Nov 23, 2009

Friday: Parade, Lights, Fireworks

(from Macy's press release)

Macy’s Holiday Parade: Friday, November 27 Seattle, 8:45 a.m. Start 7th and Pine, west to 5th Avenue, south on 5th Avenue to University Street, west on University Street to 4th Avenue, and north on 4th Avenue, where it will deliver Santa to Macy’s.

Twenty balloon floats and inflatables, local high school marching bands, over 500 costumed characters, and community drill teams. The parade concludes with Santa’s arrival at Macy’s on a festive balloon float under a dramatic confetti snowstorm.   Other floats feature a giant gingerbread house, sponsored by The Sheraton Hotel, a larger than life inflatable Frango™ and Ukranian Nesting Dolls.

Macy’s Star Lighting & Fireworks Show

At 5:00 p.m. on the corner of 4th and Pine street, Macy’s will light its famous, 161-foot high, 3,600-bulb Holiday Star in conjunction with the Westlake Tree Lighting Ceremony. The star lighting will conclude with a spectacular fireworks display, weather permitting.

Nov 22, 2009

Got a project you'd like done?

Our City's Department of Neighborhoods sponsors the Neighborhood Matching Fund, which helps neighborhood groups fund and administer public service projects, large and small. Our neighborhood has benefitted in larger (Miller Fountain) and smaller (traffic circles) ways from this innovative way to get neighborhood projects accomplished. (Go here and search for Miller Park to see a list).

A recent letter from the Department Director, Stella Chao, lists recent changes in the program to make it even easier to use. Maybe this will prompt some Miller denizens to leap into action. Stella notes:

Over its 21 years, the Neighborhood Matching Fund team has made continuous improvements to the program. Following up from a formal assessment in which several of you participated, we have identified improvements, and I’m pleased to announce the following changes to the Neighborhood Matching Fund (NMF) beginning in January 2010.

NMF Guidelines: 
·         The NMF guidelines are now clearer and easier to navigate.  In fact, all four NMF funding programs are covered under the same guidelines document.    
·         The value of volunteer time has increased to $20 per hour keeping up with Independent Sector research on average volunteer time value.
Fund Category and Dollar Limit Changes: 
·         The Outreach Fund is now combined with the Small Sparks Fund, which will continue to provide support for community building projects with small funding needs, along with the enhancement of more flexible guidelines. 
·         To keep up with rising costs, fund request limits have increased for the Small Sparks Fund up to $1,000 and the Small and Simple Fund up to $20,000 per project.

Application Forms: 
·         The forms have been redesigned to be easier to use, along with simplified questions, fill-in electronic formatting, and simpler work plan and budget forms.  
·         Signatures documenting community match pledges are no longer required for the application stage.
Technical Assistance:
·         To increase our outreach and assistance to projects, the Neighborhood Matching Fund staff will hold one to two technical assistance workshops every month at various locations around the city. 
·         Our website has been revamped to ease navigation and provide clearer information with the inclusion of a “Frequently Asked Questions” section.  Watch for the launch of our new webpages on December 1.  Our website will continue to expand, allowing community members access to NMF advice and technical assistance – any time, any day. 
As mentioned earlier, our team is continuously looking at ways to enhance our program.  We are excited about these improvements and trust you will find them helpful as you, your organization or your neighborhood participate in the NMF.   


Stella Chao, Director
Department of Neighborhoods
PO BOX 94649 Seattle, WA 98124-4649
T: (206) 684-0465

Dark and dreary: time for action

(reposted from last year: it's wet and windy and Fall again)

1) The City invites you to Adopt A Drain and keep it clear of leaves and debris. I told you of this program two years ago, and applied for a set of tools to share with the neighborhood......still waiting!

Ann Donovan noted (Capitol Hill Yahoo Group):

With the leaves falling in mass and the rains starting storm drains 
start to clog. It is a great time for volunteers to help out by taking 
a few minutes to remove any debris blocking the drains.

If you find a drain in need of further servicing (I found one yesterday 
blocked with dirt) then use the form on the Seattle Public Utilities 
site to report it in for service -- noting location of the problem.

2) City Light tells us:
City Light is launching a new streetlight maintenance program. Instead of relying on streetlight trouble reports, crews will replace, clean and adjust lamps for maximum illumination every four years to ensure proper maintenance. With a regular replacement schedule, repair times will improve for most problems individually reported by customers.
and then in the next paragraph tells us how to report burnt out bulbs:
To report a burned out or flickering streetlight, call (206) 684-7056 or go online to Please be prepared to provide the pole number (yellow numbers 6 to 15 feet above the ground) and the nearest address.
A while ago I suggested that we share in the task of noting and reporting burnt out streetlights, via a sort of "Adopt a Streetlight" program. Now that the dark is upon us again, perhaps it's time to revisit that idea and to get more of our neighbors to take part.

See map below, which shows which streets have been adopted, and see the original post for instructions.

View Larger Map

Seattle Marathon Street closures: how to escape Capitol Hill

On Sunday November 29th, 2009 the Seattle Marathon encircles Capitol Hill, with various streets closed. Races start at ~ 7 AM; I-90 reopens at ~ 11 AM; all roads reopen by 2:15 PM. Going north on 23rd to the University District or getting to I-5 via the Roanoke onramps won't work. Accessing I-5 via Madison, Denny-Steward-Yale (southbound) or Olive (northbound) will work. (link to maps on Marathon website). Note that the I5 off-ramp at Olive is closed for light rail construction.

Nov 19, 2009

Who will do what in the City Council

(from a press release)

Seattle – Today, Council President Richard Conlin officially announced the Councilmember committee assignments for the 2010-2011 cycle.

Keeping most of her current assignment is Councilmember Sally J. Clark, who will chair the Committee of the Built Environment. In January the committee will focus on the review of Children’s Hospitals’ Major Institution Master Plan.

Councilmember Tim Burgess will continue chairing the Public Safety and Education Committee while relinquishing Human Services.

The Energy and Technology Committee maintains its chair as well, with Councilmember Bruce Harrell taking the committee for a second term, and adding Civil Rights to the committee work.

Councilmember Jean Godden is the fourth Councilmember who will not change assignments, maintaining her role as chair of the Finance and Budget Committee.

New/revised assignments include:
Councilmember Tom Rasmussen – will chair the Transportation Committee.
Councilmember Nick Licata – will chair Human Services and Culture along with a new committee covering Housing.
Council President Richard Conlin – will chair the Sustainability and Regional Development Committee, continuing his responsibility of Open Government, Emergency Management, Sustainability and Intergovernmental Relations, while adding Economic Development and Libraries, and turning over Public Utilities.
Incoming Councilmember Sally Bagshaw – will chair the Parks and Seattle Center Committee.
Incoming Councilmember Mike O’Brien – will chair a new committee covering Seattle Public Utilities and Neighborhoods.

New Councilmembers will be sworn in on Jan. 4, 2010 at 2 p.m. in Council Chambers, marking the official start of the 2010-2011 Council year. The first committee meetings will be held the following week

Letter to neighborhood from Police Department

Nov 8, 2009

Neighborhood Plan Status "Checks"

(click on image to enlarge/read)
Below is the City's official attempt to interest you in Tuesday's Neighborhood Plan meeting.
For a much more palatable invitation, try the version from the chair of the Capitol Hill Community Council.  
Status Check – Seattle Citizens Assess Their Neighborhood Plans
There are now TWO more options to participate.  Join us at the November 10th meeting (see below) , or complete an on-line questionnaire.

(There's more! click on title of post to see it all)

Seattle Comprehensive Plan overview: 2030 and beyond

Join former Mayor Norm Rice for the kick-off of a major update of
Seattle’s Comprehensive Plan – “Seattle 2030 and Beyond”
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
6:00 pm to 8:00 pm - Presentation at 6:30 pm
Miller Community Center
330 19th Ave E (served by Metro Routes 8, 10, 11, 12 and 43)
 Seattle 2030 and Beyond … meeting the challenges and opportunities of a new world
·         20 years ago we adopted the state Growth Management Act
·         15 years ago we adopted Seattle’s Comprehensive Plan … Toward a Sustainable Seattle
·         As we move into the 21st century, our population continues to grow and becomes more diverse
·         Since 2005, Seattle and over 1000 other American cities have pledged to meet or beat the goals of the Kyoto Treaty
·         Seattle now has more renters than home-owners
·         We have more public transportation options … light rail, street car, and pedestrian and bicycle friendly streets
·         We are known as a green/sustainable city
·         We are known as a creative city, an innovative city

Seattle’s Comprehensive Plan, adopted in 1994, sets policies and goals for a full range of elements that affect how a city will grow, including land use, transportation, housing, capital facilities, utilities, economic development, neighborhood planning, human development, cultural resources and the environment. 

Help shape Seattle’s future – join us as we take these important steps to guide Seattle through the 21st century. 

How will we meet the growing climate challenges? How can we retain and improve our truly great neighborhoods? How can we accommodate new residential and employment growth? How will we continue to be inclusive and caring?  How do we stay competitive and entrepreneurial in the world marketplace?

Our challenge to you - In 150 words or less, describe your Seattle 2030 or Seattle 2050.
Send your comments to

The best place for you to learn more and get involved is through DPD’s web page

You may also contact Tom Hauger (206 684 8380) or Kristian Kofoed (206 233 7191).

Nov 7, 2009

Congratulations, Captain Meehan: updated

Captain Mike Meehan was the commander of the East Precinct from 2004 to 2006ish and was very helpful in our ongoing struggles with the street crimes that emanated from Deano's Bar / Club Chocolate City.

Since then he's been in charge of many SPD divisions, as summarized in this SPD Blotter posting from July:

Captain Mike Meehan, a 23-year veteran, is leaving the Narcotics Section to take over the Violent Crimes Section, which consists of overseeing the Homicide, Robbery, CSI, Gang, Polygraph, Bias Crimes and Fugitive Units.  Captain Meehan has previously commanded East Precinct, Narcotics, Vice, Field Training and Audit, Accreditation and Policy.
Yesterday I was contacted by a reporter from the Berkeley Daily Planet (a free twice-weekly paper): their paper had just broken the story that Captain Meehan will (assuming he's OK'd by their City Council on Tuesday) be the next Police Chief in Berkeley, California.

I hope you will join me in congratulating Captain Meehan on his promotion. I note that (while the East Precinct has had many commanders in my time here), quite a few of them have gone on to more senior positions: John Diaz (SPD Interim Chief), Nick Metz (SPD Assistant Chief), Landy Black (Davis, CA Police Chief), and now Captain Meehan.

More details of Mike's promotion may be found on Capitol Hill Seattle and on the Seattle PI blog, or by a quick Googling:

By the way, I noted that the Berkeley paper, the SPD Blog, the above Google search,  and many of the other sources were using the same photo, which seemed strangely familiar to me. I eventually realized that it was one I had taken, in March 2004 at an East Precinct Crime Prevention Coalition meeting, and posted on the old Miller website.  The PI had obtained it from the SPD media relations office, who are apparently using it as their standard picture of Mike. I'm flattered!

By way of thanking Mike, and sending him on his way, here is that photo, together with one from his 3 hour fact-finding tour of our neighborhood.  His (solo) visit with our neighbors, his ready ability to communicate, and his frank, honest appraisal of what SPD could and could not do to help us, was what really impressed me about him, and made it so easy for me to recommend him to the Berkeley people when asked.

PS: One way to follow Captain Meehan's progress in Berkeley will be via the Berkeley Daily Planet's reporter's tweets, which of course remind Seattleites of this song.

Update (11/20/09): The Berkeley university newspaper, the Daily Cal, has an article about Captain Meehan, with quotes from me and from Stephanie Tschida, chair of the East Precinct Crime Prevention Coalition.

The Berkeley Daily Planet has another article about Captain Meehan, with quotes from me and from Dominic Holden of the Stranger.

Nov 4, 2009

From the Friends of the Library

(FWIW I've E-mailed the Council, suspecting that the cuts would be made, and suggested that the Monday to Thursday hours all be 1 - 8 PM, to allow people to go after work)
My name is Jennifer Johnson-Fong, I volunteer as the Vice President on the board of Friends of The Seattle Public Library.  If you have reported about The Seattle Public Library budget in the past thank you and I hope you can support the Friends again as Seattle City Council makes their final decisions on the proposed 2010 Library budget.  If you haven’t reported before or the Friends haven’t contacted you in the past, I hope you’ll help get an important message out to your neighborhood.
 The Friends of The Seattle Public Library want to see Option A pass by the Seattle City Council.  I would so appreciate your support in this email campaign. 
 Here is the message:

 SUBJECT:  1.2 M Restoration of Library Funds

TEXT: Dear Councilmembers Clark, Conlin, Drago, Godden, and Rasmussen
Please join fellow Councilmembers Burgess, Harrell and Licata and vote for Option A– restoring the 330 weekly service hours to keep our libraries open normal hours in 2010.
 OPTIONAL:  I use the XYZ neighborhood branch for XYZ. OR Share a more personal message about why your neighborhood branch is important to you.

The email message is simple and straightforward, but needs to reach as many in your neighborhood as possible.  Any additional support you can give to the email campaign beyond your news service either by emailing list servs, posting on Facebook, Twittering, or just emailing Seattle friends and family would be greatly appreciated.
 As you may know your neighborhood branch Library’s hours will drastically change if the Mayor’s proposed 2010 budget passes.  The proposed budget eliminates 17,160 public service hours per year and would impact your neighborhood directly with the closure of your neighborhood branch on Friday and Sunday plus a reduction in hours – all year round.  Your neighborhood branch would be open after six only twice a week.  Among many other services, hour changes will impact story times, nighttime classes, community meeting room availability and homework help programs.  Your neighborhood’s access to The Library’s free public computers and free Wi-Fi will be another lost resource that many community members without a computer or internet access depend on.

The good news is that Councilmembers Burgess, Harrell and Licata are committed to preserving the hours of operations at all neighborhood branches of The Seattle Public Library.  On November 2ndSeattle City Councimembers began discussing four options to partially restore the 5% reduction in the endorsed library budget.  None of the options will prevent another one week furlough in 2010, but the best choice, Option A, does preserve Library hours in your neighborhood branch at their current level and prevents the loss of 27 library staff positions.  The Friends have launched this final email campaign targeted at Councilmembers Clark, Conlin, Drago, Godden and Rasmussen to urge them to join Councilmembers Burgess, Harrell and Licata in preserving our present neighborhood Library hours.

Please let me know if I can provide you with any other information.  I have included additional background information below on the proposed 2010 budget’s impact on The Seattle Public Library and neighborhood branches.

Thank you,
Jennifer Johnson-Fong
Vice President, Friends of The Seattle Public Library
Member, Advocacy Committee
Survey:  Friends Neighborhood Library Usage survey

Sarel Rowe
Advocacy Chair, Friends of The Seattle Public Library

Background Information

 The Seattle Public Library is a City Department with an Operations Budget funded by the City of Seattle’s General Fund and a Capital Budget funded by the Real Estate Excise Tax or REET.  The operations budget funds collections and staff, while the capital budget funds building maintenance.  This year Seattle City Council specifically asked Mayor Nickels to preserve funding for The Seattle Public Library Collections budget and thus the collections budget is not decreasing or increasing this year.

 The Seattle Public Library hours at 21 neighborhood branches are going to change drastically if the proposed budget is approved.  The City Council is now reviewing Mayor Greg Nickels' proposed 2010 budget, which includes $2.8 million in cuts to the Library budget. Proposed cuts include a reduction in branch operating hours and a one-week closure of the entire Library system. The proposed hours reduction would mean that 21 Library locations would be closed on Fridays and Sundays, plus operate on reduced hours - all yearA proposed change to the hours at Central Library, Douglass-Truth, Lake City, Ballard, Rainier Beach and Southwest branches attempts to compensate the displaced patrons who use the 21 neighborhood branches impacted by the proposed 2010 City Budget.  Overall, the Library would lose about 23 percent of its open hours compared with 2009. 

The 21 neighborhood branches are Beacon Hill, Broadview, Capitol Hill, Columbia. Delridge, Fremont, Green Lake, Greenwood, High Point, International District / Chinatown, Madrona-Sally Goldmark,Magnolia, Montlake, NewHolly, Northeast, Northgate, Queen Anne, South Park, UniversityWallingford and West Seattle.  If the Mayor’s proposed 2010 budget is adopted the hours for these branches would be:

Monday, Tuesday:
 1 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Wednesday, Thursday:
 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

  The proposed budget will impact all of our communities and neighbors who are relying on our libraries for computer access, job search resources, educational support, gathering spaces, and librarian assistance. In 2008, more than 13 million customers visited the Library and so far this year, visits are up another 8 percent. Circulation of books and other items was up 20 percent in 2008; this year it is up an additional 11 percent.
  2010 Proposed Budget Information about the Operations Budget (collections and hours) and Capital (major building maintenance) on The Seattle Public Library’s website:

Nov 2, 2009

Vote as you please, but please vote (better do it now)

Your ballot's around the house somewhere.  Remember that it has to be postmarked by TUESDAY (good luck finding a pickup after 6 PM). A stamp (remember stamps?) is 44 cents. Safeway has 'em.
Voters' pamphlets, locations of 24 hour drop boxes, etc is all right here.
Nearest drop box: Central Area Neighborhood Service Center, 2301 S. Jackson

Ballot drop boxes will  close at 8 p.m. on Election Day, November 3.

You all did so well last November. Please get out those ballots and make us all proud.
Thank you.

PS: You really will MAKE A DIFFERENCE

PPS: Running late? Latest mailbox pickup I could find was 7:30 PM. You're better off going to the drop box at 23rd & Jackson. BE THERE BEFORE 8PM!