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

FEDERATION Complete Streets Ordinance, Ordinance 122386 LETTER


June 28, 2007

Councilmember Jan Drago, Chair
Transportation Committee and
Members of the Committee
699 4th Avenue, 2nd Floor
P.O. Box 34025
Seattle, Washington 98124-4025

RE: Complete Streets Ordinance, Ordinance 122386

Dear Councilmembers Drago, Steinbrueck, Rasmussen, Godden and Conlin:

We urge you to repeal Section 3 of Ordinance 122386, which gives trucking absolute priority over all other uses and users in the design and layout of Seattle’s bridges across waterways and on its major arterials. Section 3 states:

“Because freight is important to the basic economy of the City and has unique right-of-way needs to support that role, freight will be the major priority on streets classified as Major Truck Streets. Complete Street Improvements that are consistent with freight mobility but also support other modes may be considered on these streets.” (emphasis supplied)

These two sentences place moving freight before moving people in emergency vehicles or on public transit. “Major Truck Streets” include the bridges over Seattle’s waterways, its freeways and major arterials, connecting arterials, and Alaskan Way and Western Avenue downtown—in fact, the most traveled streets throughout Seattle used by buses, emergency vehicles, cars, bicycles and the RTA.

Section 3 will control the allocation of roadway space, signalization, painting and striping and construction of new roadways as well as reconstruction of our existing ones, and will shape the master plans for cycling, transit, pedestrians (now in progress) and the City’s growth management plan. It has these major impacts:

1) Section 3 impairs transit only lanes during peak hours such as are found on Aurora Avenue North and HOV lanes like those on NE Pacific Street by the University Medical Center. Trucks prefer the curb land for the convenience of loading and unloading goods. Those are the very lanes needed by transit and emergency vehicles for boarding.

2) Section 3 impairs signalization to disfavor buses and emergency vehicles. Many cities equip buses and emergency vehicles to preempt traffic signals so that they can go through without waiting. That may be an inconvenience to truckers coming from a different direction. In conferring “the major priority” upon truckers, Section 3 lets them demand similar devices to seize the right of way.

3) Section 3 preempts master planning for transit, bicycles and pedestrians, which is now underway. Transit and cyclists use—and need—to use bridges and level arterials. In fact, the proposed Bicycle Master Plan calls for the use of Shilshole Avenue, NE Pacific Street, Westlake, Mercer and Valley, Alaskan Way, Western, Dearborn, West Marginal Way and Fauntleroy Way, among other streets classified as Major Truck Streets. To even be considered in their design or for future use, METRO, cyclists and pedestrians will need to prove to Seattle’s Department of Transportation (already heavily oriented to cars and trucks) that their use would be consistent with trucking. The Benson Street Car Line may never get back on track. Pedestrians enjoy the Alaskan Way waterfront, a gateway to Sculpture Gardens Park. Street beautification (such as tree planting and artworks) does not by their nature support other modes of travel and may not even be considered on Major Truck Streets.

4) Section 3 conflicts with transit only lanes on I-90 and HOV lanes on I-5 and SR 520 unless trucks get equal usage. I-5, I-90 and SR 520 are all Major Truck Streets. Seattle will now align itself with the Port of Seattle in seeking use of HOV lanes for heavy trucks—an idea opposed by environmentalists, car poolers and METRO.

5) Section 3’s truck preference contradicts the Bridging the Gap levy adopted as Ordinance 122232 last November. Section 6 of the levy emphasizes transit, bicycle, pedestrian and safety improvements and maintenance and management of streets for multiple uses (including urban forestry). It makes no mention of trucking preference. To build support, the City Council had passed Resolution 30915. It contains an attachment, Version 3, which declares as its guiding principle: “To design, operate and maintain Seattle’s streets to promote safe and convenient access and travel for all users; pedestrians, bicyclists, transit riders, and disabled users as well as cars and trucks.” Freight is one of the many uses. It made planning subject to the overriding principle that “in each case user needs must be balanced.” As long as Section 3 remains, City government will be misusing Bridging the Gap levy moneys in spending it on Major Truck Streets since the design would not be balanced as the levy calls for.

6) Section 3 will cost voter support for the Regional Transportation Improvement District Levy. That levy would raise sales taxes paid by the general public—not gas taxes paid by highway users. Most of the money would be spent on Major Truck Streets. It thereby taxes the electorate for roadway design and construction that puts trucks ahead of transit and emergency vehicles, demotes their use of improved highways with private cars to
third class status, and precludes non-transportation uses. Its casts a shadow over the effectiveness of the transit moneys.

7) Section 3 contradicts Seattle’s comprehensive plan, which emphasizes transit. It is a de facto plan amendment and should only have been considered through the plan amendment process. That process was not considered or followed.

8) The inclusion of Section 3 violates the Seattle City Charter, Article IV, Section 7, which requires that “Every ordinance shall be clearly entitled and shall contain but one subject, which shall be clearly expressed in its title.” The title of Ordinance 122386 relates to “Seattle Complete Street policy” for planning, designing and constructing street”…to encourage walking, bicycling and transit use while promoting safe operation for all users.” Section 3 makes the title of Ordinance 122386 misleading. It does not mention truck preference at all. Repealing Section 3 furthers the Complete Streets policy as contained in Resolution 30915.

In light of the compelling arguments we have raised, we urge you to reconsider Ordinance 122386 and repeal Section 3. 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

FEDERATION JUNE 28, 2007 Meeting Highlights

JUNE 28, 2007 Meeting Highlights

(These pages are based on the editor's notes --- they are not official minutes),

President’s Report:
The Federation sent a series of six letters to the appropriate officials:
(1) to the Mayor suggesting changes to the major institutions master planning process and the appointment of plan advisory committees;
(2) to the Mayor and Director of Transportation with a draft "Client Assistance Memorandum" to discourage the practice of allowing developers to encroach into street area with walls and fences thereby squeezing pedestrians on the sidewalk and to pedestrian and safety advocate groups about the SDOT practice;
(3) to the King County Superintendent of Elections for at least ten in-person polling places within Seattle when all-mail voting takes effect;
(4) to the City Council asking that notice be sent to the neighborhood community council and to abutters giving an opportunity to comment before painting or reconstructing roadways to displace parking for bike lanes;
(5) to the Planning Commission on incentive zoning as discussed at our earlier meetings; and (6) to congratulate John Barber on his selection to the Park Board.

Parks Strategic Business Plan:
Background: On May 3rd, Parks sent to the Board of Park Commissioners a memorandum, entitled "Strategic Business Plan," contained in our June newsletter, which called for "new and enhanced revenue sources and partnerships" to support programs and services, including re-evaluating services that are supplied by others, granting naming rights for donations, designating "certain parks or portions of parks as revenue generation centers and allowing revenue-generating activities" there, charging market based fees, and maximizing use and "rental revenue through marketing." It recycles ideas that Parks had proposed in a memorandum, dated May 4, 2005, for advertising in City brochures, private sponsorship of events, selling naming rights, upping fees, adding more concessions and game arcades, leasing to private entities, privatization, membership fees, and parking fees. The Federation had responded to the 2005 memorandum with a Policy Framework adopting basic principles for park use; rentals, concessions, for leases and for implementing them.

Citizen Comments ("C") during our discussion:
C-1: Start with our 2005 Policy Framework and update it.
C-2: This is immediate: Arena Sports is seeking Building 27, a large former hangar, at Magnuson Park, as a long-term concession for pay-for-play activities.
C-3: The City is declaring neighborhood parks to be "regional parks" so that it may convert them for tournament play and ignore local comment. It is putting in tower pole, high-intensity lights and artificial turf at neighborhood fields. Wherever either such lighting or artificial turf comes in, the other is sure to follow. Maximum "playable hours” takes both. "Playable hours" does not mean actual hours of use, but hours available for use. In contrast, King County bars high-level lighting from parks in residential areas.
C-4: Artificial turf is hotter on the ground than natural grass. Natural grass can regenerate; the artificial turf cannot be repaired and the whole has to be junked; it can't be reused or recycled. That violates the City's no-waste policy. Artificial turf made of ground up tires releases pollutants through "off gassing" with a distinctive smell. Dogs are not allowed. It traps cigarette ash and air borne dust. It can be like coarse sand to walk on after much usage. Bainbridge Island and New York City have adopted a policy against artificial turf.
C-5: High-intensity lighting is expensive to install, only lasts 8-10 years, and often draws power when the fields are not used, e.g. during downpours, time between play, and cancelled events.
C-6: Active users pay only about 15% of the expense when capital costs are considered. Artificial turf costs about $1,000,000 per field, and lighting costs about $600,000. Subsidizing a concessionaire is very different from helping after school teams or youth leagues. For example, concessionaires charge more for use during peak hours and that forces students into off-hours, yet crime prevention argues for having youth play field sports or work out in gyms during evenings , rather than hanging out on the street.
C-7: The business plan is vague. All sorts of privatization and sweetheart deals can fit under it.
C-8: A parks "enterprise unit" is almost unique to Seattle. Western cities are alert to opportunities for capturing revenue, but park administrators elsewhere abhor the idea of setting up a division just for commercializing and chasing revenue. A single-minded section like that lacks balance and its advocacy over time will diminish the mission of a parks department to provide recreational services for the public and an environmental ambience for the greater community. Making money has a way of trumping public service.
C-9: Parks is moving toward commercializing lower Woodland by Greenlake. Its high- lighted, artificial turf fields are fenced and reserved or scheduled to exclude casual use by the neighborhood., and there are plans for a skateboard facility. The outwash gas goes to Greenlake. The fields are empty on weekends.
C-10: Drop in sports and family picnic games head for natural turf. A different mix of grasses may do better at particular fields; parks standardizes the grass on its fields, but soils conditions and usage differ.
C-11: The Parks department charges $95 for evening use of a meeting room. Some [facilities] waive it for community council public meetings; some don't. The business strategy implies waivers will be harder to get.
C-12: Seattle Prep is proposing to dredge peat at Montlake Playfield and cover it with artificial turf and lighting; it will get priority usage in return. The Montlake Community donated the playfield to the City. Such a "preferred use" violates the spirit of the donation. C-13: Loyal Heights playfield was also donated in the plat, yet Parks put in high-tower lighting and artificial turf. It then called it a "regional playfield" and overrode community objections. The City Auditor came to a community meeting protesting about the Parks action.

Motion passed to send a strong statement about City parks opposing privatization and corporatizing and to update our Policy Framework for submission to appropriate City authorities, and also to appoint a committee to report back at our July meeting.
The Chair appointed volunteers Gloria Butts, Renee' Barton, Lynn Ferguson, Geof Logan, and Chris Leman, with Doris Burns to get a copy and chance to comment before the meeting.

Alaskan Way Viaduct:
The Maritime industry, business associations (Aurora Avenue Merchants Assoc., SODO Business Association, North Seattle Industrial Association), industry (CityIce Cold Storage, Pacific Fishermen Shipyard), unions (Office & Professional Employees, Sailors Union, IAM District Lodge, Seattle ILWU, Boilermakers Union) and community groups (Ballard District Council and Admiral Community Council) wrote to the Governor and key legislators supporting an elevated replacement or retrofitting of the Alaskan Way Viaduct. The Viaduct moves 110,000 vehicles every day of the through traffic and connects Ballard, Magnolia, Queen Anne, and Fremont with West Seattle and Delridge. It is the main way of commerce for maritime industries and the port and replacing it causes the least economic disruption. The City authorized a study of the surface option at a cost of
$8,000,000. The supporters of the surface option are mostly downtown developers, downtown interests, and anti-auto environmentalists.

Elements of a Pedestrian Master Plan:
To get the Pedestrian Master Plan advisory committee started in the right direction, the meeting reviewed a draft of elements for inclusion into the plan

Zoo Garage:
The Phinney Ridge Community Council will be filing an appeal under the State Environmental Policy Act and the Land Use Code from the City's grant of a Master Use Permit for the (710-stall) zoo garage to the Hearing Examiner. DPD requires that the community association first apply for a Code interpretation, which requires a deposit of $2000. The community questions how the City can allow such a large garage in a single- family zone, which strictly limits the size of garages. The Zoo claims approval of its master plan made a de facto rezoning. The Zoo is commercializing its grounds. Or instance, it plans an "events center" like a large banquet hall, a retail store to sell goods, a coffee shop, and a change to the west entry. People will be able to go to the store and coffee shop without entering the zoo.

Motion passed for the Federation to join in the appeal and authorize appropriate letters in support of the Phinney Ridge Community Council.

2007 City Council Candidate Questionnaire:
The Federation prepared a questionnaire with 34 Yes-No questions. Responses will be posted at the Federation website, htttp:// Questions cover:
• City Council procedures; an elected Comptroller/Treasurer;
• reconfirmation of the Police and Fire Chiefs every four years;
• creating an independent ombudsman;
• release of City Attorney opinions;
• on-line publication of official notices;
• public access to public records;
• renewal of the parks and open space levy;
• commercialization of parks;
• restoring the funding of the Neighborhood Street Fund in the Bridging-the-Gap Levy reallocated by SDOT;
• using Levy money for residential streets; the practice of using regular tax moneys for discretionary spending and using special levies for basic services such as streets, police, and fire;
• requiring permits for tree removal;
• the White Center annexation;
• condemnation for private redevelopment;
• up-zoning single family neighborhoods;
• restoring requirements for setbacks and open space;
• impact fees for transit and open space;
• increasing the categorical exemptions to exempt larger projects from environmental review, design review, and appeals to the hearing examiner;
• using the grassroots model for updating neighborhood plans;
• and state legislation letting the State and King County impose growth goals on Seattle.

Waldo Hospital:
The Landmarks Preservation Board voted against designating the former Campfire Girls site on 15th Ave NE in Maple Leaf as a Landmark, although the Boards own staff had recommended designation. It was built as Waldo Hospital and for decades provided osteopathic medicine in a woodsy setting. The Board scheduled one hour for its hearing., then gave the developer 59 minutes to make its appeal from the staff recommendation and the community one minute to speak in favor of it. It voted immediately afterward and did not take time to review exhibits and papers submitted at the hearing.
The developer will save only 6 of the 80 magnificent trees. The Campfire Council had rejected an offer of a buyer willing to save the trees and the building.
The Maple Leaf community is seeking a full environmental impact statement on the project. It cites air pollution from demolition (dust, lead paint, asbestos) that may settle in the adjacent Roosevelt reservoir; impacts to underground springs and drainage to Thornton Creek; loss of a significant urban forest among other issues.

Motion passed authorize letters asking for a fair and balanced process from the Landmarks Preservation Board and for an ordinance amendment requiring the Board to conduct a fair process, hearing from the applicants as well as developers.

South Lake Union Plan:
The Cascade Neighborhood Association got the neighborhood plan to recommend that the City "explore" various elements it advocates. The developers got firm recommendations

Appreciation to Benella Caminiti:
The Federation authorized a letter of appreciation to Benella Caminiti who moved to Lake Stevens. It's like an Oscar for lifetime achievement. Ms. Caminiti championed the public trust doctrine over shorelines and tidelands and her lawsuit helped get it embodied into Washington law. Through another lawsuit, she made plans for development of Discovery Park subject to environmental review processes. She was a leader in the fight to save Lawton Elementary School from a proposed closure. Her research skills and dedication are legendary. Congratulations, Benella!



July 18, 2007

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

RE: Zoo Garage

Dear Council President Licata and Members of the Council:

At its June meeting, the Seattle Community Council Federation took action to join the Phinney Ridge Community Council and Save Our Zoo in their appeal from the Master Use Permit granted by DPD to the Zoo Society for construction of the massive zoo garage. The Federation has been monitoring trends in the management of Seattle’s parks and open space for many years including issues relating to the Zoo.

The Federation is deeply concerned by the implications of a decision to allow such a massive structure to be built in a park. We believe that the Department of Planning and Development (DPD) has put on blinders in order to conclude that this enormous parking garage will have no adverse environmental impacts – including aesthetic impacts – and should be permitted as a customary use in a park. There is no similar parking garage in any park in Seattle and we hope there never will be. We therefore do not want this project to set a precedent of tolerance of commercial uses and building in our parks, merely because they represent a potential to generate revenue. In the case of the zoo garage, the Council’s own staff acknowledges that the garage will be a financial drain on both the City’s general fund and the Zoo Society.

Building this huge garage sets off a cascade of other excesses most notably the plans for the Event Center, an elaborate new entry with a second large gift store and a free standing coffee shop in addition to duplicating other services already in place at the main south entrance. The effects of these projects will be to create large new impervious areas and displacement of many mature trees. These actions are hardly consistent with urgent policies and efforts to preserve what’s left of our urban forest. The actions will ultimately reduce our ecological footprint!

There appears no good reason to go ahead with this controversial project. Zoo visitors continue to park in the existing lots and on the streets as they always have. The funds borrowed for this project should be redirected to meet other looming parks needs as Pro Parks levy dollars are exhausted. The Council recently approved consideration of a Comprehensive Plan amendment to set policy about “parking” uses in parks in part because of the backlash over this garage proposal. The Federation understands that the Council does not wish to undermine the Zoo Management Agreement, however, we question the sincerely of that partnership when the Zoo Society is so unwilling to consider alternatives to this garage despite being asked to do so by a majority of the Council. We ask that the Council resolve to reexamine the Zoo Long Range Physical Development Plan and have an open discussion of the community’s vision for Woodland Park and Zoo and not merely accept the Zoo Society’s capital intensive, commercial development vision.

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