At our final meeting of 2019, incoming District 6 city council member Dan Strauss joined us for an informal post-election visit, one of his first public appearances since the campaign ended. Video is available.
Dan mentioned that he has his staff picked out (confirmed that some live in District 6) and is close to signing a lease on a district office, all soon to be officially announced. He will be sworn into office in January 2020.
Questions from the audience included how to support businesses impacted by current and upcoming construction on Market Street, legislative impacts on small landlords, his position on the north precinct, his approach to working with other council members, council committee assignments (no announcements yet), whether he will partner with other north end council members on public safety issues, and requests for mitigation of property crime and chop shops.
We have a wonderful agenda for our final meeting of 2019, anchored by a presentation from the new Seattle Police Community Service Officer (CSO) program and featuring a visit from incoming District 6 councilmember Dan Strauss.
Note that we’ll have holiday cookies to share (feel free to bring a few more, if you’re inspired), we’ll be voting on 2020 BDC board members, and we are asking for donations of men’s and women’s pants, socks, and underwear in support of Bridge Care Center.
Ship Canal Water Quality Project Wed, Dec 11, 5-7pm at Ballard Library — drop-in session re: the major sewage and stormwater project based at 24th Ave NW and Shilshole Ave NW, including a new 24th Ave Pier
Join Seattle Public Utilities at a drop-in session on Wednesday, Dec. 11, to learn about major construction coming to Ballard in early 2020. Chat with the project team, find out what impacts you can anticipate, and provide feedback on the 24th Ave NW right of way (south of NW 54th St) and street end design.
Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2019
5 – 7 p.m., no formal presentation, show up anytime!
Please consider taking the 2019 Seattle Public Safety Survey. Conducted by Seattle University, the data is used in conjunction with Seattle Police crime data to direct police resources and services to target unique needs of Seattle’s micro-communities.
Switching gears from our October political forums, for BDC’s November 13 meeting, we have a three-part agenda:
Presentation on Assisted Living/Care Facilities
Mac McQuade, the Community Relations Director for Merrill Gardens (an Assisted Living/Care Facility in Ballard), will talk about how to research and find suitable facilities for aging relatives, as well as what questions to ask as part of the search. Following the 20-minute presentation, there’ll be time for Q&A.
Sneak Preview of the New Ballard Kaiser Permanente Clinic
Rhenda Meiser & Dr. Hannah Burdge will give an overview of the new Kaiser Permanente medical facility opening this winter on the 5th floor of the Ballard Blocks 2 building (1401 NW 46th St), next to Ballard Bridge.
An Update from Ballard Senior Center
Founded in 1973, the Ballard Senior Center provides a wide range of programs and services to seniors in the Ballard community and beyond. Mary Webster will briefly outline the mission and the services offered to more than 4,000 seniors annually (including food programs, fitness, social work, health and wellness education, partnerships with local theater groups, and more).
Council Business — Also note that next month, a selection committee will nominate the board of directors for 2020. Let us know if you’re interested in serving on the BDC executive board. The board usually meets monthly in addition to the regular BDC meeting. A primary purpose of the board is to set the agenda for BDC meetings and to help in arranging speakers and running the meetings.
Join us and help spread the word to other community members!
The meeting is Wednesday, Nov 13, 7-8:30pm at Sunset Hill Community Club (3003 NW 66th St).
Each Ballard District Council meeting begins with a few minutes of community introductions and announcements. The district council is a great place to share information and develop relationships on a variety of civic topics in the greater Ballard community. All are welcome.
BDC board members posed questions to the candidates and then opened it for audience Q&A. Topics covered include homelessness, transportation, affordable housing, parks, criminal justice reform, public health, and more.
Following are minute marks for various topics to help people zero in on specific candidate responses:
0:00 BDC President Tom Friedman gives brief overview of King County government scope/budget
3:00 Candidate opening statements
9:25 Seattle has 30% of the county’s population, but 70% of the county’s homeless people. What would you propose and support to geographically broaden services so public safety and health burdens are not concentrated so heavily in urban areas like Seattle, and specifically Ballard? How do we approach as a more county-wide effort?
14:27 King County is building modular housing on Elliott Ave, which has faced delays in opening on schedule. Given the state of emergency and available budget, is modular housing an appropriate option? What do you recommend for taking things to scale and acting more urgently?
18:10 How should the county respond to RV parking for those whose home is the RV? Is sleeping in vehicles a good strategy for the county to pursue (vs providing an indoor bed with vehicle parking outside)?
21:35 Re: light rail to Ballard, what is your position on a tunnel and underground station near 20th and Mkt St vs an overhead connection to a surface station east of 15 NW?
26:33 About 5 years ago Metro eliminated all off-peak bus service up and down 32NW, resulting in NO bus service midday, nights, and weekends. This has left the Sunset Hill neighborhood with no access to the public transit system other than in peak hours weekday. Similarly residents along Seaview Ave do not have ANY access to public transit. Yet residents in these areas continue to pay transit taxes. What would you propose to provide access to these residents to public transit?
31:55 follow-up on Sunset Hill / Seaview routes (reroute 40 bus? subsidized Uber/Lyft vouchers to connect to route access points?)
34:15 Part of the crux of the issue is how do city, county, state, federal government cooperate so we actually get affordable housing. Also there is a cycle where the city needs more taxes so it encourages property development to get the taxes, which leaves us with less affordable housing. How can the County work with the City to assure a better housing mix?
40:46 In August, King County voters overwhelmingly approved an $810 million parks levy. What is your vision for using that money?
45:14 Last week city businesses released a report that criticized the city for not prosecuting repeat offenders for misdemeanors and minor felonies. This is likely also an issue in the county. What’s your vision for how the county can better respond to this repeat offender issue?
49:27 As our criminal justice system reforms and non-traditional programs like LEAD continue to expand, how can the county provide better public reporting and accountability on local impacts and outcomes?
53:05 What’s your position on sanctioning Safe Consumption sites in the county? If you support them, would you me amenable to locating them outside of Seattle, in other areas of the County?
56:24. Have you looked into how Snohomish Co. is approaching this issue?
1:00:18 Pea patch & green space question
1:04:16 Center City Streetcar (funding priorities) question
THANK YOU to everyone who attended the D6 city council candidate forum at the National Nordic Museum, co-hosted with Ballard Alliance and moderated by Enrique Cerna. We had a great crowd of about 200 people.
Following a brief opening statement from candidates, moderator Enrique Cerna posed the following questions to the candidates.
What’s your vision for the City? Do you think the City Council is currently on the right track or do you think we need a different approach to city government?
What are your thoughts about deteriorating infrastructure such as pipes, bridges, roads, sidewalks, given the enormous growth and density in this city and, in particular, Ballard and Crown Hill?
Regarding light rail to Ballard: there are several proposed routes and station alternatives that are currently slated for study in the forthcoming Environmental Impact Study (EIS). A new tunneled route is being evaluated by Sound Transit staff that would terminate underground near 20th Ave NW and Market Street. Do you think all this alternative should be studied in the EIS?
In July, The Ballard Alliance and the District Council were copied on a letter from a District 6 company – Impact Bio Energy – that was addressed to the Mayor and City Council with the subject line: “Street Crime too Much for our Company.” The letter indicated the company will be moving their green energy business out of Seattle due to vandalism, theft, drug use and lack of support from the city to deal with those problems. They received no response. How would you respond to this company and others who are considering moving out of the City for these same reasons? (Copy of Letter to Mayor and City Council July 18 2019)
In recent years, Ballard has become a hub of services to help address issues of homelessness, addiction and mental illness, yet police response times in Ballard continue to greatly lag compared to the rest of the city. What is your solution to improve response times, public safety resourcing and accountability?
Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best has said she is struggling to keep police officers and recruit new officers. She says one of the problems is a lack of support from the city council. What will you do to help the chief and the department?
As you know, the Ballard Alliance and several neighborhood business groups released a report which highlighted systemic failures within the municipal criminal justice system, including significant increases the number of cases declined by the City Attorney’s Office; an average of a 6 months delay to file new cases; and a high number of cases that are dismissed without meaningful resolution. If you were currently serving on Council and received this report, what action would you take?
The 9th District Federal Court ruled that it’s illegal to prohibit camping if there’s no place for people to go. Last summer some members of the King County Board of Health advocated for FEMA-style shelters with cots, water, food, outhouses, emergency showers, and centralized treatment opportunities to get everyone inside for the winter. It went nowhere politically. Is this something you would be willing to support and propose to the city council?
Earlier this year, the City began enforcing established policy that prohibits obstructions or encampments located on public-rights-of-way, such as sidewalks, public spaces and in City Parks. Would you stop this policy, keep it as is, or expand it to more areas? How should the City respond to people who repeatedly refuse available services?
How should the City respond to the RV problem in District 6?
The City Council recently passed land use legislation that allows up to 3 separate dwelling units on a 3,200 sq. ft. single family lot. There is no longer a requirement for off-street parking nor is the property owner required to live in one of the units. Many long-term residents have expressed concerns that this policy caters to developers and would, over time, lead to significant changes to single-family neighborhoods. Do you agree with these latest zoning changes or would you propose some modifications? What would you modify?
This week city council passed new renter protection legislation, including a law that allows tenants to house additional roommates or family members, “if consistent with the unit’s occupancy limits.” This limits the landlords’ ability to manage which adults occupy a property, regardless of background or rental history. How would you have voted on this specific legislation and why?
Neighborhoods/ District 6
We’ve now been through one full 4-year cycle of City Council District terms. There are many who feel – including District 6 residents – that their neighborhood is not being adequately represented by their Councilmember in city hall. Do you agree? And if so, what would you do differently if elected?
What is the biggest issue that differentiates you a) from your opponent, and b) from the incumbent?