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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State House candidates, school levy, more @ North Highline Unincorporated Area Council this Thursday

October 3rd, 2022 Tracy Posted in North Highline UAC, Politics, White Center news 2 Comments »

The biggest local races on next month’s ballot will be the highlight of Thursday’s North Highline Unincorporated Area Council meeting. Here’s the announcement:

North Highline Unincorporated Area Council Meeting
October 6, 7 pm – Via Zoom

NHUAC is pleased to be hosting a forum for the candidates for the 34th Legislative District, Leah Griffin and Emily Alvarado. This is a great opportunity to hear from the candidates and ask questions on issues that impact our lives in North Highline/White Center.

Additionally, we will be joined by Deputy Bill Kennamer who will provide information on crime trends and Vickie Fisher, who will provide information on the Highline School District Levy.

Join Zoom Meeting
us02web.zoom.us/j/89441720967?pwd=Z2NWdTJ2dzZMd2E5TnBSbVFQOFRvdz09

Meeting ID: 894 4172 0967
Passcode: NHUAC2022 (Case Sensitive)

Or by Phone: 253 215 8782
Meeting ID: 894 4172 0967

Passcode: 758440156

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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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ELECTION 2022: 34th District State House contenders debate tonight

May 26th, 2022 Tracy Posted in Politics, White Center news Comments Off on ELECTION 2022: 34th District State House contenders debate tonight

The fields are set for the August primary. The marquee local race in our area this time around will be for 34th District State House Position 1, from which Rep. Eileen Cody is retiring after more than a quarter-century. The first debate/forum in the race is tonight (May 26th), 6:30 pm online, with the 34th District Democrats and West Seattle Democratic Women hosting the two Democrats who are running, Emily Alvarado (left) and Leah Griffin (right). 34th DDs chair Carla Rogers says all are welcome to attend; register here to get the link. In addition to being a public forum, this also is a prelude to the 34th DDs’ endorsement meeting, which Rogers says is set for June 8th.

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WEDNESDAY: 34th District Democrats’ first meeting of 2022

January 11th, 2022 Tracy Posted in Politics, White Center news 1 Comment »

Our area’s largest political organization has its first meeting of the new year Wednesday night (January 12th), online. Here’s the plan for the 34th District Democrats‘ meeting:

Agenda – January 12, 2022
6:30 pre-program
7:30 call to order

6:30 pm – Zoom opens for pre-meeting program: NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) presentation on the effects of the pandemic on mental health

7:30 pm – Call to Order

Opening Ceremonies (15m)
Approval of Agenda and Minutes (2m)
Budget and Membership Report (10m)

Membership Vote: Schools First Capital Levies Donation

Division of Holiday Gifts Budget

Candidate Spotlight (6m)

Judge Kuljinder Dhillon

King Conservation District Supervisor Kirsten Haugen

2021 34th LD Democrats Awards Presentation (20m)

Announcements (10m)
Resolution to Consider (10m)
Executive Board Election (5m)
Good of the Order
Adjourn 9 pm

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VIDEO: King County Executive candidates answer questions @ North Highline Unincorporated Area Council

October 9th, 2021 Tracy Posted in King County, Politics, White Center news Comments Off on VIDEO: King County Executive candidates answer questions @ North Highline Unincorporated Area Council

iframe width=”504″ height=”284″ src=”https://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/s8b_yuMs92M” title=”YouTube video player” frameborder=”0″ allow=”accelerometer; autoplay; clipboard-write; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture” allowfullscreen>

(Added: Video of the full NHUAC meeting, including the forum)

With the start of general-election voting just days away, most of this month’s North Highline Unincorporated Area Council meeting was devoted to a “town hall”-style forum featuring the two candidates for King County Executive. We’ll report the rest of the meeting separately, but want to note first that incumbent County Executive Dow Constantine and challenger State Senator Joe Nguyen have another online forum tonight (7 pm Saturday, presented by the West Seattle Chamber of Commerce, viewable (updated link) here).

On Thursday night, NHUAC’s Liz Giba moderated the forum, opening it by explaining that the organization does not endorse candidates and is focused on White Center and the surrounding unincorporated areas. She also noted that both candidates live in north West Seattle. Below is our recap – the questions and answers are reported as our summarizing/paraphrasing rather than exact quotes, except what’s within quotation marks.

****QUESTION: Both were invited to introduce themselves including where they were born and educational/employment background.

CONSTANTINE: Born at Swedish Hospital, lives in the same West Seattle neighborhood where he’s lived his whole life. He graduated from West Seattle High School and is a UW graduate , law school too. Qualifications: Lawyer, state legislator, county councilmember “and I think I’ve proved my ability to get difficult things done.” He touted the COVID response, responses to the climate crisis and entrenched racism, and more. “We’re moving forward with an agenda we’ve been pushing for years.” He also said the county’s been recognized for fiscal prudence.

NGUYEN: He was born at Virginia Mason Hospital, raised in White Center, graduated from Kennedy Catholic High School, went to Seattle University and has degrees in economics, finance, and humanities. He’s in analytics and strategy at Microsoft. He’s the first legislator of color in the 34th District. He talked about caring for his father after a disabling car crash, and the community giving back – “ever since then I felt compelled to serve the community at whatever level possible.” He says he’s part of “the most diverse Legislature in the history of Washington state.” But many issues “are at the local level.” He said he believes “talent is universal but opportunity is not.”

****QUESTION: King County just released the draft North Highline Sub-Area Plan, which appears to complete NH transition to a high-density neighborhood. In light of the analysis of Seattle’s urban-village strategy, which does not reduce BIPOC displacement, this is troubling: “Housing and equity are very connected.” Do you agree that King County should use findings of Seattle’s racial equity analysis to make decisions for NH? If not, what should be done?

NGUYEN: Hasn’t reviewed the analysis but believes more affordable housing is needed, more housing in general. But you also meed resources to mitigate growth – transit, utilities, etc. And how do you mitigate for possible displacement effects?

CONSTANTINE: This is a conversation we’ve been having for many years. You can’t be against displacement and against affordable housing. The development will keep coming … the plan was co-created with the community. What happened in West Seattle overwhelmed the intention – demand overran the supply. “We need not allow that to happen in White Center,” but aggressive action will be needed.

****QUESTION: In 2011, White Center CDA commissioned an opportunity analysis that found WC is a low-opportunity neighborhood. In 2015 King County named it a neighborhood of opportunity. But programs are not enough … Data shows North Highline with health challenges, poverty, child mortality, and other problems at a higher rate than West Seattle. (Stats were displayed.) Also some NH schools are majority poverty-level students, compared to schools in West Seattle. As executive, how can you assure NH students have the opportunity to achieve their potential?

CONSTANTINE: You have to focus on lifting up people in the community. That’s why we worked on a community-needs list, participatory budgeting, focusing on helping the White Center HUB project by transferring county-owned property … that’s also why North Highline (and Skyway) should be part of a city. Burien or Seattle. Tax base would provide urban services. Proud that through Best Starts for Kids we’ve been able to invest heavily, keep families from becoming homeless … “It’s my determination that we’re going to continue these kinds of investments. … We have to break loose of these historic racist realities.”

NGUYEN: Experienced the disparities firsthand, attending school in White Center. “Right now King County doesn’t have a dedicated office of economic development,” and that would help. “There are resources like Best Starts for Kids, nonprofits serving this area” … He repeats, “opportunity is lacking but talent is not,” as he has observed in his work with a nonprofit. “These are things that I experienced back in” (the ’80s).

****QUESTION: North Highline suffers from people experiencing “mental distress.” She brings up high-profile crimes, shooting, arson. “Gunshots are common. the sheriff’s office is underfunded, deputies are spread thin.” How as executive would you reduce crime, trauma, and related problems?

NGUYEN: Some of this is an effect of economic distress. Many calls are for non-criminal activity. Have community-safety officers to assist with noncriminal offenses … “so we can break that cycle and won’t see the same person over and over again.”

CONSTANTINE: “Many of these questions are why I created a Department of Local Services.” He said he came to the area the day after the shootings outside Taradise Café. Yes, having more community service officers is important, but also other kinds of responses, like community interveners. “It’s gotta be a multipronged approach.” He has two mental-health street teams and proposed funding for two more – at least one would circulate to areas such as White Center and Burien. He said he also came to the neighborhood after the Lumber Yard fire and that $108.000 has been provided to help, and additional resources are being identified to help the WC business district in this time of crisis.

****QUESTION: People in need are being segregated economically. I would like to hear both of you say you’ll correct that, to allow poor people to live in more affluent neighborhoods.

NGUYEN: Redlining is a reality. More density is a solution. Innovative anti-displacement strategies like community land trusts can help. More resources such as transit, job opportunities, would help too.

CONSTANTINE: Economic diversity is important to everyone. That’s a two-way street, it means protecting people from displacement even as outside economic pressures cause pressure. And in more affluent neighborhoods, cities need to make more room for more types of housing. Affluence, the way we’ve seen our region transform, are powerful forces.

At this point in the forum, Giba invited others to ask questions.

****Question from NHUAC’s Barbara Dobkin: Development in her neighborhood has been haphazard. Lots have been clear-cut. What about the neighborhoods? Developers are calling every week seeking to buy property. How do we protect what we have?

CONSTANTINE: The Sub-Area Plan includes development standards. Some cities like Seattle have “much more refined standards for neighborhoods.” Touts his Land Conservation initiative. Mentions the new greenspace in Boulevard Park.

NGUYEN: Talks about a document to protect urban canopy. Development needs to be “mindful of how we protect our greenspaces.”

Following up, Giba mentions the White Center HUB plan proposes development in a forested area. “Is there some way to put it elsewhere?”

NGUYEN: He’s seen renderings and thinks it’s incorporating some of the landscape, but it’s not a bad spot (for the project) overall.

CONSTANTINE: He agrees that every razed lot is a lost opportunity. Plans need to address that.

****Question from NHUAC’s Pat Price: The new greenspace (that Constantine mentioned) is on the edge of South Park, practically in Seattle. A study conducted over a decade ago suggested that White Center could improve access to and availability of parks. We haven’t heard more about what’s possible. What about all that land off Myers Way? Any plans to do something there?

CONSTANTINE: Park acquisition id “kind of my jam.” Department of Natural Resoures and Parks is “very focused on our service to NH” – he mentioned the recently spotlighted program to hire more people experiencing homelessness to do park cleanup. No new info on parkland negotiations. But see the Sub-Area Plan – “White Center needs more greenspace,” and that will be done “in lockstep with the community.”

****Question from WC resident Sabina regarding the Land Use Plan and zoning amendment: Doesn’t adequately address some issues, such as the west side of White Center (28th/30th/Roxbury) – street infrastructure is subpar – if the density there is going to double, it’s poor urban planning. Nothing in Sub-Area Plan will addresses how those blocks are going to get needed infrastructure. This will exacerbate inequality.

NGUYEN: Agrees that lack of sidewalks is a problem, says state has a package that would fund them in unincorporated areas. “Not only is it a safety issue but also an efficiency issue.”

CONSTANTINE: That infrastructure is part of draft Community Needs List, awaiting more community discussion and input. Good to hear the state might fund unincorporated-area sidewalks, which are badly needed. In addition, “we are focused on some pretty significant investments.” Mentions RapidRide H Line is starting service next year.

****Question from Carmel: She’s a local business owner who works with many others. “We’ve really been hurting with the fires … best way to increase opportunity for business owners would be to join u at our table instead of telling us to come to yours.” Mentions a meeting the next day. Will you attend?

NGUYEN: Yes. My family had a business in that area (years ago).

CONSTANTINE: Will try to cancel a conflict and be there. Top county staffers including Local Services director John Taylor will be there.

****Question from community member Loretta: She feels like NH is more part of Burien than Seattle. Urges the candidates to keep their distance from the Seattle City Council. Meantime, “there’s so much crime out there,” she sees a need for consequences.

CONSTANTINE: He does try to keep his distance from the Seattle City Council, he said with laughter, saying that it includes “fine people” but he disagrees with some of their direction. Regarding crime, “what we’re seeking to do is” earlier intervention, with young people

NGUYEN: Lot of programs are available now that didn’t used to be – need to address ohn a systemic basis.

Both agree more behavioral-health investment is needed.

****Question from Mark from Skyway: Concerned about corruption, vaccine hesitancy, and more in Sheriff’s Office. Sees a lack of concern among deputies for urban unincorporated areas. Since the next Exec will be in charge of the sheriff, please address.

CONSTANTINE: Looking forward to dealing with some of the challenges. Sheriff’s Office has funding challenges, a lot of vacancies. “We need to focus in making sure we have a smooth transition to a new sheriff,” and one who leads the transformation of policing. Need better response times but don’t confuse that with response types – there are calls that don’t require uniformed police fficer.

NGUYEN: Need true accountability. Next Sheriff should be able to hold folks accountable and transform the way things are done.

****Question from Marissa: Speaking as a coalition coordinator, regarding youths’ behavioral health – school practitioners say there’s a big need for behavioral health services for youth, increased by the pandemic. There’s money being spent on it but how is it really supporting the need for services in schools? There’s a big difference between saying there’s a community partner, and having someone being able to get into services. Students are getting referred but can’t always access services. How can we plan for the short-term imminent need for these services in schools, and what are you doing right now?

NGUYEN: State allocated about $300 million. But how we fund schools is inequitable. Meeting with Seattle and Highline school board members to talk about how this looks going forward.

CONSTANTINE: “A lot of these issues come back to the dire lack of behavioral health services” – this all started back in the ’80s, then in the Great Recession the state disinvested … the county’s been scrambling “to prop up this house of cards.” Best Starts for Kids helping. “I’m excited about (its) renewal.” But “we’ve inherited a terrible tax system … this economy could pay for everything we need to live healthy successful lives” but tax system is “grossly unfair.”

They wrapped up after about an hour and a holf. We’ll publish other notes from the meeting separately later today, and also plan to cover tonight’s County Executive forum. The NHUAC event was recorded but we haven’t found a link – if and when we do, we’ll add it.

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TOWN HALL: Talk with four of your elected representatives Sunday afternoon

May 1st, 2021 Tracy Posted in Politics, White Center news 1 Comment »

If you have questions about what’s happening/happened in the State Legislature and/or Congress, the 34th District Democrats are presenting a Town Hall at 1 pm Sunday afternoon with State Sen. Joe Nguyen, State Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon, State Rep. Eileen Cody, and Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal. You can send questions in advance via this link; no RSVP required for the event itself – here’s that link.

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YOU’RE INVITED: ‘The Elephant in the Democratic Party – Racism in Political Institutions’

March 4th, 2021 Tracy Posted in Online, Politics, White Center news 3 Comments »

From the 34th District Democrats:

March 27 (Saturday, 10:30-noon) we are presenting a special program called The Elephant in the Democratic Party – Racism in Political Institutions.

Our webpage: 34dems.org/the-elephant-in-the-democratic-party-racism-in-political-institutions/

Racism is alive and well in the Pacific Northwest and in liberal spaces. Join us for a 90-minute presentation which will cover the history of systemic racism in political institutions and Progressive policies, and how it continues today. As members and leaders in the Democratic Party, we will gain new tools on how we can listen, reflect, and engage in important conversations that are necessary as we continue the fight against racism.

Presented by Olgy Diaz, who serves as a PCO in the 29th Legislative District as well as on the Boards of Casa Latina, Institute for a Democratic Future, and the National Women’s Political Caucus of WA.

This is a FREE presentation offered to the community by the 34th Democrats.

ZOOM: bit.ly/Anti-Racist-34th

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Leadership role for 34th District State Sen. Joe Nguyen

December 2nd, 2020 Tracy Posted in Politics, White Center news 2 Comments »

(Crossposted from partner site West Seattle Blog)

As the State Legislature gets ready for its mostly online session starting next month, legislators are choosing leaders, and one from our area has been chosen by his colleagues for a major role. 34th District Sen. Joe Nguyen has been elected as Assistant Floor Leader by the State Senate Democratic Caucus. The announcement explains, “The Assistant Floor Leader supports the Floor Leader in setting Senate floor agendas and works with bicameral and bipartisan leadership to facilitate discussion.” Sen. Nguyen is midway through his first 4-year term and also is on the Transportation, Environment, Energy & Technology, Rules, and Human Services, Reentry & Rehabilitation committees. The legislative session is set to start January 11th.

P.S. Sen. Nguyen is one of the guests at Thursday’s North Highline Unincorporated Area Council meeting.

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TONIGHT: Q&A with your state legislators, county councilmember

November 18th, 2020 Tracy Posted in Politics, White Center news 1 Comment »

6 pm tonight online (Wednesday, November 18th), State Sen. Joe Nguyen hosts a Town Hall Q&A opportunity that will also include this area’s two other state legislators, Reps. Eileen Cody and Joe Fitzgibbon, as well as County Councilmember Joe McDermott (and West Seattle/South Park City Councilmember Lisa Herbold). The link for viewing/participating is here (passcode 921647).

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TUESDAY: King County Council public hearing on proposal to enable ‘microhousing demonstration project’ in White Center

June 8th, 2020 Tracy Posted in Development, housing, Politics, White Center news Comments Off on TUESDAY: King County Council public hearing on proposal to enable ‘microhousing demonstration project’ in White Center

Tuesday afternoon’s King County Council meeting has a public hearing of note for White Center – on what is in essence a rezoning proposal that would allow “a microhousing demonstration project…(that) may include residential space for up to 60 people.” No specific project or site is outlined in the proposal, but it would allow the project on any of 375 properties in this described area:

… generally bounded by SW Roxbury Street on the North, 12th Ave SW on the East, SW 107th Street on the South, and 19th Ave SW on the West.

The hearing notice says the proposal is aimed at “adopting provisions for a microhousing demonstration project” – microhousing being the term for very small studio apartments, potentially with multiple units sharing, for example, one kitchen. It also includes a specific proposal for Vashon Island as well as the rezoning for White Center. The potential WC project would “encourage development of housing that is affordable to low and moderate income individuals.” While the council-packet documents say, “The specific location of the urban demonstration project has not been identified,” they also include specifications such as that the building(s) could be up to 60′ high.

You can go here to find all the documents for the proposal. The “SEPA checklist’ has the most details; you can also read the full text of the legislation. Go here to see how to plug into the 1 pm Tuesday meeting. That’s also the link to follow if you’d like to sign up to comment during the meeting, which will be streamed here.

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Evergreen High School student serves as State House page

February 21st, 2020 Tracy Posted in Politics, White Center news Comments Off on Evergreen High School student serves as State House page

(Photo courtesy State Legislative Support Service)

A White Center student will have a unique experience to share at school next week. Here’s the announcement we received:

Maddy Rice, a student at Evergreen High School, served as a page this week in the Washington State House of Representatives.

Sponsored by State Rep. Eileen Cody (D-West Seattle), Maddy is the child of Bobby and Andy Rice of Seattle. Pages assume a wide variety of responsibilities, from presenting the flags to distributing amendments on the House floor. Pages support the efficient operation of the Legislature while also receiving daily civics instruction, drafting their own bills, and participating in mock committee hearings.

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LEGISLATURE: 34th District Sen. Joe Nguyen’s emissions bill passes

January 15th, 2020 Tracy Posted in Environment, Politics, White Center news 4 Comments »

News release from Olympia:

The Washington State Senate voted today to provide a more direct pathway for zero emissions vehicle (ZEV) production in the state.

Sponsored by Sen. Joe Nguyen (D-White Center), Senate Bill 5811 authorizes the state Department of Ecology to adopt California’s ZEV regulations and includes medium-duty vehicles in ZEV standards.

“As we look across the world and see the devastating effects of a changing climate, it’s important to understand that this is a crisis affecting us today,” said Nguyen. “We should be using every tool we have to reduce the harm we are experiencing and to protect our future generations. Devastating events like the wildfires raging in Australia are warning of a future that we should be working to prevent now.”

Building off work accomplished in the past two years that Democrats have controlled the state Legislature, the bill is another step forward in advancing environmental goals in Washington. Last session, Democrats passed a sweeping range of bills to protect environmental health, including orca recovery, toxic cleanup investments and 100% clean energy by 2045.

“This is a common-sense solution to address an ongoing problem,” said Nguyen. “Creating a clear path for zero emissions vehicles in Washington state is a step towards lowering the greenhouse gas emissions produced by our transportation sector and reducing air pollution.”

Having passed the Senate on a 26-23 vote, the bill will now move to the House for consideration.

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ELECTION RESULTS: North Highline notes

November 6th, 2019 Tracy Posted in Election, Politics, White Center news Comments Off on ELECTION RESULTS: North Highline notes

The second round of results from the general election are out. Here are local races of note:

HIGHLINE SCHOOL BOARD, DISTRICT 1
Aaron Garcia – 7,440 – 52.13 %
Tracy Castro-Gill – 6,697 – 46.92 %

HIGHLINE SCHOOL BOARD, DISTRICT 5
Fa’izah Bradford – 7,631 – 51.21 %
Jeanette Burrage – 7,216 – 48.43 %

North Highline Fire Commissioner Julie Hiatt won re-election without opposition.

See all results from around King County here; for the statewide ballot measures, go here.

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Coffee with your State Senator Joe Nguyen on Tuesday

August 26th, 2019 Tracy Posted in Politics, White Center news Comments Off on Coffee with your State Senator Joe Nguyen on Tuesday

34th District State Sen. Joe Nguyen will be in White Center tomorrow for a unique coffee hour – as his office explains it, he’ll be at the WC Starbucks (9862 16th SW) 3-4 pm Tuesday (August 27th) “serving lattes and meeting with constituents to chat and take questions from behind the bar!” All welcome.

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North Highline FD commissioner Dominic Barrera running for Port of Seattle Commission

April 23rd, 2019 Tracy Posted in Election, Politics, White Center news Comments Off on North Highline FD commissioner Dominic Barrera running for Port of Seattle Commission

North Highline Fire District commissioner Dominic Barrera, also a former NH Unincorporated Area Council board member, says he’s running for the countywide Port of Seattle Commission seat that Courtney Gregoire is leaving. Two other candidates have registered campaigns but he is the first to send an announcement:

South King County may soon have representation on the Seattle Port Commission again, as Fire Commissioner, airport union leader, and environmental advocate, Dominic Barrera announced his intention to run for the open position being vacated by Courtney Gregoire.

Barrera has served as an elected Fire Commissioner for the North Highline Fire District since 2015, where he represents about 10,000 constituents in the communities of White Center and Boulevard Park. There, he was the driving force behind station improvements that increased workplace safety, helped craft an innovative joint-operation plan with a neighboring district to improve service and increase efficiency, and has twice amended and passed state legislation to protect low-income tax payers in his district.

“I’ve worked to balance budgets and restore the District’s economic stability without compromising the well-being of our employees or the communities we serve,” Barrera said. “I bring unparalleled experience, not only leading a public agency, but also working on the frontlines of a major Port facility, fighting for worker protections, and advocating for our environment. The Port of Seattle needs this kind of strong, well-balanced leadership in this critical time of growth.”

Barrera’s father, born in Tokyo to Mexican and Japanese parents, was an aircraft mechanic at Sea-Tac. Barrera himself has worked for Alaska Airlines for seven years, both in airport operations and accounting. Throughout his tenure, he has been a proud member of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAMAW) Local 2202 and currently serves as a union shop steward to his peers at Sea-Tac.

Barrera was part of a successful grassroots campaign in 2015 to save the Myers Parcels, an environmentally critical wetland that feeds into the Duwamish River, from industrial development. He was later selected to lead PlantAmnesty, an environmental nonprofit that works to protect Seattle’s greenspace, as their Executive Director.

He and his fiancé, Andrea, live in the Highline-area, directly under Sea-Tac’s northern flight path and within earshot of seaport operations.

“I would bring a voice for people living in the areas most impacted by Port activities,” Barrera said. “I know firsthand how crucial it is for the Port of Seattle to be a good neighbor.”

The other two candidates who have registered Position 2 campaigns with the Public Disclosure Commission so far are Ali Scego and Preeti Shridhar, but we haven’t yet received an announcement from either. Position 5 is also up for election this year; so far incumbent Fred Felleman is the only registered candidate. The formal filing period is in mid-May; the primary election is August 6th.

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THURSDAY: County Executive Dow Constantine to make parks-levy announcement at Steve Cox Memorial Park

February 19th, 2019 Tracy Posted in Election, King County, Parks, Politics, White Center news 2 Comments »

FIRST REPORT, TUESDAY: Forwarded by a community advocate who received this invitation:

Join King County Executive Dow Constantine for a special announcement!

Join Executive Constantine and Parks partners when the executive unveils his vision to fund King County’s parks and trails with a renewed levy when the existing one expires this December.

Join us!
Thurs, Feb 21, 2019
Steve Cox Memorial Park
1321 SW 102nd St
Ceremony begins at 10 a.m.

Show your love for King County’s most treasured places and learn about new ones that would be made possible through the Executive’s proposal.

Ceremony is expected to last 30 minutes, and we’ll have hot chocolate and coffee to keep you warm!

We sent an inquiry to the executive’s office this morning, asking for more information, but have yet to receive a reply. Here’s some backstory on the levy that expires at the end of this year, which voters approved by a wide margin back in August 2013.

ADDED WEDNESDAY: We received a media advisory about the event today. Watch for coverage tomorrow.

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VIDEO: Your state legislators’ Saturday morning town hall

January 12th, 2019 Tracy Posted in Politics, White Center news Comments Off on VIDEO: Your state legislators’ Saturday morning town hall

This morning in West Seattle, the 34th District’s legislators – Reps. Eileen Cody and Joe Fitzgibbon, and about-to-be-sworn-in Sen. Joe Nguyen – held a “town hall”-style meeting. Above is video, unedited (but starting a few minutes into the introductions as we adjusted our camera). If you don’t have time to watch, stand by for a link to the West Seattle Blog version, which we expect to publish Sunday morning with toplines. The three will start work in Olympia this coming week.

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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 4 Comments »

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 Comments Off on Celebration in White Center for Sen.-elect Joe Nguyen

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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