ELECTION 2024: Presidential primary ballots arriving

February 22nd, 2024 Tracy Posted in Election, White Center news No Comments »

Ballots have started arriving via USPS mail for the March 12 presidential primary. That means you can vote as soon as you have your ballot, and while you can end it in via postal mail – no stamp required – you can also use a King County Elections dropbox, since those all opened today. Here’s the countywide map; there’s one in White Center, at the library, and you can drop your ballot there until 8 pm March 12. Be aware that the ballot includes some candidates who have withdrawn – as explained by King County Elections, the candidates listed are the ones submitted by the Democratic and Republican Parties in early January and no changes were possible after that. You will have to declare an affiliation with one of those parties to cast a ballot, and the county says that’s on the record for two months but doesn’t oblige you to vote the same way in any future election.

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ELECTION 2024: You can vote online right now for King Conservation District Supervisor

January 27th, 2024 Tracy Posted in Election, White Center news 1 Comment »

(Also published on partner site West Seattle Blog)

King County’s lowest-profile – but not lowest-impact – election is happening now. You might already have received the postcard inviting you to vote for a King Conservation District Supervisor position, which you can do online. Here’s the KCD announcement about what’s happening:

King Conservation District (KCD) is holding its annual Board of Supervisors Election. The election will use online ballot access for the 5th year. This is a mostly county-wide election that does not appear on the standard special elections ballot. The KCD Board of Supervisors oversees a roughly $8 million dollar budget paid by residents of King County through rates and charges.

KCD is a special-purpose district committed to helping people engage in stewardship and conservation of natural resources, serving over two million people in 34 cities and unincorporated King County (excluding the cities of Enumclaw, Federal Way, Milton, Pacific, and Skykomish that are not member jurisdictions). KCD assists private residents with forestry management, streamside and shoreline enhancement, farm conservation planning, and other environmental efforts. It works with cities and community organizations to support community gardens, urban forest canopy, and local food systems. KCD is funded primarily by a per-parcel rates and charges fee paid by residents of the district.

An all-volunteer, five-member Board of Supervisors is responsible for overseeing KCD operations, budget, and policy. Voters elect three supervisors and the Washington State Conservation Commission appoints two supervisors. Supervisors serve three-year terms.

Voting started this past Tuesday and continues through 8 pm February 13, with online ballot acccess at kingcd.org/elections for all King County registered voters (except residents within the city limits of the five cities mentioned above that are not member jurisdictions of the district).

The 2024 election has three candidates running for the position. Brittney Bush Bollay, Aaron Ellig, and Erik Goheen are competing for one seat. Candidate statements can be found at kingcd.org/elections.

For the fifth year, the King Conservation District election will primarily rely on electronic ballot access. Voters may return ballots electronically through the online ballot access system or reach out to KCD for assistance. Democracy Live operates the online ballot access portal and King County Elections will tabulate all ballots and report all results. To increase awareness of the election, for the fourth year, KCD has mailed out roughly 750,000 postcards to registered voter households in the district with information on how to vote in the board election.

For more information and to cast your ballot, visit kingcd.org

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Get ready to help plan next King County Parks Levy

December 28th, 2023 Tracy Posted in Election, Parks, White Center news Comments Off on Get ready to help plan next King County Parks Levy

From King County:

The current (2020-2025) King County Parks Levy funds operations and maintenance of King County’s parks and trails, supports the growth and connection of regional trails, and establishes grant programs to expand access to recreation and protect open space for King County residents. (Learn more on the King County website)

Starting next year, King County parks will begin gathering input from communities across the county on what they would like to prioritize in a proposed 2026-2031 levy. Here are a few ways you can get involved:

Invite a staff member to your community meeting between late January and mid-April to talk about the levy and gather feedback.

Invite the Parks Mobile Engagement Team to a community event between late January and mid-April to table, provide information, chat with people, and get input on the levy.

If you’re interested in getting more involved and have an event on the calendar for April, Parks is looking for up to three groups to host them at an event that would serve as a Parks Levy community forum. Groups who host these events will be paid $75/hour and can be as involved as they’d like—anything from simply providing space for a table to co-planning, co-hosting, and shaping engagement.

In March and April, Parks will put out a virtual survey and host in-person and virtual community forums to collect input.

To learn more about these options, contact Project Manager Helen Potter (hpotter@kingcounty.gov).

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ELECTION 2023: Teresa Mosqueda’s lead in King County Council District 8 widens

November 9th, 2023 Tracy Posted in Election, White Center news Comments Off on ELECTION 2023: Teresa Mosqueda’s lead in King County Council District 8 widens

The third round of results from the general election has widened Seattle City Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda‘s lead over Burien Mayor Sofia Aragon for the King County Council District 8 seat:

More than 14,000 additional votes have been counted, for a total so far of 31.6% of registered D-8 voters; at least 14,000 ballots remain to be counted.

Teresa Mosqueda – 24,759 – 52.36%
Sofia Aragon – 22,364 – 47.29%

Despite the holiday, King County Elections plans to release another set of results tomorrow.

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ELECTION 2023: Teresa Mosqueda leads King County Council District 8 race

November 7th, 2023 Tracy Posted in Election, Politics, White Center news Comments Off on ELECTION 2023: Teresa Mosqueda leads King County Council District 8 race

The biggest race in our area is for the County Council District 8 seat that Joe McDermott is leaving after 13 years. In tonight’s first and only round of results, here’s where the race stands:

KING COUNTY COUNCIL DISTRICT 8
Teresa Mosqueda – 16,189 – 50.18%
Sofia Aragon – 15,929 – 49.37%

Mosqueda, a citywide Seattle City Councilmember and North Delridge resident, spent Election Night at a party downtown, too far for us to go interview her, but she has sent a statement saying in part: “It’s been incredibly motivating to connect with community leaders and neighbors across this district. The outcome of this election is a testament to our campaign’s deep community engagement and collaborative work to support community-led solutions. Thank you to every endorsing community member, labor union, organization, small business, and elected leader who generously offered their time to help make this result possible. I appreciate your support and look forward to working together to deliver on diverse needs across District 8.”

Second round of results will be out around 4 pm tomorrow.

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THURSDAY: Join NHUAC’s conversation with the King County Council District 8 candidates

October 2nd, 2023 Tracy Posted in Election, North Highline UAC, White Center news 1 Comment »

This Thursday’s the big night – with two weeks to go until voting begins, the North Highline Unincorporated Area Council will talk with the candidates for King County Council District 8, the seat that Joe McDermott is leaving:

You Are Invited

Candidates Forum
Presented by: North Highline Unincorporated Area Council

Thursday October 5, 2023 @ 7 PM

MEET

King County Council District 8 Candidates
Teresa Mosqueda & Sofia Aragon

Join Zoom Meeting
us02web.zoom.us/j/88360227989?pwd=ajg5eXdHSUFWZmFxeDNJTjZ1SHI1QT09

Meeting ID: 883 6022 7989
Passcode: NHUAC2023 (Case Sensitive)

Or Join by Phone: 253 215 8782
Meeting ID: 883 6022 7989
Passcode: 839454575

All Are Welcome – Bring Your Questions – Get the Facts
Be Informed Be Involved Be Counted

VOTE

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Next chance to see King County Council District 8 candidates (Update: Postponed)

September 23rd, 2023 Tracy Posted in Election, White Center news Comments Off on Next chance to see King County Council District 8 candidates (Update: Postponed)

As previously announced, King County Council District 8 candidates Sofia Aragon and Teresa Mosqueda will be at the North Highline Unincorporated Area Council meeting on October 5th. Before that, you have a chance to hear from them in nearby West Seattle. Via our partner site West Seattle Blog, we’re having a candidate forum on Monday (September 25th), starting with County Council D-8 at 6:30 pm (followed by Seattle City Council D-1 if you’re interested in that). No live stream but we will record video and will publish that here as well as on WSB. The forum will be at the Senior Center of West Seattle (4217 SW Oregon), in the upstairs meeting hall. We’ll be asking questions assembled in advance, including some sent by readers; if there’s anything you’d like us to ask Mosqueda and Aragon, please email your question to whitecenternow@gmail.com.

SUNDAY UPDATE: One candidate is ill and unable to participate in person, so since remote is not an option, we will postpone this to a TBA date. We’ll announce it here when we set something.

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ELECTION RESULTS: First round for King County Council District 8

August 2nd, 2023 Tracy Posted in Election, White Center news Comments Off on ELECTION RESULTS: First round for King County Council District 8

In the race to succeed our area’s King County Councilmember Joe McDermott, here’s how the first round of vote-counting turned out:

Teresa Mosqueda 16,016 54.75 %
Sofia Aragon 11,636 39.77 %
GoodSpaceGuy 1,438 4.92 %

Second round of results is due out this afternoon, most likely between 3:30 and 4:30.

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ELECTION DAY: Get your ballot in by tonight!

August 1st, 2023 Tracy Posted in Election, White Center news Comments Off on ELECTION DAY: Get your ballot in by tonight!

Haven’t voted yet? The optimal way to turn in your ballot is via a KC Elections dropbox, with three in West Seattle (plus one in White Center, one in South Park, and others around the county – here’s the list/map), which you can do up until 8 pm tonight; if you’re sending it via USPS mail, do it early enough to assure it’ll have an August 1st postmark. If you’ve just arrived, you can still register to vote – here’s how. The main race on your ballot is the King County Council District 8 position, which Councilmember Joe McDermott is leaving; candidates are Burien Mayor Sofia Aragon, Seattle City Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda, and GoodSpaceGuy. Top two move on to November. You’re also voting on the countywide Veterans, Seniors, and Human Services Levy. Tonight’s first and only results should be available by 8:15 pm.

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ELECTION 2023: Ballots due April 25th for special election on crisis-care levy

April 16th, 2023 Tracy Posted in Election, White Center news Comments Off on ELECTION 2023: Ballots due April 25th for special election on crisis-care levy

Less than 10 percent of King County voters have sent in their ballots so far for the April 25 special election. You’re voting on one issue: The countywide levy to fund crisis-care centers. Here’s an info-sheet about the levy. As noted here in January, this nine-year levy would raise a total of $1.25 billion to set up five new regional crisis-care centers, among other things. According to King County, “The levy would be assessed at 14.5 cents per $1,000 in assessed value, estimated to cost approximately $119 per year in 2024 for a median-priced home of $694,000.” Tuesday,April 25th is your deadline to get your ballot postmarked and into USPS mail, or (by 8 that night) into a dropbox. We have one in White Center, outside the library at 1409 SW 107th. (The full countywide list is here.)

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ELECTION 2023: Burien Mayor Sofia Aragon registers campaign for King County Council District 8

February 3rd, 2023 Tracy Posted in Election, King County, Politics, White Center news Comments Off on ELECTION 2023: Burien Mayor Sofia Aragon registers campaign for King County Council District 8

(Also published on partner site West Seattle Blog)

The first declared candidate for King County Council District 8 is currently on the Seattle City Council; now we have a second candidate, who’s currently on the Burien City Council. We’re frequently checking the state list of people registering election campaigns, and this afternoon it had an addition: Burien Mayor Sofia Aragon, registering a campaign for the County Council seat that Joe McDermott is leaving after a decade-plus. Burien’s mayor is chosen by fellow councilmembers; Aragon has held the title since last year, and has been on the council since 2020. Two years before that, she ran for 34th District State Senator, finishing fourth in a primary field of 11. The City of Burien website describes Aragon as “a registered nurse and attorney (who) worked in Olympia for over a decade to advocate for affordable and accessible health care, protecting public health, workplace safety, and ensuring differing opinions are included when developing public policy.” She currently is executive director of the Washington Center for Nursing (Burien city councilmembers serve part time). The field for the County Council race won’t be final until the official filing week in mid-May; the August 1st primary will send the top two finishers to the November primary.

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ELECTION 2023: Seattle City Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda is first candidate announcing run for King County Council District 8

February 2nd, 2023 Tracy Posted in Election, King County, Politics, White Center news Comments Off on ELECTION 2023: Seattle City Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda is first candidate announcing run for King County Council District 8

(Also published at partner site West Seattle Blog)

(WCN/WSB photo by Patrick Sand)

By Tracy Record
White Center Now editor

After five years as one of the Seattle City Council‘s two at-large members, North Delridge resident Teresa Mosqueda says she feels a “pull” toward a different role in local government – that of King County Councilmember.

Mosqueda announced this morning that she is campaigning for the seat that District 8 County Councilmember Joe McDermott is leaving after more than a decade. The newly remapped district stretches from downtown Seattle to Burien, also including West Seattle, White Center, and Vashon and Maury Islands, among other neighborhoods (see the map here).

Mosqueda talked with us in West Seattle just before her announcement. She says she will continue with her City Council job – which isn’t up for a vote again until 2025 – while campaigning for County Council. (If she wins the new job, the remaining city councilmembers would have to appoint someone to fill the rest of her term.) Though the County Council represents three times as many people as the City Council, it toils in less of a spotlight, generally with far less pressure and scrutiny. Mosqueda wouldn’t mind: “Everyone asks, aren’t you going to be bored? I say, no!”

She says what’s “pulling” her toward the County Council are two issues in particular – health and housing. County government has “more purview over public health and behavioral health.” On the latter, she’s supportive of the behavioral-health levy the County Council just voted to send to voters in April. And she sees even more areas of the county in need of workforce housing, especially Vashon and Burien. She wants to work with the state legislators who have housing in the spotlight this session. The county also runs the major transit system – Metro – and “working families need round-the-clock transit – we need to reimagine that.”

Those working families, Mosqueda continues, also need more access to child care and other support. She expresses admiration for the county’s voter-approved Best Starts for Kids program. She sees possibilities for “building on the work we’ve done in Seattle,’ recalling a tour of the West Seattle Junction four years ago, when a small-business owner told her more child care and housing would help their workers.

Beyond West Seattle, she mentions other parts of the city that are part of County Council District 8: “I have served these communities and know them.” But she says she’s no stranger to the non-Seattle areas of the district – her family gets health care in Burien, for example, and visits that community’s Seahurst Park. Her heart, however, is in the North Delridge neighborhood where she lives with her husband and their 3-year-old daughter – “this is the kind of walkable, livable neighborhood I want everybody to have.”

Mosqueda also observes that serving District 8 would be about serving a diverse population, with an increasing number of people of color as well as immigrants and refugees. Representation matters, she declares, noting she was shocked to learn that of the more than 130 people serving on county councils in the state of Washington right now, only three are people of color. During and before her city work, she says she has fought for those who aren’t (yet) at the table.

Veering off the issues she cites as those about which she’s most excited, we ask about others – public safety, for one. She first mentions work that the county has done on diversion, and touches on community-safety work aside from law enforcement, though she also mentions respect for the King County Sheriff’s Office and Burien Police Chief Ted Boe, “who’s gotten a lot of praise for working on restorative justice.”

In the nuts and bolts of governing, we also ask what she’s learned as the City Council’s budget chair. “It’s been my goal to really change the culture of how we approach budgeting,” and Mosqueda feels she and her colleagues accomplished that through increased scrutiny including “deep analysis.” She also mentions looking further into the future, taking a closer look at a six-year projection that she says had previously been buried in the information councilmembers would get and mostly ignored.

Might she try to do something like the JumpStart tax on a county level? No specific proposals planned but she is interested in legislative action giving local governments more flexibility.

Regarding a District 8 topic that hasn’t been discussed much lately but remains unresolved – North Highline annexation – Mosqueda says she wants to talk with residents about their needs, “hear from folks what they want to see, whether it’s self-determination or annexation or …” Bottom line, she thinks job 1 is to find out if people feel they’re being appropriately served by the county.

She plans to start conversations with potential constituents immediately and already has meetings planned tomorrow in Burien; she expects to “front-load” her City Council responsibilities during the week whenever she can so she can be out campaigning Fridays through Sundays. She thinks she can win people over by showing up on doorsteps and promising to make change on their behalf. “If folks are excited about a workhorse, a listener, someone who takes action …” then, Mosqueda says, she’s their candidate.

WHAT’S NEXT: Mosqueda is the first announced candidate in this race. The field won’t be final until the official filing week in mid-May. Voting for the August 1st primary will start in July.

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ELECTION 2023: King County Councilmember Joe McDermott says he won’t run again

January 20th, 2023 Tracy Posted in Election, White Center news Comments Off on ELECTION 2023: King County Councilmember Joe McDermott says he won’t run again

(WCN photo, Councilmember McDermott at White Center event in October)

King County Council District 8 Councilmember Joe McDermott has announced he’s not running for reelection. McDermott lives in West Seattle but represents a district that includes White Center, Vashon and Maury Islands, and part of Seattle on the east side of the Duwamish River (the County Council also has recently remapped districts). McDermott served in the State Senate and State House before moving to the County Council 12 years ago, shortly after Dow Constantine became County Executive. He was the first openly gay person to serve on the County Council. He is also a current member of the Sound Transit Board. Councilmember McDermott’s announcement does not specify what he plans to do next:

I look forward to pursuing other professional opportunities yet to be identified once I leave office while always remaining involved in the issues I am passionate about. … I am grateful for the opportunity to work for our communities. I look forward to continuing doing so as a private citizen.

You can read the full announcement, including his list of accomplishments (one of which is the fireworks ban in unincorporated King County), here. State files show that no far no one else has registered a campaign for District 8, but the official filing week is still four months away.

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ELECTION 2022: School bond passing, and other notable results

November 9th, 2022 Tracy Posted in Election, White Center news 1 Comment »

After the first round of King County general-election results, here’s where local races/measures of note stand:

HIGHLINE SCHOOL DISTRICT PROPOSITION 1 (bonds for school projects including Evergreen HS rebuild)
Approve 66%
Reject 34%

34TH DISTRICT STATE SENATE
Joe Nguyen* (D) 85%
John Potter (R) 15%

34TH DISTRICT STATE HOUSE POSITION 1
Emily Alvarado (D) 69%
Leah Griffin (D) 30%

34TH DISTRICT STATE HOUSE POSITION 2
Joe Fitzgibbon* (D) 82%
Andrew Pilloud (R) 18%

KING COUNTY CHARTER AMENDMENT 1 (county election-date change)
Yes 69%
No 31%

KING COUNTY PROPOSITION 1 (Conservation Futures levy)
Approve 68%
Reject 32%

The second King County ballot count is expected around 4 pm today (Wednesday).

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ELECTION 2022: Vote by Tuesday!

November 6th, 2022 Tracy Posted in Election, Politics, White Center news Comments Off on ELECTION 2022: Vote by Tuesday!

If you haven’t returned your ballot yet, you’re running out of time. You need to either get it into USPS mail ASAP, so that it’s postmarked by Tuesday, or get it into a King County Elections dropbox by 8 pm (sharp!) Tuesday night – White Center has one, outside the library (1409 SW 107th).

One big local issue on the ballot is the Highline Public Schools bond measure, Proposition 1. It would raise half a billion dollars for projects including a new Evergreen High School.

Also big: An open seat in our area’s state legislative delegation. Rep. Eileen Cody is retiring; Emily Alvarado and Leah Griffin are the two finalists for Cody’s seat, 34th Legislative District House Position 1. Here are video interviews we published recently on partner site West Seattle Blog – first video below is Griffin, second is Alvarado:

Griffin and Alvarado also were at last month’s North Highline Unincorporated Area Council meeting; here’s our report.

The ballot also includes a King County charter amendment that would change elections, moving County Executive, County Councilmembers, County Assessor, and Elections Director to even-numbered years. Plus there’s a King County levy proposal, the Conservation Futures Levy.

Besides those issues, the ballot includes U.S. House, U.S. Senate, two other 34th Legislative District races, Secretary of State, King County Prosecutor, and 17 judicial positions, only two of which are contested. Two state advisory measures are on the ballot too. Not registered to vote but eligible? You can still do that in person Monday or Tuesday. But if you are already registered and waiting to fill out your ballot, don’t wait any longer!

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ELECTION 2022: Prop 1 land-conservation levy supporters return to White Center

October 17th, 2022 Tracy Posted in Election, Environment, White Center news 1 Comment »

King County Elections will send out general-election ballots later this week. Though you’ve probably heard a lot about local and national Congressional races, you’ll find a lot more on your ballot – including King County Proposition 1, which raises money for land conservation/acquisition by restoring an existing levy to the original rate that’s been reduced by various state actions. Five months after announcing it at White Center Heights Park, County Executive Dow Constantine returned there this morning with other supporters to ask for your “yes” vote. Here’s our video of what they all had to say:

In order, the speakers were:
King County Councilmember Joe McDermott
Paul Winterstein from the Issaquah Alps Trails Club
Executive Constantine, who stressed that the quest to preserve green space is “racing to keep up with population growth, racing to keep up with environmental changes”
Sammamish Mayor & Former DNR wildland firefighter Kali Clark, whose observations about the relevance of land preservation to wildfire prevention were timely for obvious reasons
King County Open Space Equity Cabinet member Sarneshea Evans, who observed that too many KC residents don’t live close to green space
Zazueta Family Farm owner/farmer Guillermo Zazueta, who told the story of starting his organic permaculture farm earlier this year (Constantine had explained that the measure would preserve farmland as well as other types of green space)
King County Councilmember Rod Dembowski, who declared that Prop 1 is “incredibly affordable (and) incredibly meaningful”

As noted when the ballot measure was announced in May, it would add about $2 per month to the taxes of a median-priced King County home. Supporters say tens of thousands of acres of land have been identified for potential acquisition/preservation; we asked what percentage are in urban areas like White Center – here’s the written response from the campaign:

Of the 45,000 acres targeted for acquisition as part of the Land Conservation Initiative, 10% are for urban open space and regional trails.

Since 2016, 30% of LCI acquisition dollars (all sources) have been spent on urban greenspaces and regional trails.

Since 2020, 25% of Conservation Futures funding has been awarded to match waiver projects in opportunity areas (those projects meeting specific criteria for need)

Read a summary and/or the full text of Prop 1, as well as statements for/against, by going here. Once you get your ballot, you’ll have until November 8th to vote and turn it in.

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SATURDAY: Informal way to learn about Highline Public Schools bond and Evergreen High School plan

September 21st, 2022 Tracy Posted in Education, Election, Evergreen High School, Highline School District, White Center news Comments Off on SATURDAY: Informal way to learn about Highline Public Schools bond and Evergreen High School plan

As part of the latest round of community outreach, Highline Public Schools reps will be at Dubsea Coffee in Greenbridge on Saturday to talk about the upcoming bond vote and the Evergreen High School plan that’s part of what the bond measure would pay for, if passed in November. Just drop in with your questions and/or comments between noon and 2 pm Saturday (September 24th) at 9910 8th SW.

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ELECTION 2022: Voting is about to begin

July 13th, 2022 Tracy Posted in Election, Politics, White Center news Comments Off on ELECTION 2022: Voting is about to begin

checkbox.jpgKing County Elections announced today that the ballots for the August 2nd primary are in the mail – so voting is about to begin. No ballot measures for our area, but there are races to narrow down – including U.S. Senate, U.S. House District 7, Secretary of State, 34th District State Senator and 34th District State House Position 1, which has no incumbent as longtime State Rep. Eileen Cody is retiring. You can see all the candidates listed, with links to their websites, here. You can send your ballot back by postal mail, as long as it’s postmarked by August 2nd, or take it to an official dropbox (here’s where to find them – including the one outside White Center Library). Not registered? It’s not too late – go here.

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New Evergreen High School part of a Highline district bond measure headed for your November ballot

June 23rd, 2022 Tracy Posted in Election, Highline School District, White Center news Comments Off on New Evergreen High School part of a Highline district bond measure headed for your November ballot

(Highline Public Schools photo – from left, board members Joe Van, Angelica Alvarez, Azeb Hagos. Aaron Garcia

Highline School Board members hope you’ll support a bond measure they’ve sent to the November ballot, to pay for projects including a new Evergreen High School. Here’s the announcement:

The Highline School Board voted unanimously to place the next school bond on November 8 election ballots as recommended by the volunteer-led Capital Facilities Advisory Committee (CFAC).

The construction bond would pay to rebuild two high schools and a middle school plus fund critical capital needs and improvement projects across the district.

Voters must approve a capital construction bond by 60 percent for the funding measure to pass. If approved, here is the estimated timeline:

Rebuild Evergreen High School — open in fall 2025
Rebuild Tyee High School — open in fall 2025
Rebuild Pacific Middle School — open in fall 2027

Three new schools built with funding from the previous 2016 bond were completed on time and under budget, continuing Highline’s 20-year track record of on-time, on-budget construction.

The district decided to run a bond now for these reasons:

Previous school bonds replaced aging schools for students in Des Moines and Burien. The 2022 bond would replace aging schools in SeaTac and White Center so students across our district have safe and modern places to learn.

The designs for new schools at Evergreen, Tyee and Pacific were funded by the 2016 bond.

This funding measure would not raise the current tax rate due to expiring taxes.

The 2016 bond projects were completed $10 million under budget—this savings is being applied to the costs of the 2022 projects, decreasing the cost to taxpayers.

Approval of this bond would trigger $34 million in additional funding. The funds would come from the Federal Aviation Administration and the Port of Seattle for noise mitigation, and from the state School Construction Assistance Program.

Capped Bond Amount
The bond would raise $518,397,000. The district can only collect that amount and not more. If property values go up more than projected, the tax percentage rate goes down per $1,000 of value.

Critical Capital Improvements Fund Included in Bond
The $17 million fund for critical capital needs and improvements in the November 2022 bond includes roofing, painting, emergency repairs and other improvements districtwide like replacing the Sylvester Middle School dirt field with synthetic turf.

More details and answers to questions are available on Highline’s 2022 Bond website: highlineschools.org/bond.

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VIDEO: King County Executive comes to White Center to announce land-conservation ballot measure

May 19th, 2022 Tracy Posted in Election, Environment, King County, White Center news 1 Comment »

(Also published on partner site West Seattle Blog)

(WSB/WCN photo)

$1.81 a month to raise more money to save the “last, best” green spaces from disappearing.

That’s what King County Executive Dow Constantine is proposing charging property owners in a ballot measure he announced at White Center Heights Park.

The cost, Constantine says, is what the owner of a “median-priced” home in King County would pay if voters approve the measure, which he is asking the County Council to place on the November general-election ballot.

Even at that, he says, it’s not an entirely new tax – he says it would bring back what property owners used to pay for the half-century-old Conservation Futures Program. The announcement explains:

Land conservation in King County – and 13 other counties – is largely funded by the Conservation Futures program that the state created 50 years ago. A series of actions by the state has dramatically reduced the amount of revenue that the program can generate for counties. Voters have the option to restore the local program to its original rate of 6.25 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value from its current rate of 3.12 cents. That would cost the owner of a median-value home about $21.75 more per year.

Constantine was joined at the park – setting of other media events for environmental programs – by De’Sean Quinn, the Tukwila City Councilmember who co-chairs the Land Conservation Advisory Committee, as well as Open Space Equity Cabinet co-chair Michelle Benetua, Trust for Public Land’s Northwest director David Patton, and King County Councilmember Rod Dembowski. Here’s our video of what they said:

The money raised by this would, according to the announcement, “accelerate the Land Conservation Initiative, a regional partnership of communities, cities, farmers, businesses, and environmental leaders to protect 65,000 acres of the highest conservation-value open space.” Constantine launched the initiative three years ago. The land it’s saved includes a five-acre site in North Highline. That’s one of the sites intended to bring public green space closer to more people; Constantine said that 20 percent of the people in King County don’t live close to any. It’s about equitable access, climate change, wildlife protection, and more, he said while making the case. Quinn lauded him for the “political will” to push for this “to meet the urgency of now.”

WHAT’S NEXT: Dembowski, who chairs the Transportation, Economy, and Environment Committee, will sponsor the proposal. Councilmembers have until late July to approve sending it to the November ballot. Meantime, the Land Conservation Initiative continues working on potential sites to protect – not only via buying them; sometimes other tools are used, such as conservation easements, or the purchase of development rights, to take the pressure off property owners. Constantine said they can’t comment on what’s in negotiations or under consideration, for obvious reasons.

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