Reader’s open letter: ‘There needs to be a conversational, emotional, and cognitive return to the original purpose of this event: The community’

On Monday, we reported local entrepreneur Vera Johnson‘s decision to change the name of the White Center garden tour she is sponsoring July 20th, after WC Jubilee Days asked her to do so, in a way that touched off a Facebook firestorm. Sara Sanford has followed up with an open letter to Jubilee Days organizers and asked if we would publish it. (Note that “today” in her letter refers to Monday.):

Dear David Krause, Greg McCorkle, Michael McGrath, Peter Mort, and Karen Padden,

Seven months after moving to White Center and immediately falling head-over-heels for the neighborhood, I had the opportunity to be one of three co-chairs for the annual Jubilee Days’ Spring Gala. It was truly a labor of love that ultimately gave me and the other volunteers the great gift of meeting vibrant generous community members we might not have encountered otherwise. Vera Johnson was one of these gracious humbling individuals.

In the midst of the chaos that typically accompanies community events and fundraisers, Vera Johnson – a stranger to me until then – found out we were in need of some last-minute miscellany. She and her employee threw together centerpieces and decorations and donated auction items to raise funds for the Jubilee Days event. After giving away her own time and materials, she refused a free ticket to the event and insisted on buying tickets for herself and several friends. I’m fairly sure that in the course of the evening we broke one of her vases and may have lost some decorations. She never cared. She thanked us for all our hard work and went on to run the Garden Tour that had been handed over to her at the last moment. I do not know all the behind-the-scenes that produced this garden tour – but I know the overall community impact was positive, as all events at her nursery have been.

Today, White Center Jubilee Days Board publicly posted a Cease and Desist letter to Vera Johnson on Facebook. They had already sent this letter to her in the mail, and she had received it Friday. She hadn’t even had an entire business day to respond before her name and business had been dragged through the mud by an organization she had assisted in the past. Again, I was not privy to all the behind-the- scenes action on this either – I just know that the overall impact on the community has been nothing but toxic.

As noted in the thread that ensued, there are endless ways to discuss where and how and why this was the poor choice.

There’s the technical/legal side of it all:

Can you really say it’s all ‘fact’ when ambiguous phrases are included such as, “In light of the general dissatisfaction with your handling of the official White Center Garden Tour last year, including both the general poor quality of your event…” – I would be very interested to see your legal calibrations of dissatisfaction. I don’t quite remember receiving a survey regarding my satisfaction with the tour or ever seeing a standards-based assessment that the event was of ‘poor quality’.

The very clear placement of the Jubilee Days logo in the middle of the Garden Tour poster from last year, despite your claim that your logo was smaller and less obvious than others. The insinuation that Peggy Weiss, originator of the Garden Tour (who has since distanced herself from Jubilee Days) did not approve of Vera’s position as a leader, even though she explicitly asked Vera to run the tour this year.

The unreasonable order to not even use the term “White Center” – How is one to now brand events that take place in White Center in proximity to Jubilee Days events and still avoid a WCJD smear campaign? We’ve tried to say Rat City, but some WCJD associates got upset about that too. I would also be very interested to see where “White Center” was copyrighted by the Jubilee Days Board for their explicit use.

There’s also the whole history of actions on the part of the WCJD that have unfortunately done more to divide local businesses than help them. Businesses that fundraised for Jubilee Days have had their driveways blocked and businesses circumstantially shut down during a festival that is supposed to bring stimulus to the community. Business owners have been taken advantage of, ignored, and mistreated by senior board members who were very explicit about wanting their names to stay at the top of all event billing. Items procured for the auction last year were explicitly used to further the personal egos and business interests of board members. Honestly, it was simply a matter of time before something this egregious was going to take place.

I realize this all seems slightly-to-extraordinarily hilarious for those who have not been intimately involved with White Center and its events – Something that might make up the screenplay to a sequel of ‘A Mighty Wind’ – Unincorporated Gardeners go Head-to-Head with Underprivileged Activists! While steeped in absurdity – It all matters.

It matters because unnecessary public Cease and Desist letters make those who do not know the involved parties question the integrity of our community. Such public blaming makes those who haven’t been to White Center or Jubilee Days question how much under-handed deception may be occurring and makes potential consumers hesitant to spend their money here. I can’t go back to last year and know enough about what happened to accurately make statements about how the Garden Tour’s interactions were or were not conducted. I do know that this method of publicly embarrassing a visible, involved community member was at best not necessary and ultimately extremely harmful on a community-wide level. Until this letter was issued this event was by no means ‘competitive’. People who are into garden tours would have gone to both. I would have gone to both. Neighbors would have met more neighbors and would have shared lovely conversations about plants. Skeletons wouldn’t have been taken out of closets and no one would be singing a swan song.

And after the conversation inevitably devolves into the who-volunteered-more-hours than whom Olympics and injured parties stake their claim in the mudpit – I, too, am guilty of vitriolic statements today – There needs to be a conversational, emotional, and cognitive return to the original purpose of this event: The community.

White Center Jubilee Days Board – You have an opportunity to change the direction and return it to the best interests of your community. We are a small, strong, wonderful, sometimes tenuous group of people in White Center. We need each other. Greg, Karen, Mike, Dave, Pete – We need you. And frankly, you need us as well. And that’s a beautiful thing. As a community member and former Jubilee volunteer, I don’t want to see doors closed on future relationships where the hallways of conversation could have been open. Rather than aligning our actions, priorities, and public words along corridors of credit-taking and power-swapping, I would like to see us align our actions in the best interests of the neighborhood. I don’t want to see us indulge in the politics of the broken-hearted.

Honestly, at first I felt this post showed a level of disrespect that did not even deserve to be honored with dialogue. But, we live in a community that deserves to be honored with the talents, skills, and words of all its residents. So, many of us responded – for better or worse. And in turn, many of us are sitting uneasy tonight.

You as White Center leaders get to make a choice between holding on tightly to ego and ownership or searching for clarity and courage. Rather than people saying ‘Everyone for him or herself’ – This could be an opportunity to embrace a community centered around common cause.

Pause. See where people’s gifts and the community’s needs intersect and just make it happen.

If White Center is going to continue to grow, we need to realize how interdependent we are on one another. I look forward to seeing the humanizing values of companionship and humility reoccupy White Center’s spaces. I look forward to seeing choices made in the true spirit of jubilee.

Thank you all for your time.


Sara Sanford

If you have a letter to be considered for publication, please send it to

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

38 Responses to “Reader’s open letter: ‘There needs to be a conversational, emotional, and cognitive return to the original purpose of this event: The community’”

  1. Sara Sanforfd Says:

    Thanks for posting! Appreciate it!

  2. Greg McCorkle Says:

    If the Blog would like to interview me about the above letter I would be happy to give the other side to the story. There is always two sides to every story.

  3. Steve Smith Says:

    Had you handled things correctly in the first place Greg this whole things would not have gotten out of hand.

    Well played Sara.

  4. Greg, your event is losing popularity fast.

    Those statements about blocking off and shuttering businesses in the area during the event is 100% accurate. I think it’s time for the WC community to boycott this event until these people are replaced.

  5. Gotta say….. my husband has a business in White Center and sponsors an item as part of Jubilee Days, has for several years — he wasn’t even included in their program last year! It was a disgrace. Not a thank you or a listing as a sponsor, nothing!

  6. peggy weiss Says:

    As the founder of the White Center Garden Tour, and its leader for 14 years, I’d like to set the record straight on the original focus and intent of the tour. And I would like to state that I fully support Vera’s efforts to carry on with the tour and to honor its original purpose, to which she is selflessly dedicated.

    Roughly 20 years ago, the White Center Garden Tour was conceived as a single-year event, basically to create a positive news story about the community when it seemed that the only time White Center appeared in the media was in association with crime and violence. The neighborhood’s image was skewed in the press, and didn’t reflect our own experiences as residents and business owners, so my former husband, Glenn Weiss, and I decided to invent a vehicle for people to read about, and maybe visit, the community to see for themselves the many interesting people and activities taking place there. The idea was that a free garden tour would attract people to White Center, where they would visit with our community members,learn about our interesting history, maybe leave a little money with our local businesses, and go away with an improved image of the community we love.

    We also sought to create a network of gardeners and others with an interest in horticulture, aesthetics and community development, who could help to build and strengthen civic life in the area. That first tour, which featured 10 residential, community-based and commercial gardens, was so surprisingly successful that we decided to make the tour an annual event.

    For fourteen years, with the help and support of local businesses, including the Chamber of Commerce, the tour grew increasingly popular. During our tenure as the tour’s organizers, we showcased more than 140 garden sites, and attracted more than 30,000 people (and untold revenue) to White Center. Many were surprised and delighted by the home-town character of the community. Real-time experience chipped away at an outdated, unearned reputaton as a troubled neighborhood, and residents and visitors alike came to think of White Center in a different way. Over the years, we experienced a very high rate of return visitors, who came to see the always-interesting new array of featured gardens. They came in Vespa caravans, sampled the Salvadorean Bakery, the White Center brewery and Guaymas. Some went bowling while in “town,” some explored the writings of Richard Hugo en route, some went house-hunting at Greenbridge, or came to sample “destination ice cream” at Full Tilt. Many with original ties to the neighborhood rediscovered it in all its diversity, meeting the many new residents who contribute so much to White Center’s rich cultural fabric. Always a free event, it drew families with young children, many of whom were introduced to real-life gardening techniques and food cultivation for the first time.

    Throughout the years, the tour operated independently. Glenn and I “curated” participating gardens for variety and interest, we raised the small amount of funding required to produce a well-designed annual poster, a website and a simple self-guided tour map. We worked with the media to feature the story prominently, in print and on television. We continued to use the garden tour as a vehicle for building community spirit and engagement.

    Throughout the years, the White Center Chamber of Commerce, doing business as Jubilee Days, supported the tour at the same level as each of our other funders, including McLendons, Bank of America, Julius Rosso Nursery, Village Green, and others. The White Center Garden Tour was no more a Jubilee Days event than it was a Bank of America event. We appreciated every business’s support, but none claimed ownership. Funders were understood to be sponsors, and no one had the “rights” to the tour besides Glenn and myself. It is true that we occasionally called the tour a “Jubilee Days event,” in order to make use of Jubilee Days’ alignment with Seafair, so as to be included in Seafair-sponsored promotions and to reach their wide audiences. But in fact, Jubilee Days was simply an annual sponsor, no more or less a producer of the event than any other financial supporter who contributed $100 per year.

    I produced the tour on my own for the last time in 2005. In 2006, in lieu of producing a tour, I used the garden tour poster to announce a series of educational events related to the proposed annexation of the community to the city of Seattle, which I wholeheartedly did, and do, support. The poster for that effort is still on-line at the garden tour’s original website, at

    That same year, I decided that I could no longer produce the tour on my own (Glenn and I had divorced in 2000). I hoped that it could continue, and approached both Sally Jo Wall and Vera Johnson, two resourceful, community-minded residents I trusted, about possibly taking it on. Neither felt prepared to adopt it at the time, which I understood, and resolved that the annual tour would finally come to an end, its mission of community-building having largely been accomplished.

    When Jubilee Days asked to produce the event in conjunction with its annual celebration, I had doubts about whether the original purpose would be honored, but agreed to bless the effort and to assist in any way possible. As anticipated, despite earnest efforts, the quality and character of the tour faltered during the years that Jubilee Days attempted to coordinate it. There were too many other elements to focus on in the production of the festival, with its parades and street vendors and music program, and the tour became a minor, rather than a central attraction. Confusion among tour attendees and sponsors alike seemed to grow, and it quickly became mired in the infighting and small-minded divisiveness that has characterized Jubilee Days event planning since the death of lead organizer Mickey Kraut and the departure of Steve Teasley as the event’s perennial chairman. I was heartbroken to see the garden tour unravel, but resigned to its new contours, resulting from a process I no longer controlled.

    Two years later, I was thrilled when I learned that Vera was finally ready to take it forward. I knew that she understood the original intent and purpose of the tour, and trusted that she had the contacts, community focus and endurance to produce it successfully, which she very much has done. As to the claim that she promotes her own business with the tour? I say bravo! as what is good for Vera’s business is good for all business and economic development in White Center. It’s something we should all be able to support, especially any group associated with the Chamber of Commerce, for pete’s sake!

    I was mortified to learn of the absurd “cease and desist” letter she received, and consider the position of Jubilee Day’s leadership to once again be narrow, self-serving and of little value to anyone. They simply have no claim to the garden tour beyond their saying so. Any “facts” or data to the contrary are unsubstantiated.

    I wish Vera the very best in her efforts to promote gardening, business development and community engagement via the garden tour, and through her own efforts as a beloved local business. The community should be thanking her and celebrating her commitment on their behalf. Rather than wasting energy assailing Vera’s motives, Jubilee Days should attend to the business of rebuilding its own diminished reputation in the community and with Seafair, by building bridges rather than leveling threats. I no longer live in White Center, having grown tired of just the sort of short-sighted, unproductive, miserly and proprietary practices perpetuated by the Jublee Days gang. If anyone wishes to consult with me further on the true history and relevance of the White Center Garden Tour through the years, I’d be happy to answer questions. In the meantime, I recommend that Jubilee Days focus on its actual mission, and leave the coordination of the garden tour to someone more suited to its successful production.

  7. Christine Spencer Says:

    Bravo Sara and Peggy!!

  8. I should note that anyone interested in responding to this letter is welcome to either comment here or submit their own letter for publication –

  9. I volunteered for Jubilee Days last year and advertised in their brochure. I was shocked to see that during the weekend they had the entrance to Southgate Roller Rink completely blocked with their booths. Southgate has been a sponsor for Jubilee Days and has held fundraising events specifically for the organization. So disappointed to hear about the cease and desist letter to Vera. Not very community – minded, they should be grateful to her! Thank you Sara for writing this letter.

  10. Greg McCorkle Says:

    I have yet to be asked to give my side of the story.

  11. Greg, if you would read the comment from Tracy above your comment, she is asking for it.

    “I should note that anyone interested in responding to this letter is welcome to either comment here or submit their own letter for publication –”

  12. All I know is who every came up with where the fair is located is an idiot. To put the fair where it does not show off the hart of white center is cracked.

  13. Greg McCorkle Says:

    I would like to be interviewed. Not throw comments back and forth.

  14. Greg McCorkle Says:

    To Boy,
    For many years Jubilee Days was held on 16th Ave off Roxbury. It was moved several years ago to 17th thereby disrupting fewer businesses. Jubilee Days has been a community event for 90 years and has been a fixture in the community. A few businesses do suffer some inconveience but they know it’s for two days at the same time every years. Bank of America and Key Bank welcome the event and go out of their way to help put it on.
    If anybody can come up with a more siutable location those ideas would be looked at. Steve Cox Park cannot be on the list. It is used by Davis Shows to stage the carnival during WCJD.

  15. When was the last time you saw an interview on this blog? TR and her crew work their tails off 24/7 to cover news for this and the West Seattle Blog. Real news, not petty middle school behavior by local volunteers. Maybe you all can interview each other at the next Jubilee Days meeting? Or is that too much to coordinate?

  16. Thanks, Acme. Actually, we interview people all the time. Not as much for WCN or TSPN as for WSB, but we do. However, that’s not applicable in the case of where all this has gone. The “open letter” above was received and published as … an open letter. I’ve been a journalist for more than 30 years and can tell you that letters do not require interviews in response. They are opinions. The letter itself (which we did not solicit, but generally, if we get them, we’ll publish them) is in fact a response to the extensive writing – linked here in our original report – that sparked the aforementioned “Facebook firestorm.” Since those posts on the Jubilee Days page made a demand of Vera Johnson, we subsequently asked her what she was going to do about it; she responded by saying she hadn’t heard about the posts yet, and then contacted us to say she’d change the name. That was news. So we published a story about it, along with a link back to the reason she changed it. So to recap:

    Jubilee Days Facebook posts saying the organization wants Johnson to change her garden tour’s name
    Johnson tells WCN, she’ll change the name
    We publish story saying she’s changing the name – which is news – and link to the Facebook posts in which the demand was made
    Comments and one letter, so far, result

    If I’ve missed another development that seems to warrant another news story – any more demands made? any other changes? – please advise. No one else has flagged us to any such thing since the original online declarations that sparked the whole thing.


  17. The businesses on 16th have been trying to get it back on 16th for years now.

  18. Greg: Maybe the fact that you are NOT being asked to be interviewed might tell you something — I think you’ve already poisoned the pot by how poorly you all have handled this, that nobody really cares what you have to say. As for your comment further up, “…I would be happy to give the other side of the story. There is always two sides to every story.” — Yeah, and the truth lies somewhere in between!

    Perhaps everyone’s questions have been answered by Ms. Weiss.

  19. Greg McCorkle Says:

    Okay. I thought this blog had a jouralistic premise. I was wrong. My bad I guess. Thanks you for your time.

  20. Dick Thurnau Says:

    To Boy
    As to another location has anyone thought of Jubilee days be held in 30 acre Lakewood Park. and next door is Evergreen Athletic Fields having 22 acres. There is Five parking areas including Evergreeg Campus very near the Park and fields. Futurama Days was held years ago in the Park Highlights were Fireworks,Water ballet, Coronation of Miss SW Seattle. Grand prize a new 1957 Blue Volkswagen along with 101 other prizes.
    Just a thought!

  21. Greg McCorkle Says:

    To Dick Thurnau,
    The Lakewood Parke area is large but does not have enough flat ground to accomodate WCJD. There is no place to hold the Show And Shine, the Robotics Competition, Kids Center, or the two peformance stages (I took a walk there a few days ago). Not to mention the 90 plus vendor booths and food trucks. I also suspect the cost of the park (the county will want money) and insurence will be prohibitive. WCJD runs on a shoestring budget and gets no corporate sponsorship. Clean up is another issue. A street can be cleaned up in a few hours by a hand full of people, the park would take a small army of cleaners to have it cleaned up by Sunday evening. The Fireworks deffinately could not be done there because of changes in safety regulations and insurence. There also is the issue of the parade which ends at the street fair allowing the parade particapants to recieve their awardes at the family stage right after the parade concludes.
    This was a good thought but not realistic anymore. Having WCJD held in the heart of White Center provides easy access to the event. Either by car, bus, or on foot. Of all the businesses effected by WCJD only a few have issues and WCJD would like to work with them to find a mutual resolution. The other businesses work with WCJD and relish the event. Among others the list includes the three banks on 17th, O’Rielly’s Auto Parts, and Malo’s Autobody.

  22. Sara Green Williams Says:

    I would like to chime in as a community member and attendee of the festival/parade for most of the years since we moved to this neighborhood (my husband and I are both Seattle lifers, but grew up elsewhere). I would also like to state that anything I’m saying here, unless pulled from a public document, is my opinion, my experience, and I’m saying it to encourage dialogue, not make accusations. I also don’t want to get into the argument about who volunteers the most where. I am a member of this community by residence, by where I spend my money, by where I participate in events, and in things that I do to encourage people to come up here and experience this community and spend their money here.

    I also would like to state that it would be great to hear from some of the other WCJD board members. So far, Greg McCorkle has been the only one who has spoken out since this pot got stirred with the public sharing of the cease and desist letter to Village Green, and *most* of his responses to date – either in this forum or elsewhere – have not been geared in a way that fosters constructive relationship-building or community understanding.

    Last year, we (me and the hubs) finally got involved and helped out at the auction to raise funds for the 2012 White Center Jubilee Days (WCJD) festival – we were excited about the event, we were excited that people we know and like were getting involved and subsequently got us involved, and it seemed to be signalling an evolution in how the festival was being arranged and managed. We were happy to have found a place to start being involved, where we felt welcomed, and we were looking forward to possibly expanding our participation in the years to come. But by the time the actual festival arrived, no one was excited or happy, and the festival and parade we attended were the same sad old thing we’ve seen year after year.

    According to the Primary Purpose statement on the 2010 Form 990EZ filed by the WCJD organization, the purpose of this organization is “To produce and stage annual community festival celebrating history and diversity of White Center Community; encourage economic awareness; bring neighbors together; showcase strength, vitality and unique qualities of the area” However, I don’t see my community being celebrated or my neighbors coming together in either the parade or the street fair.

    From the White Center CDA site []:
    “According to the 2010 Census, White Center is comprised of 60% communities of color, namely Asian and Pacific Islander (24.4%), Latino (21.5%) and African American (8.6%). The top languages spoken here include English, Spanish, Vietnamese, Khmer/Cambodian, Tigrinya,
    Arabic, Somali and Amharic.

    White Center’s commercial district is another example of diversity. White Center’s downtown
    business district is comprised of approximately 137 businesses in a 9 block area. For instance,
    businesses on the main street on 16th Avenue SW include a Mexican tortilla factory, the historic
    SouthGate Roller Rink, several Vietnamese restaurants, the Salvadoran bakery, and Cambodian fresh marketplaces.”

    Each year in the parade, I see cars and trucks, a few local businesses, and a bunch of groups coming in from other neighborhoods/cities/states. We have McDonald’s being represented, but not the buy fresh food initiative. We have a drum line from Portland, which is nice and all, but do we not have one from here? Where are more of our 137 local businesses? Where are more of our local community and cultural organizations? The 2013 parade lineup [so far] can be seen here: – it’s a whole lot of the same old same old, and does not showcase the amazing cultural diversity of this neighborhood. My questions here: Are people being directly solicited to participate (not just a general, passive all-call on a website)? What kind of outreach is being done? If direct outreach is occurring and people still aren’t participating, why don’t they want to? If direct outreach isn’t being done, why not?

    At the street fair, most of the food isn’t local, either – it’s professional vendors who work these kinds of things all over the state. Why are we not showcasing our local restaurants and food cart vendors? And I don’t mean by requiring them to set up a separate booth location; they should be able to have some sort of sidewalk action going on in front of their existing businesses, and people should be directed to them. The “arts and crafts” sold at the street fair are often professional vendors who travel and work these kinds of events, selling generic materials, cheap imported junk, and nothing that has anything to do with what is occurring in our neighborhood. I remember last year there was a hard push to get vendors, and no one was signing up. Why don’t people want to work this event?

    Because there is such a lack of local businesses and organizations who are enthusiastically participating in this festival, there is also a serious disconnect from the rest of the community, as well. Why would you attend? What investment, emotional or financial, is there for you if none of the places you patronize are invested? Why would you go when you don’t see your neighbors participating or attending? How does word of mouth get around when no one feels connected to the event?

    The planners of this festival need to rethink their approach and begin to deeply engage with the community through direct, proactive interactions. And I mean the WHOLE community, not just a small segment of it. We have so much going on up here that we should be able to pull together an event that is vibrant, keeps the festival traditions alive but also modernizes, and we should be able to make it attractive to people both inside and outside of the community. We have so much to offer that is unique to our neighborhood, things no one else can lay claim to in the Seattle area, but we’re not showcasing them.

    And, if the organizers of this event are not going to proactively engage with us, then we need to take it to them. Constructive, workable ideas and solutions need to be brought to the table and we – as the community – need to hold this board accountable to the whole community. There are monthly meetings announced on the WCJD site, held at the Eagles on the fourth Thursday of each month, but there are no times or confirmations of dates. There is nothing on the Eagles calendar, either, so it would be great to know when we should be there – can someone from WCJD let us know when the meetings take place? Will there be one on April 25, 2013, and if so, at what time? And, what can we, as a community, do to let both this board and our local businesses know that we value this festival and want to see it work in favor of everyone?

    I love this community. So incredibly much. We have a chance to bring it together and move it forward – let’s live up to that potential.

  23. Dick Thurnau Says:

    Sorry Greg that you do not see the potential of Lakewood Park and Evergreen Fields.

  24. Josh Rhoads Says:

    As owner of the Southgate Roller Rink I’d like to share our experiences with the Jubilee Days. We renovated and reopened the rink in April of 2011. Just a couple months after we had dumped an exorbitant amount of money into reviving the classic roller rink we were approached by Jubilee Days as they were soliciting donations for the upcoming festival. From this first interaction we found them to be aggressive, entitled, and disrespectful, basically bullying us into a donation, saying we really needed to support this community. We complied, and made a small donation. That year, without any notice, we found our parking lot to be completely blocked forcing us to close for the weekend. We decided at that point we would not be working with or affiliated with Jubilee Days in the future. Fast forward to 2012. Due to the fact that some of our close friends and local business owners were involved with the event, we against our better judgement, decided to become involved and donate again. We attended a board meeting and proposed an option for the vendor booths to use our parking lot as somewhat of a cul-de-sac of vendors therefore involving our business instead of completely blocking it. We even discussed family friendly vendors that would work best with the rink. The board agreed and said this would be no problem. Contingent to this agreement, we offered a private rink rental for a fundraising event where 100% of the sales went to Jubilee Days. In addition, the Southgate Roller Rink matched those funds earned. We also donated to the auction a birthday party package, some free skate passes, and a Southgate T-shirt. Unbelievably, the week of the festival comes and we are not listed in any way, shape, or form as a sponsor. Furthermore, our business was completely blocked exactly the way it was the year prior. They honored NONE of our agreements. In the words of Ms. Weiss the “Jubilee Days leadership once again proved to be narrow, self-serving, and of little value to anyone.” We are proud to be a part of such a vibrant and progressive community and are honored to work along side such creative, driven, and friendly entrepreneur’s. This last blatant display of disrespect to Vera Johnson and the Garden Tour once again confirms that the Jubilee Days group has no true interest in support of the community businesses that pour their blood, sweat, tears, and money into White Center for 365 days of the year, not just one weekend.

  25. Joby Boles Says:

    I’m a life long White Center resident and I remember when Jubilee Days was on 15th (not 16th), the two blocks from US Bank up to McLendons. The carnival was in the empty lot that was next to the bank. Given that the carnival is now in Steve Cox Memorial Park (across from McLendons) and the businesses on 15th all have access to their parking lots from the side streets, why not move Jubilee Days back to 15th so the Street Fair and carnival are connected.

    As for the differences over the Garden Tour, shame on Jubilee Days for making their cease and desist notice so public. Serve the other party and work it out in court if necessary, going public serves no purpose other than to discredit an individual and her business and give those outside the community another reason to “dis” White Center.

  26. Dick, you do not even like disc golfers using your park. How do you think you would would deal with a few thousand people using your park for a few days?

  27. Somebody!!!

    Just publish the date, time and location of the next Jubilee Days Board Meeting.
    Then meet there to discuss, give feedback, make or postpone decisions based on Rules of Order and an official transcript being recorded. Go there.Go there to figure it out. As a community meeting where nonwriters can participate – not this writing contest you are having here. I am certain community members who DO NOT feel comfortable writing are silently reading. If the issue is about Jubilee Days, then you all should be focusing on the next meeting and opening doors to each other. And Not slamming them closed at the first perceived offense.

    You all are stuck with each other by choice. Sink or swim.

  28. Dick Thurnau Says:

    Justin: Lakewood park is a Public Park to be used by all the people not just a few. Please note my earlier comments on the use of this Park for Jubilee Days.

  29. Greg McCorkle Says: “I would like to be interviewed. Not throw comments back and forth.”

    No one has asked for an interview. If you feel that something needs to be said or addressed, do as everyone else has done and was suggested: submit your own letter for publication to

    and by all means PLEASE do as has been asked by a few posters (here and on FB): “publish the date, time and location of the next Jubilee Days Board Meeting” so that people can attend and be heard.

    … although seeing how the local businesses have been treated and Southgate Roller Rink’s experience, it seems the WCJD board is not interested in keeping their agreements to the businesses or community.

    Hearing how none of the food establishments or businesses are represented at this event is disheartening. Why would anyone want to go? Why bother calling it White Center JD, if White Center is not represented.

    I will support Village Green, the local food establishments, and local businesses. I will not support WCJD.

  30. Highland Park neighbor Says:

    I have lived in Highland Park since 2005. White Center is the closest business ditrict. I pick and choose some great businesses to support, but when I want to get my festival on, I call my friends and invite guests from out of state and we make a bee-line to West Seattle Summerfest. Held on the main drag, the businesses are supported, additional businesses and community based booth line the middle of the street. There are kid-centric spaces and the MUSIC!!! Multiple stages with stellar local and nationally known acts. There is a beer garden for the big kids and restaurants and pubs have expanded sidewalk seating. It is such a beautiful event. I have tried White Center Jubilee Days and it is a joke. Its a glorified beer garden with some crappy booths selling imported plastic crap. There is a Garden Tour, that we have gone to, but not because of WCJD. We go to many neighborhood garden tours.
    I am embarrassed with the immaturity of the organizers and their public shaming. They would benefit by saying they are sorry. Then move on and put this behind them. If they don’t like Village Green, don’t shop there. I choose to shop there, Proletariat, Guaymas, Pho 99, Samway, La Fonditas, Full Tilt, Company, Big Al’s, Taco Time, Southgate, B of A, Safeway, Bartell’s, Queen’s Deli, Zippy’s, the roasted chicken place haha, and a variety of other small and corporate shops, but I could not give a Rat City’s ass about this poorly run, boring, joke of an event. And especially now, I will NEVER go to this event. Way to go with you publicity. There is such thing as BAD PUBLICITY.
    I can’t wait for WEST SEATTLE SUMMERFEST and I will think of this chain of letters and the facebook thread which was taken down, and spend my hard earned money at Summerfest. Eat and drink and play and hop on the bus home. Never again Jubilee Days! Good riddance.

  31. WCJD Meetings are the 2nd and 4th Thursdays of the month @ 6:30pm at Big Al’s

  32. WCJD meetings are the 2nd and 4th Thursday of each month @6:30 PM @ Big Al’s

  33. Oliver Little Says:

    It’s out of whack, but worth saving. WCJD needs a shake up. Who “owns” this event, the community or the board ?

  34. Sara Green Williams Says:

    Thank you, Wendy!

  35. A business owner who will never again take part in Jubilee Days. Says:

    I would like to echo the sentiment of Highland Park neighbor. I have lived in Highland Park for almost 5 years and have attended Jubilee Days every year since moving into the neighborhood, once as a vendor. I am stupefied by the behavior of the “organizers” of this event but, must confess, it doesn’t come as a great surprise.
    I don’t mean to pile on but will say that after my first time as a vendor it was clear I would be attending subsequent Jubilee Days events as a spectator. The organization of the event was terrible, many of the vendors belonged at a swap meet or group garage sale, staff was non existent, and music and food was not what it could have been in a city like ours all resulting in attendance that was spotty at best. I enjoy supporting the community in the small ways I’m able to but don’t know if I will continue to attend after reading what I’ve read here. Up to this point I had always made excuses as to why the event didn’t seem quite as well put together as it could be but now the reason seems clear.

  36. Sounds like a public shaming and ousting is in order next Thursday at Big Al’s.

  37. Mike Mcgrath owns it.

  38. Public shaming is never cool.

    Frankly, I’ve had more good laughs reading the comments here than I have in weeks. This was hilarious.

    Looking forward to the angry mob ranting on Thursday. Sounds like it’ll be entertaining.