Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Christopher Williams named Acting Parks Superintendent


For Immediate Release Contact: Mark Matassa

April 28, 2010 Tel: (206) 233-2655

Mobile: (206) 604-4072

Christopher Williams named Acting Parks Superintendent

Mayor McGinn appoints department veteran to lead through budget crisis

SEATTLE – Mayor Mike McGinn today named Christopher Williams as Acting Superintendent of Seattle Parks and Recreation, following the resignation on Monday of Superintendent Timothy Gallagher.

Williams, a Parks and Recreation employee for nearly 20 years and the deputy superintendent under Gallagher, will take over management of the department immediately, Mayor McGinn said.

“Like the rest of City government, the Parks Department is facing serious budget challenges. Christopher Williams has been working with my office to address them over the past few weeks, and I’m pleased to have his experience, dedication and management expertise at the helm as we find ways to preserve our excellent parks services,” the mayor said.

Mayor McGinn and Williams both said they were interested in finding budget savings or exploring revenue options that would minimize reductions in Parks and Recreation programs or services.

The mayor and his budget office directed Williams to provide management plans for three potential scenarios, given the city’s budget:

A Parks system that maintains the current array of services and obligations

A Parks system that includes a mix of service reductions or program eliminations in order to operate within the City’s current funding constraints

A Parks system that meets current obligations, including maintenance and operations, and allows Seattle to realize the system’s full potential (use of existing facilities and those expected to come online with the Parks Levy).

Williams, who has worked for the Parks Department since 1992 “in almost every role from safety officer to interim superintendent,” said he was thrilled to receive the appointment after such a long tenure with the city.

“I’m a product of the Parks and Recreation system,” Williams said. “Growing up in Seattle, I played on the athletic fields, participated in the programs. My kid played in the youth basketball program. I’ve seen that Parks and Recreation is the first line of opportunity for vulnerable, disadvantaged people. It can help socialize at-risk youth. It shows the value of community, and the value of volunteerism.”

Williams, 46, was born in Seattle and graduated from Chief Sealth High School. He received an undergraduate business degree from Columbia University, and a master’s degree from Seattle University.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Tim Gallagher, Superintendent Parks & Recreation - Letter of Resignation

April 26, 2010

To: Mayor Mike McGinn

Council President Richard Conlin and Seattle City Council

From: Tim Gallagher, Superintendent Parks & Recreation

Subject: Letter of Resignation

Effective May 10, 2010 I will resign my position as Superintendent of Parks and Recreation for the City of Seattle.

When I decided to return to work in 2007 my decision was based not only on the opportunity to manage one of the great park systems within the United States but my continued concerns with the issues of environmental sustainability and obesity, especially with the long-term health effects towards children. During my time with Seattle I have made those issues a primary effort and one that was recognized by the Seattle public as important.

Further, I worked to develop an organization with a culture of learning and one that placed a value on the systems greatest resource, its employees. I worked to develop and encourage a learning environment within the organization, bringing in new ideas and concepts and tracking the trends and developments in the field, not only in the United States but world-wide. Further, I made an effort to reach out to the public as was evident by my 200 plus after hour public meetings each year.

As with many professions, continuing education is important to not only the sustainability of the profession but the requirement to be up to date. Recently the department sent nearly three dozen employees to the annual Washington Parks and Recreation Society’s annual conference. This is but one example of the many learning experiences and continuing education opportunities that the employees have been provided to attend during my term with the City. The investment in the employees has many positive outcomes, including, but not limited to the development of staff and delivery of services to the public.

I will stand by my efforts to develop this learning environment within the department not just as it relates to the employees but more importantly as it relates to the long-term sustainability of the department. Clearly, the subject of long-term sustainability is one that must be addressed in the next year. Voter approval of several recent levys shows the tremendous public support for parks and recreation, unfortunately operation and maintenance resources have not been provided to the department to match the public’s request. The result is a park and recreation system that is now unsustainable and in jeopardy of collapse.

Unfortunately, the press has decided to focus on other matters and not the real story, the upcoming collapse of a truly great park system. With the reality of the direction of the focus, I believe it is best for me to step aside to allow the press to concentrate on the real issue at hand, the sustainability of the park and recreation system for the City of Seattle.

Over the past several months we have suggested several avenues to develop a level of sustainability, from elimination of lines of business, to asking the voters to decide on new revenue to support the current system. My hope is that all elected officials step forward and fully evaluate the opportunities at hand.


Tim Gallagher

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Federation meets Thursday, April 22, 2010, 7:00 p.m.


Regular Meeting

NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency), Pacific Marine Center on Lake Union

1801 Fairview Avenue East

Thursday, April 22, 2010


Moving Forward or in Reverse?

A Dialogue with SDOT Director Peter Hahn

Part of Director Hahn’s vision for Seattle’s transportation department includes building neighborhoods. How can this happen with diminishing funds for the Neighborhood Street Fund and the increasing limited role for the involvement of neighborhoods? How can SDOT work to reduce the maintenance backlog to avoid higher costs in the future? These are just a few issues confronting Seattle’s new SDOT Director. Bring your questions for Director Hahn.

The April meeting will also include our monthly Round Robin of issues in your neighborhood. It is your opportunity to brief our citywide membership about what you are working on and to share perceptions on what is going right and what isn’t with our city government.

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. President’s report

7:15 Moving Forward or in Reverse? A Dialogue with SDOT Director Peter Hahn

8:15 Round Robin

1. Proposed Aggressive Solicitation Ordinance—Update

2. Is the time right for a Metropolitan Park District in Seattle—first in a series of conversations about the implications

3. Budget priorities—Please bring priorities from your community group

4. Agenda planning for future Federation meetings

5. 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.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Seattle Panhandling Ordinance: The Final Score

Seattle Panhandling Ordinance: The Final Score

Tuesday, April 12, 2010

By Timothy Harris, Executive Director,

Next Monday, if all goes as expected, Councilmember Burgess’ dishonest panhandling ordinance will slam through the City Council on a veto-proof 8-1 vote.

The third set of Burgess amendments — offered in last week’s Public Safety committee — were quickly passed. Is the Burgess “fix” a solution to widely held public concerns? Who knows? The discussion is closed.

Two amendments from Councilmember Licata were shamefully rejected without so much as a second at the same meeting. These asked that Peter not be robbed to pay Paul for new foot patrols, and that the services needed to make the measure “non-punitive,” — street outreach, treatment, housing, and mental health resources — be found to exist before the punishment begins. No dice.

The measure, it is often said, has the support of the human services community. Then comes the list: Plymouth Housing Group, Downtown Emergency Center, Union Gospel Mission, YWCA, and the Compass Center. Each has large city contracts. Most of the ED’s are on the boards of prominent downtown business interests.

These things happen, and their support is unrepresentative of even their own base. The Seattle-King County Coalition on Homelessness is a more honest barometer, as is the Church Council of Greater Seattle, El Centro de la Raza, the Lutheran Public Policy Office, the Minority Executive Director’s Coalition, the ACLU of Washington, Seattle King County NAACP, the Statewide Poverty Action Network, and Real Change.

All share the concern that the Seattle Human Rights Commission, established in 1963 “to advise the City of Seattle on human rights issues and … prevent and eliminate discrimination city-wide,” voted 9-1 to reject. The SHRC report, available at their website, describes grave “due process and disparate impact” concerns, and found the data to justify the law “insufficient to support the substance of the proposed ordinance.”

The Council hasn’t blinked. The 8-1 count, apparently, is in.

An unlikely but still possible better outcome is for a flawed but improved measure to pass 9-0. For this to occur, four council-members would need to support Licata’s perfectly reasonable set of Hail Mary amendments.

Can this Council be that honest? Can Harrell? Rasmussen? O’Brien? The Sallies? On the morning of Monday the 19th, we’ll have their answer.

Monday, April 12, 2010



The Seattle Community Council Federation regrets to announce the death on April 3 of Doris Baxter Burns, who served for many years as its President and most recently as its Treasurer. Burns was 83 years old, and leaves behind a sister, daughter, two grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. Her history as a talented and colorful community leader is a panorama of public interest issues in Seattle of the past half century.

In Seattle and statewide, Burns was for decades a powerful advocate for better and more open government, and for protection and improvement of neighborhoods. Generous in donating to grassroots and progressive candidates and causes, she was active in the Democratic Party in the 43rd district, where her late husband Bill Burns was elected to the state House of Representatives.

For many years, Doris Baxter Burns chaired the City University Community Advisory Committee, a unique body established by the City of Seattle and the University of Washington to guide the university’s development. Although she had a UW degree in social work and was extremely generous to the university with donations, she also formidably insisted that UW listen to the neighborhoods and that it avoid unreasonable expansion.

In years as President and board member of the Montlake Community Club, Burns brought many improvements to Montlake Elementary School, Montlake Community Center, Montlake Playfield and other parts of the neighborhood. With equal skill and verve, she protected Montlake, the Arboretum, and all of northeast Seattle from proposed expansions of State Route 520. She also co-founded a forerunner of the Northeast District Council, years before thirteen district councils were recognized as official Seattle advisory committees.

Burns was always willing to put her name on the line in civic causes. Utility customers will forever benefit from the 2007 case of Burns vs. Seattle, in which the Washington Supreme Court ruled that utility rates were being illegally tapped for non-utility purposes, and forced millions of dollars in rebates, giving the public more control over spending and taxing decisions.

A remembrance event will be held but is not yet scheduled. In memory of Doris Baxter Burns, a civic action fund has been established by the Seattle Community Council Federation, one of the nation’s oldest alliances of neighborhood organizations. Donations are tax-deductible, with checks made out to SCCF/Burns Memorial Fund and sent to SCCF, PMB #373, 4616 25th Avenue NE, Seattle, WA 98105. For questions, contact SCCF Treasurer Chris Leman, (206) 322-5463,

New Federation Mailing Address


The correct mailing address for the Federation is shown above. Please revise your address books and mailing lists accordingly. Since late November 2009 Doris Burns had been in several healthcare facilities and some postal mail addressed to her may have have been misplaced or forwarded to an incorrect address. If you believe that some of your Federation mail may not have reached its intended destination, or if you have any questions, please contact me.

I will advise you via e-mail and post on this website when the details of Doris' memorial have been finalized.

Thank you,

Rick Barrett
Vice Chair - Seattle Community Council Federation