Standing-room-only for public-safety-focused North Highline Unincorporated Area Council meeting

Toplines from the North Highline Unincorporated Area Council‘s September meeting last Thursday, as covered by WCN co-publisher Patrick Sand:

Big crowd – standing room only. About a third were there to talk about suspected drug houses; most of the rest were there because of the deadly 4th of July fire on 10th Avenue S. blamed on people setting off fireworks. including people who knew the victim, 70-year-old Roland Kennedy.

The night was all about public safety, in equal parts law enforcement and fire. Deputy Bill Kennamer started by saying violent crime in White Center was down 20% in August compared to a year earlier. He said that property crime remains constant, and that’s when the questions about the suspected drug houses started. He told the group that he and the other deputies who work the area are aware of all the locations mentioned. His main point is that the sheriff doesn’t always have the power to get people removed from a problem house. The example he gave is a house which was owned by a woman who left no will. He said that a bank will take over the house early next year, but between now and then there’s not much that can be done.

Questioners kept bringing up lack of response after calling 911. County Councilmember Joe McDermott said they should get involved in the meetings regarding the next 20-year master plan.

McDermott also talked about fireworks, showing fireworks debris a woman brought him after picking it up out of her front yard after the 4th last year. He and Chief Mike Marrs talked about what can and cannot be sold right now, what a partial ban would include, and what a total ban might mean.

But, they stressed. any measure by any city or county to ban fireworks cannot – by state law- go into effect until 12 months after the ban is approved. So if there was a ban passed right now, it wouldn’t take effect until after one more 4th of July.

McDermott and Marrs came down on the side of a total ban. While it might not stop fireworks from coming in from other jurisdictions, they said that it would greatly decrease fireworks use.

McDermott also said that he heard more complaints about fireworks this year from WC and Vashon than any other year he’d been in office.

Also at the meeting, 34th District State House Reps. Eileen Cody and Joe Fitzgibbon spoke. We recorded video:

They also talked about the fireworks-ban law, among other things.

One more crime note – Deputy Kennamer had to leave the meeting to be part of an emphasis patrol going on that night that stretched from 16th in downtown WC down Ambaum. Over a dozen deputies were called into the area to check for warrant violations and firearms. By the end of the meeting, KCSO said, 10 arrests had been made and 2 handguns were confiscated.

NHUAC meets first Thursdays most months, 7 pm at NH Fire District HQ. Watch for updates.

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4 Responses to “Standing-room-only for public-safety-focused North Highline Unincorporated Area Council meeting”

  1. Re Fireworks: Until the ban is in place, can the council put pressure on property owners not to rent to the fireworks vendors? Roxbury Lanes would be one place in White Center that always has a fireworks stand.

  2. @kt That sounds like a good idea . But I am pretty sure there is a profit made by property owners . It’s unfortunate but I think property owners would feel it’s not there fault if someone burns a house down from fireworks . It’s usually illegal fireworks cause the fires . But people still spend hundreds if not thousands of dollars at native American reservations firework stands .

    I think the state patrol should put up areas outside the reservations stop and check what people are buying . Take away the illegal fireworks and take the profits away from the person that sold them make laws to shut them down . Donate the money to the states general fund .

    If caught selling illegal fireworks 5 years in prison additional 10 year ban on making or selling fireworks .

  3. Patrick,
    Due to bad hearing and cross talk, could you clarify the statement by Deputy Kennamar that North Highline/ White Center is served by only two deputies. I missed it if he meant two including himself which would be three or if it is just him and another deputy? Including the topics you surmised on I also heard several complaints concerning aggressive behavior by assumed homeless individuals up to and including attempted assault with crowbars and knives. While I applaud the job our law enforcement is doing to ” hold the fort” so to speak the assumption I came away with is that until the citizens voice becomes loud enough to penetrate the ears of our elected officials to devote substantial resources for additional law enforcement manpower for North Highline/White Center we will continue to just tread water in making this a safer community. It would be encouraging to see double the standing room only at the October meeting to begin sending that message to the elected.

  4. Question Mark Says:

    I believe that the “2 deputies” coverage is the assigned coverage for the entire, very large, sheriff precinct, which includes Vashon, White Center/North Highline and Skyway. Storefront deputies in White Center and Skyway are additional, but only for one shift 4 to 5 days a week (depending on whether the shift is 8 or 10 hours).

    I’m not sure whether this is all-day coverage or the night shift.