Sunday, December 9, 2007


Holiday Greetings

Vivian McLean and the Seattle Community Council Federation
invite you to Our Holiday Party

Friday, December 14th at 7:00 P.M.
at the home of Vivian McLean,
3814 20th Ave SW


Enjoy refreshments and meeting old and new friends and the delights of Delridge at its best.

Driving Directions

Take the Delridge off-ramp from the West Seattle Freeway,
Go south on Delridge Ave SW to the traffic light, then (left) east to 21st Ave SW,
North (left) to the street end, East (left) to 20th Ave SW,
and Finally south (right) just a tad on the east (left) [even-numbered] side of the street.

It's the big white house with the Christmas lights on the porch!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

November Meeting Highlights - November 15, 2007
(These pages are based on the editor's notes, they are not official minutes).

• President's Report:

• The City Council added $ 2 million to the collections budget of the Library for 2008 to buy new books, and it added a "guidance statement" declaring an intention to set a base level for collections $l.5 million higher.

• The Federation, along with a coalition of others in support of increasing the 2008 budget by $2.5 million, had written to the City Council. Councilmembers Richard Conlin and Richard McIver replied to the Federation thanking it for its support of the appropriation; Councilmember Sally Clark sent a generic acknowledgment. Five members of the City Council (Clark, Conlin, Della, Godden and Steinbrueck) voted to add $25,000 to the 2008 City Budget for the Cascade People's Center and include an additional challenge grant of $75,000 to be matched. The Federation wrote to the Council urging the City to restore funding for it. The Cascade Community Council welcomes contributions for the match.

• The Federation wrote to the City Council's Urban Development and Planning Committee and the full City Council supporting the Mayor's proposed legislation to preserve industrial lands, and going further to preserve the bocks in the SODO area owned by developer Nitze-Stagen. Our letter pointed out that industrial land makes contributions to the economy, provides living wage jobs, and supports our port and rail network. Industrial land is scarce, especially in such a strategic location, while the City has ample commercial zones and commercial uses can be located elsewhere. The Manufacturing Industrial Council and others involved in manufacturing thanked the Federation for its support. (NOTE: Dennis Saxman spoke for the Federation at the November 29th City Council Public Meeting).

Zoo Garage: The City Hearing Examiner declared the proposed 700-car Zoo Parking Garage illegal and reversed the City's decision to allow it in a park zoned single family. Unanimous accord to send a letter of congratulations to the Phinney Ridge Community Council.

• Children's Hospital: Staff of the City's Department of Planning and Development (DPD), working with Children's Hospital, had proposed another alternative development plan which has the same gross square footage as earlier plans, but makes buildings squatter and spreads them over more area. It would reduce building heights from 240' to 160', take over the adjacent Laurelon Terrace (136 condos), and add entrances. DPD refuses to let the Citizen Advisory Committee (CAC) consider the Laurelhurst Community plan because it reduces the square footage Childrens wants. Laurelhurst had pointed out that Children's methodology sent to DPD differs from information it had sent to the State Board of Health. The Federation had written to DPD on November 6th asking DPD to reconsider its rejection, the new entrances, and acquisition of Laurelton Terrace. The 160' height would be 105' higher than any institution next to a single family residential area. Motion passed to question the need for expanding the facility by doubling the current size and the new entrances and again called for for allowing CAC consider all alternatives, not just those pre-approved by Children's Hospital. Other hospitals have branches and clinics off campus. Copies of the letter will go to other appropriate officials.

Green Legacy Levy: A coalition of community groups is asking the City to empower a citizens' committee to prepare a successor for the ProParks Levy expiring in 2008. Projects would include parks, green infrastructure improvements (open space, bike trails, streams, green streets etc.) City staff wrote the Urban Forest Management Master Plan; and it failed to stop the downing of trees on Broadway, in Occidental Park, and on lots developed for housing. A good plan needs citizen input and direction. Projects will be selected for multi-purpose activity.
Community representative ("C") comments:
C-1: projects must include neighborhoods outside neighborhood planning areas. The Mayor plans to exclude non-planning areas from proceeds of levies.
C-2: The Mayor's update of neighborhood plans appears to be a top-down effort by City staff to "standardize" plans; the City Council has cut back on his proposal. The levy needs to take the revising of plans into account.
C-3: ProParks and other recent levies have appropriated pockets of money for platitudes. The ability to shift money is so loose that the levies are really a general tax increase for park or street purposes. People vote for a levy thinking that they'll get a particular project in their neighborhood or one they really want, and then spends the money elsewhere. Funds for Magnuson Park have been abused. The Superintendent of Parks was allowed to move money under a set limit around without oversight; and he broke projects into pieces and shifted funds to accomplish larger projects without any review. Named projects have yet to be accomplished and the voters' will was frustrated.
C-4: The "Opportunity Fund" was misused in its first allocation: half the first year's money was allocated to three neighborhoods to carry out private deals by the ProParks Committee. There must be very strict criteria, applied Citywide, with competition open always to all neighborhoods and citizen ranking through the City Neighborhood Council and District Councils. No set-asides.
C-5: The levy should be a shopping list clearly stating what the public will get and the City required to make sure that the public gets it using General Funds if necessary. C-6: The City Auditor found abuses in a case study at Loyal Heights and a lack of accountability.
C-7: There was so much unhappiness at the way that ProParks was administered that the City Neighborhood Council won't approve a new levy until the abuses in ProParks are remedied. The same applies to the Bridging the Gap levy. The Library Bond issue had the Citizens Implementation Review Panel and it has worked.
C-78: The South East District Council was told that although funds were donated for renovating the Mount Baker Community Center, the City won't proceed because it has no project manager.
The City is putting artificial turf over the peat bog of Montlake Playfield as a soccer playfield with night lighting. The community opposes it.
Motion passed for the Federation to join as a member of the Green Legacy Coalition, to participate in a citizen committee to set up the levy, and to appoint Diane Kincaid, David Miller and Lynn Ferguson as Federation representatives.
For information, contact Bryce Marryman

Parks "Strategic Business Plan:" Parks is holding a series of meeting at all community centers in Seattle asking for for input about private interests operating park facilities. Members of special interest groups are coming in force to the meetings and skewing the input. Parks gives those attending a questionnaire that asks what is Parks doing right? What is wrong? What are the challenges?
Motion passed to present the guidelines adopted at our July 26, 2007 meeting as the Federation comment on the Strategic Business Plan.

• Magnuson Park: Parks is planning more commercialization at Magnuson Park:
• Parks wants to sign a 30 year lease of Building 11, a two story, narrow building next to the water in the North Shore Sailing area. The for profit developer envisions office use upstairs, two restaurants, sales of marine products for use outside the park and other uses. • Parks wants to lease Hangar 27 to Arena Sports, the developer of another building, for thirty years and to let it manage the sports fields. Arena Sports envisions gym equipment operated like a health club, pay for use indoor sports, restaurants, handball courts, etc. Hangar 27 hosted the Friends of the Library Sale, Rat City Rollers, Best of Northwest Arts exhibition, rummage sales including the annual Lakeside sale, some charity auctions and other activities. Arena Sports wants the City to contribute to repair of the Hanger. A non-profit organization, H270, composed of various users, with a sprinkling of citizen activists, is also seeking use of the site; its program would be lower key and have more public activities. Motion passed to endorse H270 and urge the City to reject the application of both for- profit organizations for commercial activities. These for-profit bids violate the underlying single family zoning and the approved Magnuson Park Plan.
For more information see and
• Multi-family Code Changes: Time [and space here] precludes outlining the proposal in full. It increases density, cuts backs open space, raises heights, reduces parking, and generally reflects the development lobby wish-list. Developers pushed these ideas back in 1989, and citizen opposition caused the City to back off. The Department of Planning and Development is considering issuing a Determination of No Significant Impact (DNSI) on the Code changes. In the past, the City has done an Environmental Impact Statement.
Motion passed to write to the City insisting that it prepare an Environmental Impact Statement and to threaten an appeal to the Hearing Examiner if a DNSI is made.
• 12 Year Tax Holiday: The Mayor is proposing a 12 year tax holiday for new housing if (a) in condo projects, 20% are sold for $350,000 or less to people with an income no more than 124% of median income ($77,348 for two); and (b) if a rental, 20% to people of median income at median rents for the area, currently $1,500 on Beacon Hill. A developer may leave the program at any time, and the exemption goes to the entire site. Thus, a ten unit condo developer could offer two small units at $ 300,000, and eight units at $ 550,000. Now assume property taxes at 1% of market value and no inflation. The project would then have a value of $6,000,000, and net the developer tax relief worth $60,000 each year for 12 years, or $720,000 total –more than the developer's market price. No demographic data supports the program and many units sell or lease for less. There's no incentive for families to settle here. If the objective is to get police officers to settle here, the money would be better spent by increasing their pay to enable them to afford to live inside Seattle. The plan detracts from programs for the homeless and the genuinely low income. It also decreases the local tax base; which increases the taxes on everyone else. The $60,000 in the example above could pay for a police cadet, a new fireman, parks maintenance etc. It's inherently unfair to let the upper income renters or owners draw on City services without paying for them. The program offers incentives for tearing down older housing used by lower income residents. The Seattle Displacement Coalition strongly opposes the plan.
For More Information see
Motion passed to oppose the program and authorize Dennis Saxman to represent the Federation at City Council hearings.

• Incentive Zoning:
Motion passed to update our May 24th letter to the City Planning Commission and send it to the City Council as a comment on the Mayor's very similar proposal.

• Elections:
Motion passed to send a letter to King County and to the Secretary of State protesting the Notice of Elections in type one-sixteenth inch high in the Seattle Times, October 31, and asking that with mail-in elections the notice be at the size of type on the ballot. It will also ask that when ballots are issued and may be deposited election headquarters be considered as a "polling place" where campaigning is forbidden. The Federation has objected to such tiny print in the past without avail.

• Christmas Trees at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport:
Motion passed 15-to-3 asking that Sea-Tac Airport include Christmas trees in its holiday decorations. The Port ejected them just before Christmas in '06, but overwhelming public protest caused their return. In August, the Port Commission voted to exclude them; the November elections retired both incumbents up for re-election. As the entranceway for air travelers to the Northwest, Sea-Tac should be an inviting, festive terminal during the holiday season, respecting the diversity and inclusiveness of our traditions. Christmas trees are a Northwest tradition and comforting to many people during long anxious waiting. Trees may be enjoyed by anyone of any religion just as can Santa Claus, matzo bread, or a lotus blossom. Seattle City government hosts a Menorah in Westlake Square to complement the Christmas tree in Stewart Street; shopping centers also do so; and the Postal Service offers stamps for Christmas, Hanukah, Kwanza, and Muslim holidays.

• Pinehursrt Neighborhood Rezone: Safeway owns three lots in Pinehurst close to Northgate and asked for a rezone of its lots for a new supermarket. Some Pinehurst residents, the Mayor's office, and City Council member Peter Steinbrueck reached agreement on rezoning those particular lots with various development restrictions. The Department of Planning and Development is proposing a legislative rezone for the entire Northgate overlay zone, an area many times larger than the Safeway lot which includes all or most of five North Seattle communities. The Maple Leaf Community Council asked Richard Aramburu, a Land Use Attorney, for advice. He opined that this rezone would set a dangerous precedent of (a) ignoring neighborhood planning in the Northgate, Lake City, and Haller Lake areas; (b) evading the rezoning process contained in the Code; and (c) converting spot zoning into legislative Code changes.
Motion passed to oppose the legislative rezone, to support the Maple Leaf Community Council, and to designate Pat Murakami to represent the Federation at the November 28th City hearing. NOTE: David Miller spoke for the Federation at the meeting, Representatives from the Haller Lake Community Club and the Maple Leaf Community Council also spoke against it.
NOTE: Council Bill 116066 (CB116066) was passed on Dec 3rd, 2007.
For more information see Donations are gratefully accepted.

• Goodwill site development: The developer is asking for the largest street vacation in Seattle's history -- about 10 acres. By ordinance, street vacations need to show a public interest, i.e. benefit, from the vacation. The developer says the project itself does so, and some amenities will be on site. The project has many negative impacts that far out weigh the amenities. The neighborhood asks that the large sums paid as street vacation fees be spent in the impacted neighborhood. Motion passed to send a second letter re-affirming the Federation opposition to the street vacation, asking that the process be followed, with appropriate public participation.
For more information see
• Central Area Senior Center: The City budget appropriated only $200,000; the Senior Center needs donations

• Wallingford Community Senior Center: The Wallingford Community Senior Center also needs public support. It will have a $42,000 deficit because Historic Seattle raised the annual rent for its basement quarters in the Good Shepherd Center to $53,000. It’s the last of the community organizations in the increasingly commercial building. Hamilton House in the University District has closed; the Greenwood Senior Center is also in jeopardy. Wallingford is the only center in the district for various senior services and offers many seniors living on social security and canned soups and veggies their only full course hot meal during the week. Motion passed authorizing a letter to City Councilmember Tom Rasmussen and King County Councilmember Larry Phillips for continued and expanded support.
Neighborhood Planning update: The Department of Planning and Development and the Department of Neighborhoods are in discussion about who will control what, what is to be done and what is not to be done, and the role of consultants and City staff. The first step will be to make a report on those projects the City has completed and those that remain. The City Neighborhood Council approved a letter on updating neighborhood plans based on its May workshop. City Councilmember Sally Clark said that the City Council will chart its own course. It would like student volunteers from the U of W to help out.

• City Light surplus property: The City is planning to sell sixty parcels by 2010 as surplus. The Ballard District Council would like the Sunset substation in Ballard as a park. An expert said it could have a utility use for solar panels.
Motion passed authorizing a letter asking that district councils be consulted in the process of circulating among City departments surplus City properties for disposition.
• South Lake Union upzone: The City has scheduled a hearing on December 10th for an up-zone proposed by Vulcan properties, Paul Allen's development company, in order to accommodate a building sought by Amazon. By consent, if the President, the Land Use committee above, the Cascade Community Council confer and are so inclined, they are authorized to appear at the hearing on behalf of the Federation.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

November 30, 2007
Zoo won't appeal parking garage ruling


Woodland Park Zoo has decided not to appeal a city decision prohibiting construction of a controversial 700-car parking garage that has been the center of a dispute between zoo leaders and neighbors for years.

In October, Seattle Hearing Examiner Sue Tanner ruled that a parking garage isn't a "customary" use for city parks, and would not be legal at the zoo.

"We decided that in terms of resources, it isn't worth appealing it now," said spokesman Jim Bennett.

Activists opposed construction of the four-level garage as too big, too expensive and unnecessary. The construction cost of the garage was estimated at $18 million. Interest and other costs would have added to the total price over 20 years. The city agreed to pay 75 percent of the garage cost.

"We have a lot more talking to do internally," said Bennett.

For now, zoo officials will continue to look for ways to get the most out of surface parking, and encourage their employees to find other transportation to work, in order to open those parking spaces up to visitors.

The garage would have been built off Phinney Avenue North near North 56th Street.

Last spring, several City Council members said they had misgivings about the zoo garage, especially as citizens are being urged to reduce their use of cars. But they approved bond financing for the garage, saying they were bound by their contract with the zoo society.

Sunday, November 18, 2007


Public Meeting Map (pdf)

Help shape the vision for Parks and Recreation. Join Parks and Recreation staff at one or more of the 32 public meetings between November 26, 2007 and December 8, 2007.

Please contact: (206) 684-4075

Monday, Nov. 26
5 - 7 p.m.
Garfield Community Center
2323 E Cherry St.

5 - 7 p.m.
Rainier Beach Community Center
8825 Rainier Ave. S

7 - 9 p.m.
Montlake Community Center
1618 E Calhoun

Tuesday, Nov. 27
5 - 7 p.m.
Ravenna-Eckstein Community Center
6535 Ravenna Ave. NE

5 - 7 p.m.
South Park Community Center
8319 8th Ave. S

7 - 9 p.m.
Magnolia Community Center
2550 34th Ave. W

Wednesday, Nov. 28
5 - 7 p.m
100 Dexter Ave. N
(Parks Administration Bldg.)

7 - 9 p.m
Loyal Heights Community Center
2101 NW 77th

7 - 9 p.m
Southwest Community Center
2801 SW Thistle

Thursday, Nov. 29
5 - 7 p.m.
Langston Hughes Cultural Arts Center
104 17th Ave. S

6 - 8 p.m.
Ballard Community Center
6020 28th Ave. NW

6 - 8 p.m.
International District/Chinatown Community Center
719 8th Ave. S

7 - 9 p.m.
High Point Community Center
6920 34th Ave. SW

7 - 9 p.m.
Laurelhurst Community Center
4554 NE 41st St.

Saturday, Dec. 1
10 a.m. - Noon
Jefferson Community Center
3801 Beacon Ave. S

Noon - 2 p.m.
Carkeek Park Environmental Learning Center
950 NW Carkeek Park Rd.

2 - 4 p.m.
Delridge Community Center
4501 Delridge Way SW

2 - 4 p.m.
Green Lake Community Center
7201 E Green Lake Dr. N

Tuesday, Dec. 4
6 - 8 p.m.
Graham Visitor's Center, Washington Park Arboretum
2300 Arboretum Dr. E

6 - 8 p.m.
Hiawatha Community Center
2700 California Ave. SW

7 - 9 p.m.
Meadowbrook Community Center
10517 35th Ave. NE

Wednesday, Dec. 5
5 - 7 p.m
Camp Long Environmental Learning Center
5200 35th Ave. SW

5 - 7 p.m
Yesler Community Center
917 E Yesler Way

7 - 9 p.m.
Alki Community Center
5817 SW Stevens St.

7 - 9 p.m.
Magnuson Community Center
7110 62nd Ave. NE

Thursday, Dec. 6
5 - 7 p.m
Discovery Park Environmental Learning Center
3801 W Government Way

5 - 7 p.m
Queen Anne Community Center
1901 1st Ave. W

7 - 9 p.m.
Northgate Community Center
10510 5th Ave. NE

7 - 9 p.m.
Rainier Community Center
4600 38th Ave. S

Saturday, Dec. 8
10 a.m.-Noon
Miller Community Center
330 19th Ave. E

1 - 3 p.m.
Bitter Lake Community Center
13035 Linden Ave. N

3 - 5 p.m.
Van Asselt Community Center
2820 S Myrtle St.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Regular Meeting
NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency), Pacific Marine Center on Lake Union
1801 Fairview Avenue East
Thursday, November 15, 2007


Green Legacy For All Levy and Quarterly Round Robin on Neighborhood Projects and Issues

With the Pro-Parks Levy expiring in 2008, Seattle will lose a significant source of funding for parks and open space projects. A coalition of civic organizations has formed to advocate for continued funding for Seattle’s green spaces. More than just parks, the green infrastructure approach looks at how to make the whole city more humane, healthy and ecologically-responsive. Learn about the plans from coalition members.
The November meeting is also the Federation’s quarterly round robin and your opportunity to brief our citywide membership on projects and issues that your community council or organization is working on. Is there pending legislation you are following? Do you have issues with the work of any of the city’s departments or public officials? Do you have projects underway that other communities can learn from? The Round Robin is a great networking opportunity and a chance to generate support from the Federation and its member organizations for the important work you are doing.
If you have informational materials you would like distributed at the meeting, please email electronic copies or links to Jeannie Hale at

7:00 Call to Order and Introductions
1. Changes to the agenda
2. Treasurer’s report
3. President’s report

7:15 Green Legacy Levy—Brice Maryman and Cheryl Trivison

7:45 Round Robin—Thanksgiving Cornucopia—Bring Your Issues!
1. Congratulations on the Zoo Appeal
2. Seattle Parks and Recreation Strategic Business Plan
3. Multi-Family Code Changes
4. 12-year tax holiday for new buildings that allocate 20 percent of condo or apartments to middle income residents
5. Incentive zoning—follow up
6. Other Issues/Projects

9:00 Adjourn

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 to be added to the entry list. No e-mail? Call 206-365-1267. The building is ADA compliant, with ample parking in front.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Children's Hospital, neighbors still at odds over expansion

November 31, 2007

Children's Hospital and Regional Medical Center has scaled back the height of proposed buildings on its Laurelhurst campus, but neighbors still don't like the hospital's plan.

The new plan cuts the maximum heights on the main campus from 240 feet to 160 feet by making buildings fatter and reconfiguring mechanical spaces. The proposed height of a new building across Sand Point Way decreased from 120 feet to 105 feet, and the hospital's utility plant was moved away from the edge of campus to address neighbors' noise concerns.

"We want to do everything we can do to be good neighbors," said Ruth Benfield, Children's vice president for facilities, at a news conference to announce the changes Tuesday. But, she added, the hospital must balance that against ensuring it meets demands.

The initial plan, which hospital officials released this summer, would more than double the number of beds and the size of buildings on the main 21.7-acre campus and the 1.78 acres facing it across Sand Point Way Northeast during the next two decades. It included adding and expanding parking garages and creating new, secondary entrances on Northeast 45th and 50th streets.

Laurelhurst residents immediately objected to the scale of the plan, including the building heights. The tallest existing hospital buildings are 80 feet high, and the hospital's current plan allows buildings up to 90 feet high.

The adjusted plan still doesn't satisfy Jeannie Hale, who is the president of the Laurelhurst Community Club.

Buildings on the main campus and across the street still would be too tall, and hospital officials haven't done anything about the proposed new entrances, Hale said. "Those new entrances would direct high volumes of traffic into our neighborhood."

Hale called on hospital officials to work more closely with neighbors; that would include taking a closer look at how much space Children's really needs.

"They need to be realistic," she said. "They're in a single-family, low-density setting."

The changes do not reduce the overall expansion, which would add up to about 1.5 million new square feet, for a total of 2.4 million square feet.

The effect on neighborhoods was what brought about 120 neighbors Tuesday night to the Northwest Horticultural Society Hall at the Center for Urban Horticulture, where Children's leaders, their affiliates and a land-use planner from the city's Department of Planning and Development discussed proposed buildings. The hospital's new design concept was presented to the Community Advisory Council there.

Karl Sonnenberg, a representative from Zimmer Gunsul Frasca Architects LLP, told the crowd the entrances are "an issue for another day," and entrances and traffic would be addressed in an environmental impact statement.

Scott Ringgold, land-use planner for the Department of Planning and Development, said the environmental impact statement has several phases, but did not give a projected date of when a final plan would be completed.

"I appreciate that they're looking at alternatives," said Greg Griffith, who lives a couple of blocks from Children's. "But I don't think they've thought about the impact on the areas outside the boundaries of their property."

At Tuesday's news conference, hospital officials insisted that Children's needs to grow on the main campus.

Hospital officials expect demand to grow by about 3 percent a year in coming years, because of community growth and ongoing care of children with chronic conditions that would have been fatal just a few years ago, said Dr. Sandy Melzer, Children's senior vice president for strategic planning and business development. New technology also demands more space, Benfield said.

Melzer and Benfield said the hospital's occupancy rate already is too high for comfort, because of the need for separate spaces for children of different ages with different conditions, and because most admissions are unscheduled -- something that's not true of a typical hospital.

The hospital is moving many functions away from its main campus, but duplicating services for the sickest children would be too costly and just plain hard to do, given the rarity of certain specialists, Melzer and Benfield said. Building an entirely new main campus elsewhere would add about $1.5 billion to the $1 billion building plan, not including land costs, they said.

Hospital officials have emphasized the need for all single rooms. It's about lowering risk of cross-infection, and making children and their families more comfortable, Melzer said.

But Cindy Lester, a Bremerton mother in a double room with her daughter Madeline, 3, said she didn't mind sharing.

"We like this room. We like the view, and we like the light," said Lester, whose daughter was born with a heart defect. "I would rather have sunlight than a private room."

A single room did make a difference, however, for Nickolet Blackstock, of Boise, Idaho, who said she has traveled with her 3-year-old daughter, Angelina, to Children's about 20 to 30 times.

"We've been here for two months already, and every little thing counts," said Blackstock, whose daughter has an intestinal disorder.

For more details, go to

P-I reporter Aubrey Cohen can be reached at 206-448-8362 or

Sunday, October 21, 2007


Regular Meeting
NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency), Pacific Marine Center on Lake Union
1801 Fairview Avenue East
Thursday, October 25, 2007


Multi-family Code Update featuringMike Podowski, Department of Planning and Development

The Department of Planning and Development (DPD) is proposing to update multi-family zoning in the City’s Land Use Code to advance the City’s growth management objectives and better achieve the City’s goals and policies for new development, and make the code easier to use and understand. How will the proposed changes affect Seattle’s low-density neighborhoods? Will incentive zoning work? Should the City reduce parking requirements in multi-family zones? Learn about the Mayor’s proposal from DPD planner Mike Podowski.

To review the Director’s Report and recommendations for amendments to the multi-family code and the proposed ordinance, go to:

The October Federation meeting will continue discussion of important issues facing neighborhoods throughout Seattle. Share your story about issues or projects in your neighborhood. Brainstorm about solutions and/or garner support for your community’s position. If you have informational materials you would like distributed at the meeting, please email electronic copies or links to Jeannie Hale at

7:00 Call to Order and Introductions
1. Changes to the agenda
2. Treasurer’s report
3. President’s report
7:10 Multi-Family Code Update—Mike Podowski, Department of Planning and Development
8:10 Round Robin: Bring Your Issues!
1. Zoo Appeal Update—Irene Wall
2. Proposed zoning changes in SODO to accommodate Starbucks—Mesher
3. City Budget Issues
4. Other Issues/Projects
9:00 Adjourn

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 to be added to the entry list. No e-mail? Call 206-365-1267. The building is ADA compliant, with ample parking in front.


Meeting Highlights - September 27, 2007
(These are based on the editor's notes --- they are not official minutes)

Neighbors Opposing Proposition No. 1: Voters will vote on Regional Transportation Investment District ("RTID") Proposition No. 1 ("Roads and Transit") on November 6th. It's the largest local tax increase ever --- $157 billion by independent estimates, $39 billion by the P.I.'s. It extends the existing 0.4% sales tax for Sound Transit and 0.3% motor vehicle excise tax due to expire, and ups the sales tax by 0.5% and the motor vehicles excise tax by 0.8%.
There's no accountability. The RTID Board may modify, delete or add projects with the consent of two of the three county councils (King, Pierce, Snohomish). Where there's money, the politicians find ways to spend it. There's nothing at all for the Alaskan Way Viaduct or U.S. 99, nothing for West Seattle, or Ballard. The highway spending goes for adding lanes to 405 on the Eastside, for I-90, and I-5 by Sea-Tac; for expanding SR 520 to over at least double its current width; for putting two way traffic on Mercer Street in order to suit Paul Allen's South Lake Union plans; and for Highway 167 in Kent. The transit moneys extend Sound Transit from Sea-Tac airport south and from the University District north to north of Lynnwood. Only a relatively small part of the money will be spent in Seattle. County Executive Ron Sims opposes it. The State and City government opted for an expanded SR 520 with at least six lanes --- up to 13 lanes when on and off ramp, merging, bus, rail, bike, and shoulder lanes are counted. The State is pushing a plan for a Union Bay Bridge/Viaduct; an interchange on the UW Campus by Husky Stadium; making Montlake Boulevard N.E. and N.E. Pacific Street into Aurora-like arterials; converting Lake Washington Boulevard in the Arboretum to a freeway access road; and paving the crossing of Portage Bay at least 2 times wider. The traffic from the Eastside will bottleneck trying to get on I-5 and a substantial percentage of vehicles will get off, congesting local streets. It' will be a blight from every perspective (ugly, noisy, smelly, bad air, paving lakes and wetlands, etc.)
Motion passed: The Federation opposes RTID Proposition No. 1 and urges neighborhoods to do so.

Goodwill Site Redevelopment: Goodwill Industries contracted to sell its store, warehouse, learning center, and parking lot complex on South Dearborn St. to a developer for a shopping center contingent upon the site being rezoned, keeping only a store site on the backside facing Weller St. The developer ("TRF Pacific") applied to the City for a rezone to build a shopping center 2/3rds the size of Northgate. That violates the neighborhood plan, which calls for upgrading the nearby business district as the neighborhood core. The Department of Planning and Development declined to require an Environmental Impact Statement. Neighborhood businesses, community councils, and other organizations (38 in all) formed the Dearborn Street Coalition for a Livable Neighborhood to fight the rezone and a street vacation TRF Pacific seeks.
Motion passed to support the Coalition in opposing the project and the street vacation and lend moral support for its appeal for an EIS.

Sidewalks Safety Initiative: City Councilmember David Della asked for support for putting this package of expenditures into the 2008 budget. Motorists hit about 300 pedestrians every year. Its elements are:
(1) $1,000,000 for installing red-light runner cameras at 24 intersections. The City has 6 now. The cameras photograph cars entering the intersection on a red light; the City checks the license plate with the state to find the owner; and it sends the owner a citation. The cameras are paying for themselves and then some.
(2) $250,000 will go for 2-4 speed-enforcement vans for monitoring cars near schools to reduce speeding. The vans clock vehicle speeds and photograph vehicles of speeders leading to mailed citations.
(3) $500,000 will go for technologies, such as pedestrian countdown signals, flashing in the pavement to mark crosswalks, half signals, overhead crosswalk signs, pedestrian islands and traffic calming; and
(4) $250,000 will go for a pedestrian safety awareness campaign and upping the priority for sidewalk projects in the Bridging the Gap levy.
Community representatives ("C") said:
C-1: The City Council needs to get the Seattle Department of Transportation ("SDOT") moving about ending encroachment of private walls and fences into sidewalk area. Ravenna-Bryant has been complaining for months about a newly built wall that encroaches into street right of way next to a busy arterial cutting the effective walking width from 6´ to 5', but, despite the safety hazard of squeezing school children toward heavy traffic, SDOT does nothing.
C-2: SDOT should post on the Internet the intersections with collisions so that the public will know.
C-3: Laurelhurst asked for mirrors on “suicide hill” (NE 41st Street between 42nd and 43rd Avenue NE) so crossing motorists could see on-coming traffic, but got no results.
C-4: Kenmore has electronic solar powered signs by St. Edwards Park showing speeds measured by radar and it slows traffic down. Eastside cities have mobile vans that do the same. They're effective. Accord by another rep. Motorists are frequently not aware of their speed when coasting downhill.
C-5: The City needs strong provisions for developers to put in sidewalks and crosswalks. DPD lets developers paint a crosswalk as mitigation. It's not such at all. It also needs to require developers to fix up sidewalks that their equipment tears up during construction. It doesn't do so.
C-6: The City should use community service officers (or their equivalent) for the mobile vans to give warnings. Civilian officers or police cadets could also do accident investigation. Neither task requires a sworn officer, which is more expensive.
C-7: Bicyclists are not stopping or even slowing for pedestrians on the Burke-Gilman Trail. Bicycle cops need to patrol it.
C-8: People would take buses more if there were sidewalks between their homes and the stop. People worry about walking on the edge of a roadway in the dark of night.
C-9: Bus shelters on Rainier Avenue are gone and need to be replaced.
Motion passed to write to the City Council in support the Sidewalk Safety Initiative and in our letter include recommendations by community’s representatives.

Cascade People Center: The Cascade Neighborhood is seeking $211,000 in funding for the Cascade People Center in South Lake Union, the only social service center in the area. It is open 18 hours every day. The need is especially urgent now: development has torn down housing and older buildings in the nearby Denny Triangle and Regrade causing people to move northward. Motion passed to support the requested appropriation and authorize letters to appropriate government officials

. Lost Fork of Hamm Creek: On October lst, the City Council will vote on an appropriation to protect the Lost Fork of Hamm Creek. It flows through South Park to the Duwamish River and is part of an outdoor education center for children in a City park near Concord Elementary School. The Mayor proposed to divert its waters in order to build some wetlands required as compensation for illegally filling other wetlands at the headwaters of the "Lost Fork."
For more information, see and "Hamm Creek"

Bruce Harell, candidate for Seattle City Council Position No 3, spoke about his background and issues. He's a lawyer in a five member firm, handling civil rights law; a coach for a youth team; and community volunteer. He's for transparency in local government; incentive zoning if it provides affordable housing; and paying utility bills on line; he opposes tax breaks for the developers of the Ballard project. He's rethinking his position on the RTID tax (Proposition # 1) in light of County Executive Ron Sims' opposition to it. Check out his website at [This paragraph reports his appearance. The Federation does not endorse candidates for political office.]

Seattle Community Council Federation
President’s Report

Correspondence/Community Action:

1. Proposed changes regarding sidewalks: The Federation submitted extensive comments on the proposed Code changes regarding sidewalks. The Federation supported lowering the thresholds and reducing exceptions for building sidewalks contained in the proposal. The Federation asked that the legislation be amended to require sidewalks in all new single-family construction regardless of location. The Federation also offered a number of other suggestions on the legislative proposal: that it forbid sidewalk encroachments, address sidewalk damage due to construction, include a cumulation rule so that work planned on the site or a contiguous site within a five-year period be included in evaluating the sidewalk installation requirement, that areas that overlap Urban Villages and arterials be included, that collector arterials be included, that exemptions for remodeling be limited and that existing sidewalks be retained.

2. SEPA Thresholds: Geof Logan testified on behalf of the Federation at a public hearing on the proposal to increase the SEPA thresholds and thereby limit public review of certain development projects. In the Federation’s view, exempting projects from environmental review disables DPD from requiring a developer to correct adverse impacts that may occur and fails to account for piecemealing a project to avoid environmental review.

3. Proactive designation of historic sites citywide: On September 25, the Federation wrote to the Mayor and the City Council commending Councilmembers Steinbrueck and Godden on their proactive leadership in discovering and designating downtown historic landmarks and urging that the program be expanded citywide with adequate funding to do so. The Federation asked for a citywide assessment and consideration of possible tax relief as a “carrot” for designation. Councilmember Steinbrueck called to thank the Federation for its letter. He said that the city initiated citywide surveys a few years ago neighborhood by neighborhood and suggested that the Federation contact Karen Gordon as there is a database within the city to access surveys. Steinbrueck also said that years ago, the city worked with the UW in developing a Neighborhood Urban Resources Inventory. This was funded through the city’s Department of Community Development. This effort included buildings, resources and cultural values of different segments of the city. Victor Steinbrueck and Folke Nyberg from the UW participated in the effort. Steinbrueck hopes that the Federation will follow up. In the meantime, Councilmember Rasmussen responded and said there probably wouldn’t be any money in the budget due to predictions of an economic downturn.

4. Children’s Hospital proposed expansion: On September 16, the Federation submitted environmental scoping comments on Children’s Hospital proposed expansion. Children’s plan is to increase building heights from 37, 50, 70 and 90 feet to 240 feet, increase square footage by 1.5 million, add two new entrances to the hospital on residential streets and expand the major institution boundaries across Sand Point Way. The Federation asked that the alternatives proposed by Children’s in its concept plan be rejected outright and should not be considered for study in the environmental impact statement (EIS). The Federation endorsed the detailed alternatives submitted by the Laurelhurst Community Club as well as the scoping comments submitted by that group and asked that the Laurelhurst alternatives be studied in the EIS.

5. First United Methodist Church: On September 11, Marietta Foubert testified and submitted written comments on behalf of the Federation supporting several points for assuring historic preservation of the First United Methodist Church.

6. Funding for Bitter Lake Hub Urban Village Linden Avenue North Improvements: On August 7, the Federation wrote to the Mayor and City Council requesting funding for infrastructure improvements in the Broadview, Bitter lake, Haller Lake Neighborhood Plan. The Federation cited numerous reasons to justify the expenditures.

7. Proposed changes to ethics rules: The Federation submitted extensive comments on proposed changes to Seattle’s ethics rules suggesting several amendments.

8. ProParks Committee: On July 30, 2007, the Federation wrote to Councilmember David Della and members of the Parks, Education, Libraries and Labor Committee enthusiastically endorsing Cindi Barker for a position on the Parks and Green Spaces Levy Oversight Committee.

9. Pedestrian Master Plan: On July 30, 2007, the Federation submitted extensive comments to the Seattle Pedestrian Advisory Group recommending elements to include in the plan to enhance pedestrian safety and make Seattle a more walkable city.

10. Charter amendments: On July 27, 2007, the Federation wrote to the City Council endorsing two proposed charter amendments, one that would establish a clear process for the Mayor’s annual state of the city address to ensure citizen access to the event and full council attendance and the other that would create a preamble to the city’s charter. Both Council President Licata and Councilmember Steinbrueck responded and thanked the Federation.

11. NOAA: On July 27, 2007, the Federation wrote to Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell and Vice Admiral Conrad Lautenbacher supporting keeping NOAA at its Pacific Marine Center on Seattle’s Lake Union. Admiral Lautenbacher responded thanking the Federation for its letter and providing an update on the proposed move. King County Councilmember Larry Phillips also sent the Federation a copy of the letter he wrote supporting the Federation’s position.

Neighbors Opposing Prop. One

This is an impressive flyer from Neighbors Opposing Prop. One, a local group that argues against the proposed road and transit tax, which would, among other things, fund an unacceptable expansion of SR-520 and the interchange with I-5. They are looking for volunteers who could help them and the Sierra Club hand out fliers in the Eastlake neighborhood and other nearby areas, 8:30 a.m. to noon this Saturday, Oct. 20, or other times and days at your convenience. If you would like to help, please contact Fran Conley, 322-0427 or e-mail her at, with a copy to me.

Chris Leman (206) 322-5463


We are a grassroots group of neighbors, and we need your help:

To volunteer a few hours, call 328-4444 or 329-2696. To learn more, please visit

To help get the word out, please make a financial contribution to:
Neighbors Opposing Prop 1
2500 Canterbury Lane East #301
Seattle, WA 98112

[photo of proposed expansion of SR520 through Union Bay]
Do you want this next to the arboretum? VOTE NO ON PROPOSITION 1
This roads plan makes things worse!
NOV. 7th is the only chance citizens will get to SAY NO.

. Increases pollution & dependence on autos without solving congestion.
. Traffic jams are moved from SR-520 to I-5, not eliminated.
. There is no commitment to use rapid bus lanes.

. A 13-lane wide bridge across Portage Bay.
. A 15-lane wide bridge over and through the Arboretum.
. More cars will fill Seattle streets.
. More problems for bicycles and pedestrians.

. High, wide and totally out of scale concrete structures near our homes.
. More cut-through traffic on our neighborhood streets.
. More noise and air pollution in our neighborhoods.

. No one elected person is in charge. Oversight by committee won't work.
. If costs go up, the taxes can continue indefinitely. It's a blank check!
. If Prop 1 passes, no additional citizen votes are needed to impose tolls, change designs, or change which roads actually get built.

. Prop 1 provides $1 billion for expanding 520 - total costs will likely be $6 billion.
. Tolls on the 520 bridge are planned, and additional taxes not yet identified will be needed.
. It uses up our region's taxing capacity without addressing other big transportation projects that need to get done. like fixing bridges.

. Prop 1 forces one vote on a plan for both roads and Sound Transit.
. Sound Transit can come back on the ballot at the next election.

This roads plan makes things worse!



Support Neighborhood-friendly Development!

The Dearborn Street Coalition for Livable Neighborhoods (DSCLN) has a simple mission: to provide an effective voice for the community in response to the proposal to redevelop the Goodwill site at Rainier Ave and Dearborn Street in Little Saigon. We are pro development and do not oppose the redevelopment of this site. We simply request that it be done in a manner that is respectful of the nearby small business districts and surrounding residential neighborhoods. We are for healthy urban neighborhoods, sustainable development, affordable housing, a vibrant local economy, transit and pedestrian priorities, family wage jobs, neighborhoods having a voice in the development process, and development that is consistent with the City’s Comprehensive Plan. Our broad community coalition is resolute in its call for an improved proposal for the Goodwill site.
The current proposal for redeveloping the Goodwill site
The City of Seattle is currently reviewing a proposal by shopping mall developer TRF Pacific to redevelop the Goodwill site into a regional shopping mall. If approved by the City Council, this proposal will create over 700,000 square feet of commercial space (over 2/3 the size of Northgate Mall), 2,200 underground parking spaces (21 acres), and approximately 500 housing units on the 4-block site with building heights of almost 100 feet on Dearborn Street. The project has met with opposition from a large and growing number of groups who have organized into the Dearborn Street Coalition for Livable Neighborhoods (DSCLN). Our main concerns with the proposal are:
1. the overwhelming size of the project,
2. the traffic issues it will bring to the area, and
3. the suburban mall character with its emphasis on big-box and national chain stores.

We want the site developed, however the current proposal:
• does not fit the scale and character of the area,
• does not reflect the unique cultural diversity of the surrounding urban neighborhoods,
• is a threat to our local shopping districts (such as Little Saigon and 23rd/Jackson),
• is inconsistent with the City's Comprehensive Plan and codes, and
• is inconsistent with our own neighborhood plans.

DSCLN believes there are better uses for the Goodwill site than that currently proposed by TRF Pacific.
Current Status
Since the developer is moving ahead with a proposal that we cannot support, we are using the city's land-use processes to address the concerns of the community, and to advocate for a development that is more consistent with the city's comprehensive plan, codes, and the scale and character of the surrounding neighborhoods. The city's land use process exist for the purposes of ensuring a development project is a good project for the surrounding area and for the city as a whole, through a process that allows for public participation. To make sure that this project is consistent with the surrounding neighborhoods and good for the city, we are obligated to participate fully in this process in order to affect the developer’s proposal.
A Better Project
We believe there is an opportunity for a better development to emerge from this process - one that serves the needs of Goodwill, preserves the character and cultural diversity of the area, and provides for healthier local economic activity. In the scenario that Council does not approve the developer’s proposal, we are developing an alternate proposal for the site that will be both financially viable and meet the Coalition’s vision for the area.
We have a real opportunity to influence an outcome that will define the quality and livability of our neighborhoods for decades to come.
Dearborn Street Coalition for Livable Neighborhoods (DSCLN) is:
Vietnamese American Economic Development Association (VAEDA)
Inter*Im Community Development Assn
International District Housing Alliance (IDHA)
Vietnamese-American Bar Association of WA
Jackson Place Community Council (JPCC)
Squire Park Community Council (SPCC)
Beacon Alliance of Neighbors (BAN)
North Beacon Hill Community Council
Yesler Terrace Community Council
Coleman Neighborhood Association
Beacon Hill Pedestrian Task Force
Beacon Ridge Improvement Council
Seattle Central Area Chamber of Commerce (SCACC)
Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE)
Central Area Motivation Program (CAMP)
Minority Executive Directors Coalition (MEDC)
Unite HERE (Hotel & Restaurant Employees) local 8
Service Employees International Union (SEIU) local 6
United Food & Commercial Workers (UFCW) local 21
Laborers Northwest Regional Organizing Coalition
Friends of Seattle
Puget Sound Sage
Community Coalition for Environmental Justice (CCEJ)
Church Council of Greater Seattle (CCGS)
Puget Sound Alliance for Retired Americans (PSARA)
Seattle Displacement Coalition
Tenants Union
Community Coalition on Contracts and Jobs
Seattle Vocational Institute - Pre-Apprenticeship Training Program
Contractors Resource Center
LELO – Legacy of Equality, Leadership and Organizing
Coalition of Anti-Racist Whites (CARW)
Real Change
Casa Latina
African Youth United
Lutheran Public Policy Office
Wedgwood Action Group
Fremont Neighborhood Council
Pine Olive Way Howell Triangle Area (POWHAT)

Saturday, July 21, 2007


Regular Meeting
NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency), Pacific Marine Center on Lake Union
1801 Fairview Avenue East
Thursday, July 26, 2007


Quarterly Round Robin on Neighborhood Projects and Issues
Continued from June

The July Federation meeting will continue our discussion of important issues facing neighborhoods throughout Seattle. Share your story about issues or projects in your neighborhood. Brainstorm about solutions and/or garner support for your community’s position. If you have informational materials you would like distributed at the meeting, please email electronic copies or links to Jeannie Hale at

7:00 Call to Order and Introductions

1. Changes to the agenda
2. Treasurer’s report
3. President’s report

7:15 Federation Annual Picnic

7:25 Issues and Projects:
1. Zoo garage Follow up—Irene Wall
2. Broadview Land Use Issue—Gloria Butts
3. Funding (or lack of) for Seattle Police Department Accident Investigation Squad
4. Parks and Recreation Strategic Business Plan Progress Report—Lynn Ferguson
5. Elements for Pedestrian Master Plan Follow-up—Jorgen Bader
6. Proposed Changes to Seattle’s Ethics Code
7. Port Commissioner Questionnaire—Geof Logan
8. Magnuson Park—Conversion of temporary, transitional housing to permanent housing
9. QFC on Stone Way—DPD’s failure to enforce the Land Use Code
10. Alaskan Way Viaduct
11. Other Issues/Projects

9:00 Adjourn

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 to be added to the entry list. No e-mail? Call 206-365-1267. The building is ADA compliant, with ample parking in front.

SNC July 14 Meeeting Summary

By popular request, a summary of the July 14th Seattle Neighborhood Coalition meeting with Krista Camenzind discussing election reform. This summary contains selections from a two-hour discussion. This is an interpretive, not a verbatim, account, intended to give only a sense of the discussion.

As the cost of running for office skyrockets, candidates spend more of their time dialing for dollars and less of their time talking to potential voters. With so much money in play, it's hard to resist the conclusion that our democracy is for sale. In 2005, candidates running for Seattle City Council raised an average of $250,000 and those running this year are on pace to raise that much or more before November. After raising so much money, elected officials may feel more beholden to the people who wrote them large checks than to the people who voted for them. There are many highly qualified people who might run for office, but must work to support themselves and a family plus raise money to get their message out. The concept of grass roots campaigning in large geographic or population areas has become almost impossible. Krista Camenzind, with Washington Public Campaigns discussed successful efforts in Maine and Arizona to implement campaign finance reform. Joining her was to be Casey Corr, former writer for the Seattle Times, who was to talk about his experience running for Seattle City Council (and the difficulties of raising $232,000) in 2005. At the last minute Casey wasn’t able to attend, but his excellent article written for Crosscut is still available on line. It is unfortunate that all too often the criteria for evaluating a candidate is more about a candidates ability to raise money than their character, experience or qualifications. The media frequently discusses a candidates potential in terms directly proportional to fundraising. While it’s statistically true, those with the most money often get elected, the skills involved in raising money bear very little correlation to how effective a candidate might be in public office. Is campaign reform our best chance of electing highly qualified people?

Krista Camenzind volunteers for Washington Public Campaigns, a statewide organization, affiliated with a national movement to create legislation that will enable a publicly funded candidate to compete with candidates who are well funded. On a state level, both Maine and Arizona have passed legislation, which offers a campaign financing reform process that is completely voluntary. It allows candidates who don’t want to engage in the race to raise money a better chance of competing. Simply, the reform gives candidates a choice of whether to take a pledge of accepting no more than $5.00 donations per individual and not using private money or raising money in the traditional way. If they choose the voluntary reform process and get a sufficient quota of $5.00 donations they then become eligible for public funding up to a specific limit. The size or population of their district would determine the quota they must achieve and the amount they receive. Since the reform offers a choice, incumbents who prefer the traditional system aren’t affected in any way and can raise money in compliance with existing laws. But, of course, they receive no public funding. The reform movement uses the word “clean elections” to infer the candidate uses clean money that comes with no strings or obligations to any lobbyist or any specific constituency or corporation. Washington Public Campaigns ( needs volunteers; money and your support to wrestle our government back from special interests. Contact their web site for how you can help. It’s as easy as signing a petition to show your interest, giving money or your time. Those present at this meeting voted to give support and endorse Washington Public Campaigns efforts to reform election funding.

Within 50 states and thousands of cities, election laws differ. Each may well prepare legislation that suits their needs. Maine passed a full funding option in 1996 and Arizona passed a similar funding option in 1998. Both have found it highly successful although small tweaks might be necessary to address some unanticipated circumstances. In 2004 77% of Maine’s House and 83% of their Senate races were elected using only clean money. The elected office holders were from both parties and were about evenly split. Washington Public Campaigns is a nonprofit organization formed to carry the message that we can change how campaigns are run, and they have brought that message to our legislature. So far Washington State Legislature has not passed enabling legislation. Washington Public Campaigns is currently circulating a citizen’s petition that will tell to our legislators that the people are enthusiastic about reform. They hope to gather 20,000 signatures by Labor Day. They may at some future date move forward with a State Initiative if the legislature drags its feet too long. Washington Public Campaigns has supported and will support three bills in the state legislature: 1) a local option bill that would allow local jurisdictions to implement a system of publicly financed campaigns if they choose, 2) a judicial bill that would stem the flood flowing into Supreme Court races, and 3) a statewide bill that would introduce a new system of publicly financed campaigns along the model of Maine and Arizona. There is currently a federal campaign finance reform bill before the US Congress. In the Senate it’s called the Fair Elections Now Act (S. 936) and in the House it’s called the clean Money Clean elections Act (H.R. 1614).

For statewide reform, no one can predict an exact amount at this point in time because it would be impossible to know how many candidates would choose the program and how many would continue with the traditional election system of raising money. But based on what was spent in Washington State in 2004, $3.36 per state resident every year would be enough to pay for all statewide races. It is considered a small price to pay for not having special interest groups control who is elected in the State. A distinct advantage of the reform is that candidates will be able to spend less time dialing for dollars and more time talking directly with their prospective constituents. One of the great challenges to the first time candidate when facing an incumbent is doing the research on all the current issues. Since they do not have a staff to prepare briefing books it is very difficult to learn the job and spend half of each day on the phone raising money, in addition to earning a living if they are not independently wealthy.

There were a number of very pointed questions from the audience asking questions about very specific details of how the system will work. The only answers that could be given were how Maine and Arizona have dealt with those issues. Washington’s legislature hasn’t yet passed any legislation, so a specific answer is impossible. For example, Maine and Arizona have modified their initial legislation to make the dispersal of funds more timely. When the system was first instituted, traditionally funded candidates would spend big money for last minute TV or other media advertising and the publicly funded candidate didn’t have the funds to respond. Maine and Arizona responded to this problem and made it possible for candidates to receive funds quickly, especially in the last days of a campaign. There are, and will be, other details that must be written into new legislation to cover other issues.

Currently there are individuals in both parties who believe the partisan party structure will be weakened if election reform is realized. Because both parties have access to public funds, and because there is no obligation to join the program, the objection may be due to not wanting any change at all to a system that has had an iron grip on all political activity. While the strong two party system has served America for may years, there are those who believe that both dominant parties have become increasingly polarized and don’t represent mainstream American ideology well. Since election reform is party-neutral, it would appear that party opposition would reflect that the political party is more interested in retaining its power than encouraging the best, most qualified candidates to run for office.

There appears little doubt that professional lobbyists, and the interests they represent, will do everything possible to prevent clean election reform from occurring. The legislators they have funded most heavily will no doubt be leading the resistance to campaign reform. Whether it be Microsoft, medical high tech companies, Boeing, road builders, realtors, insurance companies, developers, Master builders, attorneys or hundreds of other smaller businesses, they all have a vested interest in using their influence to control legislation. Some have speculated that the auto industry could have lowered emissions and improved gas mileage decades ago had the industry not prevented more stringent regulation.

In a country where all too few people even vote, and average citizens have come to believe that they are so disenfranchised that it is pointless to participate in the democracy that define our lives, it’s hard to be critical of any honest attempt to improve our election systems. We sometimes complain about those we elect, but feel changing the system impossible. Washington Public Campaigns is a small nonprofit organization with no apparent agenda other than bringing clean government to the people. They face an uphill battle trying to change a political system and structure that has evolved into a governmental system that represents corporations and wealth more than the vast body of Americans who are more interested in their families and survival in a changing world. What makes the concept of Clean Elections so brilliant is that it doesn’t force those who like the traditional fund raising systems to change. It is free choice. The only potential downside will come in two basic areas. One is the details of the actual legislation. The opposition will likely make every attempt to weaken it, as they are now methodically doing in Washington State’s excellent public disclosure laws. The other problem to work out is the possible need to vastly improve our campaign monitoring ability. Fund raising and tracking of campaign money and expenditures will require far more sophistication in monitoring. Computer data management and accounting systems will likely need to be brought to a much higher level to prevent cheating. We don’t yet know, for example, exactly how in-kind donations will be handled. Let’s imagine that a candidate, regardless of whether they choose traditional funding or public funding, cheats. Let’s further speculate that the cheating isn’t discovered until well after the vote and the cheater holds office. How will we deal with the penalty? Will the cheater be removed from office? Will the cheater be given a minor fine? Will the runner-up win? Will the penalty be severe? Will the cheater be required to pay back the money? Will the political majority be able to pardon the culprit or wave the penalty? Whatever the penalty it needs to be effective enough to make compliance with the law effective. Washington Public Campaigns is a true grass roots effort to change the process of funding elections and improving the chances of under funded, but qualified candidates to run for office. Give them your support. Consider signing up on their web site now. It also wouldn’t hurt to call those who provide your news and tell them to stop making judgments on the quality of candidates by how much money they have raised.

Kent Kammerer

Seattle Neighborhood Coalition



Sponsored by the Seattle Community Council Federation

Thank you for offering yourself for service on the City Council! We invite you to fill out this questionnaire; the results will be posted at Please circle Y (Yes) or N (No) -- or explain on the back why you did not do so. You are also encouraged to e-mail your answers (and any questions) to, but we require a signed paper copy of this questionnaire, so please send by U.S. mail to SCCF, 1711 N. 122nd St, Seattle WA 98133-7714.

1. Some City Council legislation is passed without being referred to and discussed in a committee. Do you support changes in the Council rules to require (except in cases when the Council specifically declares that it cannot meet this requirement and in routine cases such as the payroll bill) that passage of legislation must be preceded by referral to a committee? Y N

2. Do you oppose holding any City Council retreat or other Council meeting outside the Seattle city limits (except in the case of emergency)? Y N

3. City Council meetings are only rebroadcast once at midnight and at 5 a.m. Do you support restoring coverage in the evening and on weekends at times that are more convenient to citizens? Y N

4. Do you favor placing before the voters a City Charter amendment establishing an independently elected City Auditor and City Treasurer? Y N

5. As is currently required of other department heads, would you favor placing before the voters a City Charter amendment requiring City Council reconfirmation of the Police Chief every four years? Y N

6. As is currently required of other department heads, would you favor placing before the voters a City Charter amendment requiring City Council reconfirmation of the Fire Chief every four years? Y N

7. The City currently has a “customer service bureau” to help citizens get information, solve problems, or resolve complaints regarding city departments. Do you support establishing an independent “ombudsman” office that could investigate, resolve and report on citizen complaints? Y N

8. During most of Seattle’s history, citizens had access to Law Department opinions (except in pending lawsuits) that were published in bound volumes. The current City Attorney, Mayor, and City Council now release few legal opinions, even when requested to do so, making it unlikely that errors will be caught early and before expensive litigation. Do you support restoring citizen access to the City’s legal opinions except in pending lawsuits? Y N

9. A growing number of City agencies that are not in the Mayor’s office are being renamed to make them sound like they are: Mayor's Office for Senior Citizens, Mayor's Office for Arts and Culture, Mayor's Customer Service Bureau, etc. Do you oppose politicization of these offices and do you support legislation to remove the reference to the Mayor in the name of any City agency except those actually in the Office of the Mayor? Y N

10. The City’s official newspaper (for notices) is the Daily Journal of Commerce, which is expensive and difficult to obtain. Do you support altering the City’s annual decision process for determining the City’s official newspaper to require that all official city notices be available at no cost online? Y N

11. Current Seattle City policy allows automatic erasure of most e-mails after 45 days, requires the recording-over (erasure) of backups, and allows archiving decisions to be made by those who wrote the e-mails. Do you support a new policy to ensure that e-mails are not erased without a more selective process for determining which should be saved, and that archiving decisions about e-mails be made by someone other than those who wrote them? Y N

12. The parks and open space levy is expiring next year. Do you favor putting before the voters a new levy for parks and open space? Y N

13. Do you oppose the use and control of public parks and recreation facilities by private or non-profit sports organizations who charge for their use? Y N

14. For the transportation levy-funded Neighborhood Street Fund, do you support restoring annual district council ratings and eliminating the requirement that projects be large ones, and do you oppose SDOT’s effort to restrict the next three years of funding to applications that were received in May 2007? Y N

15. Extra-heavy transit and solid waste vehicles are damaging Seattle's roads and bridges. Do you support City actions and legislation discouraging their use? Y N

16. Non-arterial streets are about 70 percent of the City’s center-line mileage. Their repair backlog will cost about two thirds as much as the repair backlog for arterials. Yet the City’s recently approved 9-year transportation levy is budgeting almost nothing for their repair. Do you support allocating more of these levy funds to non-arterial street repair? Y N

17. Are you opposed to using special property tax levies and bond issues as a means for funding basic services, such as street and parks maintenance, police, fire, etc.? Y N

18. Do you favor some kind of permit system for tree removal, as used in many other cities? Y N

19. Development throughout the city has led to dramatic losses of large, mature trees and green space. Do you favor “one-to-one” tree replacement or a similar requirement? Y N

20. Considerably more than half of Seattle police officers and fire fighters do not live within the Seattle city limits. Do you favor financial assistance and incentives to encourage these and other direct service employees to live within City limits? Y N

21. Given the cost of new city services that would be needed by the White Center/Highline area if it were annexed to the City of Seattle, do you oppose this proposed annexation? Y N

22. Do you oppose use of eminent domain to condemn private property that would be resold to and redeveloped by non-governmental corporations or non-profit organizations? Y N

23. Are you opposed to up-zoning current Single Family neighborhoods to multi-family? Y N

24. Do you support proposals to address the proliferation of mega-houses in single-family zones that have resulted in the loss of more affordable housing and open space? Y N

25. Do you favor amending the multi-family land use code to require more setbacks and open space than currently? Y N

26. The Mayor withdrew his earlier proposal to charge developers an impact fee for street, transit, and open space needs. Do you support a proposal of this kind? Y N

27. The Mayor has proposed raising the City’s “categorical exemption” thresholds under the State Environmental Policy Act, allowing buildings larger than current ones to be exempted from “white board” notices, citizen appeal rights, or landmarks review. The thresholds would be raised even higher in urban villages and urban centers, reducing current protections where growth is most prevalent. Do you oppose these changes? Y N

28. Neighborhood plans were developed so urban villages and urban centers could grow in ways reflecting their individual nature and conditions. But in recent years, the City Council has imposed on all urban villages and centers some citywide changes, such as reduced parking, open space requirements, and increased heights. Do you oppose these changes and support allowing the neighborhood plans to determine the conditions in each urban village and urban center? Y N

29. Some neighborhood plans need to be updated, and areas lacking a neighborhood plan need one. Some within the City bureaucracy want these new or updated neighborhood plans done by City staff, instead of continuing the model that created current neighborhood plans through City- funded volunteer planning committees, contracts, performance standards and oversight. Do you support continuation of this successful grassroots model for developing neighborhood plans? Y N

30. In recent legislatures, a bill has been introduced that would allow King County and the state to impose new housing and commercial construction targets for Seattle and other urban areas, beyond what is required in the City comprehensive plan and neighborhood plans, and without requiring additional investment in parks and other facilities that keep a neighborhood livable. The bill would give the state the power to withhold transportation and other revenues to force obedience to these targets. Do you oppose this legislation? Y N

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Cities copied 'Seattle Way' in planning - P-I

Former Seattle Neighborhoods chief Jim Diers got his start as a community activist in Rainier Valley, where he still lives.

Cities copied 'Seattle Way' in planning


Jim Diers isn't talking about beer when he uses the term bottom-up, though the easy-going former director of Seattle's Department of Neighborhoods wouldn't mind having one.

He's talking about what cities such as Melbourne, Australia, Beijing and Austin, Texas, are calling "The Seattle Way" -- a grass-roots, from-the-ground-up style of neighborhood planning and development as opposed to a city government-directed "top down" process.

The former works, the latter doesn't, as far as Diers is concerned.
But while other cities try to emulate Seattle by encouraging neighborhood involvement, he said last week that the Emerald City has moved away from the very strategies that made it a global model.

"Neighbors getting involved with each other and with city processes is a movement everywhere, but it seems like Seattle is going backwards," he said, in town between international and domestic speaking gigs about improving city planning.

"Cities all over the world want to do things the Seattle way. I wish our city did."

Diers, author of "Neighbor Power: Building Community the Seattle Way," acknowledges his concern may sound like sour grapes. He was the first department head fired by Mayor Greg Nickels when Nickels took office, ending Diers' popular 14-year leadership in the department, which grew under three previous mayors.

Appointed by Charles Royer, re-hired by Norm Rice and significantly bolstered by Paul Schell, Diers in the late 1990s oversaw the development and implementation of 38 neighborhood plans -- and as many parks, beautification, community, street improvement, and other civic projects as funding allowed.

"It's the mayor's prerogative to make changes, and he wanted to go in a different direction," Tim Ceis, deputy mayor under Nickels, acknowledged Thursday.

"Jim created a fine model, but the mayor felt there needed to be a broadening of participation, that in 14 years the city had become much more diverse and there were people excluded from the (neighborhood) planning process."

Nickels created a race and social justice initiative to spur more diversity; those who replaced Jim Diers as department head -- Yvonne Sanchez, Bernie Matsuno (acting), and now Stella Chao -- are minorities.

"Mr. Diers disagreed with the decision and was pretty vocal at the time," Ceis said. "But he's moved on, we've moved on -- everybody has."

But Diers, a longtime neighborhood activist, who for over 30 years lived in the most culturally and socio-economically diverse area of the city -- Southeast Seattle -- considers himself and his neighborhood efforts broadly inclusive.

The mayor "wants more control" of what goes on in neighborhoods, Diers said recently. "I'm helping other cities set up programs that this mayor's (Nickels) walking away from."

The direction of the neighborhood movement in Seattle troubles Diers, who says he "was as shocked as everybody else" when then-Mayor Charles Royer appointed him as director of the new Department of Neighborhoods in 1988. Passionate about neighborhood issues, he said he admits he wasn't exactly Mr. Rogers.

He recalled in the 1980s being among activists who, in a push for a greater say in the city's then-booming development, "released a live chicken in Charley's (Royer's) office and picketed his house," Diers said.

"He (Royer) was concerned that the process of developing neighborhood plans would benefit the more affluent neighborhoods, who tend to be more organized," Diers recalls. "He also was concerned about NIMBYism (Not In My Back Yard) and the neighborhood matching fund rewarding richer communities at the expense of less privileged ones."

But that didn't happen. Instead, allowing neighborhoods to direct some of their own priorities "resulted in a whole different kind of planning," Diers said.

"Before, there had been an adversarial relationship between neighborhoods and the city; the focus was on problems, and neighborhoods depending on the city to solve the problems," Diers said. "I still hear this everywhere I go: city officials say, 'Why do we have to listen to them (neighborhood activists); they're a pain in the butt.' And residents would get distrustful of government."

Diers said while he is a strong believer in government responsibility, "it can't do everything alone."

"If you truly believe in democracy, the problem isn't neighborhood activists, the problem is too few neighborhood activists," he said. "The challenge then and now is ... how can the city better tap into the artists, planners, architects, youths, seniors, disabled, immigrants and all the others with something to contribute?"

That philosophy yielded a model of civic partnerships, hence global invitations to Diers to speak.

After Diers spoke to community leaders in Austin in May, Austin Chronicle columnist Katherine Gregor wrote, "While enlightenment is perfect on Puget Sound, of course, over the past decade Seattle has demonstrated an impressive commitment to real neighborhood empowerment. Our sister progressive city has developed many successful policies and practices that deserve close study -- as models that could accelerate improvements to neighborhood planning here in Austin."
P-I reporter Debera Carlton Harrell can be reached at 206-448-8326 or



June 28, 2007

Council President Nick Licata
Seattle City Council
600 Fourth Avenue, 2nd Floor
P.O. Box 34025
Seattle, Washington 98124-4025

RE: Public input before on-the-ground changes are made to implement the Bicycle Master Plan

Dear Council President Licata:

The Seattle Community Council Federation recommends that your legislation adopting the Seattle Bicycle Master Plan contain a section requiring notice to the neighborhood community council and to the affected abutters offering them an opportunity for public input before changes are painted or constructed on the ground of the roadways.

At its May 24th meeting, the Federation heard a presentation on the Bicycle Master Plan. The plan calls for 249 miles of bicycle lanes and 18 miles of bicycle boulevards. According to the presentation, the Seattle Department of Transportation will take approval of the plan as a go-ahead to implement it. If restriping is involved, neighbors will be told to have their cars out of the way on the day. No other notice will be given to them. No community input will be solicited from the neighborhood on restricting parking; and no objections from neighbors will be considered on elements of the plan.

At our June 2nd workshop, we voted to request that your enabling legislation provide for notice and an opportunity to comment. The opportunity to comment on the plan as a whole as shown on the internet falls far short of telling a community council that these significant changes will occur in their neighborhood or of informing. Abutters will have no notice that they will lose the parking in front of their home; businesses will have no recourse if they are forced to lose their loading zone; and motorists will not know that the lanes that they drive every day will be narrowed. Yet, the plan makes those kinds of changes. These community concerns should be heard and considered before the changes are made to the roadway.

Notice and an opportunity to comment will strengthen the Bicycle Master Plan and will generate greater acceptance and respect for the plan. Thank you for considering the recommendations of the Seattle Community Council Federation.


Jeannie Hale, President
3425 West Laurelhurst Drive NE
Seattle, Washington 98105
206-525-5135 / fax 206-525-9631

cc: Megan Hoyt, Seattle Department of Transportation



July 19, 2007

Bill Huennekens
Superintendent of Elections
King County
500 Fourth Avenue, Room 553
Seattle, Washington 98104

RE: Touch Screen Voting

Dear Mr. Huennekens:

At its June meeting, Seattle Community Council Federation community representatives discussed touch screen voting using AVU (Accessible Voting Unit) machines and agreed upon this recommendation: voting must provide a paper ballot that the voter can handle before it is counted.

During your presentation about mail-in voting and touch screen voting to the Federation in May, you indicated that King County is committed to the current process with AVU machines through April 2007 and to mail-in voting for the 2008 primary and general elections with supplemental regional voting centers. Our June newsletter (enclosed) summarizes the discussion. After your presentation, the Federation voted to reaffirm its earlier stand that Seattle will need at least ten in-person polling places scattered throughout the city.

In June, the Federation also discussed using the current AVU machines at the “regional polling places.” The AVU machines have a printout within the security canister, but the voter has no opportunity to mark the ballot directly before voting, nor does the voter get a printout to view during the process of voting. A voter can only see his or her ballot by looking through the small window in the security canister below the keypad, and few do. The print is too small for older eyes and nothing tells voters to look there to verify the ballot. In contrast, voters using ACCU-vote machines have paper ballots that they can handle and review before insertion into the machine for counting.

The ability to handle paper is important. People are used to voting by paper and many (especially older voters who do not have computers at home) are uncomfortable with electronic voting. Paper ballots allow voters to skip over an issue or candidate race leaving that portion of the ballot blank for the moment, and then come back afterwards to fill in the blank areas. Electronic voting is not nearly as convenient for that. Paper ballots let a voter glance at his or her ballot as a whole and recheck it at a glance whether something is awry. Paper ballots provide an audit trail. A paper ballot properly prepared by the voter is independent of the voting machine; a printout inside the security canister depends on the machine, and malfunctions or manipulation of the machine impeaches the integrity of the ballot. Paper ballots are also quicker, e.g. when the supply of paper ballots ran out at the Bryant Elementary School in the November 2006 elections, lines formed for the AVU machine and some voters left rather than endure the long wait. Interviews about the 2006 election revealed that after some voters chose to try the AVU machine they disliked it as awkward. Paper ballots are much more amenable to write-in voting, and gives the voter greater confidence in the integrity of the election process.

Democracy demands the casting of one's vote in an election be free of doubt, ambiguity or third-party interference. Citizens deserve a voting system with stringent protections to protect the integrity of the election process. The touch-screen electronic voting system must undergo a critical, broad-spectrum analysis of advantages and disadvantages, and its potential impact upon voting, voter turnout and voter confidence in election results. Our current dilemma is the thrust of vote-counting, and-sorting machines which have rendered the practice of unencumbered public elections as something of a mirage. A paper ballot accompanied by an audit trail is the solution.

We urge King County to move its touch screen voting to machines which give voters a paper printout that they can review before inserting into a counting machine or before they touch the “confirmed” space shown on the screen. We acknowledge that some of the voters who are at ease with computers prefer touch screen voting and that many disabled voters would rather vote unaided with AVU machine than call on assistance from election officials. A preliminary printout would allow those voters an added option for reviewing their ballots and assure an audit trail. Until machines that give out a printed ballot are in use, we feel that those voters who would like to use a paper ballot at the “regional polling places” should be entitled to vote in that manner using a process like that of the ACCU-vote machine.

Thank you for considering the views of the Seattle Community Council Federation.


Jeannie Hale, President
3425 West Laurelhurst Drive NE
Seattle, Washington 98105
206-525-5135 / fax 206-525-9631

cc: Secretary of State Sam Reed, Attorney General Rob McKenna