Oct 31, 2008

After you've voted....

Watch the Election Results at The BottleNeck Lounge Tuesday!!

No Cover…………..Doors at 4 PM

Watch the election results with your friends and neighbors over a bowl of warm soup and a frothy pint (or stiff drink, whatever).
Everyone who votes gets a FREE Obama shortbread cookie from Little Rae’s Bakery .
Sorry, but Duke the Resident Pit Bull ate the McCain cookies. Really.
Come join us – we’ve got plenty of champagne on hand!!

Oct 29, 2008

Miller Playfield resurfacing meeting: Nov 5th

(see Andrew's notes at end, and accompanying blog entries)

Gregory J. Nickels, Mayor
Timothy Gallagher, Superintendent


Seattle Parks and Recreation will host a public meeting to present and discuss concepts for replacing the existing field surface at Miller Playfield on Wednesday, Nov., 5, 2008 from 6:30 – 8 p.m. at the Miller Community Center.

The project is to upgrade the field surface by replacing the existing all-weather sand/silt surface with synthetic turf similar to the surface at Bob by Morris Playfield. Miller Community Center is located at 330 19th Ave. E.

Planning and design is funded in 2008 and Parks has requested construction funding in the 2009 budget. The community requested this project through the Community Capital Suggestion Process. The public is encouraged to attend and provide direction on the preferred synthetic turf field surface.

The field currently supports soccer and two softball fields, and Parks is considering a request to include field markings for both women’s and men’s lacrosse.

For more information, please contact Ted Holden, Project manager and Senior Landscape Architect, at 206-684-7021 or ted.holden@seattle.gov.
*********Notes by Andrew Taylor**********

In Spring of 2006 I suggested our neighborhood request that Miller be resurfaced, gathered community input, and then submitted this Community Capital Suggestion (together with these pictures). That process (and lots of explanation) is documented on our old website.

At the time I made the suggestion contingent on two issues:

1) setting aside, as a renewable one year test, 5% of scheduled play time for unscheduled neighborhood use, with rules similar to those used at the Queen Anne Bowl.

2) Signage and team/player outreach to encourage parking in the lower Meany/Miller parking lot.

To that I would now add:

3) Install automatic locks on the outdoor bathrooms at Miller (to be locked at 10: 30 PM), to allow their use by players before leaving the area.

I will expand on those ideas in the next couple of posts (see below).

Please come to the Wednesday, November 5th meeting and make your views known. If you can't make it to the meeting you can:
  • E-mail your thoughts to Parks Department Project Manager Ted Holden. (ted.holden@seattle.gov)
  • E-mail them to me, Andrew Taylor (tayles@jps.net) and I'll present them at the meeting.
  • Add them as comments to this post, and I'll present them at the meeting.
Many thanks,

Andrew Taylor

Playfield resurfacing. Idea #1: sharing

(Something to consider at the November 5th Miller Playfield resurfacing meeting)

Resurfacing proposal

This proposal is contingent upon:

Setting aside, as a renewable one year test, 5% of scheduled play time for unscheduled neighborhood use, with rules like those at the Queen Anne Bowl.


Miller Playfield had for many years been the most heavily scheduled ballfield in Seattle: we're centrally located, the field has lights, and parking is relatively easy. Since Bobby Morris (with its Sportsturf surface) reopened, the schedule at Miller has been much lighter. However, when the field is renovated, we can confidently expect that both youth and adult teams will all want to return here.

Some neigbors dream that "we're looking forward to many CHS pick-up soccer games in the future". The field is going to be fully scheduled again, with no free time (except perhaps Sunday evening) unless we do something!

Some years ago, during the field lighting fuss, I visited the Queen Anne Bowl. The neighbors there had brokered an agreement with Parks that gave 5% of the play time on the field for neighborhood pickup use: the available times are posted at the field. Note that the Queen Anne Bowl neighbors have reported that "unscheduled use" can be (and is) used by teams for "informal" practice sessions. They have rules limiting practice to half the field if another team is there.

If pickup play time is something you'd like, we'd better get organized and ask for it at the meeting. Expect strong resistance from the sports leagues on this one.

BTW: I've long wanted a webcam looking out from the Community Center, over the fountain to the field. That would help you see if the field was available for you.

Playfield resurfacing. Idea #2: off street parking

(Something to consider at the November 5th Miller Playfield resurfacing meeting)

This proposal is contingent upon: 2) Signage and team/player outreach to encourage parking in the lower Meany/Miller parking lot.

The lower Miller parking lot (between the school and the Community Center) is owned by Parks, but is traditionally used by Meany School during the day (Seattle does not require its schools to provide parking: we're very lucky). During the evenings and weekends, the 50 space parking lot is typically almost empty (2 or 3 cars at most) while the players' cars spill out all over the neighborhood. During summer Little League games (2 fields, no change-over time) traffic can get very difficult. I've got years of photos to prove this.

Increased density (townhouses) in the area south of the playfield is also making more demands on neighborhood parking.

Players do park in the upper lot at Miller, but that can compete with some of the less mobile user groups at Miller (seniors, kids, developmentally challenged).


Parks should strongly encourage ball teams to use the lower parking lot when the renovated field reopens. A few obvious strategies:
  • Install signs to direct players to the lower parking lot, via 19th, Republican and 20th.
  • Require leagues to include this information on their websites
  • Require leagues to distribute maps to team members, showing directions to parking lot and indicating the less intrusive on-street parking locations. A couple of prototype maps are shown below.

Playfield resurfacing. Idea #3: bathrooms

(Something to consider at the November 5th Miller Playfield resurfacing meeting)

When we helped design Miller Community Center, I ensured (on the advice of female soccer playing colleagues) that the outside bathrooms be clearly visible from the field.

Unfortunately, the bathroom doors must be locked by the Community Center staff before they leave at ~ 9:30, so are not available for players after games (and they often seem to be locked earlier). This has created problems for players who need to use the bathrooms after games. The issue has been mentioned in The Stranger.

I have suggested in the past (and repeat here) one obvious solution:
The bathroom doors should be automatically locked and unlocked by timers. I've seen this done in parks in Tacoma and Monroe (pictures). Hours could correspond to legal park hours.

When I suggested this before, the drug/prostitution problems from Madison Street were still spilling into the park, and incidents did occur in the bathrooms. Those issues are now history (hurrah!) and we have a new Park Superintendent, so now is the time to implement this simple suggestion.

Oct 26, 2008

Monday: Safeway 4th Anniversary

The Madison Street Safeway opened on October 27th 2004. Robert, who cut the ribbon at the grand opening, is still cheerfully serving us there.

A lot's happened since then.
The Starbucks, whose demise was expected, has indeed closed.

Oct 24, 2008

Celebrate Saint Crispin's Day

We few, we happy few, we band of brothers

(Wikipedia) Saint Crispin's Day is the feast day of the Christian saints Crispin and Crispinian (Also known as Crispinus and Crispianus, though this spelling has fallen out of favour), twins who were martyred circa A.D. 286. It falls on 25 October each year. It is a day most famous for battles that occurred on it: the Battle of Leyte Gulf in the Pacific theater in 1944, the Battle of Balaklava (Charge of the Light Brigade) during the Crimean War, and the Battle of Agincourt in 1415, dramatised by William Shakespeare in Henry V.

Saints Crispin and Crispinian are the Christian patron saints of cobblers, tanners, and leather workers. So celebrate by buying shoes, reading or watching the Agincourt speech from Henry V.

Oct 23, 2008

Sunday: Bottleneck Lounge event

Kick off Halloween this Sunday, October 26, at The BottleNeck Lounge with Spooktacular Trivia!

Scary questions, pumpkin ale, and hot spiked cider.
Play begins at 7 PM – but come a bit early and grab a table or a spot at the bar.
Bring your own coven or join one at The BottleNeck.
Free to play!
Bonus points to anyone/team that shows up in costume…..

Tuesday: Seattle Neighborhood Summit

Please be there at City Hall the evening of Tuesday, Oct. 28 for the Seattle Neighborhoods Summit! Express your ideas and meet with others who care about Seattle and its neighborhoods. Light supper available throughout. The event begins at 5:15 p.m. with informal networking with other volunteers and with City officials, and the program begins at 6. First on the agenda is a keynote address by the Mayor. Then your choice from fourteen focus groups, repeated twice. The summit ends with a City Council panel interacting with issues and questions from the focus groups.

Please help us publicize this important event, and urge your friends and neighbors to come. It will later be on television and in a written report. Can't come? Send your ideas or questions to the City Neighborhood Council, c/o Department of Neighborhoods, P.O. Box 94649, Seattle 98124-4649 or cleman@oo.net (206) 322-5463. CNC is a Seattle advisory committee, made up of one representative from each of the thirteen district councils, which are also advisory committees. Free parking, for this event only, is available after 5 p.m. in the commuter lot under I-5 just north of Cherry Street (must enter southbound on 6th Avenue--left turn just before Cherry). For background: http://seattle.gov/neighborhoodcouncil. We welcome requests soon for interpretation in different languages. Below is the program:

5:15 Informal networking with other volunteers and with City officials
6:00 Welcome and introductions
6:10 Keynote by Mayor
6:30 First breakout session (see list of focus groups)
7:15 Second breakout session (same focus group topics repeated)
8:00 City Councilmember panel responds to issues and questions from the focus groups
9:00 Adjourn

The topics of the focus groups are as follows:

(1) Advocacy, community-building, communications, and inclusiveness
(2) Open, participatory, and ethical government
(3) Safety from fire, crime, and disaster
(4) Neighborhood economic development
(5) Neighborhood-friendly utilities
(6) Parks, trees, and community centers
(7) Human, health and housing services
(8) Zoning, land use, design, and planning
(9) Youth and schools
(10) Libraries, the arts, cultural heritage, and historic preservation
(11) Roads, crossings, and sidewalks
(12) Transit and bicycling
(13) Pollution, noise, and public health
(14) Anything missing? This group's for topics not covered above

Oct 22, 2008

Biodegradable plastic bags DON'T

About a year ago I acquired a few of the fancy new corn-based biodegradable plastic bags at a couple of City events. When I was done with them I dropped them in my Green Cone food composter.

You use Green Cones by dropping all your kitchen vegetable waste into them, then let them lie undisturbed for about a year (it's best to have 2 of them) and open them up and take out the lovely moist soil that the food waste has transmogrified into, and put it on your garden!

I opened my Green Cone last week to find that all the vegetables had indeed rotted down to dirt but that (even after a year) the plastic bags were (Drum Roll, yes you guessed it) unchanged and good as new.

I fished the bags out, cleaned them off and photographed them to prove it to you!

Pictures (from the top):

My sample was small: two of one type of bag, and two of another. However, as you can see from the pictures: none of them showed any sign of decomposing, even after a year in intimate contact with rotting vegetables and worms.

The City of Seattle has outlawed styrofoam ware, so venders will be using (and you will be paying for) these supposedly "biodegradable" items.

My question: Are they really any more biodegradable than my seemingly immortal "biodegradable" bags?

Oct 21, 2008

Oct 19, 2008

Worth noting

Oct 16, 2008

YMCA Fall Family Festival (and NO joining fee)

Come join us for our annual Fall Family Festival on October 24th from 5pm to 7pm. There will be free food, plenty of games, activities, face painting, pumpkin painting, swimming, bouncy house, raffle, prizes, and much more. Free to the community! All are welcome.

During the month of October the YMCA of Greater Seattle is waving the joining fee for all members who join during the month of October. Time for some healthy fun. 30 days of classes, programs and a supportive community - all for about the price of a dinner and a movie. Considering the current economic conditions, need to get more for their money. We offer a variety of programs and exercise classes for people of all ages. Come see us about a membership.

Meredith Mathews East Madison YMCA
1700 Madison Ave
Seattle, WA 98122
(206) 322-6969

Oct 12, 2008

Assault with weapons: 2021 E. John Street

From the Seattle 911 Log:

10/12/2008 9:07:54 PM F080094728 A25 B6 E34 M10 M44 2021 E John St Assault w/Weap 7 per Rule

2021 E. John is CHHIP's Hazel Plaza apartments.

False alarm? Police soon went away. TV truck came and then left immediately.

Explanation comes from CD News consulting their 911 log:

20xx E. John - 9:04pm - "Caller says that her mother has been shot in front of her residence." A bunch of units responded. "She believes that her mother was shot by her neighbor, and she believes that the neighbor was trying to get into her mother's apartment. The mother is out in front of the building."

A lot of police responded - at least 7 different units - and they arrived quickly. Operators tried to call back the complainant but someone kept hanging up on them. Police didn't immediately find a victim in front of the building where the caller originally reported, but made contact with someone in the mother's apartment.

Officer: "We're getting some information that this may not be a real call. Keep looking, but we're getting indication that the complainant may have some mental issues."
Officer: "There's some indication that the complainant said she was shot when it was only her car that was shot."
Operator: "Should we send fire back to the barn?"
Officer: "Affirmative"
Officer: "It appears that this is an unfounded call."
Officer: "We searched her car and found that there's nothing wrong with it."

Oct 11, 2008

Chicks Play Hard: volunteers needed

It's that time of year again, time for Chicks Play Hard. I would appreciate if you would share on the Neighborhood blog that we're gearing up for the big day, Saturday, Oct. 25, from 11 AM to 4 PM at Miller Community Center. We are looking for women volunteers, high school age young women who would like to volunteer (and earn community service credit) and participants - girls ages 9 to 13.

Register and learn more at:

As additional background, Chicks Play Hard is a volunteer-run, nonprofit organization that strives to build self-confidence in girls by providing them with a nurturing environment to try different activities and develop self expression. Girls ages 9 to 13 participate in workshops led by high school students who are, in turn, mentored by women experts. The event encourages the girls to try new and diverse things, learn from positive female role models and-most importantly- have fun.

New activities this year include rock climbing, fire fighter, skateboarding and yoga. Returning favorites include writing, double dutch jump rope and songwriting.

Chicks Play Hard is in its 7th year, and we look forward to sharing this FREE event with the community this year and for years to come.


Mary Guiden
co-organizer, Chicks Play Hard

Oct 10, 2008

Seeking Applicants to Neighborhood Plan Advisory Committee

Seattle City Council Councilmember Sally J. Clark


CONTACT: David Yeaworth, Clark Office, 206-684-8802

SEATTLE - Councilmember Sally J. Clark seeks applicants for the Neighborhood Plan Advisory Committee (NPAC), a body recently created to advise and provide input to the neighborhood plan update process. The City Council is responsible for appointing four of the at-large seats on the 24-member committee, and Councilmember Clark is hoping for a great array of voices with a good mix of neighborhood knowledge, new passion, and a commitment to healthy communities. The application deadline is Wednesday, October 15, 2008.

The City Council recently enacted legislation that begins the neighborhood plans update process, and just as in the 1990’s planning effort, a committee formed entirely of Seattle residents and business-people will advise the Department of Neighborhoods (DON) and Department of Planning and Development (DPD) regarding how to best conduct the updating process.The NPAC, DON and DPD will strategize how to conduct effective community outreach, engage underrepresented communities and prioritize planning areas. More information about NPAC’s other responsibilities are available on Councilmember Clark’s website. Terms for the NPAC are one or two years.

What: Applicants for the Neighborhood Plan Advisory Committee (NPAC)

When: Applications accepted now through 5 p.m. on Wed., Oct. 15, 2008

Who: Open to Seattleites interested in shaping the process to update neighborhood plans

How: Applications and further instructions available on Councilmember Clark’s website http://www.seattle.gov/council/clark

Oct 9, 2008

East Madison Street News

View Larger Map

I chatted last week with developer Jim Mueller, and Lis Soldano, his development director, about his development plans for the his two projects on East Madison Street.

In brief:

  • he anticipates no delay due to the ongoing national financial crisis.
  • he hopes to start construction on the Twilight Exit site next March. Most of the changes suggested at the Design Review hearings have been incorporated in the plans.
  • construction on the Deano's site will begin in August. He wants to make some "minor amendments" to the design, which will require another Design Review meeting, in late November or December.
  • he's hoping to host a public meeting next month to share his plans and hear our ideas.
The Deano's site probably won't look quite like the models/pictures from the old designs, but will still have a courtyard with an alley entrance. Expect 5 to 6 commercial spaces: say 2 restaurants, a coffee place and (Lis's dream) a spa/wine bar.

(coming soon: a tabulation of your suggestions, from the earlier survey, of our desires for commerce on Madison, and a chance to rank the top 10 or so).

PS: CD News reports that land on which Chester Dorsey's car detailing business sits (on Madison between the Safeway and the Madison Temple) has been sold to developers, and test drillings have been seen.

For s summary of ongong Madison Street developments, check my Madison Street Google map.

Seattle City Budget Issues

OK, so I (and maybe you) missed the first Public Hearing about the City Budget, but there's another one on October 27th. Yes, of course projected revenues are down, and things are being cut right and left. As in the past, City Council will do what it can to move the money around and benefit YOUR favorite issue, IF you make your views known (and if enough others do likewise).

Two items grab me:

1) The perennial attempt to short-change the library. We're a city of readers, it's a great resource and [in tight economic times] it's a source of really cheap entertainment.

Library cuts, restored after a concerted campaign by library fans, seems to be an annual part of the budget pageantry. It'd be easier for everyone if they just funded the place.....

The Stranger gives you all the details.

2) No funds in the budget for the GOTS program. Here's info from East District Crime Prevention Coalition.

As many of you are aware, the GOTS (Get Off The Streets) Program did not make the Mayor’s budget for 2009. If you or any of your organizations feel that GOTS is a critical program for the community, I encourage you to write to, call and/or email all the members of City Council in support of the GOTS Program.

GOTS operates at the corner of 23rd & Union every Tuesday from 1:30PM – 3:00PM. Through the direct street outreach of trained and compassionate staff who are well acquainted with or from the area themselves; individuals who need it most are directly connected with the resources that may save their lives, including housing, drug rehabilitation, mental health resources and more. This service of providing direct resources is in my humble opinion the most important and humane approach to reducing crime – through prevention. It encourages community building, relationships, and allows individuals who have been disenfranchised and marginalized from our society to become productive community members. It is also costs much less than incarceration. After the Neighborhood Drop-in Center on 23rd & Union opened, people who had successfully completed the GOTS Program were hired to maintain the Center, helping the neighborhood, and at the same time building up their work history and credibility.

More information about GOTS is available at: http://www.sngi.org/epcpc/gots-project.html

Also, I have linked to the letter to City Council Member Tim Burgess from the EPCPC in support of GOTS. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or if I can be of assistance. Also, you may contact the GOTS Program Coordinator, Jamila Houston. Jamila can be reached at jamila@sngi.org or at 206.323.9584.

If you feel this issue is of great importance, I welcome you to spread the word about current situation of GOTS to your various groups and contacts; however, I will ask that you please refrain from cutting and pasting this email directly and posting it. It is of course fine if you include both my contact information and Jamila’s contact for questions.

Thank you so much for your time and consideration.

Kindest Regards,

Sita DeGiulio Das
East Program Coordinator

So, please go and testify to City Council on the 27th, or write to them in some manner: see end of Stranger article. Thanks.

Oct 6, 2008

Slide Show, Wednesday: Walking to Alaska!

The daughter of a former colleague describes her remarkable human-powered journey.

Worth noting

Crosscut talks about the Seattle Neighborhood Coalition:

The Seattle Neighborhood Coalition is an informal group of active individuals associated with a variety of Seattle neighborhood organizations. We meet for breakfast on the second Saturday of the month. The organization does not give formal endorsements but rather dedicates itself to free and considered discussions. These discussions often prove to be both influential and foretelling but this is due soley to the individual actions of those attending.

Mayor's 2009 Budget:

Assorted notes:

Oct 4, 2008

Skillet at the Bottleneck: October 11th

The BottleNeck Lounge and Skillet Present the Second Annual Hillside Harvest Feast

Date: Saturday, October 11th
Time: 4:30-8 PM
Where: The Bottleneck Lounge
2328 E. Madison St. (between John and 23rd on Capitol Hill)
www.bottlenecklounge.com (206.323.1098)

Charge: No cover

The BottleNeck Lounge and Skillet Street Food combine forces on Saturday, October 11th at 4:30 PM to present the Second Annual Hillside Harvest Feast. Skillet’s mobile commercial kitchen—which is housed in a 25 foot 1962 vintage Airstream—will be parked directly in front of the 600 sq. ft. lounge, located on Madison St. on the backside of Capitol Hill. Although The BottleNeck does serve tasty sandwiches on a regular basis, food service will be suspended for the evening so that lucky patrons can enjoy some of the best locally-sourced, organic fare served in Seattle—bring on the Kobe Burger with bacon jam! Quaff your thirst with a hearty pint of Elysian Night Owl Pumpkin Ale or a toasty drink special featuring Kahlua, tap your feet to music befitting the season and embrace Autumn at The BottleNeck Lounge. Doors at 3:30 PM. The BottleNeck is a 21+ venue.

Traffic on East John Street /Madison Valley

From the Madison Valley Yahoo Group:

We have also been trying to get something done about E. John (with daily traffic of 1200 cars a day!) There are accidents here almost weekly!
We've been told there's nothing to do about it because, even though it's a residential street, it's been designated a alternative emergency fire route.
We think a 4 way stop @ John & 27th would be a solution but , we're told that people wouldn't stop, so why bother! What?
Anyway - this is kinda a plea for help, if any of you know how to get results in this process, or wish to mention our street when talking to the right people -
We'd love any help we can get!

--- In reply to:

Some of us in the neighborhood have been concerned about the high speed traffic driving on our streets.

Just a quick note to let you know there are currently (3) requests into the City for traffic control measures at 29th & Denny, 30th & Denny, & one near 29th & Arthur Place. Many cars going N on MLK zip through Arthur to avoid the long Madison light.

If you would like more information about the (lengthy) process, please see the below link. You can also e-mail me off list.


29th & Denny

Movie: waves breaking over 520 Bridge

Just spent an hour getting from Kirkland to home: waves breaking over the bridge slowed traffic on the 520 bridge to a crawl.

Plenty of time to take this movie (and to listen to this story on NPR news on KUOW).