West Seattle, Washington
(Jellies photographed by Gary Gates, via Twitter)
Welcome to the weekend! Highlights from the WSB West Seattle Event Calendar:
GARAGE/YARD SALES: See who’s having one today, via the free listings in the WSB Forums‘ Freebies/Deals/Sales section.
SEAFAIR PIRATES LANDING: It’s an all-day festival at Alki Beach, with the Seafair Pirates expected to land around 2 pm, according to organizers – they’ve been known to arrive early so we’d suggest you do the same. Our preview includes the schedule, including bands. (60th SW/Alki SW)
WADING POOL OPENING DAY … this is Lincoln Park Wading Pool‘s opening day IF the forecast calls for sunny/70+-degree weather. Looks borderline right now so after 9 am, check with the wading-pool hotline, 206-684-7796. (8011 Fauntleroy Way SW)
FIELD DAY @ SOUTH SEATTLE COLLEGE: 11 am today through 11 am Sunday, members of the Puget Sound Repeater Group and Seattle Auxiliary Communications Service will be set up on the south side of the South Seattle College (WSB sponsor) campus for the national Amateur Radio Field Day exercise. It’s open to the public and you’re welcome to stop by, see what they’re doing, and learn about amateur radio. Organizers note that “a special station will be staffed with a licensed mentor” so that “anyone can come to this … event and get on the air!” (6000 16th SW)
BARBECUE BENEFIT: 11 am-4 pm, West Seattle Thriftway (WSB sponsor) is grilling up lunch – look for the tent outside the entrance – to benefit Pencil Me In For Kids, which gets school supplies to kids who need them. (California/Fauntleroy/Morgan)
FAMILY GAME DAY: 11:30 am-3 pm, come play at Meeples Games (WSB sponsor) – all ages welcome – “a chance to come meet your neighbors, make a few friends, and maybe (just maybe) defeat them in an epic struggle to control the universe!” (3727 California SW)
LOG HOUSE MUSEUM CLOSED TODAY: Usually open noon-4 pm – stop by tomorrow! – but not today because volunteers and staff are all busy with the Kenney tour (see 3 pm event below) …
TOUR ALKI POINT LIGHTHOUSE: The U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary welcomes you to West Seattle’s historic lighthouse. Free tours run 1 pm-4 pm – be there by 3:40 to be on the final tour. (Alki Avenue SW/Beach Drive SW)
KENNEY TOUR: 3-5 pm, get a behind-the-scenes tour of The Kenney and its century-plus history with descendants of its founders and the Southwest Seattle Historical Society, as previewed here. (7125 Fauntleroy Way SW)
MUSIC AT THE PROLETARIYACHT CLUB: Starting at 8 pm, “… an evening of original solo music performances featuring Blake Musselman (aka Moogie Man) with a theatrical rock-based show, Marko Reyes-Jech with his soul/funk crooning, and Tim Scallon with rock-based looping.” (4316 SW Othello)
And these two notes if you’re heading off-peninsula:
PRESIDENTIAL DEPARTURE: President Obama is expected to take off from Sea-Tac Airport by 9:45 am – there’ll be some ramp closures toward the east end of the West Seattle Bridge when the motorcade heads south from downtown Seattle, so we’ll be updating here.
SPORTS IN SODO: 2 pm Sounders FC match vs. New York at CenturyLink, 7:10 pm Mariners’ game vs. St. Louis at Safeco.
One day after Chief Sealth International High School staff, students, and parents filled the Seattle School Board chambers to make impassioned pleas, they have followed up with a letter and petition. This, you might recall, all started with new enrollment projections leading to a last-minute order that Sealth cut three more full-time teaching positions in the final days of the school year. A point made repeatedly in testimony to the board last night was that the school had made it through a difficult budgeting process before this, with cuts already made, only to be told now they had to make more. The letter:
To: Seattle School Board Members: Stephan Blanford, Rick Burke, Jill Geary, Scott Pinkham, Betty Patu, Leslie Harris, and Sue Peters
Associate Superintendent Michael Tolley
Associate Superintendent of Facilities and Enrollment Flip Herndon
Deputy Superintendent Steven Nielsen
Last night, you heard from the staff, students, and stakeholders at Chief Sealth International High School about the impact of losing an additional 3.0 FTE from our budget for the 2016/17 school year after a long and difficult spring budget process that included deep losses and cuts of staff.
These additional displacements deeply affect our school’s ability to offer the stable teaching core necessary to run a school which serves so many specialized populations. Our school cannot absorb or buy back staff. We do not have deep-pocketed PTSA dollars or grant dollars or other funding streams that other schools might use to offset such cuts. These shifts in FTE will cut deeply into the arts and CTE and have a significant impact on core academic programs for students. These programs allow us to close the opportunity gap for our students by providing IB for all and by creating programming that is working to affect real change for all of our students, including our disproportionately high specialized populations. These changes in enrollment will jeopardize these successful programs.
We as a staff would like to propose these solutions for the 2016/17 budget cycle. Here are our recommendations:
· Grant our mitigation requests for an IB coordinator and our immersion classes from the first round of difficult budget requests.
· Hold Chief Sealth harmless from these FTE changes for one year until the permanent West Seattle boundary decisions are finalized at the district level this fall.
· Re-evaluate our budget AFTER the District counts, which will include the nonresident and transfer students to Sealth, international students, and waitlisted students whose placements have not yet been finalized.
· Fund advanced learning in the WSS at Sealth, Ingraham, and Rainier Beach beginning in the fall of 2016/17.
Staff from Chief Sealth International High School
They are gathering signatures of support via this online petition including the letter.
Charges are now filed against both suspects arrested in West Seattle Tuesday night for allegedly breaking into a car on Alki and then waving guns and other items in two incidents including the car prowl’s aftermath. (Our original report is here; our first followup is here.)
25-year-old Jory L. Preston and 19-year-old Justin M. Hoyt are both charged with second-degree vehicle prowl and second-degree theft. Preston also is charged with second-degree unlawful-firearm possession, as he is a convicted felon and not allowed to have a gun. The incident that led to the conviction, for domestic-violence assault, was covered here five years ago – Preston turned himself in at the Southwest Precinct after police, eventually including SWAT team members, sought him at a Delridge apartment building. He originally was charged with two counts of assault for a situation involving a former girlfriend, and struck a plea bargain, pleading guilty to one count, sentenced in September 2011 to the month and a half he had served by the time of the hearing. )
The charging papers filed today tell the same story detailed in our report last night on their bail hearing, with a few additional details – the amount of property they are accused of stealing is listed as more than $1600; also, police say Hoyt, despite having a Glock .380 semi-automatic handgun in his front pants pocket, did not have a concealed-pistol license. The charging papers say that while Hoyt has no felony record, he has convictions for being a minor intoxicated in public in 2013 and for hit and run in 2014. And while his bail was set at $100,000 in this new case, the jail register says he is being held without bail for a Cowlitz County warrant alleging failure to appear in a case of driving with suspended license. Preston’s bail remains at $100,000. Both will face arraignment next – no date on the docket yet, but likely week after next.
The street party is on, rain or shine – note the jackets accompanying the leis – on a block of 48th SW near Ercolini Park tonight. The occasion: Today was the last day of classes for Seattle Public Schools, and these neighbors are Schmitz Park Elementary families, marking a double-milestone occasion: This was their students’ last day at Schmitz Park, with the new Genesee Hill Elementary opening in September.
The band Däd – with the umlaut! – was delayed a bit due to the rain, but the show must go on:
Greeters Amy and Brooke explained part of the inspiration for the party was the pig-roast prize won at the school fundraising auction; a few of the neighbors had the winning bid. Summertime also brings “Aloha Friday” get-togethers at the park, and since the last day of school was a Friday this year, the theme just fit:
P.S. Thanks for calling to let us know about the party!
Tomorrow at the Seafair Pirates’ Landing on Alki Beach, you’ll see West Seattle Hi-Yu royalty, likely including some who were at last night’s Hi-Yu White Rose Ceremony at St. John the Baptist Episcopal Church in Admiral. In our photo above are, from left, Junior Court past and present, 2016 Princess Sara Henggeler, 2016 Queen Amelia Kline, 2016 Princess Stephanie Moore, 2015 Queen Emily Cain, 2015 Princess Audrey Kline. Also on the 2016 Junior Court but not at last night’s event, Princess Cailyn White.
The event also celebrated Teen Ambassadors Callie McFadden, Louis Quantreille, Lily Trinneer, and Alyssa White. 2015 Senior Court Queen Kelly Crum is completing her reign:
Here’s this year’s Senior Court candidate Haley Beebe:
Hi-Yu Teen Ambassadors earn service hours; the Senior Court is eligible for scholarships.
Along with seeing Hi-Yu representatives at the Seafair Pirates event tomorrow, you’ll see them often around West Seattle in July, including the Concert in the Park featuring the West Seattle Big Band at 7 pm Tuesday, July 19th, on the east lawn at Hiawatha, and four days later, in the West Seattle Grand Parade, with their award-winning float – Seattle’s last traveling community float. Hi-Yu also can always use more members and volunteers – get in touch to find out how to help.
We’ve already previewed some of tomorrow’s big events – and here’s another: The Southwest Seattle Historical Society‘s annual benefit tour, “If These Walls Could Talk,” takes you behind the scenes at The Kenney. Its century-plus-old grounds include the city-landmarked Seaview Building (with the cupola you see in our photo taken earlier this week at sunset from nearby Solstice Park). The SWSHS site has full details on the 3-5 pm tour, including a video invitation from the great-great-great nephew and niece of The Kenney’s founders Samuel and Jessie Kenney. Admission by donation, $10 for SWSHS members, $15 non-members. (The Kenney is at 7125 Fauntleroy Way SW.)
3:31 PM: A two-vehicle crash at 35th and Avalon is tying things up right now at that busy intersection. At the scene, our crew was told one person is hurt and going to the hospital via private ambulance. Avoid the area.
3:39 PM: Per scanner, “all eastbound lanes on Avalon are clear” at the crash scene.
3:47 PM: Tow truck is reported to be on scene now – lanes will be blocked temporarily until it’s done.
4:04 PM: SDOT cameras show the scene is clear.
(Scroll down for the latest)
3:10 PM: President Obama is due to land at Sea-Tac Airport shortly, and once his motorcade is on the move, that’ll mean rolling slowdowns between there and downtown Seattle. West Seattle Bridge access to I-5 is usually temporarily closed too.
3:15 PM: Just heard an estimate that Air Force One is “about 20 minutes out.” According to Seattle Times political reporter Jim Brunner via Twitter, the greeting party at Sea-Tac includes County Executive Dow Constantine, Mayor Ed Murray, and Governor Jay Inslee.
3:33 PM: As shown on KING‘s live stream, Air Force One has landed at Sea-Tac.
— Seattle Times Photo (@SeaTimesPhoto) June 24, 2016
3:50 PM: The live stream now shows the motorcade on the move away from the tarmac. I-5 ramps are reported to be closed, so if you’re heading eastbound, this will affect the West Seattle Bridge for a bit. Again, the President is headed downtown, for a dinner fundraiser, and then out of downtown for a private-residence fundraiser after 8 pm, and then will be staying overnight downtown, until leaving by 9:45 am Saturday.
4:07 PM: According to the view of the east end of the eastbound West Seattle Bridge via SDOT video feed, I-5 northbound is open again, as is the ramp to it (moving slowly, but that’s fairly usual), and the President is arriving downtown.
All ramps and state highways have reopened. We see a lot of crashes in these situations. Please get back going carefully and safely.
— WSDOT Traffic (@wsdot_traffic) June 24, 2016
We’ll update this report if there are any alerts to share later.
7:20 PM: Just a note – the “secret” location for the President’s second stop tonight has finally been made public. The Times says it’s a residence in Medina (scroll to the 6:15 pm update). So sometime after 8 pm, when the President leaves the downtown Seattle fundraiser, he’ll be headed to the Eastside and back downtown, until heading to Sea-Tac and flying back out Saturday morning.
8 AM SATURDAY MORNING: The President is still expected to be departing within the next hour and a half or so, so if you’re headed eastbound, heads-up for bridge ramp closures when the motorcade heads to Sea-Tac from downtown.
From the WSB inbox:
The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) advises travelers that crews will be paving SW 106th Street from 35th Avenue Southwest to 39th Avenue Southwest next week. This work will require lane closures and parking restrictions during the week. This work is weather dependent.
From 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Tuesday, June 28 and Wednesday, June 29:
· SDOT crews will grind and repave SW 106th St between 35th Ave SW and 39th Ave SW.
· The eastbound lane of SW 106th St will be closed between 35th Ave SW and 39th Ave SW.
· East-west traffic will alternate in the westbound lane, assisted by flaggers.
· Access to driveways on SW 106th between 35th Ave SW and 39th Ave SW may be delayed for up to 15 minutes for equipment to clear.
· Parking will be restricted – “No Parking” signs will be put in place 72 hours before the work starts and parking restrictions begin.
SDOT would like to thank the public for its patience while this work is completed. This project is part of SDOT’s 2016 Arterial Major Maintenance (AMM) program. The AMM program maintains our busiest streets by making strategic small scale investments at key locations on city streets.
Four biznotes this afternoon, all from The Junction:
THUNDER ROAD GUITARS’ NEW HOURS: Proprietor Frank Gross wants you to know that Thunder Road Guitars (4736 California SW; WSB sponsor) has new hours:
Tuesdays-Saturdays 10 am – 6 pm
Sundays – Closed
Mondays – Closed
AZUMA SUSHI’S VACATION: The recent change to six days a week has worked so well that the hard-working proprietors of Azuma Sushi (4533 California SW) are now planning their “first extended vacation since we opened 16 years ago!” according to signage all around the restaurant. The vacation closure will be Sunday, July 3, through Sunday, July 17, and the restaurant will reopen on Monday, July 18.
DUMPLINGS OF FURY SOON: This much-asked-about restaurant-in-progress (4302 SW Oregon) also has a brand-new public update: “Trying to get the last inspection scheduled now. Training up staff. All good stuff. Can’t nail a date until the inspection is scheduled though. Those guys are busy so we will keep hopes high that happens fast.”
(Photo courtesy WSCC)
Another local faith community is hosting a celebration of longtime leaders who are about to retire. From West Seattle Christian Church in The Junction:
West Seattle Christian Church invites the community to celebrate Alan and Lois Gardner’s retirement on June 26th in the church’s Activity Center. Since the 1970s they have been a special part of the West Seattle community and the church. Alan served first as Minister of Christian Education and later as Preaching Minister. Lois (aka “Mrs. Gardner”) is beloved by her former preschool and kindergarten students at West Seattle Christian School. They’ve touched so many. Please join in honoring them. The service is at 9:30 am Sunday and there will be a social time after the service.
The church and Activity Center are at 4400 42nd SW.
(Anna’s Hummingbird, photographed by Mark Wangerin)
While you wouldn’t know it by this morning’s grayness, summer really is about to arrive. As is the President …
BLOOD DRIVE: If you can donate blood, Admiral Safeway is hosting the BloodWorks NW van 1-7 pm, with a break 3-4 pm. More info in our calendar listing. (2622 California SW)
PRESIDENTIAL VISIT: As detailed in our morning traffic report, President Obama is due at
Boeing Field Sea-Tac Airport around 3:20 pm, and that will at least briefly affect West Seattle Bridge traffic when his motorcade hits I-5, both inbound today and outbound tomorrow morning. We’ll have updates on WSB.
WINE TASTING AT VISCON CELLARS: 5-9 pm, the tasting room for West Seattle winery Viscon Cellars (WSB sponsor) is open! (5910 California SW)
RAINBOW BINGO: It’s a year-round thing at the Senior Center of West Seattle but all the more festive during Pride Month – “Beach Blanket Bingo” is tonight’s theme and there just might be tickets left, so check with the SC ASAP. Doors open 6 pm, entertainment 6:30, bingo at 7. (California SW/SW Oregon)
BETH O’CONNOR & FRIENDS: 7-9 pm at C & P Coffee Company (WSB sponsor), the “earthy singer-songwriter” will entertain you. (5612 California SW)
SEATTLE GIRLS’ CHOIR HELPS THE HELPLINE: Enjoy great music for a great cause – 7:30 pm concert at Alki UCC benefits West Seattle Helpline, as the group gets ready for a European tour – details in our calendar listing. (6115 SW Hinds)
MOVIES IN THE PARK: The West Seattle Church of the Nazarene starts its free summer-movie series tonight with “Inside Out,” in the greenspace next to the church, or inside the church in case of rain. From the announcement: “Movies start at sundown. Popcorn, hot dogs, and soda will be provided free of charge. We will have some chairs available although folks are welcome to bring their own chairs or blankets.” (4201 SW Juneau)
MORE FOR TODAY, TONIGHT, THIS WEEKEND, BEYOND … on our complete calendar.
West Seattle Soccer Club has one more week left in open registration – July 1st is the deadline, and after that, signups will be filled “as space is available,” according to WSSC’s Tim McMonigle, who adds: “Remember that we have had to change our age groups to organize teams by birth year instead of academic year. This has been an unfortunate change thrust upon us, and we are doing the best we can to explain the change and answer questions. We have included much info on the WSSC home page, as well as the Registration Announcement page, but if there are any open questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.”
(Click any view for a close-up; more cameras on the WSB Traffic page)
6:48 AM: Good morning! No incidents in/from West Seattle right now. Today’s big traffic lookahead:
PRESIDENTIAL VISIT: President Obama is due in this pm from the Bay Area to headline a political fundraising dinner at the Convention Center downtown, and is staying overnight. The Boeing Field advisory kicks in at 3:15 pm today and lasts until 9:45 am Saturday, so his arrival/departure will be somewhere in that window. His motorcade usually uses I-5, and when it’s about to pass, the ramps from the West Seattle Bridge are usually closed, so watch for updates here.
7 AM: Just texted and tweeted by Metro, a West Seattle bus cancellation:
Transit Alert – Route 56 to downtown Seattle due to leave 63 Av SW & SW Admiral Way at 7:22 AM will not operate this morning.
— King County Metro (@kcmetrobus) June 24, 2016
LAST DAY OF SCHOOL: We should also note that Seattle Public Schools‘ last day of classes is today, with one-hour early dismissal.
8:09 AM – PRESIDENTIAL VISIT UPDATE: Found the official schedule on the White House website. 3:20 pm arrival projected; 6:55 speech at the dinner fundraiser; then at 8:25 pm, he’s due to speak at a “private residence” fundraiser, and after that it’ll be back to downtown Seattle for an overnight stay – the downtown security zone is detailed by SPD here. He’s supposed to depart by 9:45 am Saturday, as mentioned earlier.
3:18 PM: We’ve launched a separate update now that the President is on the way – find it here.
In case you’re on the move this early morning, no more bridge detours until Sunday night – the final closure of the week on the west end of the West Seattle Bridge ended early. When we crossed back westward at 12:20 am after a short trip downtown, we noticed the closure was ending, and double-verified via cameras once we got back to HQ.
ORIGINAL REPORT, 10:54 PM THURSDAY: The two men arrested two nights ago for alleged car-prowling and gun-brandishing remain in jail tonight, hours after a judge set bail for each at $100,000.
Court documents from this afternoon’s hearing tell us more about the allegations against the two men, ages 25 and 19, both of whom are listed as living at Admiral District addresses.
The narrative says police were first called to Bonair and Alki around 11:40 pm on Monday night. A man told them he was walking along Alki Avenue when he heard the sound of glass breaking and saw what he described as two males hit a side mirror of a black Dodge Ram truck and then break one of its windows, taking items out of it, then getting into a white Ford F-150 pickup truck (described as having a white sticker on the back window) and leaving. The pickup’s owner and three friends were in the area and the witness was telling them what he saw when, the report continues:
… the driver of the F-150 drove north on Alki Ave. SW; as they passed the Ram, both occupants of the F-150 waved pistols at the group. Approximately three blocks east on Alki Ave SW, the truck did a U-turn and began traveling back toward the Ram and group of individuals. As the F-150 approached the group of individuals, the driver turned the headlights off and stopped next to the Ram. The passenger held a small black “Glock subcompact” pistol out the door and was banging it on the outside passenger door of the F-150, while the driver held up another black pistol. The group of individuals feared they were going to be shot so they all ran and ducked behind the Ram. The F-150 left west on Alki.
As I did an area check for the F-150, a road-rage call was aired, stating a vehicle was being followed by a white Ford F-150 with a sticker on the back window in the vicinity of 50th Ave. SW/SW Charlestown.
The officer went to that area but didn’t find the F-150. The officer talked to the victims, a man and woman, around 12:15 am, and this is what they reported:
They were parked on the north side of Madison Middle School talking in the car when a white Ford F-150 pulled up behind them and turned its headlights off. The passenger of the truck got out with a golf club in his hands and approached the passenger side of the vehicle (the two victims) were in. The driver of the F-150 approached the driver’s side with an unknown “metal” object in his hand, which may have been a large wrench. The passenger held the golf club up like a baseball bat and yelled for the two to get off their block. In fear of being assaulted, (the victims) drove off and the F-150 followed.
The woman told police she recognized the passenger but not the driver. Less than 10 minutes later, another officer noticed a white Ford F-150 at the California/Charlestown 7-11, matching the description that had been circulated among police. The report says the driver was standing by the truck, while the passenger was walking out of the store toward it. Police took them into custody; the 19-year-old suspect was reported to have had a Glock 42 in his left front pants pocket, with “4 rounds in the magazine (but none) in the chamber.”
The report continues, “There was a Glock 10mm pistol lying on the dashboard of the truck, golf clubs in the back seat, and miscellaneous tools in plain view throughout the vehicle.” Victims from both incidents came to the scene and, the probable-cause documents say, identified both men as the pickup driver and passenger involved in the earlier incidents. Both are under investigation for harassment and theft; the older suspect is under investigation for unlawful firearm possession, as he is a convicted felon, while the younger is also being held on a warrant from southwest Washington for driving with a suspended license. Both are due back in court tomorrow, and we’ll find out if prosecutors will charge them or whether they’ll be released with charges possible later.
FRIDAY AFTERNOON UPDATE: Charges are now filed against the two suspects, 25-year-old Jory Preston and 19-year-old Justin Hoyt. We’ll have a separate followup later tonight with full details.
Friday is the last day of classes for Seattle Public Schools – and at Highland Park Elementary, today was Field Day, a tradition at many elementaries in the final days of the school year. PE teacher Chellie LaFayette invited WSB to stop by and see what they were up to (that’s her in the hat, below):
In the morning, the younger students were out enjoying the (fleeting) sunshine:
That included a chance to do some splashing:
The older students got their turn in the afternoon. Tomorrow, by the way, school gets out one hour early around the district.
After watching years of assemblies with boys serving Color Guard for the flags, 3rd grader Madeline Gerding from Girl Scout Troop 44428 here in West Seattle wrote a letter to principal Gerrit Kischner reminding him that Girl Scouts are just as responsible as Boy Scouts and could present the colors at assemblies too. Mr. Kischner wholeheartedly agreed and asked the Schmitz Park students from Madeline’s Troop and from Troop 44253 to be Color Guard at the end-of-year assembly today. It was extra exciting since it’s the last assembly at that site before moving on to Genesee Hill this fall!
Yay for all the educators that support these kids and encourage their voices!
— Nathalie Wargo (@nathaliewargo) June 23, 2016
Thanks to Nathalie Wargo at High Point Library for tweeting the photo – King County Elections‘ permanent ballot dropbox has arrived! Earlier this year, the county committed to restoring dropboxes in areas including West Seattle, where the last one was removed more than five years ago. For the past few years, ballot vans had been brought here for a few days before each voting deadline, but otherwise, using postal mail was required, which required stamps; county dropboxes don’t. So when your ballot arrives for the August primary, you’ll be able to drop it off at High Point Library (35th and Raymond) if you don’t want to use the U.S. Mail.
4:51 PM: We’re at Seattle Public Schools headquarters in SODO, where the last-week-of-school order for Chief Sealth International High School to cut three full-time teaching positions has brought a big turnout to the School Board‘s budget public hearing. What was supposed to be a 15-minute hearing has already stretched beyond that, with a roomful of people, including teachers and students. Teachers who have spoken so far have talked about the inequity of the cuts and also about the cuts going counter to the district’s goals. “The death by a thousand cuts will come,” declared teacher Jason Glover. “If these cuts are maintained, we will be forced to cut programs.” One of the speakers before him, Sealth teacher Paul Fischburg, said these cuts followed many others:
4:58 PM: Social-studies teacher Noah Zeichner is asking about district policies and boundaries and whether they are “decimating” the school and leading to socioeconomic disparity between the two public high schools in West Seattle. He says that the school was closed to international exchange students this past year, and that they should be allowed to wait and see if enrollment gains over the summer, including those types of students, might make up some of the newly reported shortfall (explained in our story from last night).
5:07 PM: The budget hearing continues, and it of course is about more than the Sealth cuts and other teacher staffing. The board has just heard from longtime district watchdog Chris Jackins, who mentioned a few West Seattle items – including the fact that the original Schmitz Park Elementary building is being closed without “a school closure process,” a point that has also been raised by Vicki Schmitz Block, a member of the family that donated the land for the school on the grounds that it remain a school. He also asked the board not to close Roxhill Elementary, which is not explicitly spelled out in the upcoming budget but is implied because of money included for renovating EC Hughes Elementary, ostensibly to become the new home of the program currently at Roxhill.
5:10 PM: A speaker identifying himself as a Schmitz Park Elementary parent has now both mentioned a plan brewing to use part of its space for child care, while also urging a security plan for the many portables on its site, and expressing concern that they, as well as the building and its equipment, will fall into disrepair. He says he’s frustrated that there does not appear to be a plan. He is followed by three Chief Sealth students who say the courses that might be cut as a result of budget cuts are important to their educational goals.
Another student shortly afterward says that cuts are harming the IB program at CSIHS: “Many people at Chief Sealth want to learn, just like any other person going to school.” The next speaker, special-education teacher Joe Schultz, said he is speaking for students who couldn’t be here – migrants, special-ed, students of color, “an incredibly diverse school that has incredibly diverse needs.” The cuts “will crush programs … it will devastate my students, who love the wood-shop program … which already has gone down to .6 [of a teacher]. I urge you to look at the money that’s available .. and help us save our programs.”
5:27 PM: The hearing is still going after an hour. Parent Lynn Ogdon-Perrine is speaking about the needs of the school – its students, its teachers. She has been a very involved volunteer. She says Sealth made it through a very difficult budgeting process – and now, with days left in the year, it’s “unconscionable” that they will have to deal with further cuts, especially losing teachers.
5:29 PM: We mentioned Vicki Schmitz Block earlier; now she is at the podium, speaking about the family’s origins, as immigrants who cared about education. She says Schmitz Park School is missing in the budget book – “it suddenly doesn’t exist, it has just disappeared. … At a minimum, the district needs to amend the budget” to add custodial/maintenance funds. “Disappearing Schmitz Park Elementary really means closing it, and that’s not acceptable.”
5:34 PM: Back to Sealth, another student is now speaking: “I look around this room and I see all these brilliant and amazing people that have supported me and my fellow students … it just breaks my heart hearing that three of these people have to leave or become part-time students … I can’t let that happen. … I can’t believe that Seattle Public Schools wants to take three of these people away. … They dedicate their lives to help students like me.” She says that one of the teachers whose classes she had on her schedule next year has learned she’ll be cut. … Another student says that she had been a student at Pathfinder and recalled having to join in the fight to keep the school from being closed, expressing disbelief that in this district, so many such fights were needed. … She’s followed by a teacher and parent who says she also is in disbelief. (Added) As much as anger and emotion, disappointment was voiced by teacher Julie Brown, who said she has learned her position will be cut:
5:51 PM: Principal Aida Fraser-Hammer is now speaking.
“Finding out about cuts at the last minute does not promote consistency. … Our students deserve to know that they can have the consistency. I know that we run by the numbers, but we hire human beings.” She asks them to take another look and see what can be done to prevent the cuts. And that ends the public hearing, more than an hour beyond the 15 minutes that it was originally scheduled to last. The board is scheduled to vote on the budget at a meeting in July.
ADDED FRIDAY AFTERNOON: We’ve learned an online petition has been launched; we’ll be working on a separate followup for later tonight.
3:22 PM: The Guardian One law-enforcement helicopter has been over Alki/West Admiral while police have been responding on the ground to what sounds to have started as a suspected package theft – they had been tracking possible suspects along SW Lander. Now Seattle Fire is responding to a possibly related medical call at 56th/Lander. We’re still gathering information as we send a crew that way. More to come.
3:47 PM: Our crew has arrived and here’s what they have been told by police: No crime committed, after all. The people who were reported as suspected package thieves were carrying a package of firewood. The person who was hurt was the person who reported them, who slipped and fell and hit his head. Guardian One just happened to be up and around and that’s how they got involved, police said.
1:35 PM: Above, you see a live feed (evening update: archived version substituted) from the Sound Transit Board of Directors meeting that just started downtown. During this meeting, the board is expected to finalize the ST3 ballot measure that, among other things, includes a plan for light rail to West Seattle by 2030. See the agenda here. The ST3 resolution, calling for the plan to go to voters on November 8th, is here, with the financial-component resolution here, and the draft of plan details (including who gets what, when) is here. (Other docs are linked from the agenda page.)
2:07 PM: The public-comment period is continuing. The board has heard so far from a variety of speakers, expressing both support – from suburban and Seattle speakers – and opposition, including reps of a newly formed coalition under the banner “No ST3.”
2:32 PM: After about an hour, public comment is over, and the board will hear from the “expert review panel” that took a look at the “methodologies and key assumptions that (have been used to prepare) the plan.” You can read their memo here. From that memo, this might be of interest to those who would like to see a tunnel toward the end of the proposed line to West Seattle, rather than elevated:
For example, several stakeholder groups or jurisdictions have already expressed
interest in supporting construction of a tunnel in alignments where a tunnel is not being
proposed. Staff responded that such a major change in the project scope resulting in increased
costs would likely require additional funding from other public or private sources, beyond what
is available through the ST3 funding package. The Panel suggests that the plan should make it
clear that it is likely “outside” funding would be necessary to support major alignment changes.
This would help set expectations regarding future discussions about alternatives. This suggestion
could be particularly useful in light of the fact that the proposed ST3 plan includes provisional
projects. We assume that additional ST3 funding for a tunnel that is not included in the current
plan would be at the expense of identified provisional projects.
2:58 PM: In case you’re just coming in now – the board is handling other business before getting to ST3 (as with many public meetings, there’s some separation between the public-comment period at the beginning and the actual agenda item about which most spoke).
3:02 PM: And almost as soon as we made note of that – then the board arrived at the ST3 agenda items.
4:03 PM: The board members are making their final round of speeches before the official vote.
4:08 PM: “We have a plan,” declares board chair County Executive Dow Constantine after a unanimous vote in favor of the plan. Next, the vote to send it to the November ballot.
4:20 PM: More from Constantine: “It’s expensive, but it’ll never be cheaper … so we must move forward to November … the hardest work is yet to come” – the work of convincing voters around the region to approve it. A moment later, the final, unanimous, voice vote sending it to the November 8th ballot.