Jun 28, 2009

City Council Districts Charter Amendment Petition

(I'm doggedly neutral on this, but wanted to pass on the information for you to decide. Here's their website and here's Councilmember Burgess's view on the idea)

A friend is currently working to give citizens of Seattle representation by district at our City Council.You might consider signing the attached petition to: Give Seattle voters a chance to vote on changing the structure of our City Council by adding your signature to the DISTRICTS NOW Charter Amendment. Your signature helps put this Charter Amendment on the November 2009 ballot.

The goal of this Charter Amendment is to change our City Council from 9 all at-large Council positions to 5 districted and 4 at-large positions. Everyone will still get to vote for 5 of the 9 City Council positions – their district representative and the 4 at-large positions.

Some of the reasons Seattle voters have been supporting this Amendment are:

  • To give a stronger voice to neighborhoods.
  • To strengthen our ability to hold our elected Councilmembers accountable with our vote.
  • Enables the districted positions to do grassroots campaigning within their community to get to know the local issues.
  • 90% of all U.S. cities (population of 350,000+) have either all districts or a hybrid with a majority of districted positions.
  • Only 5 of the 52 largest U.S. cities have all at-large Councils, with Detroit being the largest at-large city in the Nation.
  • Seattle’s Council structure was put into place in 1910 and no longer serves a city that has more than doubled in size.
  • Save a tree – 5 candidates won’t be mailing or dropping pamphlets throughout the entire city.
If you haven’t already signed the DISTRICTS NOW Charter Amendment, you could take just a few minutes to download, print both pages (on regular 8.5” x 11” paper), staple together, sign and mail to the address at the bottom of the petition. Call the sponsor, Action Seattle, if you have any questions at: 206.774.9146. The deadline to submit signatures has been extended to July 7th.

Jun 23, 2009

Three neighborhood events on Thursday

  • Capitol Hill Community Council Elections will be held at the Cal Anderson Park Shelter House on Thursday, June 25th. The polls will be open from 7-9pm.

    This year, the Council is expanding its leadership committee to seven positions: President, Vice-President, Treasurer, Secretary and three "At-Large" representative positions. All candidates will make presentations at the meeting, to guide you in your voting. The positions of chair and vice-chair have two candidates each.

    View candidate profiles here:


  • East Precinct Crime Prevention Coalition
    Thursday, June 25, 2009, 6:30-8:00pm
    Seattle Vocational Institute, room 102-103
    2120 S. Jackson St, (free parking available in SVI parking lot, even if they forget to take the no parking sign down)

    Topics: Big Brothers Big Sisters of Puget Sound, Community Concerns & Precinct Updates

    NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency), Pacific Marine Center on Lake Union
    1801 Fairview Avenue East
    Thursday, June 25, 2009, 7 - 9 PM

    AGENDA: Can Seattle Afford to Renew the Housing Levy?
    8:00 Round Robin
    1. Neighborhood Planning Advisory Committee—Status Report: How well are the City’s 24 neighborhood plans responding to issues such as growth, transportation, housing, economic development, open space, public safety and other issues?
    2. Multi-Family Code Update
    3. Other issues/projects

    NOAA is a federal facility on high security alert, so attendees must enter by the security gate and may need to present photo ID. If you haven't attended a recent Federation meeting, please send your name, contact information, and address to rickbarrett@gmail.com to be added to the entry list. No e-mail? Call 206-365-1267. The building is ADA compliant, with ample parking in front.

Jun 18, 2009

Friday: last day for Meany Middle School

Friday is the last day of Meany Middle School (1 hour early dismissal).

There were disturbances during their graduation on Tuesday:

"2 arrested at Seattle middle-school graduation melee", http://tinyurl.com/knnd8j

and other goings on yesterday:

(via Police scanner) "2:26PM - 21st Ave E and E Thomas Ave - Fight Disturbance - Group of girls heading to 28th and Jackson to finish a fight that started at their graduation ceremony last night" http://tinyurl.com/nwgx3w

You might want to be on the lookout for some exuberant behavior from the students when the school closes (1 hour early, 1:15 PM) on Friday.

Jun 16, 2009

Miller Playfield improvements: letter from Parks Superintendent

(in reply to my letter to him. My reply is below. Your comments are, of course, most welcome)

June 15, 2009

Andrew Taylor
Miller Park Neighborhood Association
Vice-President, Miller Advisory Council

Dear Mr. Taylor,

Thanks very much for writing in with your suggestions.

1) Free time on the field for pickup games

We considered the possibility of setting certain times for drop-in play, but after discussion decided against it. The problem is that organizations would travel to the fields to use the open fields for (free) practice. Field demand always exceeds supply. What is proving to work well at Loyal Heights, and what we can do for Miller, is to post online the scheduled field times. That gives would-be drop-in players some sense of what times are available but is not so standard that organizations can count on it for practice times.

2) Encourage teams to use off-street parking

When we issue field permits, we provide teams with information on parking, and we’ll certainly do that at Miller Playfield.

Also, as part of the playfield renovation project if funds allow, we’ll install two pedestrian lights between the play area and the lower parking lot to make access safer at night.

We will also install a kiosk adjacent to the playfield, and we’ll use that to post a sign encouraging field users to use the lower parking lot instead of street parking or the upper (community center) parking lot. We can supply the map you generously offer to the teams and ask that they encourage use of the lower lot. It was also requested at the public meeting that additional lighting be added in the area of the outdoor accessed restroom. Here again we’ll do that if project funds allow.

Of course enforcement is always a problem. SPD’s Parking Enforcement steps in only when laws are being broken and, then, only when an officer is available.

3) Equip the outdoor bathrooms at Miller Community Center with automatic locks, to allow their use by players after evening games

If we can install automatic locks on the outdoor accessed restrooms at a reasonable cost that can be absorbed by the field project, we’ll do that. Staff have started researching that option. (The best systems require laptops, software, power.) It will take time for us to research work out a good plan.

In the meantime, starting June 15, we have contracted with Northwest Security to start locking the restrooms at night. Miller Community Center staff will open them weekday mornings, and Grounds Maintenance Crew staff weekend mornings.

Again, thank you for your good suggestions. We look forward to Miller’s new and improved playfield getting a lot of use when it’s ready for play at the end of August.

Timothy Gallagher
Superintendent, Seattle Parks and Recreation

Larry Campbell, Parks Security, Seattle Parks and Recreation
Dennis Cook, Athletics Office, Seattle Parks and Recreation
Jeremy Doane, Miller Community Center, Seattle Parks and Recreation
Ted Holden, Miller Playfield Project, Seattle Parks and Recreation
Katie Mitchell, Facilities Maintenance, Seattle Parks and Recreation
Paul Wilkinson, Facilities Maintenance, Seattle Parks and Recreation
Christopher Williams, Deputy Superintendent, Seattle Parks and Recreation

Many thanks for your prompt and very informative reply to my suggestions.

Several of your items are contingent on there being sufficient funds in the field renovation project to allow their completion. I gather that the bids for the field renovation work were, due to the recession, significantly lower than anticipated. I presume that these extra funds are being used elsewhere, but would hope that they could be tapped to fund the improvements we have discussed.

In my previous letter I mentioned signage: the lower Miller parking lot is not obvious from the main roads (19th, 23rd, John). i suggest that directional signs be installed at appropriate intersections to guide field users to the parking lot. This should cost very little, and will be of great utility: the field users I've talked to have often been totally ignorant of the existence of the parking lot. The routes noted on my map would be appropriate places for signs.

Thanks again,

Andrew Taylor

Saturday benefit for Jack the Stoner Dog

From the Press Release:
The BottleNeck Lounge will host a benefit for Jack “The Stoner Dog” on Saturday, June 20th from 4:30 to 8:30 PM. Proceeds will be used to defray the $1500 vet bill incurred by a Seattle couple when their dog inadvertently sniffed out – and ate – a harvested marijuana stash hidden in a wooded section of Seattle’s Seward Park.

As reported by The Stranger, Jen Waddell says she was walking her dog, Jack – a black/lab Dalmatian mix—in Seward Park on May 17th when he ran off into the woods. Three hours later…Jack couldn’t walk, his eyes were unfocused and hazy and he was kind of paranoid.” As Jen further explained to King 5 TV, Jack “was jus stoned.”

Jack survived the ordeal but the Waddell’s, who are expecting their first baby within weeks, incurred a whopping $1500 vet bill. As The New York Times reports, “Waddell told police about the drugs and joked they could borrow Jack to find them if they paid the $1.500 vet bill.” At present, the Seattle Police Dept. has not accepted the Waddell’s invitation – but The BottleNeck Lounge is stepping in to help raise money to pay the bill.

Jack’s story has been featured in the media throughout the world, including The Huffington Post, KING 5 News, KOM 4 News, The New York Times, CNN, and The Chicago Tribune. The dog’s rise to fame, however, began when he was featured on The Hair of the Dog Drink Menu at The BottleNeck Lounge in 2007. His drink, The Blue Eyed Angel, was an instant hit.

100% of the suggested donation will be applied to Jack’s vet bill. In addition, the bar will feature his cocktail, The Blue Eyed Angel, during the event and drink proceeds will also be given to the Waddell’s. Door prizes have been donated by local businesses, brownies will be served, and a celebrity appearance is rumored. The BottleNeck Lounge is a 21+ venue.

Jun 10, 2009

July 4th at Cal Anderson Park

(click on either image to enlarge to readable size for old eyes)

And afterwards, sneak off to my secret spot to watch the fireworks (a quick preview of the show).

Jun 1, 2009

19th & Madison public safety concerns

This note (from a 19th Avenue Lofts resident, at  1812 - 19th Avenue) came my way via a friend:

A warning to you all about a considerable safety and security issue on our street. As I was walking home late the other night, I turned left onto 19th from Madison and was walking down the sidewalk on the west side of the street. As I did so I saw a gathering of several men in the dirt "yard" of the apartment building that lies between ours and the Al-Anon building on the corner of 19th and Madison.

 These men also noticed me, and proceeded to move quickly in my direction and surround me, demanding money. They displayed no weapons, but I felt sufficiently intimidated by being surrounded that I gave them what cash I had ($6, for their trouble).

 As it was quite dark and I was more concerned with my own survival than the criminal justice system, I did not get a very good look at any of the men who mugged me, nor do I feel particularly confident that I could pick them out of a lineup. However, they were all African-American males, three of which were in the 25-35 range and one was in his forties. The older one displayed the spastic nervous habits and stuttering speech patterns of a habitual drug user.


In any case, once I gave them the cash I had on hand, they let me go unharmed. My concern is that these people are friends of residents of the building next to ours and may be frequent visitors to the area (or possibly even residents themselves, I don't know). In any case, be on your guard, especially when there are people gathered out front of that building at night.
Another neighbor noted:
I've reported this to Officer Chris Kelly, Liaison Officer for the East Precinct, and he managed to stop most of the activity. However, with the warm weather, the young men are once again gathering, sometimes till wee morning hours, loud, and offensive. 
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