noted in WCN coverage of the September North Highline Unincorporated Area Council meeting, next month, NHUAC plans a forum with 34th District State Senate candidates Joe Nguyen and Shannon Braddock. That’s now less than two weeks away – Thursday, October 4th – so they’re reminding you to be there! 7 pm Thursday, October 4th, at NH Fire District HQ (1243 SW 112th).

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VIDEO: Six candidates for 34th District State Senate share stage in White Center Chamber of Commerce-presented forum

July 25th, 2018 Tracy Posted in Election, Politics, White Center news Comments Off on VIDEO: Six candidates for 34th District State Senate share stage in White Center Chamber of Commerce-presented forum

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

Six of the 11 candidates vying for the open 34th District State Senate seat shared a stage last night in a forum presented by the White Center Chamber of Commerce.

As moderator Aaron Garcia was careful to point out in the early going, it was not a debate – more an opportunity for community-building. Toward that end, no sparks flew; the participants differ more in style than in substance. Those participating were, from left on the stage as seen in our video above:

Sofia Aragon
Shannon Braddock
Joe Nguyen
Lois Schipper
Lem Charleston
Hillary Shaw

Schipper lives in White Center; Aragon lives in Burien; the other four live in West Seattle. All are on your ballot as Democrats except for Shaw, who filed with “no preference” regarding party. They are running to succeed Sen. Sharon Nelson, the Maury Island-residing Democrat who decided not to run for re-election.

The forum was held outdoors at TommySound studios in South Delridge. Note that in our summary below, what you’ll read is not the entire answer each candidate gave, but rather our highlights, noted as it went on, and we paraphrase rather than quote (unless you see something in quotation marks); to get the entire response, watch the video.

This is the only forum we’ve ever seen where candidates were given a test – in this case, to complete one side of a Rubik’s Cube-style puzzle – to determine who would go first. After about five minutes, nobody had done it yet, so Garcia went with whomever was closest – Schipper.

First, each candidate was challenged to include in their opening statement how they would support the Duwamish and Coast Salish people.

Schipper talked about her work as a nurse, her status as the only WC resident on the panel, and said she’s currently working on a program that includes support for Native families. She said her priorities include support for early childhood education.

Nguyen talked about his status as the child of immigrants and a former resident of what is now Seola Gardens. He said health care is one of his biggest concerns, especially with memories of a family crisis years ago. Regarding supporting Native people, he said housing affordability, health-care availability, and economic opportunity are vital.

Braddock – who ran for Seattle City Council three years ago and lost to Lisa Herbold by a handful of votes – talked about her status as a mother of three and longtime community advocate, including work with WC-headquartered WestSide Baby. She has worked in recent years for County Executive Dow Constantine and County Councilmember Joe McDermott. She mentioned support for “reasonable gun laws.” And she voiced concern about the hate-crime attack against Burien’s Mayor Jimmy Matta. She did not address the question about supporting Native people.

Aragon said she is a registered nurse, moved here from the Philippines and attended law school before working as a policy advocate in Olympia. She grew up in South Seattle. Health-care is a major concern for her too, as is inclusivity. She also did not address the Native-support question.

Shaw said she helped found West Seattle’s Fairmount Park Elementary PTA and has often been to Olympia to advocate for public schools. She is concerned about tax reform and school funding. She did address the question about Native support and said that, having worked in schools, honoring the cultures of families and receiving equity training were among her experiences.

Charleston opened by expressing his condolences for the family and friends of the Kent police officer who died this week. He made a point that he is “not a Democratic party insider” and he thinks things can be done better – he was the first to mention the problems of homelessness and drug abuse. He mentioned his background as a minister and said creativity needs to be applied to deal with problems. He did not answer the Native-related question.

First question by Garcia following the opening statements was about how the candidates would advocate for policies to support small businesses in White Center.

Nguyen said he has started businesses and cultural competence is vital to help people doing that.

Braddock opened her reply by saying she realized she hadn’t answered the Native-related question; she said environmental equity would be important. Regarding businesses, recognizing barriers, incentivizing “women and minority-owned businesses” would be important, she said.

Aragon said small-business owners share concerns with other residents – maintaining “a good quality of life,” including good schools, infrastructure, law enforcement. Building relationships will be important, she said.

Shaw said she is a small-business owner (albeit without a bricks-and-mortar storefront) and that tax fairness would be vital.

Charleston said he’s the son of a small-business owner and he thinks it’s important to educate business owners about everything “that’s available to them.”

Schipper suggested that patronizing the small businesses in the community are a vital first step, as would be having the four Chambers of Commerce in the 34th District team up to get things done.

Next question: Should the hotel-motel tax go to help with homelessness or Safeco Field?

Braddock said that the stadium is a public facility and does have legitimate maintenance needs but some money should be bonded for affordable housing.

Aragon talked about the housing crisis in general before saying it’s important to look at who’s benefiting from state fees and how that could be “more fair.”

Shaw said she’s not very familiar with the issue but “at the state level, there needs to be adequate funding for homelessness.”

Charleston said, “We teach our kids to get their work done before they go play,” so, applying that, “taking care of a stadium is trumped by taking care of homeless people…. Take care of the homeless people and then go play.”

Schipper noted that the Kingdome wasn’t paid off when it was demolished, and pointed out that three Board of Health members declared a “disaster” related to homelessness. Rather than bonds from tax dollars, money, she said, should be applied to emergency relief to keep people from becoming homeless.

Nguyen said he hasn’t heard any support for “upgrading the suites at Safeco Field” and that doing it is “tone deaf.” But “taking on debt for housing when we already have money” doesn’t make sense to him either.

Next question: Do you support a statewide $15/hour minimum wage?

Aragon said yes, and she doesn’t support staggering it.

Shaw said “a livable wage is super-duper important but it’s important and essential to have a conversation with business owners.”

Charleston said $15/hour isn’t even a livable wage – in this district, he said, a livable wage is about $29/hour, and businesses need breaks so they can pay their employees what it takes to live in Seattle.

Schipper said she supports $15/hour and agrees it’s not enough for livability.

Nguyen said he supports $15/hour and he would eliminate B&O tax for “small and medium sized businesses” so that they could support it. He said he would not take money from organizations that don’t support it.

Braddock said she supports it and also supports making the tax system less regressive, figuring out “how to tax wealth and not work.”

Next question: Annexation. Where do you stand regarding having White Center (and the rest of unincorporated North Highline) being annexed by Seattle or becoming a standalone city or becoming part of another community?

Shaw said it’s not up to her, she would want to help the community discuss it.

Charleston said he’s talked to people in White Center and it has pros and cons. But it’s unsustainable as it is.

Schipper said as she understands it, about half the people don’t want to be annexed at all, the other half support Seattle.

Nguyen said the community should vote “and decide where they want to go.” He talked about gentrification and said it’s making it hard for his relatives to stay.

Braddock said she would support a community vote on annexation; a state role is in providing a tax credit for annexation, and access to that needs to be maintained. She believes the community needs the type of resources that are available through Seattle.

Aragon said displacement needs to be addressed at the state level underlying the community discussion/decision.

Next question was about education funding and the declaration that the state has fulfilled the McCleary requirements – though not everyone agrees they’ve been fulfilled – so what’s your message to educators?

Charleston said people need to lean on legislators. It’s shocking what parents have to buy for their kids that the schools should supply, he said. He also brought up fair teacher pay. “You always get what you pay for.”

Schipper said she’d been a longtime Highline Public Schools parent and teachers aren’t getting what they need, so the McCleary situation isn’t settled yet. Teaching is a tough job and needs a fair wage, she said.

Nguyen said his wife has been a special-education teacher and he also knows what parents are being asked to do. Educators should reflect the diversity of the community; a loan-forgiveness program would help many educators, and he too said teachers should be able to get to a livable wage sooner.

Braddock said she agrees that schools still aren’t fully funded and that teacher salaries and special education funding “need to be addressed.”

Aragon said that changing communities mean teachers need to adjust to those communities’ needs too. She would support talking to school districts to find out what barriers and challenges were getting in the way of implementation.

Shaw said this was her “laser-focus issue” and an issue she could “talk about for hours” and that basic education is “nowhere close to being funded. … Our public schools are the foundation of a healthy democracy and we are failing them.”

At that point, there was a break to hear from Southwest Precinct Operations Lt. Steve Strand about last Friday’s deadly stabbing nearby, and other South Delridge crime issues. (That too is included in our video.)

After Lt. Strand spoke, Garcia asked about public safety.

Schipper that she believes guns are at the root of “some of the problems that are erupting.”

Nguyen noted that he and some others put together a forum after a deadly shooting in Burien. He talked about going on a ridealong and seeing that most calls had to do with mental health or homelessness, and that officers need different training to cope with that.

Braddock said that overall, “we need resources for training and tools” to effectively enforce laws.

Aragon said she helped found a racial-equity team among lobbyists when she was in Olympia and recognizes the “need for communities of color to be engaged in the legislative process.”

Shaw said she supports de-escalation

Charleston too but said that as a person of color, he has more concerns about being pulled over than “many of those in the audience.” He serves as a chaplain for public-safety and SPD has ‘reached out to the community’ to try to help “squash the misunderstanding between the blue and the black and brown folks.”

Next question: What specific gun-safety legislation will you author?

Nguyen: Age limit, ban assault rifles/high-capacity weapons, require insurance to buy guns/ammunition. He also said mental-health services are vital because many gun deaths are suicides.

Braddock said, all of those plus safe storage.

Aragon said Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense has endorsed her and that “anything we can do to narrow down the availability and the risk” would be important.

Shaw said she too is a “Candidate of Distinction” as labeled by Moms Demand Action and that she supports “common sense gun laws.”

Charleston mentioned that he served in the US Marine Corps and that he recognized how vital it was to understand a weapon. Society has a “large amount of ignorance” about the dangers of firearms, he said.

Schipper said safety, including gun storage, is what will make a difference. “I’m not (saying) people should have their guns taken away, but they need to be secured.”

Next question: How would you address mass incarceration and do you support the “No New Youth Jail” movement?

Braddock spoke about the importance of keeping youths from getting into the criminal-justice system in the first place. She said she supports the work of the activists ‘because they are making the facility better’ but she said the facility is being built because it’s required by the state, and she said it’s needed because youth who commit serious crimes shouldn’t end up in adult jail.

Aragon said her law school, Loyola, “was the birthplace of youth justice.” She said some places in Chicago are “lawless” and she doesn’t want to see that happen here. She didn’t address her stance on the “no new youth jail” movement.

Shaw said that resources for youth would be important in heading off problems “down the road.” Regarding “no new youth jail,” she wasn’t entirely certain about the movement’s goals.

Charleston said,”If you’ve got the money to build a multimillion-dollar correctional facility for children, you have the money to prevent them having to go to a facility” like that. He said it takes a supportive community “to take care of the kids.”

Schipper said more money for restorative justice is important but she also thinks it’s important to have a facility when youth have to be held, so that they don’t get sent to adult jail.

Nguyen was the only one to declare, “No youth jail. Right off the bat.” He spoke about trauma at young ages leading to trouble for youth and said the money for a jail should be “invested in actual people.”

Next topic: Housing and homelessness. What’s the state’s role and what does each candidate plan to accomplish?

Aragon said she’s on the low-income-housing board and mentioned a trust fund whose budget wasn’t passed in time last year so, she said, the state lost $200 million in funding. She said she supports permanent housing.

Shaw said she helped homeless people as part of a volunteer program in New York but has never seen anything as bad as it is in Seattle now. “We have so many resources, we need to find a solution.”

Charleston said, “If you really want to end homelessness, you need to stop making it a business … it’s big business right now. All the volunteer agencies set up around homelessness cost a lot of money.” Same way that President Eisenhower warned war would become big business, he elaborated. So it needs to be managed, he said.

Schipper said “look(ing) at the drivers on homelessness” is key – such as income inequity, mental and physical health services. She said regional solutions are needed.

Nguyen said he serves on the Wellspring Family Services board, dealing with family homelessness, and that you can’t treat homelessness “like a monolith.” Women often become homeless while fleeing a domestic-violence situation, for example, he said. Seniors, renters, distinct groups need distinct help in staying in their homes.

Braddock talked about building the Housing Trust Fund back up to fund affordable housing. She also supports using surplus properties to build/provide housing. “Treatment on demand” also is needed and can make a difference, she said.

Closing statements:

Shaw said she welcomes having conversations about “how we can improve.”

Charleston took up the Native question that had been asked earlier and said that the Duwamish Tribe needs to be federally recognized. The city named after Chief Seattle “has a whole lot of problems.” But he said it’s good that none of the candidates has been elected before, so they’d be coming in with fresh eyes.

Schipper noted that the Legislature “is a citizen legislature” and pointed out that she’s done work “on the ground” in communities for 20 years – “in the community, with the community.”

Nguyen said, “This community raised me,” helped his family in its time of need, “gave me a voice.” He also noted that the 34th has never been served by a legislator of color, and he thinks what’s wrong is that the people have never been reflected by their representatives.

Braddock said the citizen legislature needs a perspective like hers, “a single mom of school-age kids who works outside the home” She mentioned child-care, education, income inequity, and her experience working with King County government.

Aragon recalled a line from “Hamilton” – “winning a war is easy, governing is harder.” She said she’s seen a lot in her years of advocacy, and she considered the tough work when she was asked to consider running. “A lot of good things can be done.” She, like Nguyen, said she’s proud that she would represent the “diverse community.”

And after more than an hour and a half of Q&A, the forum ended. Again – voting goes until 8 pm August 7th. Ballot postage is now prepaid so if you choose to use the US Postal Service to send yours, no need to use a stamp. Or you can put it in the dropbox at the White Center Library.

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TONIGHT: State Senate candidates’ forum presented by White Center Chamber of Commerce

July 24th, 2018 Tracy Posted in Election, Politics, White Center Chamber of Commerce, White Center news Comments Off on TONIGHT: State Senate candidates’ forum presented by White Center Chamber of Commerce

One last mention in case you haven’t voted yet in the 11-candidate 34th District State Senate race – six candidates have RSVP’d for tonight’s White Center Chamber of Commerce-presented forum just across the line in South Delridge, 6-8 pm at TommySound, 9409 Delridge Way SW: Sofia Aragon, Shannon Braddock, Lem Charleston, Joe Nguyen, Lois Schipper, Hillary Shaw. All welcome.

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2020 Census strategy session held in White Center

June 7th, 2018 Tracy Posted in Politics, White Center news Comments Off on 2020 Census strategy session held in White Center

It happened today at the Technology Access Foundation‘s Bethaday Community Space in White Center. Here’s the King County announcement:

King County Executive Dow Constantine today announced that former Gov. Gary Locke will be the honorary chair of a community-led effort to ensure a complete, accurate Census count in 2020. Locke oversaw the 2010 Census while serving as Commerce Secretary during the Obama administration.

Executive Constantine announced Gov. Locke’s role at a strategy session King County organized to coordinate efforts by community organizations and philanthropies. King County is convening the effort sooner than it has in the past after the Trump administration announced it will add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census, which could cause a substantial undercount that would result in a loss of federal and state funding and other impacts.

“While the Trump administration is trying to push people and families into the shadows, we are mobilizing a community-led alliance to ensure that everyone who lives in King County has a voice in the next Census,” said Executive Constantine. “I appreciate Governor Locke offering to help guide this important work that will shape the future of our region, state, and country.”

The results of the decennial Census will have a lasting impact on the region and state. It will determine how many representatives Washington state will have in the U.S. House of Representatives, how county and legislative districts will be drawn, and the amount of federal funding local jurisdictions and the state will receive.

The Complete Count Committee will align the work of nonprofit organizations, philanthropies, and county government to connect with communities that have historically been underserved and undercounted, including people of color and people who earn a lower income. The Trump administration’s plan to ask residents to answer questions about their citizenship status creates an even greater need for action.

The committee will apply the same approach that King County used to make the region one of the best Affordable Care Act success stories in the nation. King County created a network of community-based organizations that helped nearly 200,000 people sign up for affordable healthcare during the initial enrollment period, and eventually cut the uninsured rate in King County by more than half. Public Health – Seattle & King County mobilized the same community network to help passengers sign up for ORCA LIFT, the nation’s leading reduced-fare program for passengers who earn a lower income.

The committee convened today will apply the same principles, having outreach teams in communities that are harder to reach by helping people complete the Census during evenings and weekends at different locations, such as cafes, libraries, restaurants, and community centers.

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Native leaders, advocates gather for Racial Equity Team’s historic Lunch and Learn in White Center

April 13th, 2018 Tracy Posted in Politics, White Center news Comments Off on Native leaders, advocates gather for Racial Equity Team’s historic Lunch and Learn in White Center

By Tracy Record
Editor, White Center Now and West Seattle Blog

Progress, challenges, and inspiration filled a first-of-its-kind lunch meeting at the Technology Access Foundation‘s Bethaday Community Learning Space in White Center on Wednesday.

The Racial Equity Team – a People of Color-led advocacy group explained here – organized a Tribal Lunch and Learn event, with two Native leaders front and center (as they are in our photo above) – State Sen. John McCoy and former Sen. Claudia Kauffman.

“It is tremendously important that we work together to better understand and serve our Native communities in Washington state. Hearing from Native leaders is the first step in this process,” declared the event announcement.

McCoy has been in the Legislature for 15 years. Kauffman served in the State Senate for one term, 2007-2011. They were joined on Wednesday’s panel by Eir Cheeka, Early Native Learning Coordinator from the White Center Community Development Association, and Aren Sparck, Government Affairs Officer from the Seattle Indian Health Board.

The conversation was wide-ranging. Kauffman stressed the importance of maximizing “assets and opportunities.” She recalled organizing a group of Native women for a trip to Olympia, where they toured state offices, and advocated for state action on behalf of missing and murdered Indigenous women (a new state law was signed just two weeks ago).

In Q&A, Kauffman was asked what led to her becoming a legislator. “I’ve always been in politics!” she replied, citing inspiration dating back to childhood. She said those who inspired her included former Montana state legislator Carol Juneau (who is also the mother of Denise Juneau, who is in negotiations to become Seattle Public Schools‘ next superintendent).

WCCDA’s Cheeka spoke of her journey to advocacy, and the importance of education – both in her life, in her work, and what she is considering now as a parent of young children who will be in school soon. She also shared memories of life-changing events, such as the 1989 Paddle to Seattle.

How can non-Natives help with the fight for equity? she was asked. Educating yourself is the first task, Cheeka said, who also advised seeking out Tribal leaders and Native professors and other educators, asking questions.

Sen. McCoy picked up the discussion of education, recounting the system being geared toward “assimilation, institutional racism … (and) belonging to the whites,” so “we really don’t have a handle on the data around who’s in our schools … we are trying to correct that.” He serves on two committees, co-chairing the Educational Opportunity Gap Oversight and Accountability Committee. The lack of data is a major concern to him, and he fears it will get even worse with the Census results after the Trump Administration’s addition of a citizenship question. The count is important, McCoy stressed, because “that’s how we get funding” – it’s important to get the data “so we know who we are working with.”

Last to speak was Sparck from the Seattle Indian Health Board, and he brought a slide deck with a primer, “Urban American Indian and Alaska Native Health 101.” The history lesson went back to the “doctrine of discovery” starting in 1492, continuing to the present day, and talking about the unique status of Natives. He, for example, is an Alaska Native, and notes that “just because I leave my hometown I don’t stop being a Cup’ik person.” You don’t have to be an enrolled member to get service from Urban Indian health programs: “We work with everybody.”

There was a little more Q&A time before the event wrapped up, and that led to participants’ acknowledgment of communities working in solidarity – different Native communities, and beyond that, different communities of color. It’s vital to include youth in leadership development, participants agreed.

Concluding the lunch meeting, the RET’s community liaison, former state legislator Velma Veloria, declared it a “historical moment for equity and education,” commemorated with a group photo (as seen atop our story). To find out about future RET events, you can e-mail info@eec-wa.org.

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U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell coming to White Center for ‘town hall’ next weekend

July 4th, 2017 Tracy Posted in Politics, White Center news 2 Comments »

One of U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell‘s three upcoming “town hall” meetings is in White Center, at TEC High School (830 SW 116th SW). It’s at 11 am next Saturday, July 8th. You’re asked to RSVP if you’re interested in attending – go here.

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Ballot dropbox site proposed for White Center

April 18th, 2016 Tracy Posted in Politics, White Center Library, White Center news 1 Comment »

(Also published on partner site West Seattle Blog)

dropboxes

Tonight we know the locations where King County Elections is proposing to add more than three dozen fixed ballot dropboxes, including White Center, West Seattle, and South Park this year; Boulevard Park might get one next year. Read the full news release here.

Toplines for our area:

In White Center, the dropbox would be at the White Center Library (the address listed in the county report is for the current one on 16th, though the new one on SW 107th is scheduled to open soon, so we’ll be doublechecking on that tomorrow). West Seattle’s location would be the High Point Library. The South Park Library is proposed for a dropbox by the November general election. And the Boulevard Park Library could get one next year.

A 132-page report including how and why these locations (and the others around the county) were chosen – and why some other locations were not chosen – can be seen here.

The county says it will spend $239,695 to have the boxes made, wrapped, and installed. Assuming approval is received from the King County Council and all property owners, this would put 91.5% of the county’s population within three miles of a dropbox, the county says. A public hearing is planned before the County Council’s Government Accountability and Oversight Committee at 9:30 am Tuesday, April 26th, in the council chambers downtown.

The current WC Library used to have a dropbox, but since its removal, the county has only sent a temporary van to Greenbridge for a few of the final days before each election.

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TONIGHT: Congressional campaign event @ Salvadorean Bakery

April 14th, 2016 Tracy Posted in Politics, White Center news Comments Off on TONIGHT: Congressional campaign event @ Salvadorean Bakery

From the 7th District U.S. House campaign of State Sen. Pramila Jayapal, which says it’s NOT a fundraiser (we don’t promote political fundraisers), just a meet-and-greet:

What: Latinxs Organizing Party with Pramila Jayapal

When: Thursday, April 14th at 6-8 pm

Where: Salvadorean Bakery & Restaurant, 1719 SW Roxbury

Join us as we organize for Pramila for Congress. Good food, music, and good company while we learn how to get involved. Everyone is welcome!

Sen. Jayapal is one of the candidates running to succeed U.S. Rep. Jim McDermott (D-Seattle), who announced he would not run for re-election.

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Election 2014: Ballot-dropoff van at Greenbridge three of the next four days

October 31st, 2014 Tracy Posted in Election, Politics, White Center news Comments Off on Election 2014: Ballot-dropoff van at Greenbridge three of the next four days

checkbox.jpgTuesday is Election Day. If you haven’t sent in your ballot yet, three of the next four days bring visits by the King County Elections ballot-dropoff vans. Same White Center spot as recent elections – on the street outside Greenbridge Library (9720 8th SW). The van will be there 10 am-5 pm Saturday and Monday, 10 am-8 pm Tuesday. No postage needed if you’re taking your ballot to a van or to the 24-hour dropboxes elsewhere in the county, but you DO need correct postage if you’re mailing yours. If you’ve already sent in/dropped off your ballot, track it online. Two other links of potential interest: Sample ballot here; pamphlet info here.

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‘Luau at the Lake’: 34th District Democrats’ first Garden Party at Lakewood Park

August 15th, 2014 Tracy Posted in Politics, White Center news Comments Off on ‘Luau at the Lake’: 34th District Democrats’ first Garden Party at Lakewood Park

New location tonight for the 34th District Democrats‘ summertime fundraiser – the Garden Party moved to White Center, at TAF’s Bethaday Community Learning Space in Lakewood Park. And so, with Hicklin Lake in view, the party was dubbed “Luau at the Lake.” As always, the crowd included elected officials, like State Rep. Eileen Cody and Seattle School Board director Marty McLaren:

State Senate Democratic leader Senator Sharon Nelson:

34th leaders too – that’s Chris Porter with the big smile:

You can’t have a luau without boat drinks:

And this was an auction, too, with at least one item carrying a Presidential seal:

When not garden-partying, the 34th District Democrats meet monthly on the second Wednesday, 7 pm, at The Hall at Fauntleroy in West Seattle.

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Election update: Proposition 1 still losing after 2 vote counts; county leaders say ‘we will carry out the will of the voters’ and cut Metro

April 23rd, 2014 Tracy Posted in Metro, Politics, White Center news 1 Comment »

The second round of results is out for Proposition 1, the transit/roads money measure on Tuesday’s ballot, and “no” is still leading, by nine percentage points. Current tally:

No – 224,441 votes, 54.51%
Yes – 187,324 votes, 45.49%

County leaders have issued a news release saying that they’re now making plans for Metro cuts. County Executive Dow Constantine: “We gave the voters a choice, and presented a proposal for saving Metro Transit and maintaining our roads. They have chosen a reduced level of service, and we will carry out the will of the voters. Tomorrow I will transmit legislation to the King County Council to reduce service by 550,000 hours and eliminate 72 bus routes.” The County Council’s Transportation, Economy and Environment committee will have public hearings on the plan before taking final action by the end of May. Here’s the draft version of the 550,000-hour reduction:

It leaves more routes unchanged than the original proposal, and would be phased in between September 2014 and September 2015. Still on the list of routes to be eliminated: 21, 22, 37, 57. Route 113 was on the deletion list in November but is on the “would be unchanged” list now.

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Democratic caucuses in White Center on March 9th: ‘First step’ toward 2016

February 22nd, 2014 Tracy Posted in Politics, White Center news 1 Comment »

Two weeks from tomorrow – the afternoon of Sunday, March 9th – the 34th (Legislative) District Democrats’ caucuses will happen at the Evergreen campus in White Center. Here’s the official call to caucus; as it mentions, “This is truly the first step in the journey toward the all important 2016 election.” Specific tasks to be accomplished including electing delegates and alternates to the June 21st statewide Democratic convention, registering voters, collecting resolutions and platform issues for the countywide convention in April, and a food drive. The link above explains how to participate; watch the 34th District Democrats’ website for updates.

P.S. The 34th DDs’ big annual summertime fundraiser will be in White Center this year too – it was announced at the group’s February meeting (here’s coverage on our partner site West Seattle Blog) that the annual Garden Party will move to the TAF Bethaday Community Space at Lakewood Park, after years of being held in West Seattle.

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Where should marijuana-related businesses be allowable? White Center one of four communities to host meetings

July 31st, 2013 Tracy Posted in Politics, White Center news 2 Comments »

Where should marijuana-related businesses be allowed in the unincorporated areas? King County is having four public meetings on the topic – including one in White Center one week from tomorrow. Here’s the full KC announcement:

Following the voter initiative creating a state licensing system for production and sales of recreational marijuana, a King County agency has developed proposed standards for the zoning of marijuana-related businesses that would be regulated by the state and located in unincorporated King County, outside of cities.

“The voters have mandated that marijuana-related businesses are allowed uses, so we have worked to identify appropriate zoning districts for them,” said John Starbard, director of the King County Department of Permitting and Environmental Review. “As a next step we now seek public input on this proposed zoning, which will define where these uses will be permitted in the unincorporated areas outside cities.”

The agency will hold four public meetings in August on the proposed legislation. All meetings will be held from 6:00 to 9:00 pm, with an open house the first hour with King County staff available to answer questions. The public comment period will begin at 7:00 pm.

Wednesday, August 7
Snoqualmie Valley area
Fall City Library
33415 SE 42nd Pl., Fall City

Thursday, August 8
North Highline area
Technology Access Foundation
605 SW 108th Street

Monday, August 12
Southeast King County
Maple Valley Library
21844 SE 248th Street, Maple Valley

Tuesday, August 13
Vashon/Maury Island
Courthouse Square
19021 Vashon Highway SW, Vashon

Among the elements of the proposed ordinance that will be discussed:

* Indoor growing and processing of marijuana would be allowed in areas zoned as Community Business, Regional Business, and Industrial.

* Outdoor growing would be limited to the Agriculture and Rural Area zones.

* Retail sales would be allowed in the Neighborhood Business, Community Business, and Regional Business Zones.

All recreational marijuana businesses operating under the system created by voters through Initiative 502 would require a valid license from the State of Washington. The initiative prohibits the siting of those businesses within 1000 feet of youth-oriented facilities such as parks, libraries, schools, child care centers, and game arcades. Proposed rules under consideration by the state would require fencing and other security measures for all licensed facilities, including outdoor growing.

The proposed King County ordinance would also codify standards existing in state statute for medical marijuana uses, by allowing individual growing and collective gardens authorized for qualifying patients under that state law. The proposed ordinance would prohibit collective gardens within 1000 feet of youth-oriented uses, the same as with recreational marijuana facilities.

Voters enacted I-502 in November to establish a regulatory system for the growing, processing, sale of marijuana for recreational purposes. The Washington State Liquor Control Board (WSLCB) was charged with responsibility for implementing the regulatory system of recreational marijuana, and is expected to adopt final rules in September for the licensing of recreational marijuana businesses. Once the state rules are adopted, the WSLCB will begin accepting applications for licenses. Licensees will be required to identify the location of the business and the WSLCB will issue licenses for a specific location.

With input from the four public meetings, the County Executive is expected to submit a final proposed ordinance to the Metropolitan King County Council by the end of August.

Copies of the proposed ordinance should be ready for download by the end of the day at www.kingcounty.gov/permitting.

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If your phone rings March 20th, it might be your state legislators

March 15th, 2013 Tracy Posted in Politics, White Center news Comments Off on If your phone rings March 20th, it might be your state legislators

The state legislators who represent this area are trying something out of the ordinary next week:

Who: State Senator Sharon Nelson and Reps. Eileen Cody and Joe Fitzgibbon (34th Legislative District)

What: Telephone town hall

When: 6:00 – 7:00 pm on Wednesday, March 20th

Why: To discuss legislative priorities with constituents, solicit their feedback and answer questions about the current legislative session.

34th Legislative District residents should receive a call from their legislators at about 6:00 PM on the 20th. To participate, simply pick up the phone and follow the prompts. Sen. Nelson and Reps. Cody and Fitzgibbon will deliver short opening thoughts and then will open up for questions. If you have a question for the lawmakers, simply press *3.

If for some reason you don’t receive a call, you can call into 1-877-229-8493 and enter 18646 to participate.

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Update: Seattle City Council not likely to consider Area Y’s future for months

February 19th, 2013 Tracy Posted in Annexation, Politics, White Center news Comments Off on Update: Seattle City Council not likely to consider Area Y’s future for months

(UPDATED: Video below is the archived clip from this morning’s meeting)

9:08 AM: Clicking “play” will bring you the live stream of the Seattle Channel, where the Seattle City Council’s weekly briefing meeting is under way. Toward the end of that scheduled two-hour meeting – around 10:40 am – the council will hear an update on potential annexation areas. It’s been focused on the South Park “sliver by the river” and Duwamish Triangle, but we’re told that Area Y will be discussed too. We’ll have toplines during the meeting, too. (If you have any trouble with the video window above, just follow the link in our first line to the Seattle Channel and watch the live stream on their site.)

11:07 AM: We’ll substitute the archived video of this morning’s discussion as soon as it’s available. Meantime, not much was said about North Highline/Area Y – except that Seattle leaders are not likely to take a closer look at it before late this year at the earliest. Here’s our as-it-happened notes on how the entire discussion of possible Seattle annexations went:

The discussion began at 10:43 am. Meg Moorehead from Council Central staff reminds councilmembers there are four possible annexation areas in all. She notes that Council directed them months ago to pursue the two South Park areas and not stand in the way of Burien’s then-attempt to annex Area Y. She reminds that there are four ways to annex: 1. Vote of the people in the annexation area, 2. Petition of property owners with at least 60 percent of property value, 3. Interlocal agreement.

SLIVER ON THE RIVER + DUWAMISH TRIANGLE = ‘SLIVER Q‘: First, she updates the “Sliver on the River” – it will officially be a Seattle potential annexation area as of March 4th when countywide planning policy is complete. Regarding the Duwamish Triangle, they had started discussions – when businesses there took note and submitted a petition for Tukwila to annex them. Since property owners submitted the petition representing at least 60 percent of the assessed value, that kept Seattle from taking further action at the time. Then, on February 14th, the Boundary Review Board officially said no to Tukwila (we had reported the preliminary decision here). Moorehead said the city had wanted to annex both South Park areas because while the sliver is a “revenue drain,” the Triangle is not. But everything is in limbo right now because there is a monthlong period for an appeal to be filed. If there is an appeal, it will take several months; if not, annexation could come back to the council, via interlocal agreement, before year’s end. And if that doesn’t work out, they could pursue a vote of the people. The population is relatively low, there, which is why that’s not being pursued first – about 110 registered voters, city staffers say. The soonest a vote could be pursued would be February 2014.

Regarding the interlocal agreement, Clark says it wouldn’t just be the entities discussing it in a back room so far – she vows there would be a lot of outreach and discussion with the business committee.

AREA ‘Y’: Moorehead mentions that studies have shown the cost of annexing Area Y would exceed the revenue brought in, and that’s why the Council had taken a pass in recent years, and let Burien take a shot at it. She notes the Burien rejection does not necessarily mean the area wants Seattle. She says staffers propose that they handle Sliver Q – the South Park areas – before deciding anything about Area Y, with a discussion to follow in late 2013 or early 2014. She mentions there is an incentive to deal with it in 2014 because of the sales-tax credit expiring at the start of 2015.

Moorehead also reminds councilmembers that a small area of about 10 homes near Lake Ridge Park in southeast Seattle is a potential annexation area too and should be dealt with before long. As for West Hill, though, which rejected Renton last November, that is NOT a potential annexation area for Seattle.

So the next step in all this depends on what happens with the possible appeal period for “Sliver Q.”

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Leadership election for 34th District Democrats tonight

January 9th, 2013 Tracy Posted in Politics, White Center news Comments Off on Leadership election for 34th District Democrats tonight

(34th District Democrats’ leadership, photographed tonight by Patrick Sand for WCN/WSB)
Meeting tonight at West Seattle’s Hall at Fauntleroy, this area’s largest political organization, the 34th District Democrats, elected new leadership slate during their annual reorganization meeting. The candidates listed, with bios, on this page of the 34th DDs’ website all ran unopposed and were elected:

Chair – Marcee Stone-Vekich
1st Vice Chair – Ted Barker
2nd Vice Chair – Tamsen Spengler
Treasurer – Karen Chilcutt
Secretary – Marlene Allbright
State Committeeman – Chris Porter
State Committeewoman – Lisa Plymate
King County Committeewoman – Maria Ramirez
King County Committeeman – Michael Arnold
KC Committeewoman Alternate – Layne Batista
KC Committeeman Alternate – Jimmy Haun

Our photo above includes those newly elected leaders as well as committee chairs and other group leaders – including White Center’s Aileen Sison, Diversity Committee chair. The 34th Legislative District encompasses White Center and vicinity as well as part of Burien, West Seattle, and Vashon/Maury Islands. The 34th DDs meet regularly on the second Wednesday of the month, 7 pm, at The Hall at Fauntleroy (9131 California SW in West Seattle).

Meantime, the 34th DDs are co-hosting an Inauguration Day bash, and you’re invited:

2013 Inaugural Party

Hosted by
West Seattle Democratic Women and the 34th District Democrats

Monday January 21, 5-9 PM
at the West Seattle Golf Course
Music By
The West Seattle Big Band

Tickets: $40 ($75 Couple) Cocktail Attire (must buy tickets online by 1/16/2013)
https://www.completecampaigns.com/public.asp?name=34thDem&page=7

Buffet Dancing No-Host Bar

Co-Sponsored By

The West Seattle Democratic Women
and The 34th District Democrats
For more information go to www.34dems.org/2013
Or call (206) 935-4693 or email martintam@gmail.com

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Election Day – which means tonight’s your deadline to vote

August 7th, 2012 Tracy Posted in Election, Politics, White Center news Comments Off on Election Day – which means tonight’s your deadline to vote

checkbox.jpgDon’t skip voting in today’s election – two major ballot measures, and the judicial races (as explained here), will be settled today. You can take your ballot to the dropoff box at Burien City Hall (400 SW 152nd), or the “dropoff van” at West Seattle Stadium (off 35th SW south of Avalon Way). Or, if you’re mailing your ballot, make sure it’ll be postmarked today. For your online sample ballot and last-minute info about candidates and races, here’s the official pamphlet.

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